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Appletell reviews Twitterrific desktop client

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twitterrific iconProduct: Twitter Client
Format: Download (1.2 MB)
Developer: Iconfactory
Minimum System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4, Twitter account (free)
Processor Compatibility: Universal
Price: Free (ad-supported) or $14.95
Availability: out now
Version Reviewed: 3.2

Twitterrific windowAh, the Iconfactory: great design, freeware icons, and applications like Twitterrific, one of the better known Twitter clients. I used the free, (ad-supported) version to Twitter from my iPod touch for a long time. Then I found out there were free apps out there with more features that didn’t require me to deal with hourly ads, so, I switched. Twitterrific also comes in a desktop version, and it’s the same situation there.

You can get Twitterrific (desktop) either for free (in which case you’ll see a small ad, once an hour), or in the premium version for $14.95. The premium version simply disables the ads; they’re otherwise identical. It has a clean, well-designed interface, exactly what you’d expect from the Iconfactory. The user experience is focused on controlling the amount of information you want to receive; the front end of Twitterric is bare bones, with just your feed and a place to enter your posts. Hell, Twitterrific doesn’t even show up as an application in your Dock unless you tell it to; all the bells and whistles of this app are in the preferences.

From here, you can set what you want Twitterrific to look like and how it delivers the Tweets to you. You can get a window that fades in and out as they come, one that stays on top of other applications or above palettes, or simply as a normal window (with a hotkey to toggle this).

Do you want the full Tweet displayed, or do you want a tiny, inconspicuous list of the names of the people who have posted? Choose the latter, and you can click on a name to see what they wrote. Twitterrific also supports Growl, so you can ignore the app altogether and just get brief popups with your latest feed results, which will fade away after a few seconds. It’s also integrated with popular Mac chat programs like iChat, Adium, and Skype, allowing it to update your status with your latest Tweet.

In addition to regular Tweets, you can also see your Direct (private) Messages and Replies in the main window if you choose—the former are color-coded blue, the latter, brown. You can also choose to have all of them listed, or only the ones from people you follow—useful if you have a ton of followers, sorting your friends from people you don’t know. However, if you do choose not to see them, you won’t see them at all. There’s no separate window for those types of messages; it’s the main one or nothing.

Twitterrific micro windowWhat’s not in Twitter? Location posting. A lot of the extras that have sprung up like URL shortening and Twitpic crossposting. And considering how much control is given to how your Tweets are presented to you, it’s odd to find that the color can’t be altered. As Henry Ford once said, you can have Twitterrific in any color you want, so long as it’s black.

Twitterrific has a clean design that controls how much and how little information you want, as well as how often you get it. It can be a constant companion for the information junkie, or a polite butler who waits in the corner while you’re busy, coughing politely to let you know a new visitor has arrived. I’m not convinced that the premium version is worth $14.95, especially given the lack of extras, and the intense competition from other, free clients who offer more features. Still, you can’t fault Iconfactory from trying to earn a living from software that does it’s job is such a truly useful, flexible manner.

Appletell Review:
rating four out of five

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