Twitterrific for macOS: A Phoenix from the Ashes

For me, Twitterrific has always been synonymous with using Twitter. I used it first on the Mac in March 2008. I even downloaded the app first, then signed up for Twitter to use it! And Twitterrific was the first app I installed from the App Store on iOS when it launched in July 2008. I tried a couple other clients when they came around, namely Tweetie and Tweetbot, but Twitterrific’s unified timeline always brought me back to the nest.

For the past several years, the Mac version has fallen by the wayside, and I got used to only using Twitterrific on iOS. Then, earlier this year, the Iconfactory set up a Kickstarter to resurrect Twitterrific for Mac as a fresh, modern client. I couldn’t sign up fast enough. The campaign was successful, and all summer I have been enjoying the weekly beta releases as the new Twitterrific took shape.


Today, Twitterrific 5.0 for macOS is available for everyone on the Mac App Store. It packs a ton of features into the new app, stays in sync with the iOS versions using iCloud, has fantastic keyboard and accessibility support, delightful sounds, and a few nostalgic Easter eggs from past incarnations.

Beyond any feature, though, is the care that the folks at the Iconfactory put into Twitterrific. It is clearly a labor of love, and the people behind it are genuinely fantastic. I suggest you follow a few of them on Twitter, and say hi. The best part about the Apple community isn’t just the apps we use to change our life and work, it’s the people and friendships made along the way.

In a sea of one-off money-grab apps, there are a precious few with a human story behind them. Twitterrific is one of them. And that’s why it is well worth supporting the team by purchasing Twitterrific for macOS.

Twitterrific for macOS re-hatches with Project Phoenix

I’ve been using Twitter for nearly a decade now and Twitterrific for Mac was what first got me hooked on the service. Over 72,000 tweets later and I still use Twitterrific (on iOS) every day. It’s safe to say that this app is my most used app.

I loved Twitterrific on the Mac, and while I understand why it was put in the parking lot of development to focus on iOS, I have always missed it. And I know its creators at The Iconfactory have missed it as well.

That’s why I’m excited to see that they want to bring it back with Project Phoenix on Kickstarter.

If funded, The Iconfactory plans to have a minimal app ready around August 2017 with t he following features:

  • Unified home timeline
  • Multiple account support
  • Composing, replying, and quoting tweets
  • Muffles and mutes
  • Streaming
  • Themes
  • Delete and edit your own tweets
  • Sync timeline position with iOS
  • VoiceOver Accessibility
  • Keyboard control
  • Attaching images to tweets
  • Timeline search (text filter/find)
  • Open links to other tweets, profiles and media in your browser

If they reach the stretch goal, they’ll add these in a major version release:

  • Direct messaging
  • Read, create, delete saved searches
  • Read lists
  • Built-in Twitter search
  • Built-in quick media viewer (images, GIFs, videos)
  • Built-in conversation and threaded tweet viewer
  • Built-in viewer for user profiles
  • Alt-text attachment when tweeting images
  • Searching for and getting suggested users while composing

And finally, if they reach a victory lap goal, they’ll add:

  • Simple list management (create, edit, delete)
  • Manage drafts and sync them with iOS
  • Dock-less mode
  • Built-in profile editor so you can change your bio, avatar and more
  • Trends
  • Video upload
  • Geolocation

That would pretty much bring it to feature parity with the amazing iOS version of the app. I chipped in, and if you love using Twitter and want to support a team that truly cares for the platform, you should too.

Cloak 2.0

The Internet can be a scary place. One thing that always makes me a little leery is public Wi-Fi. You never know what anyone else is up to on public Wi-Fi. One of the best things you can do in that situation is to use a VPN.

Unfortunately, VPNs are not something that most folks a) know about, and b) know how to use.

That's where Cloak comes in. Cloak makes using a VPN easy, as it does all the work. It even works on your iOS devices. I've been using Cloak for a year now, and today Cloak 2 was released.

The first Cloak worked fine on the Mac, but on iOS it felt very finnicky. This is where Cloak 2 really shines. Cloak 2 brings a new feature called Trusted Networks. You can tell it which networks you use that you trust, and it will disable the VPN when you are on those. Then when you venture onto an untrusted network, the VPN automagically kicks in and secures your connection.

And you only need to set this all up once, as Cloak will pass your Trusted Network settings on to all of your devices.

Cloak operates off a monthly subscription, and has a couple tiers.

I've found the mini plan to be more than adequate for my occasional afternoon working at a coffee shop, but if you are a heavy VPN user, then the unlimited plan is priced fantastically, too.

As I said, the Internet can be a scary place. Stay safe out there.

¶ My First Mac

My first Mac was technically not my own. It was my parents', but it belonged to the family. The year was 1990. I was 5 years old. The Macintosh Classic was its name. It sported a 9-inch grayscale screen at 512 x 342 pixels, a 40 MB hard drive, and 1.44 MB diskette drive. It was the first Mac to cost less than $1,000.

Yeah, baby.

I was enamored with it. It seemed light years ahead of the black screen and green text IBMs my school had. I could play Wheel of Fortune on it. By far my favorite thing to do was to open AppleWorks and make a new drawing document and begin using a digital canvas to create a city with that big clunky mouse. Then I'd select this tool that looked like a tornado to send pixels flying!1

That little Mac was the beginning of my love for technology. When my folks upgraded to a Power Macintosh 7100 a few years later, the Internet was also just gaining traction with the public. My folks were always early adopters, and so we of course had the Internet.2 I remember adding USB to the Power Mac, upgrading the processor to a G3 processor from Sonnet, and how lightning fast it felt when we switched out the 14.4k modem for a 28.8k.

We got a full decade out of that machine with all the upgrades, and it likely could have gone more.

Then came the eMac I got for college. This was truly my first Mac. I quickly found out that a 50-pound behemoth was not ideal at college in 2003. This was my first experience with OS X. I hopped on the bus with 10.2 Jaguar, and 10.3 Panther was released just a couple months later. Safari was at version 1.0, and I haven't changed my default browser since. I used the eMac my freshman year, then it went to my parents to replace the old Power Mac.

My sophomore year I went with the 14-inch iBook G4. I used this through most of college and wrote many papers on it.

My senior year I treated myself to the black MacBook while I still had an education discount. That thing was lovely. I still kind of miss it, as it just looked fantastic. I would love for Apple to make a black space gray MacBook Air.

A few years later I got the first unibody MacBook Pro, 15-inch. This felt like a dream computer. It had real horsepower and was the fastest & thinnest computer I had used yet.

And, just about a year ago, I went to the MacBook Air. The Air is just plain fantastic. It's fast, it's battery lasts ages, and it is light. When you want to close up and go, you can do just that.

The Mac has been a significant part of my life for the past 23 years. It sparked the curiosity of a young boy and challenged me to learn more throughout the years. And these days it is integral to my way of life, not only in how I accomplish my own goals, but also to how I am able to provide for my family. Right now, I simply could not do what I do without the Mac.

Happy 30th birthday, Mac. Here's to many more.

  1. And they were pretty big pixels when you think about it!

  2. "You’ve got mail!"

1Password 4 for Mac Teaser

Dan Moren at Macworld has a little overview of a little something that my colleagues and I have been working on for a while.

I'm really proud of how 1Password 4 for Mac is turning out, and I can't wait until we get it into the hands of the people.

As they say, Fall is Coming.

Addendum: 9to5Mac has more pictures.

Disclosure: I work for AgileBits and 1Password's success pays my bills.

¶ Downcast for Mac | Review

I'm pretty sure I've been an avid podcast listener since Apple first integrated it into iTunes and the iPod. Many would likely agree Apple kicked podcasts into mainstream use.

After the debut of the iPhone and then the App Store, third party podcast apps started to appear for movie listening, but I stuck with Apple's iTunes and the iPhone's iPod app, since I was syncing all the time anyway, because untethered sync still wasn't around for the iPhone. And I kept on this way until Apple released its Podcasts app partway through iOS 5's life cycle.

And boy did that app suck.

Podcasts was gorgeous at its debut, sure. I loved the reel-to-reel animation, superfluous as it was. But actually using the app was downright awful. So that left me with a decision to make between the two biggest names I had heard about. Instacast and Downcast. Both were iOS only at the time, but I didn't mind because I was doing most of my listening on my iPhone, anyway.

I chose Downcast. It didn't take long using Downcast and seeing how easily it synced over iCloud with my iPad to realize it was the app that Podcasts should have been.

From my review of Downcast for iOS:

Apple’s Podcasts app is slow, buggy, and lacks the typical polish and refinement we’ve all come to expect. This app does not feel like something Apple made. It doesn’t even use iCloud to sync the subscription list between your iPhone and iPad, instead making you go through the subscription process twice.

So here’s what you should do. Buy Downcast. It is every bit the caliber you would expect Apple to make, but Apple didn’t make it.

The only role Downcast didn't fulfill was being able to listen from my Mac. At first this didn't really bother me until I started being in front of my desk more and more. Sure, I've fired up my podcasts on my iPad and kept it playing on my desk, and that's fine and all. But I had been wanting podcast listening on my Mac again.

Today, my want is fulfilled. Downcast for Mac is now available on the Mac App Store. As soon as I installed and launched it, I simply clicked a little cloud icon, and checked four boxes. Immediately, my settings, episode list, podcast subscriptions, & playlists all came in via iCloud.

Aside: Downcast is one of the few apps using iCloud that really seems to just work without hassle. Many others I have don't work entirely well and I use Dropbox instead.

Downcast's interface is plain and simple in a refreshing way. It's very focused. You select your podcast and play. I do think it needs some refreshing over time. For instance, there are three different refresh buttons in the main window. One that refreshes all feeds, one to refresh a specific feed list, and another that seems to refresh everything in iCloud.

Aside from an abundance of things to refresh, Downcast for Mac is a faithful interpretation of what Downcast is in a Mac app. Downcast for Mac is available on the Mac App Store at an introductory price of $9.99.

The agony and the ecstasy of the new MacBook Air’s battery

David Chartier:

For all the incredibleness of the MacBook Air’s new battery, the device is still dependent on WiFi hotspots and, let’s face it, the internet is an essential ingredient these days for getting most things done. Now, keep in mind that adding 4G radios to the MacBook Air likely poses its own share of challenges that Apple has clearly decided to avoid for the Mac, at least so far. In general, it seems like 3G/4G radios have never been very popular in notebooks for some reason.

I can see why David wants cellular data in a MacBook, but I guess I don't find it to be much of a bother to just fire up Personal Hotspot on my iPhone.

Twitter for Mac Updated

Speaking of being shocked, I thought this app was long dead. The last time it had received an update prior to today was June 1, 2011. That's right, OS X Snow Leopard reigned king when Twitter for Mac was last updated.

But, it appears Twitter is breathing new life into their desktop app. They added Twitter Photos support, Retina graphics, updated iconography, and a slew of languages. They've even put Ben Sandofsky in charge of it full time.

We'll see what happens, but personally, I am more excited that Iconfactory is working on Twitterrific 5 for Mac.