My current social media obsession is Friendfeed. I like it for a variety of reasons but the main reason is that it pulls together nicely all my various online activities. Being a tech blogger, I tend to try out every online service under the sun and so it gets more and more difficult to keep track of them all. Friendfeed brings everything together under one umberella and then it gives you a RSS feed to hand out to anyone interested in tracking you. So if you have an online stalker or six, life has just got a lot easier for them. Who needs Google Alerts anymore?
But my other obsession is desktop applications and so when the Friendfeed API was opened up, I made a bet with myself over how long it would take someone to produce the first desktop application for Friendfeed and how cool it would be. So when Alertthingy came out, I was hugely disappointed because it sucks big time.
Alertthingy was rushed out to please impatient Friendfeed users and the features are extremely limited. Now those once-impatient Friendfeed users can’t stop bitching about how terrible the app is! You can’t adjust the fonts or the colours and you can’t narrow the size of the box. The whole app also seems to be a bit on the buggy side. Couldn’t the developers have taken a few extra days to work on it a bit more before bringing it out? Who cares if a few Friendfeeders are whining if their new toy takes a few more days to appear? Isn’t quality better than speed?
Well maybe this is why they were rushing. TWhirl (my favourite Twitter client) is now doing what Alertthingy does by supporting Friendfeed – and they are doing it BETTER. By upgrading to the new version of TWhirl, you can have a window open with your Twitter feed AND a second window open with your Friendfeed :
What makes TWhirl better? Well for a start, TWhirl is more customisable. You can change the background colours, the fonts, you can alter the size of the box….all things Alertthingy doesn’t allow you to do. This may not be a big deal for some people but if you have bad eyesight like I do, it IS a big deal. If you have hundreds of posts flowing through on a daily basis and you’re trying to keep up with hurting eyes, it becomes a very big deal.
Today, in an amusing twist, Techcrunch has announced that Alertthingy, determined not to be outdone, is rolling out the heavy artillery and is adding Twitter support! Are you dizzy yet?
As Yoda would no doubt say in a situation like this, “Begun the Friendfeed Desktop Wars Have. The Force Is Strong In This One. Hmmm!”
Written by Mark O’Neill