How I Twitter

I’ve been finding over the past few months I’ve been using Twitter more and more. I have used it for quite a while, but recently I’ve found both more friends and colleagues using Twitter, and have found more people I wanted to follow. There has definitely been a surge in interest over the last six months, and it’s being seen in more surprising places, such as a Twitter joke on the election night Colbert/Stewart show, or on one of the many mobile phones of Stephen Fry.

So I thought I’d write about how I use it, seeing as I’ve been doing so for a while, and found myself a nice set of tools to help me.

First thing in the morning

I like to update both Twitter and Facebook first thing, so to kill two birds with one stone (actually a few other social networks too) I use Ping.fm . This allows me to subscribe to multiple social networks, and post my status to all of them from one place. They did also have a Facebook application I used for a while, however this has been broken since about the time the new version of Facebook launched, and they haven’t updated it to work yet.

On the move

Until recently I used a Nokia N95, and so I tended to use the mobile version of ping.fm from a browser. Now I’m on an iPhone, I’m using that for posting, and the Twitterrific application (link to UK iTunes store) for reading other people’s tweets.

On the desktop

I’ve used twhirl for a little while now, as it is an Adobe Air application, it runs nicely on all platforms including Linux. In an ideal world I’d like something that combined Twitter nicely with IM and other social networks, and although several applications have come close, nothing is quite there on the Mac yet. My only real gripe with twhirl is that I’d like to size the window a bit smaller, other than that, it has a lot of functionality, and displays incoming tweets rather nicely. I’ll post on twitter mostly from there in the day and evening.

Sharing links on Twitter

This may not be the most obvious route, but to post a link on Twitter I use the Mahalo Share Firefox extension. You’ll need an account on Mahalo, which if you haven’t come across it, is trying to be a human version of Google, with user-submitted links reviewed by their staff. Once a member, you can set up the extension properly, and have a single button in Firefox you can click whilst on a page to submit the link to Mahalo, and to many other sites in one go. I mainly use it as a quick way of saving links at Delicious, but I have it set up with several accounts, so I can also post the link on Twitter, Facebook or elsewhere too. A series of checkboxes allows you to choose which service(s) each link is posted to.

Adding tweets to my blog

I had been doing this by a more tiresome method until recently, however I’ve just discovered the Twitter WordPress Sidebar Widget. Don’t be put off by the fact it hasn’t been updated for a long time, it’s nice and simple, and works fine with my WordPress 2.6 installation.

Sites I read about Twitter

There are a couple of Twitter new sites that have started recently, Twitip and Twitterrati. I’m subscribed to the feeds for both, and have found them both useful. In fact this post was inspired by a recent article at Twitip. I’ve also used Twitterlocal and Twitter Grader to see who else is twittering near me, and how I compare to other Twitter users.

So there you have it: a little insight into the various ways I interact with Twitter. How about you?

Google Maps Mobile v2.2 released

Google have updated Google Maps mobile to version 2.2. Works on the N95 fine, seems a bit speedier and neater. Google Transit seems to cover the South of England in general, so I can potentially use it to plan bus journeys should I need to as well.
Google Maps Mobile Hits v2.2 With Public Transportation

Nokia N95 Software Update 21.0.016

A new update to the software for the Nokia N95 has been available for about a month now, and I finally got chance to use it. It is well worth reading the rundown at SybianV3.com for all the details. The key points I would make are:

  • Please Nokia, let me update the software directly on the phone. The one thing I have to use Windows for is to update the software, and this is just wrong. I was able to update directly on the Nokia 6630, why can’t I on my N95. You’re not going to make me a Linux client, so allow this instead.
  • Back up your phone data to the memory card before updating. You can find this under Tools > Memory > Options > Back up phone memory. This will save you a lot of pain. Once you’ve installed the software update, you can use the Restore from card option.
  • Make a note of the software you’ve installed before updating. If you’ve installed applications to the memory card, they should in the main work after the update, but ones on your phone itself will be wiped. I did find that even though the Nokia Step Counter was removed, when I reinstalled it, it found the data for it again without prompting.
  • The main reason for updating, I feel, is the upgrade to Flash Lite 3. This means the full desktop version of Youtube now works on the N95. It’s somewhat cumbersome to navigate through, but the videos play respectably well (whereas in the mobile version, I’d yet to get one to stream at all). Well worth doing just for this. I did try to see if the BBC iPlayer would work with it too, but this was a failure, no video loaded when I tried.

New version of Nokia Sports Tracker available

I’ve downloaded the latest version of the Nokia Sports Tracker beta recently for my N95 (version 1.78), and was pleased to accidently happen upon a new feature. As well as tracking you by GPS, and allowing you to upload your journey to their site, for a while they’ve had the ability for you to add pictures and video taken along the trip. Now they have added a new feature, which will tag what you were listening to on the music player, and where you listened to it.

Now I agree this is not perhaps the most important or useful feature, but I feel it rates highly in the “that’s rather neat” stakes. It certainly works on the phone, but my first test of uploading put my pictures online, but not the music. So worth testing it out a bit more to see what is going on.

Review of the Skype Mobile Beta on the Nokia N95

When I first heard that Skype had released a beta client for mobiles, I was rather excited. I’m probably not the only N95 user that expected they could finally make VOIP calls easily through Skype. I wasn’t prepared for the disappointment that I couldn’t.

To be fair, it is listed in the details that it will make a local rate phone call to allow you to place Skype calls, but why? If I’ve got a Wi-fi connection, why can’t I use it? Okay, for long-distance and international calls, it will save me money, but that’s not what I was after.

The client itself is simple to install and set up, and once logged in, sure enough I could see my contacts fine (over the wi-fi connection). It is lacking in features compared to the full client, but the main reason for having it is to place calls, and this works well. It could really do with the same test call function that the full client has, as this is very helpful to make sure things are set up properly.

The beta Skype client runs on a range of Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Samsung phones, but in terms of the Nokia N series is only listed as working for the N95 and N80 (if I didn’t have one of these though, I would be tempted to try it out anyway just in case).

It would be perfectly acceptable if it did what I expect Skype to do, make calls online, however at the moment it just seems broken not being able to do that.

Related Posts:
Skype Beta for Nokia N95 now available
Getting Skype on the Nokia N95 with Fring

Yamake from Nokia – make your own games

Interesting announcement from Nokia of Yamake, a user-generated games tool for the soon-to-be-launched-properly N-Gage platform. Basically, they provide the base for the game, the user can upload images and sounds, and alter text to turn them into their own game. Will have a look into this and investigate, could be a fun tool to play with.

Nokia N96 Announced

Slightly behind on my RSS feeds, I’ve just found out that Nokia have announced the successor to the N95, the imaginatively named Nokia N96. It looks nice, they’ve recessed the controls a little, given it a darker sleeker look. Headline features are an expandable 16GB memory and a larger screen (2.8 inches over the N95s 2.6). It is a few millimetres longer, but a couple slimmer. It will use the same battery, so there are a few mutterings on the Nokia and Symbian blogs that it won’t particularly improve the battery life.

Overall it looks like a style improvement, but no massive advantage over the N95 other than memory. Of course there could be some tweaks to the spec before release, but there isn’t going to be a touchscreen or anything really exciting.

Nokia Mosh – Share Applications and Media

I’ve been meaning to write about Nokia Mosh for a while. It is a place to share all forms of mobile media, from images and videos to themes and applications, for all of their current and recent phones (including of course the N95). You can upload and download anything on the service. There is also a social networking side to it, as you can build up a collection of your favourite apps, comment on them, and share them with friends.

It is of particular interest to anyone interested in new Symbian applications. You can search for new releases and versions, and see what is popular with other users. It is fairly open, anyone can upload what they like, but they do police it, through a combination of observation and complaints (it isn’t a huge service, and is still in beta). It is worth reading the comments on an application to see how other people have got on with it, and none of the content is assured by Nokia, so any installation is at the users own risk.

I’m going to work through some of the applications I find on there, and talk about them on here over the next few months. I’ve set up my own collection on Mosh if you want to see what I’ll be looking at. I’ll make no guarantees for any of them either yet, but have a look through them, and obviously if you use the service yourself, add me as a friend.

NGage 2 is go…oh well almost

I’ve been looking forwards to the Nokia Ngage gaming launch for some time, well it is finally supposed to be happening this week…on one phone only, the N81. The rest, such as for the N95 will follow at some stage early next year. Somewhat disappointed by this, I understand the need to test it, but I thought that was what they had been doing. You test in beta, you launch to, well, at least your interested audience. Ack well, I’ll check back in on it.