Regarding Apps

Two Simultaneous Apps for Twitter

Recorded on November 17th, 2016

To pick up where I left off after writing about Nuzzel, I did set up a Twitter list of just the people that I started following last week to keep up with the Orange One’s, uh, transition. I muted all those people in Tweetbot, so that my timeline looks pretty much like it always did, with tweets from friends, web designers, app developers, musicians, etc. Mutes in Tweetbot don’t translate to any other apps, so I run Twitteriffic to just monitor the new Orange One list, where those tweets can still come through. I can dip in and out of the “fun” tweets with Tweetbot, where missing some is non-critical, and not miss the parade of unraveling real-world events (and learn what to do about it) with Twitteriffic.

We were both depressingly caught in Twitter’s clutches, wasting entire evenings scrolling through tweets from people smarter than us, our mouths agape, eyebrows raised higher and higher. It’s crazy to do this, but putting up a two-app firewall between these two helped me a ton.

Nuzzel, to Tame Your Twitter Timeline

Recorded on November 16th, 2016

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In these times of dumpster fires in the White House and jaw-dropping headlines seemingly every hour, Twitter is the only place I can manage to watch it all unfold. I don’t even follow all that many people, but my timeline has quickly gotten out of control this past week.

Nuzzel is a handy iOS app that aggregates the articles linked to by your Facebook/Twitter friends or the people they follow. I had tried it briefly a year or two ago, but that was when I followed fewer people and didn’t feel the need to try to “keep up” (God help me). I remembered it today and re-installed it and it’s still a great tool. You miss the personal flavor that immediately surrounded each link, but you can also avoid scrolling through 10 tweets that all point to the same article. And you can still dive in and the see the original tweets from friends if you’re curious.

I also may need to break down and figure out how to use Twitter Lists.

Duolingo for Learning a Language

Recorded on July 25th, 2016

Some really smart friends of mine were talking excitedly about the Duolingo app this past weekend. All I needed to hear was “iOS app for language learning” + “doesn’t cost $200” and I was sold. I finally got a few minutes to download it this morning. After getting two minutes into the skills assessment section of the French module, I was hooked. I found that I remembered just enough vocabulary words from my five years of middle school and high school French to start making me feel pretty smart. I haven’t even finished the assessment, but I’m excited to get back into it and see where some actual lessons lead.

It’s embarrassing that I’m 45 years old and I know practically zero Italian, German, and Spanish. Maybe this will be a shortcut to some bare-bones knowledge. We’ll see!

Cymbal Is Like Instagram for Music

Recorded on June 28th, 2016

screenshot of Cymbal app

I just saw a tweet from Frank Chimero mentioning the Cymbal app. As if we needed yet another A.D.D.-fueled way to discover music, this one really is like Instagram for songs. It’s like following people on Spotify, but even easier to dip in and out of tracks. You don’t have to play entire songs from beginning to end, and it makes (shudder) clicking on a YouTube music link in a tweet seem like wading through molasses. With Cymbal, you scroll through a feed of snippets of songs from people you follow and then tap once to play part of the song they shared. You hear each track for 30 seconds and then the next one in the feed plays, or you can keep scrolling and tap on a different song to hear it.

Cymbal owes a huge debt to Instagram for their user interface, although Cymbal is a bit more convoluted. I don’t quite know where it leaves me all the time, but overall it’s fun to use.