TweetDeck For Android Step By Step September 2nd, 2010
I have been asked to write a guide for people new to Android explaining how to install TweetDeck. For those who aren’t familiar with TweetDeck, it’s a cross platform Twitter client that only recently become available for Android. A lot of people may well have used the desktop version previously; out of all the desktop Twitter clients, TweetDeck is regularly voted one of the top applications and for good reason. TweetDeck isn’t just all about Twitter however; it allows you to also configure your Facebook, MySpace, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google Buzz accounts.
The Android client shares many of the features of its desktop sibling; however it will only allow you to integrate Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz and Foursquare accounts. This really isn’t an issue though as MySpace is not as popular these days anyhow and the majority of mobile users will be consumers who probably don’t use LinkedIn (of course there are other LinkedIn applications available from the market if you do require this). Another great feature is that you are able to enter your TweetDeck account details and it will automatically sync the accounts that you use in your desktop client meaning you don’t have to worry about remembering all of your account details individually. Right from the word go the developers over at TweetDeck have given a lot of thought towards the end user experience to ensure it doesn’t become another run of the mill Twitter app (have you looked at Seesmic or Twidroyd recently; both good apps but take away the exterior shell and you are left with very similar and traditional Twitter clients) instead choosing to produce a new, innovative design that’s fresh and exciting.
Installing TweetDeck is simple, although as it is still in beta stage, it is not available to download from the market as yet. To download and install TweetDeck you’ll need to do the following:
- On your device, navigate through Menu>Settings>Applications
- Ensure that the Unknown sources option is checked; if it was previously unchecked you’ll be shown a security dialogue box, acknowledge this to continue
- Open the browser on your device
- Navigate to http://www.tweetdeck.com/go/android/ and your device will download the required .apk file to your download folder on your microSD card
- Next you’ll need an app that is capable of initiating an installation directly from a native .apk file, for novices perhaps the simplest solution is to go to the market and download Linda File Manager
- Once you have downloaded this, open Linda File Manager from the app drawer
- Click the SD Card option
- You should see a folder called download, this is where the browser will have downloaded the TweetDeck installer, click download
- Click TweetDeck-0.9.5.apk (see note below)
- Once the installer has finished installing, click Open to proceed directly to the app to setup your accounts
Notes: I have given you the direct download link from TweetDeck so as new updates are released, clicking this link will download the newer files. You may therefore find that your actual file will differ in version number, this is not an issue; simply install the version that was downloaded.
If you use the desktop version of TweetDeck, you’ll be able to sign in using your TweetDeck account here, this means that you will not have to separately configure Twitter, Facebook, Google Buzz or Foursquare as the app will “pull down” your settings and sync your accounts automatically. If you don’t have a TweetDeck account, then you’ll need to add each account separately by clicking on the appropriate option.
That’s about all there is to it. One of the great things about TweetDeck for Android is that there are not many options to configure, making the experience a simple one; it just works! That’s not to say it is short on features. You’ll notice that your timeline has all of your accounts in one continuous list; each colour coded for easy identification. You’ll even notice that as you scroll up and down through the list, the time at that particular place in the timeline is displayed at the top which I think is a nice touch. You can flick right through 2 more screens to see your mentions (which apply not only to Twitter, but anything that is deemed a “notification” in Facebook also) and your DMs; everything is laid out in a simple yet graphically pleasing way.
One thing worthy of mention at this stage is that unlike any other Twitter app I have ever used on Android, the timeline always remembers where you left it. Not just some of the time, but all of time; no more waking up in the morning and having to manually find where you were the night before because the timeline had somehow managed to “jump” to the top all on its own.
There are four buttons at the bottom of the main screen, the first of which will probably be one of the most used; the button to compose a new update (allowing you to choose which of the accounts you want to update). Next you have a favourite’s button, once you press this you are presented with a user customisable screen whereby you can store your favourite contacts for one touch access to all of their profile and update information. Finally there is the Twitter search and location buttons; the Twitter search button allows you to search trends on Twitter, the location button interfaces with Google Maps to show you your current location.
Once you start using the app, you’ll find more too; like the image preview and location map (but only if the posters update was location aware) below any updates you click on, saving you having to click through 2 or 3 pages to get the same amount of information on other clients. There is the simple slider button to change the display font size and a well laid out configuration screen where you can change your notification options and set the duration between updates; last but not least my favourite feature, whereby the TweetDeck notification icon flips upside down and “dies” if it encounters a problem whilst posting an update. I can just imagine the response of the other members of the development team whilst sat around a table brainstorming when that idea came up, pure genius.
Remember also that this is still a beta product (although in fairness, it is the most stable beta I have ever used, not a single FC or issue to date), which means that it is going to more than likely be updated again before the final release, adding more features based on user feedback. The downside of this is that as the app was not downloaded from the market, you will not receive an automatic notification when an update is available; not a huge issue though. The best way around this is to follow TweetDeck (@TweetDeck) on Twitter as they tweet when an update is available for download (then all you need to do once you click on the link and download any update is to follow the last 5 steps of the guide again to update).
TweetDeck for Android is great app; it’s in a different league to HTC Peep.
HTC Peep Not Working? This Is Why September 1st, 2010
A lot of people will be waking up this morning and finding that they are unable to login to Twitter via HTC Peep on their Desires, confusingly your device will report that you have entered an incorrect username or password combination even though you have not made any changes. The truth is that owing to a behind the scenes change to the Twitter APIs, HTC Peep is no longer compatible and more than likely won’t be for some time.
It’s been common knowledge for some time that Twitter has decided to move away from basic authentication to OAuth for all third party apps; it makes sense that some of the older Twitter clients would be affected by this but you’d have thought HTC would have had the foresight to release an update prior to today, especially given that the switchover date has already been put back previously. I wonder just how many people will be scratching their heads today trying to figure out why HTC Peep isn’t working, not realising that it’s actually a fundamental problem that they will not be able to resolve, no matter how many times they re-enter their details or reboot their devices.
In honesty HTC Peep is actually a pretty poor client anyway; it does the job if you are after a simple Twitter client but it has been left behind feature wise compared to other apps freely available such as Twidroyd, Seesmic or TweetDeck (though still in Beta, this is by far the best Twitter client around in my opinion, you can download from here). Of course if you have flashed a custom ROM onto your Desire already chances are you are not using HTC Peep so this will not affect you; certainly if you are using one of the many vanilla ROMs available you’ll probably be sat at home reading this having a little chuckle to yourself. If not, perhaps this is the excuse you need to delve into custom ROMs and ditch HTC Sense.
Update 02/09/2010 08:30
Here’s an official release from Twitter which I recieved in my inbox overnight; though not effected with the HTC Peep issues myself, frustrating that they only made this public annoucement a full day after the problem manifested itself:
Over the coming weeks, we will be making two important updates that will impact how you interact with Twitter applications. We are sending this notice to all Twitter users to make sure you are aware of these changes.
What are applications?
There are over 250,000 applications built using the Twitter API. To use most applications, you first authorize the application to access your Twitter account, after which you can use it to read and post Tweets, discover new users and more. Applications come in many varieties, including desktop applications like TweetDeck, Seesmic, or EchoFon, websites such as TweetMeme, fflick, or Topsy, or mobile applications such as Twitter for iPhone, Twitter for Blackberry, or Foursquare.
Update 1: New authorization rules for applications
Starting August 31, all applications will be required to use “OAuth” to access your Twitter account.
OAuth is a technology that enables applications to access Twitter on your behalf with your approval without asking you directly for your password.
- Desktop and mobile applications may still ask for your password once, but after that request, they are required to use OAuth in order to access your timeline or allow you to tweet.
What does this mean for me?
- Applications are no longer allowed to store your password.
- If you change your password, the applications will continue to work.
- Some applications you have been using may require you to reauthorize them or may stop functioning at the time of this change.
- All applications you have authorized will be listed at http://twitter.com/settings/connections.
- You can revoke access to any application at any time from the list.
Update 2: t.co URL wrapping
In the coming weeks, we will be expanding the roll-out of our link wrapping service t.co, which wraps links in Tweets with a new, simplified link. Wrapped links are displayed in a way that is easier to read, with the actual domain and part of the URL showing, so that you know what you are clicking on. When you click on a wrapped link, your request will pass through the Twitter service to check if the destination site is known to contain malware, and we then will forward you on to the destination URL. All of that should happen in an instant.
You will start seeing these links on certain accounts that have opted-in to the service; we expect to roll this out to all users by the end of the year. When this happens, all links shared on Twitter.com or third-party apps will be wrapped with a t.co URL.
What does this mean for me?
- A really long link such as http://www.amazon.com/Delivering-Happiness-Profits-Passion-Purpose/dp/0446563048 might be wrapped as http://t.co/DRo0trj for display on SMS, but it could be displayed to web or application users as amazon.com/Delivering- or as the whole URL or page title.
- You will start seeing links in a way that removes the obscurity of shortened links and lets you know where each link will take you.
- When you click on these links from Twitter.com or a Twitter application, Twitter will log that click. We hope to use this data to provide better and more relevant content to you over time.
Thanks for reading this important update. Come and check what’s new at http://twitter.com.
The Twitter Team
It will be interesting to see how long it takes HTC to factor in the new OAuth requirement and release an update; watch this space for news!
Android – Renaming Home Screen Icons February 5th, 2010
Throughout various different ROMs and various different firmware releases, the one thing that has always annoyed me is the inability to rename icons which you place on the home screen. The most annoying thing is that not even the most rudimentary of icons actually fit in the allocated space; being a ‘Google’ phone and based on the integration with Google services I think it stands to reason that a lot of people as well as me with have the Google Mail shortcut on their home screens, and I’m sure you’ll all agree that it annoys the hell out of you when it only displays ‘Google mai’.
Just as on my laptop, I hate clutter; I have a set way of organising my icons but I’d really like the ability to rename so in this case, if Google Mail doesn’t fit I’d like Gmail thanks.
Finally, I found a way.
It’s really simple actually and doesn’t involve any messing with code or reverse engineering. Simply head across to the android market and download ‘Any Cut’ (which incidentally is FREE, even better). Once installed to create the GMail icon all you need to do is the following (the same method applies to ANY other shortcut too):
- Long press on the existing Google Mail icon and drag it to the bottom of the screen to delete
- Long press in the blank space and choose Shortcut followed by Any Cut
- Choose Activity
- Scroll down and select Google Mail
- Type the name of the shortcut as you would like it to appear, I choose Gmail
- Hit OK
Follow this process for any application or service and it’ll allow you to have your home screen exactly how YOU want it instead of simply accepting the way it is by default.
Remove Amazon From Cyanogen ROM December 18th, 2009
Does anyone actually use the Amazon MP3 app that comes bundled with the Cyanogen ROMs? I’ve always found it annoying that it is not able to be removed from the Manage Applications applet, but of course, there is another way to cleanly uninstall it.
Simply open your Terminal Emulator app and type the following:
mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock03 /system
That’s it, no more Amazon!
Of course you can also use this method to remove other apps by changing the appropriate file in the code. Enjoy!
Facebook App From Motorola Droid November 16th, 2009
I have to be honest; I can take or leave Facebook. Sure it is probably the most used social networking service out there but I much prefer Twitter. Facebook has too many Pirates, Vampires, Racers and other annoyances for my liking these days. I wonder if Facebook – like many before it – is becoming a victim of its own success. The number of Facebook users may well be continuing to climb but I wonder for how long, it’s becoming too commercialised and too full of junk.
Still, I acknowledge Facebooks relevance and am surprised to see that the latest version of the Android specific client which is found on the new Motorola Droid has not been ported back to the wider community. The version available in the Android Market is pretty poor.
So you want the new version? OK, it’s actually quite easy to get it to work:
Caveat: You MUST uninstall any previous versions of Facebook from your device before trying to install this new version.
- Download this file and copy it to the root of your SD card
- Open a terminal window and type the following:
mount /system –o remount,rw
cp Facebook.apk /system/app
You don’t need to reboot, the Facebook app will show up immediately in your menu.
Note: Feel free to add me on Facebook if you wish but remember to add a note that you’ve come from my blog otherwise as if I don’t know where you’re from I may not accept your request, and more importantly, any requests to join your Vampire or Werewolf clan (or any other for that matter) will not be met with enthusiasm.