blu Delivers Stunning Twitter App for Windows

blu logo

Usability is key to my using an application, so, while I’m not usually one who falls for flashy interfaces, I surely can appreciate them if they are part of an otherwise strong application.

Such is the case with blu, formerly known as chirp, a beautiful new (Windows 7 or Vista only) desktop client for the web worker’s favorite time waster or productivity tool, Twitter, that I just discovered (via Steve Clayton.)

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Tweetdeck Funding…a Sign of Twitter Insanity

[qi:004] Some days you read something that makes you go: What the…? I got that feeling when I readĀ Peter Kafka’s report that Tweetdeck, one of the many Twitter desktop apps that use Adobe Air and has been downloaded 250,000 times, is getting just shy of half a million bucks from New York-based incubator Betaworks. I’m not quite sure why! Though I think I understand — it uses Bit.ly, a service that shortens URLs to be exchanged on Twitter and is also backed by Betaworks. Since Bit.ly wants to mine the information associated with URLs being swapped around and build some sort of a value-add experience, this is a good way for them to get data from Tweetdeck. Maybe they want to flip this to Twitter — after all, Betaworks sold Summize to San Francisco-based Twitter last year and are shareholders. Otherwise, this investment doesn’t make sense. Why won’t someone else buildĀ a Tweetdeck-like offering? Or maybe it’s just a sign of Twitter-related insanity.

First Look: Filemaker Pro 10

The venerable Mac database solution, Filemaker Pro, has received a whole new look for 2009. I have had a chance to kick the tires a little prior to release and this is certainly the biggest visible change to Filemaker in years.

Filemaker Gets a Facelift

The first thing that you’ll notice with the update is that the familiar left-hand sidebar is completely gone. Now there is a whole new Status Toolbar that runs across the top of your database window. Because this is a standard Mac interface toolbar, buttons can be customized and rearranged as you like by command-clicking and dragging them around. Toolbar sets are configured for each mode, so that the appropriate buttons show up as you move into Find, Layout, or Preview mode. You have to give up some vertical real estate on the screen for the new horizontal toolbar, so layouts may need to be redone. You can hide the toolbar completely if you like, but I bet most users will welcome the changes once they get used to the new buttons.

The net result is an interface that feels a lot more current and more representative of what a Mac application is supposed to look like. From an interface perspective, Filemaker has finally entered the 21st century.
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Are Spammers Moving to Social Networks?

MySpace this week won a ruling against Samford Wallace and Walter Rines, reinforcing the fact that there’s no love lost between big web sites and spammers. But it’s also a sign of an escalation of the war on spam.

Spammers are finding virgin territory in emerging messaging tools, including SMS and social networks. Ferris Research projects that Americans will receive 1.5 billion unsolicited text messages in 2008, double the number sent in 2006. And Nielsen calls mobile social networking the next big thing, estimating 2.8 million unique mobile MySpace users and 1.8 million mobile Facebook users in December 2007.

According to antispam firm Cloudmark, spammers are already embracing these new technologies: Between 15 percent and 30 percent of friend requests on some of the largest social networks lead to a spammy profile.

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