Annoyed by iPhone Apps

by francine Hardaway on November 30, 2008

So far I've downloaded and discarded dozens of iPhone apps that didn't do what I thought they should do. For me, Twitter apps are the worst offenders. Twitterific hung too often, and Om Malik advised me to switch to Twinkle. No, he didn't just advise me, he downloaded it to my phone while I was having non-coffee with him one afternoon. He liked it because it found people near me.

But I could never see it; the type is too small, and I'm often tweeting in dark restaurants, movie theatres before the show begins, and at stop lights. It would seem like a basic tenet of application development that the user be able to SEE the interface.

LaTwit is like that as well. A UI suitable for a mouse.  I have to keep it, though, because it supports and TwitArmy. I then tried Tweetsville, which came highly recommended but doesn't seem to give me my messages very often. I deleted it tonight.

Someone else recommended Twittelator, which is my current solution. Big type, works fine, but doesn't work at all like Twitter. Doesn't even REMIND me of the Twitter experience.

So I'm still looking.  What for? I'm looking for an iPhone application for Twitter that works the way Brightkite's does, or Facebook's.  In other words, it "suggests" the site it is derived from in both its interface and its functions, and it allows you to do the things you want to do. It looks like a familiar version of its parent. For Twitter, that's read and reply, search, send DMs, unfollow and follow. (And, of course TRACK, pace @stevegillmor.)

Do you have any good suggestions for me? I will be accepting them until Friendfeed comes out with a real-time iPhone app, after which this Twitter stuff will all be moot.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Phillip Blackerby December 1, 2008 at 10:10 am

Amid the iPhone hype, much well-deserved, is this niggling problem of the independently-produced apps.

A client in the construction industry is searching for a timekeeping app. The ideal will meet two objectives: record hours on the job for hourly employees, and record hours by task for all employees; therefore, we need to enter time two ways: for hourly employees, punch-in, punch-out; for all employees, enter number of hours by job code. To ensure that hourly employees are actually on the job (not on the way to the job, or at the local Starbucks), we want to capture the geocode information from the iPhone’s GPS chip. The app should also recognize each employee’s iPhone, so Jim isn’t punching in for Jane. And, of course, we want the data to update QuickBooks or other payroll files easily and generate meaningful reports.

We investigated two candidates: TSheets, headquartered outside Boise, and Harvest, created by Iridesco in New York, which was suggested by some of our FastTrac entrepreneurship training program guest speakers.

Both apps support hours by job code and sub-code (in several entry formats). Both support punch-in, punch-out, though Harvest requires a separate widget to do so. Both track paid time off, and Harvest tracks overtime. Harvest tracks a budget by job code, and reports actual against budget. It will also track expenses by job code, generate an invoice, and report on A/R aging. Both apps generate several reports and export a .cvs (spreadsheet) file and a QuickBooks .iif payroll file. Both appear to have adequate security. Pricing differences are not significant.

But neither app captures the iPhone’s geocode data, and neither company even has plans to do so! Accurate and accessible GPS data is a revolutionary technology. Why are so few taking advantage of it?

Anyone have some good ideas?

Francine Hardaway December 1, 2008 at 12:03 pm

I am hoping you will get some comments from iPhone app developers who are working on this issue.

jezlyn December 23, 2008 at 3:06 pm

I’m not a big Twitter user, but I got swayed to download Tweetie. I think it’s the best implementation of a Twitter client for the iPhone. It loads messages very fast (that’s what most people love it for), and to me the UI just seems quite intuitive and easy to use. YMMV, but I thought I’d pass along the info. And no, I’m not associated with the devs for the app, just a satisfied user.

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