Open Thinkering


Tag: services

5 genuinely useful Twitter tools.

There’s eleventy-billion Twitter apps, tools and services all vying for your attention. Some of them are pretty, some tell you some type of score (as if Twitter was some kind of competition) and some, well, some just seem to be side-projects for bored programmers… :-p

But the following five Twitter tools are those that I find genuinely useful. They add value to my little social networking world. 🙂

1. Mr Tweet


There’s plenty of services that will help you find people to follow, but I find Mr Tweet usually gets things spot on. It’s also really easy to follow people directly from the website.



You can configure in many ways, but I’ve got it set up so that anything I ‘favorite’ on Twitter automatically gets added to my Delicious links. This makes composing my Things I Learned This Week posts a whole lot easier! 🙂



You don’t always need industrial-strength encryption to share something. There are definitely times when a shortened link coupled with a password (you can provide a clue!) does the job.

4. Screenr


If a picture paints a thousand words, a short video must paint a million! Screenr allows you to create quick screencasts and share them via Twitter. Great for everything from remote support to e-learning opportunities.

5. TwapperKeeper


If you create a hashtag (for example #movemeon that I helped make into a book) then it’s good to have an archive of tweets for future reference. TwapperKeeper does just that.

Which Twitter tools do YOU find useful? Share them below! 😀

Alternatives to Google

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a bit uneasy about Google’s de facto monopoly on, well, pretty much everything I do online. Yes, they provide everything for free, yes they’re offerings are class-leading, and yes they support Open Source. But that doesn’t make me feel any less worried about the control they have over my life online. 😮

Recently I read How To: Escape From Google’s Clutches, Once and For All which is a great (if slightly paranoid) look at how you can shift your online life to other services.

Here’s what I’m considering:


Advantages: Ultra-secure, out of Google’s clutches
Disadvantages: Paid-for ($49.98/year for 10GB), less features



Advantages: Searches Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Ask from one box
Disadvantages: Still not completely rid of Google, no ‘product search’, integration with maps, etc.


Online office

Advantages: More features (e.g. Zoho Planner)
Disadvantages: Familiarity, integration with email


Web Browser

Advantages: Fast, visual tabs, Bittorrent and file-sharing built-in
Disadvantages: Fewer extensions/add-ons, less widely-supported


What do YOU think? Am I being paranoid? What would you consider switching to? What do you currently use?

(Image taken from Presumed fair use)