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Birch Bay Public Market

Friday, May 10 through the end of summer, Cathy and I will be selling her hand-made soaps, lotions, and toiletries, along with my photography, note cards, calenders, books, etc.

Come see us!

Across the street from the C Shop

4825 Alderson Road, Birch Bay, Washington 98230

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I had an automated blogroll here, powered by Google Reader, but Google, in its near-infinite lack of wisdom, killed Google Reader. Prior to this murder, all I had to do to put a blog on my blogroll (or to take it off) was to place it in a Reader folder called, appropriately enough, "blogroll" (or, of course, to remove it). I use The Old Reader now for following blogs, but it seems to have no way to something similar regarding the blogroll. If you know of a way to do this, please let me know.

UberTwitter for BlackBerry – Everything TwitterBerry Wishes it Was!

Having read a review of UberTwitter for BlackBerry,

I decided to give it a try. There were several things about TwitterBerry that I didn’t like, and I was pleased to see that UberTwitter dealt with all of them.

1) In TwitterBerry, when you read a tweet, that’s all you get. @names and links are clickable, but there’s no easy way to see anything about the author. In UberTwitter, click on a tweet, and you see the tweet, the tweeter’s avatar, and the entire bio, as posted on Twitter. If there is a website listed in the bio, it’s a clickable link, and the BB button menu gives you an option to view the tweeter’s timeline.

2) In TwitterBerry, if you want to retweet something, you have to want it really badly, because you have to retype the whole thing (or use your BlackBerry’s select/copy/paste functions, which are almost as bad, if you have the fingers of a caveman. Yes, that’s me. Don’t ask. In UberTwitter, retweet is one of the options in the menu on the “BB” button.

3) In TwitterBerry, if someone posts a picture at TwitPic, you have no idea what it is. Say someone is more compelling as a writer than as a photographer, and the tweet makes it sound all exciting and mysterious and secret, so off you go! Voila! It’s a . . . it’s a dark, tiny picture of the inside of some dingy bar somewhere, and you just spent thirty seconds of your life sitting there waiting with bated breath to see it. In UberTwitter, pictures posted at TwitPic are shown in the tweet, over on the right side, across from the tweeter’s avatar.

4) I don’t know about you, but I have a life outside of the web. Sometimes my life in meatspace requires me to be offline for a while. Sometimes I even (gasp!) sleep. When I wake up and turn my phone back on, I have sixty-eleven tweets, and I like to at least scan them all, to see if a) anyone said anything interesting, and b) anyone said anything to me. Well, in TwitterBerry, if you’re scanning back through old tweets and a new one comes in, you get zapped to the top of the list, and you have to scroll down through the ages again, in order to get back to where you were. Not so with UberTwitter. You stay right where you are, and you see the new ones when you get to the top of the list again. In all fairness, I have to point out that this feature is one of the things that people mention as a reason not to use UberTwitter, which I find a bit incomprehensible. Why would you want to have to scroll back down through the list again and again and again, until you’re caught up? But if everyone wanted the same thing, all men would want my wife, so there you go.

By the way, while I’m scanning for interesting tidbits I may have missed, it’s also quite handy that @replies to me are highlighted in a nice wheat color.

There are other things to like about it, such as its built-in search feature, the ability to see trending topics, and the ability to see tweets from people based on location, but the four I’ve listed are the primary reasons I’ll never go back to TwitterBerry.

Of course, it’s not perfect. First, the installation gives you a chance to turn on or off certain features, including five options that relate to having UberTwitter post your location. Unfortunately, only four of them are actually visible without scrolling, and the scroll indicators are BlackBerry’s default (read “teeny weeny”) arrows, so of course I missed one. Thinking I had turned them all off, I couldn’t figure out why UberTwitter was posting my location anyway. I would suggest that the makers put their own scroll indicators on the screen at that point (and similar points). This same issue cropped up again in the “Search Twitter” function, where “Search” is not (as I would have done it) an entry in the BB button menu, but an onscreen button of its own, which is below the edge of the screen. Once you know it’s there, it’s no problem, but it was a little disconcerting to enter my search term, and then not be able to figure out how to actually initiate the search. Again, this is partly BlackBerry’s problem. They suffer from TWAD (Teeny Weeny Arrow Disorder). At one point, the search function hung up on me. I couldn’t backspace in the text box, and when I tried to clear the field, UberTwitter locked up and had to be rebooted. I’ve used the search function since then, though, with no problems.

Perhaps the most annoying thing about UberTwitter is that if you leave it onscreen, set the phone down, and let the backlight time out, incoming tweets do not sound an alert. They just appear at the top of the list. You have to actually back out to the home screen in order to get notifications of incoming tweets. I don’t mind not getting the notifications so much when I’m actually reading the screen, but I’d like to see a connection made to whether the backlight is on or not, and notifications given if it’s not.

All in all, I’m extremely happy with UberTwitter, and I’m pretty sure this isn’t the last you’ll hear from me on the subject!

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