Twitter 107: Twitter Clients for iPhone

I had originally planned to do this post in the Twitter curriculum to examine the various options for iPhone Twitter clients. Then I got the idea of the Chancellor’s Choice awards, and presented the coveted prize to Tweetie.

So check out that post for an overview of clients and features, but if you want a free client for Twitter, just to get started, I had a good experience with the free version of Twitterific.

So this post is mostly housekeeping, to fill out the proposed Twitter curriculum.

Chancellor’s Choice Award: Flip Video Camera

This award will be no surprise to long-term SMUGgles (especially those who have completed Blogging 130), but the Chancellor’s Choice award for low-cost video cameras goes to: The Flip.

Among its Advantages:

Strong video quality, particularly in relatively low-light conditions. 

Speed. Using a camera with miniDV or other tape, you have to play the tape to feed into your computer for digitizing, which takes just as long as the original shoot did. The Flip, by contrast, creates a digital file directly and saves to its memory card, and with the built-in USB connector that flips out (hence the name), you can transfer the video file to your computer for editing and/or upload to YouTube, Facebook or another video sharing service within seconds after shooting. 

Simplicity. It’s literally a point and shoot device, with a single red button to start and stop recording. So easy, even a caveman… (er…uh…sorry guys)

Savings. Ranging from about $70 for 30 minute standard definition to $230 or so for an hour of HD, these cameras are quite affordable. (More details on that below.) I’ve purchased miniDV cameras previously for $400 or so, and for many uses the Flip quality is just as good.

Situational (OK…that’s stretching the alliteration too far.) There’s an old saying in video that you can’t edit what you don’t shoot. Because the Flip fits easily in your pocket, purse or laptop bag, you can have it with you in virtually any situation. This enables you to catch those moments you’d miss if you had to remember to bring your video camera bag. I carry my Flip almost everywhere I go.
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Chancellor’s Choice Award: A Picturesque MacHeist

As I mentioned earlier today, I was alerted to a great deal on a Macintosh software bundle last night via Twitter. With 14 fully functional software programs for $39, it’s hard to see how it could be a bad bargain.

But I still wanted to try a couple of the programs before the clock runs out tonight on the limited-time offer. The Times (retail $30)program, which uses a newspaper metaphor for pulling in RSS feeds, is a nice package. I played with The Hit List (retail $49.95) for a few minutes on the bus, and it’s a promising GTD application that will have a related iPhone version.

And here’s what I was able to do with Picturesque (retail $34.95) to enhance the look of our global map of SMUGgles. Here’s what I did in just about 5 minutes this evening:


Before (click to enlarge)
Before (click to enlarge)


After (click to enlarge)
After (click to enlarge)

I think these three programs alone are worth the $39 price of the MacHeist 3 bundle. But it’s only available until about 10 p.m. CDT today (or 3 more hours.) By the way, 25 percent of the proceeds go to charity, either evenly split among 10 of them or focused on a charity of your choice.


If you’re a Mac user, you should go get this bundle now.

If you’re not a Mac user, please pass this offer along to your friends who are.

Chancellor’s Choice: MacHeist 3

I learned about this last night through Twitter, an opportunity to get 14 high-quality applications for Mac for $39. As I write this, there are about 16 hours left in the offer (and 25 percent of the proceeds go to charity), so check out MacHeist here. Here’s a screen shot of the offer (click to expand):


The retail prices on these packages add up to more than $900, and for the $39 you get the registration codes for the full versions.

It will take me a few weeks to have worked enough with any of these software packages to know for sure how useful they are, but if onl a couple work for me the package will be worthwhile. And since it’s a limited-time offer, I thought I should pass it along to the Mac-using SMUGgles.

Chancellor’s Choice Award: iPhone 3G

This won’t be a surprise to anyone, but the first Chancellor’s Choice award, in the category of Smart Phones, goes to the Apple iPhone 3G.


I formerly used a Blackberry (and liked it), but was blown away by the iPhone. And since at least one of the future Chancellor’s Choice winners is an iPhone application, I can’t hardly give that without also honoring the platform that made it possible.

Here are the Top 10 Things I Love about My iPhone (and since Chancellor’s Choice awards go only to products that cost money, some of the free applications for iPhone are mentioned here):

  1. Easy sync with Outlook email and calendar. It’s just flawless. When a new meeting is added to my work calendar, it shows up on my iPhone calendar. And when I add an appointment on my iPhone, it syncs back to Outlook.
  2. Mail folder structure matches my Outlook folders. I can read and delete emails in batches when I’m on the go, and when I get back to my laptop, the ones I deleted from my iPhone aren’t in Outlook either.
  3. Built-in iPod is elegant. If I get a call while listening to music, the sound fades automatically while I answer and talk on the phone, then resumes (again with gradual volume increase) exactly where I was.
  4. Maps program and location services provide a usable GPS system. Garmin on a budget, without turn-by-turn audible directions. But I’ve used it to find my way in unfamiliar surroundings.
  5. The Facebook application. Great way to upload photos to Facebook from the built-in camera.
  6. Did I mention the camera? It’s not super-high resolution, but it’s decent. And it syncs nicely with iPhoto and connects with Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or other applications.
  7. Did I mention the WordPress application? That’s really slick, too. Great to be able to do photo blog posts on the go. 
  8. The Calculator app is excellent. When you hold the iPhone vertically it’s a standard four-function calculator. When you rotate to landscape mode, it becomes a scientific calculator with trigonometry functions. No need to remember SOHCAHTOA.
  9. You can do SMS texting while on a phone call when using the earbuds that come with your iPhone. Try that with a regular phone.
  10. Even though I often don’t use the 3G connection to save battery life, when I do turn it on the speed boost for applications that access the Web is impressive.

Unlike every other Chancellor’s Choice winner, the iPhone isn’t cheap. But I still believe it’s an excellent value, particularly since it provides a platform for lots of other innovations. The minimum price is $199 to $299, plus a two-year service contract with AT&T. I recommend the 16 GB version, because it only adds about $4 a month to the overall cost, but I’ve never wished I had less memory. But if the 8GB is all you can afford, go for it. 

What other free iPhone applications do you like? Or what other paid applications would you nominate for the Chancellor’s Choice recognition?