Consolidate your social media life with Socialite [Mac Software]

Note: After writing this review I experienced a series of crashes that nearly made me rethink my recommendation. After following these steps, the problem seems to be resolved and, once again, I’m happy to recommend that you buy this app!

How many social media sites do you use? Do you have trouble keeping track of them? I know I end up neglecting some sites in favour of others simply because I don’t remember to log in to each one every day. Realmac Software, makers of the beautiful Rapidweaver and very useful Littlesnapper have come up with a new program to consolidate all your social media in one place… Socialite.

Socialite allows you to group a load of services together, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Google Reader, Digg, and RSS feeds (if you’re not a Google Reader user), placing them in the sidebar so that you can keep an eye on them all without having to have multiple programs or browser windows open. If you have Growl installed you can opt to have notifications tell you when new items are downloaded, or just keep an eye on the unread count.

You can either browse each service individually, or see everything in one large feed by browsing the “unread” group. This is a great way to keep up with what’s happening in each of your social circles, but can sometimes be a bit overwhelming when there are a load of alerts coming in from several different sites. I find that I use a combination of specific browsing (e.g. a certain Twitter group) and “unread” reading. If you find something you want to read later on you can save it to Instapaper, and Tweeting about what you’re reading is as simple as choosing “Tweet it!” for the item in question.

Although Socialite is very, very good there are a few things I’d like to see added. Support for LinkedIn would be useful, as would an easy way to manage Twitter lists (at the moment you have to maintain them by going to Twitter.com). The method of marking items as read feels a little clunky, but you can change it so that they’re “read” as you scroll past them.

So, is Socialite recommended? Definitely – I’ve already chosen to buy it and think it’s a great way to keep on top of my social media presences. It’s just £12.77 (+VAT) and is available to buy from its homepage. If you want to try it out first, there’s also a free demo version there!

Are you using Socialite and want to tell us what you think?
How do you keep track of your many social networking/media presences?
Tell us what you have to say in the comments!

For a larger screenshot of Socialite, click here.
I will not earn commission from your purchase of Socialite… I just think it’s really good :)

Flickr for iPhone

Flickr have released an official iPhone app, allowing you to share photos, tag uploaded photos with your current location, search your own and other’s photos and e-mail them (or, at least, a link to them).

I’ve previously been using Darkslide for interacting with my Flickr account, but I have to say the Flickr app feels, well, slickr (stick around, the puns might just get worse…) It’s pretty responsive on a 3G signal, although on GPRS or Edge it can take a little while for images to load.

One thing that I think is missing is the ability to zoom in on photos, unless I’m being completely thick. I’ve tried the standard pinching movement but that didn’t seem to work.

All in all, a nice app… and at the perfect price! Free!

Flickr is available in the app store* now.

* Technically this is an affiliate link, but because Flickr is free there’s no commission to be earned.

Do you want more on the iPhone? Find our best iPhone posts here.

Cool BlackBerry Apps

051/2009

John is a Salvation Army Corps Officer who likes computers, Radiohead and F1. He lives and works with his wife Marta in Gainsborough UK, and blogs at johnager.co.uk and johnager.org

Following my review of the BlackBerry Bold 9000, I thought it would be helpful to review some apps that are readily available – probably through BlackBerry App World.

  • BBNotePad is a simple notepad that saves files in TXT format and integrates with the Memo app, it’s really useful for making a quick note.
  • BBTran translates text to and from many languages currently with a choice of four providers, including Google and SYSTRAN.
  • For a while I’d been looking for a good tracking app, but there were no free ones, not that is until I found beGPS one – definitely worth having!
  • BerryAnnoying has a small price tag, but gives you the opportunity of silencing the camera shutter sound.
  • BuzzMe simply enables you to have ringer and vibration at the same time.
  • Evernote is fairly well-known and there is now a BlackBerry app!
  • Facebook is a useful free app if you use this increasingly popular social media site.
  • File Manager Pro is not a free app, but is very useful – especially because you can save favourite folders.
  • Flickr! has an app for the BlackBerry, but it’s not one that I use very much.
  • FreeRange is an app I use nearly every day – it’s a free RSS feed reader for up to 10 feeds, and it has the advantage that you can create an account and manage the feeds from your desktop computer.
  • That brings me alphabetically to Google! If you use Gmail then the Gmail app is essential. If not, you still need Google Maps and Google Mobile App – both free!
  • Need a free spreadsheet on your BlackBerry? Look no further than GridMagic!
  • Opera Mini is an excellent alternative to the supplied browser, and has the added advantage that you can synchronise bookmarks with the desktop version.
  • QuickPull saves you having to remove the battery to do a complete reset!
  • ScratchPad and SnapScreen are not free (if I remember correctly) and are a clipboard extender and screenshot tool respectively.
  • TwitterBerry is a great app for Twitterers.
  • Last, but not least, is YouVersion which gives you access to more online versions of the Bible than you can shake a stick at!

Explore your Flickr Photos with Biscuit Tin [iPhone]

Biscuit Tin

Flickr is a great tool for storing and displaying your photos but, after a while, the sheer number of images in your photostream starts to get a bit overwhelming. If you’ve very disciplined with tagging and organising your photos into sets then you can probably cope with more photos than I can, but I have to admit that my discipline in that area is a little lacking.

The problem is that this means I have a load of photos on there and I only look at a small proportion of them – the others have sort of faded into obscurity. With paper photos there was always a chance that you’d stumble across the obscure ones whilst sorting out a drawer, but I find that much less likely with digital snaps.

Biscuit Tin is an iPhone app that interfaces with Flickr and lets you view your photostream in an innovative way… just shake the phone and it’ll select a random image to display in your “biscuit tin”. It’s simple but does what it does well: shake, as I’ve already mentioned, rearrange your photos, or double-tap on one to zoom in on it. You can even tip the “tin” in different directions to see your photos move around. My only problem with it is that it was sometimes a bit slow to pick up when I was shaking the phone, thinking instead that I was just tipping it. Restarting my phone seemed to sort that out, so I wonder if it was just a memory issue.

This is, to be honest, one of those apps that’s so simple you almost wonder if it’s worth it! But I have to say I’ve discovered some great photos from the depths of my Flickr account that I’d forgotten about and it’s worth the (free) download just for that!

Give Biscuit Tin a shot and rediscover your old photos!

Do you want more on the iPhone? Find our best iPhone posts here.

BlackBerry Bold 9000 Review

051/2009

John is a Salvation Army Corps Officer who likes computers, Radiohead and F1. He lives and works with his wife Marta in Gainsborough UK, and blogs at johnager.co.uk and johnager.org

Just to annoy all you iPhone afficionados out there, I nearly called this post Who Needs an iPhone Anyway? So why, when I upgraded my mobile, did I resist the tempation to get an iPhone? And how have I got on with the BlackBerry about a month and a half in?

OK, first of all, let me come clean! I’m with Orange and they don’t have the iPhone! But there is another reason! My TomTom SatNav is touchscreen and I’ve not always found it responsive to my touch, and this has sometimes irritated me. Also I wanted a smartphone for emails, and felt that a touchscreen might not have been the best option – Orange, of course, have many iPhone alternatives – but I went for the BlackBerry.

The BlackBerry Bold has won several awards, and has been well-received. It’s basically the first BlackBerry to do everything! For the record there is also the BlackBerry Storm, although this is limited to Vodafone in the UK and (believe it or not) doesn’t have wi-fi, and the SurePress keyboard entry system is something of an untried hybrid.

When you hold the BlackBerry Bold for the first time what immediately strikes you is that it’s a quality product, it feels good in the hand. It comes with a case, and you have the option to lock the unit automatically when placed in the case – a nice touch! Once you get used to the trackball it’s extremely fast to navigate the menu options, and there are lots of keyboard shortcuts to help you on your way as well. The camera may be a let-down for many people but, for me, it’s ideal to take a quick snap to send to Mobypicture or TwitPic – so maybe not such a downside after all. Do I really want a better camera in my phone than in my camera?

There are a good range of apps for the BlackBerry, although developers have yet to catch up with the range available for the iPhone. Apps seem to appear for the iPhone first! Grrr! Some of the essential apps are: Gmail, Twitter, BBTran, Facebook, File Manager Pro, Flickr, Google Maps, GridMagic (a freeware spreadsheet), Opera Mini, Scratchpad, Viigo and Wikipedia. The one that I am especially waiting for is an app for Evernote, although I can access it through the browser and send stuff by email. The Bold comes with apps to open MS Office docs. The media sound (and picture quality) is excellent, both from the unit itself and via the bundled earphones. Also supplied is a 1GB memory card, which I soon changed for a 8GB one! The software for connection to a PC/Mac is good, but don’t bother with the Media Manager – just copy the files over, it’s far less hassle! Unlike the current iPhone, voice notes come as standard! Check out some screenshots here.

So, all things considered, I am very pleased with my BlackBerry. One last thing, whenever you do upgrade and whatever smartphone you get, dont forget to haggle, haggle and haggle! You know it makes sense!

Find colour-matched images with Colr Pickr

Colr PickrFind colour-matched images with Colr Pickr

Colr Pickr is a clever app that allows you to pick from a swatch of colours, and then displays a load of Flickr images that closely match your chosen colour. I’m a big of a design philistine, so something that gives me images that fit with a colour scheme is incredibly handy… otherwise I’d end up creating something that looks like Colin Baker’s coat!

The thing is, Flickr is a great place to get stock images from too – so anyone looking to create a poster, graphic, brochure, or whatever else, will at some point think, “I really need something [insert colour here] to finish that bit off”, and while you can recolour in Photoshop, sometimes it’s easier just to grab something that’s already the right tone.

So there you go – a handy colour picking app. Just make sure you have permission to use any images you find (or they’re Creative Commons) :)

Image Fun: Flickr Toys

Flickr is great, especially with the Picnik editor being available now. But what if you want to do something a little more creative with your photos and either lack the editing skill to do so, or just don’t want to pay for Picnik’s premium features? It’s been around for a long time, but Big Huge Labs’ (or FD’s) Flickr Toys provide a great, easy way to play around with your images.

Copyright MotivatorThere are a load of toys available: motivational poster generators, ID card makers, jigsaw tools, and a load more – I’m not going to list them all, have a look for yourself!

One nice touch is the ability to link directly with your Flickr photostream, both for downloading the original images and uploading your new creations (you need to give the Flickr Toys permission to access your account, but it’s all done securely). You can also upload images directly to Big Huge Labs, use photobucket, or specify an image from anywhere on the web by giving its URL.

Why not have fun with your photos? Explore Flickr Toys, and post the URLs of anything cool you create in the comments (all comments are moderated, remember).

Video comes to Flickr

Thanks to Lifehacker and Macworld for this one. Flickr, the popular photo sharing site, has been upgraded to allow Pro account holders to upload 90 second video clips.

Why 90 seconds? The FAQ explains:

Video on Flickr grew out of the idea of “long photos” and as such, we’ve implemented what might seem like an arbitrary limit of playing back the first 90 seconds of a video. 90 seconds?

We’re not trying to limit your artistic freedom, we’re trying something new. Everyone has endured that wedding video, where even the bride will fast-forward to the “good bit.” In fact, even Tara at FlickrHQ hasn’t made it past the first 90 seconds of her own wedding video.

Just try it! It’s fun once you get the hang of it.

I reckon this will bring a whole different dynamic, quite different from YouTube – videos will either be these “long photos” the FAQ mentions, or very short and snappy pieces of work. Could be good to see how people make best use of the short time available.