Take the AIR out of Twitter Apps

I have been having some issues with Firefox ever since I downloaded Adobe AIR.  I have found my MacBook struggling to close Firefox and the only thing I can contribute this to is Adobe AIR.  I have also been trying to find a Twitter Desktop App I can use at home.  So, I threw the question out on Twitter last week and asked if anyone knew of a Non-Adobe AIR Desktop Twitter App.  I got some good feedback from @iboughtamac and @kmore.  Between the two of them, I got three suggestions for apps to try.  I have already tried twhirl and AlertThingy and have been using twhirl (see TechCrunch review) somewhat regularly, but this Firefox malfunction is annoying and I want to get Adobe AIR off my machine to confirm that is the issue.  But will I be able to?  The answer surprised me.

Today I will look at three of these Non-AIR apps from a basic user standpoint: NatsuLion, Twitterrific,and Syrinx.  I am by no means a Twitter super user, but I know what I like.picture-22

First, NatsuLion.  “NatsuLion is published under the Modified BSD license and shipped with Sparkle, Growl, CTBadge and OpenSSL.”  Their latest download is here.  NatsuLion is free and requires Leopard (10.5)

I like the UI.  It’s got that Mac feel.  The Growl updates cluttering my screen every few minutes I could do without.  And, I have yet to find a way to look at just direct messages.  However, it does have a cool ‘Conversation’ feature which allows you to click on a tweet and then view the conversation that it came from.  It really helps if you are trying to figure out what in the world people are discussing as the meat of a conversation can get lost in the @replies over time.

The ‘Find’ function will limit your Twitter window to just the person’s tweets (time line) you want to see.  This could also be useful if jumping in on a conversation or if you recall a link in a tweet that you wanted to go back and find.

And, the latest version has an iTunes “now playing” feature.

Links open in your browser of choice.  Clicking on the twitticon (Twitter Icon) generates an @reply and clicking on the twitterers name, below the tweet, will take you to their profile; again, in your browser of choice.

There is also an iPhone version, but I have yet to have a chance to take a look at it.

If you are light Twitter user, and Mac user, a fan of Growl updates, and need a non-AIR Twitter app, then this one will do you just fine.

Second, Twitterrific.  From the Iconfactory comes Twitterrific.  They describe their app as: picture-31

Twitterrific is a fun application that lets you both read and publish posts or “tweets” to the Twitter community website. The application’s user interface is clean, concise and designed to take up a minimum of real estate on your Mac’s desktop.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the UI.  There is no toolbar at the top and much of the functionality of the app is driven by keyboard shortcuts.  I’m just not that cool yet.

The app also updates via Growl so every few minutes your monitor gets filled with updates.  Even while writing this I find this very distracting.  I’m thinking I want to focus on Twitter when I am on Twitter, and focus on whatever else I am doing when I’m not on Twitter.  I don’t mind scrolling down to read old tweets.  That’s just me.  If you like options and customization, then there are plenty of fun things for you.  There are countless ways to re-work your settings.

When you click on a users tweet three icons appear on the right hand side.  From here you can ‘show actions’ meaning you can bring up a menu of actions such as send reply, send DM, refresh tweets, etc.  There is also a specific icon for replying to a tweet.  And, an option to go directly to the listed webpage on a user’s profile (that’s pretty cool).

For more details, check out the review on Appletell: Appletell reviews Twitterrific desktop client.

I think I will like this app a lot more once I’ve really gotten to use it.  Over time, I think this one will grow on you.  Definitely check it out.  If I can figure out how to turn off the Growl updates, this could become my desktop app of choice.  Also, if they could add a url shortening feature, that would be cool.

Third, Syrinx.  From MRR Software comes Syrinx.  As it turns out, Syrinx is more than just “a fluid-filled cavity within the spinal cord (syringomyelia) or brain stem (syringobulbia).”  Who knew?

MRR Software has a fantastic overview of their app that focuses on two main objectives, efficient work flow and customization:



  1. •The Bookmark:  Finally, a better way to keep track of your unread tweets.  Just like a book, the bookmark indicates that you’ve read everything before it, and everything after is still unread. When new tweets arrive, they’ll be colored according the customizable bookmark color, a sound will play and the number of bookmarked tweets is badged on the dock icon.

  2. •Search: Syrinx brings the ability to search the tweets in your timeline, especially useful when looking for a specific tweet, or seeing if your name came up in conversation.

  3. •Pause: Sometimes we all need to work interruption free.  Put Twitter on pause and updates will still be downloaded in the background, but Syrinx won’t display them or alert you until you Resume.

  4. •Growl Integration: Use Growl notifications to stay caught up on your tweets without switching applications.  Click a Growl notification to book that tweet, or use it to switch to Syrinx.

  5. •Keyboard Controls: If your fingers never leave the keyboard, that’s fine with Syrinx.  Use spacebar to advance the bookmark one tweet at a time, and hit return to reply to the currently selected tweet.  All the popular actions are bound to the keyboard.

  6. •Friends: The friends window gives you a chance to browse all the folks you are following.  Reply or direct message any of them, see their user information or visit their website.  The friends window also allows you to remove old friends and add new ones, all from within Syrinx.

  7. •Conversations: View conversations right in Syrinx.  Unrelated tweets are filtered out and only those in the desired thread are displayed.  Following a conversation has never been this easy.


  1. •Color: Your tweets don’t have to live in black and white.  Change your timeline colors, your own status colors and the bookmark color.  There are even several built in themes to choose from.

  2. •Sound: Choose a system sound to notify you when new tweets have arrived.

  3. •Application: Customize how often to check for updates, auto-scrolling behavior, bookmarking and more.

I can’t seem to get away from this Growl thing.  But I really like the look and feel of this app.  There is a nice list of options that pop up in the form of an icon bar when you click on a tweet.  From this icon bar you can bookmark, show conversation, direct message, view profile, favorite, and reply.

Of the three apps discussed here, I am most excited about using Syrinx more.  But, as it turns out, I have been most partial to TweetDeck lately and I am almost willing to put up with the Firefox issues and keep Adobe AIR so that I can continue to have TweetDeck on my desktop.  Go figure.

Tell me then, what’s your favorite Twitter Desktop Application?  Why?


Author: Rob Vanasco

I am a Christ follower, but sometimes not a very good one. I am a husband, and working on getting better. I am a father, sometimes reluctantly. I am an aspiring writer, but have been lazy about pursuing my dream. So, this is me, doing something about it, searching for my real passion; my real dream. I am now in full pursuit of my dream to make a living with words.

4 thoughts on “Take the AIR out of Twitter Apps”

  1. Thanks for the shout out my man. I’ve never heard of Syrinx, might just give it a look. What we really need is a native mac app that has all the functionality of tweetdeck. It’s issues drive me away, but the range of options brings me back.

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