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  1.    #1  
    A new version of Spaz came out last night. It fixes a number of the annoying performances issues the last version had. Here are the release notes:

    An update for Spaz for webOS, v0.4.2, is now available. Here's what's new:

    NEW: Update Location... option in app menu to enter a new location in
    Twitter profile. Allows you to get current geocode via GPS
    NEW: Lock icon appears on messages from Protected Users
    CHANGE: "New Search Card" option removed until we can sort out mem leak issues
    FIX: bug where uncaught exception thrown if cache did not exist for user
    FIX: cache loading performance
    FIX: typing speed
    FIX: numerous listeners that weren't properly unbound

    I'm really, really bummed that we had to pull the New Search Card
    option, but there were some serious memory leak issues that we need to
    sort out before it gets back in.

    As I still don't have a device, I'm very anxious to hear your feedback
    on performance issues. Lemme know how it goes.

    --
    Ed Finkler
    funkatron.com : rock solid, heart touching
    Twitter:@funkatron
    AIM: funka7ron
    ICQ: 3922133
    XMPP:funkat...@gmail.com
    For someone who doesn't even own a Pre I'd say the developer is doing a pretty awesome job. Spaz was damn near unusable in its last version due to some serious performance issues.

    For me the most annoying one was typing. I would literally bang out an entire 140 character tweet and then stare at my device for 20 seconds or so AFTER I typed before ANYTHING would show up. It was dreadfully slow. Now, its not perfect but input speed is at least as fast as Tweed, which is to say its definitely passable and will generally keep up with your typing key-for-key. The only remaining text input issue is that the "char left" display beneath the input window doesn't update very quickly. You have to pause for a couple seconds to see how many characters you have left. Pretty minor really.

    Spaz is a fairly complete twitter client. You can tweet, view the tweets for people you are following, view your replies/mentions/direct-messages, view your favorite tweets, and even search for tweets. The search feature isn't as robust as it was in the previous version. Spaz had a feature where you could watch several search terms at once by opening up searches in new cards, giving you the ability to stay updated on several trending topics if you desired. This feature was removed in the latest version due to some performance issues and memory leaks. The developer plans to restore it once the performance issues can be worked out.

    Spaz also handles timeline updates the best out of any twitter client I have used. You can configure Spaz to automatically update the timeline you are looking at however often you would like. When new "tweets" arrive Spaz puts them at the top of the list, but leaves the screen scrolled to the last tweet you actually read (since you last interfaced with the program) so when you go back to Spaz you can pick up right where you left off and scroll up to read the latest tweets in the chronological order they were received. Brilliant! Also, Spaz caches your tweets so the last ones you saw when you last used Spaz show up immediately upon logging in while it queries the server for new ones which I think is fantastic.

    However, there are still a number of remaining issues with Spaz that will likely prevent it from being my twitter client of choice until they are fixed.

    I am following a couple hundred people. I don't stare at twitter all day long so there are lots of tweets I miss. I am totally fine with that. Trying to keep up with twitter is information overload, and its mostly useless information which is even worse. There are, however, a handful of people I follow that I don't want to miss a tweet from. When I start the day I like to go look at the tweets for each of these users to see if I missed anything interesting since the last time I looked. What I REALLY want from a twitter client is a way to create a group WITHIN the people I'm following of just those tweeples (is that the latest thing to call them?) I am really interested in. Spaz doesn't do this at all and makes it particularly difficult to look at tweets for a specific user. You have to find a tweet from them, click on their icon, then click another button to view tweets from them. If you are following a lot of people or if its been a while since they tweeted it can be VERY difficult to find a tweet from them, which makes it extremely hard to keep up with their tweets. The best way around this I have found is to search for their username and click on them in the search results. This first time I tried this method it resulted in an error when I clicked on the user, but every time since it has worked so I'm guessing the error was likely with twitter's servers (unfortunately very very common). Tweed (the "other" Palm Pre twitter client) also doesn't do groups but it does have a much better solution to this problem than Spaz: bookmarks. You can bookmark a particular user or a particular search, and then just go to your bookmarks to pull that user back up. I have to browse through each user individually, but I never have to type in their name (which sometimes I forget the exact spelling of) and never have to find a tweet from them to view their timeline. This also saves you the step of retyping a search term if you use the twitter search function a lot (I don't).

    Another annoyance with Spaz occurs when switching between display modes. An example of this would be switching from viewing "All Messages" to viewing "Repies and Direct Messages". If I am currently scrolled down in "All Messages" I will be scrolled down exactly that far when I arrive at "Replies..." This really doesn't make sense as there are far more items in "All" than in "Replies" so if I am scrolled back 30 minutes in time in "All" I may be looking at tweets several days old when I switch to "Replies" and have to scroll up to see the recent replies. This should be changed to work one of two ways: either remember my scroll position for each view, or reset the scroll position to the top when switching between views.

    Lastly, I have found myself accidentally logging out of Spaz quite frequently. I will often click through to a user's profile, click again for their recent tweets, and then use the "back" swipe a number of times to get back to the main screen. It can be difficult to tell when I'm back at the main screen and if you use the "back" swipe on the main screen you get logged out. I don't think this should happen. A back swipe on the main screen should do nothing or should minimize (zoom out to card view) Spaz. To log out you should have to use the Spaz menu in the upper left (where you go to set preferences).

    In conclusion, Spaz is a pretty good twitter client with a lot of potential. The way it elegantly handles timeline updates is the best solution I have seen on any twitter client (including desktop apps!). There are some significant annoyances and still some bugs, but for an early beta client its pretty good. Tweed does a better job at letting me keep track of the people i care about most, but Spaz keeps me up to date better. For now I will be using both and not really sure which one I will use the most. If spaz can add a group or bookmark feature I'm pretty sure I won't use Tweed anymore.

    Right now Spaz is the ONLY open source twitter client for the Palm Pre, which is definitely worth noting. I always root for open source and fully expect we'll see great improvements over time.

    I'd offer to help the author implement some of these changes, but Palm hasn't given me access to the SDK yet. I'll download the source when I get the chance... maybe Mojo SDK access isn't a prerequisite to help.
  2. #2  
    Nice review...my thoughts exactly (amazing, it's like you read my mind).

    If you want to see a GREAT implementation of groups on a mobile Twitter client, check out PockeTwit (only for Windows Mobile) pocketwit - Google Code It's what I was using before I got my Pre and it's the ONLY thing I miss about WinMo. PockeTwit is also open source, if it could just be ported to WebOS my Twitter life would be complete (ha ha).

    I am liking Spaz for some things and Tweed for others, its such a toss up right now but I'm rooting for Spaz and I'll help any way I can except developing...I haven't written code for over 15 years and I don't think my Pascal skillz would help much ;-)

    From what I've heard the Mojo SDK is not required for Spaz so hack away ;-)
  3. #3  
    Thanks for the detailed review. I responded on the Spaz Mobile Google group, but I wanted to make a note of it here too 8).

    Spaz for webOS 0.4.2 update out - Spaz Mobile | Google Groups
  4. #4  
    very good review -- definitely will post it up on the front page
  5. #5  
    I have to agree with the above post that PockeTwit is so much better than either Pre client.

    That being said, Tweed and Spaz are both good in their own ways,and I find I keep changing my mind as to which I prefer.
  6. #6  
    Quote Originally Posted by Dieter Bohn View Post
    very good review -- definitely will post it up on the front page
    I need to move faster -- Spaz has improved since the review as the OP notes, so maybe will catch too much complaining if I post as it. :-/ Still, good review and coupon's on the way, examancer.
  7. #7  
    Dieter, would it help if you were on a list to get updates about new releases, with release notes? You can mail me at spaz@funkatron.com if you want.
  8. #8  
    Quote Originally Posted by jhoff80 View Post
    I have to agree with the above post that PockeTwit is so much better than either Pre client.

    That being said, Tweed and Spaz are both good in their own ways,and I find I keep changing my mind as to which I prefer.
    Jhoff80, I want to encourage you -- and anyone else who might be interested -- to get involved in the Spaz project. Unlike other apps, our open and transparent model really gives users the chance to step up and shape where the project goes. We are all volunteers and rely on motivated folks to help us make cool software. We need testers, designers, coders and support volunteers to pitch in.

    Since you're on the Pre, the Spaz-mobile group would probably be a good place to start talking about stuff like this: http://groups.google.com/group/spaz-mobile

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