Friday, April 29, 2011

TweetDeck 2 for iPhone - I want to love it, if only it were usable

TweetDeck 2 for the iPhone launched this week. TweetDeck is one of my must have applications. One of the first things to be added to a new machine and an application I spend a lot of time in on my iPhone. So, when it was announced that TweetDeck 2 was available for the iPhone I downloaded straightaway.

I really want to love the app but at the moment there appear to be too many bugs under the covers.

The edit screen has been improved. The @lookup is a great feature that works well when you have lots of followers. But where did the # list go. When you follow a number of events it would be useful to be able to recall a hashtag in the edit screen. Am I missing something?

The drill down feature is very neat and makes it easy to find and add new people and streams.

The biggest problem I have had is that TweetDeck is close to unusable. I have a couple of Twitter accounts, Facebook and Foursquare linked to my TweetDeck account. When I go to load TweetDeck 2 I am getting a "Grey Screen of Death" for 2-4 minutes. This makes TweetDeck 2 completely unusable. 

Hopefully I have found a workaround to this issue. The cause appears to be related to TweetDeck loading it's streams when it launches. The default screen is the Home Screen. If you have a large number of accounts then this screen takes a long time to load. 

The Fix to "Grey Screen of Death"

The Grey Screen of Death appears to be an extended timeout as streams are loaded. I managed to overcome this problem by moving my Home screen so that it was not the first screen to load. I moved the "Me" screen to the front of the columns. Now at least TweetDeck 2 appears to load faster. 

I think TweetDeck 2 needs to be modified so that the Title bar with the column heading the "+" add and New Tweet button are available immediately. If the App gets in the way of being able to Tweet quickly it will #FAIL.

While talking about bugs there is an interesting one in the Account Screen. When I first loaded TweetDeck 2 there was a blank Twitter Account as the default account. I couldn't determine what it was. It didn't appear to be an account of mine. It looked more like an open Twitter stream. 

I removed this account and then wanted to reorganize the list of accounts to get my @ekivemark account at the top. Pressing the Edit button and then dragging the accounts is easy. But there is a bug lurking in there. Once you reorganize your list of accounts try drilling down in to the details of each account. You are in for a surprise! The drill down shows the details of the account that was previously in that position in the list. Let me explain. If my Twitter Account was in Position 3 and my Foursquare account was in position 2. When I swap the sequence, after the change when I select my Twitter Account in Position 2 the next screen lists the Foursquare Checkins.

All in All...

TweetDeck 2 is certainly an interesting rewrite of TweetDeck. There are bugs to iron out and if you reorganize your columns to move the Home Screen you may find that the App is usable while the TweetDeck team work out the frustrating time lag issues that appear in different places.

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