Friday, September 10, 2010

Yoru Fukurou Review

System requirement: 10.5.8 or later


Web site:

In the 18 months or so that I have been on Twitter, I have tried various Mac clients, settling on Tweetie for Mac in spite of its limitations. Tweetie was bought by Twitter and is now the official iPhone client (with a few problems of its own) but I have finally found the Mac client that does everything I need.

My biggest frustration with all previous Twitter clients was the inability to save more than a couple hundred messages. This meant that overnight, 3/4 of all posts were lost while I slept. YoruFukurou (Japanese for Night Owl, hereafter abbreviated as YF) does not throw away old messages. The longer you keep it open, the more it stores. When you quit and relaunch, you can have it reload up to the last 800 tweets in your timeline.

The only obvious limitation of the program is it supports just one account. This is not for people who juggle multiples. Still, since multiple Twitter clients can run at the same time without stepping on each other, one could set YF to serve your primary and Tweetbird Pro (for example) for the others.

What's so great about YF? The developer seems to have thought of everything. At the bottom right corner of the window is a number: APIs Left. Twitter allows you to access their database around 300 times an hour, and varies that during periods of high traffic. That number keeps you on top of your accesses remaining. At the bottom left is a green dot, which turns red when Twitter is overloaded, and a line of text that tells you what is wrong.

Select a message and open the Drawer (right button in toolbar) and it shows a clickable icon of the tweeter that expands to a full-size picture, their statistics (tweets to date, number following and followers), their web address and bio from their profile, and the text of the tweet, repeated. It also tells you when it was posted and using what client. A little triangle next to the name (both real and Twitter handle) drops a menu that lets you send DM, Report for Spam, Reply, and follow or unfollow. It also tells you if they are following you, and you can Block them from here.

Looking at the rest of the toolbar across the top, from left:

Home - opens your Twitter home page in your default web browser.

Refresh - Check for and load new messages.

Mark as Read - click this and all unread messages are marked as read.

View - three buttons: show entire timeline, show all messages by the selected poster, and show conversation (if the message is a reply to someone else).

Search - opens a search bar that will scan your timeline for any instances of your chosen word or phrase.

Below the toolbar is your message field. Click in here and type your tweet. It counts your characters. Click the gear icon and more functions appear: Shorten links, Stick Hashtags, Paste iTunes Track Name, Paste Safari Page Detail, Upload Image and Upload Screenshot. I have used only a couple of these features. You can upload any image on your hard drive. When you finish your tweet hit Return to send it. If you want to embed returns in the message, use option-return.

Below that is the row of tabs: Timeline, which tracks the number of unread tweets, Mentions, DM (Direct Messages), Favorites, which tracks what you have starred, and Search, which searches all of Twitter for strings, hashtags, or usernames. With all of this you will never need to go to the Twitter web page. Search also keeps a record of past searches.

In each tweet field is a picture, the tweeter's icon. If someone changes their icon in the middle of your stream, you see the old one in older messages and the new one in any new messages from them. Unlike Tweetie, I have never seen it fail to display an icon, regardless of how big the attached picture is. All of the other clients, including the web site, replace the old pic with the new. I like this feature.

Click on a link in a tweet, either in the main list or in the Drawer and it opens your browser to the page. If it is just an image from several of the image sites, it appears in a windoid right within YF. If it's a big image, it will fill up your screen.

Also in the tweet section of your timeline, a blue dot appears in the icon of an unread message, which disappears when you highlight it.

What doesn't it do? With all these bells and whistles, the one thing left out is Print. You simply can't print anything from it. Your only option is screen capture. I don't miss it; rarely have I ever wanted to print a time stream.


I could write another article just based on the options in Preferences. YF has a sound mode that tweeps, chirps and tinkles at different events. This is a feature I turned off immediately. Color coding? each tweet colorizes itself based on the selected tweet - other posts become yellow, conversations turn pink; the text of your own postings is blue, neighbors backgrounds are yellow. @replies to you are in red text. It can become confusing but is easily ignored, yet gives you a visual clue that you might want to click on the Conversations icon.

You can leave the preferences in Default and as you learn the program, experiment. Growl is supported.

That's enough. You can spend weeks exploring this as you build up your twitter database.This is an OCD victim's dream.

Addendum: Since first posting this, there have been updates. The new version (2.3.1) uses User Stream Updates which gets all tweets in real time, without using any of the standard APIs. This will be a boon to anyone who uses this for their primary account and another program to manage their other accounts.

Pic 1: The YoruFukurou icon when not running.

Pic 2: The YoruFukurou icon in the Dock when running. The number displays waiting DMs and mentions.

Pic 3: The main window. You can expand it as deep as your screen allows.

Pic 4: Preferences window, tabs options