Nambu makes Twitter feel natural for Mac users

For a while now I've been using TweetDeck to access my Twitter account. While I love many of the features that TweetDeck has made popular I always struggle with the UI. Though it's quite usable the fact that it's built on top of Adobe Air means it doesn't look quite right on my Mac's OS X desktop.

I've tried a number of different Twitter clients for Mac but none worked quite as well as TweetDeck did for me. Then along came Nambu, which is still in beta. Nambu looks and feels like a normal OS X application. The design is similar to TweetDeck in some respects but has some key enhancements that make it much more powerful.

Multiple Twitter Accounts
I have two Twitter accounts that I use: dalison and sharedstatus. The former is my personal account where I ramble on about my blog, Macs, sports and things I find amusing on the Interwebs. The latter is an account for my main product and I use it to announce features and generally cover business related topics. Fortunately Nambu supports multiple Twitter accounts and allows me to keep on top of my feeds for both quite easily in a single interface.

Multiple Views
Nambu has three basic views: Combined, Sidebar and Multi Column. The Combined view is a complete feed from all of the people you follow in every account you have added to Nambu. I don't use it because the noise factor is quite high. The Sidebar view is a little more functional and for people that are screen real estate constrained (working from a 13" MacBook for example) may be a good solution.

For those that are lucky enough to have lots of screen available the Multi Column view is the place to be. For the same reason I like TweetDeck, the Multi Column view allows you to set up multiple panes to watch key feeds, including search results on a specific topic.

Another advantage of the Multi Column view is the ability to create groups of people you are currently following. If you tend to follow a lot of people but want to create a view that includes only selected people so they don't get lost in the noise then you can create a group and display a panel with their feeds.

Unread Markers
While TweetDeck can handle unread markers it doesn't update the Dock icon, something that a native Mac application like Nambu can and does. There is even the option of limiting the unread counts to all of your views (which can be quite high) or to just messages that are sent to you directly.

Support for more than just Twitter
As of right now Nambu supports Twitter, FriendFeed, and Much like Adium supports multiple chat services (AIM, Google Chat, etc.), Nambu is a striving to be a collection point for social media services. I personally don't use the other services so I have no idea if they are well serviced in Nambu.

Beta Software - Bugs On Deck
While I've generally found Nambu to be stable it is beta software and as a result has some bugs. Updates are coming out quite frequently and many people are reporting that the most recent update (1.1.8) is crashing quite frequently, though I've been running it most of the morning and it has not crashed on me. If you decide to try out Nambu you should also follow Nambucom on Twitter; they are providing pretty regular updates and that seems to be the best vehicle for getting questions answered.

There are a number of existing Mac specific Twitter clients available right now with more coming along all the time. This space is going to get highly competitive for a while which is outstanding for Mac users. If you have a Mac specific client for Twitter that you really like please drop a note in the comments and share.


Neil said...

Although it's not publicly available yet, the developer of Tweetie for iPhone is working on a Mac client. If he stays true to form, it should be cracking.

David Alison said...

Thanks Neil. Apparently Bluebird is a Twitter client, though I'm not confident enough in the web site to try it out just yet. Come on, put SOMETHING in there to tell me what it is!

Bill Vangen said...


I had the same problem with the Bluebird site, but discovered by clicking on the "Bluebird" you could download the beta.

David Alison said...

@Bill Vangen: I figured that out as well, the problem is without any descriptive information I'm not a big fan of downloading DMG files and blindly installing them. Yeah, nice "cool" factor but hardly inspiring me to install it.

Chris said...

I don't use Twitter as aggressively as others, so I find that the Firefox plug-in, TwitterFox, handles much of my Twitter needs. I'll probably download Nambu, as more robust search functions would be nice...but for multiple accounts and just keeping track of the limited number of people/organizations I follow on Twitter, TwitterFox does the job...and since the majority of my time is spent in the Firefox browser, it's nice to have Twitter and my browser all in one.

Jan said...

Adobe Air applications can update the dock; Spaz does. If the application doesn't, it's because they didn't think to do it, not because they can't.

I'm using ada right now because it's small. The problem with so many twitter applications now is they take up HUGE amounts of screen space for no good reason. I've got all my IM/chat/twitter stuff on my 7" MIMO ( so I can't afford something enormous like tweetdeck.

I've tried out Spaz, Tweetdeck, ada, Bluebird, Twhirl, twitterific and a bunch of others, and so far Ada's the best compromise of size and functionality, twhirl is the best one all around, and spaz is a close runner up, with only a few annoying behaviours. But it'll update the dock icon like you want. :)

David Alison said...

@Jan: Thanks for the link to Mimo Monitors - I'd never heard of them. Really interesting concept.

If AIR applications support Dock updates then it's too bad TweetDeck hasn't added that yet.

art said...

Eventbox is a really cool app that supports Facebook also. I prefer it to Nambu.