Monday, April 09, 2007

TreoTwit may be cheaper than Twapper

I'm really happy that Twapper is a more cost-effective mechanism for posting Twitter updates than direct SMS messages.

But the years my mother spent drilling in the mantra of 'a penny saved is a penny earned' has kept me searching for still cheaper ways to tweet.

So I was quite thrilled to learn about TreoTwit a couple of nights ago, all thanks to Dan Rubin.

TreoTwit is a Palm OS application from ("my Treo" in Spanish) that lets you post updates to Twitter directly without navigating through a web form.

The application itself is small (94kb) and simple. When you launch it, you get a screen that lets you enter up to 140 characters.

Image from the TreoTwit site

Click the "Update" button when you're done entering your tweet. The application uses GPRS on my Palm device to connect to Twitter, authenticate my Twitter user id and password (which I only had to specify once), then posts my update.

A little confirmation note appears briefly at the bottom of the page once your update is successfully posted.

While I have no actual numbers, I'm optimistic that this approach costs less than posting via Twapper, because there's no need to load a web page before or after entering the tweet. All that's left is the authentication, the text of the tweet itself, and a confirmation message afterwards.

* * *

The application was in v0.84 when I first downloaded it. That version was incompatible with my Treo 600 because my screen is only capable of displaying 160 x 160 pixels.

I posted my feedback on the TreoTwit support thread (registration required through a Spanish language interface! Thank God for babelfish on Altavista) and the folks at Mitreo kindly updated the application in less than 24 hours.

v0.85 is now installed on my Treo 600 and it works like a charm.

Now all I can possibly ask for is some data transfer estimates from Mitreo so I can figure out how much each TreoTweet actually costs me. It's on days like this that I wish I felt a bit more adventurous and a lot less math challenged, because the basis for an educated guess is probably buried somewhere in the Twitter API documentation.

* * *

Update 1: I tried using TreoTwit a couple of hours ago but got a "DNS error" message when I tried to post an update.

I switched to Twapper and was able to post an update through my phone browser, so it looks like the problem is not with Twitter itself. I've left a note at the TreoTwit Support thread and for now I'm hopeful that it's just a temporary problem.

* * *

Update 2: It's around 7 hours later and I just tried to post an update using TreoTwit -- it is working again. Hopefully the problem doesn't occur too often. And if it does, there's always Twapper.