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God’s Desktop App

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What I really need is that One Desktop App To Rule Them All, if you’ll forgive the horrific nerd reference.

My poor choking laptop runs Windows XP.  I like a good Adobe Air app, though I do have horrible Silverlight too.  I run Chrome, which is fast and light, but I don’t want Google Reader open in a tab all the time.  I want realtime notification of what’s happening.  And I don’t want to be running half a dozen apps to do it.  Which, yes, sounds petty and all first world problems, but this is 2010 and there should be a single desktop app that captures all this stuff for me.

I thought Seesmic Desktop 2 was close. It gave me Twitter, Facebook and Google Reader as realtime streams with nice little notifications that popped up on the right hand side there, and then nicely went away again. It didn’t have plug-ins to reach some services I would have liked, but it was a good start. And then the Google Reader plug-in borked, and I can’t fix it. Multiple reinstallations and it just won’t work.

I’ve seen others that were almost it. Some that combine Twitter and Tumblr, which is good, but didn’t handle anything else. Growl looked like a possible, but fuck me that’s a lot of shit to install. Cliqset looked like it might be It, since it apparently handles 80 services — but they’ve hidden their desktop app too deep for me to find, and recent news suggests they’re having a little trouble.

Hootsuite? $5.99 a month? Bugger off. Lazyscope wouldn’t even authenticate my Twitter account.

I’m testing Tweetdeck, which is a clever thing, but, again, no Google Reader function. Same with Digsby and Sobees.

I want that One Thing that brings Twitter and fucking Facebook (including ability to post to my “fan” page there) and Google Reader and Tumblr and maybe even Flickr to my desktop in realtime, so that I can see everything, everywhere, and therefore control the world. Or something.

Suggestions are gratefully appreciated!

Published in brainjuice


  1. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    Well, for one thing, it’s a browser…!

  2. Robert B Robert B

    The only thing that comes close that I have ever seen is Socialite ( It’s got Reader, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and RSS feeds but, unfortunately, it’s only for OSX.

  3. wererogue wererogue

    I have to say, my first thought to the title was “Chrome?”
    I have twitter, gmail and greader as pinned tabs, and I haven’t found a better way to do it yet.

  4. Andy Lee Andy Lee

    Another vote for Chrome BUT with as many extensions as you can jam in it. Install them once and they’ll follow you round. This is great because it’s the same on all devices (three for me – work & work & home). You get to refine them more rather than installing tools for specific jobs on each device.

  5. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    As noted in the post, I’m on Chrome — though I don’t want to jam it solid with extensions. I mean, I have several useful extensions. But I want a desktop app and realtime notifications, with the option of opening a dashboard with EVERYTHING…

  6. allan jones allan jones

    i tend to use chrome as the holding pen – using feedly to notify me of google reader new articles, plus the facebook and twitter extensions for those. works well enough for me for now, until there’s a decent all-in-one application that works cross-platform.

    i’ll probably get narked enough at some point to write my own, but it’d be for my desktop, which is linux. i’ll try to be nice and write it in python or something for you, though ;)

    that said, if you want to lay the ghost of windows xp to rest, there’s a ubuntu notification area tool that you could use to integrate that sort of stuff – cloudsn, i think it was called. don’t think it handled facebook, mind.

  7. I tried something called digsby once… ( )… It was about the closest I found and I can’t remember why I didn’t stick with it — spent a long time looking for the one app to rule them all, can’t believe they don’t have one yet… good luck..

  8. sorry, missed the part where you said you tried it already… I will branded the village idiot now…

  9. Matthew Matthew

    I don’t see a mention of Trillian ( on here. Trillian has plugins for almost everything, and a very active community for anything they don’t.

  10. Hi Warren, I am sorry that you had trouble signing in using Lazyscope. We just received a report saying that by killing the process and restarting it when the error happens, it should work.!/politicalcrunch/status/11239467369103360 We are still trying to figure out the fundamental cause for this, but please do try this solution and let me know if that works. I really hope it works out!

    Ethan Gahng

  11. Gnou Gnou

    You won’t find better than Seeismic for your purposes; you’re trying to mix social and antisocial media… Two crowds, two types of developers, etc. The only alternative I can see would be to use a separate browser (say, Firefox) for the express purpose of handling these these apps, but that will probably end up eating too much resources and be counterproductive…
    Other than that, I’m sure there is a way to fix the Google Reader appy in Seeismic, it’s probably just a tiny dependent component missing somewhere that’s crapping up the whole system. It’s a mission.

  12. I agree that you’re best bet is to try and fix Seesmic Desktop.


    Prism will let you create site-specific browsers that you can then skin with greasemonkey and hook up to Growl for Windows to get proper notifications.

    Google Chrome for Windows actually has a site-specific browser tool built in, but I’m not on a windows PC, so I can’t test if it works with the built-in notification system or if you’d need to plug it into Growl for Windows as well and how that would work.

    Other than that, the new version of the Flock browser switched from Firefox’s Gecko engine to Safari/Chrome’s superior WebKit engine, so you might want to look into that. Haven’t tried RockMelt, but it too is based on the exact same rendering engine you’re using with Google Chrome, so speeds should be much the same.

  13. Anonymous Bosch Anonymous Bosch

    Have you considered porting Twitter and Facebook to RSS? There’s a bit of a delay for the feeds to sync, but you’ll only have GReader to deal with.

  14. Chris Moon Chris Moon

    I started using Rockmelt -(rockmelt://help/) this weekend, it appears to be an updated Chrome with the ability to link to Twitter/Facebook/etc in real time.

  15. The one I can’t live without is Threadsy. It’s not exactly what you are looking for, I think, being browser dependent. Basically, a single page that pulls all my email accounts, facebook and twitter into one organized place. Just leave it open on a tab and go about my day.

  16. Well your earlier post inspired me to get off my arse and get something myself. I’ve landed on Yoono. I think its great personally but I don’t have Google Reader as one of my feeds. I did a search and they DID have it in Beta but I think that might be gone for now (partially down to Google being a bit fussy). If they get that back it would probably be ideal for you though

  17. Kevin Manus-Pennings Kevin Manus-Pennings

    Alas, I think I’m just in the Dark Ages about all this stuff. I just don’t like having continual notifications coming in because I like to focus on whatever writing project I’m on at the time. Instead, I just go to whatever regular websites and read (in a focused manner) the headlines of interest. Am I just really missing out here?

  18. it’s browser based but my iGoogle homepage comes pretty close to what you’re looking for.

    Twittergadget is veryt stable:

    This facebook gadget does everything you want:

    You can run Google Reader from it as well.

    The only drawback is there isn’t a good Tumblr gadget out there. Not one I can make work currently anyway.

    not to mention running you gmail, googletalk, googledocs etc… if you want to.

  19. Oh yeah there’s several Flickr gadgets for it too. iGoogle makes me feel like Adrian Veidt.

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