As someone with a pretty short attention span and who's also quite the Twitter addict, I waste a lot of time checking my Twitter feed when I really should be getting on with work. Which means opening a browser, spending a few minutes reading messages, then closing the browser window to get back on with what I'm supposed to be doing.
A few days ago I decided to do something about this silly habit. What I needed, I realised, was some sort of IM window or scroller or ticker display that would alert me to the content of any incoming tweets on my account. I could then glance at the pop-up for 3 seconds, read the message, and get back on with my work. And I found just the thing!
The vast improvement in my productivity in recent days comes courtesy of a program called Twittalert. It's a free download from http://atomic.x10.mx/downloads.html which is only 0.6 MB and is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust. It should run on all recent versions of Windows, and is a portable app so it's easy to try without any need to install anything.
Once you run it, and authorise your Twitter account to use it, you won't initially notice anything. Your PC will appear normal. But as soon as a Tweet comes in, it will be displayed on the right hand side of your screen in a small rectangle. Over a period of around 15 seconds, the box will then disappear. That's pretty much all there is to it. If multiple tweets come in, they'll appear in a stack of rectangles which will gradually drop down the screen. And because the app is portable, once you exit the program and delete the unzipped download folder it's gone forever unless you run it again.
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