Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Friday, January 9, 2009


One of my favorite and most-used Mac applications is called Growl: it’s a utility that works with many different applications to give me notifications. I use it with many different applications, but primarily with three: Google Notifier for Gmail, Adium for messaging, and Twitterrific for Twitter. What this means is that when someone contacts me by email, chat, or Twitter, I learn about it in exactly the same way, via Growl.

Which makes me wonder: why should I use three different applications to communicate with people, when in communicating I’m doing exactly the same thing: typing? Now, I’m not saying that email, chat, and Twitter shouldn't be different services — they should. They all give me different levels of control over who contacts me and how often I am contacted. That’s valuable. But once I’ve set that up, I don’t see why I should use three different applications to reply to messages. Shouldn't someone come up with a really cool application that combines all of these media into a single window? — with visual cues to distinguish one from another, of course, but still: One Communications App to Rule Them All.

Now Gmail is two-thirds of the way there, since it incorporates chat, and saves chats in your All Mail folder if you want. But it’s not a very elegant implementation, and Twitter is left out of the picture. I’d love to see a beautifully designed Mac app that brings it all together in one visually striking presentation.