The Mustard app for Android is a bare-bones microbloging client for posting and reading status updates on Twitter and on Twitter-like, open-source StatusNet social networks such as Identi.ca. If you like to tweet but would like to get a taste of what open-source microblogging is like, you can use this app to do both.
Mustard is easy to use, once you familiarize yourself with it. Within the app, status updates are called “notices”–not “tweets”–which is what Identi.ca calls them. A couple of options in Settings are cryptic and potentially confusing. Notably, the option to use OAuth to authenticate your StatusNet microblog session with a SSO (single sign on) instead of with your username and password is likely to be useful only for people who have a self-hosted StatusNet microblog.
Most users will be content to log in to their Twitter and Identi.ca accounts in the standard way, with username and password. Once you’ve added your accounts, you configure your preferences by selecting Menu, More, Settings, Global Settings. In the Global Settings dialog box, you can select your preferred update interval, enable or disable geolocation services, customize notifications, change the display theme and font size, and elect to merge your accounts’ timelines into one stream (recommended).
Each notice (or tweet) in the aggregated stream of all your accounts comes clearly labeled with its account name. Click the notice to pop up a context menu where you can select Reply, Repeat, or Favor (add to Favorites). Click a hyperlink to open it in the Web browser. Click the notice’s profile photo to pop-up a context menu that gives you the option to Share, Copy Notice’s URL, view the user’s Timeline, Unsubscribe, or Block the user. Click an @mention to view the user’s profile and timeline. Click a hash tag to view a timeline of notices that contain that hash tag. You can also bookmark a hash tag view for later reference.
To compose a tweet, click Menu, New Notice. Disappointingly, Mustard doesn’t support multiposting to several accounts; you must select one at a time. You can attach a photo, too. For Twitter, TwitPic acts as the image host; Identi.ca images are hosted on Identi.ca. Hyperlinks may be shortened using the ur1.ca service. You can share links from the Android Web browser.
The more I use Mustard, the more I like it. It’s the best Identi.ca/StatusNet client I’ve found for Android, and it’s a decent Twitter client that can handle multiple accounts. It can’t schedule posts, it can’t handle multiposting, and the menu structure is a bit awkward at times, but it is a solid performer.
If you know of a better Identi.ca client app, contact Brent W. Hopkins on Facebook, on Twitter as @brentwhopkins or on Identi.ca as @brentwhopkins.
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