Qwitter Read Me Document

Release date:

Table of contents

1: Intro

1.1: What are twitter and Qwitter?

Let's start out by talking about twitter, as you need to understand twitter before you can understand qwitter.

Twitter is an insanely popular micro blogging service, that is, a service which allows you to post short little chunks of no more than 140 characters of text to the web at a time and have these updates, or tweets, as they are called in twitter speak, read by your followers, or the people who are following you.

If you don't currently have a twitter account, you may create one at: .

Now that we've covered the basics of what twitter is, let's talk about qwitter. Qwitter is a program created to make using the twitter system as easy and efficient as possible. There are many advantages to using a twitter client, and qwitter in particular. Here are just a few.

Using a client allows for easy and fast response to new tweets. No more going to the web page just to check if you've gotten a new tweet. In fact, one of Qwitter's best features is the ability to check your tweets no matter what you're doing. You don't even have to leave the application you're currently using.

Qwitter automatically alerts you when something new comes in, and wherever you are, you can use the various system wide shortcut keys to read your new updates. Once again, this doesn't even take you out of whatever program you're currently working in.

Also, with the various buffers that Qwitter uses, you can limit what you see to certain types of tweets, such as mentions, direct messages, and sent messages, along with your regular full messages list, and custom buffers that are created for aditional functionality. Later on in this document, we'll show you how to utilize them all.

Finally, qwitter is very easy and intuitive to use. After reading through this document, it's likely you'll be using it easily and efficiently in no time. We hope you enjoy the software, and feel free to submit feedback and suggestions.

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1.2: First Use of Qwitter: the configuration dialog

After you install qwitter, the first time it comes up, it will bring up the configuration dialogue. You will need to enter your twitter username and password, and then there are some options to choose from. For the most part we suggest leaving them at the defaults, until you have used qwitter for a while, but we'll go over what they are in the sections below. This dialog is divided into sections, or tabs. Press control+tab to move through the sections. Press the ok button when you are finished.

1.2.1: General tab

The first option after your username and password is the check interval. This allows you to choose how often qwitter checks for updates. The default, 4 minutes, is the most often qwitter allows. This is a limitation put in place because of how twitter is set up.

Next we have the max number of tweets to retrieve option. This is basically exactly what it says: how many tweets should qwitter download at once? The default is 100, and 200 is the highest allowed both by qwitter and twitter.

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1.2.2: Sounds tab

The first option in this tab is for the sound system. The new beta sound system is the default, and works well on vista and windows 7. However, if you are using windows XP, you will want to change to the clasic system.

The next option you'll come to is where you can choose a soundpack. Qwitter only comes with one soundpack, but people have contributed many other soundpacks which are available for download at Qwitter Soundpack central.

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1.2.3: Speech tab

The first item on this tab, speech output, is set to auto. There will rarely ever be any reason to change this, as qwitter auto-detects your screen reader. If it doesn't detect a supported screen reader, or you're not running one, it will automatically use whatever microsoft speech synthesizer you have selected in your control panel. If for some reason you don't want to use a screen reader even though you're running one, you can instead choose SAPI.

The next 2 options are pretty self explanitory; they allow you to change the rate and volume of microsoft speech if you choose to use SAPI to read your tweets.

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1.2.4: Braille tab

There is currently one option in this tab. Set braille output to none to disable Qwitter's new braille support, or auto detect to enable it.

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1.2.5: Templates tab

the options in this tab allow you to change the way Qwitter presents the content of tweets. See section 3.3 for the details of these settings.

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1.2.6: Miscellaneous tab

First we have DM safe mode. This is the one option you may wish to change your first time. If checked, this will make it so that when you reply to a direct mesage (you'll learn about those later in this readme), it will reply as a direct message, rather than a public reply. Also, it will stop you from retweeting direct messages.

The next option is automatically retweet. When enabled, qwitter will automatically retweet tweets. Otherwise, the text is displayed for you to edit before retweeting it.

The final option is self-explanatory. If you don't want to be prompted before exiting qwitter uncheck the Show Confirmation checkbox here.

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2: Ok, so how do I actually use Qwitter?

2.1: The Buffers

2.1.1: What are they?

In Qwitter, there are currently four default buffers, or collections of posts. They are home, direct messages, sent, and mentions.

The home buffer holds all received tweets, except for direct messages.

The direct messages buffer holds any direct messages you receive. Direct messages are a way of sending a message that only the person that you want to receive the message can see, or vice versa.

The sent buffer, logically, contains all the tweets that you've sent.

The mentions buffer contains all of the tweets that contain mentions of your screen name. In twitter, if you make a comment that someone wants to respond to, they can make what is referred to as a mention, or reply. From the website they would have to type an @ followed by your username. However in qwitter we take care of that. (We'll show you how later on in this readme.).

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2.1.2: How to use them?

The use of the buffers is very easy. To choose between the various buffers, use ctrl+windows+left and right arrows.

Qwitter will announce the buffer you change to, so you'll always know where you are. By default, qwitter places you in the last buffer you've used, even if you restart. Once you've picked a buffer you want to read through, use the ctrl+win+up and down arrows to browse your tweets.

To go to the most recent or oldest tweet in the buffer, use ctrl+win+home or end respectively. If you wish to manually update the buffer you're in, rather than waiting for it to update itself at whatever interval you chose during configuration, use ctrl+win+u.

If you ever wish to delete the contents of a buffer from your qwitter database, you can do so by pressing ctrl+shift+win+delete.

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2.2: Posting Updates

2.2.1: Post a new tweet

To post a new tweet, press ctrl+win+n. It will bring up a simple dialogue, and place you in an edit field. Just type away. As twitter limits you to 140 characters, if you go over this limit, qwitter will make a sound, letting you know you're over your limit.
(Note: Characters are anything you can type, whether it be a letter, punctuation mark, number, symbol, or space.).

If you're curious to know how many characters you've used up so far, use your screen readers read application title command. It will say something along the lines of "new Tweet - 40 of 140," where 40 is the number of characters you've already used. (Believe me, this feature though small, is a very useful one.)

When you're done writing your sage 140 remark of wisdom, press enter. You should hear the tweet sent sound, and qwitter (via your screen reader), will announce "update posted."

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2.2.2: Post a reply to a tweet

Remember us talking about mentions and replies earlier? Here's where we find out how to make them. When you're reading your list of tweets, and you come across one you want to reply to, use ctrl+win+r. It'll bring up a dialogue very similar to the new tweets dialogue.

Just type your reply, and press enter. Take special notice of your character count after you start typing, as part of your available characters go to showing who you're replying to. As before, checking your title will give you an idea of how many characters you have to work with.

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2.2.3: Post a Direct Message

To post a direct message, find a tweet from the person you wish to DM, and press ctrl+win+d. The same type of dialogue comes up. (Note, you can only direct message people that follow you. This is a twitter thing, not a limitation of the Qwitter client. Without this limit, everyone would be flooded with dm spam and that feature would be even more useless than email.)

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2.2.4: deleting a tweet you have posted.

It happens to all of us. You reply to the wrong person, or send a public tweet instead of a direct message. Or maybe you simply realize that what you just posted doesn't deserve to see the light of day. If for any reason you wish to delete one of your tweets, simply locate the offending tweet and press control+windows+delete.

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2.2.5: Viewing the current tweet

You can view the tweet in the view tweet dialog. Press control+win+v to bring up this dialog. Also in this dialog, there is the retweet checkbox. If you check this and press the ok button, the tweet is posted as a retweet. If unchecked, the current tweet is posted as a regular update. Press cancel if you don't wish to do anything with this tweet.

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2.2.6: Shortening Long URLs

The idea behind URL shortening is that a long URL is replaced by a shorter URL, giving you more characters for your tweet. You may select your preferred shortener from the Miscellaneous tab of the Configuration dialog. Currently the available shorteners are bit.ly and j.mp. This feature is available in the New Tweet, New Reply, and New DM dialogs.

If your URL starts with "http://" or "www." (no quotes), it will be automatically detected. Pressing alt+s or clicking on the "Shorten URL" button will replace your long URL with a shorter one. If the URL you want to replace isn't automatically detected, you can select it and press alt+s which will use your selection. If more than one URL is detected, you'll be presented with a list allowing you to select the URL you wish to shorten.

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2.3: Working with tweets, the additional commands

Following are some commands that make your life easier when working with tweets. We plan to add more of these in the future, and if you have any suggestions, be sure to let us know.

Note that all of these commands work in all buffers, except where otherwise specified.

For a complete list of all of the keys used to control qwitter, see the keystroke reference.

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2.4: Searching

The search function of twitter allows you to search for a word or term in publically available tweets across the twittersphere. To begin a new search, press control+win+/. This will bring up a search dialog. If the current tweet contains any hash tags, you can select them by pressing down arrow. Use your screen readers read current line feature to see what is selected. After you have typed in your search term, there are a couple more options you can choose. The first is a checkbox that says "persistent search." If checked, this option stores your search results in qwitter's database, so that if you use the same search term ever again, you'll be able to see those past results. The second checkbox, save search, tells qwitter that you want this search to come up in a buffer every time you restart qwitter. Click OK, and a search buffer will be created and you will be placed in this buffer.

Note that these search buffers act just like any other buffer and that they will update as new results come in or if forced to by the force update keystroke. To dismiss a search buffer, press control+win+apostrophe.

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2.5: Filters

Filters allow you to search a particular buffer for a keyword or term. To bring up the filter dialogue use ctrl+shift+win+f. After you type in your search term, you have a choice to make in the form of the excluding checkbox. IF you leave it unchecked, it basically acts sort of like a find function. Qwitter will find all the tweets that have the term you specified in the buffer you're filtering, and it will put them all in a buffer for you. (Just like with the search dialogue, use ctrl+win+apostrophe to dismiss the buffer when you're done with it.) However, if you use that excluding checkbox, it will instead find all of the tweets with the search term you specified, and filter them out of your chosen buffer. (#spymaster anyone?) At this time however, filters only last as long as the current qwitter session.

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2.6: Twitter Top Trends

To bring up a buffer containing the current top trends on twitter, press control+windows+t. Dismiss it with control+windows+apostrophe, just like search buffers. Note that these trends are in order with most popular at the top, and when you first pull up the buffer you'll be starting at the bottom.
When you bring up the search dialog, control+win+/, from the trends buffer, the text box will be pre-filled with the trend you're currently focused on.

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2.7: Working with followers and friends

To bring up a list of your followers, press control+windows+left bracket. Alternatively, to bring up a list of your friends, twitterspeak for people you follow, use control+windows+right bracket.

You may also add the shift key to these commands to view the followers or friends of a different user. This will bring up a dialog where you can select a user. The sender of the current tweet is the first option in this dialog. You can select anyone mentioned in the current tweet by pressing down arrow. Use your screen readers read current line feature to see what is selected. You can enter a username manually as well. When your done, press ok. This will create a new buffer containing that person's followers or friends. Dismiss the buffer with control+win+apostrophe.

Note: Just like any other buffer, you can use all standard keystrokes for unfollowing/following, replying to, direct messaging, etc. on these users.

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2.8: Device notifications

Twitter can also send tweets to your mobile phone via text message, if you have it configured on twitter.com. These are known as device notifications. You can decide who's tweets you'd like to receive on a per-user basis. To change this, find a tweet from the user you'd like to change, and press control+win+shift+d. This will toggle the state of that user's device notifications on. Pressing it again will turn notifications off.

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2.9: Editing your twitter profile

You can change the information listed in your twitter profile from qwitter. Press control+win+shift+p to bring up a dialog where you can change any of the fields in your profile.

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2.10: Viewing a single person's tweets

You may choose to view the individual timeline for any user. Simply press control+win+i. This will bring up the individual buffer dialog. The sender of the current tweet is the first option in this dialog. You can select anyone mentioned in the current tweet by pressing down arrow. Use your screen readers read current line feature to see what is selected. You can enter a username manually as well. When your done, press ok. This will create a new buffer containing that person's latest tweets. Dismiss the buffer with control+win+apostrophe.

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2.11: Other Qwitter functions

2.11.1: Displaying the configuration dialog

If at any time you want to change any of the options you chose the first time you started qwitter, press ctrl+win+o.

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2.11.2: Qwitter's mute modes

You have several options to determine which sounds qwitter will make. By default, mute mode is completely off. You can adjust this setting in the sounds tab of the configuration dialog, or you can toggle through the options with control+windows+m. You have the following options:

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2.11.3: Quitting Qwitter

If for some reason you wish to close qwitter, use ctrl+win+q. It'll bring up a confirmation dialogue. Note: Quitting Qwitter has been known to cause some generally horrible things to happen, like the death of innocent kittens.

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2.11.4: Checking your number of API calls

Twitter has a limit on how much data you can get from the site in a given hour. Any time you use qwitter or any other twitter client to download tweets it counts against this limit. Press control+win+a to check how many API calls you have left for the hour and how long until your limit will be reset.

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3: tweaking

3.1: Remapping keys

All of the keystrokes used for qwitter can be changed. IN your %appdata%\qwitter folder, there is a file called keymap.conf. However, before changing anything it's highly suggested that you back the file up. You'll need to quit Qwitter before modifying this file. For a tutorial on modifying your keymap, have a look at the tutorial on the wiki.

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3.2: Portable Qwitter

If you run Qwitter with -p or --portable on the command line or from a shortcut, it will run in portable mode, meaning that any files it reads and rights will be kept in the qwitter program's current directory, making it ideal to use on a thumb drive.

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3.3: Controling how qwitter formats tweets

You can customize how qwitter announces information. The easiest way of doing this is to edit the options in the templates tab of the configuration dialog. You can also do it by hand by modifying the templates.conf file which is located In your %appdata%\qwitter folder. The format of tweets is controled by templates that you can change by using the information in the following table. If you are modifying templates.conf, we recommend backing up this file before changing it. Note that you must first quit Qwitter before editing this file.

Variable Description Example
$time Gives the exact time a tweet was posted. Example: If it is 8:00 PM and a tweet was posted now, $time would be replace with "8:00.
$when Estimates when a tweet was sent. Example: If a tweet was sent 1 hour ago, $when would be replaced with "About 1 hour ago".
$name Will be replaced with the name of the sender of the focussed tweet. Example: If a tweet was posted by someone named "Haden Pike", $name would be replaced with "Haden Pike".
$screen_name Will be replaced with the screen name of the sender of the focussed tweet. Example: If a tweet was posted by someone whose screen name was "hadenpike", $screen_name would be replaced with "hadenpike".
$message Will be replaced with the text of the current tweet. Example: If a tweet was posted containing the text "Hello world.", $message would be replaced with it.

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4: Technical Support

4.1: I get a message that states that the application cannot start because the configuration is incorrect.

ON occasion people receive this error. You'll need to install some components from Microsoft. Fortunately, there're links to them from our downloads page.

Look for the link that says "The Visual C++ 2008 SP1 Redistributable." Make sure you get the correct one though, as there are ones for both 32 bit and 64 bitt systems.

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4.2: When writing a tweet, it is difficult to review what I've written using jaws.

There is a known conflict between Qwitter and the jaws scripts for the McTwit application. Jaws is associating Qwitter dialog boxes with the McTwit scripts, a combination that does not work. At this time, the only known solution is to remove the McTwit scripts from your system. Mctwit is still very accessible without them.

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4.3: My sounds don't seem to work correctly.

On some systems, most notably windows XP, the sound system we use doesn't function like it should. If you encounter this problem, go into your configuration dialogue, and change the sound system choice from beta to classic.

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4.4: I have a question/comment/concern that's not covered in this readme.

If you have questions that aren't answered in this readme, an excellent source aditional information is the Qwitter wiki. This site is regularly updated with answers to frequently asked questions.

If you still haven't found the answer to your question, the best way of getting your question answered is to post it to the qwitter-discuss mailing list. This list has several people who are glad to help. There are two ways to subscribe to the list. You can send a blank email to or go to The list page. Either way, you will then receive a confirmation message that you must respond to.

Please note that the people listed here can usually be found on the mailing list described above, along with several other helpful individuals. This is the prefered way of getting support. However, if you still wish to contact one of us for technical support, or for any questions/comments/suggestions in reference to this readme, we can be reached via the following.

Nehemiah Hall

Justin Ekis

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5: Credits

The idea behind a UI-Less Twitter client belongs to Sean Randall, , who originally brought us Jawter.

Christopher Toth, , is responsible for a majority of the code behind Qwitter, so if something breaks it's probably best to blame him first.

Haden Pike, has done a remarkable amount of work on Qwitter, helping out @Mongoose_Q when he's stuck in college badness.

hllf, contributes new code when he can find the time, as well as fixing a lot of pesky bugs.

David Sexton, , contributes code from time to time, especially the Quitting Qwitter code that kills the kittens.

Jason White, , is behind some important aspects of the configuration dialog.

Matt Campbell, added System Access support to Qwitter.

Nehemiah Hall, , is mostly responsible for this readme, and serves as a general idea factory.

Justin Ekis, , Helps to keep this readme updated.

Chris Nestrud, , assists Qwitter in being the bestest client it can be.

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6: Keystroke Reference

Name Keystroke Description
NewTweet control+windows+n Allows you to post a new tweet.
NewDm control+windows+d Allows you to post a new direct message.
NewReply control+windows+r Allows you to post a reply to a tweet.
ViewTweet control+windows+v Allows you to view the current tweet in the view tweet dialog to review or edit it.
Retweet control+windows+shift+r Retweets the current tweet.
TwitterSearch control+windows+/ Searches twitter for the specified search term. The results are displayed in a buffer.
TwitterTrends control+windows+t Displays the top trends on twitter in a buffer.
DismissBuffer control+windows+' If possible, removes the current buffer from the list of buffers.
Follow control+windows+l Allows you to follow a person mentioned in the current tweet, the sender of the current tweet, or the screen name you enter into the box.
Unfollow control+windows+shift+l Allows you to unfollow, and optionally block a user.
PrevTweet control+windows+down Moves to the previous item in the current buffer.
NextTweet control+windoqws+up Moves to the next item in the current buffer.
PrevTweetStep control+windows+pageup
NextTweetStep control+windows+pagedown
NewestTweet control+windows+home Moves to the first item in the current buffer.
OldestTweet control+windows+end Moves to the last item in the current buffer.
CurrentTweet control+windows+space Speaks the current item.
inReplyTo windows+alt+down Takes you to the tweet that the currently selected tweet was in reply to.
InReplyFrom windows+alt+up Takes you to the first reply to the current tweet.
PrevBuffer control+windows+left Moves to the previous buffer in the list of buffers.
NextBuffer control+windows+right Moves to the next buffer in the list of buffers.
ForceUpdate control+windows+u If possible, forces qwitter to check for updates in the current buffer.
ListUrls control+windows+b Displays a dialog containing all of the URL's or screen names in the current tweet.
ToggleMute control+windows+m Toggles through qwitter's available mute modes.
ShowConfigurationDialog control+windows+o Displays the configuration dialog.
CopyToClipboard control+windows+shift+c Copies the current item to the windows clipboard.
ExitQwitter control+windows+q Allows you to exit qwitter.
TwitterFollowers control+windows+[ Creates a buffer containing the people who are following you.
FollowersFor control+windows+shift+[ Creates a buffer containing the people who are following a given user.
TwitterFriends control+windows+] Creates a buffer containing the people who you are following.
FriendsFor control+windows+shift+] Creates a buffer containing the people who a given user is following.
StopSapi windows+s Forces speech to silence.
ClearBuffer control+windows+shift+delete Deletes all items from the current buffer.
ApplyFilter control+windows+shift+f Searches a particular buffer for the specified term.
TwitterPublicTimeline control+windows+alt+p Creates a buffer containing twitter's public timeline.
JumpToPost control+windows+j Allows you to jump to a spacific item in the current buffer.
DeviceNotifications control+shift+windows+d Toggles whether or not notifications are sent to your mobile device for the selected user.
UpdateProfile control+shift+windows+p Allows you to update your twitter profile.
GetRateLimitStatus control+windows+a Speaks the number of calls you have to twitter's API this hour.
ViewUserTimeline control+windows+i Creates a buffer containing the timeline of the specified user.
CheckForUpdate control+windows+shift+u Checks to see if a newer version of qwitter is available.

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7: Final thoughts

I wanna be a Mongoose!

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