DEXTR – Twitter for your second screen

One of the things we’ve been thinking about recently is screens. In Russell’s blog post from last week he alluded to a little thing we’ve been using for a while but hadn’t quite finished off for public consumption.

All the chatter around the fantastic BERG/Dentu films last week reminded us to get it out the door, and here it is:


DEXTR is a full screen Twitter client. It shows one tweet at a time, filling the screen. And it accelerates and decelerates depending on how fast your Twitter stream is going.

It’s a bit of an experiment. A way of learning about ambient screens — seeing what works and what doesn’t. Is it too bright, too fast, too annoying? Or maybe just too quiet and forgettable. What’s the right kind of screen, in the right kind of place to put this on? And does anyone even want anything like this, or are we trying to fill all these media surfaces with something, anything?

There’s one known problem – iOS devices turn the screen off after a few minutes of inactivity in Safari. There doesn’t seem to be a way around that for web applications – we’ll have to wrap it in a proper iOS application to stop that.

We’ve got some ideas about how this could develop, but for now this is a beta, and we’d love to hear what you think.

19 comments so far:

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by anu, James Weiner. James Weiner said: dextr: [...]

  2. Jon says:

    Great stuff … extra kudos for Thunderbirds curtains ;)

  3. Wes West says:

    Put it on a watch… twitter = time passing.

  4. Patrick says:

    That’s brilliant!

    Could you make a version which uses twitter search so that you could follow #tags etc?

  5. el rolio says:

    first of all, thanks for this. I tweeted in all caps this link from excitement. I had even commented on the berg posts, have tweeted and google searched at least once every few months about this for a year. so thanks again.

    now, can we make more, new, options? wanna open up the code? I’ll tinker for a while to make one in a format I like (starting with a slow scroll a la tweetdeck, just much BIGGER) and probably list support.

    you were thinking of it for ios device? I was needing it for multidisplay usage. And I can see it useful as a faux-screensaver for when you are proper AFK but within eyesight.

  6. ANdy says:

    Really quite beautiful. Would echo Patrick’s comment regarding #tags

  7. [...] DEXTR ? Twitter for your second screen – Blog – Really Interesting Group"DEXTR is a full screen Twitter client. It shows one tweet at a time, filling the screen. And it accelerates and decelerates depending on how fast your Twitter stream is going."(tags:comms ) [...]

  8. Joshua Ellis says:

    Very cool. I tried using an app called Websaver for Mac to make this my screensaver, but unfortunately it requires that Twitter login, and the app closes when you try to click on it (as a screensaver rightly ought to). Would make an extremely useful and cool screensaver, though.

    I like the way the text scales to the screen based upon length. Must figure that one out. :-)

  9. Dan B. says:

    I saw this when you originally posted it, and I’ve been thinking about this since then.

    Is there a distinction you need to make between tweets? Tweets that are just the thoughts of their authors, and tweets that link to something external?

    Is an ambient screen that constantly displays pointers to other sources of information really ambient?

    Is something like DEXTR more amenable to self-contained pieces of informations (a.k.a. short thoughts)?

    P.S. Something that I noticed initially… the speed with which the news moves is slightly above what’s comfortable for me. Maybe I’m stuck in this “let me contemplate these tweets a bit” thing…

  10. chaitanyak says:

    fantastic! love it, want it as a screensaver! :)
    would also be nice to be able to set custom colors, fonts etc

    but as is .. i love it

  11. Will Knott says:

    L Love it, but is it possible to get it to display a hashtag instead of my own feed? Would make a great barcamp/show display

  12. Neo says:

    Would be great if this is open-sourced – so I can run an instance on my own server :)

  13. [...] launched something new today, DEXTR. It’s an information radiator, one that displays tweets in large [...]

  14. Mark Jensen says:

    I’d love, love, love it if you added this to the :

    (Taken from

    That way, all the chrome from Safari disappears and it’ll be even calmer than before :)

    (I put it into an iframe on to test it, and the iframe makes it do weird things, but it kinda works.)

  15. ptiks says:

    Hi there, I’ve been using dextr since russell blogged about it,but in the last few days it seems to have stopped working, both on my ipad and pc, do you know if this is just me or a general problem, and, if general will you be fixing it, or should I start working out how to do something similar myself?

  16. Josh says:

    Re-launched dextr today for the first time in months and it didn’t work – just shows empty ‘(silence)’ screen. I’m guessing that the recent Twitter OAuth shenanigans broke dextr in some way.

    Truth or Fiction?

  17. Stokes says:

    I’m seeing the same thing as ptiks and Josh, and it makes me sad–has anyone found a suitable replacement for this functionality?

  18. ptiks says:

    It’s working again now, all is well. Thanks if you fixed it.

  19. Tom says:

    Hello! Sorry, yes, I fixed it. Forgot to mention it here. Twitter had changed some of their API.

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