Goodness, Weirdness, and Swackett

I have started to use Swackett X more or less on day one of its public appearance on the App Store and I have to say that I was immediately impressed by the refreshing concept of the app.

That is, Swackett will show with peeps that are dressed according to the weather such that one can take tips for dressing when leaving the home. Or at least that’s the idea.

The term swackett is slang that represents a Sweater, Jacket, or Coat.  The three terms are combined into one word to represent an additional layer of clothing on top of a shirt.

Swackett X for OS X comes with a representation in the menu bar that provides a compact but very informative survey of what it thinks the weather will be in the next seven days. Quite useful, and I use that a lot.

On the other hand, the most annoying thing about Swackett or, for that matter, Swackett X1 is that from time to time Swackett will burst into whatever activity that causes the processor load to go up to 80% on behalf of activities executed by Swackett.

The high load can easily last for several minutes without the slightest visual indication what exactly may cause it. As far as I can see there is no animation going on and also the network activity looks quite unsuspicious.

Of course, this puts some unpleasant burden on the battery life and this is hardly a good thing.

The forecasts2 made by Swackett are usually not quite as accurate as other apps provide me with, for example Weather Pro. I have seen several warnings about upcoming thunderstorms that actually never showed up. In other words, in my personal experience, Swackett has a tendency to be “pessimistic” about its predictions.

Another thing that is positively weird (yet harmless) about Swackett is that the menu entry for bringing up the preferences dialog is labeled “settings”. This is rare and only few other apps also use “settings” for the purpose of specifying the preferences (which is, by the vast majority of other apps, labeled “preferences” in the menu).

The corresponding iOS app (that has a very similar design) shows a tendency to crash after dismissing a notification about a pending edition update. Otherwise my main point of criticism is that the touch targets are very small and may easily be missed.

As a matter of convenience, it is possible to register a user account with Swackett such that the locations and “peep” editions can be synchronized between different devices.

Oh, and never mind the “easter eggs” that are showing up from time to time. Beyond any doubt, these may be popular among some users but they do not really resonate with me. Fortunately, this “feature” can be easily deactivated.

Everything considered, I have mixed feelings about Swackett. I will continue to use Swackett both on Mac an iOS but it is clear that I’d be a lot happier with the app if it did not cause significant CPU load every now and then.

  1. The difference between Swackett and Swackett X mostly boils down to ads vs. no ads plus the menu bar item (only available in Swackett X).

  2. According to the website the source for forecasts is AccuWeather.