Archive for November 29th, 2007

Battle Hangman

Nov 29, 2007 in 3 Stars, Facebook, Gaming, Just For Fun

Rating: ★★★☆☆

It’s Hangman. You know the rules.

That’s the slogan to the Battle Hangman application by Scott Agass and Richard Matthews that brings the classic game of hangman to Facebook. They couldn’t be more right! Battle Hangman is exactly that.

Battle Hangman You Got Hunged!

It’s just like you remember it, you think of a word or phrase and have a friend try to guess it one letter at a time. For each correct guess you fill in all the characters of the word where that letter appears. For each wrong guess you draw another stick figure limb hanging from a noose. First the head, then the torso, followed by the right arm, left arm, right leg, and finally the left leg. If they guess the entire word or phrase before you draw their entire body then they win. Otherwise they get “hunged” (hanged).

Have no friends? Well you probably don’t belong on Facebook but you can still enjoy Battle Hangman by playing against the computer. Soloists aside, this is actually a great way to build up your score.

Battle Hangman provides the person being challenged with a hint by requiring the challenger to choose from a select group of topics that include; Movies, Books, Song Titles, Bands/Musical Artists, Famous People, Places, Landmarks, Catchphrases, TV Shows, and Sports. Obviously if you’re a cut-throat winner who wants nothing but points you can cheat and throw in random words, misspellings, or off-topic answers — but that wouldn’t be much fun would it?

Battle Hangman Challenge

The point system works like so. Challenge a friend and if they don’t solve it, you get 10 points. Solve a challenge and you can earn up to 20 points or as low as 5 points, depending on how many limbs you have remaining. You can also earn a bonus 50 points per friend you invite, but that seems a little bit unfair.

The game is well developed. We didn’t run into any technical issues trying to use it. The interface is a little cluttered but not enough to stop you from being able to navigate your way around. The game has cute little stick figure animations that are a nice addition beyond the classic hand drawn game of hangman. You can also keep track of your score versus your friends or compete globally on the leaderboard for the most points.

The Result

If you like hangman you’ll probably enjoy Battle Hangman. I probably won’t keep it installed just because I haven’t played hangman since about the 4th grade and there is kind of a reason for that. There is some fun in the nostalgia of it though. We had a few laughs in the office trying to solve each others puzzles. I definitely suggest checking it out. At least until 6pm when you clock out of work.

_ _ i n s _ a _ _ e d

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Ayos iShare

Nov 29, 2007 in 3 Stars, Facebook, File Sharing

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Ayos iShare by Sphorium Technologies provides a file sharing service with unlimited download limits and 500MB of Free Storage. By default, the 500MB is divided into two parts: 100MB of Personal Storage, and 400MB of Shared Storage. How you allocate it is ultimately up to you. But more than just file sharing, it provides extended features like searching your files, tracking revisions, organizing files, and sharing a common work space with your friends. There are tons more features that I left out, which you can view here.

Ayos iShare came at just the right time for me. I have been looking for an unrestricted file sharing program for Facebook. First thing I wanted to do was to upload a file. It took me a few seconds to find the link, it was hidden under “Options”. Personally, since this is a service all about file sharing, I think “Upload File” should be prominently featured.

Facebook - Ayos iShare Add File

Uploading a file went smoothly. I would have liked to see some sort eye-candy such as an AJAX indicator and for kicks an upload progress bar.

Facebook - Ayos iShare File List

After uploading, I tried to use the search functionality to find my file. At first, a simple search for a keyword in the description produced no results. After about 1 minute, it did however turn up. I haven’t yet figured out how to view the description, just edit the description. I would prefer if there was some way clicking to get the description of the file inline.

Facebook - Ayos iShare Search Results

You can also move files around, but I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t create a folder inline as you do with most file explorers.

Facebook - Ayos Move File

The business model is straightforward: upsell user on greater storage capacity with a monthly subscription fee starting at $3.99/mo. As much as I like 100% free services, I do support companies rolling out subscription models since in the end the only sustainable business is the one with cash flow.

Facebook - Ayos PayPal

My overall impression of the app is positive. It works as advertised and is easy to use. There are many more features I didn’t explore, such as the versioning and calendaring system. To be fair to Ayos, it is not just a file sharing application. It’s more of a collaborative content management system for the Facebook platform. My 3 star rating describes its effectiveness as a purely a file sharing application, and doesn’t take into consideration these other features.

I do expect certain usability improvements, however, before I would start using the app regularly. Most of them I’ve already mentioned. As a matter of personal opinion, I’m not a big fan of context menus/drop downs for web apps unless they are used to mimic the behavior of existing, well known applications (e.g. File menu in Windows). I think menus should be used to hide more obscure or advanced features away from regular users, but not used for all features.

In order for a file sharing app in this category to get my vote of 5 stars, it would have to mimic the behavior of a normal file explorer (e.g. Mac Finder or Windows Explorer). This is a reasonable expectation as I’ve seen the functionality implemented with Flash and even AJAX (as in some of the Web OS implementations). My justification for this is users shouldn’t have to learn yet one more interface to accomplish the simple task of file sharing. A file explorer’s interface is intuitive and works.

Update 2007-12-06:

Ayos iShare announced today that they now allow users to collaborate on group items. You can access this feature by clicking on the new tab called Group Items. Down the road, they say to expect a WebDAV capabilities, which will enable you to mount your files locally on your computer.

Installed (for now)

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Nov 29, 2007 in 4 Stars, Facebook

Rating: ★★★★☆

Facebook - Spotlight Logo

Spotlight by Peopleized enables you to conduct interviews of your friends on Facebook. The idea is intriguing to me, because I rarely get around to interviewing my friends. After thinking for a few minutes, all sorts of questions and interview topics came to mind. I thought it would be interesting to interview some of my close friends in order to get to know them little better and to see if we share any common ground.

After installing the application, you’re prompted to enter the names of up to 5 friends to interview, the title of your interview, and the ability to ask as many questions as you like.
Facebook - Spotlight Create Interview

After entering the first question, click “Add Question”. Each question you add is appended to a list below.

Facebook - Spotlight Question List

I like how easy it is to add, edit, delete, and sort your questions. It just worked. My only recommendation would be some sort of preview mode to see what the interview will look like to the recipient.

When proceeding from this step, you’re prompted to send an email to your friends asking them to be interviewed. This step is optional. If you decline, they will just be notified via Facebook requests.

Facebook - Spotlight Completed Interview

When they complete your interview, you’re notified via email. Personally, I don’t like this because I already get spammed by so much automated mail, I don’t need anymore; it should be a feature when I setup the interview to be notified via email. Interviews are displayed in a clear fashion with speech bubbles. Once you’re done interviewing your friends, you can ask them to interview you. I expected to be able to specify the topic of the interview, but didn’t see the option. There are some more features of the application that I invite you to explore.


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The 12 Walls of Facebook — Part 3

Nov 29, 2007 in Chat, Facebook, Messaging, Photo, Utility, Video

Emotion Wall

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Emotion Wall Facebook Application Emotion Wall is a little known wall with only 199 daily active users.

It’s got some great features, lets you import YouTube videos and images into your posts. It’s got a simple interface and even has a few cute emoticons. It uses a BBC style code to insert the images and videos which is neat.

Wall owners can create a sticky at the top of their wall and users have the option to post private messages.

Emotion Wall Screenshot

Though, it’s a little spammier than I’d like for an application and will push an ad in your face at every opportunity. Clicking on ‘More’ brings you to a page with more options for posting. Though part of the form is to “invite friends to write on my wall” and it’s always checked.

I had to disable my mini-feed as every change I made blasted an announcement out to all my friends. After about 10 seconds I have 4 items to nuke from my news feed.

It’s not a bad wall and if you don’t mind subjecting your friends to advertising torture you might want to check it out, just be sure to disable it’s access to your mini-feed or you’ll be sorry.

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Classic Wall

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Classic Wall Facebook Application I really wanted to review this application because it boasts interesting features such as “Historically accurate representation of the pre-September 2005 Facebook Wall!”

Well, long story short… it doesn’t work… but somehow 31 of his friends still have it installed.

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Comment Wall

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Comment Wall Facebook Application Seems like every wall application makes big claims that they usually can’t live up to like “Get rid of your old and crappy wall and get a little more creative :)”. Well, this one did just that.

The wall does have some good features, like HTML in your comments.

You can also add a video or image — I think. The interface to do so is extremely unfriendly. After clicking the “Add Image or Video” button and being presented with such an incredibly complex page, I gave up and just clicked my back button.

I like the simplicity on (only) the profile page, it didn’t spam my news feed for every action I performed and no ads (seriously — no ads). It has good features, but it’s just not user friendly.

There’s a reason why this wall only has 25 daily active users — they were the only people on Facebook that could figure it out.

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My Appology

Sorry about the post today. The other wall review posts were more interesting as they had walls actually worth checking out. I had higher expectations for these walls, but hopefully I saved you some time.