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Archive for the 'Utility' Category

TopNetPix

Dec 10, 2007 in 2 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun, Utility

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Rating: ★★☆☆☆

TopNetPix provides a way of efficiently displaying all your favorite links on your profile as a cluster of Favicons. When you click on any one of the icons, it takes you to the site. Another feature is that you can link all social networking profiles to your Facebook profile (e.g. Friendster, LinkedIn, MySpace, Hi5).

The interface is real easy to use. They also provide a lot of preconfigured links like (Google News, CNN, The Onion, etc.).

image

If this is all it did, I would be happy with the application. The problem is they automatically add 3 of their own links as my favorites. But they aren’t my favorites. What’s worse, they don’t even let me remove them. I really, really don’t like any application misrepresenting my endorsements.

image

See those first 3 links? I didn’t chose those. More over, I don’t endorse them. Also, I’d love if they got rid of their top banner, which just takes up unnecessary space. If a person likes the app, they can click on the link below the icons.

It looks like this app was just designed to drive traffic to their other properties and not to enhance the Facebook user experience. For this reason, I promptly uninstalled the application.

Uninstalled

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Family Tree

Dec 06, 2007 in 3 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun, Utility

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

iFamily_1196839640937

Family Tree by iFamily, Inc. is a native Facebook application for managing your family tree. Family memebers need not have Facebook accounts unlike some other similar apps for Facebook.

Facebook - Family Tree_1196840232078

They offer a simple interface to add family members. As you see, in addition to adding existing Facebook members, you can create placeholders for those that don’t yet have Facebook accounts (seems like everyone will someday!) Every time you add a family member, it sends out a notice to your news feed.

Facebook - Erik Osterman_1196900253435

I did run into a problem, however, after entering in my father using the above form. The Family Tree tab still didn’t recognize that I added my father. I suspect this is because they asked me to enter the relation (free form text) as opposed to selecting the relation from some sort of Drop Down list.

Instead, I should probably have used this form to enter my father, but I don’t see why they have 2 different forms as it leaves room for confusion.

Facebook - Family Tree_1196840360140

My suggestion is that the checkbox “Check here if the relative is deceased” should only display the Death input boxes when checked. Death is such a negative word, the less it appears when talking about family, the better.

Family members you add appear under a the “Family Tree” tab in a nice tree that you can drag around (Flash). You can elect to have 6 of your family members prominently featured on your profile.

image

As a bonus, I think it also supports multiple concurrent wives.

There are some more community centric features as well, such as posting family news, browsing family albums, public/private groups for discussion, and a search engine that lets you search for other family members by name and heritage.The application is actively being developed, so expect more features to come. Also, they’re growing incredibly fast so expect some hiccups.

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IOU

Dec 06, 2007 in 4 Stars, Facebook, Money, Utility

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Rating: ★★★★☆

*BANG BANG BANG BANG* and *KKKAAA-CHING* and take their money

Tired of your friends, roommates, co-workers and poker buddies borrowing money from you and not paying you back? $13 for lunch, $20 for dinner, $11 for a movie ticket. They promise to pay you back and even tell you a sad little tale of how they forgot their wallet at home, or were supposed to get paid yesterday but won’t until Monday. If they’re a good friend you probably don’t really mind. You also probably trust them a lot and know they’re good for it. You’ll get your money back for sure — right?

Unless they pay you back within a few days or you’ve loaned them enough cash to put a down payment on a car the chances are that you’re going to forget. If you don’t forget, they will. Or you both will. There’s even a possibility they’ll remember paying you back and you won’t remember that part. Uh-oh.

Before you lose your friends over some petty cash go add IOU to your Facebook profile. IOU by Sanjay Madan, another Harvard Alumni, will keep you from having to bust noses and break legs by keeping both you and your friends up to date on any outstanding financial transactions. Anytime you dole out some money log into Facebook and visit the IOU canvas page where you can enter the date, the amount, borrower’s name, and the reason. If you invite your friend IOU will create a link between both of you and will display to them the shared transaction so they know exactly how much they owe you and why. Once the debt is repaid you can simply clear out the transaction which removes it from both of your profiles.

IOU Ledger

Not only is IOU great for keeping track of the money you’re owed, but it can also help you keep track of the money you owe. If you’re frequently dipping your hands into your friend’s petty cash drawer this is a good way of making sure you maintain that relationship so when you’re down on your luck that register will still be open.

The Result

IOU is an incredibly useful app for Facebook. Not only will your wallet be happier, but IOU will help you keep those Facebook buddies by not letting the bitterness of debt and deceit come between you.

IOU Buddy

The app consists of only two pages, the ledger, and an invite page. It’s easy to use and beautifully designed. It also does not send out pesky and annoying notifications that make your friends secretly hate you. Those Harvard kids really know what they’re doing. For an extra bit of charm there’s also a little icon buddy in the top corner that randomly spits out satirical comments now and then. He’s not very functionally useful, but he takes take the edge off tracking finances a bit.

One thing noticeably lacking from IOU though is the ability to track payments. You can clear a debt in its entirety but there currently is no way to register or track partial payments. IOU is relatively new though and just starting to be published in the Application Directory so perhaps with a little bit of time we’ll see more functionality. Hopefully not at the cost of its simplicity though.

Now I can finally keep track of all those times Erik borrows lunch money.

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Export Photos

Dec 04, 2007 in 4 Stars, Facebook, Photo, Utility

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Export Photos by Calen Michael Fretts allows you to download all your photos or photos that others have tagged you on Facebook as a ZIP archive. I like this because My Photos are my photos; I should be able to easily download them and take them with me. There’s not much to the application and that’s exactly what I would expect. It does what it says it does and nothing more.

  • Step 1: Select whether you want to export photos in your own albums, or photos you appear in.
  • Step 2: Select the album you want to export (in the case of my albums).
  • Step 3: Download the album.

Minor Usability Issues

  • Cannot download a single archive with all photos you’ve been tagged in. Instead, you must download each archive individually.
  • No thumbnail previews of the albums or link to open up album.
  • Formatting a bit rough around the edges; it could be cleaned up with some minor CSS enhancements.

Installed

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Who’s Online

Dec 03, 2007 in 3 Stars, Alerts, Facebook, Utility

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

So you wanna see who’s online?

Who’s Online is not perfect, but it works well enough in determining who was online and when.

You won’t be able to get a real-time list of people that are currently online, but you can see who has been active in the past few minutes. The application will fade out your friends the longer they have been away from Facebook.

The profile box is slow to update (but it does update). Clicking on ‘See All’ will update your list.

One minor complaint I have is the application will spam your mini-feed every time it updates your list. But that’s easy to fix in Facebook’s edit apps page.

I currently have it installed and am still debating it’s usefulness. It’s worth installing and checking out for yourself.

Who’s Online Facebook Application

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More Friends

Nov 30, 2007 in 4 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun, Utility

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Rating: ★★★★☆

More Friends by Chris Lee helps you find the most common 2nd degree friends in your social network.

How does it work?
It’s simple. This application will get a list of all your friends’ friends (second degree friends) and count who appeared the most. You can then use the application to discover those common friends that are not on your list. However, there’s one catch: You’ll have to get your friends to add this application, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to find their friend lists.

Facebook - Mutual FriendsI really like this idea. Facebook already does it to an extent, but only shows you friends you have directly in common when you view a particular person’s profile (see picture). If you have tons of friends, this could be tedious and you may never realize that some of your friends are mutual. More over, if many of your friends share a common friend, there’s a good chance you might know that common friend too. Unfortunately, More Friends is limited by Facebook’s FBQL restrictions on pulling friend lists only of those that have the application installed. This is awesome for More Friends (since it forces you to invite everyone you know), but too bad for me, because I can’t go about inviting my friends to install every application I test. And mind you, I test a lot of apps! I compliment them for being so up front about this from the get go, even before installing the application. To kick the wheels, I invite a few of my close friends that are used to my Facebook request spam.

I wait a few minutes for the app to update, as it appears that it does not get updated in real-time.. When it does update, I have new results under the “More Friends” tab.

Facebook - More Friends Found

Sure enough, it found a friend Rusty that I haven’t yet added to my contacts. Caveats aside, I think this is a great tool for finding lost contacts. I am tempted to invite spam everyone, to see who’s on Facebook that I haven’t yet befriended.

Installed

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The 12 Walls of Facebook — Part 3

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

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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.

 

 

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The 12 Walls of Facebook — Part 2

Nov 28, 2007 in 4 Stars, Chat, Facebook, Messaging, Photo, Utility, Video

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FunWall

Rating: ★★★★☆

FunWall Facebook Application We’ve gone over Super and Advanced, now it’s time for something Fun. Well I thought “Fun” was just another adjective the marketing department threw in front of “Wall” to get people to install it… But you know what? It does have some fun elements.

The interface is quite simple and clean, you have a button for normal posts and a few other options like Photo, Video, Graffiti and a Slideshow…

Funwall Facebook Application Screenshot

Now here’s where the “Fun” comes in… Adding a photo here has more than what you would think. After you upload your photo, you can edit it. There’s a bunch of effects to choose from like shine, glitter, hearts, thought bubbles. You can add other things such as horns, mustache, buck teeth, pig noses and much more.

FunWall also provides you with a graffiti option to draw on the pics you upload so you too can be the new Perez Hilton.

Videos can only be added from YouTube, though this seems to be the norm. The “Fun” they added to videos is simple… they let you theme your video by putting a border around it. They have a dozen or so to choose from — my favorite is the old school 70′s tv set border.

It’s easy to see why Slide applications have become so popular. This one is worth checking out… it’s got great features and it isn’t too spamy.

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Best Wall

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Best Wall Facebook Application Hmmm… this wall is called the Best Wall. Though I think a better name for it would have been Definately NOT the Best Wall or Worst Wall.

Try to think of the default Wall by Facebook… now take away all the features, like wall-to-wall, links to write on friends wall, message, DELETE. Oh ya and I forgot to mention, there’s no way for any of your friends to write on your wall.

Best Wall Facebook Application Screenshot
Ummmmmm… where is the text box and the post button?

To sum up, don’t waste your time. (the rating below should be considered -1 star).

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Hot

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Hot Facebook Application Not Hot Wall, just Hot.

This wall reminds me a little of FunWall… but with all the fun removed.

You can do stuff like add Photos, Videos, etc., but it’s a pain in the ass to do so. When you try to add a photo (or video) it first prompts you to select from a list of either photos or videos. If I clicked “Add a Photo”, why would I then want to select from a random list of photos?

On this page you can click “Upload a Photo” which will upload it into their photo mix for everyone to select from. No thanks.

If you do decide to go through with it and complete the process, it prompts you to blast it out to all your friends (all are selected by default). All I wanted to do was upload a photo to my wall. Grrrr…

I don’t see why you’d want to install this one when there are much better walls out there. This wall is lacking in features, spamy, annoying and tries to get you to install their other Facebook apps. Avoid!

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Friendly Search

Nov 27, 2007 in 4 Stars, Facebook, Utility

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Rating: ★★★★☆

Facebook - Friendly Search_1196190145812

Friendly Search by Heiko Waechter and Jason Smale aims to improve the way you manage all your existing friends by filtering, sorting and searching. It’s not an improved Friend Finder application, as one might interpret their description.

Facebook - Friendly Search_1196190441859

Immediately after signing in, I’m impressed with its clean presentation. The application is designed in Flash, with a little bit of little eye-candy like fading and flashing. Everything is accomplished on a single page with no page reloading.

Features:

  1. Sort by
    1. First Name
    2. Last Name
  2. Filter by Network
    1. Drop down list of all your networks and your friends’ networks
  3. Filter by Country
    1. Drop down list all distinct countries in your network of friends
  4. Filter by Sex
    1. Male
    2. Female
    3. All
  5. Search by Name
  6. View Mode
    1. Small icons
    2. Medium icons
    3. Medium icons with details

I’m going to keep the application installed. In all honesty, even the existing Facebook Friend List feature is one I use irregularly, but next time I need to lookup one of my friends I’ll probably use Friendly Search.

Installed

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The 12 Walls of Facebook — Part 1

Nov 27, 2007 in 4 Stars, Chat, Dating, Facebook, File Sharing, Just For Fun, Messaging, Photo, Utility, Video

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If you have a Facebook account, you’ve probably noticed the handful of different wall applications. It’s not uncommon to see a handful of them on the same Facebook profile.

Facebook provides you with a wall by default. So what makes these “Super” or “Advanced” walls so “Super” and “Advanced”? Lets take a look…


The Wall

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Wall Facebook Application This is the default wall created by Facebook. By default (unless you removed it), it’s on your profile. The Wall allows you post text, no html or bbc (bulletin board code). You can’t post images or YouTube videos, but you can attach items such as a link and can create a video from your webcam.

Other applications have the ability to tie into The Wall and extend it’s ability. Though, from what I’ve seen, most addons are vampire hugs and other crap you probably don’t care about.

If you like it plain, this is the wall for you.


Super Wall

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Super Wall Facebook ApplicationThis one has to be better, right? It is named Super Wall after all. The 16 million people that have it installed sure seem to think so.

Besides all the features The Wall provides, Super Wall allows you to attach photos, YouTube videos and even music (though you have to install another app to listen to it).

Photos can be added to the wall from your Facebook photo galleries, you can upload, or provide the URL to an image on the web. There’s also an option to draw Graffiti.

Videos can only be attached from YouTube or Google Video, which I guess is ok since everyone uses YouTube anyway.

Though I do have a very serious complaint about this application, which affected it’s rating… This is the spammiest app I’ve encountered on Facebook. I’m beginning to think maybe this app has so many users, not because it’s so great, but because it Super Spams everyone you know.

Upon install, it asked me to invite friends with all of my friends selected by default. Then it added an additional item to my news feed asking people to come and write on my wall.

When I created a test post on my own wall, I accidentally blasted it out to all my friends Super Wall’s. (Everybody is selected by default). In addition to accidentally writing a test message on everybody’s wall, it posted a message in their mini-feed saying they got a new post on their Super Wall.

This means not only did I post on all of my friends’ Super Walls, but all of their friends got messages in their mini-feeds saying I did so. F’n great…

Super Wall Facebook Application Arrrggg!!

A quick browse of the Super Wall Message Boards will reveal a lot of other users angry at this application. *danger*

Install at your own risk. But if you do install this app… make sure you uncheck the mini-feed option!


Advanced Wall

Rating: ★★★★☆

Advanced Wall Facebook Application The Advanced Wall operates almost exactly like The Wall, but gives you an “Advanced Editor” option. This advanced editor is a WYSIWYG / Rich Text editor. You can change your font, color, height, embed links, emoticons, images, YouTube videos, Flash and even HTML.

You can even import all your posts from your old Facebook wall.

Advanced Wall also lets your friends write private messages on your wall. It is highly configurable and allows you to change a number of settings, like the number of posts on your wall, number of posts per page, a lot of privacy settings and you can even have new post notifications sent via sms to your phone.

If you like the way the original Facebook Wall operates and want a little more functionality, this is a good choice.

 

 

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