Poke vs. SuperPoke! vs. X Me

Dec 06, 2007 by Joel Thoms :: 3 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun, Messaging


Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Facebook’s Poke isn’t even considered an application though you’ll find it under all of your friend’s profile pictures. It has only one option: Poke.

Facebook Poke

Nobody really uses it because it’s not worth using.



Rating: ★★★½☆

SuperPoke! Facebook Application SuperPoke! is an application written to replace Facebook’s Poke.

It has some cool features like “Type Mode” (lets you type your friends names) and “Select Mode” (shows you a list of all your friends).

SuperPoke! Facebook Application Screenshot If you have Top Friends installed, you can “mass SuperPoke!” your top friends with an quick click.

Some of the actions offer additional functionality like the “give flowers” screenshot on the right.

SuperPoke! also lets you disable email notifications in their settings. This is a very nice feature since most apps don’t ask you your preferences and just blast notifications out to you every way possible.

SuperPoke! has 60 actions (and some premium) that come with cute little icons for you to annoy your friends with.

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X Me

Rating: ★★★☆☆

X Me Facebook Application X Me is another Poke replacement.

X Me functions similarly to SuperPoke!. X Me has less default actions compared to SuperPoke!, but they let you type in your own action. So if you wanna knee-bite somebody, you can.

They also let your set your poke as private so it won’t show in your friends mini-feed.

I still don’t like applications that default send to ALL your friends, and this app is one of them. They provide you with an “unselect all” button, but I’d rather have it default to none and give me the option to ‘select all’.

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I liked SuperPoke! slightly more than X Me, which is why I gave it an extra half star rating. I liked the features it had and also liked that SuperPoke! didn’t default check all my friends. They’re both pretty similar and worth checking out.

Family Tree

Dec 06, 2007 by Erik Osterman :: 3 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun, Utility

Rating: ★★★☆☆


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.


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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Facebook Email Notifications Actually Useful Now

Dec 06, 2007 by Chad Boyda :: Facebook

Now for an Important Message

If you haven’t already noticed it appears that Facebook made a minor but significantly useful change to Facebook email notifications today. One that makes them actually useful.

In the olden times, i.e. yesterday, you would get an email notifying you that XXXXX has sent you a message. What you didn’t get was the actual message! Much to the frustration of many of us, you would have to click the link contained in the email just to read the message. Not a very big deal, but if you receive a lot of messages daily it can be rather cumbersome and irritating, especially for those unimportant messages that end up costing you twice as much time.

No Longer Fat Free

After listening to us gripe for the past year Facebook has finally put the meat back in messages. Now when someone sends you a message on Facebook and you receive the email notification it will actually contain the contents of the message. DYJSWITYS?! Yeah — that’s right. The actual message. You still have to log in to reply though. Oh and it works for Wall posts too!

Facebook Email Notifications Now Contain Messages

This is a great enhancement for mobile users too. Now you can stay up to date with your messages via email notifications to your phone.

Thank you Facebook!


Dec 06, 2007 by Chad Boyda :: 4 Stars, Facebook, Money, Utility

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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What Type of Person do you Attract?

Dec 06, 2007 by Erik Osterman :: 2 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

What Type of Person do you Attract by Froonie fills you in on the kind of person attracted to you based on your likes and dislikes. Simply fill out 9 questions and it will tell you who you attract.

Facebook - What Type of Person do you Attract-_1196971449926

It turns out, I attract Artsy Fartsy people. Perhaps, but never really dated that many.

Facebook - What Type of Person do you Attract-_1196971138983

Overall, I am disappointed with the app. I expected it to work more like a Hot or Not app, but for characteristics. For example, you would specify if you’re a Nerdy or Artsy person, then view profiles of other members and rank if you find them attractive or not. When you check back after a couple of days, you could then see who finds you attractive. What I like about this idea is there’s nothing overly negative with it. Unlike Hot or Not, where you’re most likely voted ugly, an app of this nature will just give you positive feedback of the types of people you attract. Unfortunately, the app did not work this way, so I find the classifications entirely arbitrary, which isn’t as fun to me.



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Mark Zuckerberg apologizes for Facebook Beacon

Dec 05, 2007 by Chad Boyda :: Facebook

After the crushing wave of bad press from bloggers, journalists, and nervous brand managers this week over Facebook Beacon, founder & CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has publicly apologized over Facebook’s handling of the ’07 Beacon Crisis. In a last ditch attempt to save face (ziiing!) Zuckerberg took this morning to write to the people who matter the most, Facebook’s users. Published on the social network’s main blog you can read it in all its glory but to sum it up Zuckerberg basically says Facebook handled things very poorly and can and will do better. He apologizes for Facebook not reacting fast enough to the outcry (more about that below) and announces that Facebook has now enabled a way to completely opt-out of Beacon.

For those of you sitting here scratching your head wondering what the hell Beacon is, you’re not alone. Despite the outcry of a very loud minority that consists mostly of media publicists and PR managers over the potential privacy invasions of Beacon most users have never even heard of Beacon and don’t care. A recent poll on Facebook showed that only a minor 29% of Facebook’s users had any clue what Beacon was or does. Regardless though, and for the better of everyone, you can now choose to not participate in the feature you had no idea you were participating in. To opt-out of Beacon simply go here and disable it.

How Zuckerberg Stole Christmas

Beacon was a feature of Facebook’s new Social Ads movement to enable sharing of information and activities of Facebook users outside of Facebook. Its opt-out features were apparently not up to snuff though as they would still submit to Facebook your activities even when you declined to share them or had logged out of Facebook completely. This upset many users to the point where some even said Facebook was ruining Christmas by sharing purchases of gifts bought by users on third party sites with their friends on Facebook. Ouch. When someone points fingers at you and says you’ve ruined Christmas you know the game is over.

Before you get too Grinchy though just opt-out and we can all move on. Facebook made a mistake. A big mistake. But they’ve made a lot of great things too — let’s not forget that.


Dec 05, 2007 by Joel Thoms :: 3 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Likeness is one of those super simple no-brainer applications. You install it, take a 15 second quiz and it tells you which of your friends you are most like.

The simplicity of the app makes it fun and easy to use, with very little investment of your time.

There are a few things that are annoying. The application makes me feel like it was quickly written with the intention of marketing their Super Wall. After every quiz, the app will prompt you to invite your friends… and the interface looks like it was designed by a South American spider monkey. But hey… it works.

Likeness Facebook Application
Hey Jamie, we’re “Twins”!!!

The quizes are quick and fun, featuring a single question and 10 answers to be ordered from best to worst.

Example: Pet Peeves (penny pinchers, emo, stubbornness, bad drivers, people who flake, rudeness, poor hygiene, excessively flirty, indecisiveness, messiness)

Most are fun to take and you’ll quickly find many friends that have already taken them. But some just won’t make sense for their best to worst ordering.

This app is worth checking out… chances are, your friends already have.

Update – Dec 5 2007 6:40pm

This application will spam notifications to all your friends (that have it installed) of your “likeness”.

This is just from one of their tests…

Likeness Faceboook Application Spam

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Dec 05, 2007 by Chad Boyda :: 4 Stars, Dating, Facebook, Food and Drink

Rating: ★★★★☆

Everyone Needs a Hug!

Hugs Monster

Hugs by Hugsalot Inc (Brett Keintz, Robert Fan, and Dan Ackerman-Greenberg) is about as simple of an application as they get. But that’s the ingeniousness of it. Hugs are universal, and everybody needs a hug now and then. Hugs for Facebook helps deliver those hugs by sending virtual hugs to your friends profiles.

It works like this. Add Hugs to your profile and select the friends you wish to hug from the Hug Friends tab. Click send and voila! That’s the magic of hugs. Anyone can give them. And anyone can use this application.

Hugs goes a little bit further than real hugs though by keeping track of all the hugs you’ve sent, and all the hugs you’ve received. But when it comes to hugs, who’s keeping score anyways? Your friends receive their hugs as requests and others will see who you’ve hugged in your Facebook News Feed. There’s also a profile box that shows how many hugs you’ve received — maybe this is to earn those lonely profiles some sympathy hugs?

Hugs Request

The Result

Hugs is a great application for Facebook, it’s so simple everyone can use it, there’s no learning curve to figure out how to hug someone. It’s just human nature. Better yet it won’t lead to any possibly embarrassing situations like the KissMe app that can land you into some steamy trouble if you’ve got a jealous mate. So go brighten someone’s day, or even just your own and give someone a hug! Hug your friends, hug your family, hug your lover, hug your crush, or hug a lot of strangers like the guy in the FREE HUGS campaign video. It doesn’t matter.

The only problem with Hugs is that you will probably see an “Error while loading page from Hugs” message a lot because too many people are trying to spread the love. I experienced this a lot trying to send hugs. Some people are hug hogs! Just keep re-trying.

Also, can someone please explain to me why Hugs is listed under the Food and Drinks category of the Application Directory? Seriously — wtf?

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Dec 04, 2007 by Erik Osterman :: 4 Stars, Dating, Facebook, Politics

Rating: ★★★★☆

iThink Logo

iThink by Raymond Rouf, Himanshu Baweja (and 5 other people) polls the world (e.g. Facebook) about their opinions. After completing the polls, you can compare how you voted with your friends or the entire FB community. If that doesn’t get your attention, maybe this will: if you submit the most popular opinion in any 24 hour period you will win $100 USD and 2 other participants selected at random are awarded $50 for agreeing/disagreeing. Not too bad for a few seconds of your day.

Two ways to win: If the opinion you express is voted most popular by the iThink Facebook community in any given 24-hour period, you will be awarded $100. In addition, one lucky winner will be chosen from the pool of everyone who agreed/disagreed with that opinion and awarded $50. Two new winners every day!

Contests start and end every day at 12 midnight GMT (4 pm PDT).

more details…

After installing, just start voting. It’s that easy. How many opinions you chime in on is up to you.

iThink Opinions

Facebook - iThink Stats Once you’ve completed and click finish, it prompts you to invite more friends to compare similarities. This is entirely optional. If you want to just cut to the chase, you can click on the “Leaderboard” or “Opinion” links up top. There are also thousands of more opinion polls you can participate in. Each poll has statistics that break down how people voted by demographics such as the age groups and genders.

iThink Opinions

Each opinion comes with its own Wall where you can discuss the opinion in further detail, maybe even convince others to agree with your stance.

Facebook - iThink Discussion


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Are You Normal?

Dec 04, 2007 by Chad Boyda :: 5 Stars, Facebook, Just For Fun

Rating: ★★★★★

Just when I thought I had taken enough personality quizzes on Facebook to last me well into 2008 I stumbled upon one of the most refreshing ones yet. Climbing the charts in the Recently Popular Applications Directory with an impressive 30k DAU (daily active users) it’s easy to see why so many users were too weak to resist its subjective name that begs the question, Are You Normal?

Are You Normal? Results

What is normal and how do we define it? Well Kinzin, the developers of Are You Normal, hold that answer as a tightly guarded secret algorithm. Touting such black magic mathematical terms as “curve”, and shrouded in mysterious values that change as Are You Normal “spreads” we are left with nothing to do but close one eye and wince at the mercy of our score.

There’s never been a more meaningful way to waste your time.

Sigh — are they ever so right? Are You Normal is an absolute waste of your time, but a very good one! To find out how normal you are you take one of the many available “quibbles” which are mini 5 question surveys with multiple choice answers and comment boxes. They are so mini that you can easily digest a quibble in any sitting. No attention deficit here! Each question is carefully numbered and tabbed so you can progress through them or jump around at your discretion.

Are You Normal? Facebook User

The questions range in diversity but are usually relative to their quibble’s topic. The default quibble is the focal “Are you normal?” topic which asks broad ranging questions on environmentalism, politics, love, sex, and religion. The other quibbles currently available cover such topics as, “Habits”, “Conspiracy Theorist”, “Kids”, and of course, “Facebook User”. New quibbles are added weekly but this doesn’t seem to keep up with the thirst of Are You Normal’s users who beat a constant rallying cry for more quibbles in the forums.

After completing each quibble you receive a score relative to that quibble and an overall constant score for all quibbles. The score is presented as a percentage value between 1% and 99% reflecting how “normal” you are. There’s also a friend invitation page that allows you to share your score with your friends and invite them to take that quibble so you can compare scores.

Are You Normal? Invite

Kinzin claims it is impossible to score beyond a 99% “normal” because that would just be too creepy and weird thus creating a “paradox”. They also say you can’t score a 0% either because if you’re able to log on to Facebook you must be a human and well, that’s pretty “normal”.

The Result

Congratulations, your personality is 36% normal. Everyone has a right to be weird. You just abuse the privilege.

What they don’t tell you is that you will feel like a sad and alienated misunderstood blogger when you receive a 36% after completing your first quibble. Sob. That didn’t stop me though, I kept surveying my way up to an average 65%. Yay — I’m just like you! Much of this increase was due to the “Conspiracy Theorist” quibble where unless you are a complete nut job like these folks you can’t possibly score low.

After you finish drying your eyes from tears of laughter at the above video go add Are You Normal to your profile and let’s see just how normal you are! The results are sad, aren’t they? Chin up! There’s more quibbles on their way, and if that doesn’t make you normal you can always suggest your own, which if accepted will make you 100% normal. Oh wait — 100% is abnormal, right?

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