capsule review

Scrapboy

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Scrapboy

I tested Scrapboy with Facebook (sorry, I didn't have a MySpace or Orkut account to test), and the app does a great job at bringing the site's major functions to its stripped-down interface. After downloading and installing the app, you enter your login information for the site you want to use, hit the "Sign In" button, and a small window loads. From that window, you can view and publish wall posts, view your photo galleries, access your Facebook inbox, see your events and groups... and, of course, poke people.

Your list of friends appears much like an IM buddy list would; mousing over a contact name brings up a menu that lets you chat with them, post on their wall, send them an e-mail message, view their photo albums... or, of course, poke them. You can also check a "Receive Updates" box to get a pop-up alert every time a selected friend changes their profile page at all.

Each time an event occurs on your Facebook page, you're alerted to it in real time. For example, when friends write on your wall, tag a photo of you, or log in to chat, a pop-up message appears in the lower right corner of your desktop that tells you what just happened. It wasn't long before I turned off these pop-up alerts in Scrapboy's Options menu; it was simply far too distracting to have the alerts popping up as frequently as they did. Your results may vary depending on the size of your friend list, and also depending on how often your social circle uses Facebook.

Scrapboy's chat front-end is a drastic improvement over Facebook's chat interface. Like a standalone IM client, chats appear in separate windows rather than Facebook's bare-bones, bottom-bar chat. If you spend a lot of time chatting on Facebook, I'd recommend downloading Scrapboy for that reason alone; it's a much better UI for managing and sending chat messages.

One small nit to pick: If you also check your social-networking site regularly--not just through Scrapboy--the app doesn't register what you've already seen by checking the sites directly. Once you log in, Scrapboy lists all events (photos you were tagged in, posts on your wall, etc.) that have occurred since the last time you logged in via Scrapboy, so it may alert you to events you already know about if you checked the site directly.

All in all, Scrapboy does a great job at what it claims to do: creating a streamlined desktop app that hooks into social networking sites to let you keep tabs on your friends' activity, update your own pages. And, of course, poke people.

However, depending on how regularly you want pop-up alerts describing your friends' every online move, you may want to jump into Scrapboy's Options menu and tweak the alert settings. The bottom line is that this is a must-have free app for anyone who chats on Facebook regularly; all the other features are icing on the cake.

-- Tim Moynihan

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Scrapboy

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