Tech Talk: Exploring the Facebook universe |

Tech Talk: Exploring the Facebook universe

Dear Ernie,

I like hanging out in I can keep tabs on what all of my friends and family members have been doing, but frankly many of the applications are pretty lame. Are there any Facebook apps that are remotely useful or interesting?


Facebook Fancier


Facebook Fancier, I agree there are plenty of silly applications living in the Facebook universe. However, I’ve explored this universe and found several applications that are actually worthy of your consideration.

fbCal: This application collates Facebook’s birthday and event data, then creates iCalendar format messages from it that can be read by other calendar programs like Outlook, Google Calendar and Apples iCal ” letting you share the data with your desktop or online calendar.

Picnik: Like dinking around with the Facebook photo albums? Picnik is an online picture editing service that assists in cropping, rotating, resizing and color correcting your images in the browser. Importantly, this Facebook image-editing tool gives you direct access to all the images uploaded to your profile ” without leaving the site.

Texas Hold ‘Em Poker: Not every app has to be productive to be good. With approximately five and a half million devotees, this poker application is certainly the one to put your virtual money on. It’s modern and colorful looking and features easy-to-follow onscreen prompts. Texas Hold ‘Em Poker is free and participants play with tokens (instead of greenbacks) against other Facebook users. It’s easy to be anonymous and the program is a great way to hone your gambling chops before poker night with the gang or hitting the real casinos.

More Apps: Another great resource for Facebook is the Blackberry and iPhone applications. If you own either of these devices, having the app on your phone will allow you fairly full access to the site from anywhere.

Everyone is looking for ways to save $$ this holiday season, but don’t skimp on the RAM (memory). If your current computer is seeming slow, adding ram is a great way to add some pep to its step.

Often this (and some routine maintenance) will be enough to put off getting a new computer. If you still need or want a new computer, don’t worry about the processor speeds, but do get the most RAM you can afford. Instead of blindly bumping up the megahertz, adding RAM almost always gives your computer a more noticeable performance boost for the same price (especially if you’re going from like 1GB to 3GB). It will allow you to multitask more and run crazier programs without dragging your computer down.

For advanced users, getting ram from a discount seller (instead of manufacturer) and adding it to your new computer can often save you hundreds of dollars.

Music maniacs take heed! When you hear a song and ponder who the recording artist is, Shazam is there with the answer. Hold your iPhone to the music and in seconds Shazam will tell you both the artist and the track name. This must-have free application will even download the song through iTunes on your iPhone.

Kings Beach resident Ernie Dambach is a self-admitted computer geek who enjoys helping others navigate their way through the digital world. His computer and networking company Tahoe Tech Group serves small and medium businesses, as well as the home computer users throughout the Tahoe Truckee region. Log onto, or call (530) 550-0999.

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