• MenuTab Pro for OSX - Review

    Love it or hate it, Facebook is popular and the vast majority of people here probably have a Facebook account.

    As an ex-pat who has lived in Aus for the last 8 years, Facebook has becomes a communication means for keeping family and friends updated back in my country of birth. I can post photos of kids and special occasions for friends and family to view at will without having to worry about inadvertently missing someone off an email.

    FIPLAB have quite a few apps, some of which seem to specialise in adding functionality to your menu bar including social networking, translators, converters and email access like Gmail. MenuTab is such an application, the Facebook Version of these apps, giving you access to Facebook in your menu bar, preloaded without the waiting time of having to open Safari, wait for it to load the page and see what's happening. It's instant, and I mean instant. When you have an activity on Facebook (customisable), it flashes red and if you're doing nothing or feel like having a look, you can click on the MenuTab icon to open Facebook. In combination with iOS notifications, it's allowed me to completely cull my email notifications, which have turned out to be something of an annoyance with the doubling of notifications if you've already viewed these using your mobile. In essence, it's OSX notifications for Facebook with a Facebook app.

    There are two versions of MenuTab, a free version and the paid version which sells on the app store for $1.99. The paid version removes advertising from the FaceBook sidebar and this alone makes it worth the $2.

    As mentioned previously, the notifications functionality are completely customisable so you have some flexibility with what you can do on the application.

    Fortunately for those who are worried about bandwidth while they are on mobile cards, you can set refresh rates to ensure you don't kill your data allowance in the background but for most using broadband, this shouldn't be an issue. The balance of the options are those that you typically see on most software applications (hot keys, start up at login).

    Overall, it's actually a really good package considering the $2 price tag. They do have a free version but I'd recommend just spending the $2 required for the pro version and getting the upgrade, if not just for the advertising costs. Oddly enough, there are in app purchase options in the free version but the sum of these seems to eclipse the total cost of the free package so use the free package solely for evaluating and then delete it when you're ready to upgrade.

    In terms of annoyances, there aren't many. About the only one I've picked up to date is that the window closes when you start uploading an album. It will continue uploading in the background, but you'd expect to see the window remain open. It's not a major issue, because you can simply push the hotkey or click the icon to open it again, but I guess I'd like this to be configurable as it doesn't work for me personally.

    I'm not sure I can say much more about this, except try it. If you're a regular Facebook user, for $2 you can't go wrong.

    About the author

    Athol Hill is the Practice Lead for Stonebridge Systems, an SAP & OpenText implementation partner specialising in web and content management implementations and strategy.

    He is a certified SAP and Project Management Professional with a large number of implementations spanning the globe including Australasia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. When he isn't kitesurfing or spending time with his family, Athol writes part time for Mactalk on a range of subjects including iOS/OSX in the workplace, bleeding edge, product reviews and anything Mac. If you have something new and exciting to review, feel free to get in touch. He can be contacted via twitter on @themissionman or email on athol.hill@mactalk.com.au. Opinions noted here are Athol's own and aren't any official policy of position of his employer.
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