"Better Facebook" will soon be known as "Social Fixer"!


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Better Facebook has been under development and running strong for almost 2 years, but it will soon get a name change, as required by Facebook. The new brand will be Social Fixer. (Why the change? Read this blog post explaining it). Spread the news!

Very soon, I’ll be officially announcing the new name and web site, along with a new version of the app that has been re-branded and improved. For now, enjoy the new logo below, created by BFB-user Jennifer Pictorian.

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Note: I know that not everyone loves the new name, and not everyone loves the logo. Keep in mind that I am a guy who does this in his spare time, not a company with a marketing budget or design staff. I do the best I can, and I think it turns out pretty well, thankyouverymuch Smile. Additional help is always welcome, and helpful feedback is always appreciated!

Matt Kruse

PS – I’m aware of a number of new problems caused by Facebook’s recent code changes, including tabs not working correctly, some posts being hidden, filters disappearing, friend tracker stuck on loading, and errors when popping up Options. I’m working as hard as I can to resolve these issues!

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Manage Your Friend Subscriptions To See ALL Their Updates


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2133269326[1]After FB’s recent changes, you may have noticed that you aren’t seeing all of your friends’ updates in your feed. This is because FB defaults to showing “Most Updates” for your friends instead of “All Updates”. Fortunately, there is a way to change this for each friend without visiting their individual profiles.

Many users think they have to visit each of their friends’ profiles to change their subscription settings to “All Updates”, but there is an easier way. On your profile page, click the Subscriptions link in the left column, then click “Friend Subscriptions” in the header. This will list all of your friends, and your subscription status for each. Friends who you’ve hidden from your news feed will show the “Subscribe” button.

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(FYI, the screenshot of my profile above has been anonymized using Better Facebook‘s “Anonymize Screen” function found in the Account dropdown under the arrow in the upper right of the header bar – try it out!).

You can also go directly here to get to this screen in your profile: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?sk=subscribedto&filter=1

Now you can hover over the “Subscribed” button for each friend and this menu will show to select which updates you want to see from this friend:

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For each friend, you can choose “All Updates” by clicking on it. The change is made and saved immediately – there is no “save” button. When subscribed to “All Updates” you will see a new circle icon on the Subscribed button.

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You can quickly do this for each of your friends, and you should start seeing more posts in your news feed soon. If you want to get really specific about which posts you see from each friend, you can also choose from the update types lower in the popup.

I’m exploring the possibility of providing a feature in Better Facebook to automatically convert all friends to “All Updates”, or provide some even more efficient way for users to change their friend subscription settings. Although this method shown is much faster than visiting each friends’ profile individually, it still takes more time than it should.

Keep in mind, your friends may not be seeing all your updates, because in their list you have defaulted to “Most Updates”. If you want your friends to be able to see everything you post, share this post so they can learn how to update their settings!

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Better Facebook 5.95 Release Notes


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5.95Better Facebook 5.95 is a patch release to fix some things broken by Facebook code changes and to add a few more options.

Click here to Install/Update from BetterFacebook.net

New

  • New Option: “Scroll the ticker down with the page rather than keeping it static” in the Layout tab. Defaults to enabled. This prevents the ticker from overlapping the panels added by Better Facebook.
  • New Option: “Prevent BFB from running when playing games on apps.facebook.com” in the Popular tab, under all the icons. Some users have rendering problems in games when BFB is running, so this option lets you disable BFB just when playing games.
  • Added a new story type to filters: Subscription notifications. These are stories about friends now allowing subscriptions, or friends subscribing to others’ updates.

Fixes

  • Auto-tabbing of application posts stopped working for some users because Facebook removed essential data from its source. The functionality started working again after the data returned to the source. I’ve put in a fix that should prevent this from being a problem in the future. 
  • Some stories were being marked as duplicate and hidden incorrectly.
  • When writing a birthday message using the new birthday widget dialog, pressing enter didn’t submit if you had the option enabled to use the comment button. This is fixed.

Updated

  • The Firefox add-on is now compatible with version 10.0a1.

To Do

  • Facebook continues to make changes at a rapid pace, and there are a few features that don’t work right or need revisited. I will continue to work on this.
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"Better Facebook" Is Getting A Name Change Soon!


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no_bfb2On Sep 9, 2011, I received an email from Facebook instructing me to stop using the domain BetterFacebook.net because it infringed on its trademark and might cause confusion to users. I was later instructed to stop using the name “Better Facebook” entirely, among other things. This post will explain why Better Facebook is being re-branded.

Summary

Here’s the executive summary… Facebook has instructed me to do the following:

  1. Stop using the domain BetterFacebook.net within 30 days (I can forward traffic to a new domain for 3 months)
  2. Change the name of Better Facebook to something else without using the words Facebook, Face, FB, Poke, Wall, or the Facebook logo in any form
  3. Change the name of the Better Facebook Page to match the app’s new name
  4. Stop using Mark Zuckerberg in any examples I have on my site
  5. Stop posting any screenshots of the Facebook UI unless I get written permission for each screenshot

So, this means that I need to completely re-brand Better Facebook and come up with a new name, new logo, and new web site. I must change all references to BFB in the web site, application, documentation, etc. In short, I have a ton of work to do.

So, in the next couple of weeks, Better Facebook will get a new name and web site. The existing Better Facebook Page will be retained but will have a name change. The application will still function exactly as before, just with a new name.

If you want to know some more details, read on…

A Few Details

On September 9th, I received this email from Facebook, instructing me to “immediately stop using betterfacebook.net and disable any site available at that address. This is actually a standard template that Facebook has emailed out to many web sites.

I followed up to make sure it was legitimate and to clarify exactly what was being requested of me. I got a follow-up email from someone who let me know that I was in violation of the site’s User Agreement, and pointed me to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities page which states:

You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665), or any confusingly similar marks, without our written permission.

I talked to someone at Facebook so I could understand exactly what was being requested of me, and to verify that I would try to comply with their requests. I talked to Susan Kawaguchi, and she was a very nice and polite woman. We talked for almost a half hour about this, and she explained to me why I had suddenly shown up on her radar and what exactly I needed to do to comply.

While I realize that I need to comply with Facebook’s requests, I wish there was a way to avoid the re-branding. They don’t seem to understand that “Better X” is a common naming scheme for apps that improve existing web sites. There are plenty out there – Better GMail, Better Amazon, Better Grooveshark, Better iGoogle, to name a few. I have even registered BetterGooglePlus.com in anticipation of creating an app to improve their site. Other sites welcome this kind of involvement from the developer community, but apparently this is not the case with Facebook.

Why Not Fight It?

I’ve had people suggest that I contact the EFF, or start a big campaign to protest Facebook, or try to collect thousands in donations to offset legal fees, because they feel like I am just being squashed by the “big guy”.

But that’s not really the case, here. They have some legitimate complaints. I do use the Facebook name in my own product name, and that may in fact be a trademark issue. Also, it may in fact cause some confusion in users about whether the Better Facebook app is part of or endorsed by Facebook. I use their logo, covered in my “Better” stamp, which I don’t really have permission to do. I understand some of their concerns (though others like forbidding screenshots seems like a bit much). I haven’t used their name or logo in an attempt to hijack their users or build a business by piggybacking off theirs. I just did what made sense, as a single lone developer hacking together an app. But now that Better Facebook has grown very popular, I see their concern.

I’m not going to bash Facebook. They do an amazing job solving lots of incredibly difficult problems while bringing a social networking site to almost a billion people worldwide. If they didn’t exist, neither would my application. They do have a duty to protect their trademarks, and to monitor the web for potentially infringing properties. My goal is not to make them look like the bad guy.

What’s Next?

question_mark_icon_blueglow12Better Facebook will soon be renamed. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to pick a new brand and web site to go with it, and I’m getting close. It takes a lot of work and thinking. Unfortunately, “Better Facebook” is kind of the ideal name because it hooks into an existing naming convention for apps, and describes its purpose accurately and succinctly. I’m sad to see the Better Facebook brand go.

I’ve asked for public opinion about a re-branding (see here and here and here and here, for example). I’m glad that I got hundreds of comments and ideas, but it’s hard to sort through all those ideas – especially when many just won’t work at all within Facebook’s requirements.

But, I am narrowing in on a new brand, and I am beginning work on re-designing everything. I may have to hire some help, and I may need to finally upgrade my hosting to support the attention and hits Better Facebook has gotten lately.

Stay Tuned For A New Brand

announcement2I’ll keep users informed as I switch to a new brand, so expect to see several announcements about it. My goal is to not lose any users in the switch, and to continue offering great features and functionality to the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy the Better Facebook application.

I appreciate all your support, and I hope to continue pushing out a great product for a long time to come. Meanwhile, if you want to help pitch in and donate to help support the project, buy me some caffeine to help me through the late nights, or to help offset the cost of hiring web design help and hosting costs, please do donate. With the popularity of Better Facebook, a little bit from a lot of people goes a long way Smile.

If you have any opinions or thoughts on all this, feel free to post to the Better Facebook Page wall. Thanks, and keep your eyes out for a new brand soon!

– Matt Kruse, author of Better Facebook

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Restore Facebook’s Chronological News Feed (No Top Stories)


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facebook_clockFacebook’s recent change to highlight “Top Stories” and put them at the top of your feed has irritated many users. Many simply want a chronological list of posts by their friends. Although FB doesn’t provide this option, you can get your chronological feed back using the Better Facebook browser extension!

To get started, make sure you have the current version of the Better Facebook browser extension installed. It should be at least 5.941. If you need to install or update, go to http://BetterFacebook.net to download.

If you want a 2-minute explanation of the feature, just watch the video!

How To Restore Facebook’s Chronological News Feed

Before Better Facebook, you would see a header like this at the top of your feed:

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followed by the stories that Facebook feel’s are most important to you. Down the page, you’ll see another header like:

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Your chronological list of posts will begin here.

By default, Better Facebook will automatically remove those headers and return all posts in your feed to chronological order! But if you want to disable this sorting of posts, you can easily do that by unchecking the feature in the Better Facebook options:

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The option to show or hide the triangle indicator on Top Stories can be found in the Posts tab of Options:

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Be sure to “Like” or “Share” this post to let your friends know how they can get their chronological feed back too!

If you have any questions or comments, the Better Facebook Page on Facebook is a user community of over 200,000 users. Check it out!

I hope this helps, and stay tuned for even more features, fixes, and helpful videos coming soon.

Matt Kruse, creator of Better Facebook

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Better Facebook 5.94 Release Notes


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5.94Better Facebook 5.94 is a patch release to fix some bugs and clean up a few messes caused by Facebook’s code changes!

Click here to Install/Update from BetterFacebook.net

Changes After Facebook Update

  • Facebook’s most recent updates have changed a number of things and broken some features. The following changes are a result of this recent Facebook update: 
    • Removed the option to force news feed to be “Most Recent” (since it no longer exists), and replaced it it with an option to force the news feed to be chronological! Enabling this option (the default is on) removes the different sections of posts like “Top Stories” or “Earlier Today” and returns you to a simple, chronological feed!
    • Hovering over some images wouldn’t show the enlarged preview. Fixed.
    • Added an “x” on the Live Ticker in the upper right when you hover over it, to easily hide it
    • Fixed auto-clicking of “Older Posts” which stopped working
    • Clicking Enter to submit a new comment on a story in the “Live Ticker” wouldn’t submit
    • Mark read after comment” stopped working and is now fixed
    • Added an option in Options->Posts to hide the “Top Story” triangle indicator in the upper left corner of posts

Other Changes

  • Changed the option to fix post timestamps to be enabled by default.

Fixes

  • Some posts were being inserted into streams where they shouldn’t be. This was caused by Facebook inserting hidden streams on other parts of the page, and Better Facebook finding them and putting them into the main stream.
  • Auto-removing of Recent Activity on profiles now works again after a Facebook code change stopped it from running.
  • Some users saw a blank space under the header when the option was selected to lock the header in place. This was a result of a Facebook code change and has been fixed.
  • Sometimes when posting to the BFB Page, the “Help” message would appear multiple times.
  • Some new post types were not staying “read” or “muted”.

To Do

  • Facebook’s new Timeline Profile has some glitches with Better Facebook enabled. I’m working on it.
  • For most users, the blue header bar now stays fixed whether you have the BFB option enabled or not. I will be changing this option to force it to be either fixed or floating.
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Better Facebook 5.92 Release Notes


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5.92Better Facebook 5.92 is a patch release to fix some bugs and clean up a few messes caused by Facebook’s code changes!

Click here to Install/Update from BetterFacebook.net

New

  • New options to hide “Groups”, “Apps”, and “Pages” sections of the new left navigation bar in Options->Layout
  • New “Hide” feature. Hovering over some elements on the page, like the “Find Friends” link in the header or the “live tickers” on game pages will show an “x” icon in the upper right. Click it to hide the selected area of the page. You can unhide elements in the new “Hidden” tab in Options
    hider
  • Added new filter type: “Posts to Pages
  • Added a number of new apps and games to the auto-tab list

Changes

  • Disabled the Friend Circles functionality because Facebook’s recent privacy changes broke everything. This will take considerable work to add back in.
  • When friends are on mobile devices in the chat list, the mobile icon will now be shown
  • Added a “click to expand” message on right sidebar pagelets that have been collapsed, because some users couldn’t figure out how to expand them
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  • Updated Firefox compatibility to 9.0a1

Fixes

  • Character counter in status update box was sometimes being shown more than once.
  • The “Live Feed” (aka “Happening Now”) ticker on the right was not being hidden after a Facebook code change.
  • On some pages, with “fixed header” enabled, the header would push all the way to the left side of the screen
  • Fixed the post timestamp formatting problems caused by a Facebook code change
  • Fixed the “mark as read after comment” option after a Facebook code change
  • When only 1 or 2 friends were on chat, the chat menu dropped below the bottom of the page, making it impossible to go offline, etc.
  • Post action icons were colliding with the new security-setting dropdown on posts from the user. Now, post action icons are shifted left to make room for the security-setting dropdown.
  • For some users, Games pages showed the game shifted down the page from the top
  • Left-column sections like “My Pages”, “My Events”, etc we badly formatted after Facebook changes
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How to Hide All Posts by User with Updated Facebook UI


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Facebook recently made a user interface change under the “x” that appears on each post in your news stream. If you’re looking for the “Hide all” option to avoid seeing any posts from certain friends, it’s gone! Here’s how to do it now…

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Simple – first, you have to click “Hide this post”. Then the post will be hidden and disappear, replaced by a list of options that include “Hide all by Username”. Click that, and all future posts from the user will be hidden from your news stream.

I have no idea why Facebook makes random changes like this and then provides no instructions or tips to users about where to find the functionality that many users have grown familiar with.

Please, Facebook, stop pissing off your users with stupid, unnecessary UI changes. Or at least give us some clue about where you’ve hidden things if you move them.

Thank you.

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Facebook Rolls Out New Left-Hand Navigation


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new_left_navFacebook is making changes to the left column! It looks like they are rolling out a new left column navigation scheme that attempts to give you quicker access to the pages and groups you access most. Are they copying Better Facebook? Maybe. Smile

According to a post on Mashable titled Facebook Begins Rolling Out New Left-Hand Navigation, the change adds sections for Pages, Groups, and Apps. Wow, just like Better Facebook! heh. It also includes a section for Favorites at the top, where you can in theory bookmark the things you use most often. See the example on the left.

Like all changes, the new look is rolling out in waves, so not everyone sees it yet.

These changes will surely break some of the built-in Better Facebook functionality, and require that I make changes to accommodate it. As soon as I see these changes on my account, I will start investigating the changes needed for Better Facebook to “play catch-up” to Facebook’s changes.

Stay tuned!

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How To Tab (or Un-Tab) Facebook App Posts


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frontiervilles-pioneer-trail[1]New applications and games get released on Facebook every day. When this happens, Better Facebook may not recognize the app, so its posts won’t automatically get sent to a tab like others. Fortunately, it’s easy to tab new apps!

When you hover over posts, icons appear in the upper right of the post. (If they don’t, make sure Options->Posts->”Show Post Action Icons on each post” is checked). When you find a post from an app that you want tabbed, click the “+” icon, as seen here:

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Your page will then refresh and posts from the app should be automatically added to tabs. If they don’t, make sure that Options->Popular->”Automatically move posts from Apps into their own tabs” is checked!

But what if you do NOT want some apps going to tabs? For example, Twitter. Un-tabbing an app is easy also! When you hover over tabs, an “x” icon will appear. Clicking this will close the tab and cause those posts to reappear in your home newsfeed.

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If you are wondering why tabs for applications appear sometimes but not others, perhaps this FAQ entry will help: Why do tabs for games sometimes appear and sometimes not?

Finally, if you want granular control, or you just want to check out how these choices are stored “under the hood”, you can find that in the Options->Filtering tab. Just make sure that the “Advanced Options Mode” checkbox is checked, otherwise you won’t see these fields!

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I hope this quick post helps you keep tabs on your tabs! Smile

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