One of my gleanings this morning was Just Friends, a website that displays your Facebook contacts as a pile of photos. It seems an obvious trick; perhaps the most surprising thing is why you can’t already do this within Facebook itself (or perhaps you can and I have just missed it — to be fair there are already more bells and whistles than I care to take time to learn).
To see a photo that is buried, just hover over it. The scattering appears random each time you reload the site but I think each image has at least a corner visible. If you can’t spot the person you are looking for, you can start typing in the search box and the matching people are displayed in a neater grid, refined to a smaller and smaller group as you continue typing (so I know 89 people with a W in their name but I am the only one with a WU combination; hours of geeky fun!).
There are a few areas where it could perhaps be refined further. For example, you can click on a photo to zoom in on that person’s profile but the information is displayed in such a well-spaced format that you can only see a small portion on the screen (not good when you are using the photo pile to browse for people you haven’t been directly aware of for a while). Also, it would be neat to have some way to judge how long ago a profile was last updated. A fade to sepia might work, along with a date based filter that dynamically sorts through the photos in the same way as the search does.
Altogether though, despite some short-comings, Just Friends is an entertaining way of putting the face back into Facebook.