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Getting started with MenuTab for Facebook

This free Mac app may or may not feed your Facebook addiction.

If the Internet and Facebook specifically have become a distraction during your workday, MenuTab for Facebook may help you stay on target. This Mac app gives you quick access to Facebook from your Mac's menu bar, saving you from having to open a new browser tab or window. Whether this leads to less frequent or shorter Facebook sessions is a question only you can answer for yourself. The app is free, so it won't cost you anything to give it a whirl.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

When the app installs, it places an icon in your Mac's menu bar. Click on the icon and a small window opens with a mobile version of your News Feed. Click the button in the upper-right corner to access links to your profile page, your favorites, your pages, and your apps. Three buttons sit at the top of the window to view friend requests, messages, and notifications. If you are a regular Facebook user via your phone, you'll be immediately comfortable navigating Facebook on MenuTab.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

At the bottom of the page are five small buttons: Home, forward and back, refresh, and settings. In settings, you can assign a hotkey to open the app and adjust how often the app refreshes your Facebok feed. In settings, you can also keep the MenuTab window open at all times (I would discourage such a setting for most users) and keep it open and above other open windows (strongly discouraged). You can also choose whether you want an audio alert for notifications or for the MenuTab icon to turn red, or both.

While MenuTab is free, it does hit you up with in-app purchase offers if you want color-coded menu bar alerts, pop-up notifications, or the full desktop version of Facebook. You can also pay to remove advertisements or adjust the opacity of the MenuTab window. You can get all five for $2.99 (if you are using Mac OS X Lion), but I found that the free app suffices for my Facebooking needs. I don't want to get too comfortable with the app; I just want it for quick breaks during the workday.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Unlike with SkipTunes, which has garnered a permanent spot in my MacBook's menu bar, the jury is still out on MenuBar. I'm not sure if I'll use the app to access Facebook during the workday because (as my wife will gladly tell you) my iPhone is never far. I'm more than likely to grab that for a quick check of Facebook than clicking on MenuTab. Tell me, would you (or do you) use an app like MenuTab to access Facebook? Kindly discuss in the comments below.