Keeping track of things


I know that I’m not the only one that’s afraid of losing things! So often, I’ll be reading a story and want to do something with it or about it later. Just not right now.

Depending upon the urgency, I’ll just leave the tab the resource is open in in my browser so that it’s there. When I get on a roll, that can add up to a bunch of open tabs. It’s particularly noticeable on my Chromebook with its lesser power. There might be light at the end of the tunnel though with an upcoming version of the Chrome browser.

Google is finally bringing one of Chrome’s best mobile features to the desktop

That’s still in the future though.

At present, I have a couple of solutions that have worked really well for me.

The first, I like to think of as things that requiring short term action, is through an extension called OneTab.

For the short term, I’ll send all of my open tabs to OneTab which nicely cleans up the messiness. I don’t send pinned tabs because they’re pinned for a reason. When it’s time to return to the tab, they’re all located in the OneTab page. Just pick the one I want and, voila, it’s back.

For the longer term, I take a different tact. A while back, Peter Beens had introduced me to Packrati.us which worked nicely. Essentially, it bookmarked everything that I sent to Twitter. Sadly, it went away.

Twitter has added a bookmarking service which is kind of handy. It’s more functional than a “like” but still wasn’t quite there. I poked around IFTTT and found a script that was perfect and involves sending links to my Diigo account.

Readers of this blog know that I go one step beyond that and have Diigo write me a blog post daily that summarizes the links. I can then easily go back and pick off a story that I want to use. It also helps for the Sunday afternoon weekly summary post.

So, I’ve got a routine that works for me. It doesn’t matter what computer or what browser I use, it all ends up in the same spot.

And yet, the experimenter in me wonders about this implementation that’s in Chrome’s future. Will it offer a better approach?

Who knows? I’ll undoubtedly give it a shot when it’s available.

In the meantime, what technique(s) do you use? Can you offer me a better suggestion? I’d love to read about it.

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Bookmarking, Part II


It might well be that my bookmarking story ended with the post from yesterday.  After all, Delicious is a great service and does what I need it to do and more.  When I started using it, I never dreamed that I would be posting things that I bookmark to my blog or that I would change my default search engine to be “Doug-Powered” rather than powered by some other service.  As I bookmark more and more resources, I find that these are maturing functions that change the way that I personally approach search in my own life.

So, I was quite happy until Diigo came along.  As I tend to do, when the service came along, I experimented with it.  In the early days, it appeared to be essentially a duplication of the Delicious experience.  I was bored one weekend and copied and pasted my way to a duplicate service.  The export/import services that we enjoy today were not around or I hadn’t noticed them.  But, it was the sort of mindless activity that goes along with watching television on a Sunday night and before long, I had a duplicate of my results.  There were some things about Diigo that intrigued me at the time and I could see real value for the future.

 

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The ability to bookmark is important, of course, but the ability to insert a sticky note and highlight parts of text that I know I may refer back to later was a real value that Diigo added to the process.  After a while, when you’re a persistent bookmarker, you do get a substantial collection and it’s nice to be able to look back and see just what was so important that you bookmarked it in the first place.

In the meantime though, there was something else that was happening on the Delicious side.  Either from reading my blog or by morbid curiosity, I had started to accumulate a number of followers in my bookmarking network.  If I pulled the plug, these folks would be disenfranchised.  I remember thinking “Oh well, I’ll just stick with Delicious then and not explore Diigo any further”.  But, I had another problem.  On the Diigo side, I had started to get followers there even though I wasn’t advertising that I had an account.  How?  But, it was another group of people to be concerned about.  What to do?  In my browser, Diigo had an extension that worked just like Delicious.  So, for about two days, I would bookmark on both sites.  Then, I decided that this was just stupid.  Make a choice, Doug.

But, after some poking around, I found a better answer.  In the Diigo settings, there was actually an option that would take anything that I bookmarked in Diigo and automatically post it to Delicious.  This is very appealing.  I like automation so gave it a shot.  It worked perfectly.  I could not change my routine.  Find a website – bookmark / highlight / sticky note it in Diigo – Diigo would post it to Delicious and then it appear on my blog.  I could use either service as a search engine in my browser.  I have the best of all worlds.

And that’s how my bookmarking process works today.  For a while, I had both the Delicious and Diigo extensions in my browsers.  If nothing else, it filled up some blank space.  There are some sites that don’t bookmark well with the default Diigo utility but there’s another sweet little tool called the Diigolet that handles things nicely.  Yet, there are still some websites (mainly based on Flash) that don’t work with either.  But, there’s a tool for that too!  The extension Shareaholic puts all of these resources together (and more) to a single button.

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Since installation, I haven’t found a resource that stumps me.  Plus I gain access to so many other resources in one pull down menu.  Life is good and bookmarking complete.

At least it was until the Diigo programming gods introduced the Teacher Console.  Here, from your resources, you could create groups for your students.  This added so much functionality that I had to incorporate that as well.  By public access or private invitation, an area can be set up to explore just the bookmarks that you want your class to use for a given topic.  Just bring them in and out as needed.  All seems to come together so nicely.

Despite all this, there is still much more functionality in both services including the ability to recommend resources for colleagues that I don’t often use.  If I was a fulltime researcher, I’m sure that I’d be all over them.  For this hacker, though, the bookmarking tools have complimented what I do online so nicely.

If you’re interested, my Diigo collection is online at: http://www.diigo.com/user/dougpete

It’s come so far since the CTRL-D days.