Bookmarking, Part V

The same rationale that I used yesterday continues today.  If you have a good collection of bookmarks tucked away on Delicious or Diigo, then it makes a great deal of sense to search them first.  After all, you’ve already previewed them and if you’re looking at the entirety of these services, so have others.  Why not use that previously spent energy to get the best results rather than starting from scratch each time.  Yesterday, I showed you how to change the default search engine in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.  Today, a couple more browsers.  I like that developers recognize the functionality of doing this and have support built in for customizing your choice of search engines.

In Opera, the process is similar to working with Google Chrome.  In the top right corner, you’ll find the search box.  Pull down the menu to look at the search engines already defined.  At the bottom, you’ll see the option to manage your search engine.  You’re in the right spot.  Just click on add a search engine and configure it to your satisfaction.  Here, I’m going to add Delicious as my default search engine.  The key is to get the right “Address”.  I used:�7Cdougpete&fr=del_icio_us&lc=

Chances are, you’ll want to change the “dougpete” to your own account.  (unless you do want to search mine…)




Finally, the easiest one of all.  If you’re using the latest Beta 9 of Internet Explorer, you can install a search engine like Diigo in a heartbeat.




Open the Internet Explorer browser and go to this website:  All of the Internet Explorer add ons are there.  Now, you can go browsing or find what you want quite quickly by searching for Diigo.  However you get there, just click on the orange “Add to Internet Explorer” button and the search is added.  To make it the default, click on the little cog icon and choose Internet Options and then click on options from the search defaults.  You’ll have the opportunity to make any of the search engines your default.  Choose Diigo and you’re searching your account immediately.

Hopefully, regardless of your choice of browser, you’ve done some setup and experimentation.  By searching yourself and your learning community first, you’re validating the work you put into collecting the resources in the first place.

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.




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.


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:

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

Back to Delicious

Recently, I shared my frustrations with my Delicious account going off the rails.  In an entry entitled “Moving On“, I talked about how the Delicious resource had even become unresponsive and so I had switched to Diigo’s service for posting daily links that I’ve found to this blog.  It’s my way of giving back to a community that I learn so much from.  Help yourself to my bookmarks; it’s the least I can do.

Diigo provided a good and reliable service and I was pleased for the most part with what it was doing.  Unfortunately, it has a small issue that I couldn’t resolve.  In its attempts of functionality, it seemed to add a number of returns presumably from the designers’ eyes for readability.  See the example below.

It’s not a biggy but when you’re sharing 10 or so links a day, it makes the blog post run on and on and on.

Now, I don’t want to bring up that old issue about evaluating blogs but I’ll share my personal thoughts.  For the most part, I like to read (and write) blogs that are short and sweet, make their point and move on.  I’m not really a fan of the essay type of post that goes on rather than making its point and stopping.

I guess that means that I have the same approach to a simple post that shares resources.  Here’s what Delicious does.

I just find it to be more succinct and easier to read.

So, being a good netizen, I swung by Delicious and was going to delete the entry that asked it to post for me and found that the link was back working.  So, what the hey…  I’m back.  I went over to Diigo and asked it to stop posting for me.

I continue to use both of these excellent services.  I’m just liking the format of one over the other at this point.  Fickle, eh?Tags: , ,

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Moving On

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I try my best to share the weblinks that I find on a daily basis.  It started out as just a personal project so that I wouldn’t lose anything.  It worked out well just recently.  A colleague recalled an article about cell phone use but couldn’t remember it.  Fortunately, I had tucked it away and a quick search allowed me to help her locate it.

A while ago, I had used Delicious to keep track of things but just for my own personal reasons.  I showed a friend how it worked once and she was the one that suggested I work on finding a way to share these “finds” with others.  It made sense – we’re all better when we’re rowing in the same direction.  I dug around Delicious and found an experimental feature that posts your links daily to your blog.  For the most part, it worked really nicely.  Every now and again, however, it seems to go wonky and makes repeated posts.  It’s annoying, to be sure, and I found that I was doing a lot of back fill maintenance to stop the blog from looking like a dog’s breakfast.

The latest episode happened last week.  So, I decided to go through and try to do some maintenance and see if I could figure out what was going wrong.  Alas, I’ve been presented constantly with the following message.

That was my call to action.  After all, I have so much to share!  For a few days, to give Delicious time to orient itself, I was doing the posts manually.  But, there’s no resolution in site.  I decided to pursue another angle.

My posting process actually has the links being posted to Diigo first and then cross posted to my Delicious account.  I’ve kept both accounts going for a number of reasons including, and correctly as it turns out, for redundancy.  It turns out that Diigo has the same sort of functionality for posting.

Then, it was sit and wait with fingers crossed.  It turns out that it works nicely.  It’s posting to this blog as it should and posts sent to Diigo are stored there as well as being forwarded to Delicious.  I have the timer set to do it in the evening so that I can monitor it rather than its traditional, hopefully non-intrusive, 1:00am timeslot.

Does this mean that Delicious is done?  Absolutely not.  It’s a great service and I’ve got a nice network of followers over there.  It’s also great to have a redundancy backup for this process as well.  It’s just a shame that things aren’t working the way that they should.

The problem with robotic posts is that when robots go wild, strange things happen.  I just felt like I had to so something as it had gotten out of control but I was “spamming” people inadvertently.  And, everyone hates a spammer!

All about me

I have a meeting with my superintendent this morning to do a little reflection on goals and directions.  It’s always a great exercise to have someone else help you peer inside yourself to see what’s going on and if you’re on the right track.

To assist myself in the design, I decided to take a look at four major parts of my digital footprint.  With the assistance of Wordle, this is what I’ve found.  After all, I did blog “You are what you bookmark“.

My website and newsletter:


My blog:


My delicious account:


My recent Twitters:


interesting.  Reflections are personal so I’m not commenting any further on this but this exercise has given me some pause for thought as I prepare.

Social Bookmarks:
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Connected this morning

I am normally at the office at 6:15am to get started on the day’s workload.  It’s a great time to get started uninterrupted only by the sound of the caretaker and her vacuum cleaner and sometimes we chat about the ways that we would solve all of the ills of the world.

This morning, I have an appointment at a location nowhere near the workplace and so I get to have some breakfast and watch a little television before heading out.  I also have a chance to catch up on the news of the day online and what’s happening on Twitter.

I’ve got into this habit of leaving Spaz or Twhirl on overnight to catch the conversation from folks that I follow in Australia, Europe, Thailand, and goodness knows where else.  While I’m sawing logs, they’re living a life and mini-blogging all about their daily events.  I get to share in things, albeit vicariously.

I’m always humbled by the concept.  After all, I skim through the list of posts and it’s just so awesome that folks would allow you to witness this.  Of course, we reciprocate in North America through our daylight hours.

Today, it takes a new turn.  I have my morning back and forth with Zut_Moon who appears to be headed for Florida to warm up this holiday season.  I’m also sharing a bit with Windsordi who is on a train headed from Windsor to Toronto and is connected to the wifi on ViaRail.  And, Kevin Jarrett posts about a great story reading site that he’s found.  I check it out and add it to my delicious account.  It’s a keeper and I may end up using it in a presentation somewhere along the line.  Oh, and Lisa Parisi just announced that Steve Dembo will be on EdTechTalk Live tonight.

I suppose that I could be doing something else but I’m just that much better off this morning – thanks to being connected.

Social Bookmarks:
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You are what you bookmark

Well, probably not, but it seemed like a nice idea for a blog post title.

Leaving breadcrumbs from where you’ve explored the internet has always been important.  There was a time when I quite easily managed to find a web resource, whether it be article, application, or just something that attracted my attention, and then had this huge scrolling list of things to visit regularly in my bookmarks or favourites.

I did visit them regularly but kept getting the feeling that there had to be a better way.

When I would work with folks and pull up a website, the inevitable would be “Can you send me that link”?  It’s a compliment that there was something that I had found or was using that was of interest to someone else.

But, it does get tiring after a while so I continued to search for a better way.  I really fell in love with Backflip as an online storage of bookmarks.  It did everything that I wanted to do and there were buttons to enable common tasks that you could throw into your browser.  This becomes increasingly important when you are accessing your bookmarks in more than one location because “favourites” are just local to a particular computer.  There are a number of other services in this area.  Another common favourite at the time was IKeepBookmarks.  Above and beyond simple bookmarking, you could always form a query and post it in the middle of a webpage or a wiki.

But, to steal a comment from another “You’ve got to fish where the fish are.”

Increasingly, people were moving to a new service called  Kind of a cute spin off posted in the .us domain.  Same concept and I grudingly gravitated to the service.  It wasn’t easy.  There was no way that I could find to take the 1600 items that I had backflipped and just port them to the new service at the time that I was switching.  However, some determination on a summer afternoon and my over the top copying and pasting abilities got me there and I’ve never looked back.

I now use it for more than just a bookmarking service.  I still get the request, “Can you send me that link” and I no longer honour it.  Instead, I just send the requester to my Delicious home to find the resource and hopefully even more.  Once you bookmark tonnes of these things, you have to find some way to get them back.  Fortunately, Delicious allows for tagging of entries and so I do my very best to try to tag them with keywords that will allow for easy retrieval.

In my day job, it’s become a handy tool as well.  At the recently CIESC meetings (Computers in Education School Contacts), we did a little activity exploring services that I had marked as “web2.0“.  Lots of fun and it was so gratifying to find others take for a service that I thought had one particular purpose.  An art teacher with incredible skills demonstrated during our sharing session afterwards how bomomo could be used for artistic expression.  My jaw drogged.

But, it gets better.  Like good modern social networking, you can create your own network or have others join you in the discovery of the best of the web.  I’ll never sleep again!  But, it’s worth the explore.  Rather than hitting a wide open search engine that searches the entire web, why not turn to the network that you’ve created and only explore those titles that have been vetted by someone else?  Sure, it’s work up front but in the long run, it’s got huge payoffs.

But, it gets even better.  If you have a resource that’s particularly helpful, you can send it to others.  My problem is that I use the plugins for Flock or the favourites sidebar and so don’t always log into Delicious directly.  I feel so guilty when I do log in to find that there are things that have been sent me and I hadn’t acted on them immediately.

But, this puts us over the top.  In Ontario, we will have a new Computer Science curriculum for this September.  At the Ministry of Education Professional Development session, a demonstration of Delicious was intriguing and those of us in the audience were asked to tag appropriate resources as “icsxx” in honour of the ICS designation for all of the Computer Science resources.  Imagine the power if all Computer Science teachers participated.  Learning together, we could create a new, contemporary approach to teaching these new and exciting courses.

One of the “experimental features” is blog posting.  I’ve turned it on and ask Delicious to post to this blog daily with what I’ve found and bookmarked the previous day.  When there was a problem with this feature, a crafty programmer wrote a Delicious Blog Rescue Tool so that you could manually do the deed yourself!  Either way, you can see what I am (or at least what I bookmark).

We’ve come a long way from simple bookmarking and there are only greater things on the horizon for such a simple concept — remembering a good website.

Social Bookmarks:
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