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.

IFTTT and Evernote


After my post yesterday, there was some interest in the IFTTT service so I thought that I’d share another example of how you might find it helpful.  In my original post, I explained how I used IFTTT to backup my Diigo account by following the RSS Feed and creating a new entry to Evernote whenever I bookmarked something new.

Evernote has become my #1 place for most everything, it seems.  Whether I’m online, offline, on a computer, on a portable device, the Evernote app has so much of my notes and records that I would like to archive.  Whenever possible, I like to automate things so that I’m not physically doing all the work whenever possible.  So, the marriage of IFTTT and Evernote for Diigo backups was a natural.  I also received a premium account with the LiveScribe pen that I got over the summer so I’m extra motivated to use it.  But, a premium account isn’t necessary to do this job.

So, that establishes Evernote as a place to pull things together.  Are there other ways that IFTTT can really shine?

I want to share an example – this may or may not be directly applicable to you but it sure helps me.  How many times has someone sent you an @ message on Twitter that you really remember but are challenged to go back and find it.  Twitter’s search seems to have its limitations and has its good days and its bad days.  It’s no longer a problem if you do something as simple as setting IFTTT up so that all of your @ messages are sent to Evernote.  Once they are there, they are quite easily searchable or found by applying a filter.  In fact, Evernote gives a really nice selection of filters.

FIlter

If you can’t find it with these tools, maybe it wasn’t mean to be found!

Here’s how to set it up.  First you need accounts on both Evernote and IFTTT.  You then log into IFTTT, which will require access to Evernote,  and then create a new task.  You’ll be presented with a screen that looks like this.

 

ifttt

The blue and underlined “this” is just screaming to be clicked so go ahead!

triggers

Each of the icons represents a “trigger” that IFTTT knows about.  You want the Twitter icon.

 

triggers1

Look at all of the options that you have. In this case, I would select the trigger “New mention of you”.  But, look at all of the others.  Another intriguing one is “New favorite tweet”.  Imaging having all of you favorites put together in one spot rather than having them open to the world on your Twitter page.  Or, perhaps you’d like a list of your new followers.  Or, …

When the condition is met, what do you want IFTTT to do?

triggers2

 

Like before, click on “that” and you’ll have a listing of services that can perform an action if the condition is met.  In this case, select Evernote and then tell it what you want to do.

 

triggers3

 

You have some options.  Decide what you want to do.  I like the concept of the link note.  You’ll have the opportunity to customize just what happens during the post – I’d advise sticking with the defaults until you understand how it’s all going to work and then save your task.

 

action

Magic truly happens.  Just go about using Twitter as you would normally, but now whenever someone mentions you, the mention not only goes out on the Twitter stream, but you have a copy nicely tucked away in your Evernote account.  And, this copy is nicely filed away in its own folder automatically.

The process of setting up these tasks is very easy.  In fact, as I type this blog entry, I realize that I could have created a dozen tasks in the time that it’s taken to type and format this.

There are huge amounts of data floating around the internet that you may find a purpose for.  I really like the ease and functionality of IFTTT and Evernote to pull it all together.  Give it a shot.  If nothing else, you’ll be creating a personal archive of your content.  That’s not a bad start.