Bookmark Material

I started to write a comment to the post Fear of (bookmark) commitment? Try I Need to Read This over on Silicon Florist, but what I found myself writing started getting longer and longer and I realized I might be better off sharing as a fully hyperlinked blog post.

Rick talks about temporarily bookmarking articles for returning to later. You probably know the sort of thing: a long, but interesting looking article on Digg’s homepage that you do not currently have time for, some cool video that a friend Twitters, a link to a possibly NSFW picture via IM that you’d rather not chance looking at now. They are all links you want to get back to (after work, when the boss isn’t around, or on a higher bandwidth connection), but they are not necessarily links you want to keep forever and ever.

He goes on to introduce a Portland-based service (yeay, Portland!) called I Need To Read This that fits that situation.

One particular quote in the article jumps out at me:

In short, you can’t commit to saving it to your bookmarks because you’re not sure if it’s bookmark material, yet.

I am not sure I agree with this statement. It sounds like I Need To Read This is a great service and I do not want to be the negative get-offa-my-lawn guy, but I have been doing this temporary link saving for years with nothing more than bookmarks and a plugins I already use. Here’s my secret: everything is bookmark material. Or, at the very least, everything has bookmark potential.

I have one special bookmark folder in my Firefox toolbar called To Review. Anything that looks interesting, but I do not have the time to read (or otherwise am not in a situation in which reading is advised), I add as a bookmark in the To Review folder. All of the other bookmarks and bookmark folders are, as Rick says, “bookmark material.” This one folder is the wildcard anything-goes folder. To look at it like email, this is my inbox. Bookmarks can be deleted, Dugg, archived into other bookmark folders, and whatnot. I even try to use the Inbox Zero methodology against this folder so that its size does not get out of control.

The To Review folder is only half of the equation. If you are the sort of person who only uses one browser on one computer (i.e. you carry your laptop everywhere or only do computer work in a home office), you’re done. You can stop reading here because everything you need is covered.

I happen to be in a situation where I have a Linux box at work, a Mac laptop, and a Mac desktop. I end up having to synchronize my bookmarks because of this. I want my quick-search bookmarks to always be around (i.e. “pow harry potter” in the URL bar searches Powell’s for Harry Potter books.) I want links to research required by my current work and personal projects at hand. For me, synchronizing is a given. I guess I could be using Delicious — and do use it for really-really long-term bookmarks — but I don’t use it for daily or secure stuff. Personally, I use Foxmarks (soon to be Xmarks) because I’m a Firefox guy that has to go across operating systems. Foxmarks makes sure that my To Review folder (as well as all other bookmarks) stays in sync between all machines. With this method, anything that shows up on an RSS feed at work that looks interesting but too in-depth to cover in a coffee break gets bookmarked and synced for when I get home. This is the synchronizer I happen to use, but there are plenty out there.

A recent added bonus to Foxmarks/Xmarks is the new Safari plugin. This synchronizes Foxmarks with Safari — and more importantly, the iPhone. It used to be that I had to go to a special myfoxmarks website on the iPhone to get to these links, but now they sync as local bookmarks. It is also nice to still have the option to go to myfoxmarks if I have not synced in a little while.

So that is my method of marking things to read for later. I cannot say “it doesn’t require a special plugin or bookmarklet” because it does. It just doesn’t require a special plugin beyond those that I already need to use for other purposes. And get off my lawn!

Posted in: Dear Diary Portland

5 thoughts on “Bookmark Material”

  1. I run 2x delicious accounts, one is private and one is public. that seems to work best for me. It is a small hassle to log in and out I will admit, I will have to try some of your solutions. Fox marks looks interesting.

    1. The last time I really looked into Delicious for something like this, there was no “do not share” feature. Additionally, the Firefox plugin for Delicious kept trying to commit lots of local bookmarks I didn’t want online — you know, like links related to secret work projects and my collection of amputee midget clown porn website links. Come to think of it, I’ve noticed the “do not share” checkbox since then, but never spent the time to try it out. I’ll have to experiment with that.

    2. …and in thinking about it a day later, it feels like the “do not share” is more of a duct-tape feature. After all, the whole spirit of the site is a SOCIAL BOOKMARKING service and private bookmarks kind of subvert that purpose. I have it ingrained in my thinking that Delicious is for sharing links with friends. That’s why I subscribe to the RSS of my friends’ bookmarks. Putting things in there that are either private or are questionable noteworthiness (as in my “To Review” folder) just doesn’t jive with the way I think about the service. Maybe my interpretation of Delicious is wrong, maybe not. Either way, that’s how I tend to use the service.

  2. In a social bookmarking system, users save links to web pages that they want to remember and/or share. These bookmarks are usually public, and can be saved privately, shared only with specified people or groups, shared only inside certain networks, or another combination of public and private domains. The allowed people can usually view these bookmarks chronologically, by category or tags, or via a search engine.

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