Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Bookmarks Toolbar Evolution

I’m generally having one of those days where you sit down to do “something” on the computer and three hours have passed and you’ve done a lot but not the “something.”  I can generally avoid this problem because I have a bunch of online tools that help me do it, but today I’m working in someone else account and those tools aren’t available as easily.1 That’s when it dawned on me, when did my bookmarks toolbar become so really, really important?

Here’s what my toolbar looks like in Safari on my Mac (looks about the same in Chrome on my Dell).

Bookmarklets on my browser

What’s happened is that these are all what are known as bookmarklets. Rather than just bookmarks with URLs that take you somewhere (some page you like to visit a lot); these little babies have javascript in them and actually do something to the page you are on. Say that I’m on the New York Times looking at some article about a new discovery about the brain. I got it because someone else emailed it to me. Well, the first thing is that this really might not be a good time to read the article, so clicking “Save for later” is a bookmarklet that adds the page to my queue of articles over on laterloop. Laterloop will keep track of your reading queue, let you check items off as you read them, and it will do so in your feedreader of choice or on your iPhone. Get those (possibly important) articles out of your inbox and into your reading queue and then when you really do have some down time, read the queue. Very handy.

However, you might also want to pass this particular article along to some folks who you know also might want to see it. Personally, I’m a firm believer in thoroughly reading what I forward. The value of the network depends on how much we fact check and filter. But sometimes the source is enough and that’s what the Sharethis bookmarklet will do for you. It generates an inline dialogue box that lets you share the article with friends in innumerable ways (email, delicious, friendfeed, facebook, ust to name a small few).

The list of handy bookmarklets goes on. “Post to Delicious” will let you track your bookmarks online at delicious.com so you can get to them from any platform or machine. Todoist is a fantastic to-do tracker that I’ve raved about before—their delegate bookmarklet will let you turn pages and online email items into to-to items in your lists. And is.gd will take horrendously long URLs (like mine) and make them bite-size for posting to something like Twitter or just making your emails easier on the eyes.

  1. Those tools, if you’re interested are Laterloop, Sharethis, Delicious, Todoist, Is.gd, and Evernote

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