Posts Tagged ‘’

So Firefox 3 Is Looking Pretty Awesome

June 9, 2008

Firefox logoAnd “awesome” is the operative word, as Mike Beltzner explains:

Overview of Firefox 3 (via Reddit)

This presentation, one of many to have appeared online over the past months, showcases Firefox 3’s impressive multi-tasking address bar. Though now it’s so much more than an address bar, hence the “awesome bar” moniker.

I particularly like the one-click add to favourites button and ability to sort through and tag anything you think is worth keeping. I imagine there’ll be a extension soon (if there isn’t already) which will integrate sharing features and allow you to keep all your bookmarks in one place.

Foxmarks currently does something similar, but I would appreciate an add-on which allows you to import your current bookmarks into Firefox (and vice versa).

We won’t have long to wait: the final release is scheduled for mid-June or you could grab release candidate 3 now.


Postapocalypse Now!

May 19, 2008

You may not know this, but I have a (possibly unhealthy) fixation with post-apocalyptic fiction. Writing, film or art, it doesn’t matter: I’ll happily consume any of the above voraciously if it’s about life after some global catastrophe which could befall humanity.

I’m currently reading The World Without Us by Alan Weisman (more on that at a later date) which, although not fiction per se, explores what might happen to the earth if humans were to suddenly disappear tomorrow.

When I get a spare couple of hours in the next week, I’m planning on sitting down and writing a much more comprehensive and in-depth post on all of my favourite post-apocalyptic fiction – from John Wyndham to Cormac McCarthy. For now though, you’ll have to content yourself with what I think is a pretty awesome compilation of some of the best post-apocalyptic links on the web:

Lostmoya’s postapocalyptic special!

If you know of any better stuff that I haven’t yet included, please suggest it. Either here in the comments or add me on and send me links. The more post-apocalyptic the better!

Like this, for example. My latest find is a series of lithographs of post-apocalyptic Tokyo, by Japanese artist Hisaharu Motoda:

Post-apocalyptic ruins

Friendfeed: Aggregate All Your Feeds Into One

May 7, 2008

In my ongoing quest to find the ultimate Web 2.0 utility I’ve just started using Friendfeed.

Friendfeed logo

The idea is simple: you subscribe for an account then add the feeds for a bunch of social bookmarking and networking services you already use, like, reddit, youtube, twitter,, etc. Friendfeed then monitors all your activities and publishes them in one place. Here’s mine.

If you’ve ever found it difficult to keep track of everything you’re doing online then that’s useful enough. But it doesn’t stop there. What’s even more interesting is that you can add friends see all their feeds alongside yours.

At the moment I don’t have any Friendfeed buddies 😦 so my Friendfeed actually looks identical to my individual feed. Over the next few months I’ll be working on my Facebook buddies who already use social bookmarking sites to try and get them to adopt Friendfeed too.

Incidentally, it’s also really easy to add people already using Friendfeed since it automatically publishes everyone’s activity into one mega-feed. So you can scan through (or search for something/someone in particular) and quickly add them.

10 Tips For Better Tagging

January 17, 2008

Luggage tagWhether it’s bookmarks on, music on, email on Gmail, photos on flickr, or blog posts right here on WordPress, tagging has become an everyday part of life for the Web 2.0 generation. We do it because it’s fun and addictive, but above all, it’s useful. Tagging enables you and others to find and organise posts, bookmarks and any other content more quickly and easily than a simple search.

Part of the reason why tags are so widely used is because they’re simple to understand: a tag is just a keyword (or short phrase) associated with a piece of information. For bloggers in particular tags help readers to find posts on their site, and also drive traffic to the blog.

Everybody knows there’s no right or wrong way to tag, but the following tips might be useful for those new to tagging. They’ve certainly helped me organise my content both here and on Feel free to leave some tips of your own in the comments section.

1. Don’t leave it blank! It’s an obvious one, but I often see bookmarks listed as unfiled or uncategorized. There aren’t many items that are truly unclassifiable. Why not mark something as to-tag or similar and then return to it later?

2. Develop a system This is a good tip if you often struggle to find items in your bookmarks. By “system” I don’t mean somthing rigid, but it might be a good idea to reserve one or two words or phrases for certain kinds of content. One example would be tagging time-sensitive items with timed or deadline. I do this at work with, so that I can occasionally prune funding opportunities which are out of date.

3. Spend some time pruning your tags occasionally This is a well-known and oft-repeated tagging tip. Don’t be put off by thinking that it will be time-consuming: it needn’t be, if you keep on top of your tags regularly. Most tag-based websites (e.g. allow you to view and edit your tagging master list.

4. Get rid of plural (or singular) tags This is a more specific instance of number 2, really. In some ways, it’s a personal preference thing, but usually there’s no point in having both, e.g., blog and blogs. Decide which you’re going to keep and ditch the other. Over time, more plurals and other forms of duplication will creep in, but as long as you carry out regular pruning, it shouldn’t be an issue.

5. Categories are not tags But not necessarily vice versa! Check out this excellent article on the difference between the two. Lorelle makes the point that tags are often less formally structured than categories, but can be used to flag up fine-grained “micro-distinctions” between topics. This can allow readers of a blog to find posts quicker. Aaron Brazell at Problogger agrees, and outlines a few strategies for using tags on your blog.

6. Check which tags others use Use this with caution!, for example, provides a list of other user’s tags when you submit a new item. Other people’s tags may provide inspiration, but at the end of the day tags are an inherently personal thing. If your brain works differently, don’t use the same tags as everyone else! Of course, this depends on what you’re using tags for (see number 9 below).

7. Keep it simple This applies to most things in life, but it’s especially important with tagging. Most tag-enabled websites these days (with the notable exception of allow spaces in tags, but this shouldn’t be taken as liscense to have long phrases as tags. In some cases that might be appropriate, but often one or two words does the trick.

8. Try not to have lots more tags than pieces of information Sometimes this may not be possible, and it’s certainly not a hard and fast rule, but in general, if you have 100 bookmarks and 250 tags, you might need to rethink your system a little. My own wordpress blog right here is a counterexample to this, of course, but that’s more of a problem with the way wordpress manages tags – you can view and edit your categories but you can’t, currently at least, see a master list of all your tags.

9. Think about others as well as yourself Here’s another general life principle which can be applied to tagging. In many places (a notable exception would be your Gmail account), tags are a fundamentally social way of labelling information. As well as thinking of keywords which you would associate with a particular item, think about what might help others to find it. This can only be good for everyone in the long run: other people can find useful information, great photos, or bookmarks, and you’ll be raising your profile and developing online social networks. For example, I tag items with research at work. Now, virtually everything I bookmark at work is research-related, but if I don’t tag with that basic keyword, others might not find the information.

10. Use tags to make a note to yourself For example, tag an item toread and then you can see at a glance any news stories, etc., that you have yet to read. You could also use the tag classic or similar for extra-special links. uses a similar idea to create a personalised wishlist: Simply sign up, tag any item on with dowant and it’ll automatically be added to your wishlist.

Okay, I’m out! If you have any suggestions about using tags or tagging, or if you just think I’m plain wrong, why not leave a comment.

Why I Use At Work

August 26, 2007 logoI’ve recently started using the popular social bookmarking site at work. I work in the research office of a UK university and part of my job is to find and disseminate research funding opportunities to academics.

The usual way to do this, of course, is via email and on the department’s intranet site. On a typical day, I’ll trawl through a range of online funding databases, like ResearchResearch, Community of Science, Welcomeurope, CORDIS, UK Research Office, etc. and pass on the relevant information to different groups of staff.

However, since what I’m doing in my day-to-day tasks is essentially finding, sorting, and distributing links, it occurred to me that using would be a great alternative way to store and share funding opportunities with colleagues. My intention is to create a database of opportunities which are relevant to my institution, and which staff can peruse at their leisure. You can find the beginnings of that database here:

Researchoffice’s bookmarks

The best case scenario would be if a good number of research-active staff join themselves (or use their existing accounts) and create a network to share research funding links with one another. However, I’m willing to settle for a more likely option: a minority of tech-savvy staff start using the service as another information source when seeking funding. (I’m not expecting miracles here; I always keep in mind the one per cent rule.)

Here are 5 more reasons why I decided to use at work:

  1. It’s popular: is the most popular social bookmarking website around, so there’s a higher chance that other staff will have at least heard of it, if not already use it themselves.
  2. It’s simple: Unlike many other social bookmarking sites, such as clipmarks, furl, and blinklist, has a simple look and feel; some might say too simple, but at least it hasn’t jumped on the web 2.0 reflective text/beta version bandwagon! It works nicely with most browsers, and has a pared-down vibe, rather like Google in the early days.
  3. It’s easy to use: From the readable URL scheme to the easily sortable and customizable tags, it doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to understand and start to use the site. This is crucial when promoting the site to those who might never have experienced social bookmarking before.
  4. RSS: As far as RSS feeds go, is very powerful. You can pull a feed from any tag you like, or from combined tags, or from a particular user, or from their inbox. You can even pull a feed for a specific type of media or filetype, as this blog post shows. I haven’t used this feature yet at work, but the ability to export the latest links as RSS will no doubt come in handy. For example, if this takes off I’ll probably end up putting an RSS feed on our office’s intranet page.
  5. It’s quick: This is perhaps the biggest boon of all. It takes between 60-90 seconds of my working day to post a link to All I do is copy a relevant line from the page for the description, then click a few tags — perhaps adding one or two new ones if necessary. All done! The browser buttons are essential timesavers here, allowing speedy one-click saves.

Of course, it’s really important to set up a coherent tagging system before you start: I generally use at least one tag to describe the source website, several for the actual content, and various others to denote whether it’s a funding opportunity with or without a deadline, etc. Once that’s in place, it’s a breeze!

If you’re not convinced check this ReadWriteWeb article which compares the features of a number of social bookmarking websites, and choose the one which is right for you.