I have a confession to make: I am a bookmark pack rat. I have had hundreds of bookmarks, the vast majority for websites I rarely (if ever) visit. I have made some attempts at organizing these (mostly through bookmark folders in Firefox) but I still have had loads of uncategoized bookmarks outside the folders. This summer, I was tired of seeing all these messy bookmarks, so I decided to attempt something new and organize them through (what I termed) Cloud Bookmarking.
First off, I use Firefox for most of my Internet browsing. I’ve flirted with Google’s Chrome and found it useful, but I still like Firefox better. As I looked at my bookmarks, I realized one of my big bookmarking problems was that many of the unorganized ones I had were all from websites I had once wanted to read, but hadn’t had time to get to. Thus, I accumulated a backlog of plenty of unread, unorganized bookmarks. The organizaned ones I had were in a slightly better shape, but the sheer number I had of them caused my browser to load slower, so I needed to clean them up as well.
I run a laptop and a main desktop. Too often, the files (especially bookmarks) are out of sync with each other. The laptop is a little slower in processing speed than the desktop, so I wanted to make cleaning it a priority. Thus, I envisioned a bookmarking system in which all my bookmarks (aside from a few vital RSS and bookmark toolbar ones) would reside on an online server, easily accessible and updatable, but not stored in my Firefox browser.
Firefox is my favorite browser partly due to the huge number of incredibly useful applications available for it. I use Lifehacker to find a lot of awesome apps to add to my browser (although I try not to add too many) and I did a search on Lifehacker for a bookmarking tool. I had heard of Delicious, and of other social bookmarking websites, but I really didn’t need (and still don’t) to share my bookmarks with others. I still signed up for Delicious anyway, to give a trial run, and it had problems loading my browsers bookmarks onto its servers. Whatever. So, I tried another program, this one an application for Firefox called Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks). I was instantly impressed by the array of positive reviews on it online, along with the uber helpful developer feedback on Xmark’s website. I added the app, made and account, and tried it out.
Xmarks easily synced all my bookmarks to its serve, and I was able to access them from either computer. However, I still had a few issues when first setting it all up. I ran into the fairly annoying “password exclusion” error, something a few others have hit as well (based on my searching of Xmarks help section). Also, understanding some of the syncing profiles and such gave me a little trouble in the beginning. However, with a little patience, I was able to get it all set to my liking.
To rectify my “bookmarking-everything-I-can’t -read-at-the-moment-then-forget-about-it” problem, I found another program that works for just that: ReadItLater. It is an application for Firefox as well, and adds some nice functions to the browser that aid in quickly adding items to a “read it later list.” This list may be perused at one’s leisure, whenever. I had a little bit of an issue getting it not conflict with Xmarks, but once again, the helpful guides on Xmark’s website came to the rescue.
So, am I really “Cloud Bookmarking?” Not exactly. Some stuff is still stored on my Desktop, albeit more organized than before. My laptop is now the closest to Cloud Bookmarking though, with everything except a ReadItLater folder online. I’m happy with the setup and I hope it will increase my browser speeds as well as my productivity online.