Monday, November 11, 2013

Burn Up Those Bookmarks, Baby!

Zombie Cows
Zombie Cows (Photo credit: rwillia532)
Am I the only one who's been drowning in bookmarks, subscriptions, emails, and other electronic clutter?

For all I knew, I had data on my 'puters that, properly sorted and collated, could cure cancer, make me a best-selling author, and help me survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Only it is/was so hopelessly dogpiled together that I could be clicking on links til the zombie cows came home. "I know I was just looking at that last week... I think it's right the... No, I bet it's...  Aaargh!"

(In passing, am I the only one surprised to find that the idea of zombie cows is actually a thing?)

Animated Firefox logo (aPNG)
Animated Firefox logo (aPNG) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One Browser To Rule Them All

At home, I was using Firefox, because... I dunno, I wanted to get pages loaded before I expired of old age, with Explorer? Because Firefox is the bastard grandchild of my beloved Netscape, and kinda sexy besides? I'm a fan of Ylvis? 

But at my day job, I began using Google Chrome, because I found out it would auto-translate pages into English, and being a typical Amurrican, my secondary language skillz are limited more to the la plume bleu de ma tante (my aunt's blue pen) variety.

I was pretty sure, when negotiating a banking page in an alternate language, that I was merely transferring funds from one account to another, but there was always this lingering fear... Did I just sign my client up to donate a kidney?

So, Google Chrome and its handy-dandy built-in translator solved that problem. And then I discovered that, like NSA Gone Wild, as long as I was signed into my Google email, Google knew what I was doing, everywhere.

On my laptop. On my home 'puter. Google knew and  it would synch my bookmarks.

Rather than giving me the creeps, I felt cherished and safe, like holding my old tattered blankie. No more would I bookmark the same damn site over and over again. Or export my bookmarks from one browser and import them into another, with about 2/3 of them reduplicated from the last time I'd done that, and yet somehow, the new bookmarks I really wanted, were left behind like Hansel and Gretel, sans breadcrumbs.

Google Chrome for all it is, then.

'THAT WAS EASY!' (Photo credit: joepopp)

YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary). For all I know Firefox now has a translator, or Explorer does, or whatever you're using. Mebbe they synch, too. If you don't need the translation stuff, and you're happy with your browser, or you don't access multiple computers, use what works for you.
Johnny Depp
Cover of Johnny Depp

For you Mac-lovers... whatever. My day job requires me to use a PC, so Macs might offer more fun and excitement than a three-way with Channing Tatum and Ryan Gosling, but... Still not doable for me.

Besides, I'd rather have George Clooney and... Johnny Depp, mebbe?

Everybody's Here, Coach - Now What?

Always, KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when you can. I put six folders right on the toolbar, plus a couple of extremely vital links, like my Pinterest Pin It Button.:

  • Work Links
  • Social Media
  • Writing
  • Blogging
  • Personal
  • Other Bookmarks

Mullet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Work Links go first, my bookmark Mullet (business in the front, party in the back). Social Media is next - since I use that for both work and personal. Inside that are subfolders for FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and a couple other things. So whenever I come across a really good article 'splaining how to use one of the above, I not only bookmark it, but save it to the proper subfolder  Now I have an actual chance of finding it again, when I am stuck on something, and Lordy, do I get stuck.

And Behind Door Number Two...

I had approximately 3,462 bookmarks all about writing. Many of the sites and blog posts were writing gold (not to be confused with author +Jami Gold, whose writer tips are also a thing of beauty and a joy forever). But all jumbled together, I couldn't ever find the damn links I needed, when I needed 'em.

Here's my first pass at breaking them down into subfolders.

My thought was to make the folder specific enough that I don't have to hunt for whatever, but general enough so each holds more than a few things. For example, I didn't set up folders for First Person POV, Third Person POV, or Omniscient POV - all good bookmarks on writing Points Of View go into POV.

I contemplated combining Outlining and Plots & Scenarios, but decided, for me, there's enough of a distinction to keep them separate. For me, Outlines are more the detailed breakdown of what happens in each Chapter, possibly even deeper, into each scene. Whereas a Scenario is more the first vague idea of characters and setting (32 year old female scientist and 26 year old male cop find love while battling the Zombie Apocalypse), and Plot would be more detailed, akin to the back cover blurb.
Lipstick Kiss
Lipstick Kiss (Photo credit: Filter Forge)

I intend to create more folders as time goes on and as I dig through my Research-General Folder. I'm planning to move Pasadena elsewhere; probably I will create a Locations folder, and Pasadena and other extensively researched locations will become subfolders of that one.

Again, YYMV. Just make sure that however you choose to arrange your folder and stepfolders, you KISS.

Why Is Blogging The Red-Headed Stepchild? Shouldn't It Be Part of Social Media? Or Writing?

Of course it's part of both, but it's its own beastie, too. Inside of Blogging, I have a subfolder called Blogging-Images that contains links to all the free of royalty/license sites, like Flickr Creative Commons and Wikimedia Commons, and more, plus some posts on how to work with images. I have subfolders for Blogging Tips/Promotion posts, and for those on specific subject matter, like Sluts, for my Slut of the Month research. Writing I am choosing to keep sacred separate for posts and sites about writing actual novels, essays, and short stories.

Personal is the stuff that's, well, personal. In Other Bookmarks I am saving the stuff that I am interested in that's it's own thing; I have a Tudors subfolder, for example, even though I've already blogged about Anne Boleyn and don't have any blog or writing projects on them. I just like Tudor History, mmm'kay?

The beauty of this, now that I have taken advantage of a couple nights of insomnia and filtered everything on my home 'puter, is when next I go out for Shut Up and Write! and turn on my laptop - all changes will synch. If I'm spending a work lunch break reading blogs while I eat, and stumble upon something marvelous on my work 'puter, I can just Bookmark it there and know it'll be waiting for me when I get home.

Yay, bookmarks. But then there's...

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Filters - Not Just For Water Bottles Any More

I won't spend a lot of time on this, because Anson Alexander does it soooo much better. But I will say that I was stressing over a jillion emails hitting my inbox everyday, and just Not. Being. Able. To. Stay. Current.

Learning to use filters has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I can now sort my newsletter subscriptions into folders/labels, and "do" all my Google+ things together.

Basically, this is traditional fall housecleaning, just like my mama used to do. Only I did not actually take the salad spinner and party platters out of the cupboard and wipe off my shelves.

What tips do you have on organizing your bookmarks and email?
What folders, subfolders, or filters do you use?
Your thoughts?

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