Thursday, September 11, 2008

Now what happened to my bookmarks?

[If you came here trying to recover lost bookmarks for Firefox, has a knowledge base article on the topic. For Chrome, try this Google search. For IE, try this Google search. For Safari, try this one. For Opera, try this one. The Opera search also turned up this PC Today article for Firefox, IE and Opera. For Ma.gnolia (FaceBook and maybe others?), try this. In any case, please feel free to have a look around since you're here.]

About a year ago I wondered what had happened to my bookmarks. It wasn't that they'd disappeared, but they'd certainly become less prominent in my I had also just started using to track bookmarks out in the cloud instead of on my local box.

I noted that most of what I'd been using bookmarks for -- remembering frequently-visited sites and navigating the web at large -- had been subsumed by my browser's history feature and toolbars, and by Google search. My actual bookmarks (and were mainly for remembering memorable sites that I might not revisit enough to keep fresh in the broswer's memory.

Since then I've updated my browser, at which point the plugin I'd been using stopped working. Rather than track that down, I thought I'd see if I missed it first. I didn't. In fact, months later I still haven't fixed it. My actual browser bookmarks list has slowly grown but I'm not sure when I actually used it last. At least the links are there if I ever want them (unless they've rotted away in the mean time).

My browser also grew a "smart bookmarks" feature with the update, which automagically collects a reasonable facsimile of what I actually visit frequently. I'm sure there's some annoying technical reason that it misses a couple of frequently-visisted sites, but I can't be bothered to track it down. I think I see the smart bookmarks as a sort of freebie. If it helps, great, otherwise no big deal.

Maybe this is just my slowly attaining my career goal of "curmudgeon", but I'm finding myself more and more indifferent to Web 2.0 in general. Some of the AJAX stuff is nice, but some of I can just as well do without (like this). There's also a larger drawback to the whole approach: Anything that encourages widespread customization also encourages widespread quirks, glitches (like this), bugs and maddeningly not-quite-identical behavior of functionally identical pieces across sites (or even within a site).

Tagging seemed fun and useful, but I hardly ever use it except to revisit a tag for this blog for use in a new post (as I did with annoyances just now). I think I find more value in the exercise of figuring out which tags to put on an entry. Of course if that helps you, dear reader, I'm more than glad to help.

Social networking is its own little world. I've certainly written about it a fair bit, but again I don't make frequent use of it. My LinkedIn account isn't completely dormant, but the joint is not exactly jumpin' either. What else was Web 2.0 supposed to be? Microformats? I played with them at one point, I think.

This is not to suggest that Web 2.0 is mere hype -- obviously lots of people use the stuff and like it -- just to say that nothing has really changed my position that while Web 1.0 was a grand slam home run, Web 2.0 is more a bunch of singles. And probably a fair number of foul balls. They won't strike you out, but they don't do much else for you either.

However, thinking all this over, I did notice one more place that bookmarks for interesting sites ended up, and it's in the cloud, no less. A great many interesting sites that I run across that would previously have sat quietly in my browser's bookmarks find their way into this blog where everyone can find them. Of course that means I can, too, and from time to time I do. Is blogging considered Web 2.0 per se? I forget, but if it is I'd consider it one of the more successful examples. Maybe a ground-rule double?

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