I hardly use bookmarks anymore. At least not in the traditional sense of maintaining a standalone library of links.
For everyday sites, I depend on muscle memory and auto-completion. I type g.m. and Safari completes to GMail, or r.e. to fire up Google Reader. Most sites are only two/three letters away.
My todo list has items with links. Links to forms I have to fill, pages I need to read, stuff I want to buy. I keep notes in EverNotes that have links. Links to reviews of wines I want to taste, to ideas and projects I hope to do someday. Documents I write have links to reference and citations, so do my blog posts. I think of these as “links in contexts”, not bookmarks in their own right.
Everything else is a search away. Search engines are getting better (and so is my Google-fu), that I no longer bother to revisit old bookmarks. When I switched computers earlier this year, one thing I happily left behind were my bookmarks.
Instead of bookmarks – places you visit – I have a steadily growing collection of bookmarklets – things you do. Right now you’ll find these in my bookmarks bar:
➜ Later — When I know I want to read it, simply don’t have the time, I click this link and hand it to my InstaPaper account. It’s easier than keeping 50 tabs open, especially when “later” ends up being a few weeks away. I also use the iPhone app to catch up on my reading at bed, or when waiting in line at the DMV.
➜ Readability — When I have time to read it now, and it’s longer than a couple of paragraphs, I run it by Readability. This handy bookmarklet removes all the unnecessary cruft form the page — the ads, the sidebar, the fancy navigation menu — leaving just the article you’re reading (with images). Instead of fancy style you get a plain vanilla look & feel that’s only good for one purpose: reading text without getting eye hernia. Go ahead, try using it to read this post.
➜ English — English is not the only language in the world, just the one I happen to use every day. This bookmarklet is just Google Translate wrapped up so a single click will turn any language into somewhat broken, sometimes funny, English translation.
➜ Twitter — This is the mystery bookmarklet. Can you guess what it does?
➜ WP — Since the main blog runs on WordPress, I use the Press This bookmarklet to post here. Mostly I use it to quick jot down ideas for posts and save them as draft, and unfortunately, most do not develop into full grown posts.
➜ GReader — Quickest way to subscribe to the blog I’m reading with Google Reader. Yes, I still do read feeds.
The chubby arrow is the Unicode character U+279C, also known as ‘HEAVY ROUND-TIPPED RIGHTWARDS ARROW’. I started using it to distinguish between bookmarks (places, no arrow) and bookmarklets (“send to Tumblr”, “send to InstaPaper”) back when I had both vying for attention in my bookmarks bar. If you’re on a Mac, you can add the arrow by opening Special Characters palette (Cmd-Opt-T) and look under Arrows.
So this is my bookmarks bar. What’s in yours?