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Monday, December 17, 2007
 

del.icio.us Redux

Some time back I discussed how the social bookmarking site del.icio.us has proven to be the best way to remember stuff found online. Saving a site is as easy as clicking on a "save to del.icio.us" toolbar link. Up pops a little window with the current website URL and after adding a few tags relevant to the particular content, the address is saved to your del.icio.us account. Finding it again is as easy as connecting to your del.icio.us account and searching for one of the tags.

The beauty of this approach is that all your saved bookmarks are freed from your computer and accessible anywhere you happen to be, along with being fully searchable. A huge additional side-benefit is that sharing "favourite sites" with friends and colleagues is as simple as including their del.icio.us username as a tag. The next time they visit del.icio.us they will see your recommendations and they get the opportunity to add them to their own account. Believe me, this approach is much easier than copying the address to an e-mail, composing a message and sending it out several times each day.

Online data guru Jon Udell shares some insights into why he thinks del.icio.us has (so far) failed to find a broader audience despite its purchase by Yahoo in late 2006.

The Firefox browser has integrated del.icio.us functionality directly into the browser. This allows saved del.icio.us bookmarks to be accessed as easily as if they had been saved as traditional bookmarks. A Facebook addon application allows your "public" bookmarks to automagically be included in your Facebook Profile. Because new additions and updates are reflected as well, you never have to worry about maintaining shared lists.

If you aren't using del.icio.us already, you should consider doing so.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007
 

Tivo Tip #1

Did you know the Tivo "Now Playing" listing can easily be viewed on your PC? As long as your Tivo is hooked up to your home network this tip works from any browser.

1. Write down your Tivo IP address. On Tivo this is accessed by clicking "Messages & Settings", "Settings", and finally "Phone & Network".

2. Locate your Media Access Key. On Tivo click "Account and System Information".

Fire-up your browser of choice. Enter this URL: https://{your Tivo IP address}
-- Replace {your Tivo IP address} with the actual address (probably something like 192.168.1.100) Make sure you type in "https" and not "http".

3. You will probably see a message about a certificate error. Ignore this and select "Continue". When prompted enter this username and password:
Username: tivo
Password: {Your Media Access key}

4. This should take you to a page that displays your Tivo "Now Playing" listing. Depending on the size of your Tivo it may take a while to create this page. Each show listed will also feature a convenient link to download directly to your computer.

5. You are now free to export these details to other programs or print out.

Enjoy!

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Sunday, November 13, 2005
 
I Love del.icio.us
This has got to be my best web discovery of the past couple of years. An instant cure to all the bookmarks I had squirreled away over the past 11 years of web reading (ever try to find your old bookmarks?) And I'm barely even scratching the surface of del's "social" aspects. At a recent tech forum, del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter explained his 5 second elevator pitch "it helps you remember things" which is a much more succinct view of the purpose behind his creation than everyone else's definition of it as "folksonomy" (a terrible conjunction.)

He clarified this as, “I don’t use the word ‘folksonomy. Tagging in delicious is about 1/3 classification and 2/3 functionality. Something easy to do that let's you recall the item. The goal isn’t to classify, it’s to remember.” (thanks to Beth Kanter for blogging his discussion.)

That said, the popular tags section of del.icio.us is how I discover most of my new web sites, and it has a very good signal-to-noise ratio.

Tags are the future of the web (and information management in general) I can't wait for the first "true" search engine incorporating tag technology.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005
 
Saving SMS Messages

How hard can it be to extract an SMS message from your cellphone? Recently I've been attempting to solve this dilemna and transfer my saved SMS messages from a Samsung mobile r225m. Part of the problem is that I'm running out of memory space and since I've become addicted to sms.google.com this is getting chronic. Any chance to get a word definition or the latest weather forecast or movie showtimes and locations and I'm texting Google. I admit to being a communications hoarder and my desire extends even to SMS, in justification I don't keep everything.

As I've researched this issue I've learned lots of interesting things about my phone, including that SMS messages are saved in the phone memory and not on the SIM card, the limitations of my phone book and that T-Mobile doesn't provide any useful tools to help organize your mobile communications.

At the very least I wish wireless providers would make it easier for personal phone books to be backed-up. I dread the day when my phone stops working or is lost and I have to re-enter all my numbers into a new phone. The one useful service that T-Mobile offers is a place where you enter multiple phone numbers into a web-based form which then sends your phone an SMS message automatically populating your Phone Book. If only this list could be saved online and re-applied whenever needed. T-Mobile are you listening?

Other possible SMS Backup Solutions:

1. Forwarding messages to e-mail: This doesn't work for me because this phone model doesn't support editing an existing message to add the required address.
2. Save an e-mail address in the phone book and forward SMS's to this: Great idea if your phone supports this feature. My Samsung only lets phone #'s be saved.
3. Forwarding to another phone and resending: This works if the other phone allows editing of forwarded messages, but then you have to spend lots of time forwarding and editing. And you have to retype message header details.
4. Forwarding messages to a SmartPhone: This probably works, and with a Treo or similar wireless Palm device you can then easily extract the messages and beam to a PDA.
5. Retyping each message in a text editor: Yeah right! Maybe for those real important messages. But no chain of evidence exists if you want to keep the message for court battles.
6. Forward messages to fax: Could work, but my phone doesn't support sending faxes. And I can't find any online SMS/fax gateway services.
7. Connect a data cable/infrared and sync: Only works if your phone saves messages on the SIM card, and most sync software is designed to transfer address book details only.
8. Forward messages to a web-based SMS account: This should work as long as the service creates an numeric reply-to address. Create a test message on the website and send to your phone. Write down the sender/reply code, open up another message and then forward this to the reply code. Your message should show up on the website under "Your Messages." Some services even send you an automatic e-mail copy. Envelope details probably still need to be attached to the extracted messages.
9. Buy a new phone that allows SMS's to be transferred!! But I love this phone and I would be loath to give it up.

Option #8 ends up being my recommended choice, with a dash of #5 thrown in where necessary. Strangely enough I can't forward saved copies of my outgoing messages. But why are there no SMS-FAX services? I would think a market exists for this capability.

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