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Tips for smart web surfing

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  • Tips for smart web surfing

    I thought we could start a thread (maybe even a new thread -- I didn't find older threads like this) where we could share tips and experiences on how to be a smarter web surfer.

    You know the deal. We go to one web site and we end up clicking on 20 interesting links and in no time we are totally way off the original search idea. At least, this used to happen a lot in my case.

    What I do now is if I anticipate I am only going to have a limited time I can be on the internet on a certain day/night, I write in a program (that resides in my computer's menubar and is easily accessible) what my 2-3 most wanted actions during this particular session are and then I periodically check to see I am still doing what I am supposed to be doing.

    I also have a bookmark folder in my browser (I use Safari for Mac) that I labeled Queue where I place links that I think I am gonna need to look at (here's another idea -- immediately decide if the links are ever going to be interesting to you -- this is like sorting your mail). At the end of my computer session I go through my Queue links and place some of them to the top -- those are the ones that I think are gonna be highest priority next for my next session at the computer). Not everything here is exactly GTD but then I don't think it really has to be -- whatever works.

    I want this thread to be about experiences and tips. If something is not GTD, you are welcome to comment on that -- that in itself could be helpful to many.

    I am still tweaking my methods of integrating my menubar and bookmark lists into my GTD Palm (I call it that because that's where I do all my GTD processing). If a link or a web site is THAT important then I usually do go ahead and write it down in my Palm in projects and then eventually next actions.

    Another topic of discussion -- what does everyone do with web sites where you have just replied to a topic or want to follow up on in the next few days? I go ahead and place the immediate link with my reply into my Queue folder so that next time I am at the computer I will look at those first.

    Thanks for everyone's attention

  • #2
    Another tip for bookmarking

    When I'm tempted to spend too much time surfing, but know that there's something that I *really* want to read later (or keep for reference), I bookmark it with a free online site, spurl.net. Then I can access it later at home or elsewhere when I have the time.

    My @work bookmarks were piling up on different machines, both PC and Mac, and I needed something that didn't depend upon my location at a particular computer to see my saved URLs. I went with spurl because I could keep certain links private; a necessity when testing beta client projects prior to public release.

    Two other sites, del.icio.us and furl.com, are also free, and work in a similar manner.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow! That's a great tip! Thanks, I will look at it

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by alsa
        You know the deal. We go to one web site and we end up clicking on 20 interesting links and in no time we are totally way off the original search idea. At least, this used to happen a lot in my case.
        I use tabbed browsing to avoid this. I suppose you've heard of it (check out Mozilla Firefox at http://www.mozilla.org/firefox otherwise).

        Basically you hold Ctrl while you left-click on a link. This opens the link in a new tab (and you can go on reading the current page).

        Now, if the topic of the link very likely doesn't have to do with the current page's subject at all, hold Shift while you left-click. This will open the link in a new window. That way, you won't be going anywhere else and any interesting links you discover will wait for you to be processed ("Do I still/really want to read this?") at the time that you've read/finished whatever you were doing in the current window.

        This also works with right-click or the Windows keyboard context menu button - the context menu will have a 'Open in new window' and 'Open in new tab' option for links that you right-click on.

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        • #5
          Web bookmarks: a new collection point

          It would seem that one needs a new collection point to handle bookmarks. Perhaps a bookmarks list needs some of the same categories, folders, or tabs as one's Reference Files, one's Project list, or one's Someday/Maybes. I suppose it would depend on whether collecting bookmarks was an important activity in one's day.

          That would mean that reviewing bookmarks should be part of the weekly review for many of us.

          Are some of us doing this already ?

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          • #6
            Installing your favourite browser (except for Internet Explorer which requires its own operating system..) onto your USB stick makes a single bookmark file possible and has the added benefit that you can carry it around.

            I think the USB stick is even more versatile when it comes to websites that you want to read at a later point in time: If you don't have (or want for e.g. financial reasons) Internet connectivity all the time, you can save the website using most browser's File -> Save Page as.. (or similar) function to the USB stick and later review the website offline instead of the bookmark. This is great for articles or book reviews.

            Aside of the collected bookmarks it might also be a good idea to sometimes go through your bookmarks file and see which of them has become obsolete/invalid and thus can be removed from the list.

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            • #7
              USB - great idea!

              Today I tried another approach that might also work well with a USB stick:

              I highlighted the text from a web article that I wanted to read later and saved it as a text (.txt) file, which is readable by almost everything on both PC and Mac. The text file doesn't take up much file space and you could fit a ton on a USB drive.

              I also like your idea of using a browser on the USB stick...perehaps a WIKI on a stick would also work in this instance.

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              • #8
                When browsing I find myself finding a lot of gems online, that although I don’t have time to read/view at that moment, I want to keep a copy of those URLs that I found interesting and then get back to them when I have more time.

                I do this by opening up multiple tabs in Mozilla Firefox (as mentioned already in a reply above) and then with my Gmail account open in another window I simply email myself a list of URLs that have my interest for that day. I then check my inbox, star the message, and get back to all the sites in the message when I have the time.

                For me this is quite useful for two reasons – first being that there is no limitation of bookmarks and having to carry them around on a USB drive (although a good tip as well). Secondly, with Gmail being a webmail service and with unlimited storage, I can send myself a message with a lot of web addresses and then access that message on any computer terminal with internet access.

                DT

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                • #9
                  I was in the bad habit of browsing certain pages way too often, looking for updates, until I found Website Watcher. Very happy with that one, now all I need is one click to check them all, and only visit the updated ones. (There might be probably other similar utilities, not sure, didn't research.)

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                  • #10
                    Get an RSS reader. Load it up with feeds for all the sites you're interested in, and tell it how often to check them. Check the reader once or twice a day.

                    (Google on "intro to RSS" if you don't already know what it is.)

                    For bookmarks in general, use Furl, or deli.cio.us, or one of the other tagging services. Tag pages by topic as you surf, go back and read them as time and/or need for the information permits.

                    Use a tabbed browser. Among other things, you can save a whole list of pages for further use, and open them all at once when you're ready to return to that topic. You can also keep a collection of frequently referenced pages at your fingertips.

                    Katherine

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                    • #11
                      If you are looking for a quick search to find information on something without using a search engine and surfing from site to site in order to find the right information, simply use Wikipedia - the largest online encyclopedia.

                      For example, a quick search on RSS file format gets you to this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RSS_%28file_format%29. Which explains everything about RSS and a few interesting links at the bottom of the page.

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                      • #12
                        My tips

                        For VERY easy tabbed browsing for those who are familiar with Internet Explorer, and lots of advanced options, use the FREE Maxthon browser - http://www.maxthon.com

                        To very easily capture web pages to view later, use the also FREE EverNote - http://www.evernote.com/

                        And to avoid spending too much time surfing - try an old fashioned oven timer... BBBBRRRRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!! Oops, time's up.

                        Trisha
                        http://www.trishacupra.com

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                        • #13
                          Instead of going to Google to search what I need, now first time I usually do now is going to social bookmark (i.e. del.icio.us) to search for sites that related to the topic first. For example to search about productivity, i would go to http://del.icio.us/tag/productivity

                          This usually speed up the my info searching and time on web surfing.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LeonGTD
                            Instead of going to Google to search what I need, now first time I usually do now is going to social bookmark (i.e. del.icio.us) to search for sites that related to the topic first. For example to search about productivity, i would go to http://del.icio.us/tag/productivity
                            You could speed it up even more by going to http://www.technorati.com/tag/productivity. Technorati aggregates Furl and del.icio.us bookmarks, Flickr images, and blog posts, all in one page.

                            Katherine

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kewms
                              You could speed it up even more by going to http://www.technorati.com/tag/productivity. Technorati aggregates Furl and del.icio.us bookmarks, Flickr images, and blog posts, all in one page.
                              How would you say Technorati is different from say Google as a search engine? Assume e.g. that Google implements a 'blog:' selector.

                              P.S. Thanks for the hint about Technorati per se - having to choose between del.icio.us et al has just become very easy.

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