Return of the daily links from delicious

By now you have probably noticed that I’ve reverted to posting daily links from delicious to my blog (this time with more description hopefully) even though I had thought at one point in time that they were cluttering up my blog. One of the main reasons I did this was to keep the blog active as I seem to be bookmarking & twittering a lot more nowadays, and don’t make the time to come up with lengthier blog post.

Quite a lot of water has flowed under the bridge during this period, of which the most notable change is the new delicious interface going live. The other handy feature is the ability to post to twitter and email contacts while bookmarking through the firefox extension. I also refreshed my memory for posting from delicious through this blog post on posting to wordpress from delicious and also noticed that Steve Rubel had recommended daily links post as an essential blogging hack (too bad I gave it up for over a year and a half). So, now the daily links posts are here to stay.

delicious blog posting settings

Another thing I noticed while setting up the delicious service was that they’ve tweaked the interface slightly. Now the password field is no longer plain text (whatever made them do that in the initial phase is a mystery to me), and there is a way to effectively utilize the category field to keep the bookmark posts organized. All you need to do is figure out the category id by going to the wordpress blog dashboard –> Posts –> Categories to view the list of categories in the blog. Each category is hyperlinked (something like ….wordpress.com/wp-admin/categories.php?action=edit&cat_ID=4360) and the last portion of the URL gives the category id (out_cat_id in delicious). In my case, 4360 is the id for the “bookmarks” category that I had created for such posts. The setup is pretty convenient & should help keep the blog active in some way till I finish my Management course next year.

Some spring cleaning for my blog

Once I settled on del.icio.us as my online bookmarking service of choice, and set it up for daily link posts to the blog along with the easy to use Firefox extension, I have posted very little content of my own. However, now that I have my own domain, it is time to take another look at this situation. The link posts do serve as a daily browsing round up for me, but may not have much utility for others. However, it is probably better to separate the publishing medium for this, and there are quite a few available.

To this end, I have decided to stop daily link posts to this blog. In case you want to check out my del.icio.us links, you can either use the del.icio.us widget on the blog sidebar, visit my tumblog, check out my friendfeed or just go to my profile on del.icio.us directly. This should help in keeping my blog somewhat cleaner. Of course if there are interesting links, I’ll post on them right here.

In addition to this, I have also updated the "About me" section with links to my various profiles on different social networks and online services, so that you know where to find me on which service. If you are a Google Reader user, I share a fair number of articles on Google Reader from a wide variety of sites, including web comics, technology, software, trivia etc. You can also find me on twitter.

Now to start posting some new content. Firefox 3 beta 3 is out, and should make for a nice follow up to my Firefox 3 beta extension compatibility workaround post (which is incidentally the most popular post for my blog by a long margin, thanks to Google).

To diigo or not to diigo – a del.icio.us dilemma

I had posted on my online bookmarking dilemma a couple of months back, and had decided to try out two services – diigo and del.icio.us – based on a basic evaluation of different bookmarking services. I tried out both services for about a month and a half in parallel, by using the diigo extension for Firefox to post simultaneously to diigo and del.icio.us. Last month I switched over to the del.icio.us extension for Firefox to post solely to del.icio.us, and I have continued with this primarily due to its better Firefox extension.

Following is a run down of my observations during the trial run with the two services:

Firefox extensions

I found the del.icio.us extension more handy to use with its suggested tags (your own plus from other users when available) for the bookmarks. The diigo extension on the other hand only had tag auto-completion from the list of tags already used, with no suggestions from tags used by others (it did show other users’ comments when available). Also, the del.icio.us extension provides a button to bookmark the page (something built into the browser Flock by the way) while diigo requires you to either use its toolbar which results in loss of screen real estate (similar to the StumbleUpon toolbar) or right click on the page and choose the bookmark option from the menu (also provided by the del.icio.us extension).

In addition to the ease of bookmarking, the del.icio.us extension also provides a sidebar to search through your bookmarks without having to visit the site.

Website experience

Currently, the diigo site is easily better than the del.icio.us site which has not undergone much of a change in recent times. diigo provides a much better interface. Also, the del.icio.us site is quite slow.

diigo bookmarks

That said, this is due to change soon with both services running private betas for their new sites. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten an invite to either site though I put myself on the waiting list almost 3 months back. However, from what I’ve seen online, the new del.icio.us site looks similar to what is currently available on diigo. See if you have better luck getting into the beta sites:

diigo beta

del.icio.us beta (TechCrunch coverage including screenshots)

Truth be told, I have not had to visit the website of either service much other than to bulk organize some bookmarks and make some setting changes.

Special features

diigo has a much larger feature set than del.icio.us, like text highlighting, posting to other bookmarking sites (something I used throughout to keep in sync with del.icio.us), page caching (this seems to the USP for some users if you look at the TechCrunch post comments on the del.icio.us preview) etc. However, on last try, some features like posting bookmark list to a blog (I discovered that diigo was running on Rails due to the error pages I saw when trying to access this feature), seemed to be buggy. I gave up on the post to blog feature on diigo and switched to del.icio.us which seems to work quite well (though the site leaves much to be desired – the password is in plain text).

Final thoughts (at least till the previews are released)

del.icio.us seems to be serving my online bookmarking requirements quite well (too well if you look at my daily bookmark posts) for the time being. diigo has its uses especially if you are collecting bookmarks for some kind of research – the highlighting can be very useful for annotations (you can also see others’ highlighting if present) and the page cache (available but done manually) should ensure that the page is still available in some form even if the source goes down.

I’ll probably give both services another parallel trial run once the previews are released. And the fact that the import/export feature on both services is quite good, switching back and forth between them shouldn’t be much of a pain (though repeatedly typing “del.icio.us” like I did in this post is).

Online bookmarking dilemma

I have been facing the problem of which online bookmarking service to use for quite some time now. This is due to the fact that I have the StumbleUpon and Google toolbars installed on Firefox, and also have accounts on deli.cio.us, blinklist and digg (and possibly some others which I can’t remember right now :-). Too diversified for my own good you say. Well my thoughts exactly. So, if you have any suggestions or comments be my guest.

So let me do some old fashioned analysis on this subject. First off lets list my requirements:

  1. Convenient to use from browser (few steps to bookmark page)
    • browser extensions/bookmarklets to bookmark and tag pages – Brw Extn
    • tags suggestions or better yet auto tagging for known pages (a la StumbleUpon) – Tag Sugg
  2. Easy to search through bookmarks and tags – Easy Search
  3. Sharing of bookmarks – privacy settings per bookmark – Share
  4. Post to blog/other service on a timed basis (something like daily/weekly bookmark lists) – Timed posting
  5. Proper public Atom/RSS feed of bookmarks – Pub Feed
  6. Import/export bookmarks – Imp Exp

Googling for a comparison of these services gives me this Read/WriteWeb article from about a year ago, but it’s missing Google bookmarks. Looking at the list, diigo does seem interesting though. A shot at Mashable turns up an article on a list of 50+ social bookmarking sites – so much for consolidation. However, furl and bluedot do look interesting (and I have heard of them before) – save copies of the page along with the bookmark hmmm…. sounds a bit like Clipmarks. Looks like we have 2 new candidates for the lineup. So here’s the final lineup for the comparison: StumbleUpon, Google bookmarks, deli.cio.us, diigo, furl and bluedot. Now onto the comparison table (based on my experiences with some of the services, the 2 articles I mentioned and information on the sites) – column headings based on requirements list above:

Service Brw Extn Tag Sugg Easy Search Share Timed posting Pub Feed Imp Exp
StumbleUpon Y Y N Y N Y N
Google bookmarks Y N Y N N N Y
deli.cio.us Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
diigo Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
furl Y N Y Y ? Y Y
bluedot Y ? Y Y ? Y Y

Looks like we have a tie in the feature comparison between deli.cio.us and diigo. I’ve tried deli.cio.us before, but diigo does seem quite feature rich and promising. In fact diigo seems to support posting bookmarks to rival services. On the other hand, deli.cio.us is quite well known and supported almost everywhere (wordpress.com even provides a widget), and I have found people posting their bookmarks to their blogs on a weekly/daily basis (possibly using technique like this). Then again diigo is a lot easier to type when making a review :D. It was reviewed favourably on cnet.

Jokes aside, let me try out diigo for some time before I make the final (I wonder if there’s any such thing as “final” ) decision. Now only if there was some way in which I could get my shipment of bookmarks from StumbleUpon to diigo somehow.

To round things up, just a few notes on some of the other services:

  • StumbleUpon is still quite good, especially for its “channel surfing” ability, but it’s not the best suited to be used as a bookmark manager. Also, the bookmarks feed does not seem to be supported on some sites twitterfeed and tumblr. So, sharing this way is ruled out for the time being (it does work with Google Reader which supports sharing)
  • Google bookmarks is also quite easy to use through the Google toolbar, but there’s no way to share the bookmarks or set their privacy. They did add the missing Import/Export feature sometime back, so we could expect the feature set to grow. Also, there is not much integration with other Google services like notebook, browser sync etc, which makes the service seem a bit orphaned right now.
  • I’ve tried blinklist, but the problem with that was the browser bookmarklet which didn’t load properly all the time. So, it failed at the basic level itself.

Update (20/9/2007-4:00pm IST): I’ve started using diigo and imported my bookmarks from deli.cio.us, which is a built in feature, and also installed the diigo toolbar on Firefox. The bookmarking and highlighting feature seems to be working properly, with the ability to post simultaneously to deli.cio.us and other such service (as a backup). However, the daily blog posting doesn’t seem to be properly implemented (getting error messages – seems to be done using Ruby on Rails) yet. So I have set up deli.cio.us for this, and the posting seems to be working properly.

Update (21/9/2007-10:25pm IST): Google has added a shared stuff service which allows you to share websites with others. It is not integrated with Google bookmarks at the moment, but the email feature is linked to your gmail account, plus there’s an RSS feed. So, 2 of the missing features in Google bookmarks (sharing and public feeds) could possibly be taken care of by this service.