Feb 132009

Last month when I heard the news that my favorite bookmarking tool, Google Notebooks, was being discontinued I panicked. I used Google Notebook all the time for everything from notes to bookmarks. And having my notes and bookmarks available to me at all times and on any computer I am using is a must. I looked around at some of the alternatives and did a little research into what I could use to replace it, but in the end I decided I needed to take control of my own bookmarks.

Losing all my bookmarks and notes was not something I wanted to happen to me. And relying on a third party service was just asking for trouble. So I decided to create my own.
Initial Requirements:

  • Online and accessible from any browser
  • Private mode so that I can take notes that are only for me
  • Public mode so that I can publish notes and bookmarks
  • Tag/label based organization rather than folder based. That way items can be in multiple lists without having to have multiple copies
  • Easy way to bookmark or clip from any page without having to leave the page

Now anyone who knows me, knows that I am all about adapting existing systems to my needs when I build software. So my initial thought was build my own bookmark service using WordPress as a base. After all, this site and many others I run/administer use WordPress. So I’m pretty familiar with it.

To that end, I started researching what plugins and features were already out there for WordPress that I could use. And the result was the new jamiebarrows.info site. It’s not completely perfect, and I’m still modifying it and tweaking it, but for the moment it does everything I wanted it to do.

Here are a couple of screenshots.

Here are the tools/plugins/themes I am using to accomplish this.

  • WordPress.Org The underlying engine of the entire site.
  • PressMark Theme A WordPress theme/conversion that is set up specifically for bookmarking. Has a great little scriptlet that you can add to your toolbar to clip and bookmark while reading or browsing. Also gives you the option of making a bookmark public or private.
  • Postalicious plugin A WordPress plugin that automatically pulls any Delicious bookmarks along with their tags into WordPress and posts them as a WordPress post. I found that this way I can still use a third party tool to do my bookmarking without surrendering control of those bookmarks.
  • wp-Spamfree plugin Not strictly a bookmarking plugin, but this does eliminate spam comments almost entirely. Which is important if I want my bookmarks to be open to comments.

And that’s it. The whole thing was a lot easier than I expected it to be. Most of the tools I needed were already written and required little or no modification to get them working the way I wanted them.

All of my bookmarks and notes are now located on a domain and in a database and form that I control. And so far it’s working out pretty well.

Playing with twitter

 Me, Web 2.0  Comments Off
Jan 282008

TwitterWith twitter getting so much attention on the web these days, I thought I should check it out. So I went ahead and created a twitter account.
It’s kind of cool. A lot like the status message on MySpace or Facebook. Not really all that different actually. One cool thing is that you can update it from an IM client or a mobile phone. At this point I’m really wishing there was some way to send a status comment to all the services at once. So that I could send a message to a single location and have it update the status comments on all the services I’m signed up for. But I guess that would be too much to ask. So anyway, here’s a link to my twitter page.

Google Reader

 Web 2.0  Comments Off
Dec 132007

googlereader2.pngI just found out that you can publish a feed of the feeds you are subscribed to.
Not only can you publish the feed and a special page, you can also embed a cool little javascript gadget into your page or blog.
So I went ahead and created a page to put all my feed categories into. So now you can see what I’m reading every day. Just follow the link to check it out.