Cool Tools – del.icio.us & Bloglines

del.icio.us – http://del.icio.us/
Bloglines – http://www.bloglines.com/

If you’re at all like the vast majority who use the web, you have a massive collection of bookmarks or favourites crowding your browser-and very likely there’s no rhyme or reason to how they’re sorted, if they’re sorted at all. You find a site that is interesting or useful or fun, so you click your “save bookmark” button and go merrily on your way. Then comes the moment when you want to visit that link again, but you can’t find it because your bookmarks look like a bramble bush. Fear not, intrepid web surfers, there is a solution for you!

del.icio.us is a web-based social bookmarks system that allows you to easily add links to your personal collection, categorise them by keyword (referred to on the site as “tags”), and share those links with others. You do this via a bookmarklet–a link that resides in your browser’s toolbar, which you click to record a new site. Your collection of links can be accessed from any web browser, and by default they are sorted in reverse chronological order – the newest on the top of the list. You can also view your links by user-defined categories, and you can also search your links by keyword. Not only can you view your own links collection, but you can also view the collections of others (and subscribe to them to keep track of what they add), and you can also see who else has listed any given link that occurs in any collection. Not only is del.icio.us an excellent, and free, way to keep track of your own collection of links, it’s also an excellent way to find new sites to visit – just keep an eye on the links pages of other del.icio.us users – and you don’t even have to go to the website to do that, you can sign up to the feed via any RSS (Real Simple Syndication) reader, and that RSS reader will send the information right to your computer. However, if installing an RSS browser isn’t in the cards for you, you might want to try the free online RSS service called Bloglines.

“Bloglines is the most comprehensive, integrated service for searching, subscribing, publishing and sharing news feeds, blogs, and rich Web content. It’s free and easy-to-use.” This simple web-based service allows you to easily subscribe to, and manage, news feeds, weblogs, and audio. It collects the information you’ve asked to receive, retrieves new information as it happens, and organises it all for you on your own personal news page. It also provides a “clipblog” so you can save links to view later on, offers a means of subscribing to mailing lists if you don’t want to use your regular email address to sign up for such things, and even provides you with a simple weblog of your own if you’re interested in publishing some content as well as receiving it.

I’ve been using both these services for quite some time, and find them both easy to read, use, and understand. Neither site requires you to know any coding or install any software on your own machine, and best of all, they’re both free!

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