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20 Useful Bookmarklets

20 Useful Bookmarklets

Bookmark

    Bookmarklets are useful tools. Simply put, they’re bookmarked links you keep in your browser toolbar that perform a useful function when you click on them. There are about half a million of the things out there—far too many to fit in any bookmark toolbar! Let’s take a look at twenty of the most useful bookmarklets out there.

    To “install” a bookmarklet, drag the link presented on the bookmarklet’s Web site to your bookmarks toolbar, and you’re done.

    1. WordPress Bookmarklet

    With the release of WordPress 2.6, the team at WordPress reinstated the “Press This” bookmarklet—this time even more powerful, with Tumblr-like capabilities. Want to throw a YouTube video or Flickr pic into your blog real quick? This is the bookmarklet for you. You’ll find it on your WordPress “New Post” page to the right of the post editor.

    2. del.icio.us Bookmarklet

    If you want to save a link to your del.icio.us account without adding yet another extension to your browser, check out the del.icio.us bookmarklets available here. There’s a Post to del.icio.us bookmarklet and one for viewing your favorites quickly.

    3. Password Generator Bookmarklet

    If you have trouble coming up with secure passwords all the time, save some time and energy by installing this bookmarklet. It combines the domain name of the site you need a password for with your “master password” so you only ever need to remember one password—minus the security concerns. You can get it here.

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    4. Microformats Bookmarklet

    If your organization uses some sort of intranet project management that always has hCard or hCalendar (.vcf or .ics files) for download, or you frequent other sites that use these formats, the Microformats Bookmarklet will check through the page you’re on and find them for you. It makes keeping up with contacts and calendars easy. You can get it here.

    5. Facebook Bookmarklet

    If you’re an avid Facebook user and frequently share interesting Web sites using your Facebook account, this bookmarklet lets you do it even faster and without returning to the Facebook site itself. You can get it here.

    6. Reddit Bookmarklet

    The Reddit Bookmarklet makes it easier for redditors to not only submit interesting Web sites, but cast “like” or “dislike” votes for sites that have already been submitted. There’s also a “Serendipity” bookmarklet that’ll take you to a random site through Reddit. You can get it here.

    7. Google Translate Bookmarklet

    Constantly find yourself on pages written in French or Italian, but have no idea how to read any language but English? Your surfing habits may be baffling, but there’s something to make your life easier here.

    8. FriendFeed Bookmarklet

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    Saving interesting tidbits to FriendFeed is easy and incredibly pleasant with this excellent bookmarklet. It can grab an image from the page you’re saving if you’re into visuals. Grab it here.

    9. TweetBurner Bookmarklet

    Twitter users will love this bookmarklet. It can be a pain in the backside to get a regular link converted into a shorter URL without a bookmarklet or a desktop client with the capability built in—but with this installed, it has never been easier. It’s on the front page to the left here.

    10. ToRead Bookmarklet

    Once you enter your email address on this bookmarklet’s homepage, you’ll be able to quickly send pages you wish to look at again and read in depth later on to your email account for easy access. Check it out here.

    11. OnlyWire Bookmarklet

    If you’re really into social bookmarking and have a hundred different bookmarklets cluttering your toolbar, this bookmarklet that supports many of the most popular sites may help you simplify things a bit and get pages bookmarked quicker. Get it here.

    12. XRAY Bookmarklet

    Web designers will find this bookmarklet useful. It’ll show you the box model for CSS elements on any page along with a whole lot of information about the element you’re looking at. Get it here.

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    13. Rollyo Bookmarklet

    Sick of hunting and pecking through each site you visit to find a well-hidden search field? Rollyo lets you search any site you visit just by clicking the bookmarklet, and allows you to save frequently visited sites into a “searchroll” so you can search your favorites anywhere. Take a look at Rollyo here.

    14. RatesFX Bookmarklet

    Do you need to convert figures in one currency to another frequently? I’m always converting figures in US dollars to Australian (the results aren’t as pleasant as they once were!), so a bookmarklet like this is a huge timesaver. Try it out here.

    15. Google Reader Bookmarklet

    This Google Reader bookmarklet will help you subscribe to new blogs, or any site with an RSS feed, as you surf the web. Check it out here.

    16. Newsgator Bookmarklet

    Much like the Google Reader bookmarklet, the Newsgator bookmarklet will allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds under your Newsgator account. I love this because it means I can add a feed without opening NetNewsWire, which can take some time. If you’re using a Newsgator account in any compatible feed reader and getting sick of opening the app just to add a new feed, this is the solution for you. Find out how to install it here.

    17. Layout Grid Bookmarklet

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    Another one for designers: this bookmarklet will overlay a layout grid on any Web site. Particularly useful if you’re developing your own and want to see how it’s matching up to your grid calculations in a browser without adding the grid as a background image. Check it out here.

    18. View Passwords Bookmarklet

    Whenever I login to GoDaddy I get paranoid that one small typo in my password will lock me out for the rest of the day—this has happened more times than I can count. Here’s a typo that soothes this paranoia and allows you to see your passwords as you type them. No more asterisks! Get it here (also offers a handy Remember Passwords bookmarklet that fixes those pesky sites that refuse to remember them for you).

    19. Digg Submit Bookmarklet

    If you’re a Digger, this bookmarklet might be useful for you—click it to start the submission process for the page you’re currently on. This is an unofficial bookmarklet. Get it here.

    20. Spreeder Bookmarklet

    Want to practice speed reading, but find the text that comes with your speed reading app incredibly boring? The Spreeder bookmarklet lets you paste a block of text into a dialogue box, which is then displayed to you in rapid-fire, word by word. Check it out here.

    Do you have a favorite bookmarklet that I haven’t listed here? Let us know about it in the comments section!

    More by this author

    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

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    Last Updated on July 17, 2019

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    What happens in our heads when we set goals?

    Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

    Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

    According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

    Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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    Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

    Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

    The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

    Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

    So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

    Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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    One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

    Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

    Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

    The Neurology of Ownership

    Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

    In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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    But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

    This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

    Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

    The Upshot for Goal-Setters

    So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

    On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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    It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

    On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

    But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

    More About Goals Setting

    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

    Reference

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