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20 Useful Bookmarklets

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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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    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

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    8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

    How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

    Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

    When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

    Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

    What Makes People Poor Listeners?

    Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

    1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

    Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

    Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

    It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

    2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

    This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

    Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

    3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

    It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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    I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

    If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

    4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

    While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

    To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

    My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

    Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

    Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

    How To Be a Better Listener

    For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

    1. Pay Attention

    A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

    According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

    As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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    I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

    2. Use Positive Body Language

    You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

    A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

    People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

    But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

    According to Alan Gurney,[2]

    “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

    Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

    3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

    I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

    Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

    Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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    Be polite and wait your turn!

    4. Ask Questions

    Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

    5. Just Listen

    This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

    I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

    I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

    6. Remember and Follow Up

    Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

    For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

    According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

    It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

    7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

    If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

    Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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    Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

    Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

    NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

    1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
    2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

    8. Maintain Eye Contact

    When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

    Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

    By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

    Final Thoughts

    Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

    You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

    And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

    More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
    [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
    [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
    [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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