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Drive-by Tips for Centralizing Your Content on the Internet

Drive-by Tips for Centralizing Your Content on the Internet

Centralized Content

    Last week, I wrote on how bloggers could make the most effective use of the FriendFeed service. A question I heard from a few people went something like this:

    I’m not a blogger, but I want to centralize my content on the Internet. How do I do this?

    There are so many ways to manage information online, and many ways to centralize various types of information. The main decision is in deciding which data you want to centralize and aggregate so that you can choose the most appropriate method of pulling it all together.

    I’ve called this drive-by tips because I’m not going to beat around the bush – I’m going to get straight to the point and direct you to the services you need to start getting your information together, so get ready for a fast ride!

    I want to centralize my notes

    I’m a big fan of Evernote, personally. The beauty of this service is that you can use it on your computer, your phone, from the browser, hell, soon they’ll have firmware for your microwave oven. And it all syncs up seamlessly.

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    You can learn more about Evernote and its many uses by reading this recent Lifehack article.

    The kind folks at Evernote have given me a bunch of invites. If you want to grab one, just leave a comment asking for an invite and I’ll get it to you.

    I want to centralize my bookmarks

    Hands-down, the most popular way to centralize and organize your bookmarks is using del.icio.us. With a domain name like that, how could you not use it?

    You can integrate del.icio.us with Firefox using the plugin they provide on their website, or you can use Flock to save bookmarks locally and to an online bookmarking service at the same time. This creates a back-up of your bookmarks – one copy online and one locally. del.icio.us may be more reliable than your computer, but anything could happen.

    A popular alternative, also supported by Flock, is mag.nolia.

    I want to clip web content

    Want to clip web content without leaving your browser? If you’re already using Evernote to centralize your notes, you may as well stick with that (even though it requires you to switch windows). If not, you can download Flock, the social web browser, that has a web clippings feature built-in. Drag any image or text to your web clippings sidebar while surfing and you can come back to it later.

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    Firefox user? You don’t need to jump browsers just to get a clipping service – ScrapBook is a plugin that integrates web clipping capabilities with the world’s favorite browser. Hey, regardless of whether it’s the most frequently used, we can all agree that Firefox is the world’s favorite!

    Perhaps you want a native web service, not another app or plugin. As always, Google has a solution for your online needs – try Google Notebook. Or do you want a web service, but have joined the anti-Google crowd? There’s always Clipmarks.

    The minimalists among us will enjoy ToRead – a service that sends sites you’ve come across to your email address so you can catch up on them later.

    I want to start a blog

    So I said this one wasn’t aimed at bloggers, but it seems to me that when people catch the info-centralization bug, they soon after catch the blogging bug too, even if it’s just to store some information in a readily accessible place.

    Free Blogs

    WordPress is the most popular blogging system, and in my opinion, the best one. You can get a free hosted account at WordPress.com, but the hosted accounts have restrictions on what you can do with it – no advertisements, for instance.

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    Blogger is another popular free blogging service. It has more of a spam problem, but also gives you the option to put Google AdSense ads on your blog and has SEO benefits thanks to its genealogy – it’s a Google property. Both of these advantages contribute to the bigger spam problem.

    An older service, but still quite popular, is LiveJournal. This is typically for personal blogs that are akin to diaries. Lots of teens use this service.

    Lastly, if you want a blog to post quick links, notes, quotes and reminders for yourself, nothing beats Tumblr.

    Self-Hosted Blogs

    There are three things you need for a self-hosted blog:

    • A domain name,
    • Hosting,
    • Blog software

    You can get the first two from GoDaddy pretty cheaply, and I wouldn’t go past WordPress.org for great self-hosted blog software.

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    Most blog systems are compatible with FriendFeed, bringing you one step closer to true information centralization.

    I want to centralize content for my friends to see

    Done all of the above, but now you want to centralize your content not just for your own convenience, but for your friends too? Assuming that you’re connected with your friends via Facebook, like most people these days, this should be pretty easy for you to achieve.

    First, start an account at FriendFeed. Once you’ve plugged in all your accounts for the different types of content, you can install the FriendFeed Facebook app which will post your FriendFeed updates to your mini-feed.

    Of course, the FriendFeed experience is better when your friends use FriendFeed itself, but this method allows them to catch up with everything you’re doing pretty easily without having to add yet another account to their list.

    Don’t forget that FriendFeed is very useful for keeping track of your own content; it’s not just for the convenience of those who want to track you. Know you said something somewhere, but can’t remember where or what? It’s just a few clicks away.

    Hope you enjoyed this drive-by introduction to content centralization for non-bloggers – and remember, if you want an Evernote invitation, just give me a shout in the comments.

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    Last Updated on May 14, 2019

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

    1. Zoho Notebook
      If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
    2. Evernote
      The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
    3. Net Notes
      If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
    4. i-Lighter
      You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
    5. Clipmarks
      For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
    6. UberNote
      If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
    7. iLeonardo
      iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
    8. Zotero
      Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

    I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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    In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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