Thursday, July 22, 2010

Organizing: the Start Menu and Bookmarks

Two things that are always messy for me are the bookmarks in my browser, regardless of what OS and browser I'm on, and the Start Menu. Now some people might say "The start menu takes care of itself", but it really doesn't, especially mine. I install stuff like noneother, so I have at least 8 web browsers installed 10 media players, 8 media get the point. It gets messy, even if it's 'organized', but if I leave it to itself, it becomes almost impossible to navigate.

One nice thing I like about the Start Menu in bbLean is that it always sorts by name, so I never have to worry about sorting it, and it's always predictable. The bad part is that it only goes so big horizontally, and it doesn't fold out into multiple rows like Explorer did. The latter is bad because it can quickly consume your screen and having a menu like that is usually unnavigable, but the former is something I wish I could fix. But anyway, I'm also trying to write a program that will help you organize your start menu. It's a work in progress, and I'm mostly struggling with GUI layout and core concepts.

As for bookmarks, my Firefox is constantly cluttered. I literally spent three days of just sorting bookmarks, and I'm still only about 2/3 of the way done. (True, I got sidetracked for about 50% of the time, but still.) I've learned a few tricks about bookmarking, especially in Firefox:
  • Try to keep up with it as much as you can. If you stumble across a few sites and decide you want to bookmark them, put them in good folders ("Programming", "Videos", etc) at the time of bookmarking them. You may just want to put them in Unsorted bookmarks, but they will build up over time. Same thing goes with tagging and naming. I just recently started tagging bookmarks, and it's really kinda nice, but TONS easier if you do it with every new bookmark instead of going through hundreds.
  • Don't use Unsorted Bookmarks when you can help it. Bookmarks here do not show up in the Bookmark Menu and are not included in Awesome Bar searches, so they are essentially useless, and because most people don't open up the "Organize Bookmarks" window every day, they can go largely unnoticed for a long period of time, and can really stack up.
  • Throw the bookmarks in your Bookmark Toolbar. This might sound crazy, but it might help to suggest the addons Smart Bookmarks Bar and Multirow Bookmarks Toolbar. The reason I personally tend to throw bookmarks directly onto my bookmark bar whenever possible is because I always see my Bookmark Bar so my unsorted bookmarks can't really get out of hand without my knowing it. For example, my Bar currently has almost 2 full rows with several massive folders, so I think it's about time for me to get sorting.
The combination of these three are what drive my 3 folders of 200+ unsorted bookmarks to success. If anyone ever sees my browser and Start Menu, maaaaaan that'll be embarassing.

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