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The Death Of Favourites (an Ode to OneNote)

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Finally, one of the banes of my existence is going away.
 
No, "Favorites" aren't disappearing from Internet Explorer (er, not that I know of, anyway), but I just noticed that my browsing experience had been greatly streamlined. By using Favourites. Which is surprising to me, because normally, I'm flat-out scared to open the list.
 
Confessional time...
 
For years, I've been a browsing packrat. I add bookmarks as if my life depends on it. If something might even be vaguely useful to me at some point in the future, I'll add it. If I don't have time to read more than the first paragraph but really want to come back to something, I'll add it. If there's something I'm mid-way through reading and then have to concentrate on something else, I'll add it.
 
The occasional attempt at categorization left me frustrated, with the added bonus that I'd then have a folder structure three levels deep that I knew I wouldn't be revisiting. Pity.
 
Then, something changed.
 
At first, I put it down to my increase acceptance of and reliance on Google (and more recently MSN's Search Preview), and I think that's a part of it. Also, having an Outlook-based RSS Aggregator and a reasonably good Outlook-indexing search app helps.
 
But I think I've worked out the main reason that I don't need the bookmarks any more: It's OneNote.
 
Yep, OneNote has cured me of my bookmarkitis.
 
I've been using OneNote more and more (I had a very slow start with it, just using the “side notes” featurette, but I spent a little time experimenting with it a bit more recently), and it's gradually taking over the role of "information dumping ground" that Favourites used to occupy. And I'm quite happy about that. Plus, as I'm usually pasting the key paragraph I want into the note, I find I have less need to actually visit the site again, unless I actually need more information than I've pasted.
 
It does the horizontal-and-vertical categorization thing, it's free-form enough that I feel unencumbered using it, yet has just enough enforced organization that I feel I'm being made more productive, and - this is really cool - it pastes in the hyperlink of the text I copy in from my browser (check this out, it was automatic - I just copied and pasted the top line of the page):
 
 
And suddenly, I'm finding my Favourites are reclaimed for tasks I actually enjoy doing in my browser - blog-related stuff, frequently-used utilities, and others. The list's down to less than 10 things, plus a couple of folders. I'm able to keep it short. I feel relaxed and happy using the Favourites menu again. And one simple “Archive” folder in OneNote takes care of all the notes I don't actively need, but might at some point want to search out!
 
If you haven't yet tried OneNote, there's a (free) preview version of OneNote 2003 SP1 linked from here - if you've ever had a tendency to information-hoard and are as scared of opening your three-screens-worth of Favourites as I was, it's a worthwhile download.
 
Download the OneNote 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Preview
Pasted from <http://www.microsoft.com/office/onenote/prodinfo/sp1/default.mspx>
 
(Sorry, I just had to paste something in again!)
Comments
  • OneNote is pretty good, but it's one more application to have running and to switch to :(

    I to had the same problem, but ContentSaver came to the rescue (http://www.macropool.com/en/). It works just like bookmarks in IE, but I can assign something to multiple categories, store notes, and a snapshot of the page (in-case it doesnt exist when I need it again). I've tried lots of alternative ways of keeping bookmarks, but this fits the best.

  • Brant: pity, fair enough.

    Mike: I hear what you're saying about it being one more app - ContentSaver looks really interesting from a research point of view (though I'm not as keen on the UI itself - I quite like the freeform notepad metaphor).

  • I always assumed thar OneNote was some kind of tablet pc application to be a digital notepad. Your post seems to suggest otherwise, it might be useful to me.

    Perhaps I should open the shrinkwrap on that boxed retail OneNote that I have at home.

  • Let me know how you go with it!

    As I mentioned, it took some getting used to, but now it's nigh-on indispensable.