Del.icio.us gets tastier

Why didn’t I install this ages ago? Yoz Grahame’s del.icio.us search plugin for Firefox. Now I’m just two clicks, the typing of a search term, and one retrieval away from my bookmarks. Sweet. My outboard brain just got 100% more efficient.

Perhaps more significantly, del.icio.us has a new tagging interface. In the past, Joshua Schachter had expressed a reluctance to taint users’ immediate intuition of the best tags for an item by giving them too much guidance from their own or others’ past tagging behavior. He seems to have backed off from that position some: the new del.icio.us tagging form gives you tag recommendations, then shows you a low-fi heatmap of your complete tag list with the recommendations highlighted, as well as the most popular tags used by others. The form is nicely dynamic with a whiff of RIA and ajax about it, too. A great improvement in functionality next to the multi-step process that used to be necesssary to tag an item then look back and see how your usage compared with that of others. Although as with the rest of del.icio.us, it’s unlikely to be clear to naive users quite what’s going on.

del.icio.us tagging form

I feel gratified because this is just the direction I was hoping to see tagging interfaces move in in the not particularly earth-shaking paper I wrote for a class this spring (“Tags: What are They Good For?“). Now let’s see whether Schachter or others find ways to make tagging easier still.

I need a keyword

Is there a word which incorporates all of the following? Work habits and work spaces; time management; mnemonics and other cognitive devices; tools like notebooks and PDAs; personal and shared knowledge management tools (bibliographies, bookmarks and linkfarms).

It seems to me that these things are alike in some way but I can’t find a term which unites them. I certainly know a lot of people who share an interest in them, largely through Ed Vielmetti and his always stimulating Vacuum mailing list.

The most prosaic reason why I want such a term is to use it as a category for this blog. But I think that having a term to describe this set would be useful in discussing the set itself. I want to be able to say, “What kinds of X do you use to help with [a task]? Another X related to that one is [a tool or technique]. The best book I’ve seen about X lately is [title].” Not to mention that “Ed Vielmetti and his friends have the most fascinating conversations about X.”

Moleskine reskinned

Moleskine, the delightful outboard brain which inspired the current logo for this blog, is being repackaged — fortunately not the notebook itself, just its presentation in a retail setting. There are, however, two new formats: one with musical staffs and one with little rounded rectangles for storyboarding.

But this post isn’t about Moleskine gossip. It’s about the fascinating presentation by Leftloft which explains in detail the reasoning behind Moleskine’s new retail look.

Fascinating, but frustrating, too, because one of its most intriguing illustrations (coincidentally reminiscent of my logo!) is misleadingly devoid of content.

Moleskine uses

I thought the functions on the right would show some insight into why Moleskine offers the particular varieties of notebook listed on the left. But if you believe this image, you can think only with the squared Moleskine, create only with the plain, and write only with the ruled.

This graphic makes me sad.