Needed: Open This Link on My Other Computer

02Jul09

Users of the Firefox web browser can install “extensions,” or “add-ons,” to enhance the browser’s capabilities.  There have been several Firefox add-ons that have added the ability to right-click on a link and open this link in IE.  IE is short for Internet Explorer, the web browser from Microsoft.  Some webpages look or function better in IE than in Firefox.

There are times when I see a webpage that relates to something I was doing on another computer — on a laptop, for example, or on a computer at work.  I can e-mail myself the link, or write a note for myself to do a Google search for that webpage when I get to that other computer.  But this is cumbersome.  It would be very helpful if the present “view in IE” add-on were expanded to allow, not only viewing in any installed browser, but also viewing from any computer I use.

One way of accomplishing that option would be to link it with a service like that of Xmarks, formerly Foxmarks.  This Firefox add-on keeps an offsite copy of your bookmarks or favorites (i.e., websites that you have indicated you want to keep track of).  Then, if you buy a new computer or use more than one computer, you can just log in to Xmarks and upload or download your entire set of bookmarks with just a few clicks.  In other words, this Xmarks-style service would save, not (just) your bookmarks, but a list indicating which tabs you want open on which machine (e.g., “home,” “laptop,” “any”).

This could go one step further.  Instead of just listing your allocations of individual tabs, you could have tab stacks by topic or group, as you chose.  For example, I do a Google search.  I’ve set my program options to know that, when I do a Google search, I am likely to be opening a bunch of new tabs.  So when I do that search, a dialog asks me whether I want to start a new stack of tabs.  I say yes, and I name this stack “jobs in California.”  I do my search.  Every tab that I open from this Google page, or from the pages opened from it, is listed in this stack, like shoving additional candies into a Pez man.  Xmarks (or whatever) backs it up and, if I switch to some other topic or close the browser, Xmarks asks me if I want to save the stack and which computer it’s for (default = this one, but I could also be leaving point A with the intention of continuing my work at point B after lunch).

One final tweak:  anticipatory Google search.  As soon as I indicate that yes, I am starting a new tab stack on the subject of jobs in California, another Google search page is automatically opened in the tab stack.  As I select especially interesting hits from my Google search results, this new Google search is automatically refined to home in on words shown in (a) my original search plus (b) words shown in the Google summaries of the hits I have selected.  If more than, say, a minute passes since my last selection from the Google results page, a ghost dialog reminds me of the automated search.  I click on the ghost and maybe I see hits that are better than what I found.  Until I dismiss it, the anticipatory search page is part of the tab stack.

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