Sunday, December 14, 2008

Three Must-Have Bookmarking Tools

I'm amazed at people who get by just using their browser to surf the web without any 3rd party tools for saving and sharing bookmarks. For anybody that visits a lot of web sites, and wants to share them with friends and co-workers, I find three web sites to be invaluable (full disclosure - I worked on 2 of the 3 products - but I genuinely love what they do for me).

  1. Social Bookmarking Site, - Faves is a Social Bookmarking web site. Which means, it allows me to save Bookmarks I find interesting in my own on-line database. I primarily use Faves for two reasons: a) I can save web sites for myself for easy recall in the future, and b) sharing interesting things I find with my friends and family (and by sharing - I mean this is a two-way street; I find cool stuff for them, and they expose me to cool stuff they find). Faves has a really good built-in search engine so I can quickly find any Fave I've saved in the past (over 6,000 of them so far!) - or even search across the bookmarks all my friends have saved.

    Faves is one of the first places I go to look for a recommendations for a resource on the web, or even product recommendations from my friends. Faves also sports a Facebook application, so my friends on Facebook get notified when I share something, as well as friends who are also using Faves directly.

  2. Link Shortening Service, - is a link shortening service with a twist; it not only can convert any long URL into a very short one (just 16 characters long), it creates a landing page where you and your friends can exchange comments. If you share links with friends over Twitter or email, you don't really know how many people are actually visiting your link, or have a good way to have a conversation about that link. adds a wrapper around your shared page that shows you the number of visitors, and allows them to leave comments for you.

  3. Bookmark Synchronization for Firefox- Foxmarks

    Foxmarks - Unlike the socially oriented tools, above, Foxmarks is a great utility for roaming your very frequently used bookmarks. Since I frequently use 4 different computers, Foxmarks can synchronize my Bookmarks toolbar across all of my machines. I have about 30 sites that I go back to over and over again in the course of my day - this way I can organize my Bookmark toolbar in one way, and Foxmarks will propogate my changes to each of my machines. You can also access your bookmarks directly from the web, if you are traveling and using a computer at a hotel, library, or Internet cafe.

    I'm a pretty new convert to Foxmarks; the setup was really simple, and it even did a decent job of merging the disparate collection of bookmarks I had on three separate machines.

All of these tools are free - hopefully they'll make your Internet usage a richer and more productive experience. Feel free to add recommendations for other Bookmark-related tools in the comments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bailout vs. Bankruptcy

It's been a while since my latest code update to - I'd say that account system I wanted to put in place has turned into a trickier set of code than I thought. I've been checking code in each day as I progress, but there is still one more feature to add, and add some time for more testing before deploying.

In the meantime, the code base has been plugging away and new people are finding the site each day - mostly through word of mouth on Twitter.

The Bailout.  Coming this January. A couple of people have been sharing links about the Congressional Bailouts that have been in the news - you can see the prioritized list of shared links on by visiting

One thing that I wish the media would highlight is that "Bankruptcy" is not a death sentence for a company - it's a very orderly way which to recognize a major reorganization. In the case of the auto companies, it's pretty obvious that they need some major changes. They're building the wrong product mix, falling way behind foreign competitors, are inefficient all through their distribution chains, and have negotiated very poor labor contracts.

I think the only sane way to save the automakers is to let them slip into bankruptcy; it's the only way to force all the interested parties into making the hard concessions needed to transform these companies into something Americans can be proud of again. The shareholders are going to lose everything, and the current batch of executives should get the boot. But there is much that can be saved (these companies are still projected to sell over $100B worth of product next year).

We have a well established legal process for companies to achieve this kind of reorganization and re-birth - let's let it work and get the hands of these companies out of the taxpayers' pockets.

I've been involved in many smaller companies that have gone through very tough times. The strongest companies learn to adapt to succeed (or at least survive) - in many cases the shareholders and founders have had to swallow some tough pills in terms of reduced valuations and losses. But we don't expect the government to step in to save us.

If there is a lesson to be learned here - I would hope that we ensure a diversity of companies serving any market; and never again get to the point where markets are dominated by so few competitors that we have companies that are too big to fail.