Saturday, January 24, 2009

Keeping Track of It All with Delicious

Because I have the perhaps overly ambitious goal of a post-a-day about stocking stuffers, I'm always searching the net for ideas. Sometimes I'll come across a perfect small Easter or Halloween gift, but it's only January! How can I keep track of it until we're closer to that occasion?

Enter Delicious. This is a website that allows you to bookmark any page on the internet, and, more importantly, access your bookmarks from any computer. Sure, if you're on your home computer using Internet Explorer, you can use those bookmarks. But what if later you're using another computer somewhere else? You have no way to access your Internet Explorer bookmarks that are on a different computer.

Delicious, on the other hand, uses your free login (consisting simply of username and password) to bring your bookmarks up on any computer. I use it for everything: marking articles I don't have time to read but want to come back to, bookmarking links to the various libraries that I use, and so on. And I particularly use it to bookmark possible stocking stuffer or gift ideas I want to come back to in the future. There are lots of other features, too, although I haven't used many of them. You can see what "tags" (descriptive labels) other people have given the same web pages that you've marked. You can see what sites are currently "hot" at any given time.

The only thing I don't like about Delicious is that it can only handle one-word tags. That means if I bookmark a site with "stocking stuffers", it's actually registering two tags: one for "stocking" and one for "stuffers". This is in contrast to another site I use a lot called Library Thing, which is for cataloging your books. You can have as many words in a single Library Thing tag as you want. On Delicious, I instead have to resort to using the underscore key, like this: stocking_stuffers. When I start getting into fancier labels for my various categories, my tags start to get a little unwieldy: stocking_stuffers_luxury, stocking_stuffers_kids, etc.

But hey, it's free and it's useful. And for the purposes of this blog, Delicious has become kind of indispensable. And just as a bit of trivia, originally the site was at, but now it's simply at The original URL was kind of clever, because by ending with the letters "us" it indicated it originated in the United States. But people didn't know what to call it -- "delicious" as in the word for good-tasting food, or "del-icky-o-us". So the site creators changed it to to make it easier for people to type in the web address.

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