Onfolio 3.0 Wishlist Revisited
Way back in March of 2005 I posted a list of 6 items I wanted to see in Onfolio 3.0. This was shortly after the release of 2.0, and having worked with 2.0 for most of the beta I was already hoping for something new. I have had a year to use Onfolio 2.0 now, I use it every single day, and my wish list has changed. The original list asked for visit counts, synchronization, local file monitoring, blogging enhancements, RSS enclosures support, and better web posting. Elements of these items do exist in my current wish list, but I think I have better refined my working habits over the past year. Without further delay then, here is my 2006 wish list for the next version of Onfolio.
- Web Based Onfolio: That's right, my number one request would be to make Onfolio a web service hosted by Onfolio with all of the same functionality of the desktop client. This would require a really well thought out set of browser extensions, and would require some serious search power on the back end, but it would solve the synchronization issue. Social bookmarking sites like del.icio.us and my new favorite ma.gonolia.com are gaining in popularity. Onfolio could add its name to this space by porting its functionality to the web.
- or, USB Key Onfolio: Web based Onfolio may not appeal to many people, so an alternative number one request would be to allow Onfolio to run solely from a USB drive. Program, collections, settings, feeds, everything from the key. A couple of problems would need to be overcome. You would have to check to see if .Net was installed on the local machine. Something would need to be done with the temp files or the USB key would not last long. Still, I have been carrying my collections on USB with me for about 6 months now and I love it. I would really like to see Onfolio capable of running from the key though so I could be free of my PC as well.
- Blogging: This is still a big one to me. The ability to add categories, tags, pings, trackbacks, and all the other things that go into a blog post is important. Editing of old posts would be cool, as would the option to create drafts in Onfolio and publish when ready (and have those drafts show as drafts in my blog engine).
- Feed Reader: Make the OPML and feed collection portable. Plain and simple, and more important in some ways than carrying other collections is carrying my feeds. I think Google has done a great job with podcast/enclosure support in there reader, and I would love to see the ability to play podcasts directly from the feed.
- Custom Fields to Folders: A brand new feature request, the ability to have custom fields set based on the folder an item is in as opposed to the whole collection. I have really come to like storing the majority of my Onfolio stuff in a single collection. However, sometimes I wish that I could use custom fields (and maybe add flags to this request as well) differently for different types of data. And my main collection is already using all 6 custom fields.
- Counts and Web Posting: Still on my list, but a bit further down. I would like to see the ability to define custom CSS and templates based on Onfolio data. Maybe a Smarty template engine, or something based on a weblog engine. Basically the ability to create a generic template that is then filled in with specifics from Onfolio (maybe an Access report is a good way to think of it).
- Duplicate Checking: When used as a bookmark manager, I would love to see Onfolio check the collection for an exisiting entry with the same URL before capturing. That will help to avoid duplicate information in the collection (especially when it gets to be very large).
I am not terribly concerned about local files any more. Many of my local files are now inside Onfolio in a separate files collection. Most are PDF's that I downloaded or purchased.
There you have it, an updated list of items that I think would be cool in Onfolio. Perhaps this post can entice some of the developers to drop some hints about features included in upcoming releases...even though it is not normally their policy to do so.
Some quick collection feedback
I thought I would share some insights on the number of collections I have put together since I started using Onfolio, how many are the most oftenly used, and also some data on how big those collections are.
I started using Onfolio back in October of 2003 when I joined the team here. You could guess that we were pretty heavy users of Onfolio internally before it was released even while a lot of it was still being put together. Since that time I have accumulated about 18 collections that contain pretty much all of "my stuff." Inside of those 18 collections is a subset of about 7 collections that I use most often. Here is the collection names and a brief description of those:
Personal - used as a dumping ground with a bunch of folders for different things that I need to keep organized
Onfolio - used for organizing info that I need for use on the job for time to time
Onfolio Support - used for tracking support oriented issues that I may be helping with or finding research on
Quality Assurance Resources - used to organize different articles, research, and technical notes that I come across on the web relating to QA
Technical - same as QA Resources collection for all items that are outside of the QA world such as .NET info, web dev related/CSS, etc.
Finance and Investing - research on investing in general as well as organizing research on specific company's, stocks, mutual funds, tracking data, etc.
Real Estate - this used to be in the Finance and Investing collection, but the folder got big enough (in my mind) for exporting out to a separate collection that is used for tracking research based on different locations and articles on tracking the real estate industry
There is also another subset that I use often, but in a seasonal pattern, listed below with a descrption as well:
Fantasy Football - use during football season for preparing for the draft and following players throughout the season
Basketball - I coach a few youth basketball teams throughout the year, winter and summer, during which time I will use this collection for tracking my different players and contact info as well as a place to organize different drills that can be used during practices
The collections listed above are my largest collections as well because they are used more often than other collections I have which are less stagnant and most often built during a single researching sessions at a point in time that are accessed in more read-only fashion from time to time. Out of the most commonly used collections, my largest is Personal, weighing in at 130MB and the others average out to around the 35-50MB area.
If you want to share any info on your collection usage patterns, leave a comment or a posting. We are always happy to hear more data on how our users are managing their research using Onfolio.
Auto collapse open folders in Feeds
I haven't posted anything here in too long, so I thought I should get back into the swing again. The past few weeks/month have been very busy testing the release candidate here, so you can understand where all of the time goes.
I wanted to touch base real quick on a new preference that was added that is subtle, but makes a huge difference, at least for me. This new preference is available in the Reading tab of Feed preferences and it is called, "Collapse open folders when opening a new folder." When this is checked on, only one folder at a time in the Feeds tab can be expanded. This is because each time you try to expand a folder other than the one that is currently expanded, the folder that was left behind in an expanded state automatically gets collapsed. Obviously, this would not occur for a parent folder when expanding a child folder of that parent.
I tend to have a good mix of folders and feeds at the top level and I thought this would be a good pref to add, but I didn't realize how much I was going to like it after it was added in.
This pref is not available in the collection tab as of yet, but we already have a feature reqest added to the feature tracking database for adding this at a future release.
Onfolio 3.0 Wishlist
- Visit counts: I use Onfolio as a bookmark manager about as much as I use it for a feed reader. I bookmark tons of stuff and only get back to a fraction of it. At least it is their if it is needed. One think I would love to see Onfolio include in the next version is a counter for link items. Something so that I can see how many times I have visited a page (via Onfolio) and preferably sort by visit count.
- Synchronization: This seems to be a popular topic, and I will throw in my opinion. Its just to easy to be in front of a few computers each day. The ability to synch feed status and feed lists between multiple machines is hugely important.
- Local File Monitor: I am not sure what will come of integration with desktop search programs, perhaps nothing, but I do know that I have a lot of files on my computer that I would love to have included in searches in Onfolio. I don't always want to add the files to Onfolio, but I do want to search them. I would love to see a way to tell Onfolio to add all files in a set of directories to the index (as a shortcut to a local file), and then index them. I also think this alit should monitor those folders for changes and add new and updated files to the collection as they become available.
- Blogging, blogging, blogging: The blogging support in Onfolio is ok. Next step is to reach to greatness. When I post to my blog I set categories, keywords(tags), and often point to other files. I would love to see Onfolio further embrace the blog based method of information sharing and expand the ability to format posts, add post metadata, and actually I would really love to see the ability to retrieve, edit and repost items all via the Onfolio interface. If only everyone would use WordPress like me and then the guys at Onfolio would not have to worry about making this request work with all the other blog engines.
- RSS Enclosures: Some nice handling of enclosures would be cool. My suggestion is that for each feed we be allowed to select either a collection/folder or local folder to automatically download and store enclosures in.
- Web Posting: The last thing, at least for now, that I would like to see is the ability to better format and control the web pages and RSS files that Onfolio publishes. I think it would be great to be able to build Onfolio templates, similar to how we build blog templates, that would pull data from Onfolio on a schedule for web posting. Each folder we chose to publish can be assigned a template which allows us to take all of the components (link, description, keywords etc) and place them in our own HTML with our own CSS. That would be very cool.
Onfolio Tip: Better way to email items from Onfolio
Many of you have probably noticed that when you send an item from Onfolio to Outlook, the message that comes up on your screen is modal, meaning you can't do anything else until you have completed that message. I find this really annoying because I often want to look up and add some other information before sending the message, but I can't do anything until the message is sent. The way I get around this now is by hitting the "Save" button on the message. This puts it into my Inbox where I can open it later, add the information I want and then send it. Since it took me about 6 months to figure this out, I thought I would share it on the off chance that someone else was in the same boat.
Onfolio Post: Quick Story about DEMO@15
While we were showing Onfolio 2.0 at our "demonstrator station" at DEMO@15, we had a number of visits from technology and business writers who wanted to see Onfolio in action. Spike did a great demo for Michael Miller, the Editor-in-Chief for PC Magazine, and JJ and I teamed up on a demo for Larry Magid who has a radio show on CBS and is a contributor to the New York Times. There were two funny things that happened during the DEMO for Larry.
1) We showed Larry how easy it is to set-up and use the blogging features of Onfolio by letting him sit down and do it himself. He ended up posting an article to his blog right from our demonstrator station. You can see the blog post here. I'm pretty sure that this was the only time I've seen someone get some real work done during a 5-minute demo.
2) After we had spent a lot of time on the high level stuff, Larry asked JJ if we integrated with Internet Explorer as well as we integrated with Firefox. Rather than answering the question directly, JJ said (with great excitement) "Watch this..." He then opened IE, launched Onfolio and then showed Larry how adding a flag to an Onfolio item in the Firefox window instantly updated that same item in the Internet Explorer window so it displayed the newly added flag. It was a pretty funny moment because the amount of power JJ was showing with this move went well beyond the question of browser integration and gave Larry a peak at the strength of Onfolio's architecture. The only problem with this demo was that only an engineer could really appreciate it, and once JJ was finished there was an awkward silence as Larry tried to figure out how this related to his question. Once that was clarified, we all had a good laugh about how excited we were to show Larry such a subtle (but critical) feature of the product.
Customer Post: Lead users - Onfolio excels
I found this article about Lead User Analysis, there are probably better ones but this should give you the idea.
I think Onfolio excels at this during this BETA cycle. Onfolio has far more to gain than loose by opening up the BETA process as it has. The days of having closed BETA's and a fixed plan on a product BETA and release are over if you want to really be out in front with your software. I believe Onfolio has benefited from that. Many people are freely helping shape Onfolio and it will ship as a far better product due to this. For a small software company you automatically make yourself far bigger. Onfolio gets better feedback and insights to what their software could do. Users get the product that they want. Sounds like a win - win situation to me. I BETA test a lot and the Onfolio experience has been exciting even... if I do not find it to be my solution for information management. I have learn't a lot here and the ideas have even allowed me to expand my use of other software. Onfolio's handling of this BETA is magic and just as specially as the final software. I am not sure you could do this with Microsoft as their attitude is today but they can get away with it because of their size. Small software companies should take note of Onfolio and follow their lead to take on the big companies head on.
Onfolio 2.0 Just Shown at DEMO
Spike and I just got finished demoing Onfolio 2.0 at Chris Shipley's DEMO@15 conference in Scottsdale . At this show, everyone gets 6 minutes on stage to make their case. We demonstrated Onfolio using a scenario we made up based on all the conversations we've had with the people who have posted on this blog and on our forums and sent us emails. We never would have been able to make a compelling demo without all the feedback you've given us, so we just wanted to say thanks. Special thanks go to Peter Phelps for lending us his persona for the morning.
For those of you who are interested, you can follow Robert Scoble's blog during demo to read what he has to say about each of the companies demonstrating.
Getting cozier with my favorite COSie
Sebastian invited me to join this blog right at the beginning, but I've been so busy that now is the first chance I've had. Onfolio has increasingly been an asset in my busyness, not to mention my business.
Over the last month, I've begun using Onfolio to organize travel documents, e-tickets, conference materials, and so forth because it's now so easy to capture e-mails directly from Outlook. Also, with the very welcome integration of the feed reader, I'm capturing more personal interest items in addition to the work-related research projects that originally made an Onfolio addict of me.
I've just installed the newest beta release. My only serious complaint about the Onfolio 2 beta was that it seemed terribly slow in Firefox. It may be my imagination, but this new one seems speedier. Am I dreaming, lucky, or what?
Another point, and this one goes to the somewhat bizarre title of this post. My biggest issue with blogs and blogging and all the trappings is that the blogosphere as a whole is much techier than the world at large. The recent Pew study on the "State of Blogging," while supporting the credible claim that blogs are now an established part of online culture, still tells us that only 38% of online Americans claim to know what a blog is and only 5% use feed readers to access blogs.
In my opinion, those numbers suggest that we need to find better, simpler ways to make blogs and news feeds understandable and accessible to the broader online world. Applications like Onfolio boost personal productivity and make it easier for people to control information overload online. (By the way, I'm doing a study and writing a book on the topic -- so please take my info overload survey and then download "Infomaven's Top Ten Tools for Taming Information Overload Online" -- of which, it goes without saying, Onfolio is one.)
In his recent keynote at the New Communications Forum, Andy Lark offered a good metaphor for RSS feeds, calling them "TiVo for the Web." But I've still had trouble explaining Onlolio and its ilk to the uninitiated -- partly because applications like this don't seem to have a consistent name or description.
So I made one up. I call Onfolio (and its competitors) "COS" applications -- that's Collect/Organize/Share, COSies for short. Having tried a couple of others (and, yes, found some things to like about them, as well), I'm coziest with Onfolio, and getting cozier all the time.
COSies. Whaddya think?
Onfolio 2.0 Preview Release - The Office Weblog - office.weblogsinc.com
2.0 Preview Release post blogged directly from Onfolio.
The new release is a substantial improvement over Beta 1 with many performance enhancements, bug fixes, and requested features including my number one request - better proxy server controls!
Where I am at with Onfolio.
have lived with Outlook for so many years and use indexing form Enfish I like it a lot and
it is chock full of information 1.5G! I setup a contact for every person, site or
software I use or service I use which is up to 800 contacts now! I have hundreds of to
do items and many old ones. Because Outlook has been the centre of my
electronic data going way back to the free Win 95 BETA Exchange client I have a
lot of stuff in there. The biggest pain for me is my data is in two locations.
Where do I put what? Do I use the tried and tested Outlook or start migrating
over to Onfolio? At the moment I am experimenting with both. I use Newsgator in
Outlook 2003 and it is great for managing posts but reading speed is slower
than Onfolio. Even though Newsgator has a newspaper view in outlook it is very
slow and you have to action every item with the mouse. I am a keyboard person.
If you use the slower but more manageable Newsgator / Outlook folders it beats
Onfolio in that view. Newsgator also posts to and handles newsgroups natively.
You can get plug-ins to post from Newsgator to Blogs also. Newsgator also has a
very well though out process where you sync what you read online and in
Outlook. If you have read it on the website then in Outlook it will show up
read, multiple locations but not duplicate reading. If Newsgator had a feed
reader as good as Onfolio I would use Newsgator. For the casual user I would
recommend Onfolio without hesitation as it is easier to use intuitively.
Onfolio mentioned in a new Preston Gralla book
Author, blogger and all-around interesting guy Preston Gralla has written a new book for O'Reilly called Internet Annoyances that will be available within the next few weeks. Why is this interesting to the Onfolio Group Blog? Well, it's interesting because Onfolio is actually mentioned in the book (not as an annoyance, we presume) and there is even a screen shot of Onfolio on page 113. Though I haven't seen it yet, this chapter appears, based on the table of contents (pdf), to be a section on blogging. Mr. Gralla told me in an email that he used Onfolio as a research tool during the preparation of this book as well as another book he has coming out later this year. I should start a list of books that were written with Onfolio as a research aid, I'm hearing about more and more of them.
Mr. Gralla is also mentioning Onfolio in the upcoming second edition of his book Windows XP Hacks. Again, we presume that Onfolio isn't being mentioned as one of those Hacks. :)
Skins for Onfolio, and beyond
As I captured a page to Onfolio last night, the little animated briefcase caught my attention. As it opened and closed, capturing little animated pages, I couldn't help imagining it with little eyes and jagged teeth. Or, perhaps, with a snout, and pointy ears. Or as a dolphin, catching fish tossed by a friendly trainer...
The point (you were wondering if there is one, right)? is this: as Onfolio gains popularity, people will want to customize the interface. They will want to make it match their workflow or their taste in graphics. They will want their favorite sports team's logo. They will want it to look like Gollum or Chewbacca or Trinity or Einstein or SpongeBob. And they will want to make that briefcase into something else. I sure do.
So. Why not make Onfolio skinnable?
I admit I have no idea of what it takes to make an application skinnable. This is one of the things I like best about information architecture: you can suggest some odd enhancement, then stand back and watch the developers' faces take on looks of horror (sometimes), enthusiasm (sometimes), or exasperation (often). I can't see the faces on a blog, but I am confident that the software engineers who read this will not be shy about sharing their opinions. Skinnability isn't mission critical, and it certainly won't appear in 2.0, but it's not too early to start thinking about it.
Plug-ins are something to think about, too. Many users like to stretch an application into areas that might not seem appropriate. At CBS I knew someone who used Excel to make his own graph paper and TV control room floor plans. How will people misuse Onfolio? I don't know, but I'll bet they'll want to use plug-ins to extend it, to make it interface to their own custom software, and massage the data in ways no one has thought of. Vertical industries are hotbeds of this kind of stuff. That's one of the big reasons we have XML.
Read the Onfolio Beta Forum and this blog and you'll see that people understand and use Onfolio in very different, diverse ways. Yet, we all seem to get tremendous value out of the same app. How would you tweak Onfolio? What kind of creature is your briefcase? What hellish industry-specific schema are you ready to unleash on the world? What unusual shape would you make the deskbar? The best thing about hearing these ideas is that you get a glimpse into a world you never imagined existed.
Extending Onfolio: Using Onfolio Templates
One of the primary goals I see for Onfolio as a product is the idea of collecting and organizing all aspects of internet research and life. As our offline lives are merging more and more with our online life, I thought it would be cool to see how far I can leverage Onfolio.
In my mind, collections fall into one of two categories:
- Permanent Collections: Collection which house data that you refer to on a daily or at least fairly regular basis. You might also add new items to these collections regularly. I think many people use Onfolio for bookmarks....that's a good example of a permanent collection. These are the collections you mark as favorites for easy access.
- Task Specific Collections: Vacation planning, investment planning, historical research, project research are all examples of Task Specific Collections. You use these collections for a period of time and then they are archived (or at least not often opened or referred to).
I have been traveling more and more for work, and I have started storing some of that travel related information in Onfolio. Information like reservations for airline, cars and hotels I get in e-mail are a quick click away from Onfolio. But what about other items relating to travel? A collection for a business trip would certainly be a Task Specific collection, I would use it during travel and then archive. Since I am traveling sometimes 3 or 4 times in a month I would want to have a way to quickly create a new Task Specific collection for each trip.
I came to the conclusion that what I needed was a template, something I could create once and use again and again. Onfolio Templates could be a pretty useful feature, let me explain what I did for my Business Travel template.
- First, create a new collection called Onfolio Templates.
- Second, create a new folder in the template collection called Business Travel.
- Next create some sub-folders underneath to hold data specific to this travel. I created folders for Reservations, Events & Plans, Expenses and Entertainment.
- Finally, I created some lists for packing that I can use again and again. I used notes to store the lists for Clothing to Pack, Gadgets to Pack, Accessories to Pack. An interesting alternative would be to save each item on the list as a different note and then use the Collection feed option to create a simple checklist of the items in your collection (you could also use flags).
Once you have this and any other templates created (each as a different folder in your templates collection) you can forget about them...until it is time to take a business trip that is. When you need to plan a new trip open up the Templates collection and:
- Right click the template folder you want to use;
- Select Export | to new collection...
- Name the collection (I keep my travel collections in a sub-folder of my main collection folder to keep them separate) and save.
- Open your new collection and start adding items.
Use the lists in the collection to help you make sure everything is packed, add your reservations from e-mail or the web, and make sure to pick out some good restaurants to visit when you travel. When you are done with your trip you have a nice archive of all relevant info...especially if you take some time after the trip to fill in last minute details (like expenses).
Finally (I know its a long post), its pretty easy to share template collections with friend by simply e-mailing or uploading to a file sharing site the templates you have created. Others can download them and add them to there own Onfolio Templates collection.
Comments feed is now available
The Onfolio Group Blog now has a feed you can use to subscribe to all comments posted on the blog. There is a link to the comments feed on the right side of this page in the 'Subscribe' section. You can subscribe to this feed by dragging the link into your Onfolio Feeds tab.
This will make monitoring discussions on this blog much easier for me and the rest of the Onfolio team. Thanks to Agent86 for making this suggestion!
Using Onfolio shared collections to share stuff with your team
I was wondering if anyone out there has tried out using Onfolio shared collections (where multiple users are posting data to a collection file shared on the network) and collection feeds (which let you monitor new items added to a collection) for sharing stuff among members of your team.
We actually use these features internally and its basically like having a very simple and easy to use/setup link blog that the entire team can use for sharing information. I really love that we can use the shared collection instead of spamming each other with emails. This lets our emails be more about status and time-critical information, and lets the collection feed contain more FYI-oriented stuff.
Here's a rundown of how we (the Onfolio team) use shared collections in our day-to day work:
We have a collection on a network drive named Cool Stuff that everyone on the team uses to post things that are of interest to the rest of the team. Everyone on the team subscribes to the shared collection using a collection feed so that we can all receive notifications about new things team members are adding to the collection.
In our shared collection we have folders created for the various types of information we tend to want to share with each other. Here's a quick glimpse of the types of folders we have in our Cool stuff shared collection:
- Onfolio Related - Onfolio product reviews, mentions, and technologies we might want to consider using/implementing, etc
- Onfolio Team - shortcuts to team-related files on the network (schedules, spreadsheets, etc), announcements about new tools, pictures that make fun of our VP - Charles :-)
- Industry Related - links to articles about Onfolio competitors and related industries (lots of articles about happenings in the search, RSS, and information management industries)
- Interesting - interesting things found on the web that are not related directly to the company, but some people on the team may find interesting.
- Funny - contains a lot of funny stuff that we run across in our daily feed-reading and Web-browsing. Boing-Boing and Fark are commonly sources of this goofy information
- Cool Tech Toys - links to new products and reviews that the geeks in the office are drooling over.
- .NET development - interesting articles the developers read related to developing .NET applications.
- Other - anything else that's worth sharing with the team.
With the shared collection, sharing information we find in our daily browsing becomes as simple as F9'ing (F9 is the hotkey for 'Capture') any page we come across that might be interesting to the team.
One thing I really like about using shared collections to share non-critical information with the team is that I don't have to worry about whether I'm annoying the team with my items since I know they won't even see the items until they are reading their feeds and are actually ready to spend a little time consuming non-critical information. I also know that team members who are not interested in such information, won't be subscribed to the collection feed, and therefore won't be annoyed like they would have been if I had spammed the team with an email.
One last cool trick to mention:
If you are using a shared collection with other team members who are also using Onfolio, its really easy to see the new information posted to collection using collection feeds. However, if you also want the rest of your company to be able to read the items in your collection without having Onfolio installed, you can combine the shared collection feature with the Folder Publishing feature to create a website of the latest information being published to your collection. This allows the rest of the company to visit a read-only version of your team's collection website using their browser (they don't even have to know what an Onfolio is).
This turns out to be a really simple way to setup a portion of the team website that always has new content/insight from the members of the team, and makes the project's manager look like he's superman by keeping the team's website constantly up-to-date with new interesting team-related information. The rest of the company doesn't have to know that its easier to put the item onto the website than it is to send an email. ;-)
To set up the team shared collection website, one of the members of your team just needs to setup the shared collection as a published folder and publish it to a directory on the team website. An even better idea is to install Onfolio on the team's webserver machine and configure the webserver machine to publish the shared collection. This ensures that the collection website is always up to date.
Typepad and Onfolio Folders
Ok it looks
like I have a solution to Blog text, links and photos from Onfolio that gives me the presentation I want. Check out
this sample site spynews which is fully created to date with Onfolio. It
consists of Links, Photos and Notes.
The thing I can not work out is how to Blog feeds from the newspaper view. I go to the options but it only give a URL space and no login credentials. When I set it up for Blooger.com it works fine. Any ideas?
Examples of posting to Blogs and publishing folders
I was wondering if people could post links of their posts to weblogs from onfolio and name of weblog software being used? On example is this custom site by Sean
Should we even think about creating a blog using onfolio or should we look for ways to use onfolio to post images an weblogs?
Well as stated I have given up on Maxthon at the moment. I have been contacted several times about using Firefox with Onfolio. I relented and reinstalled firefox but could not work out how to get the integration. On the forum after 15 min (Yes I am slow) I found I needed to go into deskbar > preferences > browser.
It is working similar to Internet explorer but a bit slow particularly on newspaper view of feeds. I have a fast computer so it is not a big issue. I guess webmasters will get their act together so Firefox works on all sites. I just installed Firefox on a friends computer after having to clean it out of scum 3 times last year with browser hijacks etc. I hope firefox is as bullet proof as suggested.
Better local copy of webpage and news
Ok I know I and others don't like saving webpages using MHT format. How about capturing as a PDF file. It makes a lot of sense to me. In fact PDF's could be used for many things. Tell me why it is wrong :-)
I give up on Maxthon with Onfolio
I have been thwarted at every turn with the Deskbar and Maxthon. I give up for the moment. At least with the feeds they are extremely easy to use with internet explorer. I thought I had seen the last of IE, maybe onfolio will breathe new life into it with the sidebar ;-) I have done the next best thing for tabbed browsing by lifting my task bar up to two high and have a new window which is sort of tabbed browsing.
Blog Admin: Comments Feed
Anyone know how to get a comments feed from this weblog. I have been able to do it from other sites. Thanks
Onfolio RSS versus other offerings
I know I am repeating myself a bit but I am breaking down and reviewing each part of Onfolio.
Using Onfolio for RSS feeds had me thinking. I had been using Outlook 2003 plug-in from www.newsgator.com I am an Outlook freak and 95% of my life data is in there including links, tasks, email, contacts and many bits of data. Obviously the idea of Onfolio could reverse this strategy that I have been using since Outlook 97 and email back to exchange in Windows 95 BETA.
The Good points of Outlook collecting RSS feeds are that the individual feeds are initially easier for a seasoned user of Outlook user. You can copy and save the individual items and backup easily. You can search everything except Onfolio with www.enfish.com you will see me refer to Enfish many times. Do you see a pattern emerging? I don’t care if Enfish indexes almost real time Onfolio or Onfolio indexes itself and everything else on my computer, I just want one place to go to search my computer. It just happens that Enfish have been doing searching for a long time and they have very fast index updates and searching. They also index nearly every file one would want to index except onfolio, yet :-)
I want all my data searchable. I don’t want to think what program did I read that in or what document. I just want to search everything on my computer.
I have the collections on my backup drive but there does not seem to be a feed directory I can change. As I multi boot my computer and reinstall windows at a frequent rate all my data needs to be on another drive.
I also went onto the www.newsgator.com aggregator website for a free trial. Now the interesting thing with that is you can read your feeds from Outlook, Web and many other places. If you read it in anyway at all it is marked and you don’t end up reading it again. The Newsgator web aggregator has one annoying thing. It displays in microscopic font size and on a high resolution screen is difficult to read. Onfolio has a good font and size. Onfolio is computer based but wouldn’t it be great to access your onfolio information anywhere. Maybe Version 3 :-)
I then took FeedDemon http://www.bradsoft.com/feeddemon/ for a spin. I was thinking this may be better still. I liked the presentation of the newspaper view better. I liked the way if you clicked a link the website showed up in the preview pane. In Maxthon the experience is less convenient as I keep getting new tabs opening. I tried Internet Explorer and it gave Onfolio a better user experience using the feeds. Maxthon has dozens of setups for opening tabs. I think Onfolio would benefit being fully integrated like it is in Internet Explorer. Reading feeds I don’t want tabs popping up every time I click something. I will have to play around with the tab settings yet AGAIN. No even removing all open new tab options would not stop a new tab coming up if you browsed through the feeds folders. This is distracting and time consuming.
FeedDemon is clearly a better RSS reader but it is no good having all the data in the world if it is not accessible easily again and this is where Onfolio comes to the front.
Onfolio versus Netsnippets update
I have gone back to Netsnippets after learning Onfolio to be fair and the following results are in.
- Even though I have more experience with Netsnippets I have found Onfolio to be easier to use in general, more user friendly.
- I had an annoying popup issue with Netsnippets that I still can not get a handle on. Onfolio does not suffer this.
- The only feature I miss a lot is the ability to go into screen capture mode. You can draw a square around any part of any software or screen and capture the image. This is fantastic for providing training notes and reporting BETA issues. Hey guys can you add this feature.
Onfolio News: Marc Orchant begins web research tool roundup
Well known technology blogger, Marc Orchant just started a series on The Office Weblog where he is evaluating all the tools that help people organize their web research. One of these tools is, of course, Onfolio. Here's how Marc introduces the topic in his post:
Over the past month, I’ve been evaluating a category of applications that provide tools and features for capturing web content (and other material) for future reference or research. At their simplest, you might look at these tools as really powerful bookmark (or favorites) managers. Scratch the surface though, and you discover a number of powerful features to collect, organize, and share the fruits of your surfing labors.
This one might be worth following for people who are interested in how Onfolio stacks up to other tools in this space. People who are interested in reading some thoughts on how Onfolio and NetSnippets compare can read an earlier post on this blog by one of our Onfolio 2.0 Beta users who has tried both products.
Tips on Storing information...
I came across this entry in the Digital Ocean Newsletter about using Gmail accounts as a "Digital Brain". It struck me that many of the idea's in this newsletter are appropriate and useful for someone storing bits and pieces of data in Onfolio.
Using a combination of the notes feature and just snippets you can capture and collect random thoughts, cool quotes or what ever into a collection (the author refers to it as My Brain in Gmail), and once they are stored you can forget about them. Using search folders you can group like objects together in the collection without having to bother with manually setting up folders first.
The author uses the example of getting/storing and retrieving an idea. With Onfolio you can easily grab a snippet of text that triggered the idea, capture it to your Brain collection, and add a comment that includes the word Idea! in it. Create a search folder in the collection called My Ideas and set it to search for the word Idea! in the Comments field. Just like that you have captured your idea and can get on with other things.
Using Onfolio without Folders
Onfolio is a great tool for organizing information into folders, but I gave up a long time ago on trying to create good structure and maintain it. Most of what I collect ends up being unstructured or loosely structured data anyway. I was browsing some Onfolio related blog posts today when I came across one on the Disruptive innovations in technology weblog.
All in all, a decent enough offering. But:
Why is it not web-based?
It still requires the user to “sort” his information into folders. Why not just use Google’s “Search don’t sort” philosophy?
- Don’t accept default keywords: Onfolio automatically adds keywords for sites that provide them. Sometimes these keywords are useful, but usually they just appear to be marketing for the site…useful to Google page ranks not to me finding the site or article again. I find it best to remove the automatically added keywords and add my own that make sense to me.
- Add a description: Again this allows you to add more search terms to find the item later. It also helps to differentiate on a large list from two very similar sites. To use an example from my gaming web sites, I will often collect both a link to the main pages, as well as a link to a fan site, and a copy of the rules. In many cases these all look the same when I view the titles in a small sidebar in Firefox. The descriptions help to narrow in on what I need. The descriptions also aid in searching.
- Exclude content when searching: I will often perform a search using the advanced options. By default, Onfolio searches content as well as metadata. Searching content tends to return a very broad set of results, where changing the search over to only searching the metadata I have defined returns a more expected set of results.
- A quick tip for fast filing: Set one of your flags to represent items you have not filled in detailed metadata for. When you need to grab a file or a link from the net but don’t have time to fill in all the keywords etc you can assign this flag. The just go back to those flagged items later to add detail.
Onfolio is working great for me as a collect it and forget it bookmark and information manager. Taking the time to add metadata to each item you collect can make it possible…with out the need to create or maintain an extensive folder system.
Onfolio Tip: Newspaper Feed mode shortcut
The newspaper reading is growing on me now. I just by accident found the space bar moves to the next post and marks the previous read. Less hassle than the mouse and 3 times as fast. It would be good if the posts could dissapear as you go but seem to have to go out and come back into the feed to loose the previous read items. If you go to detail view you can mark an item as unread.
New Onfolio user experience
I have discussed this idea with Sebastian and the purpose of this post is to bring a new user’s perspective to onfolio the things I like and don’t like. There will also be things I will write that probably work that I have not discovered yet so let me know. Because I am new to onfolio I hope this may be a small help to the developers create a product that will be a good balance for new customers when version 2 is released.
I have discussed this idea with Sebastian and the purpose of this post is to bring a new user’s perspective to onfolio the things I like and don’t like. There will also be things I will write that probably work that I have not discovered yet so let me know. Because I am new to onfolio I hope this may be a small help to the developers create a product that will be a good balance for new customers when version 2 is released.
What I have done so far.
I have been using www.netsnippets.com for a couple of months on and off and have found a lack of community is a handicap. It is a great product and has features that onfolio does not and I will discuss that later on. The netsnippets people respond to email in 24 hours so in no way am degrading their product or service. What made me search for something else is a request from a family member that would have had trouble using netsnippets. I was not totally satisfied with netsnippets as I had not spent the time to read all the documentation probably.
Extending Onfolio to the Web with RSS
First, thanks to Sebastian and the others at Onfolio for a
great product and an amazingly interactive beta for the new 2.0 version. I thought I would take a few seconds to post
a quick link to an internet site I am working on. My idea is to use Onfolio as the database
behind my own personal internet portal. I am quite a little ways off on the final design, but I think the possibilities are so big using Onfolio. Using the web publishing feature of the beta, along with some RSS
from Flickr and CNN, I can begin to create a personalized web portal of my own
I think this is one of the best uses of the new Onfolio. The ability and take the data that you have saved and not only report on it, not only share it, but present it for either personal or other consumption is huge. Obviously this is not a set of functionality available out of the box, and it does require both usable web space and some way to read the RSS files, but it starts to show how far Onfolio can be extended…off of your desktop to the web.
You can see a test version here.