What Planet is This?

08 Jul 2005

Window Whack-a-Mole

This is another phrase that I got from Dan Connolly. It refers to the practice of trying to cut back on the amount of tabs and browser instances you have open. A few of the tabs that I have open at the moment, for example, are Prof. Bernstein's notes on mail header format, a wiki page about fractal accounting, and a photo of an igloo.

I found the photo of the igloo whilst searching for this weblog's current name (What Planet is This?) on Google. It's a rather awesome looking thing all lit up, at Castle Rock in Antarctica.

One of the ways in which I used to play Window Whack-a-Mole was to dump the URIs for current tabs into a bookmarking CGI script that then archived all of the pages in a single text file for presentation to the public. But for some reason I didn't like maintaining that; I suppose I was reinventing the del.icio.us a little, but I don't really think that bookmarks are a social thing, and I like having a copy of my data. Perhaps they have some good export facilities, though.

Perhaps another way to play the game would be to send a signal to slogger saying to highlight and tag this URI in its XML logs. That way you could automatically generate a bookmarks file from your slogger archives.

But it would also be a good idea to work out why people have a tendency to leave tabs open in the first place. I think it's because we wonder about taking further action on them; treating them like fuzzy todo items, and so they get left open because we're often not exactly sure what action we want to take on them, or we're procrastinating from doing it. So in that sense it's being used a bit like a context trail. Automatically generated SVG diagrams of your browsing paths would be a really excellent feature, and probably something that slogger would be useful for again if it had the ability to record which links you've followed in a page.

Cite: Palmer, S.B. (2005). "Window Whack-a-Mole", in: What Planet is This?
Archival URI: http://inamidst.com/notes/whackamole


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