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Not so many years ago, accessing the Internet was a 'one size fits all' technology. When you wanted to surf the web, send and receive emails, post files to a web site, or just play around on AOL, you accessed it all through your telephone line using a modem and a standard dial-up account. Most of us didn't mind because we realized that the slow speeds we endured were shared by everyone else.

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Bookmark Managers Memorize Your Surfing Experience

For people who aren't just casual surfers the amount of information online presents a daunting management issue. You want to bookmarks all the pages you find useful in your online research and business, but how on earth do you keep track of them all and get that one particular link back when you need it? Effective bookmark management is one of the biggest challenges to full-time Internet users and there's still much to be done with software packages to meet all the "wish list" criteria for the "perfect solution." There are a lot of programs out there to manage bookmarks, both shareware and retail. Compass, for instance, has been around since January 1997 and has long been considered to be a standard in the genre. But while these programs all do what they do well, none of them seems to be the all-in-one solution that hardcore web users crave.

First and foremost, bookmark managers should be browser independent. No matter which browser you open - Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, Firefox -- you shouldn't have to go looking for pages twice. You should be able to categorize your bookmarks and add unique names, personal keywords, and descriptive phrases. These features allow for quick searches and easy sorting into meaningful groups. A rating system, color coding, macros, and hotkeys are all fantastically useful and synchronization is vital. We just don't live in a world where people just use only one computer anymore.

Online managers like NetSync helped to solve this problem in part. With these services users can access their bookmarks from any computer, but there's always that concern about privacy. If you surf on a machine, you leave a trail and for some people, that's bothersome - not necessarily because they're going somewhere they "shouldn't" but because they just don't think their surfing habits are anyone else's business.

The new generation of flash memory "thumb drives" are offering interesting possibilities in this regard, especially since the introduction of the new U3 mini operating system. With programs like P.I.

Protector Mobility suite, all your Outlook and Internet settings are copied on to the flash drive and are available to you when you plug the drive into the USB port of another machine. And many of these programs erase all evidence of your activities when you remove the drive. Thankfully newer browsers like Firefox have moved beyond simple hierarchical folders to manage bookmarks and have extensions available for synchronization routines.

Unfortunately some of these are pretty cumbersome, actually requiring the user to export bookmarks and ftp them to a remote server for access later on another machine. Given that, it's safe to say that all the pieces of bookmark management haven't quite fallen into place yet. Some people have so many bookmarks they actually refer to them as "collections" and what's a collection without a useful catalog? We do so many complex things well with our software, why can't we come up with an all in one solution for bookmark management?.

Kevin Dark is an online marketer. For more information on the topic, please visit a bookmark manager blog.

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