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BrainTool to Organise your Browsing


If you are reading this, you are on the internet and managing your interaction with the web is exactly what I am talking about today. We all know about bookmarks and are aware that there are plenty of browser extensions out there as well as the built in tools.

Basic Bookmarks

But the question I have for you is what is a bookmark? For me, a bookmark is for a website that you are going to visit again and again, on the exact same page. For example, as a genealogist the 1911 census. Or as a shopper, Amazon. They are the basic starting points that I will begin my search from. You want to be able to access them easily from all your devices.

For this purpose I use Anybox as I can access it across my Mac and IOS devices.

Internet Research

But what about all the day to day pages you come across that you will need to visit again for a specific purpose. Pages that contribute towards some research or studying you are doing or a task you are in the middle of?

That is where BrainTool comes in. If you use the Chrome browser it is well worth checking out this tool. Yes, it can do the basic bookmarking job. But I would recommend using it as the tool to manage all those other pages. Let me show you why.

As you may be aware from a recent post, I use Obsidian as my second brain. In there pretty much everything comes under one of five headings. So it made sense to set up my BrainTool with headings that match.

Let’s Start Organising

I use Braintool exclusively for the Genealogy Category specifically because it behaves better in the Chrome Browser than any other Chromium based browser, Genealogy is also the subject that requires the most bookmarks of this type.

My Braintool high level folders.

Under the Genealogy Project I have a sub project of Current Research. This contains folders for each of my family lines. Here I have bookmarked the individual I was working on Alfred Henry Todd. Explained exactly what I need to do next, see if he or his wife are in the 1939 register. Then used the ToDo marker to know it is outstanding.

The Todd family folder for my current research.

Once I have done this, I may have a further question about Alfred, which I can update. Or I may have finished with him for now and can either archive or delete the bookmark.

The BrainTool is the perfect in-between point, to fill the gap between my Second Brain which I use for more thorough note making and my straight forward bookmarks.  

The Problem with Bookmarks

The BrainTool made it easy for me to import my bookmarks into, can I let you into a secret? There were 1987 bookmarks spread across 335 folders! That is most likely about twenty years worth of bookmarking. The 335 folders shows that I wasn’t just flinging things anywhere I was trying to be organised. So what is the problem? Well, why did I save it in the first place?

Once I decided to use the tool specifically for Genealogy at least I could delete most of the bookmarks out again.

However I imported them all into Anybox (deleting the Genealogy ones) and I can’t imagine how long it is going to take me to go through these. Hopefully there will be some folders that no longer resonate, past interests or occupations, that will allow me to delete a whole folder in one fell swoop – I’ve already done that with a small one and it was so satisfying…

If you are bookmarking a page specifically for one piece of information on it, that is where the beauty of a second brain app comes in. You can add the information with the relevant tags etc and a link back to the page you found it.

Don’t Rely on your Memory

Of course, several of my readers will be fellow spoonies who may suffer with Brain Fog, if you have Fibromyalgia you will know exactly what I am talking about. But we all fall under the category of human, and humans are fallible and forget things.

How often have you bookmarked something to come back to, then life kicks in and you forget to come back to it, you may find it a while later and have no idea why you saved it and delete it. That could easily be a missed opportunity, if nothing else, to gain some knowledge. Or you could be like me and hoard them to an embarrassing level with no purpose at all.

Make you Bookmarks Earn Their Place

As mentioned before, I still think standard bookmarks have their place, but it is best to be selective. Keep them in small condensed groups that can easily be navigated across any device you own.

The BrainTool Tools

A screenshot of the Braintool menu for each bookmark.

 Once you click on the note side of the bookmark a menu of tools is produced.

  • The little T with the arrow opens the bookmark in the main open browser window.  (The BrainTool itself lives in a side panel in a separate window, unless you choose to have it in a standard tab. If you are using a browser like Brave, Vivaldi etc it is better to do this.)
  • The little W button opens it in a new window.
  • The pencil allows you to edit the note.
  • The diagonal arrow lets you move the bookmark up in the hierarchy. So in my example above it would move it from Current Research to Genealogy. This is useful if something grows into a bigger job than the sub project you had it in.
  • The six dots is the move tool. Hold it with your mouse button and drag it to a different folder of choice.
  • The star is the tool to add the ToDo status, it toggles between ToDo, Done and off.
  • The red one is the dustbin to delete an unwanted bookmark, I am sure we are going to become great friend in the coming weeks.

The Future of BrainTool

This application is very new. You can see more of the plans for the future on the Vision Page.  It may potentially grow into a tool to compete with the likes of Obsidian. My initial wishes are:

  • If it could match the colour scheme of your browser. Mine is in one of my favourite colours
  • If you could search through for dead links and either edit or delete them.
  • Longer term if it could become a more stand alone tool that could work alongside any browser on any device. There is already a basic sync function but it works far better in Chrome than any other browser.

Want to see more?

If this has whetted your appetite you can see more in this short video.

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