Google Notebook: In theory - a useful system. In practice - an unholy mess.
by Bill Mehlman
Around every silver lining, of course, lurks a dark, wet, malodorous cloud, and this holds true for some of the gadgets and tips I've been writing about. Google Notebook is a great tool.
Whatever is on your monitor can, with one click, be ensconced in the Notebook, within which reside as many folders and sub-folders as you care to label, or so I think. When you return to your notebooks, you'll find that the whole page has been saved, graphics and all. There's even a way to save all your bookmarks. Sounds super, right? Organized, easy to use, no-fuss, no-muss folders, with every random page you've seen right below your dancing digits.
The catch is in the phrase "every random page you've ever seen." I had some free time today, and decided to clean up the files I no longer wanted in my Notebook. Either the links were dead, or they were duplicates, or I'd lost interest (what was I thinking when I saved the page about mastering Sanskrit in three months?). So I waded in with my machete, deleting file after file.
An hour later, I had a stiff neck, sore fingers, a bad temper and, still, a lot of saved web pages of no conceivable use to me. It's as though I had clipped everything that interested me in the newspaper or in magazines and filed it away in a big accordion folder. In theory: a system. In practice: an unholy mess.
I don't have any good ideas about this, except that, like your lawn, it's easier to weed for ten minutes a couple of times a week than for two hours at a stretch every month.