Data vs. Software

The last ten years online have been breathtaking, not because of software (which isn’t much better) but because the treasure trove of data keeps getting better and better. Wikipedia, all by itself, is worth the price of admission.

This site gives a glimpse of the amazing collection of fixes and addons you can find for Firefox and other browsers. I highly recommend it. I can only marvel, though at how hard it is to do some things online. Why can’t I, in one click, grab all the links on a page and save them as a text file?

While I’m at it, I think we’re on the edge of two big software breakthroughs. The first is programs that live on the web instead of your desktop (I know, we’ve heard a lot about how this is the next big thing, but it’s almost here) and second is in desktop software that is truly web-aware. That knows the definitions of words. That can update and correct and conform my address book. It’s all still lousy, all still in the dark ages, but there are glimmers of hope.

For now, the data is far far ahead of the tools.

PS Randy came through with the magic tweak I asked for above. Really nice of him, though of course it shouldn’t be bespoke! If it’s something you’ve been wanting to do, here’s how: First, make a bookmark. Second, go edit the bookmark by hitting "organize bookmarks". Change the URL to this: javascript:(function(){as = document.getElementsByTagName("a"); str =""; for (i=0; i<as.length; i++) { str += as[i].href+"<br>\n" }with({document.write(str); document.close();}})()    that’s it, done. And Joost just sent a clickable version:  javascript:(function(){as=document.getElementsByTagName("a");str="<ul>";for(i=0;i<as.length;i++){str+="<li><a href="+as[i].href+">"+as[i].href+"</a></li>\n"}str+="</ul>";with({document.write(str);document.close();}})() Whenever you hit that bookmark, it’ll open a new window with all your links on it.