Thursday, September 07, 2006

MBA toolbox - Google Notebook

One important thing I learnt as a software developer is the importance of having a personal toolbox, consisting of utilities, scripts, and whatever might help me be more productive. And that habit has proved useful even in my MBA student life.

Since my project submissions are getting near, I thought of having a proper note-taking tool to help me collate the enormous amount of information that I come across during my Google (re)search.

One obvious way was to keep the browser tabs open, but it makes me feel I'm very inefficient - an desktop equivalent of having a cluttered desk. I tried del.icio.us - somehow, it didn't feel as if that was the proper tool. Then, last week, in our department lab, Keshav and I were randomly browsing and we stumbled up Google's website. We started looking at the Google offerings page and we came across something called Google Notepad. We were puzzled but didn't pursue it. I came to my hostel room and started looking at it. It seemed to be a very nifty tool. I immediately downloaded the Firefox extension.

Essentially it works like this: Say in the middle of a browsing session, you came across something important. You copy the text and right-click and click on "Note this" (this is provided by the Firefox extension). This and the corresponding URL get saved as a note on the Google site in your account name, so you can access them from a different computer also. You can have a notebook with many such notes, and you can have many such notebooks. You can also make your notebooks public, but I'm yet to use that feature.

I do have a couple of grouches. They need to improve the interface of http://www.google.com/notebook page - it is too ugly, bordering on unusable. Would be nice if I could access these from GMail, so that I can forward these as emails.

I recommend this heartily to any MBA and indeed to anyone, who does a majority of his work online.

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