Using Bookmarklets to Turn Your Browser Into a Powerhouse

When Firefox first came out I was pumped about extensions. I loaded up the browser with everything I could find, and all of the sudden my Firefox had add-on buttons and functions that did just about everything. But over time the extensions were adding up and opening a new browser started to feel like opening 5 programs at once. On new computers it's not so noticeable, but on an old one it can mean minutes sitting around waiting before you can even use the browser. So when Google's Chrome browser came out I took the opportunity to hit reset and start clean - a browser without any extensions. To use any of these, drag the link to your bookmarks bar:
  • Aviary - Take a screenshot of a web page, edit it, and publish it, all in your browser window
    also try using Picnik
  • Posterous - Snag a picture or video, blog it, and syndicate it, all without leaving your page
    also try blogging on Tumblr
  • Delicious - Bookmark a site easily on delicious.com, no reason for their browser extension
    also try posting to Digg or FriendFeed
  • Google Realtime Search - Do a quick real-time google search for web content posted in the last ten minutes
  • Google Document Viewer - Click this before you click on any PDF or PPT links on a webpage and the links will open using Google's light-weight web-based viewer
  • Bit.ly - Create a short URL for the page you're on that you can send to friends or push to Twitter, and track how many people read it
    also try using Share-in
  • ShareThis - Simple all-in-one sharing / bookmarking / printing to any service shortcut
  • Evernote - Clip a selection of a page or even an entire page for archiving on your own online database
  • Instapaper - Push the text of the webpage you want to read over to your iPhone for easy reading later (this takes an iPhone app as well)
  • F2FB - Move a selected picture from Facebook to Flickr (instructions here)
  • Zemanta - Add suggested images, related articles, and content tags to your blog post through semantic analysis
  • Sphere - Search for blog or news posts related to the page you're currently reading
Have any other bookmarklets you're using to enhance your browser? Let me know in the comments. Note, i'm making incremental edits to this as I discover more bookmarklets.


Getting to see U2 live

Last night I got the chance to see U2 perform live at Giant Stadium; it was their last show before the stadium is torn down, and it apparently set a record for the number of people in attendance (not sure how this could be bigger than another sell-out, but). I've been to in-door stadium shows before, but nothing ever in a huge stadium packed like this; the energy in the crowd was crazy, and U2 played it up down to the last second. They put on an awesome performance, one I'm going to remember.

Oh and I made the above video in about 3 minutes using iMovie - I didn't want to take time to crop or anything, I just dropped everything into the tray, chose a transition theme, and published it. I know with some effort it could be much better, I don't know about starting with that weird clip about Bloomberg, and the missing end-title is shoddy, but I'm impressed with how quick from start to finish it was. There are 8 or so clips in there, catching different songs and different energy levels - I think it gives a pretty good feel of the show!


An Eating Experience at Ali's Kabab Cafe

pictures from @jaymc

Last weekend a bunch of us went to dinner with Jan (@jaymc) to achieve one of his 101 Goals in 1001 days: Eat a dish made with animal brain. The restaurant he found to achieve this was Ali's Kabab Cafe in Astoria. Given the goal and the random hole in the wall place we ended up at, I had low expectations for actually enjoying the meal. By the end, though, I can say that Jan's adventure gave me one of my favorite (and most delicious) eating experiences in a while (minus the brain, which I'll never do again).

What makes the Kabab Cafe so great is the personal experience with Ali and his cooking whims. When we sat down, Ali came over to say hi and to introduce himself & his restaurant. He asked if we would like to start with some platters to get an idea of his flavors, while we think of what we might like. He also asked if we had any particular allergies or aversions, or if we were open to sampling his fair. The first few dishes were minced lamb & egg, fava bean falafal & hummus, and an avacado apple salad. After we began eating, Ali returned to ask which meats we'd prefer, and if there were any particular tastes we were interested in. We asked for pomegranate, lamb, and chicken; he came out with marinated lamb chops & chicken, both made with variations of pomegranate, and a plate of mixed vegetables & rice. All of the food was incredibly delicious.

I really loved getting to speak with the person cooking the food, and getting to eat the dishes he really wanted to make. I didn't have to worry about what to order, and I got to be suprised by the flavors with each dish. I would gladly return and expect a different but equally delicious meal.

Oh, and the brain dish? I can say I tried it and cross it off the list, but I won't be doing it again.

[my review on Yelp] [Kabab Cafe on the Map]