Tivo for Your Browser: Unclutter Your Life by Saving Articles for Later

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have TIVO for your browser?

That way you could save articles later so they don’t interrupt your busy day and distract you from what needs to get done.

This is a great GTD or Getting Things Done tip (David Allen’s system, in case you haven’t come across it because you’ve been slumbering or just too dang good at tasks to bother with improvement).

There is such a way. Tivo, of course, allows you to save TV shows for later consumption. Back in the good old days (when there was Tivo and ReplayTV), the boxes would even strip out commercials.

It’s the reason I used to *love* my ReplayTV. The unit would “sense” the breaks between commercial outro and into and jump completely across the advertising content. It drove the advertisers crazy and was bullied out of the product.replaytv

Anyway, those early DVRs effectively stripped out advertising (it wasn’t perfect, but 70-75% was freakin fantastic).

Now there’s a way to do this to the articles you consume on the Web. You know the ones – those tabs that stack up because your curious intentions motivate you to read every cool thing known to your favorite online rag, mag, newspaper or Twitter (or Facebook) leader.

Here’s how it works.

First, check out this nifty little service: Read Laterinstapaper

Read Later (or Instapaper) allows you to click a bookmark/script and save articles for later on your Instapaper.com account.

You can then close out the tabs immediately, knowing that they’re waiting for you later.

At a time of your choosing, you can come back to Instapaper and select the “Text” link in your article list. The program formats the text as beautiful, clean, advertising-free, seriphed black text on a clean white background (perfect formatting if you’re familiar with research on eyestrain, comprehension  and retention). The article contains a subtle link back to the original article, in case you want to Tweet it, Ping.fm it, or “Share on Facebook.”

There’s another tool you can use to do the same text clean-up trick immediately. It’s called Readability. The slick app allows you to choose the font, point size and format of your text to be read. The buttons on the side allow you to easily and quickly get back to the original article (for Tweeting, sharing or Facebooking purposes, for example). readability

Both of these are cool. And they help me “get clear” and get back to work.

Have you tried either? What do you think? Please share your thoughts below.

P.S. The two solutions go great with RSS feed readers, too. Good way to filter articles and read later in a clean, consistent format.

How to Set Google Chrome as Your Default Browser in Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista

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This post, which shows you how to change your default browser to Google Chrome in Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista, may not initially appear to fall under the marketing category… however, I’ll explain further in a minute.

Google Chrome is the new browser from the folks at Google. If you’re looking for reviews of the browser, check here: Awesome Google Chrome Review, Summary of Google Chrome Reviews at UK Telegraph (includes TechCrunch, Walt Mossberg, CNET, Gizmodo reviews and more), and Google Chrome Review from PC World.
So, Google Chrome is pretty cool and very fast when compared to other browsers like FireFox and Internet Explorer. I like it, and I wanted to set it as my default browser on a couple of the machines here.
Here’s the correct process for doing this manually on Windows XP, 2000 and Vista (thanks to Mozilla):

Setting default browser manually

You can set the default browser in Windows 2000 (SP3+) Windows XP (SP1+) and Windows Vista using the “Set Program Access and Defaults” feature (renamed “Set Program Access and Computer Defaults” in Windows Vista). [2]

  • Windows 2000: “Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Set Program Access and Defaults”
  • Windows XP: “Start -> Control Panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Set Program Access and Defaults -> Custom”
  • Windows Vista: “Start -> Default Programs -> Set Program Access and Computer Defaults -> Custom” [3]

(Windows XP/Vista: Click the icon to the right of “Custom”, to expand the category.)

You will see Internet Explorer and other installed browsers listed under “Choose a default Web browser” . Select “Mozilla” (Suite), “SeaMonkey” or “Mozilla Firefox” (in some cases, “Mozilla Firefox” may not be listed; to add it back, reinstall Firefox [4]).

If the above doesn’t work or if the “Set Program Access and Defaults” feature isn’t available in your Windows version, you can manually set the default browser by selecting it as the the default program for individual file types and protocols as follows:

  • Windows XP and earlier: Open the Control Panel from the Windows Start menu.
    • In Windows 2000 and earlier, or if Windows XP is using the Control Panel “Classic View”: Click on “Folder Options -> File Types”.
    • In Windows XP, if using the Control Panel “Category View”: Click on “Performance and Maintenance”. Then, click on “File Types” in the left column under the heading “See Also”.
  • Windows Vista: Click the Start button, open “Default Programs” and then click “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”. [5]

Assign the following protocols and file types to the browser you wish to set as default:

  • URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol
  • URL:HyperText Transfer Protocol with Privacy
  • URL:File Transfer Protocol
  • HTML File
  • HTM File (optional)

Note that you may find the URL protocols listed above under extension “N/A” or “(NONE)”.

The reason I think it’s important for marketers to install and use this new browser are many:
  1. You need to know how your Web pages look in this new browser – If you don’t have consistency across all four major browsers (Safari included.. perhaps Opera deserves a mention, too), you’re not communicating consistently.
  2. If anything doesn’t render correctly you need to fix it ASAP. I surfed to JCrew’s site yesterday, and a lot of their images don’t render in Chrome, while they do quite nicely in the other browsers.
  3. Users are hopping on the new Chrome browers in huge numbers. They’re installing it like mad because of Google’s exposure. Again, if your sites don’t look good on Google Chrome, you may have a problem on your hands. This applies to things beyond just generic looks, as well… like shopping carts, Java script, widgets, sign up forms, AJAX and so forth.
Take a look and make sure you’re good on Google Chrome.