If All Tools were Sabifoo

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Update: Big in Japan

The best thing (or worst thing) about Web 2.0 is that you can never be on top of it. Just when you think you know of all the mapping tools, or calendars, or online-IM clients that exist, guess what, there are a 100 more. Brian Benzinger from Solution Watch recently posted this extremely overwhelming list of 50 ways to take notes and trust me when he says fifty, it really is fifty.

Now I’m a Web 2.0 enthusiast no doubt, and I need a decent note-taking tool, but am I really gonna try all those fifty tools out to see which one suits me? No. I wanted to see Brian’s recommendations and he does recommend four tools which he uses: Google Desktop Search (ScratchPad), Netvibes, Writeboard, and Sabifoo.

I had used GDS but not quite so much. I don’t want a decentralised way to take notes, e.g. on my computer and just on my computer, because then when I move computers or devices I’ll have a problem keeping it all synced. I’d used Netvibes as well, but while it’s a great product, I also don’t want something that is purely web-based and needs the capability of a modern browser to work.

Then he mentioned Writeboard. I’ve used it before, but to be honest I’m not a fan. The last thing on his listsabifoo_smaller.jpg was Sabifoo. I had never heard of it before, but since he recommended it, I tried it out. The idea looked quite promising, it’s basically a way to take notes by IMs. You write your note with an optional title and the use of commands, and then use your RSS feed (or web-based) that it generates for you to keep track of it. In Web 2.0 terms, “Note-taking through IM via RSS.” Excellent.

The best thing I liked about it is that there’s no sign up. You just add any of the Sabifoo addresses (found here) to your preferred IM client, send the message !help, and a minute later it will send you the link to your RSS feed and web page. Wow — talk about an innovative signup process. Then it got easier. Add your RSS feed to your aggregator or whatever, send your note (whatever it is, “buy milk”) to the Sabifoo handle, and just go from there. When you check your RSS aggregator, these items will be waiting for you.

After using it for a while, I knew Sabifoo was the right tool. I’d had got used to a technique as well — marking the item with a “tick” in my aggregator once I’ve finished. Though if yours doesn’t do that, you can easily delete items as well with a simple Sabifoo command or just ‘mark it as read.’ Sabifoo to me is a really contructive way to take notes, and being the RSS-fan as I am, it just plain freaking works.

I think this is good Web 2.0 right here. No strings, or should I say buzzwords attached. No big fonts and slick icons. No ‘rails rails rails’ lettering. Just a simple, niche service that works and made my life simpler by whatever percent with a powerful backend. I’ll give it a 3.8/5.0.


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