Happy Trails?

Last week Sam and I met after a gentle nudge from Stefani. (Hi, Stefani. Thanks Stefani.)

We had a great two hour meeting over breakfast at a little Greek diner right in the neighborhood that Sam and I share. He had griddlecakes with syrup and crispy bacon. I had the breakfast special: two eggs (scrambled), home fries, toast (wheat) with jelly (grape; it’s all they have), and crispy bacon. We both had coffee. I take mine black. Sam likes his on the lighter side with a healthy addition of half and half. I got too many refills. He seemed like he had more self control.

We went back and forth for an hour or so outline ideas we were actively interested in pursuing and those that had long since disappeared into the smudged, greasy, folds of our notebooks. (Maybe his aren’t greasy. I can only speak for myself.  I tend to eat popcorn when I’m thinking.) Some of the ideas we pitched to each other were the same as the initial ideas we outlined in class. Some we came up with on the spot. Some seemed emergent from our shared interests.

We were both circling one theme in particular – organization in digital “space”. My ideas were more head-on aimed at this, Sam was rounding the corner with an idea that he had been thinking about for a while. Something similar to an idea I’ve been harboring re: internet bookmarks.

At their core the ideas were asking the same questions: Can we make better use of our internet browsing? Can we make the bookmarks we save (and often never go back to) more useful? How can we better follow our own process of searching, finding, and discovery on the internet. How can we continue to explore the promises of hypertext that Vannevar Bush presented in his seminal 1945 Atlantic article “As We May Think”?

Our idea, codenamed Trailz [sic], is a browser extension that traces your browsing path and helps you seamlessly capture and organize relevant information for easy reference later.

Functionality will (hopefully) include:

  • traceable search and link paths
  • material extraction (photo, video, text)
  • annotation
  • search by tag
  • path sharing
  • path editing