Sixteen Bits Online

MAY 1996


by Malcolm Morrison

Smarter than the average bookmark, Malcolm discovers a way to get organised.

Netscape 2.0 was installed and working alright. Well most of the time anyway. I have found it has a nasty habit of letting itself be closed down, and in doing so closes down Trumpet winsock, but without actually logging off. so the modem is still locked into and the meter is still running. Now I always check the phone line. If there is no dial tone, its an easy matter to re-open winsock and manually logout with the Bye option in the menus.

So I was browsing through the Netscape Homepage and came across a reference to SmartMarks, described as a better replacement for bookmarks.

The bookmarks option is irritating, as it gives you a long list of sites you have been to, but no way of organising them for retrieval or of remembering what half of them are about. [If you select ‘Bookmarks/View bookmarks/File/View in browser’, when in Netscape, your bookmarks will be displayed, along with your comment, as a very nicely organised Web page. How to add comments? Select ‘Bookmarks/View bookmarks”, select the bookmark you want to edit, then select ‘Item/Properties’. - Tech Ed.]

So I tracked down SmartMarks at a mirror site in Adelaide and it downloaded in a zip file without any problems. Once unzipped, you find three files including setup.exe. Double click on setup.exe and the installation runs straight through. It creates its own program group with three icons: Netscape SmartMarks, Help and Catalogue Maintenance, the latter providing a back-up facility. It takes about 3 Mb but what is that between friends these days?

SmartMarks recognises your existing bookMarks and converts them into its much better format. You can open it on its own from the icon, or when you go into Netscape SmartMarks opens first, automatically. (You can disable this if you want to using instructions in a readme.htm file). Once in NetScape Navigator, you find that ‘Bookmarks’ in the menu bar has been replaced by SmartMarks and when you activate it, up comes this nice hierarchal listing of folders and addresses (see example in the figure above).

The difference from bookmarks is huge. You can marshal your bookmarks into folders, name the folders and bookmarks so that you can remember why you were interested in them. [In fairness to NetScape, folders, naming and comments are all possible with NetScape’s ordinary bookmarks. - Tech Ed.]

The package comes pre-loaded with a range of Web addresses, with the main concentration seeming to be in California. There are other features like automatically monitoring important sites for changes but I'll leave you to explore these.

The package seems quite robust but the catalogue maintenance facility refused to do a back-up recently, giving me a cryptic message to contact technical support. However, reading the readme.htm file gave a solution - in c/smrtmrks/vfc delete all files *.dbl and *.taf. It doesn't say why this works, but it does: the restore facility then works alright.

The original zip file has been mislaid for the moment but if found, I’ll see about uploading it to the BBS.

Sixteen Bits Online - May 1996