Too Many Tabs…

Don’t get me wrong here, I love tabbed browsing and I LOVE the extensions and plugins for Firefox, but the ease with which new tabs are opened and orphaned has me questioning my sanity and thinking that yes, it is possible to have too many tabs. I use session saver which will automagically reopen all windows and load all tabs after a crash or forced quit on my iMac (which is happening way too often these days as my iMac mysteriously restarts itself at seemingly random intervals). As a result of this, the number of tabs open at one time grows exponentially over the course of the week, making each subsequent restart an even slower and more painful process as each of those tabs needs to load itself by downloading fresh content (particularly from blog home pages).

At the moment, I just counted 84 tabs in 11 windows!

I guess it is time for me to revisit my surfing habits – which really means revisiting my blog writing strategy as well as my approach to reading online. As far as I can tell, the top ten reasons for ending up with too many tabs and windows are:

  1. Had to take a pee break, forgot what I was in the middle of
  2. That damn phony thing going ring a ding ding
  3. Diving down the link hole chasing wabbits
  4. Wanting to write about something really, really badly, but not enough to write it right now
  5. Finding a very important blog post that I need to read, but don’t need to read now
  6. Wanting to comment on something but not knowing what I want to say
  7. Having to actually work on something
  8. Not using an RSS Reader and visiting everyone’s blog personally and directly
  9. It’s too damn easy to open a new tab and/or new window
  10. Following the referrer links from MeasureMap to my blog
  11. Still waiting for the glory of the 25 hour day (soon to be mandated by the executive branch)

Hmmm, I wonder what I will do now… probably need to visit to see what if anything happened over the weekend, or perhaps I can spend a few hours taking care of all the tabs I have open, hoping my iMac won’t restart again mysteriously and throw me off track again. Naahhhhh, there is too much other fun stuff to read this morning – hey, I even got a link from Doc Searls on Friday! Cool – just happy to know he saw the piece I wrote on the A-Z List.

Perhaps this is the beginning thoughts on a new feature we need in Firefox – a way to look at all the open windows and tabs in one list – maybe as an OPML list even to be saved, edited and shared via my blog – perhaps even made more manageable by Firefox or Flock. Or maybe Session Saver can be rewritten to allow me to pick which tabs I want to have opened after a restart – one that I can categorize by task required:

  1. To read
  2. To blog
  3. To comment
  4. To re-read
  5. To print
  6. To send to someone
  7. To save to my PDA/phone
  8. To call someone about
  9. To borrow from
  10. To save for a presentation
  11. To ????

Well, here again I am thinking about great pieces of functionality and tools, but no one around to code them… Oh shit, forgot that I am supposed to be down at MuchoCamp today, and have not even had a chance to talk about WoolfCamp yet! More to come later today.

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  1. #1 by Liz - February 20th, 2006 at 10:26

    I also have an embarrassing number of tabs open. In two different browsers. A lot of it for me is that “to do” list of links; pages that seem important and that I really want to write about but Not Right Now because I don’t have time. In fact, the more important they are, the more I want to do them justice with a well-thought-out post or comment. Weeks later I realize I never got around to it – not because I didn’t care, but because I cared so much I didn’t want to be sloppy.

    In theory tagging should help me with this, or some way to flag pages “do something with this” or “look at me again” and then unflag them later, very handily.

  2. #2 by Chris Heuer - February 20th, 2006 at 12:22

    Was just speaking with Ryan and Eram about this and while I agree that I can just use delicious to do this (and do tag things with ‘toread’ and even with ‘comment’ (when I leave one) tags alone can’t solve the root of the problem, nor can social bookmarking tools.

    For me it really is something that needs to be managed. Which requires a drag and drop interface for the contextual specificly designed for the needs of the situation.

  3. #3 by Chris Heuer - February 22nd, 2006 at 08:35

    Found a partial solution to this and many more people who complained of the same problem. Any Firefox deelopers who are interested in talking with a interaction designer who does not code, please contact me. Will try out this Tab Mix Plus and let you know how it goes…

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