NEW YORK -- People increasingly access the Internet from multiple computers -- at home, at work, on the road. And a few, like me, use multiple Web browsers on each.
Too often, the favored site we seek is stored on a bookmark link located on the wrong browser or the wrong computer. After some searching, I found bookmark management software to address that problem.
I began by checking five online bookmark organizers -- Yahoo! Bookmarks, BaBoo, myHq.com, iKeepBookmarks.com and BookmarkTracker.com. All are free. I figured an online manager would be the easiest way to coordinate links among multiple computers and locations.
I was highly disappointed.
These services are slow, and online bookmarks are difficult to organize without the drag-and-drop features of standalone programs. These are the same reasons I get annoyed with Web-based e-mail.
Add to that questions of privacy. Though the services promise to keep your bookmarks private, I'm not comfortable having my collection sit on someone else's computer.
Plus, all but Yahoo permit public sharing of bookmarks, so if you're not careful, you may inadvertently expose your collection. Yahoo, meanwhile, caps bookmarks at 1,000.
I recommend online managers only for frequent travelers who use Internet cafes rather than their own laptops.
I fared better with standalone, shareware downloads for Windows.
Of the five I tested, I rejected two early.
The $29.95 Alert Bookmarks 9.6 from Viable Software Alternatives has a fancy interface but little functionality -- at least based on what I figured out from its overly simplistic manual.
Bookmark Manager Pro 2.3, from WAK Productions for $19.95, was little more than Microsoft Internet Explorer on steroids.
By contrast, Powermarks 3.5 from Kaylon Technologies, at $24.95, works nicely with multiple browsers, including Opera and Mozilla.
A wizard imports bookmark files from your browsers, and a free NetSync service helps easily coordinate bookmarks on multiple computers.
However, Powermarks won't let you arrange bookmarks in folders, saying searches are easier that way. And despite support for multiple browsers, the software tends to add bookmarks only from one you choose ahead of time.
Powermarks might suit you if you have few bookmarks, use only one browser and use only Windows (there's no Macintosh version, canceling the advantages of NetSync). With more than 2,000 bookmarks, a half-dozen or so browsers and two operating systems, I fail on all counts.
The $29 Linkman 6.5 from Outer Technologies and $19.95 LinkStash 1.5 from XRayz Software lack Powermarks' ease of synching. But their functionality makes up for it.
After installing LinkStash, a setup wizard helps import bookmarks from Internet Explorer, Netscape and Opera. It also sets up "hotkeys" for adding bookmarks by simply typing a combination such as ctrl-alt-a while surfing.
When adding a bookmark, LinkStash opens a box letting you choose a subfolder, add keywords for searching and enter any passwords the site may need.
With Linkman, importing bookmarks was also relatively easy, though it had to be done manually. Hotkeys can also be set up, but I had to dig through the manual to figure out how.
Linkman tends to direct new links to a preselected folder, but you can select a subfolder from the system tray. Keywords can then be added manually.
The password manager is more cumbersome than LinkStash's.
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