Remembering things is harder than ever. Stuff to do, links to refer, ideas to develop, articles to read, videos to watch – there is just way too much stuff online to keep track of. We definitely need a digital assistant to track all that stuff for us. thinkery helps you focus on the important things and lets you access tons of information in an instant.
thinkery is a web app that helps users organize their thoughts, ideas, URLs and lists. The app lets you save todo lists, bookmarks, creative ideas and more. Is it actually capable of being your extended brain on steroids as the developers claim? Let’s go check it out.
The thinkery team has done a neat trick to assist new users. They let you try the app with all its features without having to sign up for the app. This means that you are assigned a temporary username as soon as you arrive at the site and all the stuff you create is stored in that account.
So, at the end of the evaluation, if you decide to sign up, you can have all your entries transferred to the account without having to go through the hassle of creating them all over again. thinkery is free for everyone.
For the purpose of this article, let us begin by adding stuff with the temporary account and finally at the very end we shall try to create and account and see if it all sticks. Game?
I started by typing a todo item in the prominently placed input field. As soon as you hit enter, the app saves the item and takes you to the dashboard for further updates. Apparently, since this is a temporary account to showcase the features of the app, it comes with a small list entries preloaded. All the entries you create are private by default and you don’t have to worry about getting the super secret business plan of yours leaked for all the world to see!
All items can be edited and you will have the option to add and remove tags, make the item public or private, archive/un-archive or delete it forever.
Tags in thinkery doesn’t have to be only words like we are used to, but you can insert hashtags right in the entry you are adding and voila! you can see all the related items listed instantly. Alternatively, you can access the standard tags created from the left pane.
With apps like these, after a while things automatically start piling up and editing them could be a mess. Use the Bulk edit feature at the lower left corner of the screen to edit or delete tags and entries. You change the public/private status of multiple entries from here too.
Using the Plugins
thinkery is complimented well by its bookmarklets and plugins. To download them, you will need a registered account. So, use the Save Now option to save all the items you have created or edited so far. I will have to congratulate the development team for implementing the slickest sign up process ever.
Just enter the email address, username and password and your account is automatically created and logged in, thanks to the cool usage of Ajax. And yes, all the content I created earlier were all intact.
Head over to the Tools section of the app to gain access to the bookmarklets and plugins. With a plugin and a dedicated app, thinkery is a bit biased to Google Chrome users. Others will have to make do with their bookmarklet. In addition to these, there are tools to import your bookmarks from Delicious, Instapaper and other bookmarking apps that let you export them in HTML format.
Adding Online Content
Installing the thinkery plugin adds a button to the Chrome browser. With this button you can add URLs at the blink of an eye. What is the big deal, you ask? The app not only saves the link, but also extracts all the text, images and video from it too.
Now, go back to the thinkery web app and you can read the URL in its full glory, minus some design elements. Except for websites running on Flash, the plugin does a bang up job at extracting content. It’s just not blogs from where you can extract content, but also from popular online destinations like Facebook, Digg, SoundCloud, Amazon, Twitter, XKCD, Flickr and YouTube.
One drawback of the app is that the extracted item is not editable. Meaning, if you want to insert some content of your own, you will have add it as a separate note attached to the extracted content. A lot of other bookmarking apps allows you to do this content manipulation but not thinkery. I am not sure if this restriction is in place to prevent plagiarism or if the feature is under development. Let’s hope they add it sometime in the future.
thinkery isn’t a very unique idea, but could be of great help to those who have trouble keeping their thoughts and ideas in sync. I will have to make a note of their design and user interface. While some might say that the app tends to be minimalistic, it really isn’t. The design elements (or the lack of it) makes the app look dull and unintuitive.
Despite nailing all the essential items one would look for in the homepage, thinkery’s homepage looks like it has been put together overnight with poor aesthetics. So, pending a visual refresh, thinkery is an app for those who are looking for something lightweight and gets the job done.
Share Your Thoughts!
What is your take on thinkery? Do know of a better app with the same set of features?