The story of Xmarks is like a David and Goliath kind of a tale—only, instead of slinging rocks, users of the (seemingly) popular service all pledged to donate untold amounts of money to keep the cross-browser bookmark synchronization tool alive.
Well, I hope you didn’t throw yourself off a duomo at the sad September news that Xmarks was considering shutting its services, because it’s not. In a bit of news from the we-expected-this-would-happen-but-were-still-slightly-concerned department, the pledge slash publicity drive worked and Xmarks is back in business. Huzzah.
Here's my question though: Why haven't any of the "big three" browser makers thought about providing a cross-browser synchronization tool? And here's the real kicker: If Xmarks wasn't already going under, would you have really paid 'em a dime?
In the wake of the quasi-departure of Xmarks (seriously; is it alive? Gone? Going somewhere? Dead? Fading out? What?), it’s nice to see that other enterprising developers have taken the idea of cross-computer Firefox synchronization and really ran with it. I’m speaking, of course, of a particular add-on called Siphon. It’s currently beta-testing, but it unlocks a whole pie full of usefulness for anyone who’s as add-on addicted as those of us over at Maximum PC.
Alright, Firefox master. Think you're hot stuff? Think that your list of 135 installed add-ons is impressive? I have one more in mind that will help you tie the whole picture together, but don't be frightened off by my exaggeration: You'll be able to make use of it whether you're running a paltry 5 add-ons or the 10,000+ in Mozilla's entire library.
Dubbed the Firefox Add-on Collector, this extension takes the entire concept of add-ons themselves and wraps them up in a higher layer of accessibility. Gone is the default disable/install/uninstall add-on screen you're used to. Firefox Add-on Collector builds these features alongside a means for subscribing to various add-on collection packs from third-party sources. Not only can you have the crème of Firefox's crop of add-ons at your fingertips, but you'll also have a source that constantly checks these packages for updated entries to grab (or delete).
For the longest time, Xmarks has been my Firefox bookmark synchronization tool of choice. I've been using it forever, and I can't recall the last time it's presented me with any kind of problem--that's because it never has. Simply put, Xmarks is an amazing tool for keeping your bookmarks in check across multiple installations of the Firefox browser.
But this post isn't about Xmarks. Mozilla itself has released its own synchronization tool dubbed "Weave Browser Sync," and it offers up even more possibilities than the trusty ol' Xmarks add-on. So why am I not fawning over this extension outright and declaring it to be the greatest browser synchronization tool since the sliced bread, er, synchronization utility? Well, a few stability issues reported by other Firefox users have left me a bit cautious to suggest that Weave is the answer to all of your dreams. It's certainly worth trying out, just don't put all your eggs in your woven basket should it not ultimately work on your browser--or worse, accidentally nuke your bookmarks.
Click the jump to find out just how tangled a web Weave has woven!
How many YouTube videos do you watch on a daily basis? Worse, how many YouTube videos do you send to your friends on a daily basis? If the answer is anywhere near "one or more," and I bet it is, then I've found the perfect Web app for you. Because one of the tough things about forwarding along a funny YouTube video is that you're forced to watch said person enjoy the experience at their leisure. You can't force them to click play, nor can you really appreciate their laughter and enjoyment as it happens in real-time: You don't know how far along they are in the video, after all.
To address this grave concern, some enterprising folk have come up with a Web App that's one part chat-room, two-parts edit bay. It's called Synchtube, and I bet you can guess exactly what it does by the name alone. Don't let that dissuade you from clicking the jump, however. I'll explore Synchtube's many (two) features and tell you exactly why this little Web app is the future of multi-person video viewing and hilarity preservation.