Tagged With tags

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Steam has added yet another sweet new feature to its beta client: Tags. While it sounds rudimentary, the new system allows users to add their own tags to games, which then fuels new sorting and even personalised recommendations.

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A well tagged MP3 collection makes everything from organisation to playback easier. Keep reading for a closer look at your fellow readers' favourite tools for cleaning up their MP3 tags in this week's Hive Five. Photo by Darin Barry.

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Windows only: Use the same kind of quick-thinking, fast-organising tags you use to organise your web life with TaggedFrog, a free Windows utility that sorts and finds any file you can throw at it. Windows Vista (and the Windows 7 beta) already have native tagging systems, and OS X has long offered search-able metadata as a simple filing system. Vista's tagging is limited to certain file types, though, and it's in need of a central tag station, much like the one TaggedFrog provides. TaggedFrog tags any file you have with any words you want, so you can selectively tag files to separate projects, keep a track of any MP3s with curse words in them, or whatever quick-search needs you have. As you search, a "cloud" view shows the most-accessed, or most-tagged, keywords, and you can narrow your search by file extension for heavily-used tags. There's a portable, no-install version available at the program page, so even if you only want to try out TaggedFrog for a quick MP3 organisational mission, you're good to go. TaggedFrog is a free download for Windows systems, requires the .NET 2.0 framework for both the installed and portable versions.

TaggedFrog

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All platforms with Firefox: If you like Delicious' ability to filter bookmarks by multiple tags (like "programming" and "tutorial"), you'll love the TagSifter extension for Firefox. Now that Firefox 3 supports bookmark tagging—and you've got keywords assigned to all your favourite URLs—TagSifter can help you navigate, search, and drill down to exactly the link you're looking for. Like Delicious, TagSifter adds related tag suggestions, and offers advanced search operators that can find exactly the bookmark you're looking for. For example, the expression:

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Firefox only (Windows/Mac/Linux): If you like the concept of bookmark tags introduced in Firefox 3 but just can't seem to get into the habit of using them, Firefox extension Tagmarks adds tag images to your awesome bar for quick and easy bookmarking and tagging. Once installed, you'll see several new images next to the default star when you hover your mouse over the star. Click one to both tag and bookmark that page in one fell swoop. You can click on as many of these tags as you want, and when you view your bookmarks, you'll notice text tags have been automatically assigned. Tagmarks is free, works wherever Firefox does. Hopefully we'll see a more customisable version of Tagmarks in the future.

Tagmarks

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Stylish Java applet Wordle creates custom word clouds out of any text you throw at it. You can also have it parse your Del.icio.us tags for a cloud, but either way, the real fun is in customising the layout, tag colours, fonts, and much more. Once you're done, you can share your clip in the site's gallery, print it out, or save it using your own screen-capture tool. It makes for nice backgrounds and icons, but it can also be helpful for students and anyone trying to parse a text for emphasis—the clip above is from the mammoth last paragraph of James Joyce's Ulysses, which can certainly hide its meanings pretty well.

Wordle

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Now that you know how to stitch together panoramic photos with free software, publish your creations at Panoye, a panoramic sharing web site. Panoye users are building "a virtual tour all around Earth" with user-submitted panoramic images. Upload, tag, geotag, and share your panoramas on Panoye, which offers YouTube-like HTML markup to embed a pannable panoramic image onto your own web site, like the one after the jump:

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Mac OS X only: If Spotlight metadata just doesn't cut it and you want to organise your files by tag, free utility Punakea might be for you. Entering file tags is easy with Punakea: Just drag and drop any files you want to tag either to a pop-up Punakea sidebar, the icon on the Dock, or the app itself. Enter your tags. Then, within Punakea, choose any tag to list its files and also see related tags. In Finder, Punakea actually creates aliases to your files within folders with your tag's name. (You can set Punakea to actually move the files to those folders as well instead of using an alias.) If you're interested in doing more with tags but don't want to get a third party utility involved, check out how guest editor Nick Santilli organizes his files with Spotlight tags. Punakea is a free download with donations requested for Mac Tiger or Leopard only.

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Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Firefox extension Readeroo integrates with your Del.icio.us bookmarks to make keeping up with your backlog of unread links a cinch. Let's say you stumble onto a link on Lifehacker that you're dying to read, but—weirdly enough—you're at work and can't get to it (damn boss looking over your shoulder). Rather than tossing it carelessly into your ever-expanding, unmanageable pile of unread bookmarks, add it to Del.icio.us by clicking your Readeroo Add button—which automatically bookmarks the link in Del.icio.us with a "toread" tag. When you finally get a spare minute or two, just click Readeroo's Read button to cycle through your unread links and automatically tag the item "donereading" (the actual tags used are customisable if you don't like the defaults).

If you still prefer adding and tagging your Del.icio.us bookmarks using a more robust extension like Del.icio.us Complete, you can still do so—just tag the item with "toread" and Readeroo will pick up on it. You'll need to provide the extension with your Del.icio.us username and password the first time you use it. If you've got an unwieldy mess of Del.icio.us bookmarks you've never gotten around to reading, this extension is a must-have. Readeroo is a free download, works wherever Firefox does.

Readeroo

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With the popularity of sites like del.icio.us and YouTube, tagging has become (for better or sometimes worse) a standard feature of nearly every site on the internet, and virtually everyone has a pretty fair idea what tagging is and how to use tags online. But the latest operating systems from Apple and Microsoft also have tagging built into their filesystems, meaning that the same basic tagging ideas available online are also available for the files on your hard drive. It sounds like an excellent idea in theory, but it doesn't seem as though offline tagging is taking hold. So we're wondering.