Family of N

How Do You Save Web Content for Later?

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura on February 17, 2009

I have this unreasonable fear that all the good articles on the Internet are going to disappear one day. I think I’ve been burned by one too many sites that retired content, or that failed to back up and subsequently lost everything. So if I can, I save the most useful, inspiring, and beautiful web content locally, just. in. case. As a result, my bookmarks list is small, but I think I have half the internet saved on my hard drive. (What, the Internet has more than 200GB of information? Maybe I’m using a really good compression algorithm….)

I’ve been refining my “clipping” techniques for years and finally feel like I have a solution that works for me. I’ve come a long way from my primitive days of web browsing, when I would copy and paste favorite articles into Open Office and export them as PDF files.

After to many years of that, I started using Google Reader to read blogs, and it was much easier to capture articles by starring blog posts in Reader. (Most things I find these days are at least referenced in a blog, so that covered nearly everything.)

But as time went on, I got paranoid again about all of that content disappearing, so for a while I copied and pasted this kind of thing in BasKet Note Pads, a Linux-only tool for managing notes. I like that it will export any subset of your notes into a neat HTML document. Unfortunately, it does not export to another BasKet Note Pads application, and development has seemed to dwindle off.

I was really happy when I found a Firefox extension called Scrapbook. As I browsed the web, I could select text or pictures in Firefox to save it locally, and any time I wanted to, I could export the content to another computer.

But when Google Chrome came out, I knew I needed to switch browsers. I open and close a ridiculous number of tabs (I have thirteen open now), and Chrome has an innovative way of managing tabs in memory. And Scrapbook was not available as a Chrome plug-in.

Fortunately, by that time, a web-based tool called Snipd had come out of invitation-only alpha testing. Snipd seemed a nice compromise for me. I still wished I had a true local copy of all my favorite web content, but I at least got some measure of assurance having a duplicate of all of my favorite stuff at Snipd. But I couldn’t get over its limited organization capability.

Then I discovered Evernote. Like Snipd and Scrapbook, it saves a link to the original site, so I can return to check out comments later on. It stores the content on a server so I can access it from anywhere via the web interface, but I can also download everything locally just. in. case. It doesn’t have the most robust organization system, but it lets you store articles in separate notebooks and give them hierarchical tags. Plus you can search very easily and export the data in a variety of formats.

I save articles on homeschooling, parenting, and finances, tutorials for money-saving projects, pictures of tastefully decorated (and organized!) homes, and recipes, to name a few. These are things that will be useful to me years from now, when the original content might have been taken down.

What do you do when you see something online that you think you’ll want to come back to in five years?


Music Appreciation Monday: Ravel

Posted in Uncategorized by Laura on February 16, 2009

This video being in black-and-white, its opening really reminds me of an old horror flick. I keep expecting to hear shrill screams as the camera pans out to show Frankenstein’s monster attacking a beautiful blonde as our hero (obviously, the violinist) rushes to her side to defend her.

But I can assure you that none of this happens. I hope enjoy this monster-free performance of Ravel’s Tzigane by Polish violinist Henryk Szeryng.

The Professor’s Famous Chili

Posted in Recipes by Laura on February 4, 2009

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Savannah and I got another one of those brink-of-death colds, which she again endured far more gracefully than I. I had typed up a Menu Plan Monday for this week before I got sick, but had neither the foresight to schedule it ahead nor the energy to press the post button come Monday.

If I had posted that Menu Plan Monday, you would have seen this on the menu for tonight. To make up for not posting anything for a whole week and a half, I’m sharing the recipe for this divine chili — and trust me, you’re better off with this than with a year’s worth of my most witty, insightful, and fascinating posts.

We don’t make a spice mix for the long list of spices used after the beef is browned, because the fresh-ground cumin and cloves (especially the cloves!) are the real secret to this chili. We grind ours in a coffee grinder, which, ironically, has never seen a coffee bean in its happy existence.

The Professor’s Famous Chili

  • Homemade Taco Seasoning
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 28 ounces canned, seasoned chili beans (or 1 1/2 cups dry pinto beans, plus chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a bay leaf or two)
  • 2 quarts tomato juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 heaping teaspoon whole cumin, ground
  • 1 heaping teaspoon whole cloves, ground
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons chili powder, plus extra
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/6 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • garlic powder
  • some pepper

1. If using dry beans, soak overnight, then simmer in water with seasonings for four hours.
2. Season ground beef with a coating of the taco seasoning mix. Brown in a large pan.
3. Drain the beans and the beef. Combine with tomato juice and other seasonings in a medium or large stockpot. Simmer for 2 hours or more.

Serve with shredded cheese (we like colby jack) and corn bread or crumbled tortilla chips.

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