Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Has anyone already invented... a way to gather multiple URLs more efficiently?

One of my tasks today has been to let people (teachers in London who've signed up to hear from us) know about our new CPD courses in the New Year. I sent lots of emails and posted on Facebook, and our website, and another website etc etc.

In doing so I shared (by copying and pasting into various posts and emails) four URLs aka web addresses or links
1. A reminder of a free event on robotics for schools at QMUL

2, 3 and 4 - for the three computing CPD courses for teachers running at KCL next year.
Computing Science and Education: Theory & Practice 2018

Teach KS3 Computing 2018

Teach Algorithms and Data Structures to A-Level using Python 2018

Initially I had the four tabs open with the four links 'active'. That's a very efficient way to collect the URLs for pasting into an email or editing window (either as is or more usually hyperlinked beneath text) because the minute you put your mouse cursor into the browser address bar it automatically selects all the URL text (at least it does on Firefox) and you can just Ctrl+C (copy) and Ctrl+V (paste wherever you want it). Peasy.

Sometimes when I've lots of other tabs open - the main website, other website, Tweetdeck, Facebook etc I don't want to have too many additional ones (at time of writing I only have 15 tabs open) so I use Notepad (actually TextEdit on a Mac) and store the URLs there for later collection.

Collection using notepad involves only a little extra effort - I have to position the cursor at one end then click and drag to select the link before placing or pasting it where I want it. For URLs that I visit frequently over a longer period of time I store them in Workflowy (select, copy, paste) or bookmarks (right-click, copy) but that still involves a bit of fiddling about.

I seem to do this sort of task, with multiple URLs, a lot. 

What I would love is a 'thing' (as yet unknown) that would let me load up a bunch of URLs and then when I want '1' I click on the '1' and it copies it to my clipboard for pasting, then if I want '3' I click on '3' and so on.

Does this exist? Does it even make sense? How do other people do it? Any ideas? Here's my crappy prototype ;)

This is literally only useful if you're using LOTS of URLs, if one or two then whatever you're doing now is best. So... this could be a grid, doesn't have to be. When text is black you click the number to load your URL and it goes blue. You can then click the blue version to COPY the URL to the clipboard before pasting. Ideally I should have included a bit where you can 'name this URL' so for '1' and '2' here I'd call the first 'robots' and the second 'CSE' etc.

A note on avoiding pasting formatted text
Incidentally these days I paste almost everything into either TextEdit first to get rid of all the formatting (I keep it plain text). If I don't have a background copy open (rare) then I paste it into the address bar of any tab (as long as you don't press enter you're fine) as that's another great way to get the text-only version of any bit of text, doesn't have to be an URL. If I need to collect the address itself then obviously I collect that first before covering it with other text.

The process is (a) carefully select the (formatted) text,  Ctrl+C to copy it (b) cursor into address bar and Ctrl+V to paste, (c) Ctrl+A to select all then Ctrl+C to copy the now unformatted text and (d) cursor to destination: Ctrl+V to paste

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