Link Web Pages and More

What do you do when you (or a loved one) develops a new medical condition? Or when you need to make a major decision? You carefully search the web for high-caliber information.

Searching is essential. Tagging is helpful. In addition, it is useful to be able to quickly access related information on important topics. That is where Hook comes in.

In this document, we’ll look at how Hook can help you:

Research your medical or psychological conditions more effectively

If you or a loved one develop a disease or other illness, or face a significant psychological challenge, you need professional help. And you also need to inform yourself with high-caliber information written by true experts. (Our co-founder’s Cognitive Productivity books provide very helpful tips for researching and evaluating information.)

If you discover a small number of high quality web pages that belong together, then thanks to Hook, you can link them. That will enable you to consult one in relation to the others. This goes well beyond bookmarking.

It’s often helpful to use a Wikipedia page as a “hub” for research. If you’ve developed insomnia, then you might treat the Wikipedia page on insomnia as a hub. With Hook, you can easily link the following pages about insomnia and sleep tips to that Wikipedia page, and to each other:

Do better job searches

Suppose you are applying for a job you really want.

  • Use Hook to link your cover letter to the job ad, to make sure your cover letter is tailored to the position.
  • Link both the ad and your cover letter to your resume, so you can quickly navigate between them.
  • Link the advertisement to your task list for that job application.
  • Have you applied for a similar job before? Link the page to a local folder for that job.
  • Have you read an awesome web page providing tips for writing cover letters? Link it to your cover letter so you can consult it while writing.

By using Hook, you minimize search and maximize your focus on the content and task.

And if you are offered an interview, then minimize your preparation time while maximizing your preparation.

Take some notes in preparation for the interview. Then, link your notes to:

  • the company’s website,
  • its LinkedIn page,
  • the original ad, and
  • whatever else you find super relevant.

The Hook window displays relevant links— only relevant links. It makes linked resources super easy to access (using keyboard or mouse).

Whether or not you get the job, you can access these links any time in the future.

Hook links your (digital) life

Shop smarter

Whether you’re shopping for a big ticket item (like a new home, car, or appliance) or anything else of value, Hook supplies the missing links you need to make an informed decision.

Shopping for a home?

Suppose for instance that you are searching for a new home. Your realtor sends you a link to a listing that appeals to you. You’ll accumulate information such as:

  • the online listing (web page), which has many photos and key information;
  • the location of the property on a map (Google Maps or Apple Maps);
  • a feature sheet; and
  • emails.

Furthermore, if you accumulate a lot of files about the property, you might keep them in a folder.

You can use Hook to link the web page to all the other resources, so that you can easily navigate between them. Or mesh link them.

Shopping for a new gadget?

Every now and then, we all must buy new hardware for our Macs; sometimes an entirely new Mac!

By the time the AirPods 2 were finally announced in early 2019, this writer was ready to replace his first-generation AirPods. But would the new AirPods actually be worth the money?

I did some web research, and bookmarked many articles with Pinboard. Not all of the articles were equally relevant, however.

As I was doing this research, I created a synoptic notes document (a Markdown “meta-doc”) that summarized the information relevant to me, which I gleaned from several web sites. I noted the increased battery life, reliability and speed of connection and audio quality as “pros”. In the “new but don’t care” category, I noted Siri’s auto-activation.

Note that creating notes on a subject is often much more efficient than relying on an original web page. Notes focus on the essential information, which might come from several different web sites.

I used Hook to link my notes document to some of these websites. The notes document became a hyper-focused hub for relevant information and useful links. You can think of the document as being a “bookmark folder”. Except it is much more rapidly accessible than traditional bookmarks (you can use Launchbar, Alfred or Spotlight to access it). And it is much more focused.

Here’s the result of invoking Hook’s Copy All Links command for this document:

Items linked to Airpods 2 2019- Shopping information.txt

Report generated by Hook on 09-04-2019 20:17.

If I had been shopping for something more expensive, such as for a MacBook, I might have created a spreadsheet with various attributes and tradeoffs. I might have linked the spreadsheet to related materials. But in this case, the qualitative considerations were sufficient.

Link your social life

Many “soft” aspects of life are neglected in productivity research and cognitive science: emotions, attitudes, social relationships. Motivation is often mentioned, but it tends to be treated in a very behavioristic, superficial, performance-oriented fashion.

We at CogSci Apps take the “soft” side seriously. (See for instance books and papers by our co-founder, Luc P. Beaudoin.)

Key to understanding human nature is understanding our relationship-building proclivities. Human relationships and human knowledge are both essentially networks. Hook helps you represent and access networked information about important people in your life, so that you can be a better friend, family member, colleague, employee, manager, service provider, client, and so on.

We will keep this section short, and devote web pages and blog posts to the topic in the future. (In fact, our co-founder has books in the pipeline that deal with some of this.

Augment and utilize your model of people who are significant to you

There are several apps you can use to capture information about significant people, such as their birthdays. Often, it’s helpful to record the web addresses of significant people; for example:

  • their LinkedIn page;
  • their research gate profile;
  • their company profile;
  • their YouTube page (or a YouTube video they created, or shared with you); and
  • perhaps one of their major interests.

Hook can help you capture this information, which you can enter in your contacts pages as usual.

But Hook does more than this. Hook has bidirectional links, so that when you visit a page that is pertinent to this contact, you can navigate back from it to another resource about them.

If you are a manager, you might maintain a local folder for your employees. You can use Hook to link this folder to web pages, the contact, and other key information. Hook thereby enables you to transcend the boundaries of Finder, the web, and individual apps. That’s why we say:

Hook links your (digital) life

Hook does this without compromising anyone’s privacy, because Hook links are stored locally. (Of course, you can also choose to share individual links with Hook.)

Linking precious web resources saves time

With Hook, linking is extremely easy (a few keystrokes and you’re done). You only need to link information if re-access is helpful.

By linking web pages (to each other or to other resources) with Hook, you don’t need to paste web links in your notes. You might not need to bookmark them either.

This often eliminates the need for searching. Web searching might seem fast, but it’s actually multiple physical and mental operations. They take time, and they drain mental energy.

You would only link or tag a small percentage of any information you process, but those are knowledge gems! Memory is fallible. If you don’t keep track of information you read on the web, was the information worth reading?

Hook augments great apps and services

Hook is not the only tool we recommend for optimizing your use of the web. Hook helps you get more out of other apps and web services. Many great cognitive productivity tools are described in our co-founder’s second book, Cognitive Productivity with macOS®. (That book is loaded with screencasts to help you learn how to get the most out of these tools).

For example,

  • Hook helps you act on web content. Use Hook to link web pages to new or existing action items or projects logged in OmniFocus, Things, TaskPaper – Plain text to-do lists for Mac, Apple Notes, etc.
  • Use Pinboard or Pocket to tag web pages. You can collect many related pages under a tag. Hook enables you link and easily navigate between web pages that share a tag. Hook extends these services by enabling you to link pages, even linking them to content on your Mac. (Subscribe to the Hook email list or Hook Forum to learn about our upcoming integrations with Pinboard and Pocket!)
  • Use EagleFiler app, DevonTHINK or Evernote to capture web pages. They can be linked with Hook.
  • Use Hook to link a Keynote or Powerpoint presentation to supporting web pages. That way you can easily consult key materials as you are writing. You can even use Hook during a presentation to quickly access a demo or web page. (That can take some of the stress out of presenting.)
  • Use Hook to link a document you are writing (in Pages, Word, or another supported app) to reference material on the web.

So why not see how Hook helps you make more efficient use of the time you spend researching on the web? Download Hook now. It has a very simple user interface. (One popup window does most of the work. Invoke the window with a mouse click or keyboard shortcut — ⌘⇧SPACE. The window closes as soon as you issue a command.) And it’s free to try.