My main professional goal is to help smart people become more effective information processors. More generally, I help them become more effective people by way of their technology-enabled information processing. This is the purpose of cognitive productivity.
An essential aspect of cognitive productivity is being able to rapidly re-access helpful information.
A true story of kindred spirits
In November 2020, I heard Tyler Hall interviewed by Brett Terpstra on the Systematic Podcast: #241: Solving Problems with Tyler Hall – Systematic. The whole episode was quite enjoyable. But what particularly caught my attention was that with about 27 or 28 minutes left in the episode, Tyler referred to an intriguing browser history app called Amnesia. “Amnesia is a Mac app (with an iOS companion app) for developers, writers, and other knowledge workers who often do focused work and/or research. It’s your own personal, private search engine for remembering everything that’s important to you and helps you get your work done.” Amnesia remembers all the URLs you visit, and it caches information about them. Intriguing concept!
So I checked out Amnesia and followed @tylerhall on Twitter. And when in July of last year, Tyler tweeted that he wanted feedback about an upcoming link-related product, I quickly offered my assistance. He kindly gave me early access to the private beta of his new app, called Fastmarks.
Fastmarks is now public, and I think many of our readers will find it useful.
There are many advantages to using multiple web browsers, or at least having multiple web browser profiles. The downside of that is that if you want to search your browsing history you need to remember what browser you were using at the time. That’s asking too much of most mortals. Fastmarks solves that, and a lot of related problems too.
Fastmarks is a Mac app for rapidly searching all your bookmarks across all browsers (and as we shall see, more than that). It’s very fast. It has a nice launcher-like interface — a popup window where you type your search expression (compare QuickSilver, Alfred, LaunchBar, and Raycast apps). And it is 100% keyboard-driven.
The 2s rule
If you’ve read my Cognitive Productivity books, you know about my 2s rule. And that is that 80% of the information you try to reach, you should be able to get to within 2s. The percentage is a lower limit. Searching for information and reaching for the mouse interrupt psychological flow and tire you out.
Fastmarks can help with all of this by making search much more efficient, helping you maintain psychological flow while you work.
We all know that general purpose search engines are very important. They allow you to find and access information the first time around. What is less commonly understood is that deep work tends to involve re-accessing the same information again. If a knowledge resource is high-caliber, useful and potent, and you’ve accessed it a couple of times, the chances of you wanting to re-access this information again later is, for all intents and purposes infinitely greater than that of a random piece of information on the web.
Rapid re-access of information is a component of what I refer to in my Cognitive Productivity with macOS book as “surfing strategically”.
Fastmarks, then, is a unique cognitive productivity tool for one’s strategic surfing toolkit.
Fastmarks is our inaugural Partner of the Month
I’m delighted to see this integration of Fastmarks and Hook. It’s a lovely example of a productive collaboration between two developers that are addressing closely related problems. Tyler read Hook’s AppleScript dictionary and quickly added Hook integration. Delightful!
We thus feel honored to welcome Tyler’s Retina Studio as our inaugural Partner of the Month!
And, one more thing …
Originally, Fastmarks was designed only to open web bookmarks. However, Fastmarks now enables you to search bookmarks in Hook. Given that Hook can bookmark any item that has a URL, Fastmarks can be used to search all kinds of bookmarks!
In order for Fastmarks to access your Hook bookmarks, all you need to do is enable Fastmarks’
Hook preference. Super simple!
Find out more
For more information on this integration, check out Using Hook With Fastmarks – Hook.
You can find out more about Fastmarks on the retina studio website.
retina studio has also published Using Fastmarks with Hook.app , which includes a helpful **screencast* and text.