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Monday, 27 May, 2002, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
IQ of 108 and can't remember anything? Don't stress.
The letters "http://" and ".com" have become cliches, and the punchline for various anti-geek jokes.
Most people simply don't understand what internet addresses mean, and when told that URL means "Uniform Resource Locator" and that http means "hyper text transfer protocol", they feel less than enlightened.
But for some time now, there's been less of a need to remember internet addresses. Some people are starting to think that there's no need to remember them at all.
RealNames was an attempt to make the internet simpler, by removing the need for people to remember internet addresses. Instead of typing "www.big-company.com", they could simply type "Big company" into their web browser and the RealNames technology, working the background, would take them to the right place.
Although it wasn't big in the UK, the service was very popular in Asia, and other places that use non-Latin letters in their alphabets. Because RealNames supported characters from all languages, it had become an essential tool for hundreds of thousands of internet addresses in China, Japan, and dozens of other countries.
But it's not just websites we have to keep track of these days.
Thanks to mobile phones and e-mail, we now have several different means of contacting each of our friends and loved ones - a home, mobile and office phone number, and an e-mail address or two, for each.
So it's a good job that technology is taking care of the task of remembering all the different contact details.
E-mail addresses are also easy to manage, because most modern e-mail software comes with a built-in address book.
Instead of having to remember someone's e-mail address, you only have to remember their name, or a nickname, and type that in the "To" box - your e-mail software will make sure that the message gets sent to the correct address.
When it comes to the web, the closest equivalent to these time-saving technologies is that old favourite, the browser bookmarks list.
Bookmarks (or Favourites, depending which software you use) go back to the earliest days of the web, when people soon realised that trying to remember long unwieldy URLs was not going to be easy.
It was especially useful then, as fewer domain names had been registered and even popular sites like Yahoo were located at addresses like http://akebono.standford.edu/yahoo, instead of the much easier to remember yahoo.com.
Bookmarks lists formed the basis of many early personal websites, where people would put their list of favourite sites online - as much for personal use, so they could access them from anywhere, as to show the world their personal interests.
It was the arrival of much more effective search engines like Google (www.google.com) and Teoma (www.teoma.com) that led some people to consider abandoning bookmarks altogether - one web consultant, John Rhodes, says he has ditched his bookmarks and uses Google to find everything now.
Others have turned to using the own web pages or weblogs as a place for storing URLs they might want to return to. If they use more than one computer (at work and at home, for instance), this is a much more practical way of managing a list of sites.
Another alternative is online bookmark-storing services like Backflip, Hotlinks and Yahoo! Bookmarks.
So internet users with sieve-like memories can be assured that there are always options to help them remember their way around the net.
Any good tips for remembering e-mail addresses, websites, or phone numbers? Or have you come across any particularly useful software to help you?
Every Monday Dot.life looks at how technology has changed our lives, and more importantly how we would like to change our lives. Let us know your views, using the form below.
Your comments so far:
There are several different types of poor memory - I have a phenomenal memory for most dates, times and places, but I'm totally absent-minded - cups of tea go cold, I walk into rooms and forget why I have gone in there in the first place - technology doesn't help at all with this - I just had to develop a relaxed attitude to drinking cold tea, and not worry about standing gormlessly in a room wondering what I'm doing there.
Handy one for IE users and .com URLs.
Instead of typing in www.awebsite.com just type in awebsite and then with the Ctrl key pressed hit enter. IE then adds the www before and the com after. Only works with .com URLs.
I split telephone numbers into pairs. Then I use Bingo Callers mnemonics, so the number 225716 would be (two little)Ducks-Heinz(varieties)-Sweet(sixteen).
01 - Kelly ('s eye)
If you find it difficult to remember where your bookmarks are and what they are for, consider starting a little list in Word or similar - not only can you even write as much or little as you like to jog your memory, most word processing programs such as Word etc will automatically create a clickable link in the document by recognising "http://" or "www" as they are typed in. Don't want to select from Word (or equivalent)? Just save the document in your "favourites" folder... piece of duff, no?
I have forgotten why I am filling this in
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