Pearls before swine

I've been playing with a new browser-based graphical system for viewing web content called Pearltrees, which describes itself as 'a social curation tool. It lets you organise, discover and share the stuff you like on the web.'

Of course, in IT there are always new things popping up to try and free us from existing systems and ways of doing things. Just as Microsoft Kinect is aiming to free us from controllers and voice recognition wants to free us from the curse of relaxing quiet offices.

I recently saw lots of stuff about the how the mouse and keyboard will be replaced by gestural interfaces. If all this happens offices will be odd places to gaze into as you walk by. Previously you saw slightly bored or stressed people sat, virtually inert, at desks. Now we’ll see very stressed looking people, flaying their arms around at detectors and shouting their heads off to be heard above the clamour of other voice-enabled administrators.

But I digress.

Pearltrees is pretty easy to use, and can be worked out (almost) intuitively, although I watched a couple of videos anyway as they thoughtfully set you up with this in your first Pearltree. You can also bring in bookmarks from delicious, so after the usual rigmarole of resetting my password I signed in - to remember that I didn't really use delicious, but rather netvibes. Ah well, I'll have to create stuff from scratch.

It would be useful if Pearltrees could take stuff straight from either Explorer or Chrome favourites folders and repurpose them as Pearltrees - but it doesn't look like it does at the moment. It is in beta.

Anyway I have found a quick use for it. Next week I am hosting a video debate on open source security, so I want to do some reading up. I created a Pearltree and added all the articles I could find whilst browsing that look vaguely relevant - so now they are there, a click away on my Chrome book marks toolbar. Looks like that could be very useful, although I should imagine that the aforementioned sites I no longer use probably do something of this sort.

It seems the power of Pearltrees may be that you can browse other people's pearls and Pearltrees and add them to your own – presumably why their blurb uses the term ‘social curation’ - but of course this only gets useful when a lot of people use it. When I tried to find other Pearltrees related to open source security it returned Pearltrees on photo tutorials, new business models, World of Warcraft and 'apple versus the developpers' (spelling the Pearltree-er's own).

So, let's see how it develops. If you want to set up some Pearltrees please try to make it about open source security - not that I’m being selfish of course...

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About the author

Brian is Head of Content at BCS and blogs about the Institute’s role in making IT good for society, historical developments in computing, the implications of CS research and more.

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