BrowseBack Impresses

So I've been playing with BrowseBack lately, and I'm pretty impressed. It's a Macintosh product that keeps a running watch on what web pages you visit (you can exclude pages like webmail, your online banking sites, etc.) in a permanent archive on your computer. (You can set it to take up as much or little space as you want.) It's searchable (easily) and you can view pages from your archive, print them, or create a PDF instantly.

The UI is great and very easy to navigate. It's a young program and it's got some issues (for some reason ads on pages often show up as separate pages and it doesn't handle PDF files or other download links well) but it still seems like a winner. It gives the promise of never bookmarking again -- just search your archived web history. I haven't purchased a copy yet, but I'm evaluating it -- and will likely decide to purchase a full version. I'll keep you posted.

About the biggest problem I have with it is that it doesn't support getting history from NetNewsWire -- which is where I spend most of my web time. Still, it's a minor peeve -- pre-BrowseBack, I had to open pages I wanted to save in Firefox to bookmark them -- so opening them in Firefox so BrowseBack will capture them doesn't seem a huge problem. I've e-mailed them about NetNewsWire support, and they've added it to the list -- we'll see how long it takes to get it in there.

Props to Rob for the heads-up on BrowseBack.

UPDATE: (May 22, 2006) I had two full-on system freezes (no kernel panic, no error messages, just unresponsiveness in all apps) since installing BrowseBack. I did a 36-hour loop of Apple Hardware Test on my system, and it found no problems. (Of course, that doesn't prove ANYTHING -- but it tends to indicate my system hardware is OK.) Since stopping BrowseBack from autoloading at boot, I haven't had a crash. I'll keep testing, and perhaps re-enable BrowseBack to see if the crashes come back, but I'm considerably less enthused about Browseback at this point.

UPDATE: (May 23, 2006) BrowseBack support responded:

Many thanks for forwarding your logs.

The browseback crash log appears to be within rebuilding the database, which would point either to a corrupt database file, or possibly a case within the browseback documents that browseback is not expecting on database rebuild.

Please try the following: open the browseback folder that is located in your Documents folder, and trash these two files:


Relaunch browseback. Then, select Rebuild Database from the File menu. Does it fare better at all, or still crash?

We'll see if it makes a difference. I have BrowseBack set to launch at startup again.

FINAL UPDATE: Just too unstable. I like the IDEA of BrowseBack -- but it just crashes my system too much, which is obviously unacceptable. I'm using Yojimbo now, which does not automatically capture pages -- I have to click a bookmarklet to bring things into Yojimbo. That's an extra step, but probably reduces the signal-to-noise ratio in my archive. And it doesn't crash my system.