Beeminding Browser Tabs?

Hi folks!

Just gauging interest here… what would folks think about a browser extension that beeminded your browser tabs?

My favorite thing to beemind would be “age of oldest non-pinned tab”. If I have a tab that’s been sitting around forever, it should live somewhere else, be read, or be closed… I know not everyone is like that, but if I keep a tab around forever, it’s probably because I’m procrastinating making a decision on it–like any other inbox of mine!


I prefer using OneTab or Tab Shepherd for tab management, so this wouldn’t be for me.

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I beemind my browser tabs. I’ve got a “whittle down” goal with a rate of -2 per day. That is to say, I need to end each day with two less browser tabs open than the previous day. I can open as many as I like, so long as by the end of the day I’ve closed at least two more than I opened.

I made this goal after reaching about 1500 open browser tabs, and realizing that something needed to be done. Over the best part of a year I got it down to around 500 open tabs (doing actually significantly better than the daily rate of -2 that I set myself), then I archived the Beeminder goal and the number shot back up again. Around when it reached 1500 for the second time I restarted the goal, and I’m currently down to 1029 (as of writing this.)

Admittedly, I’m sure that this is way more tabs than most people have open. But Firefox is pretty amazing at running even with a huge number of tabs open, and I use Tree Style Tabs which means that all these tabs are not lost in the depth of my browser bar, but actually accessible.

Not only are they accessible, I actually do access them. I just needed that nudge from Beeminder: “That thing you said you wanted to read later: go read it.” It’s pretty great: honestly, most of the things I say to myself I’ll come back to later actually are pretty interesting, and I’m glad something forces me to actually come back to them.

I don’t use a browser extension to count my tabs. Instead, I’ve got a little shell script that parses the JSON that Firefox stores in it’s profile directory (for session recovery purposes) which has the data I need about which tabs are open. I’ve also set up a keybinding set up in Gnome that uses notify-send to notify me how many tabs I’ve got open currently, so at a keypress I can know exactly where I’m up to.

In theory I could set up a cron job to report this number to Beeminder every day; but in practice I personally somewhat like the accountability of entering data by hand. I’ve never really been so enthusiastic about autodata: part of the point of Beeminder is to make salient where you’re currently at and what you need to do in order to meet your goals. Autodata feels like it takes away half of that. But that’s a different topic.


Everything about this is amazing. Good work!

Potentially not what you’re looking for but I have to plug whenever people talk about having too many tabs.


Oh man, I would love this! I also use Tree Style tabs and rarely have less than 100 tabs open on my computer and another 100 on my phone (usually much more).

I made a greasemonkey script for keeping track of the number of websites visited, but I would love something for tabs!

I’ve had great success with “whittle down” goals on this kind of problem, though for me it was unactioned emails (not replied to/not entered into calendar/…). Any reason you’re using “do less” instead of “whittle down”?

Any reason you’re using “whittle down” instead of “do less”? :stuck_out_tongue:

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In my mind, it’s a more accurate representation of the thing I am trying to beemind. (If you know FRP, “whittle down” feels like it tracks a Behavior but “do less” feels like it tracks firings of an Event.)

To enter data for “whittle down”, I would have to count tabs and enter the total. To enter data for “do less”, I would have to count tabs, remember yesterday’s count, compute the delta, and enter that.

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I don’t know FRP but it sounds really interesting - how does it work?

I don’t want to drag this thread OT, but that is a big question about something that I don’t have my head around well enough to teach, yet. The big name you want to search for is Conal Elliott, who has written a bunch of papers as well as posts on StackOverflow. This paper might give you a flavour:

The FRP library I am most recently trying to get my head around is called reflex and its website is at .

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Sorry, my mistake. I actually meant “whittle down”, not “do less”. Actually, it’s really a “custom” goal, with the “integery” setting enabled (because I’m always going to have a whole number of tabs open.) But other than that one tweak the goal settings are like those for a “whittle down” goal.

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One thing I like to do is use an extension to copy all open tabs into an Excel sheet and then close them all. That way I know they’re all there if I need them and I don’t panic about closing them. And in practice I never actually go back to them, but it helps me close them to know that they’re all saved.

If I didn’t have Beeminder, I’d probably have to do this too. I’m incredibly glad that I have this powerful tool for making me actually do the things I plan to do. As I mentioned before, I found that the things I put aside as “I’ll read it later” actually are quite interesting and worth reading, when I finally return to them (when Beeminder forces me to). It would be a great shame to miss that by saving them and never actually going back to them.

Luckily, this is exactly what Beeminder is best at: taking the things that you intend to do “someday” and establishing when that day is to be.

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So how/when do you enter the number of tabs each day? Is there a specific time?

As part of my end-of-day routine I enter data into a few Beeminder goals, including this one.

I do it this way because I like having and end-of-day routine where I reflect on my achievements each day (and goals for the next), and this (and other Beeminder goals I enter data for at the same time) fits in well with that. If I wasn’t doing this end-of-day routine I’d probably set up a cron job instead of entering the data manually.

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But how do you know what time to choose? Like it would be easy to “cheat” by just choosing the time when you had the least number of tabs open.

If I open or close tabs after adding the day’s datapoint I go and update the datapoint to match. Yes, this is a bit annoying to do, but that’s a good thing: it adds that bit of trivial inconvenience to continuing browsing the internet when I really should be going to sleep.

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So it’s the number of tabs open when you go to sleep? What about nights where you don’t go to sleep till the next morning/afternoon?

That’s something I very much try to avoid. But when it does happen it’s not particularly complicated: my Beeminder deadline is 3am, so I need to enter the data by 3am. I suppose that means that the number of tabs I report is the number I have open right before 3am. (Then if I open more tabs after that those are part of the next day’s opened tabs.)

Again, it’s quite rare for this to happen. The only times I can think of when it has happened in recent memory is when I’ve taken an overnight plane flight, in which case I’ve added my Beeminder datapoints before boarding.

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