Tom Nelson DIGITAL CORNER

I make lists for everything. My life is governed by lists. I make lists on my computer, on scratchpads and yellow legal pads. On the morning of April 14, I awoke to a huge yellow note I had made the night before that said "DO TAXES." My list for the day.

Fortunately, since I had all my information together in a file folder, it only took me an hour or so to do both state and federal on my computer. That included e-filing. Would I have forgotten to do my taxes without my list? Probably not. My to-do lists, however, do bring a modicum of order to the chaos created by my too-many-things-to-do lifestyle.

I suspect that many of you are in the same situation — trying to create order out of disarray.

I recently made a momentous discovery that caused me to change my browsers' home pages at home and at work. Each time I fire up Internet Explorer my digital "to-do" list grabs my attention. "online HomeBase" allows me to keep track of both work and home chores in one convenient place — online. When I think of something I need to do, no more scraps of paper — I just add it to a "sheet" in "HomeBase."

"HomeBase" is a simple personal information manager, with easily available help functions to keep you on the right track. "HomeBase" can be as simple to use as you want it to be, however, developer Marc Fest keeps adding features to make it even more useful for people like myself who have embraced it wholeheartedly. I wouldn't use it for reams of information that I want to keep permanently. I have a great database program on my computer to do that. "HomeBase" I use to keep myself organized on a daily basis.

A "sheet" in "HomeBase" is a page, I suppose so named for a sheet of paper. You can create a sheet that has multiple columns or just one column to write your self a note or multiple notes or one list or several. Once you get the idea, those scraps of paper you once used to remind yourself of whatever came to mind start to disappear.

"HomeBase" will do more if you want it to. It can send you an e-mail message so as not to forget an important anniversary or birthday.

You can share specific lists with whomever you wish. A family could share a grocery list, a teacher could share information with students, a journalist could collaborate with colleagues and lovers could share letters. Getting ready for a trip? Start a collaboration list a couple of weeks ahead so everybody can stay on the same page. When the big day comes, you won't have forgotten a detail.

"HomeBase" also has a calendar function to help you keep track of activities that are date specific, like doctor appointments, client meetings or school functions. If you create many sheets, "HomeBase" has a search function to help you find just the right bit of information.

How much does this Internet service cost? It's free, and worth a close look. Spend a half hour learning how to use "HomeBase," and you might find that you have a way to make your life a great deal easier —www.onlinehomebase.com.

If you decide to use "HomeBase," here's a tip. Make sure you log off if you don't want the next user on the computer to have access to your "HomeBase" account should that next user go to the "HomeBase" Web site. That's not so important at home, but should you access the site at a library, your information would be available should you not log off before leaving the computer. At home, I don't log off and that's why when I start Internet Explorer, my to-do list comes right up, which is the way I want it. If you do log off at the library, however, you will be logged off at home or wherever else you use the program.

OK, maybe you don't want to use a computer to get yourself organized. Maybe you never make lists, but want to get started. If you have trouble making lists, KayLee Parker, the owner/operator of "List Organizer," is ready to help. She sells lists, but she also gives away many free premade lists available for the printing. There are lists for groceries, household maintenance, menus, budgeting, personal care, to-do, travel, moving, entertaining, weddings, household setup and many more — www.listorganizer.com.

At the risk of appearing list obsessed, another site worth a look is "OrganizedHome.com." The idea here is to create a "household notebook." Buy yourself a three-ringed binder with plastic sleeves for paper inserts. Print out the handsome notebook cover and spine sheets. Then print out blank forms for groceries, phone numbers, yellow pages, addresses, diet tracking, blood pressure, menus and much more. A clever idea that "OrganizedHome.com" has well executed. And on top of that, it's free. If I wasn't doing my lists on my computer with "HomeBase," this is where I would go — http://organizedhome.com/notebook.

You can get even more tips on organizing your home life at the "OrganizedHome.com" home page — http://organizedhome.com.

Einstein on the Net Albert Einstein's thinking encompassed the universe. But he had a life here on Earth as well — a pretty well-documented life. So well documented that The Einstein Papers Project is working on getting it all down in 25 volumes, eight of which are complete.

If you are interested in this giant of modern civilization, you can view hundreds of his scientific papers, personal letters and humanist essays at www.alberteinstein.info. The papers became available last week.

The Web site is run by the Einstein Papers Project at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Web site also offers Einstein travel diaries and 3,000 digitized images.

Einstein died in 1955 at the age of 76. He left the original documents to the Hebrew University in his will.

The materials are primarily in English and German. If you are a linguist, some of the materials are in French, Italian, Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew and other languages.

The site is not particularly user friendly, but interesting nonetheless.

The California Institute of Technology Web site is located at www.einstein.caltech.edu.

Questions or comments are welcome. E-mail messages included in this column are edited for brevity and clarity. You can e-mail Tom Nelson at tnelson@billingsgazette.com. Fax him at (406) 657-1208.