How-to: Turn the Chrome Omnibox into a Feeling Lucky Box

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“I’m Feeling Lucky” is one of the most underused Google Search services in existence. For those who don’t know, I’m Feeling Lucky simply redirects you to the first search result for whatever you enter. For example, if you go to google.com, type in Good Morning Geek, and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” it will bring you straight to goodmorninggeek.com. If you type in “Llamas Wikipedia” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” it will bring you straight to the wikipedia page for Llamas. This is convenient because it usually gets you where you want to go without the need to have the search page middleman.

In Google Chrome, the top bar serves as a URL bar and a search bar – referred to as the “OmniBox.” Typically, you can enter any google search into that bar and it will take you to the search page. Here’s how to turn it into an “I’m Feeling Lucky” box, so that if you type Good Morning Geek into the bar, it will take you straight to GMG!

1. Go into Chrome’s Preferences and click “Manage Search Engines.”

2. Scroll to the bottom and click “Add New.” In the first field, type “lucky”, in the second field type “lucky”, and in the third field copy and paste (without the quotes) “http://www.google.com/search?q=%s&btnI”, then hit okay.

3. Open “Manage Search Engines…” again and find the lucky search engine that you just made. Hover over it and click the box on the right that says “Make default.”

4. Hit Ok at the bottom, and enjoy! Try it out: type “ostrich wikipedia” in the search bar and hit enter, and marvel at how it magically redirects you!

If there isn’t a result with enough in common to be sure, Google will just redirect you to the search page.

If you want to do just a normal google search, just type in “google” then press tab, and enter your search.

Enjoy!

Goodbye, Old Twitter

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Image Credit: Mashable

A little while back, Twitter started to slowly roll out a new version of the Twitter web interface to their users. Reactions were mixed; some loved it, some hated it, and some really just didn’t care.

For the haters out there, there was an option to switch back to the old version. However, Twitter is going to be removing the old version of the twitter web interface over the course of the next week – not that many users will notice the change, as the majority of twitter users have already switched over.

Personally, I am indifferent to the new Twitter web interface; it’s pretty and all, has some cool effects, and nicer fonts and rounder edges. The previous Twitter interface was simply getting old, and I believed it needed a revamp – which is exactly what we got.

Users of “old Twitter” will get a message saying that they are soon going to automatically upgraded to the new version of twitter, and twitter also announced this publicly on their twitter page. It was bound to happen eventually, and I guess the day (or week) has arrived.

Opera 11

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Opera features a clean, blended interface

Opera has always been a web browser that kind of lagged behind everyone else. Although it had some interesting features, the speed, interface, and stability put it pretty low on the list (next to internet explorer).

But with Opera 11, this web browser brings some nifty new stuff to the table.

The biggest thing that is new in opera would be tab stacking. With tab stacking, you can

A tab stack with twitter and facebook

drag one tab over another and it will create a “stack.” Then, when you hover over it with your mouse, the page previews of all of the tabs in that stack show up.

I see why this could be useful, as this officially eliminates the need for multiple browser windows. I can have a tab stack for my google docs, a tab stack for my website editing, and a tab stack for all of my email.

In benchmarking tests, Opera rated second slowest next to firefox. So you can’t go for this browser for speed. Also, Opera boasts its “Opera Turbo” addition, which supposedly compresses the webpage on opera’s servers then send the compressed version to the computer. However, with this turned on, nothing ever loads at all. With opera 9, I couldn’t get the browser to load anything even with it turned off. So at least in Opera 11 with Turbo turned off, things load… usually. Sometimes things just plain don’t show up. After a plethora of refreshing, stopping, and re-entering the URL, you can usually get things to load. Note: This only happens once in a while, but can still be annoying.

There are a couple other nifty features I would also like to note. When you save a

Expanded thumbnail view of your tabs

password in the password manager, whenever you go onto that same site just press command-enter and it will fill the login and hit return, all so you don’t have to. This makes the whole logging in thing a bit less tedious. Accidentally hit that X on your tab? No problem, just hit the little closed tab button in the top right and your recently closed tabs will be shown so you can get back to it. And one last tiny little nifty feature: you can expand the tab bar so in addition to showing the page title it also shows a thumbnail view of the page.

Opera 11 is available both for Mac and PC, each fitting in with it’s appropriate interface. Links below.

Opera 11 for Desktops

Alfred

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A wonderful little app with the worst name they could come up with.

Alfred is a Spotlight Alternative. It is similar to quicksilver, but is quite a bit simpler.

Basically, it is a plain text box that opens on a key command. you can type to search through your hard drive, but if there are no files then you can choose to search through google, wikipedia, or even amazon.

In addition to searching your hard drive alfred can search numerous things.

For example, you can type “lucky doorknob” an it will open the first google result for a search of doorknob.

You can also do things like type in a URL and it will open in your web browser. In the screenshots is a list of some of the functions included with the app. You can also create your own which comes in handy if your favorite search engine doesn’t come with Alfred by default.

Now although those functions are useful, it prevails over spotlight mostly because if it’s speed. Everything happens faster for some reason, but let me just say, I like it.

Alfred is free and highly customizable when it comes to interface. Download it from alfredapp.com.

Screenshots:

RockMelt

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RockMelt is an attempt at making a new browser.

Unfortunately, I am not very happy with the results.

The big thing with this is social integration. There are two sidebars on each side. One shows online facebook friends that you can chat with and the other has buttons that pop up a small feed of facebook, twitter, or any other RSS feed.

This would be great, however I find it bordering a little bit from web to desktop. I feel that when I want to have a desktop social app, I get a desktop social app. When I want a web browser, I get a web browser. And often, social (facebook in particular) tends to be online. That’s fine with me. But it seems like putting a wordpress editor inside of a web browser (which is why I don’t like Flock). It’s nice how you can chat with your friends out of the blue without having facebook open but this tends to be quite a distraction seeing who’s online and everything without even clicking a button.

Other than that, RockMelt seems like a complete rip on chrome. It was built on chromium which explains why, but I feel like they don’t need 30 employees to implement a few APIs.

Indeed, rockmelt is painfully slow. If your cache is empty, Good Morning Geek takes about 15 seconds to load the background.

Unfortunately, I give this browser a 2 out of five. It has a great execution, but I feel like the idea behind it is a little bit out of place.

RockMelt is only available in private beta (you need an invite), so unfortunately you can’t try it out. However look at the gallery for some screenshots.

OmniWeb

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I’m sorry. I really am. This is, indeed, yet another web browser.

I was recently at a technology summer camp (I’m taking a class about photoshop) and the same instructor that ended up switching me over to macs kept telling me about how mazing omniweb was. I wasn’t convinced until I finally decided to download it.

The first thing you notice is speed. I know that people call chrome fast, and, well, it is. But from tests on Good Morning Geek, it seems as though graphics render either faster or from top to bottom. I’m pretty sure omniweb prioritizes the top of the page for rendering, as the header seems to appear almost instantly, followed by widgets in the sidebar. In chrome, it takes a couple of seconds for the header to appear.

Other than that the big thing is tabbed browsing. So lets say I have a lot of tabs open in Safari. I mean a LOT. In the menubar it shows the tabs as txt, the name of the webpage. But when it gets crowded things get a little harder to make out.

(click to expand) As you can tell, it’s kind of hard to tell which news article that CNN page is about. What if I have ten CNN tabs open but all I see at the top is CNN:…

OmniWeb takes a new approach. Thumbnails.

I don’t even need to figure out what the text is trying to refer to, I can just take a glance at the tabs and click the one I want to look at. And even if I have 20 tabs open, the thumbnails don’t get smaller because you can scroll through all of your thumbnails.

Another cool thing is the ability to load tabs in the background. I know this isn’t new to the field of browsers but I find that the system it uses to tell you that a tab in the background is loading (and when it is finished loading) very unique.

When a tab is loading it is greyed out and has a spinny thing in the top right.

When a tab in the background has finished loading, OmniWeb does a nice job of letting you know.

If you open the tab the check mark wil go away.

Other than that there is one more key feature to this: site-specific browsing options.

On any website you can click a button in the top right and select your options for ads, appearance, security– let’s just show a screenshot.

The button to toggle the pane is shown in the top right.

As you can see there is also a page info pane where it shows you all of the images, scripts, stylesheets, and frames on a webpage. Here’s a gallery with pictures of each and every pane, plus all of the other screenshots from this post:

OmniWeb Homepage

OmniWeb Download Page

Safari 5

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While Steve Jobs took the stage to announce the new iPhone, something else was happening on the apple website. It wasn’t on the front page, nobody had any idea whatsoever. Except for my friend Spencer Schoeben (CEO of Teens In Tech Networks, he ROCKS!) who tweeted that he was stickin to Safari 5 for now. I looked at is and said to myself “Wait a second… safari 5?” And here’s what’s new:

Speed

In many tests, it beat Chrome or was equivalent for speed. This is one of the main reasons to switch!

HTML5 Compatability

The new safari has a lot more support for HTML5, still expanding Apple’s belief in no flash. Of course Safari still has flash, because if it didn’t we would have… well… a small issue. And a mob in front of Apple headquarters…

Safari Reader

Safari Reader makes it easier to read posts and stories on the web. It isolates the content of a page and displays it in a clean, maginifiable interface. Just go to an article and click Reader in the URL bar.

A little more eyecandy

The Top Sites page got a facelift, and now features an easy link to get to your history in cover flow view. Also, there’s that blue loading bar in the top again, just like good ‘ol safari 3.

Improved URL bar

You can now enter the name of a webpage you’ve visited in the past and it will automatically find the URL from your history. Cool, but I still like the omnibar approach of Google Chrome.

Extensions

Exact same as Google Extensions. Developers can create toolbars and other goodies to work with Safari, just like chrome extensions. Cool, but a little behind, don’t you think?

Other than that, safari is the same browser you used to know.

Safari 5 Homepage

Safari 5 Download Page

Google Chrome

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As many PC users know, Google Chrome is by far the fastest most stable most simple and most versatile web browser in existence. It’s lean and makes sense. But many Mac users are stuck with Firefox, which is bulky. And even worse some PC users still use internet explorer: The bulkiest, fattest, slowest, most insecure, and overall worst web browser.

So all of those Mac users wanted Google Chrome. And right then what did they get? They got a buggy, unstable, feature barren dev-release alpha of the web browser. I had it, an I was not happy. No flash! Back to firefox I went.

The Google Chrome omepage always had a sign-up button for the developer emails, but no browser.

UNTIL NOW!

On 11/8/2009 Google released the official beta of Google Chrome for Mac.

And it’s everything you expected.

Speed

Google Chrome got its reputation for speed. It’s fast, fast, and literally seems to suck down all of the information and coding and stick it right in front of you in the form of a web page.

I decided to test the speed of it against the other most popular web browsers.Here’s a countdown from slowest to fastest.

Safari: Believe it or not, but Safari was the slowest of them all. It took a painstaking 11.488 seconds to load Good Morning Geek! [Yawn in anticipation of the page loading]

Internet Explorer: Yes, Safari was slower than internet explorer. Internet explorer was able to get the text fast, but not the images. It took a total of 9.62 seconds to load Good Morning Geek. [Yawn in anticipation for the page to load]

Firefox: Just as predicted, Firefox came in second place for the web browser race. It took Firefox 5.607 seconds to load Good Morning Geek. [Small Yawn]

Google Chrome: is the winner (after all that was the whole point of the testing)! It got a remarkable 2.49 seconds to load Good Morning geek with images and all. Google chrome is FAST…


Stability

Yup, it’s stable. This is because Google Chrome has a new process for each tab. If one tab crashes, that oe process crasher, and the rest of the processes (tabs) are left intact.

I tested this using the Activity Monitor and just deleted one of the processes called Google Chrome Helper; the title for the process of each tab.

An the result I got was the tab looking like this:

Crashed Tab

But the other tab:

The other tab survives!

Yet, there is in fact a downside to this. It sucks up all of your CPU! But the results always vary.

I’m writing this post in Google Chrome. I have the post edit open in one tab, and Pandora [link] in the other. I am using very little CPU, but at points depending on what you’re doing it can max out a 2 core intel processor.

But yesterday when I was doing the same thing but had another tab open, my CPU was in fact maxed out.

Google chrome is fast and stable but because of its stabilization techniques it tends to take up memory and CPU.

Features

These features work on PC Mac and Linux, so first download the app (bottom of the page) and try them yourself.

  • Rearrange tabs by clicking and dragging them.
  • Make a new window from a tab br dragging the tab out of the window.
  • Drag a tab back into a different window by dragging it from one window and dropping it in the desired window.
  • In the OmniBar type in the name of a search engine like google.com or ask.com and press tab. What you then type will be searched by the search engine without loading the search engine’s homepage.

And many more!

So go get your copy of the fastest cleanest and stablest browser ever!

Google’s write-up and videos of Chrome’s Features

Mac

PC

Linux

GO SAFARI!

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Well, I take back my fact about flock being the best! Well lookie here, Safari 4 beta is here! I have no idea how long I have been missing this, but I found out about it last night on the awesome blog Life Hacker. The new Safari is free, and works on PC and mac (unlike google chrome). Here are some new features and screenshots:

Top sites page
New Tabs
And the capability of importing from the previous install of Safari.
I mean, this browser is just plain awesome! It is also very quick, and has a wicked post-install video.
GO GET IT!

Flock

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I think some people may be wondering, what is my favorite freeware web browser? Well, after searching all over the internet and downloading almost every known web browser for Macs and PCs (don’t worry PC owners, all of the web browsers that were only for Mac were horrible).

What I want from a web browser (in priority order)
5. Ease of use
4. Social networking compatibility
3. Overall compatibility
2. Speed
1. Easy to use interface.

The story- when I had a PC, I was too very interested in trying out new software, particularly web browsers. Internet was my thing (and it still is). I had used Firefox, but before that I tried a web browser called Flock, which I had enjoyed.
Recently, I was trying Firefox to see if I liked it as the best. and I thought I liked it as the best. But while the Firefox post to my blog was stil in draft form, I remembered about Flock. And I finslly rediscovered it and I named it the best. It had everything I ad listed up there as for expectations. Especially speed. Once it finds the server, it can just suck it right out of there, a little under the speed of light (literally).
Also, it is really easy to use. But its biggest part is connecting with social networks. You can connect to blogs, photo sharing services, youtube, and almost everything else in existence. If you connect to a blog service, you can blog straight from flocks blogging interface, which still works while offlne, where you can save as a draft for publishing and editing later on. In fact, I am using the Flock blogging application to create this post.

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