The Best of Both Worlds

Sometimes, I feel like the technological world has passed me by.  I had that feeling this weekend when I stumbled onto something that I’m sure that everyone else but me knows.

Two things form the basis for this post.

  • I really like the Omnibar in the Google Chrome browser.  It lets me type URLs and search in the same box;
  • I’ve been a real advocate for changing the default search engine to Diigo instead of Google or Bing or Yahoo! or whatever so that results come from curated results instead of the crapshoot that blindly searching can provide.

So, I was playing around with Firefox 5 Beta Channel (although I read that there’s a Firefox 6 Alpha out…) and forgot that I was in Firefox for a second.  I thought I was in Chrome and typed in a search term.  Guess what?  I got Google search results.  I sort of stared at the screen for a second and shook my head.  I tried it again.  Son of a gun, it worked again.

I then thought – this is very cool.  Even when I switch my default search engine to Diigo, there are times when I really need to use Google to do a search.  Similarly, if I switch the default to Google, I’m back to wading through results until I get what I want.  Firefox, as you know, has a search window – why don’t I use that for Diigo searches and the Awesome Bar for searching my history and searching using Google?


The Awesome Bar gives me this…

And, Diigo gives me this …

Wow!  It just depends on whether I type the term into the Awesome Bar or the Search Window to choose the search engine that I want.So, I thought – what a great addition to Firefox 5.  Now, one of the nice things about Firefox 5 is that it can exist alongside Firefox 4.  So, I tried the above on Firefox 4, and sure enough, it worked there as well.  Now, I’m feeling like a dummy.  This functionality has been there all along!  How can this be?  Do I ever feel silly.  Last to the party again.
But, now that I’ve learned that, I’m thinking of the opportunities to being a more efficient searcher.

OTR Links for 05/31/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

A New Browser for iPad

It’s no surprise that I have elected to use Google Chrome as my browser of choice.  It runs on Windows, Linux, and Macintosh and is the fastest browser without comparison.

So, it was with great interest that I read this announcement from the Diigo website:

Like Chrome? Have an iPad? Check out “iChromy” by Diigo »

I couldn’t wait and downloaded it to my iPad immediately.  And, I really like what I see.

It’s fast, Chrome fast.  The browsers that I’ve experimented with on the iPad can’t make that claim.  It’s got tabbed browsing that looks like the tabs in Chrome although you can’t shuffle them or pin them.  However, for a first release, it is pretty impressive.

It has an Omnibox just like Google Chrome so you have type a URL or do a search in the same place.  That really is sweet.  The browse also features a Reading List which saves webpages for reading when you’re not connected.  Just click on the glasses icon and the current page is tucked away for you.

The Share menu lets you tie a number of your frequently used services right into the browser.  It only took a couple of minutes to get the resources that I use frequently – Twitter, Facebook, Diigo, and Email configured and I was off.  As you’ll see below, it identifies itself as Safari for the iPad and that gives you the special theme for WordPress blogs.

But, the sweetest feature of all comes as no surprise when you decide to bookmark a website to Diigo.  If you’re using another browser, you’ll have had to go through the process of installing the special bookmark.  Not here.  It comes as no surprise that a browser developed by Diigo has the best Diigo integration.  It’s there and it’s great.  Without all of the other features, if you’re a Diigo user, you’ll want to check this out for that feature alone.

As I noted, it’s the first release.  There are lots of features in other browsers that aren’t available in iChromy.  Dropbox integration comes immediately to mind.  Perhaps that will come in future but I hope that the developers keep it light enough that it remains fast and doesn’t crash because of memory problems.  Right out of the box, it really feels right for me and I’ve made it my browser of choice until I hit the wall with it.  I don’t see that happening anytime soon though.

I can see this as the perfect browser for schools that are experimenting with iPads in the classroom.  Diigo, and its educational features are perfect as your browser.

You can read the full list of features in the Diigo blog.

OTR Links for 05/30/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Twitter Like I Do…

Or, probably more likely, someone interesting like Justin Bieber or someone.

With the new changes to the Twitter web interface, it’s easy to do.  Of course, you could always delete all of your own people you follow and then add all that I do but this is easier and quicker!

Just log into your account and go to my profile.

Click on the following tab and select “View as timeline”.  At that point, you’ll see exactly what I would see if I was logged into Twitter using the web interface.  In this case, if you were to do this to me, you’d see …

… this is what you would see if you were logged in as me.  Nothing is revealed; Twitter messages are public and certainly the list of users that I follow is public as well.  But, notice the green.  If I happen to be following someone interesting who catches your eye, you have the opportunity to add that person to your own list of folks you follow.  The webbing gets more sophisticated.

What this should do is make it easier for new people to check out others accounts and build their own collection of interesting people.

The actual URL that does the trick is:!/dougpete/following  An even quicker way to get this to work is to replace the “dougpete” with the Twitter user of your choice.

While you’re doing this sort of thing, take a look at the top right corner.  Twitter has given you the ability, with a single click, to do the same thing for any random person that you’re following.  Interesting, but I did lose interest in it quickly.

At first, it seemed kind of creepy to be able to do this.  But, then I thought it through and the information is all publically available anyway.  Perhaps by looking at how your Twitter heroes work, you’ll become that much smarter yourself?

My first reaction is that I probably won’t use this feature.  But, then again, I said the same thing about the Priority Inbox with Gmail.  I found a use for it and my email is configured to take advantage of it.  I guess I just need to find a reason.

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OTR Links for 05/29/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

I Hate Spam

Every time I open my mailbox, there’s evidence that the spammer / phishers are at work.  Even though I cleaned out my Gmail spam box this afternoon, there were 66 more that had be trapped and waiting for me this evening.  As per usual, I skim to see if anything got caught by accident and then select all before deleting them forever.  It’s a ritual that I think most of us do regularly.  Left along, Google will eventually blow them away but I like to look as there are periodically good messages that incorrectly get flagged as spam.  Repeat the process for all of the other accounts that I use and it starts to add up.

While I do have some scripts written for some of the email accounts that I use, I don’t for others as the history feature of the original mail can be helpful at times.


But, that’s not the only place that spam shows up.  Periodically, you see it in Twitter where there isn’t really any maintenance to be done – just ignore it or report the spammer and then ignore it.

It’s not just email that attracts spammers these days.  It’s your blog – heck according to the statistics, Akismet has caught 57,864 spam messages to my blog.  I used to keep my PD wiki wide open until it attracted defacers and have since tightened it up.  It’s a never ending battle.  I have discussions with people new to the electronic world all the time and they just don’t understand the scope of what’s happening.  It can be difficult to explain but I found an awesome infographic that I’ve tucked away and use at the appropriate teaching moment.  It’s called “The Evolution of Spam – An Email Marketing Infographic” and was shared on the Marketo blog.  Click the link to see it full sized.  I’ll share it below.  If you have to explain spam to students or friends, you might find it helpful.

Then, all that you have to do is explain Monty Python to the kids…