Tag Archives: Safari

How to navigate the web with your keyboard and gleeBox

I love keyboard shortcuts. I find using a mouse, menus and clicking to be an incredibly inefficient way of doing things. I spent a lot of time in college working with Adobe programs and using three and four character keyboard shortcuts to get things done faster. So when I found gleeBox and the amount of time-saving shorthand it had to offer. I was pretty excited.

GleeBox is a browser add-on available for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Once installed, pushing the G key will bring up the dialogue box. From here you can input a variety of commands as simple as opening a search page in a new window, to sharing whatever page you happen to be viewing with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail with the input of a simple command.

Pushing the period key will show a list of open tabs.

Pushing the Period (.) key will bring up a list of the current tabs you have open in your browsers. From there you can use your arrow keys to select the tab you want.

!share fb automatically shares your current page on your Facebook profile

There are also functions such as :wp and :tube that will allow you to search for a term on Wikipedia and YouTube respectively.

The amount of options available are endless due the ability to customize actions. This allows you to tailor gleeBox to do things that you typically do while browsing. I like to share websites with my friends on Facebook and the ability to share a link without having open up a different page and copy and paste the URL is really pretty cool for me. I am not much of a Twitter person, but the command that will automatically share whatever page you are on with a shortened URL would also seem to be pretty handy.

All in all gleeBox is a pretty cool and useful app. The amount of default commands available, and the ability to customize, means the sky is the limit.

Finally, here’s a link to a list of default commands: http://thegleebox.com/manual.html

Write Blog Posts From Inside Your Browser with ScribeFire

blogThat seems kind of obvious, doesn’t it? Blogging from insider your browser, I mean. That’s how most people do it — go to whatever blogging site they use, log in, and start typing.

But that’s not necessarily the best way. And it’s not the most convenient, either, especially if you have more than one blog. So, what is the best way? That depends on your needs. But a good choice is a browser extension called ScribeFire.

Let’s take a look at ScribeFire and what it can do.

A little about ScribeFire

ScribeFire ScribeFire is an extension for Google Chrome (it also works with Chromium, Chrome’s Open Source cousin), Safari, Firefox, and Opera. It adds a WYSIWYG blog editor to your browser that supports posting to most blogging platforms, including WordPress, Blogger, Movable Type, Posterous, and Tumblr.

Instead of logging into each blog, you can just pop open a ScribeFire window, type a post, and then publish that post with a couple of clicks. You can also save drafts on your computer to post later.

Now that all the background information is out of the way, let’s walk through how to work with ScribeFire.

Getting set up

The first thing that you’ll want to do is install ScribeFire. Just follow one of these links:

Once ScribeFire is installed, click the toolbar icon to open it. Then, click Add a New Blog. In the window that opens, enter the URL to your blog, select the type of blog it is from the Blog Type dropdown list, and enter your user name and password. After that, click Finish.

Adding a blog

Now you’re ready to go.

Writing posts

You’ve set up your blog or blogs. You probably want to start posting. To do that, select the blog for which you want to write the post from the BLOG list in the top-left corner. If you’ve only got one blog, then it’s already selected. Then, click Start a New Post. The WYSIWYG editor opens. Just start typing.

Editing a post

You can add various types of formatting to your post, like bold and italic text, indents, or highlighting. You can also add links, images, and YouTube videos as well as lists. You can’t add tables or actual headings in WYSIWYG mode, though.

But if you know some basic HTML, you can add a bit more formatting. Just click Switch to HTML Mode. In the HTML editor, add HTML tags (including the ones for headings and tables).

You can also add tags to your post by typing them in the TAGS field on the left of the ScribeFire window. You don’t need to do that, but it can help the folks who read your blog find posts on a specific topic faster.

Editing HTML

Once you’re done, click Publish to send the post to your blog. Or click Save Progress if you’re offline or still have some work to do later. ScribeFire saves your work to your hard drive and opens the unfinished/unpublished post the next time you start it up.

Moving your data between computers

If you’re using ScribeFire on more than one computer — say, your desktop and a laptop — and you have several blogs, it’s a lot of work to re-enter the information for each blog. Instead, you can back up your data. Click Transfer your ScribeFire data to/from another computer.

Transfer data

Then, do one of the following:

  • Click Export. A new browser tab containing some information opens. Copy and past that information into a text editor, then save it to your hard drive or something like your Dropbox account.
  • Click Choose File. Find the file that you saved, and then click Open. You’ll be prompted to close and then reopen ScribeFire.

ScribeFire is an easy-to-use and flexible tool for blogging. While it’s not a fully-featured as tools like BlogJet, ecto, or MarsEdit, ScribeFire is more than capable of handling most of your blogging needs. And you can’t beat the price.

Photo credit: svilen001

How to Prevent Facebook and Google from Tracking You Online

These days it’s impossible to casually surf the web and avoid sites that use tools from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others that make the experience more social and immersive.  Still, with privacy issues at the forefront of technology news, it is worth noting that many of these social media tools make your e-life more convenient at a price – they track your behavior.

In most cases, this isn’t at bad as it sounds. Google tracks your search and browsing history with cookies to deliver more relevant advertisements to your favorite pages. Facebook performs similar tracking of your social behavior to gain a better sense of your browsing habits as it builds tools for its users.

The troublesome part of third-party tracking of your daily surfing is that there are many things companies can do with this information that isn’t so beneficial to its userbase; after all, they needs to make their money somewhere. Imagine a scenario where your personal searches and browsing habits were sold to advertisers or used against you – the possibilities are nearly endless.

Note: For more information on cookies and third-party tracking, refer to this Lifehacker post which does a decent job of explaining some facts and myths.

End Third-Party Data Collection

A former Google engineer, Brian Kennish, developed an open-source browser add-on called Disconnect to avoid such possibilities as he began to learn more and more about cookies, third-party tracking, and Internet privacy while working at the Big G.

Disconnect is available as both Chrome and Safari browser add-ons and unobtrusively stymies third-party tracking scripts from major data gatherers like Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter, and Digg. The function is pretty simple: Disconnect blocks tracker scripts from collecting information from you, such as Facebook ‘Like’ buttons or those pesky auto-login sites, and de-personalizes your searches on Google.

While it’s true that Google has the option to turn off your Search History, it can do what it pleases with your search habits. Disconnect is a good way of staying logged in to your social media accounts without needing to worry that your sudden interest in “red spots on my inner thigh” will come back to haunt you.

The browser add-on is easy to install and shows you with a counter how many scripts were blocked from collecting personal data. It is also easy to disable and re-enable (just click the big icon of your choice) should you decide that you want to re-Tweet, Digg, or ‘Like’ something on your favorite sites.

Seven blocked scripts during a visit to Huffingtonpost.com

I hope that one day the internet will become a place where the big social players such as Google and Facebook won’t be able to collect information about you unless they expressly ask your permission, but until that day comes Disconnect has you covered.

As a side note, Mr. Kennish forfeited his golden ticket job with Google to work on this passion project, so he must be serious about it. He was kind enough to keep this project open-source, so should he be forced to abandon it surely another developer would pick up the slack. With any luck, protection for third-party tracking is here to stay.

Get Great Deals at Amazon.com Anywhere on the Web with Shopping Assistant

Google Chrome & Safari only: I’m a big fan of shopping online at Amazon.com (in fact, I usually check Amazon before even considering getting in the car and driving to a brick-and-mortar store).  If I’m checking out gadgets online at a different website, I almost always end up going back to Amazon to make the purchase because of their competitive prices and great selection.

Shopping Assistant is a new extension from the Ookong team (also responsible for another great extension bearing the same name that lets you track price history on Amazon).  When shopping online on popular shopping sites like eBay, BestBuy, Walmart, Newegg, Buy.com, and Sears, Shopping Assistant will automatically display similar products available at Amazon.com.

For example, if you go to BestBuy.com and search for “Halo Reach”, Shopping Assistant will display a useful list across the bottom of the product listing with all similar items at Amazon.com.

Shopping Assistant displayed below BestBuy.com Item

The best part about Shopping Assistant is that when you hold your mouse over a product in the list, it will show you price history information about that product.  This lets you make better decisions about when to make your purchase (and might even be able to stave off an impulsive purchase if you see the price is much higher than usual!).

Shopping Assitant shows price history.

The Shopping Assistant bar can easily be hidden by clicking the blue arrow in the top right of the Amazon listings, and you can disable the extension for specific websites by clicking the icon in the URL bar and selecting “Off for this site”.

Shopping Assistant controls in the URL bar.

In addition to most popular online retailers, Shopping Assistant can also be used at deal finding websites like Slickdeals.net and FatWallet.com.  Shopping Assistant is a free download for Google Chrome and Safari browsers.

Make sure to check out the rest of our articles about Google Chrome and web browsers for more great tips!

Image credit: Carl Malamud

Time to Upgrade: Google Ending Support for Internet Explorer 6 Soon

Google recently announced that as of March 1st, 2010, they will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 6 in their web applications, starting with Google Docs and Google Sites.  It’s safe to assume that many of their other web applications will soon follow, as they promise that this year will be a “great year for Google Apps”.

If you’re currently using Internet Explorer 6 – no need to worry.  There are many other great browsers available (including updated versions of Internet Explorer) that remain fully supported.  Check out some of my recommendations below before March 1st rolls around to make sure you’re prepared for Google’s new changes.

Mozilla Firefox 3.0+ (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Firefox is a powerful and highly customizable browser that has been a fan among computer enthusiasts for years.  It’s not just for the “we’re better than Microsoft” crowd anymore – Firefox has been highly adopted among all users because of its great add-on support and improved security over Internet Explorer.

If you try out Mozilla Firefox, be sure to check out our coverage of Firefox and Firefox add-ons.

Google Chrome 4.0+ (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Chrome is a relatively new contender to the browser market, but it has already made a sizable impact in a short amount of time.  Boasting incredible speeds and using a content-focused design, Chrome has rapidly gained market share and provides a very modern browsing experience.

Chrome recently added support for extensions (known to Firefox users as add-ons) which has been a draw for users desiring a customized experience.

Check out more articles about Google Chrome.

Safari 3.0+ (Mac, Windows)

Safari is a browser originally designed by Apple for the Mac operating system, and is also available for Windows.  Safari boasts many useful features and offers fast web performance that keeps it on the same playing field as Chrome and Firefox.

Internet Explorer 7.0+ (Windows)

Internet Explorer is one of the most ubiquitous browsers available and also holds the largest share in the browser market.  Available on all Windows-based PCs, Internet Explorer has added many features and security improvements in recent versions.