Thursday, November 23, 2006

How Firefox can upgrade your search skills

Firefox veterans already know the trick and can stop reading now. And before I'll go any further, I'd say that although I use Firefox as my chief browser, I am not one of those fanatics - I don't hate Internet Explorer. In fact, I try most of the time not to hate things, only people, and even then, they really have to piss me off. Bill Gates is not even on my grey list.

After all of that has been cleared, let me tell you why someone serious about researching online should switch to Firefox. Because of its open strucutre, Firefox enables people to do a very specific research, efficiently and in a very short time.

After you have downloaded Firefox, you'd notice a small window, to the right of your address line. This small window has several search engines on it - those on default, if I am not mistaken, are Google, Amazon, IMDB, the English-language Wikipedia and eBay. If you type in a term, and choose the specific search engine, you can search only there. But this is nothing.

You can also change the search engines that appear there and add ones that are important for your efficiency. For example, except for those "regulars" I have also added a map of Berlin (so when I read an article about something that has happened here, I can know where is that street); a German-English dictionary (not to make stupid errors, but we'll get to spell-check later); several libraries and databases I use on regular basis; and several further Wikipedias, in other language. My friend has as one of her engines - she just cannot stand it, when someone mentions a TV show, not to be able to know immidiately everything about it. There are several specialised databases/search engines out there, including Food Network, Job search engines, academic databases, and much more.

So, how do you add a search engine to your list there? Easily: you go to their list of search engines (this is the advanced version, browse through it) and choose one. You click on it, and it adds it. Next time you open your Firefox, it's there.

Firefox' next feature enables you to mark/highlight specific text with your mouse, and then, using the mouse's right button, to search that text in a specific search engine. This may come handy if you're reading a text, which mentions something you'd like to read further; as a GAR I sometimes can find the answer easily by highliting the words appearing in the question and then looking them up in the right search engine. This feature is called "context search" and you can install it on your Firefox browser here.

Now you'd probably want to Digg this article or write in your blog how wunderbar I am (or not). If you don't want to make some imbarasing speling misstayks, Firefox 2.0 has a spell-checker, which includes several languages - here, you can find additional dictionaries for the languages, in which you write .

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Someone has taken Roleplaying too seriously

This is from the Reno 911 mocumentary, but believe me, such people do exist, I thought of researching role-playing communities (the idea is still there, but I am too involved with other research at the moment). This is hilarious.

Borat v. Reality

People do know that Borat is a satire, right? I'm not so sure, given this Slate article (interesting reading nevertheless), which discusses Borat's notions about Kazakhstan and the reality of the country.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Wikipedia Knowledge Dump

Everything that is collected when even Wikipedia doesn't see it fit to print.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Comfort the Prisoner

If he'll carry on. it will make interesting reading

Double Sting on Steam

Steam, for those unacquinted with it, is a "a content delivery, digital rights management, multiplayer and communications service and platform developed by Valve Corporation for digital entertainment. It is currently used to digitally distribute and manage games including Half-Life and Half-Life 2." (Source: Wikipedia)

These systems, as you can guess, are vulnerable to hacking and ID theft. But what happens when a 13 year old tries to steal a user's ID by claiming to be an employee of Valve?

That's right - he gets stung!

Search My Eyes Online