Learning to network

November 27, 2006

Three reasons why I just got FireFox

Filed under: Social Media, Technologies, TTD — Arthur M. Gallagher @ 12:16 pm

As I write, another window on my computer is downloading a new browser from  www.getfirefox.com

I finally considered dumping the browser (kindly bundled onto my desktop to avoid me having to think) because I have increasingly been thinking “how can I … ?” do all sorts of new things since starting to have a richer interaction with the online world. Even though I am capable of writing reasonable code, I have never felt that Internet Explorer was inviting me to truly take control, whereas, straight away, the FireFox site was telling me myriad ways I could bend it to do just what I want.

The events leading to this choice have been:

Oooh, I can add functionality!

I suddenly realised the power of code in the browser when I recently installed the del.icio.us java bookmarklet. This was my first ever browser mod, as I have been reticent to add in all the toolbars foisted on us by Google, Yahoo and others – I always preferred to leave real-estate on my screen for the actual web content, rather than reducing it with a series of fixed bulky items that came with features I was not sure I really wanted. But now I could see that it might be possible to control my browser interaction more…

My Search launchpad needed an overhaul

My homepage for the last couple of years has been a an HTML page I created with a series of little forms culled from sites I tended to use a lot: the Google search box, Streetmap’s location search, Wikipedia, Webster’s dictionary etc. Some of these I had also put multi-lingual features on (click on different buttons to search on the British or the Italian site), but this was starting to get complex. I decided I needed a single data entry field with a whole load of places I could search this in. I decided to hold off re-writing the HTML page because I felt sure there must be a better way…

Capture headlines in my own swipe book

The stuff I read recently on copyblogger.com about doing headlines properly has opened my eyes to the difference between scintillating headlines and those that are plain dull. Now, as I read other peoples’ content I am noticing whether I chose it in hope, or because the headline actually attracted me to the article. I suddenly thought, hey, wouldn’t it be great if I could get my browser to give me the option “add headline to swipe file” when I look at a link…

What next?

Well, one step at a time – I have just added the British, French and Italian dictionaries for now. I have already spotted LinkedIn and del.icio.us tools, but I want to check out the vanilla experience first, just as a benchmark.

Wish me luck!

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