10
Feb 07

Inquisitor 3 : Neat Enhancement to Web Search in Apple’s Safari Web Browser

The built in web search in Apple Mac Safari 2 & 3 web browsers leaves much to be desired in comparison to Firefox 2.0 ( or the new Firefox 3 Betas). This is where a nice little addon called Inquisitor brings in the much needed parity for Apple’s Safari web browser. When compared to Firefox’s (v2.0) built in search Apple Safari 2.0 and the Safari 3.1 lacks 2 very important features :

  1. Safari does not allow search engine customization. Only Google search can be used.
  2. Safari cannot provide live search suggestions like Firefox 2.0/3.0

Get Inquisitor 3 from the developer’s site located here [external link]. The developer has made Inquisitor freely available. The developer’s web page has link to PayPal for donation.

Installing/Uninstalling Inquisitor 3

Installation is pretty straight forward. The downloaded dmg file contains a installation app. Just execute the app and restart Safari. Inquisitor 3 now also works on OSX 10.5 (Leopard).Inquisitor, does not install in the Application folder, so in case you want to uninstall Inquisitor, you can use the same Install app – which gives an option for uninstalling Inquisitor 3.

Getting Started with Inquisitor 3

Once Inquisitor is installed and Safari is restarted, just try a web search on the Apple Safari’s search box on the top right hand corner. I just typed “Gone With the Wind”. Pronto, a beautiful pop up appears below the Safari search box with 3 site suggestions and some keyword suggestions. Inquisitor can use both Google or Yahoo to provide search suggestions. Check out the screenshot below. The way the search suggestion are displayed give Safari one up on Firefox 2.0. This looks so beautiful, so very Apple like.

Inquisitor default provides only Google search. New search engines can be easily added from the Inquisitor preference pane located inside the Safari preference pane. I quickly added Yahoo, IMDb and Wikipedia search for the predefined filters already provide by Inquisitor. For each search engine, I was required to provide a keyboard shortcut. All these were done in less than a minute. Inquisitor also allows adding on custom search engine. In my case I added Ask.com by adding the search url- http://www.ask.com/web?q=%@ .

Inquisitor 3 provides some basic configuring options. It also allows previous search history to be used to refine suggestions. With Inquisitor switching the search engine is not easy as in Firefox. The way it works i that the user is required to assign a unique keyboard short cut for each search engine selected. After the user types the search term in the search box, the appropriate shortcut keys needs to be pressed. By default, pressing enter/return results in Google search being used. In the screenshots above, I have assigned Cmd+Y for Yahoo search, Cmd+W for Wikipedia. If someone uses many different search engines, it will be a pain to remember keyboard shortcuts assigned to each search engine.

A work around for it is that as soon as the search key work is typed, wait for the pop-up to appear below the web search box (see screenshot on the left). Here there will be a list of search engines configured, use the mouse to click on the search engine you want to use for this search.

Conclusion & Recommendation

Overall, Inquisitor 3 is an excellent and high quality addon for Apple Safari web browser. It enhances the user experience on Safari web browser in a very neat way. Users should at least give Inquisitor 3 a try.

The reader should also check out the review of Acid Search addon for Apple Safari browser. Like Inquisitor, Acid Search allows customization of search engine in Safari, but cannot do search suggestion.

Test Setup Used for this review:

  • Safari 2.0.4 (419.3) Mac OSX Version 10.4.8 (Tiger), iMac 20′ with Intel Core Duo (Early 2006)
  • Safari 3.1 (5525.13) Mac OSX Version10.5.2 (Leopard), iMac 20′ with Intel Core Duo (Early 2006)

16
Sep 06

Apple Remote with VLC Player – Part 3 (iRed Lite)

This is the third post of the series on using the Apple Remote with VLC Media Player. In this post we will cover a amazing new application called iRed Lite. In the first post we covered Remote Buddy and Apple Remote Helper in the second post. iRed Lite is a new Beta software and has the promise to be the best of the three applications we have reviewed here.

iRed Lite

iRed Lite is a extremely stable and capable for Beta software. It comes with built in support for about 10 applications (like iTunes, System, Finder, QT Player, Keynote, Eye TV, MS PowerPoint, iPhoto, Preview ….)

What iRed Lite is capable of is more interesting. iRed Lite includes a expert editor using which anyone can easily create a Apple Remote control profile for any application that runs on Mac OSX. You can easily create a application profile using the applications hot-keys or using Apple Script. It took me to 30 minutes, read iRed Lites documentation and create a usable profile for VLC player.

This Expert Editor makes iRed Lite a very useful and powerful tool. You can customize and adapt it to control any application using the Apple Remote.

Being a Beta Software, it has some rough edges. For instance switching between profiles can be sometime tedious. Its documentation has scope for improvement.

Over all, I would rate iRed Lite ahead of Remote Buddy.

Getting Started with iRed Lite & VLC Player Remote Controls

  1. You can grab your copy of iRed Lite from here.
  2. For VLC Media Player support download this profileiRed Lite VLC Player Profile ). This is required for VLC Player to work with Apple Remote. I have created just basic video navigation controls(fast forward, rewind, pause resume, full-screen), audio controls (volume up, volume down) & base DVD controls. Click on the thumbnail below for mappings used in the Apple Remote for VLC Player. I have created this profile on iRed Lite on Beta version 0.96 (build 21).
    iRed Liet - Apple Remote controls for VLC Player
  3. Install the DMG file for iRed Lite
  4. Launch the iRed Lite app
  5. Launch the iRed Lite Expert Editor (Show Editor) from the OSX Menu Bar.
    ired-on-menu-bar.png
  6. From the iRed Lite Expert import VLC.irla file contained in iRed Lite VLC Player Profile

iRed Liet Editor

Now time to enjoy a good movie on the VLC player from the comfort of your sofa or your bed.

powered by performancing firefox


18
Jun 06

Customize Web Search in Apple Safari with AcidSearch

I came across this free add-in for Apple Safari that lets you customize the we search engine settings. By default Safari only uses Google search. There is no documented way of switching to another search engine.

This add-in is called AcidSearch (get it from here).

You can operate it by clicking the magnifying glass icon on the Safari search box found on the top right of the Safari window. From here you can go to the AcidSearch settings. AcidSearch provides you by default a number of alternate search engines – Yahoo, A9, Vivisimo, AskJeeves .. You can also add your own search engine setting here. From the list here, you can select the search engine you like.

I found that the default url for AskJeeves provided by AcidSearch did not work. This was easily remedied by changing the url to : http://www.ask.com/web?q=.

Overall, this is a great tool that fills in a small void left by Apple.

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08
May 06

Firefox Mac OSX Theme

Firefox Mac Theme
Firefox Mac Theme,originally uploaded by manaskb.

Mac OSX users can make Firefox look like Safari using the GrApple theme that can be found here : http://www.takebacktheweb.org/

Safari is a pretty good browser, still there are some people like me who would like to use Firefox (www.mozilla.com). Safari users who would like to move to Firefox would be at home after installing this theme.

How to Install :

Go to site : http://www.takebacktheweb.org/

find the Mac OSX theme you like. Just click on the “Install Now” button for the theme you have selected.

Other option : From Firefox ->Tools->Themes-> Get New themes; This opens a new browser window for the addons.mozilla.org site. On the search box, search for GrApple. You will get the Mac OSX themes for Firefox.

Note : These themes only work on Mac OSX. If you are on Windows, just get a Mac 🙂


13
Nov 05

PDA +Mobile Phone+Touch Screen = A768i

I have been using the Motorola A768i PDA phone for last 10 months. In these months it has not only been a mobile phone. It has become my personal assistant � reminding me of the N number of meeting I attend in a day. It has been my alarm clock. It has been my Internet browser. It has been my voice recorder. And the list goes on and on …

When I purchased the phone my requirement was a PDA cum mobile phone. It should have a small form factor, but should have a large display. I also did not want a Windows PDA.
I looked at all the PDA/mobile phones in the market. The A768i suited my requirements most. It had a small form factor, which I can easily carry in my pocket. Though it is relatively small, the display was quite large. This owing to the touch screen controls which eliminated the need of a keyboard. The phone worked on embedded Linux, so no worries of mobile viruses.

The phone comes fully loaded. It has blue tooth, Infrared, GPRS and USB connectivity. The Infrared has been very useful for syncing my Outlook calender and exchanging files to/from my laptop. The preloaded software on the phone is also very handy. It has a WML browser, a very versatile multi document reader called Pixel. I have tried loading PDF, Excel, Html files on the Pixel � it works like a song. It has full calender and task list management software. It even has POP3 email client and even supports VPNs � really amazing. It can play MPEG audio/video. There is also a paintbrush like tool.

On the touch screen you will get a full QWERTY keyboard. It also has handwriting recognition and voice control. The Voice control is much sophisticated then contemporary Nokia smart phones.

The phone doses not come with Games installed. If you have GPRS connection, then you can download some games for free from the Motorola site. The site also has free ring tones, wallpapers etc.

It has decent battery life for a PDA/phone. The biggest let down is the camera.