Friday, November 19, 2004

Firefox 1.0

Firefox 1.0 is finally out (simultaneously for Windoze 98 and up, Linux, and Mac OS X), and if you're only going to be using one web browser, I guess this would be the one. (You can even download a version with menus and help files in Hebrew, should you be so inclined.)

You may however have noticed that the browser is a bit sluggish on G4 and G5 Macs. That is, not really slow, but not as snappy either as one'd expect from such powerful CPUs. Of course, the official build was compiled for G3 processors, and does not exploit any of the additional capabilities of G4, let alone G5 CPUs.

Here you can download builds optimized for G4 (which will also work on G5, but probably not on G3 machines). ("Aviary" is the codename for the release version.) And here you can find G5 builds. Note that the icons on these builds look different from "official" builds (as required by the Mozilla team). ["Nightly build" junkies can get their fixes at these sites as well: Burning Edge blog details bug fixes and feature additions.]

I have been using the G4 "Aviary" build for about a week now on both my office and home machines, and it is every bit as stable as the original build and noticeably snappier.

Quick searches: It turns out that Firefox has a built-in functionality not unlike Sogudi. One can add keyword searches to the URL bar with very little effort. Essentially any Sogudi shortcut (collection here) will work if you replace '@@@' by '%s'. To add any of the following to your browser, right-click (or ctrl-click) on them, pick "Add bookmark", then select "Quick Searches". This will pick up the name and the URL. You will have to add the keywords manually by means of "Manage Bookmarks" and the "Properties" button there. Suggested keyword appears in left column:

oed Lookup in Oxford English Dictionary (subscription required)
gnews Search in Google News
usd2ils Convert from US Dollar to Shekel
ils2usd Convert from Shekel to US Dollar
phone Example lookup in organizational phone book
wis Example Google on own site
mw Merriam-Webster dictionary lookup
mwt Merriam-Webster thesaurus lookup
wikip Wikipedia lookup
merck Search in Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy
webbook NIST WebBook lookup
scirus SCIRUS Science search engine
scholar Search in Google Scholar
acs Open paper in ACS journal by 9-character code
vt Search VersionTracker
heb Babylon English-Hebrew dictionary
calc Opens expression calculator (knows PI, sin, cos, exp,...)