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Run Google 'lucky' searches from Firefox URL bar Web Browsers
Typing keywords into the URL entry field in Firefox will take you to the top hit of a Google search -- the same thing you'd see if you clicked the "I'm feeling lucky" link on Google's search page. I discovered this by accident, and didn't think much of it at the time, and not certainly worthy of a posting, but I've found myself using it more and more. For example; finding info on a product, where I don't care which vendor site I go to, I just want the specs, a picture, and a ballpark price. So in the URL bar, I type akg 414 or mackie 1202.

For a quick reminder of details, try ortf or FM synthesis or John cage. Need the IRS' 1040ez form? Just type 1040ez into the URL bar. Also try things like art institute hours, babel fish, car talk london review of books, performance audio, and of course, apple store. Or try some software sites, like menumeter, amadeus ii, quickeys, or starquiz. Each of those take you to their site faster than doing a Google search and then clicking the top hit.

Not very fancy, but I love tricks that save me a click and four seconds.

[robg adds: I'm not positive this always runs an I'm Feeling Lucky search; a couple of examples I tried just led to Google's search results page. If I tried those same examples with the I'm Feeling Lucky button on Google, though, then I went directly to a given site. So I'm not quite sure what's going on...]
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Drag and drop text to search in Firefox Web Browsers
This may be an obvious one, but I haven't seen it documented elsewhere, nor in my search of this site. Anyway, drag and drop any chunk of text (from any program) to the search field in Firefox, and Firefox will search for that phrase using whatever search engine it has been set to.

For example, if you are typing a report on Napoleon in Microsoft Word, you can check the Wikipedia entry (assuming you have the Wikipedia search engine installed, and it's set as the Firefox default) by simply dragging the text "Napoleon" to the search field in any open Firefox window.

[robg adds: This also works in Camino, but not Safari or OmniWeb (nor probably any of the other WebKit-based browsers).]
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Easily download YouTube movies via Safari Web Browsers
If you're using Safari, there's an easy way to download YouTube videos. Open the page with the movie and press Command-Option-A, which shows the Activity window. If you're also loading other sites, you'll see a list of them: scroll until you find the YouTube page and click on the arrow to show details about what is being loaded.

You will certainly notice an element whose size is over 0.5MB (most of the time, over 5MB). Double-click on it (even if it is still loading), and Safari will download it. When the download is over, navigate to the file in the Finder (which will probably be called get_video) and add the extension .flv to its name. Now you can play it with VLC or with QuickTime (only if you have Perian installed).

[robg adds: We've covered the use of the Activity window before, but with the popularity of YouTube, I felt it was worth pointing out this one specialized use.]

[For more on this topic, see Christopher Breen's Macworld story, How to download YouTube videos using Safari or Firefox.]
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Observe Safari's dynamically changing tab titles Web Browsers
When you use tabs, Safari sets the tab's title to include the domain name as well as the page title. For instance, - Submit a Hint. However, when you have more than one or two tabs opened on the same site, Safari drops the domain name from all the tabs, and just includes the page title: Submit a Hint

It somehow doesn't seem to be completely consistent, but Safari definitely changes the tab's titles on the fly, so as to avoid many macosxhi... tabs, which would be basically useless.

[robg adds: True, there's not really a hint here, but it's this kind of attention to detail that makes much Mac software so pleasant to use. I had never noticed the behavior in Safari before, but I had noticed that its tabs seemed somehow 'cleaner' than those in Camino ... and now I know why!]
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An extremely fast way to read Word documents Web Browsers
You may know that you can use Firefox (or your web browser of choice to browse your Mac's file system. In fact, you can do more than that, with a simple addition to the above tip. This is a solution for times when you need to read, but not edit, Word documents -- and this method is significantly faster than opening Word itself to do the reading. It works by installing a free Word reader plug-in for your browser, and making the appropriate bookmark pointing to your Documents folder:
  1. Download and install the Word Browser Plugin. See the Read Me file for instructions: just double-click to open the DMG file, then drag the plugin to /Library » Internet Plug-Ins (this is the system-level library, not your user's Library). Restart your browser.
  2. Point the browser to file:///Users/your_name/Documents -- note the three slashes. You'll see a list of your files; make a bookmark to this location; call it "Local Files" or something.
Now, pull down your bookmarks menu to Local Files. In Firefox at least, this will bring up a secondary menu of all the sub-folders (and then sub-folders of that, etc.). Note first how much quicker this is than navigating through the Finder. Then find a Word document. Whoosh! It comes up in the browser. Not all formatting is preserved, and you can't edit it, but for simple reading, it's easily 10 times faster than finding the document in the Finder, clicking it, and waiting around for Word to open.

This method is also quick to navigate to and open any other kind of file that the browser can handle. And of course, if you don't have Word, this will let you read .doc files that people send you, and is similarly faster than opening OpenOffice for reading. The intent of the plug-in is to read Word documents on the web, and it works fine for that, too. If you bring one of those up and want to save it or print it, click the icons in the upper left. Also note the enlarge/reduce buttons, and the search button. I've only tested this with Firefox (, and this method does not work with Safari.

[robg adds: Note that the Word Browser Plugin is PowerPC only, so Intel users won't be able to use this tip unless they want to run their browser in Rosetta mode.]
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Change WebKit's accesskey modifier to prevent conflicts Web Browsers
Many sites are implementing more and more accesskeys. While this is sometimes handy, more often than not it ends up conflicting with the regular system behavior. For example, in text areas I often use the emacs-style commands to move the cursor; these are overridden if the site uses accesskeys.

I thought that it would be absolutely magnificent if the modifier key for accesskeys would be Control-Option. That would prevent the vast majority of conflicts (most notably those emacs bindings!). Well, thanks to the open source WebKit, this is possible. (You'll need the Developer Tools installed to complete this hint.)

First, follow the easy instructions at to "check out" a copy of the latest developer source. Once it's all downloaded, open up WebKit » WebCore » dom » Document.cpp and go to line 2347 (or so). Look around for the void Document::defaultEventHandler(Event *evt) function. Replace the line if (kevt->ctrlKey()) { with if (kevt->ctrlKey() && kevt->altKey()) {.

Then follow the instructions at to build and run Safari with your modified framework.

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One possible way to reduce Firefox's launch time Web Browsers
My Firefox gets slow, particularly the launch time. Real slow. I couldn't honestly figure why, until tonight. I looked in my Downloads panel for info on a file I had downloaded earlier today. Lo and behold, there was information there from the time I initially installed Firefox on this computer; nearly a year and a half of downloads.

I clicked the Clean UP button on the Downloads window, and quit Firefox. When I restarted Firefox, it went from a 12+ bounce launch to a three-bounce launch on my iMac G5. The Mac Pro was even more surprising. It's brand new (one week this Monday), but I had imported info from my Powerbook G4. It went from five or six bounces to one.

Page loading speed seemed to be improved as well. I wish I could have tested it with a memory checker; maybe someone else could do this and see if it's improved.

[robg adds: I can't confirm this one, as my Downloads window in Firefox only ever has a couple items in it. If someone out there has a fully-loaded Downloads history and could do a bit of testing, please post your results in the comments.]
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Remove Safari's tab bar when using SafariStand Web Browsers
I love using the sidebar in SafariStand, but hate also having Safari's own tab bar showing at the same time. There is no option in Safari to turn off the tab bar (without turning tabbed browsing off completely), so a little hacking of nib files is required.

Quit Safari, then control-click on its icon in the Finder and pick Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu, then navigate to Resources » English.lproj. Duplicate the file Browser.nib, and keep the copy in case all goes wrong and you need to revert to it. Open Browser.nib (Developer Tools required; if they're installed, Browser.nib should open in Interface Builder. If it won't open, you'll need to install the Developer Tools from your original DVD or download them from Apple.)

Select Tools » Show Inspector, then click once on the item in the main window called TabBarView and select "hidden" in the Attributes Inspector window. Click once on the main window where you would expect to see your web pages loaded, and under Size in the Inspector window, change the value "height" to 532. The window now covers the TabBarView. Do not try deleting TabBarView; it can stop Safari from launching.

Save the Browser.nib, quite Interface Builder, and re-launch Safari.
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Set Safari's home page via WiLMa and AppleScript Web Browsers
I am using WiLMa to switch locations on my PowerBook. I used to use Location X for this purpose, but it no longer works for me. Specifically, I can use WiLMa to change the Network settings like IP address and proxy when I go from home to work. Location X also allowed me to change the web home page setting in Safari, but WiLMa doesn't.

So I spent some time searching MacScripter, and came up with this Applescript.

I have placed two similar versions of the script in the /Library/Scripts folder (compiled as applications), and WiLMa will run them when I switch locations. One set's Google as the home page, and the other sets my ISP's home page as my home page.

Now I am very inexperienced at this sort of thing. The script works, except when I trigger a switch unintentionally and the web home page is already set and Safari is not running. When this happens, the script finishes without starting Safari. Just a slight hiccup. I would love someone else to pull it apart, improve it, and maybe convert it to a shell script.
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Enable Safari cache to fix WordPress photo upload Web Browsers
There has been some recent discussion here about Safari's cache, and some (myself included) have questioned the need for caching to be enabled at all. Well, I just ran across a task that seemingly won't work without caching enabled: uploading photos to a WordPress site.

I had been using Firefox for my blogging needs, but decided to try Safari again since I heard that some of the editing tools now worked in Safari as well (and I don't like having to launch Firefox just to update a blog). It was working fine on my girlfriend's new MBP, but I couldn't upload photos with my iBook. Then I remembered that I had locked the cache folder (~/Library » Caches » Safari). I unlocked it (Get Info » uncheck the Locked checkbox), and uploading worked fine.

I thought this hint might be helpful to others, as some third-party utilities (Safari Enhancer that I know of, maybe others) offer an option to disable Safari's cache.
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