I was recently at the house of one of my nieces. I was talking to her for a while about her homework and her grades before I came to an idea that I don’t think a lot of people do or even know about. It’s the search engine box in the upper right hand corner of Firefox. If you used to use this a lot keep paying attention because I might have some more info for you that might prove useful.
The box in the upper corner comes with a couple useful websites in the drop-down list. You’ll find: Google, Amazon, Creative Commons, etc. Well, I don’t know why but there was a lot more search engines that you could add just by clicking on “Manage Search Engines” at the bottom of the list. Well this has changed a lot! Now there is only a minimum of sites there and even most of those aren’t search engines they’re addon toolbars. I hate adding toolbars. They add extra gunk in most cases and reduce the amount of screen you can see on the websites you view. Add toolbars if you need to but for search I’d go to: http://mycroft.mozdev.org/ . This site is pure gold for anyone using Firefox (and if you’re not using Firefox we need to talk).
So, on to my neice. She has to look for books for school. Cool. Type in the book you want in that search box, drop down to Amazon on the list and hit enter. Poof! Like magic you’re taken to the Amazon website where you can find your book new or used. She needed quotes from different sources. I looked on the website for quotes, clicked on one of the sites listed, Firefox asks you if you want to install this search engine, you hit enter and you’ve got it. Type in a word like “Stupid” and you’ll get qoutes from people using the word or variants there of. There’s all kinds of Internet goodness there and thousands of plugin search engines as compared to about 100 if you just click the “Manage search engines” option in Firefox. Search the list for all your favorite websites that you look for things. I have ones like: Youtube, Wikipedia, Digg, Mahalo, Sourceforge, and a dictionary. There are torrent search sites, shopping, images, video, music, etc. Almost anything you can think of. I haven’t found a subject that I can’t find one. The even cooler thing is some only search in certain countries. If you’re in Britain, for example, delete the Google search that’s in your current list and click on Google UK or Google Images UK.
The reason they are so much better are because they go to exactly what you want. Say you want to price something on Amazon, eBay, and Newegg. You type that item in the search bar, click the drop-down to Amazon hit enter, open a new tab, click the drop-down to eBay, and so on. You will instantly have what you want on all three tabs for easy comparison. For studying I’d suggest a tab for a dictionary, encyclopedia, Wikipedia (for understanding not quoting as a source), and Google News, CNN, and/or BBC News to get the whole story.
Studying done in less time with more info. Oh, and before I forget. Hit control+F or command+F on the Mac to get a “Find” box in the lower left corner of the browser. Typing the work you want in that box will zip you to the place in the page where that word is. You don’t have to read the whole page to find it.
Try it now no matter what you are doing.