Beyond Safari

I was going to apologise for this post being a bit off topic, but then I decided it wasn’t! Mainly because my blog is for me and is meant to reflect me, so this post is reflecting the geeky/tech side of me, hehe! Anyway, I had a couple of friends who recently switched to OS X ask me for a few tips with Safari, so I set out to find the free answers I had discovered for myself and make note of the solutions for my friends(and anyone else who needs them). As I’m a student and funds are sparse, these solutions are free, and unlike other Safari enhancement posts, this one doesn’t cover the regular extensions like Saft, PithHelmet and SafariStand which I found to either cost me money or be very confusing! Either way I hope you find this helpful, if something isn’t clear or if you think I missed something, drop a comment.

These first two items started off with a couple of pet peeves I had about the browser. The main one was tackled with a well known plugin called Inquisitor.

My peeve was that the search box used Google.com and there was no preference to switch it to Google.co.uk. I had seen Inquisitor around while it was Shareware, but with the release of the beta version for Inquisitor 3 it was made free, of course I jumped on the bandwagon but had I realised how much I would use it the chances are I would pay for it. As well as giving me the opportunity to customise where I search, Google, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Amazon, Flickr among others, it gives me the chance to livesearch the interweb. As a result it has kind of changed the way I use the search function. I now tend to use it to launch sites I just discovered but am unsure whether they are worthy of a bookmark. It’s little counter that tells me how many times I have used that search and chosen the site, let me judge just how much I’m using it. It’s kind of like a QuickSilver or Spotlight for the web and has the eyecandy to match!

The second issue I had invovled tabs, windows and accidental apple-w’s (thats close tab/window) or apple-q’s (which quits Safari). I was forever accidently closing windows or tabs, so I hunted out a little exteniosn called ForgetMeNot which gave me the option to restore tabs and windows. It even remembers what tabs were open when I quit Safari, so long as there is no re-boot inbetween! It’s very useful and effective in what it aims to do. It adds an undo-tab function under the edit menu and an UnClose Window option under the file menu.

The third issue that I wanted to solve was the lack of an Ad-Block feature, specifically for flash/animated adverts. The first extension I tried was SafariBlock, which had a decent go at things, gradually it built up a list to block, but it was manual input and I had to right click on an advert and tell it to be blocked. The drawback was when it came to flash adverts, right clicking these only brought up the flash contextual menu, which meant I was unable to block the ad’s, so I had to seek out an alternative. This led me to SafariPlus. As an ad-blocker it is extremely effective. It blocks flash content on the site under the settings I have, which can be a drawback when it comes to watching YOUtube video’s, it also blocks moving images and freezes them, they still display, but in a combination with SafariBlock it can gradually remove adverts from websites. SafariPlus also does a lot more, but this is mainly what I use it for.

So that’s the main issues I had with Safari that developed from general browsing, and ones which I hope will be tackled in the next version of Safari, along with the option to re-arrange tabs from drag ‘n’ drop (if anyone knows of an extension for this that is effective and free, drop a comment).

These next two extensions came about through a later issue I had when wanting to syncronise my Safari bookmarks between iMac and iBook. The first one, which the second derives from, is meant to to tackle this. The first of these extensions, SafariDepot gives .Mac style syncing to Safari. You need your own piece of webspace to upload your bookmarks too, but it’s not a very big file so can easily be achieved with free hosting (like orgfree).

If you couple this with the SafariScripts enhancement, it gives you easy sync options for Safari. SafariScript adds a small AppleScript icon to the menu bar of Safari, and lets you store various scripts within it. Adding the two default scripts that come with SafariDepot means that you can easily sync the bookmarks of the browsers on laptops and work/home computers.

Note: At present, there appears to be an error with SafariDepot if your ftp username contains an @ sign. I contacted the developer for help as the small app wasn’t working for me, continually giving the same error, he responded asking if my username had an @sign. but hasn’t replied since. It’s fixed and works very well. Big thanks to the developer KarlHeinz for the quick work!

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