Opera 10: Now This is COOL!

October 8, 2009 at 11:42 am (Internet surfing, product review) (, , , )

I finally downloaded Opera 10.00 on my computer. This is a browser like I haven’t seen before. Of course, I am into features and learning about all the bells and whistles, so if you’re the “just download and use it” kind of person, you might be confused about how to get certain things to work or not notice much of a difference from any other browser. Regardless, there are some things you may like about Opera even if all you want is a basic browser.

The download itself is 6.6 MB. This should only take about 25 minutes on a dial-up connection, maybe more if you have a particularly slow one. Either way, definitely not a problem for dial-up. The installation, like most programs, is very simple to do. No worries!

There’s a lot of features that Opera has that are similar to other browsers: tabbed browsing, offering to save passwords, and an interactive address bar that shows suggestions from history, etc. But Opera has gone a step further where other browsers, especially Internet Explorer have not ventured. Here are a few things you won’t find on IE:

  • Transformed Speed Dial—a page of thumbnails to your favorite sites. This is great for big surfers who go to multiple sites frequently. It’s better than a favorites lists! You may have seen this on Chrome and Firefox, but on Chrome, the sites are chosen for you based on your browsing habits. On Firefox, you can only have 9 that you can manually enter. On Opera, you can enter up to 25 websites and load a personalized background picture! The speed dial page appears every time you open a new tab.speed dial with personalized background
  • More Choices Upon Arrival. Instead of just an option of opening to the homepage, or several home pages, like on IE, Opera allows you to reopen the last session, open your home page, or open your Speed Dial page.

  • Interactive tabs. If you like surfing on multiple sites at once, you can really benefit from these features. 1, Hover over each tab to get a small window showing a preview of that page. 2, click and drag under a tab to expand the tabs into small preview windows for all your tabs. 3. Rightexpanded tabs and tab placement click on your tab bar for more tab options, including moving the tabs (or preview windows) to the left, right, or bottom of your browser! Beat that IE! :-)

…and, for dial-up Internet services users (and anyone else who needs to get things done quickly), check out these shortcuts and time-savers!

  • Turbo Mode! Click the little speedometer icon in the lower left corner of the browser to enable the turbo feature. It compresses pictures (it makes them slightly blurrier), allowing webpages to come up much faster than regular mode.
  • Image Options. This feature (located in the bottom right of the browser) lets you choose how images are loaded on the website. You can choose to view no images, cached images, or all images for your protection and for faster browsing. Choosing “no images” is handy for making quick payment online, where you just need the pages to load to complete the transaction and seeing that logo or background images is the least of your concerns.

  • Awesome Search Options. In the address bar, type “g running shoes” and you will be taken to a page of Google search results for the keywords running shoes. What a great way to save time! There are also shortcuts for Amazon, Ebay, Wiki, and more! Check out the preferences for the whole list.

  • Auto-fill Form Entries. This is genius! You can add your name, address, email, and phone numbers in your preferences, and Opera will fill out all those online forms for you! This will save time when signing up for memberships and online shopping.

There are other options that may interest you. This will be a lot to take in if you’ve never used Opera. Be forewarned, other browsers will seem slow, boring, and restrictive after this! :-) Just go to opera.com and click on the green “Download Opera” button to get started! I highly recommend this for dial-up users! While you’re on the website, be sure to read the features listed for Opera browser. It will help you understand how Opera works and enable you to maximize its benefits to you.

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Bing: Explore Microsoft’s New Search Engine

June 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , )

For your next online purchase, you may want to try Bing.com, Microsoft’s new “decision” search engine. Perhaps you have tried it already and you haven’t noticed any difference from other browsers, other than the pretty picture backgrounds on Bing’s homepage.

If you’re not sure where to start or what Bing offers, click the “Tour Bing” link in the top left corner of the home page. The features are most convenient when you have a Microsoft account, which may be worth your while. You may also want to change your preferences, which can be found under “Extras” in the top right corner.

From the homepage, you will see a column of options on the left side if you want to focus your search results. If you click on these options, such as “Shopping” or “News, more subcategories will appear that may assist your search.

If you search from the main bar, more options will be available based on your keywords next to your results. Here are a few examples:

  • Search: Honda Civic, sidebar options include: Used, Parts, and Videos
  • Search: Border Collie, sidebar options include: Breeders, Training, and Adoption
  • Search: Yosemite, sidebar options include: Lodging, Weather, and Camping

Each search results page also include related searches, sponsored links, and search history.

Bing is termed “The Decision Engine” because it offers more than just search results, most of which are related to buying decisions. For example, if you search for “mountain bike”, you will see a “Shop for mountian bike” heading above the website results. This feature includes brands, prices, and guides, where you choose more specific results. These links take you to a page that shows an image, price, and description with the option of going to that website.

Bing helps you compare businesses at a glance. Suppose you type the keywords “hotel San Diego”. The first result is a “Listings for hotels near San Diego, CA” feature that itemizes names of hotels—including a link to their website and their phone number—next to a map showing all their locations. A link for directions is available for each hotel, which directs you to a driving directions page similar to MapQuest. If you click on the name of the hotel, you will see a simple rundown of reviews, prices, and contact information, etc.

You can get local information like traffic and weather simply by typing those keywords into the search bar. Check on flights and track your packages by typing the flight or shipping number. Review your stocks’ statuses on a table by searching for the ticker symbols in a row followed by “quote”. Ask basic trivia or math questions in the search bar, like “who wrote the constitution” or “how many liters in a gallon” and Bing will have the answer.

Bing offers some interesting interactive features as well. Each website result has hover option to the right that brings up a summary of that site and other related links. If you hover over images results, you can see the size, name and a link to related images. Videos on Bing will begin playing if you hover on them.

As with any product or idea, Bing is most helpful for certain occasions, preferences, or needs. If you want to find a specific website or lesser known topic, Bing is probably not going to be any better than another search engine. In fact, the “helpfulness” could become an annoyance if you’re an experienced surfer who’s not interested in the latest deals and fads. Most of Bing’s features don’t ever require you to leave their website, which is very helpful for shopping, comparing and researching simple trivia, but sometimes completely irrelevant to your searches. That doesn’t mean you should not use Bing for those reasons, the normal search results are still available in plain sight. You just won’t always need the extras.

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