June 11th, 2007

Fixing Dave's Quick Search Deskbar

I'm a long time, loyal fan of Dave's Quick Search Deskbar, from both the perspective of usability and efficient use of screen space.

What you see above is the result of the following workflow:
  1. Typing <Windows>+s (Brings focus to DQSD)
  2. Pasting "internecine"
  3. Typing :, and hitting <Enter> (":" says to search for the text at the Merriam Webster website.)
That brought up the definition of the word in a popup window, above the system tray.

If I hadn't typed the colon character, it would have done a google search by default. Other frequently used search specifications are:

wik (Search wikipedia)
imdb (Search the Internet Movie Database)
/images (Search google images)

There are hundreds of other searches.  But a core 5 or so is all I use.  Here are some of my personal preferences in localprefs.js:

showbutton = 0;
autocomplete = true;
helptime = 100;
displayHelp = false;
bannerurl = ""

And here is the crucial alias in localaliases.txt:

:|mwd /p %s

The boon here is never using the mouse (if my hand isn't already on it).  With (usually) two extra key presses I can get to the definition, synonyms, images, maps or encyclopedic material of the subject, whatever I want.

That may sound like a small deal, but saving the browser space from yet another toolbar, and halving my effort to achieve my goal makes my user experience significantly better.