You can now enjoy Flipboard magazines on your desktop using your browser. You’ll need the address to at least one magazine to gain access to the platform, but from there you can wander around and find any number of other magazines to enjoy. This short video gives you a tour of the features available within your browser and how to discover and share the amazing content you’ll find in Flipboard. Need a place to start? Try visiting my DIGITAL Storytelling magazine.
The Dolphin Mobile Browser [iOS & Android - free] recently received a significant update with several new – and very useful – new features. First among those is integration with Evernote. Make the connection to your Evernote account and you can quickly send a page or image to Evernote by tapping on the Share icon as shown below. Notice that Evernote isn’t the only sharing option.
As you see here, the Share feature works much the same on the iPhone also. From these share panels, you control which notebook this note will be sent to and can add tags and notes before you send it. Evernote isn’t the only sharing option. You can also share pages or parts of pages with Facebook and Twitter or send it to Box or as an email message to anyone. And you can use Dolphin’s annotation tools to highlight interesting segments or add a note directly on the page you are sharing.
Another new feature is the ability to connect between your desktop and devices. Install the Dolphin Connect add-on to your Firefox, Safari or Chrome browser and you can keep your bookmarks, history, tabs and saved passwords synched between them all. And you can send web content from one device to another. For example, if you’re planning a trip, you might be looking at maps on your desktop to some of the places you want to visit. Using Connect, you can send those maps to the Dolphin browser on your phone or tablet so you’ll have them easily accessible while you’re traveling.
Speaking of traveling . . . Dolphin’s existing Sonar feature lets you use your voice to perform functions and call up specific web sites. There’s also the gesture feature where you can set up “squiggle” shortcuts using your finger to write a letter or symbol to take you to specific sites. For example you could set up a gesture where you use your finger to write an “a” on the screen and Dolphin takes you to Ancestry’s front page.
Android users have an advantage over iOS users in that there are a growing number of add-on apps (Dropbox, Pocket and Wikipedia for starters) you can use with your Dolphin browser. Swipe to the left on the Dolphin screen to display and install them from the app showcase.
All browser users can swipe right to display the bookmarks panel where you’ll find your bookmarked pages along with several interesting cloud options. The Cloud Tabs item will display the current tabs in your connected devices and you can perform a Cloud Sync operation at any time from this panel.
The Dolphin browser has matured into an impressive app and quickly becoming my go-to browser on my mobile devices. The tabs alone made it quite useful, but these new features have made browsing on my iPad a delightful experience. Take a look and see for yourself.
Browsing the Web on a mobile device can be a challenge. In addition to the small screens of mobile phones, there are now all shapes and sizes of tablets too. Yes, many web sites provide mobile-friendly editions of their site, but not all mobile browsers take advantage of the site designer’s efforts. Fortunately there are now more browser choices and you aren’t just stuck with your device’s default browser. One of those options is the Dolphin Browser [iOS and Android - free].
Dolphin offers versions for both phones and tablets (the Dolphin Tab for Android tablets is still in beta and requires Android 4.0) to insure that both device types get the best browsing experience possible. Each version includes features – like Sonar voice search on the Android phone app – making it as easy as possible to use. Another one of those features is gestures. You draw a simple character or symbol on your screen to perform an action or display a site. For example, one of the default gestures is “G” which will bring up the Google search page. You can easily create your own gestures to do the things you want to do.
It’s difficult to describe all the things Dolphin does so I’ve built a slideshow with screenshots from my iPad. Granted, things will look a bit different on a phone or Android device, but this will give you a feel for Dolphin’s capabilities.
Safari is the onboard browser for Apple and there is also a Windows version available as a free download. It has a deceptively simple design but a lot of functionality. In addition to the common tools found in most browsers – bookmarks, tabbed browsing and plugins – Safari has features you won’t find elsewhere. Here’s a look at some of the features that make Safari unique:
- Web Archive. If you visit a site and want to save a copy of that page, Safari lets you save the page as a web archive. The page is saved to your computer with all the content, images and layout intact. You can view your web archive files in Safari browser even when you aren’t connected to the Internet.
- Reading List (the eyeglasses icon you see at the left end of the bookmark bar) lets you save web pages to read later. And, if you’re an iCloud user, Safari can be configured to save your reading list in your iCloud so they’re automatically available on all your devices.
- Safari Reader is just as interesting. When Safari detects you are on a page that contains an article, the Reader icon appears in the Smart Address Bar. Click on it and a pane opens presenting a clean version of the article for you to read. Click on the icon again and you’re back on the web page.
- There’s both a spell checker and grammar checker built into the browser which comes in handy when you’re commenting at blog sites or filling in forms online.
- The search function will search both the web and the current page. Researchers will love the orange Snap Back icon that appears in the search bar once you follow a link from your search results. Click on it and you are returned to your search results page. It’s a little thing, but boy does it come in handy.
- Bloggers can take advantage of the Developers menu (has to be turned on in Preferences) to see what their blog looks like in other browsers. Choose the Open Page With … option from the Develop menu and choose the browser you want. The Develop > User Agent command lets you see what your page looks like in various versions – including iPhone and iPad. Safari also supports the Web Open Font Format (WOFF) which means it displays all the new web fonts beautifully.
- Safari Extensions Gallery isn’t near as large as Chrome of Firefox, but you will find plenty of familiar faces like Evernote, Instapaper, 1Password and more.
These are just a few of the many things Safari can do. To get a complete list of features, check out the Safari page at Apple.
iPad users will find the kikin browser [iPad - free] a joy to use. When it comes to online research, it puts a whole new face on how we search.
While browsing a web site, a long tap on a word, name or phrase will display a popup pane showing search results for that item. Here I’ve tapped the word calibre in a recent Gazette article and the results are shown in the pane. I can tap on any of these items to view that site. When I do, I’m taken to that site in another popup pane. Once finished there, I tap the close button and I’m right back where I started. I never lose my place no matter how far I wander while searching.
kikin supports tabbed browsing with the ability to “pin” your favorite sites in the tab bar – like the Facebook example shown here – so they’re always in easy reach. The omni bar serves both to enter the address to a specific site or to enter a search term or phrase. As you type, a pane appears just below it displaying suggested sites (if your typing a URL) or suggested search terms. It also performs a search for your term/phrase within the text of the displayed page. Just tap one of the suggestions and off you go. The open book icon on the toolbar displays your bookmarks. The social icon gives you the opportunity to share with your favorite social sites and the functions icon offers options for bookmarking, saving and printing.
Tap on a place or address and kikin gives you a map to find it. Notice in this example, a social icon appears at the top right corner of the search pane. That can be used to share the map with others.
This browser is a delight to use and I’ve found the long tap quickly becomes second nature. If I’m reading a story about a specific person, event or place, that long tap quickly brings up an encyclopedia of information about that topic. For a news story, it provides background, original documents, opinions and more. All it needs to truly be a researcher’s dream come true is a connection to Evernote.
Diigo, the bookmarking platform for researchers, has built a browser for the iPad. iChromy [iPad -free] has a funny name, but after spending the evening working with it, that name is sounding real good.
The first thing you’ll see is tabbed browsing – with real tabs. After years of tabs on desktop browsers, tabs at the top of the screen are second nature. I’ve missed them on the iPad, but no more. The address bar does double-duty as the search bar. And, all you do to bookmark a page is tap the star at the right of the address bar. It turns gold and this page is bookmarked. Tap the open book icon just to the right of the address bar to display your bookmarks.
Want to open a link in a new tab? Do a long tap on that link and a popup menu offers you options to open it in a tab, a background tab or add it to the offline reading list. The difference between a tab and a background tab is that the background tab opens the new page, but the browser stays focused on the current page.
Select some text on a web page and not only will you see the standard Copy command, iChromy also offers the opportunity to do a search based on your selected text. I love it!
Notice the glasses icon just to the right of the bookmark star? Tap it and iChromy will save the displayed page for offline reading. Tap the pages icon to display those saved pages.
The share icon displays the menu you see here. Yes, you can send a page to your Diigo bookmarks along with social networks. Tap the More button to find Evernote, Instapaper, Tumblr and other sharing options. With this browser, you can now actually do some serious research on your iPad.
I’m very impressed with this browser and quickly getting comfortable with its operation. One look at the reviews in the App Store shows I’m not alone. And, knowing Diigo, I’m sure this is just the beginning and this little browser will only get better.
Your browser is probably your most useful digital tool for research. Let’s see how well you know yours . . .
- How do you increase/decrease the type size displayed in your browser screen?
Press CTRL/+ (CMD/+ on Mac) to increase the type size and CTRL/- (CMD/-) to decrease.
- Can you set more than one site as your home page?
Yes, for all but Chrome.
- How do you set a default search engine?
Look in your browser’s preferences.
- Does your browser offer translations without addins?
Only Chrome does that.
- How do you tell if there is an RSS feed available on the page you’re viewing?
Firefox and Safari display a button in the address bar. Internet Explorer’s RSS icon in the toolbar turns orange. Chrome requires an extension.
- Can your browser reopen a tab you closed?
Only if you use Firefox. Press CTRL/SHIFT/t to reopen a tab you just closed.
Take a few minutes to explore the features available in your browser. You might even want to test drive one of the others to see if it suits your needs better. The more you know about your research tools, the more they can help you. Visit these sites to learn more: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer. Note that Internet Explorer only works on Windows systems. The others work on Windows and Mac. Firefox even works on Linux.
Apple just released version 5 of its Safari browser [Mac & Windows]. One very handy feature found in version 5 is the Reader. No, this isn’t yet another ebook reader, but rather a clean view of an online article. Here’s how it works.
When you visit a blog or web page, you may see a Reader button appear at the right side of the address bar. Click on that button and a clean copy of the article will appear over the page as seen in the example below. Even if the article is a multi-page article, it will appear as one complete page in Reader.
Move your mouse to the bottom of the window and a toolbar appears offering zoom, email and print options. These allow you to email or print the clean version of the article. Once you’re done reading, click on the “X” icon to close the Reader and return to the original site.
This is just one of many improvements included in Safari 5. To learn more and download a free copy of the Safari 5 browser, visit Apple’s Safari page.