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Posts tagged with "browser"

iCab Browser Updated for iOS 7, Adds Keyboard Shortcuts and Multi-User Support

iCab has long been one of the most powerful third-party browsers for iOS, pioneering features such as extensive integration with x-callback-url for automation, sync through iCloud and Dropbox for bookmarks and a proprietary Reading List, and integration with many third-party services for read-later and bookmarking functionalities.

Last week, iCab was updated to version 8.0, which has brought a redesign for iOS 7 and a reorganization of the app’s Settings; according to developer Alexander Clauss, the app has also been completely rewritten, resulting in native support for 64-bit devices, background downloads (iCab’s download manager is one of the app’s marquee features), and overall faster performance under iOS 7.

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CloudyTabs Puts iCloud Tabs In Your Mac’s Menu Bar



Since I switched to Safari as my primary browser, I’ve been enjoying the convenience of iCloud Tabs, which allow me to easily find webpages that I have open on my devices and re-open them anywhere, at any time. iCloud Tabs have been reliable and fast in my experience, and I cannot imagine going back to a browser that doesn’t have this sort of functionality.

The problem with iCloud Tabs is that they’re limited to Safari, so if you’re using Chrome or Firefox on OS X, you can’t access the tabs that you have open on your iPhone or iPad. For this reason, Josh Parnham has devised a simple and clever solution: CloudyTabs is a menu bar app that lists iCloud Tabs open on all your devices. CloudyTabs reads data from the .plist file that stores iCloud Tabs data on OS X, which is why the app isn’t available on the App Store and has been released on GitHub.

Once installed, CloudyTabs will need a few seconds to find open tabs and after that it’ll present a dropdown menu listing devices and webpages open on each one of them. You can CMD-click tabs to open them in the background in your default browser, and there’s a handy shortcut to open all tabs from a specific device at once. You can also type the first few letters of a tab’s title to select it.

If you don’t use Safari on OS X and wish there was a way to open iCloud Tabs without copying and pasting URLs, CloudyTabs gets the job done quite elegantly, and it’s free. You can download it here.

Command-C Browser Actions



When I’m writing on my iPad at home, there’s a chance I have my MacBook on my desk with either iTunes open (to check for app updates or playing music from iTunes Match/Radio) or MailMate running (because I’ve been having issues with Mail on the beta of iOS 7.1). It’s not uncommon for me to use a dual-monitor setup when writing, relying on my MacBook for Google searches and other reference material – effectively, I use it as a secondary display to my iPad when I’m working on articles that require a fair amount of research.

Since the release of Command-C, I’ve been using Danilo Torrisi’s utility to quickly beam text and URLs across all my devices, using Launch Center Pro actions to speed up the process. Command-C has excellent support for URL schemes – a boon to iPad users who fiddle with automation tricks to save time when working on iOS. I recently realized, however, that most of the content I share with Command-C is made of URLs from Safari, therefore I asked myself whether I could put together a solution to send URLs with one click from Safari without using an external app or keyboard shortcut. It was pretty clear from the beginning that I would end up with a bookmarklet, but I have to thank Danilo for providing the necessary guidance I needed to achieve the kind of workflow I wanted.

The bookmarklet is part made for myself, part proof of concept (as always) for others to iterate upon. It doesn’t only send URLs from Safari on another device with Command-C – it sends the webpage you’re currently viewing in Safari to another app on another device with Command-C.

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Leaving Google Chrome: Why I’ve Returned To Safari



I guess you could say that I was quite the fan of Google Chrome.

Before switching to Chrome last year, I didn’t have a “favorite” browser or “browser of choice”: I just kept jumping between Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, trying out all the features that the three major players had to offer on OS X. I’m pretty sure that, at one point, I even tried to go a full week with using Opera. My browser requirements have always been fairly standard (several open tabs; a lot of reading; sync with mobile devices), so I could afford to change browsers without having to worry about setting up a complex environment from scratch.[1]

As I started using my iPad as my primary computer last year, I was growing increasingly annoyed with the state of iCloud sync in Safari and lack of major overhaul to a design that originally shipped with iPhone OS 1. I don’t frequently abandon systems that work for me due to stagnation, but iOS 6’s Safari exhibited a certain staleness on top of issues with bookmark and tab sync that, for me, were becoming an annoying problem. I liked Safari’s speed and native integrations with iOS, but it was prone to errors and boring.

On the other hand, Google Chrome for iOS was promising, familiar, and power user-friendly. I fell in love with Google’s support for x-callback-url, which I integrated in several workflows of mine as it allowed me to save time when switching between apps on my iPad; sync was nearly perfect; I praised Google’s superior implementation of voice dictation and feedback, although I noted how their Voice Search couldn’t exactly compete with Siri. Google kept pushing updates to Chrome for iOS, making it a capable browser for average and power users alike.

A few weeks after publishing my review of iOS 7, I decided to uninstall Chrome from all my devices and move back to Safari as my main and only browser on my iPhone, iPad, and two Macs.

I’m not looking back. I’m happy with the new Safari – so much, in fact, that I’m even considering Reading List as my “read later” service going forward.

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Quickly Append Browser URLs To Evernote with Keyboard Maestro

I often come across webpages and interesting links that I can’t check out right away, but that I also don’t want to send to Instapaper, Pinboard, or my OmniFocus inbox. They are, put simply, “stuff to check out”; I append these URLs to an Evernote note carrying the same name:



As I detailed in my review of Drafts 3.0 for iOS, appending text from an iPhone or iPad is easy with Agile Tortoise’s app and a combination of Evernote actions and browser bookmarklets, but I had to think of an equally straightforward workflow for the Mac. Unfortunately, the lack of a Drafts app for OS X forced me to resort to AppleScript to achieve the same kind of functionality, but the deal was (partially) sweetened by the new features introduced in Keyboard Maestro 6.0, released back in May.

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1Password 4.1

1Password 4.1

A new version of 1Password for iOS has been released on the App Store, and it contains several fixes and improvements, including some that I suggested in my initial review of the app. Aside from sync improvements and Display settings (I can now set Inconsolata as my password font), I particularly appreciate the possibility to double-tap on a tab on the iPad to go back to root view, and search in portrait mode on iPad. It is no longer needed to tap & hold on rows on item view to show the popup menu, and tapping a secure note shouldn’t bring up the keyboard anymore (as I mentioned in my review, I found that behavior confusing). If you have attachments in secure notes, they’ll now be shown as well in version 4.1.

My favorite feature of 1Password 4.1 is the new URL scheme. There are two types of 1Password URLs: one for search, and another to quickly open a website into 1Password’s built-in browser. The search URL is: onepassword://search/ followed by your search string. You can easily configure this with Launch Center Pro’s keyboard prompt to automatically bring up a search for an item in 1Password starting from Launch Center Pro. If you launch 1Password via URL scheme while it’s locked, 1Password will obviously ask you for the master password first, then proceed to visualize results that match your search.

The URL scheme for opening websites is far more useful for me. You can prepend “op” to a normal Safari URL (so it’ll look something like “ophttp://”) to open it directly into 1Password. For instance, typing op in Safari will launch Google in 1Password’s browser. Therefore, I made a bookmarklet that you can click in Safari to open the current website in 1Password even faster; simply create a bookmarklet with this code:


…And 1Password will launch the website you’re currently viewing. I tested the bookmarklet in Safari and Chrome for iOS; it has become a huge timesaver to quickly log into websites that I access on a frequent basis.

There are many other improvements in 1Password 4.1 that make the app faster, more stable, and that fix some of the graphical glitches that I mentioned in my review. There are some subtle additions as well, such as different colors for digits and symbols in the password field when a cell is selected. 1Password is one of my must-have iOS apps, and make sure to check out the new 4.1 version on the App Store.


Personal Search Results In Google with CloudMagic and Evernote

Personal Search Results In Google with CloudMagic and Evernote

Following my decision to switch back to Google Chrome as my default desktop browser, I have installed two extensions that are making Google search results more useful for me.

Last week, I installed the Evernote web clipper for Chrome, which was capable of displaying my own Evernote notes alongside Google’s search results. This means I can look for, say, “AppleScript iTunes” and likely find something that I had already clipped in Evernote in the past. It is a powerful addition when combined with Evernote’s new Related Notes feature; it also allows me (in the extension’s options) to make the thumbnail results open directly with the Evernote Mac app when clicked. Evernote announced yesterday the possibility to have the same kind of inline results with Safari.

The second addition is CloudMagic’s new extension, which I discovered today thanks to TechCrunch. MacStories readers know why I like CloudMagic:

CloudMagic is fast: it can search across thousands of indexed items in seconds, with results updating in real time. It is astonishingly accurate, even when it has to match a couple of words with, say, hundreds of tweets from last year or an Evernote PDF inside a nested notebook. I use CloudMagic on a daily basis to retrieve old tweets (as reference material), email messages, or notes; in fact, I would say the app has better search than Evernote’s iOS app. Which, by the way, is supported with an URL scheme – so you’ll be able to search notes and open them directly in the Evernote app.

The new CloudMagic extension is exactly what you think it is. Once installed, it’ll find results for your Google query by looking inside the accounts you’ve already configured with CloudMagic. By using both Evernote and CloudMagic, I can get Google results in an instant (the main Google search results load first), then get relevant results from my email inbox, Twitter accounts, Dropbox and Evernote notes, and more Evernote related notes thanks to Evernote’s different algorithm. I would say that 50% of my searches are for items that I have already saved in the past but that I have also likely forgotten about. CloudMagic and Evernote results in the browser allow me to keep using Google but also have my own results show up alongside the normal search I’m used to.

The updated CloudMagic extension is available here.


OmniFocus Browser Bookmarklet and Safari 6

OmniFocus Browser Bookmarklet and Safari 6

Ever since upgrading to Safari 6 and Mountain Lion, I’ve noticed the OmniFocus bookmarklet I had installed stopped working properly. The OmniFocus bookmarklet is a handy addition to my workflow, in that it allows me to quickly save webpages I need to act upon at a later date, while preserving their title, link, and text selection. I often do this for linked posts that end up here on MacStories, or pages that I need to check out but that I’m not ready to bookmark yet (for that, I use Pinboard).

In theory, the OmniFocus bookmarklet should be capable of grabbing a webpage’s URL and selection (if any) as a note. However, of the two bookmarklets provided by The OmniGroup, none of them manages to successfully grab text selection on my machine running Safari 6 and OS X 10.8.1. So I set out to find a better bookmarklet, and I found this version by Alex Popescu that, besides working correctly, has also some nice integration with Gmail.

For Gmail, the bookmarklet creates a new task with the email title as the task title and a note with the current selection (if any), plus a from line in the form: From: email subject:(email subject) email_thread_url. For normal web pages, the bookmarklet creates a new task with the document title as the task title and a note with the current selection (if any), plus a from line in the form: From: page_url.

I tested this on Safari 6, and it works as advertised. The bookmarklet also works on iOS devices, albeit the iPhone’s Mobile Safari can’t send the current text selection from a page to OmniFocus.

Get the bookmarklet here.


Lion Full-Screen, New Tab Page Sneak Into Early Firefox 12 Build

One of the next versions of Firefox, Firefox 12, may feature a series of new interface elements and functionalities that should both appeal to OS X Lion users and introduce new navigation options for those who dont’ want to save their-most accessed websites in a bookmarks bar anymore. As first noted by ExtremeTech, an early version of a proposed new tab page design snuck into a nightly version of Firefox; per Mozilla’s multiple channel releases, users of Firefox can test different versions of the browser, which range from Nightly to Aurora, Beta, Stable, and those uploaded directly to Mozilla’s FTP servers.

ExtremeTech wrote about the new tab page:

The Firefox home tab is a lot more exciting. Basically there are two phases: The first phase will add “launchers” at the bottom — one-click links to your downloads, settings, apps, and so on (pictured right). Phase two is a complete reworking of the home page paradigm, weaving in favorite apps, recent websites, and even instant messaging (pictured below). Phase one is expected to roll out with Firefox 12, but at the time of writing the code still hasn’t been committed.

However, as also noted in an update to the original post, it appears Mozilla has pulled the functionality from the Nightly release of Firefox, leaving it in the “UX version” available for download on Mozilla’s servers. Upon comparing the standard Nightly build to the UX one, I noticed the latter already contains the grid design for top websites pictured above, and full-screen support for Lion.

I wasn’t able to activate ExtremeTech’s home tab page design with search, Top Apps, Top Sites and Chat in a single window; the current Firefox UX Nightly build features shortcuts along the bottom of the window to open History, Settings, Add-ons, Apps, and Downloads. A new “Restore Previous Session” button is also provided in case you haven’t set Firefox to automatically re-open previously open tabs on launch.

Changes that appear in Firefox Nightly builds typically carry over to the other stages of development and are further tweaked with refinements and bug fixes, but there could be changes in the features that Mozilla decides to implement once version 12 hits the beta channel. As for Lion support, Mozilla failed to deliver any significant optimization since the OS’ release back in July, unlike competitor Chrome which added new scrolling, full-screen support and gesture navigation (among other things) fairly quickly. A designer at Mozilla mocked up some ideas that the company could deliver in a future version of Firefox for Lion, but as of version 12 nightly (Firefox stable is currently at version 9) it seems those ideas haven’t been taken into consideration yet.