No one’s opinion is better considered than Walt Mossberg’s, at the Wall Street Journal, so when he recommended GuruNet last week, I tried it. Not surprisingly, Walt’s right again: Took no time to install and less to learn. Now, whether in an e-mail or on the net or anywhere, just point to a word or name you want to know about and “Alt-Click.” Seconds later, you know what prestidigitation means, what a coup de grâce is, what NGO stands for, or who Disraeli was. Amazing and wonderful.
This one is a little harder to get up and running, but only a little, and I’ve used it with great success for more than a year since Joe Cherner first turned me on to it. You can download it and use it free for 30 days; beyond that, it’s $35. Basically, MacroExpress lets you assign “hot keys” and “short keys” that will spare you typing things the long way, and automate tasks you do frequently. I’m too stupid to have figured out the second part of it — who has time to figure out how to save all this time? But the first part is very helpful. Instead of typing my address, I type zzF and out pops my Florida address, whether in my word processor or e-mail or anywhere else. Instead of typing the disclosure statement about political contributions, I type zzP and out it pours. There’s much more to it than this, but you get the idea.
I own part of this one, as many of you know; but it’s free, so I don’t feel too bad telling you it’s gotten still better. Just type qb.com (your browser should supply the rest) and you’ll find tools that let you search or browse the web much more easily. Under SELECTIONS, you can (for example) pull together a daily one-click feed of your favorite comic strips or customize a page from sites on your favorite football team. Under NEWSSTAND you can design your own e-newspaper in under 30 seconds and have it delivered to you at will. SEARCH lets you see the first page or two of hits from all the search engines you like to use, without having to go from one to the next. Finally, MY QUICKBROWSE gives you the tools to combine any set of web pages into one long one, viewed once, or delivered to you on a schedule of your choosing. Not bad for free. You can even win a Palm Pilot by telling friends about Quickbrowse.
As you know, you can now view my past columns in Quickbrowse Mode, as well. A good use of your time? No! But at least with QB, you’ll waste time faster.
Meanwhile, QB hit the New York Times’ Navigator list yesterday — first on its list of “new additions.” And for those of you who read Arabic, you’ll see an article explaining how Quickbrowse can be used to get around oppressive government censorship.
QB is still in its infancy, but it’s amazing to see how much Marc Fest and his small crew have accomplished on a budget of about 18 cents. It’s used from New York to New Delhi, from Maine to Marrakech.
Tomorrow: A Kiss Is Just a Kiss, A Sigh is Just a Sigh
Quote of the Day
A penny saved may be a penny earned, but it's one boring penny. A penny invested, on the other hand, bounces around. It gets bigger one day, smaller the next. A bit player in the drama of global finance, that penny buys a guy a balcony seat in the theater of macroeconomics.~Susan Stewart
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