Sunday, April 18, 2010

Browsers and Searching --Some tools

A couple of my friends thought I should write about some tools they found that can help make Boomer's browsing and searching lives easier.

The first one is Opera Mini for the iPhone which was introduced this week. The iPhone comes pre-loaded with the Safari web browser from Apple, and Safari is a good web browser. So why would you need another? If you haven't noticed, web browsing on an iPhone can be a painful experience, especially when there is a lot of network traffic---a frequent occurrence in many cities. It takes a while to get a good signal if you aren't at a Wi-Fi hotspot. Then you have to wait for pages to load. That's why apps are so appealing. They load and get you the information you want without waiting.

Some browsers work better than others. Opera Mini is optimized for the mobile web but it isn't iPhone optimized. Safari renders web pages that have been optimized for the iPhone better. However, Opera loads web pages really fast, faster than the Safari browser that comes with the iPhone. It especially loads pages from sites you've already visited much faster. I gave the Opera Mini a try out this weekend and I was generally impressed. It worked admirably.  If you live in a place where there is a lot of web congestion, I suggest giving the Opera Mini a try. It's free at the App store.

Another interesting site brought to my attention was powered by  Google Search. It's just a search box, but one designed to be easy to use. The young people behind were trying to design something to make searching on the Internet more user friendly for their grandfather. The developer-- who just happens to be a 16 year old -- says:
Designed with the public's health in mind, Good50 has pre-set the search box to a larger size and gives the option to adjust to a larger font in the search results. These features of Good50 will reduce eye strain and help to prevent Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Some possible symptoms of CVS include headaches, dry and/or red eyes, fatigue, double vision, and neck or back pain.

They've also developed a version for people who have trouble with low vision:
We have a high contrast version for people with low vision. This option can also help save energy on a CRT monitor as a black background takes less energy to display than a white one. So, why not Go Green

The twist with is that for every 50 searches, the company donates 5 cents to good causes. The money goes to a different charity each month. Last month Good50 donated to the Red Cross for Haiti Earthquake Relief; this month the money is going to Meals on Wheels.

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