Abstraction is a term programmers like to use – the concept of which is basically to approach/tackle a problem CONCEPTUALLY rather than with specific tools. In other words, if applied properly, you’d be able to do whatever it is you intend to do without being tied to a specific requirement (e.g. “I can’t do this unless I have this specific piece of equipment”)
So why the hell am I talking about that right now? Nothing important, can’t a guy shoot the breeze once in a while? It’s been ages since I talked about something in the blog anyways 😉
But sure, let’s apply that a bit on a current experience.I’ve confirmed that in Lion, the CPU+GPU combination of my Hackintosh is known to crash the Flash plugin on Safari and FireFox (FF). Chrome is left unaffected, however.
I’ve confirmed this personally 1 Cuz you know, I don’t trust anything anyone says unless I can prove it myself hahaha when I uninstalled Flash and found out that Chrome still could play Flash content 2 Suggesting that it had it’s own sandboxed player for the browser – which explains why it wasn’t affected the same way the other two were I know about the whole HTML5 rage these days, but unfortunately, I make a living out of Flash – so this bug wasn’t something I could ignore.
Now I’ve been using FF for a lot of years (possibly even before I got into programming). While I have no qualms switching from one browser to another, 3 as long as it wasn’t IE I have to admit that I’ve gotten quite acclimated to it; investing time in setting it up for optimal daily use.
As far as I know, it was first to market with extensions, and I believe they were also first with the bookmark syncing service. So it made sense I would use that. Just have all my machines use Firefox, sync the bookmarks, and everything is seamless.
I’ve been paying the productivity price of putting all my eggs in one browser in one form or another over the years – but I haven’t been resting on my laurels; I’ve kept my eye out for services/apps that could allow me to migrate from Firefox to what I’d hope would be any browser.
For the bookmarks, I stopped using Firefox’s built-in sync service in favor of XMarks (formerly FoxMarks) – which is a bookmark syncing service that can sync across any browser. So that obviously solved my bookmarking problems.
I’ve also found corresponding extension on the Chrome store that do pretty much the same thing as my Firefox extensions, so that’s been solved as well. I’m not closer to being ready to make the switch… but there’s still one major gotcha.
One thing that keeps me on Firefox was its native keyword shortcuts. The keyword shortcut basically allows you to tie a keyword to your bookmarks, and it also allows you to use wildcards in your URL strings.
So for example, if I wanted to search for “keyport” in my Flickr photostream for something, normally I’d
- Go to Flickr
- Go to my photo stream
- Type in my query
- Make sure I’ve selected “your photo stream” before hitting submit 4 And that option will ONLY appear if you’re in your photo stream – to make sure I’m only searching my pictures and not the entire Flickr database.
The query URL that’s generated from the procedure I just did is
Now, that’s at least 4 steps to get what I want. With Firefox’s customizable keyword shortcuts, I could just assign a keyword “flickr” to pre-populate the required URL string (
http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=87509947@N00&q=%s) for the search and put a wildcard on the actual query (
So instead of doing 4 steps, I just type in directly on my browser something like
flickr keyport 5 Or in my case it’s really just the letter “f” – so it’s a keyletter instead of keyword hehehe and it’ll do a search of “keyport” in my Flickr photo stream immediately.
Pretty nifty – and I’ve spent a lot of time creating a bunch of them which makes me much faster with anything I do on the web. So it’s not that fun to migrate stuff unless I’m sure the solution would be a more permanent “abstraction” as it were.
I kept on putting it off for later – cuz I wasn’t prepared to migrate that many shortcuts just yet. But now my hand has been forced -I have to use Chrome. So I finally bit the bullet, Sat myself down and started the grueling process of moving it to Alfred.
It’s worth mentioning that there are extensions for Chrome and Safari which enables keyword shortcuts – but like I said earlier on, should something happen to those browsers down the road, I’d end up with the same problem I’m having right now with FF.
So I figured putting it in Alfred would be a better method of “abstraction” – because the app doesn’t care what browser you’re using. It also consolidates everything into it. I remember the time (when Alfred wasn’t available) I would use QuickSilver for app launching, Spotlight for file searching, and Firefox for keyword shortcuts. At least now everything is done in one place and should make everything more intuitive… at least for me 😉
I’ve been so OC about this that I even put its custom searches database into Dropbox. That way, all the “Alfreds” on my other machines would be in sync 🙂 I’ve even disabled all the “default” web searches it makes available (to avoid accidentally triggering the wrong search). For example, I’ve been so used to pressing “g” for my google searches in FF, that the habit carried over as well when in Chrome. I even tend to type in “g query” when searching through Google’s main site as well.
So I’ve decided not to unlearn that habit, and just put it right into Alfred; bypassing all his automatic search features. That way I could just use my keywords work exactly as they did with FireFox, and know that same exact “phrase” I use would work across any browser I set as default.
Now that’s abstraction 🙂
|⇡1||Cuz you know, I don’t trust anything anyone says unless I can prove it myself hahaha|
|⇡2||Suggesting that it had it’s own sandboxed player for the browser – which explains why it wasn’t affected the same way the other two were|
|⇡3||as long as it wasn’t IE|
|⇡4||And that option will ONLY appear if you’re in your photo stream|
|⇡5||Or in my case it’s really just the letter “f” – so it’s a keyletter instead of keyword hehehe|