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but what is solid information?
January 27, 2005 6:47 PM   Subscribe

Liquid Information. Does it change anything? Or is it just like the Trillian wikipedia lookup function, only not as good?
posted by bingo (23 comments total)

 
I meant: Does it change anything?
posted by bingo at 6:50 PM on January 27, 2005


Either it isn't Firefox happy, or one of my ad filters is nuking it, so I'd have to say it doesn't change anything at all.
posted by krisjohn at 7:12 PM on January 27, 2005


It doesn't seem to change anything with Safari.
posted by birdherder at 7:12 PM on January 27, 2005


Interesting concept but I'm not sure why it took a lot of research. Perhaps I'm missing something or more contextual attributes will be added in the future? Granted, I haven't read every document on the Liquid Information site.
posted by melt away at 7:14 PM on January 27, 2005


I broke down and powered up an unfiltered IE to see what the deal was.

It wasn't worth it. A pop-up for every word on the page? No thanks.
posted by krisjohn at 7:15 PM on January 27, 2005


Works for me in Firefox (i guess). Is the idea to simply provide context to any word or phrase that you move your mouse over? I'm not exactly impressed, but maybe I'm not seeing this in the appropriate light. What's it really good for?
posted by odinsdream at 7:17 PM on January 27, 2005


^^you said it. Its already pretty easy to google a word, im not sure i need a pop-up menu over every freakin thing my mouse runs over...
posted by Kifer85 at 7:18 PM on January 27, 2005


It's neat, sure, but I don't think it's revolutionary. Text is already a pretty advanced technology. It's high density, low bandwidth, easy to reproduce, easily convertible to different formats and media and surprisingly flexible. My brain is already pretty good at filtering text, so I don't see why I need a separate tool to do it for me. Maybe I'm just a luddite, but I like web pages which adhere closely to the functionality of a printed page: cleanly laid out, uncluttered and easily navigable. Adding a bunch of widgets to what I'm trying to read won't make it easier for me to digest.

Also, Firefox's built in pseudo- (or is it full-blown?) regexp interface does a lot of stuff that this does without the annoying pop up over every word.

And, as an aside, who decided that the one-column format worked well online? Trying to read CNN.com with this thing was like trying to read the side of a cereal box with spyware.
posted by mmcg at 7:44 PM on January 27, 2005


mmcg

that was brilliant!
posted by onalark at 8:12 PM on January 27, 2005


mmcg, it's surprisingly hard to code traditional multi-column layouts with the current implementation of CSS. The next version should have some tools to fill this gap, but it shouldn't be surprising that very few sites use multi-column formats, and even less use them well.

What's this regexp firefox stuff you mentioned? I'm interested.
posted by odinsdream at 8:13 PM on January 27, 2005


If you get your window focus on the display part of the browser window (ie, click the cursor anywhere on a webpage that is not a link) and hit the '/' key, Firefox will search as you type within the document. I referred to it as a regexp-like because that's how you do regexp searches in vi, but I've never actually had a reason to use it with anything but plain text. Also, ctrl-g (on a PC) will search for the string again. It's probably the most useful feature in the browser, in my opinion.
posted by mmcg at 8:26 PM on January 27, 2005


Hey! What a nice shortcut. I was using Ctrl/?-F all this time, thanks!
posted by odinsdream at 8:50 PM on January 27, 2005


er, the ? was supposed to be the squiggly command symbol.
posted by odinsdream at 8:51 PM on January 27, 2005


If you hit ' instead of / it will search for text only in links.
posted by kindall at 10:21 PM on January 27, 2005


If you check "Begin finding when you type" in the options menu, you don't even need to hit "/". You just make sure you're not clicked on an input box, and start typing the word you want to find. Press F3 to find subsequent occurences.

I've found that, after tabs and adblock, it's the most used Firefox feature for me.
posted by Bugbread at 10:54 PM on January 27, 2005


holy y2karl, batman!
posted by crunchland at 11:16 PM on January 27, 2005


this would be really cool if it translated foreign languages on-the-fly too...
posted by mhh5 at 11:42 PM on January 27, 2005


Not to continue with the hijacking of this thread, but Mozilla/Firefox's find-as-you-type is THE most compelling feature for me, after popup blocking of course. I constantly use the /-type feature to jump to what I'm looking for. In fact, I get so annoyed when I'm at someone else's computer and find only IE and can't do those kinds of searches, that I bought the tiniest USB thumb drive on the market and installed a special portable/flash drive version of Mozilla on it. Now I just pull that from my pocket and stick into the offending computer's front USB port, wait 10 seconds, and I'm back in happy Mozillaland!

Slash-typeletters-F3-F3-F3-wheeeeee.....

Oh, and turning back towards this thread's nominal topic, barely, in Moz/FF you can highlight any text, right-click for context menu, and then select "Web search for ..." and it will google for that word. I use that feature constantly too.
posted by intermod at 5:49 AM on January 28, 2005


... tiniest USB thumb drive on the market ...

I just picked up two of these... they're about as thick as three pennies. It always bugged me that I'd have to remember to carry the USB drive with me. This way I can slide it in my wallet, which I always have with me. Thanks for the portablefirefox link!
posted by odinsdream at 9:03 AM on January 28, 2005


This reminds me of the whole Smart Tags kafuffle a few years back.

And have you seen the source of one of these "liquidated" pages? Holy bandwidth, batman.
posted by howling fantods at 9:20 AM on January 28, 2005


I was hoping this would be something like a Memex program, as described in Vannevar Bush's legendary article As We May Think. I think that something like that as a web browser extension would take the Internet to new and interesting places. This is just little pop-ups on mouseover, which you can get involuntarily from some spyware.
posted by graymouser at 9:21 AM on January 28, 2005


Interesting concept but I'm not sure why it took a lot of research.

If you have time, you should read up on The Curse of Xanadu. It's a feature that appeared on wired many many years ago.
Xanadu was supposed to become a hypertext system that was inspired by the memex article graymouser just mentioned and it has been in the works for more then 30 years. I'm wondering if they actually are still trying to develop it, but the liquid information concept sounds pretty much like what the originator of Xanadu wanted to do.
posted by Timeless at 12:32 PM on January 28, 2005


Timeless - ah, how could I forget Xanadu? It's been several years since I did my research on Memex, and it slipped out of mind. Still, the notion of dynamic link trails through the world's knowledge appeals deeply to me. I think it'll be possible to engineer something of the sort someday, even if it's not quite here yet.
posted by graymouser at 1:01 PM on January 28, 2005


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