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Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 5)

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 5) is now available for download. This is a minor release that fixes the bug in Beta 4 that prevented changes to the standard search site (return) from actually taking effect.

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 4)

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 4) is now available for download.

The first major improvement concerns search history. Inquisitor now includes searches from your search history in the suggestion pop-down, highlighted and prioritized by the last time searched. This is different from Beta 3 which would highlight previously used search terms, but would not augment the global suggestions with your own personal search history. There are also new preference controls for this.

The second major improvement is the addition of user-customizable shortcut-triggered search sites. For example (using the default settings), hitting return in the search field searches Google, option-return takes you directly to the first Google result, control-return takes you to A9.com’s results, option-command-i does an image search, etc. These shortcuts also work when the search field is not active, so you can flip between different search sites with relative ease simply by using the keyboard.

I’d also just like to remind people that Inquisitor is donation-ware, and your donations are very important in keeping this project alive. I do have many other major time commitments (public and not), and every donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in helping me justify continued refinement of this project. Thanks in advance!

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  • June 19th, 2005 4:35 pm

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 3)

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 3) is now available. Inquisitor now incorporates a certain amount of local knowledge – that is, your personal search history – when producing search completions. This is somewhat explicit as previously selected items in the list are drawn with a slightly highlighted background.

Beta 3 also fixes minor bugs when doing site: searches or queries with quotes. Also, highlight colors now abide to the user’s appearance settings.

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 2)

Inquisitor 1.0 Beta 2 is now available for download. The sole change is the addition of a user preference to disable animation effects, which can positively alter the perceived speed and responsiveness of the interaction.

Inquisitor 1.0 (Beta 1)

I’m pleased to announce that the first beta of Inquisitor is now available for download. Inquisitor is a predictive-search extension for Safari with a simple and sensible interface (with some interface flourishes for effect). It augments the Safari web search field with predictive search capabilities.

Predictive search has two really compelling uses:

Auto-completion: Suppose you want to search for the keyword “acquisition”. With Inquisitor, you need only type “acq”. The remainder is filled in automatically since Inquisitor knows that “acquisition” is what most people will end up typing.

Query suggestion: Suppose you type in “ipod”, but aren’t really sure how to make the query more specific. Inquisitor provides a list of common queries involving the “ipod” keyword, such as “ipod shuffle”, “ipod mini”, “ipod accessories”, “ipod cases”, etc. Pick one and go.

Inquisitor 1.0 is freeware. If you want to send a token of appreciation or encourage the continued refinement of Inquisitor, tips/donations are graciously accepted.

Please note that this release requires Mac OS X Tiger – a Panther-compatible version is a possibility for the future.

Inquisitor rebirthed

Many months ago, I developed an application concept for a web search utility called ‘Inquisitor’. The idea was pursued for a few releases before I decided I was chasing an interesting idea up a tree. The executive summary is that Inquisitor, as a separate application, was too far removed from the web browser to be truly useful in regular situations. Over the last few days I’ve been toying with a concept that has a similar conceptual basis to Inquisitor (and will take on the name), but is properly integrated with the web browser (Safari). The idea is simple enough – add predictive search capabilities to the Google search field in Safari. Think Google Suggest (which doesn’t actually work in Safari, strangely enough) with superfluous eye candy. When? Soon. And it’ll be free.

NewsFire 1.1 (v35)

NewsFire 1.1 has been updated with a variety of useful small changes:
– a new status bar that shows the URL of the link you are targeting
– some alternate mouse-over highlight color schemes (though I still fully endorse the default/classic style)
– fix for shifting previous/next arrows, though this wasn’t so much a “fix” as a complete reimplementation of that part of the user interface
– slightly improved smart feed interaction design

NewsFire 1.1 beta (v31)

I’m pleased to announce that NewsFire 1.1 is now available as a beta download. This is a beta release, so all the usual caveats apply.

The changes are pretty straightforward, actually – NewsFire 1.1 is all about podcasts. While 1.0 supported podcasts/audio enclosures using an embedded QuickTime widget, version 1.1 builds on a substantially enhanced download and play mechanism that can essentially be described as a fusion of an iTunes/QuickTime player interface with a Safari-esque download window (see: screenshot). The great thing is that this podcast functionality is largely kept out of the main window and thus does not pollute the primary news reading experience.

To complement the enhanced podcasting features, NewsFire now includes an “Audio” tab in the search pane, allowing you to quickly and effortlessly find audio content across the blogosphere.

On an unrelated note, NewsFire 1.1 has changed the restrictions in place on unregistered versions. Newsfire 1.1 no longer has an absolute launch limit – that is, you can run it unregistered forever, if your conscience allows that sort of freeloading. In exchange for this generously relaxed condition, nags are more frequent and feed limits more stringently enforced. This is, of course, an attempt to keep NewsFire accessible to the largest audience, while still providing strong incentives for people to register. It goes without saying that registration not only gives the user the best possible experience, it is the only way that future development of NewsFire can be funded.

NewsFire Teaser

NewsFire: 4 stars from Macworld, ‘highly recommended’

Apparently Macworld has done a review of NewsFire for their June 2005 issue and has given it 4 stars. Again, I am delighted – these reviews are really positive for a 1.0 release. NewsFire has a huge amount of potential and things will only improve in the coming months. Macworld’s buying advice:

“NewsFire 1.0 is an excellent application and I highly recommend it. It’s a great value compared to other RSS readers in its category, and I expect that it will only continue to improve.”

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  • March 30th, 2005 5:45 pm