Friday, July 31, 2009

Ubuntu's default firefox search

So I have been using Karmic for a while now and I recently noticed that Ubuntu folks have changed the default search engine from plain old Google to Google custom search. How did I notice? I frequently use Google's built-in calculator to find out info about a great variety of things, like currency conversion:
The above is what I usually expect. It spits out a quick result with the obligatory disclaimer underneath it. Then some search results appear below it, which 99% of the time are totally uninteresting once I get the actual information I was looking for. These days the same search query produced an output like this:
Needless to say, this is does not really satisfy my needs. Now I don't have problems with these kinds of ads, my problem is that the calculator result is omitted. Hidden. Left out. So I went on and tweaked some settings like the keyword.url in about:config to no avail. My last attempt was to replace the default search engine with one of my "own" plain old google search plugins. Actually, I haven't managed to do this. Instead, I tried to add the plugin by another name, then use it instead of the ubuntu-supplied one. For this I have put up a simple web page with a stupid javascript that adds a new search plugin, which actually worked, so the story ends here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Usable UI

It's been a long and busy time since the last post which involved me getting my Masters degree, but now I'm back to coding.

The README file which is on hackage goes on about a version that is to be released by the end of May, but well, it didn't make it (partly because I didn't want to upload an unusable program full of bugs).

Now I'm concentrating on usability, then I'll get back to bugfixing. Most of the time I'm getting myself familiar with GTK concepts including glade and the gtk2hs bindings, we'll see what evolves from this. Here's a screenshot for now which shows the planned UI for 0.4:

It shows the weak root normal form of an expression which computes prime numbers by the sieve of Eratosthenes. What's important is that there's a
  • menu bar at the top (which is currently a noop but I plan to make it usable)
  • navigation buttons at the top left (these are working, hooray!)
  • a map at the bottom left showing your current position in the rewriting process (this is a tree which should not be upside down, with a blue spot marking the current position)
  • and of course the main view
At the moment only the main view and navigation buttons work flawlessly, I still have some plumbing to do on the others.