THE TGB ELDER GEEK: Love Your Address Bar
Thursday, 28 May 2009
As Claire Jean points at The Elder Storytelling Place today, I screwed up something yesterday and did not link to the ESP story by Leah Aronoff. Here is the link to And It's Only April. Please do go read it.
EDITORIAL NOTE: Virginia DeBolt (bio) writes the bi-weekly Elder Geek column for Time Goes By in which she takes the mystery out of techie things all bloggers and internet users need to know to simplify computer use. She has written several books on technology and keeps two blogs herself, Web Teacher and First 50 Words.
Some of you can skip today's post. Some of you shouldn't. Here's how to decide whether to keep reading:
Do you know how to find a web site by going straight to the location? If so, you can skip.
Do you know what a location or address bar is but don't use it much? If so, maybe you can skip.
Do you search for everything on Google, even when you know what you want? If so, you should keep reading.
Do you struggle to type long URLs including the http:// in the location bar when you know where you want to go? If so, you should keep reading.
Let's get right to a definition of terms. Every browser has a location bar, also known as an address bar, also known as a navigation bar. Different browsers use different names. It's the spot where you see the URL of the page you are reading. What's a URL? It's a web site address.
If you don't see this at the top of your browser, you can make it show by finding it in the View Menu. In this image from Firefox, you see that it is View > Toolbars > Navigation Toolbar.
Do You Know Where You are Going?
I'm not getting philosophical here, I'm talking about web sites. When you sit down before your browser, do you know where you're going?
Yes? Here's the important next question. How do you get where you're going? Let's use a specific example. Suppose you know you want to go to a local TV station's web site. One of my local TV stations is called KOB. How would I get to the KOB TV site?
Here's the slow and inefficient way to do it: Go to Google. Type KOB TV in the search bar. Wait for the search. When the web site link appears in the search results, click it.
Here's the quick and easy way to do it: Go to the address bar at the top of the window and delete whatever is already there. (Click anywhere in what it says there already; it should all be highlighted and you can just click delete.)
Then type in the blank space. In my example, I would type KOB. But you could put the name of any website you know there: Sprint, Southwest Airlines, Dell, New York Times, Time Goes By, whatever.
The browser will usually find what you want, unless it's a pretty obscure website. The browser will take you directly to the home page of the site. If there are a number of similarly named sites with different domain extensions (like .com, .org, and .edu), you get a page of search results so you can pick the one you meant.
If you type Web Teacher in a browser location bar you get a search result because there are a number of sites called Web Teacher. The one I recommend is webteacher.ws. Okay, full disclosure: it's my blog.
If you know that there are several sites called Web Teacher and you know that the absolute best one is webteacher.ws, then go to the location bar and type webteacher.ws. You'll go straight to the right place. No http:// or anything else needed.
You've Got a History
In the extreme right end of your location bar, you see a triangle. If you click on that triangle, you see a list of some of the frequented web sites in your history. (Your browser keeps track of where you go and calls this data history.)
If you visit a site often, you can probably find it in this list. Scroll down to the name and click. You don't have to type anything.
If you read this far, I hope you learned something about using your browser a little more efficiently to help you get where you want to go as quickly as possible. URL, anyone?
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, a note from Ronni.
Thanks for all of that.
I do use the address bar sometimes, but if you don't live in the United States, it might be better to use the google option... at least you get to choose the "foreign" web page without having to go through the whole episode twice.
I live in Australia and need to use google here. When I am with my daughter in California, I can use the address bar.
Posted by: ejanea | Thursday, 28 May 2009 at 04:32 AM
Oh, I am guilty of always looking things up in Google. Then again, the history triangle doesn't always have everything or everywhere I have been. So I gave up using it and moved to Google. I didn't know you could put just a word or two in the address bar to get some where. I do use copy and paste there, but now will try it by word too. Thanks.
Posted by: Mage Bailey | Thursday, 28 May 2009 at 06:30 AM
I Google everything and so I kept reading and reading and reading……tried it… and, of course, it worked..Thanks!
Posted by: Claire Jean | Thursday, 28 May 2009 at 10:50 AM
Thank you, Virginia. You always teach me something new and useful!
Posted by: Nancy | Thursday, 28 May 2009 at 12:40 PM
Posted by: Joy D | Friday, 29 May 2009 at 11:57 PM