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Saturday, July 25, 2009

A 1½-Inch-Wide Web Browser

For a while now, I’ve been wanting a mini web browser to be always visible on my monitor. Sometimes I want to look up things quickly: checking a Wikipedia article, doing a quick calculation in Google, looking up a review on Amazon. The minibrowser should be small enough so that it is always visible—I don’t want to have to open a new browser window or do any kind of context switch to get a tiny bit of information.

This morning I thought of a great way to do this: Opera’s “Small Screen” mode. You can make the browser very small, and it reformats the page accordingly. Check out the 1½-inch Wikipedia page below—still perfectly legible.


To keep the browser always visible, I put it on top of some empty space in Google Sidebar, on the right side of my monitor. This setup works very well with Yubnub: I can easily check a Wikipedia article by entering “wp tour de france” into the address bar; do a calculation on Google by typing “g 7*24*3600”; look up Amazon reviews using “am visual display of quantitative information”; etc.

Modeless, ambient, augmented access to the world, in a 1½-inch corner of the screen—love it.

Opera Small-Screen Mode


  • I love this. I really like the way you solve small unexpected problems.

    By Blogger David, at 7/25/2009 2:12 PM  

  • Thanks David! Opera is available on the Mac (and Linux) as well, so you can probably achieve the same effect on those platforms.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 7/25/2009 7:37 PM  

  • That's a great idea -- works nicely with MaxTo or equivalent, just have a little quadrant of a screen set to the little window on the web.

    Is there a small-footprint, stripped-down version of Opera?

    And thanks, as always, for yubnub.

    By Blogger Disquiet, at 7/26/2009 11:37 AM  

  • MaxTo is interesting. I’ve been looking for a tool like that.

    I’m just using regular Opera, but I selected View > Small Screen

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 7/27/2009 8:58 PM  

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