Everyday tech: Gestures

By Robert Boyd / Online Edior

By Robert Boyd / Online Edior

By Robert Boyd

Once upon a time surfing the Internet required two hands. One hand scrolled the mouse; the other hand tripped the keyboard. Cold ones, sandwiches and pets neglected, because surfing hands were free hands no more.  For many, the time of keyboard slavery is today.

Multitaskers rejoice! Better web browsing begins today. There is a way to dance the site fantastic without performing fingertip yoga. Waltz your kitty, Spartacus, in circles and let your mouse hand lead.  All that’s needed is a quick download and to learn a few steps called “gestures.”

The first step is to download Firefox.  Firefox is an alternative browser to Windows Explorer. It’s adaptable, versatile and customizable. That last item is important, because gestures are a feature called an add-on: they do not come with the basic program.

If altering your browser sounds scarier than minimizing Google’s security preferences and image searching for “chains of love,” have heart; add-ons are as easy to install as links of hearts to the desktop—and just as easy to remove if things don’t work out.

Open your current web browser, and type http://www.mozilla.com into the address bar.

See the big green “download” button? Click it.

When Firefox is downloaded, install it and open the program. Look across the top of the screen, there’s a menu bar.  Click the word “Tools,” then “Add-ons.” A new window will open.

Across the top it will say “Get Add-ons.” Click that, type “gestures” in the search bar and press “enter.” Firefox will now present you with a list of gesture add-ons.

All-in-One Gestures is a good choice, but you can download any option you like. The differences between gesture add-ons are minor and cater more toward a preference of style. All-in-One updates frequently, meaning fewer compatibility bugs with Firefox—catering to the preference of many.

Once you’ve found a gesture you like, click the “add to Firefox” button at the end of the line. Firefox will download it, then open a new window reminding you to only install software from people you trust.  You can trust All-in-One gestures.  Click “Install.”

Now Firefox installs gestures and says “close the program.” You can trust Firefox too; follow their instructions. Make sure to close all Firefox windows (including the download and add-on windows). Gestures will not take effect until every Firefox window is closed.

Reopen Firefox. Now it’s time to test your gestures. Click your mouse. Drag up the screen. It’s a party.  Your mouse now has a red trailer and you should now have opened a new tab.   

Try another gesture. Click, drag up and left, and your previous tab will open.  If you click and drag a box around a link on that page, that link will open in a new tab.

And these are only a few gestures.  Click the “Tools” menu. Click “Add-ons,” and when Firefox opens the window, click “preferences” under the gestures box.  Here are all the preset gestures and a place to create new ones.

Now grab your drink and find  your favorite gestures.  Today is the day of one-hand web browsing freedom.