The height of arrogance

Invention is the mother of necessity, as I have said in the past, and one of the problems that I have occasionally is that I can’t find things on this site as easily as I’d like. I put together a few shortcuts in the form of the Howtos page, and I’ve collated a lot of the information into the Ubuntu setup page, but it’s still a bit taxing to pin down one particular bit of information in a hurry.

The obvious solution to that, of course, is to rely on an outside search engine to skim these pages and find the post I need. The obvious tool for that, of course, is to use Google. The obvious caveat for that, of course, is that I don’t care to pump much more into Google’s coffers by feeding them trivial searches, or put up with the ads that accompany the results, or have my IP associated with certain search terms when all I need is an option or a setting I jotted down two years ago.

So I have a tendency to rely on Scroogle, particularly the SSL search page, and the quickest way to do that is with the search engine bar in Firefox. (As a side note, if you want an image search, I feel obligated to mention that Ixquick uses SSL connections too, and doesn’t record IPs at all.)

The only problem is (are you bored yet?) that I have to keep typing “” every time I use it. A customized search plugin is what I really need.

So here it is, the height of arrogance and yet another example of my overweening vanity: a Firefox search plugin for Motho ke motho ka botho. Of course I can’t offer a direct link to install it because, even in this day and age, still only allows about eight different file extensions to be uploaded to their site. I have an egregious amount of space, but unless it’s one of about six proprietary file types or two free ones, it doesn’t work.

So unfortunately this will be another cut-and-paste-and-save adventure for you. Scoop up the XML below and save it in a file in your ~/.mozilla/firefox/????????.default/searchplugins/ folder with an .xml extension. When you restart Firefox, it should show up as a search option, and when you use it, the results should only come from this site.

<searchplugin xmlns="" xmlns:os="">
<os:shortname>Scroogle SSL Motho ke motho ka botho</os:shortname>
<os:description>Anonymous Google searches with, SSL-encrypted</os:description>
<os:url type="text/html" method="POST" template="">
<os:param name="Gw" value="{searchTerms}">

If you want to make one of your own, it’s terribly easy. There are tutorials available elsewhere but if you just edit the “site” string and short name in this code, you can cut and paste and save again, and it will work fine.

I should note that I trimmed out the update terms from the plugin, since it will never be updated. Wow, from alpha to 1.0 in a matter of seconds, and no bug reports! Now I can retire into the post-development Nirvana reached by only a handful of other open-source projects. … :lol:

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9 Responses to “The height of arrogance”

  1. 1 Mads 2009/02/05 at 8:56 AM

    ‘Add a keyword for this search’ in Google’s search field to create a search bookmark, then edit it to add ‘’ on the address line?

  2. 2 K.Mandla 2009/02/05 at 9:10 AM

    I suppose, if you want to use Google. Was that your question? I’d still have to direct it at Scroogle though, wouldn’t I? Can that be done through that menu? I didn’t see it.

  3. 3 IceBrain 2009/02/05 at 10:23 AM

    So you’re basically leeching on Google, by using their services without giving the ad views in return.

    Besides, what’s the problem with that search bar down there on this site? It seems to work fairly well.

  4. 4 Mads 2009/02/05 at 10:41 AM

    Sorry, yeah I meant scroogle (use it too – with the added paranoia of sending all requests through tor courtesy of a FoxyProxy pattern). No my point was just that keyword searches are a lot easier to add than search plugins. Probably not even pertinent to your post, sorry :|

    @IceBrain: Yeah, it’s leeching. Just like bath room breaks during commercials. For shame.

  5. 5 Dr Small 2009/02/05 at 11:06 AM

    I made one of those for my site long ago. It was really helpful for finding quick commands that I had forgotten. But I’m using Vimperator now, so I don’t see those search bars anymore :D

  6. 6 IceBrain 2009/02/05 at 8:41 PM

    @Mads: no, the advertisers can’t count if you view the TV ads, they can’t even know if you’re viewing that channel, so it always “counts” as a view. The Google ads can be counted by the number of HTTP requests, and those you don’t view aren’t paid to Google.
    If the problem is fear of being tracked, just use Tor (lost IP tracking) and disable cookies (lost cookie tracking). That along with a referal killing proxy (such as privoxy, which comes with Tor) disables all kinds of tracking.
    Besides, it’s funny how you trust Scroogle more than Google. How do you know Scroogle isn’t logging? Just because they say they don’t?

    More on topic, just make a bookmark with “” and some keyword like kmandla.
    Then you can search by typing kmadla [search terms] on the url bar.

  7. 7 eksith 2009/02/06 at 5:54 PM

    Except Tor still relies on the other end having a properly maintained node. If not, your info can still be leaked. Of course, with a Google search, that’s probably not going to matter much.

    I’m wondering why this blog doesn’t have the search form built into WordPress. You can customise the sidebar and include the search widget and skip all of this.

  8. 8 eksith 2009/02/06 at 6:05 PM

    Ooops… I just needed to scroll down :P

  9. 9 K.Mandla 2009/02/06 at 9:31 PM

    That’s okay. :)

    To answer the questions about the built-in search tool, I don’t like it. The results are full-length posts arranged on this page in the same format and style, showing only 10 or so at a time.

    I happen to like the way Google/Scroogle spits out results, with a long series of links directly to the page. It’s far more convenient than sifting through huge pages looking for one post in particular. If I’m just searching for links to past posts, it’s much quicker to get a list that is hooked directly to the pages, than another whole page of posts.

    It’s also easier to jab at that search bar, press return and get results. Searching on this page requires too many other pages in between. First I have to the front of the blog, scroll down, enter a search term, wait for the engine to show the results, scroll through those pages. …

    You get the idea. It’s either that or use elinks all the time. Not a bad idea, actually. … :)

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