Tag Archives: tools

3 ways to use Google as a dictionary

Use these quick hacks to use Google as a dictionary.

1. If you only want a quick word definition, prepend your Google search with define:

For instance, https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=define:animal will give you a quick dictionary definition, followed by normal search results.

Use define:search-term to get a quick dictionary definitionDefine animal  Google Search

2. If you want a more complete definition (encyclopedic, almost), you need to enable Google’s dictionary mode using one of these methods:

a. Use the following URL to access Google:


and enter the word you’re looking for into the search box.

You can also add your search term directly to the URL, thus:


adding &q=search-term to your URL.

b. Add the following search engine to Google Chrome (there are similar ways to add it to Firefox):

Open the Chrome Preferences | Manage Search Engines page at: chrome://settings/searchEngines

(or right click inside the Google search box and select Add as Search Engine…)

and use the following values:

Name: Google Dictionary

Keyword: d

URL: http://www.google.com/search?tbs=dfn:1&q=%s

Add a custom search engine to your browser to quickly get dictionary definitionsAdd Dictionary Search Engine

Now, whenever you want to search for a word, simply type d in your address bar, press tab and enter the word you’re looking for.

Google is chuck full of information, if you know how to ask.Animal  Google Search

3. If you’re using Chrome, you may also install the Google Dictionary extension, available from the Chrome Web Store. Once installed, you can simply double-click any word on a web page and you’ll get a pop-up with the definition.

Double-click any word to get its definition.NewImage
Or click the toolbar for any other word.NewImage

So there you go, three cool ways to expand your vocabulary. What about you? Do you have any tips on using Google? Leave your comment below and share this article with your friends.


Integrating Buffer into your iPad Twitter workflow

Frustrated that you can’t use Buffer from within your media consumption apps? Zite? Instapaper?

Read on to learn how to integrate Buffer into your info-pr0n apps for easy one-click, queued tweets.

Buffer is a web service that lets you schedule your tweets so they are published at pre-set times throughout the day.
Buffer schedules your tweets

I regularly read Zite and Flipboard in the morning and retweet anything I find interesting. At night, it’s time for Instapaper. While browsing throughout the day I use the Buffer bookmarklet to make sure my tweets go into my publish queue. No such luck when using Zite, Flibpoard or Instapaper since they’re not integrated with Buffer.

So I end up publishing a ton of info early in the morning and late at night, which may not be the best approach.

How can I use Buffer from within Zite, Instapaper and Flipboard if it’s not integrated into them?

I’ve found a nice workaround using a web service called IFTTT (ifttt.com – If This, Then That) that allows you to create a workflow using a number of web apps, such as Delicious, Instapaper, Gmail, etc. [Hit me up for invites if you want to try it.]

The idea is to create a one-click workflow that allows you to share content through your Buffer queue without having to re-format e-mails, copy, paste or any extra steps you might be needing at the moment.

ifttt puts the internet to work for you by creating tasks that fit this simple structure:Using IFTTT to integrate Buffer with your iPad twitter workflowThink of all the things you could do if you were able to define any task as: when something happens (this) then do something else (that).

My IFTTT setup:

I’ve created two tasks that solve the Buffer issue for Zite and Instapaper.

I’ve connected IFTTT to my Delicious account, my Instapaper account and my Gmail account.

There’s 3 bits of magic that help make this happen:

  1. Instapaper offers an RSS feed of your liked items.
  2. Zite posts to your Delicious account using a via:zite tag.
  3. Buffer offers you an email address where you can send your tweets to queued.

Now, on IFTTT create two tasks:

1. Send Delicious bookmarks from Zite to Buffer:

if [there’s a new bookmark tagged via:zite in your Delicious account] then [send an e-mail with the bookmark from your Gmail account to Buffer’s e-mail address]

Now all you need to do to share articles from within the Zite app is click on the Save to Delicious button.

2. Send liked Instapaper items to Buffer:

Using IFTTT to integrate Buffer with your iPad twitter workflowUse a New feed item from channel to check your Instapaper Liked Items feed.

if [there are new items on your Instapaper liked feed] then [send an e-mail with the article from your Gmail account to Buffer’s e-mail address].

You’ll find your Instapaper Liked Items feed at the bottom of your Instapaper Liked page, where it says This folder’s RSS.

Just like any article in Instapaper and off it goes into your Buffer queue (please note that Instapaper takes a while to refresh your RSS feed, so this may not be instantaneous – not that it matters, since you’re queuing them for later anyway).

In both cases, set the e-mail’s subject to the title of the bookmark/article ({{title}}) and the body to the url ({{url}}). You can edit to your liking to add additional info to your tweets.

For Flipboard, we can take advantage that Buffer’s email address begins with “add” and the emails are formatted in a way that plays nice with Buffer. Simply select Email Link, begin typing “add” until autocomplete shows the Buffer address (usually at the top) and send away. (The reason I don’t use this same approach with Zite is that Zite truncates the article title when e-mailing).

There you go. Buffer integrated with my most-used info-pr0n apps. Sweet.

Use this link to create your own Buffer account and receive one extra tweet space in your buffer: http://bufferapp.com/r/e32e1

How do you integrate Buffer into your daily workflow? Let me know in the comments.

And if you enjoyed this post, please retweet it and follow me on Twitter @cgranier.