Create your own Firefox search plugin

The search box on the FireFox toolbar is a pretty useful thing, giving you quick access to various search engines and other sites, like Amazon, eBay and Wikipedia. It’s based on a Mozilla project called Mycroft (that being the name of Sherlock Holmes’ brother) and if you have a browse around, you’ll find plugins to enable you to search loads of different sites using that single box on your browser.

Well, I found out today just how damn easy it is to make one of these for yourself. You don’t even need to know any XML – the format used to code the plugins – just fill a form in on the Mycroft site. I did this to create a search box for DavePress, which you can install by visiting this page.

The form is simplicity itself to complete, with only one tricky field, which is where you specify the URL to use when carrying out searches. Here’s a tip for WordPress users, you need to input:

http://yourblogurl.com/index.php?s={searchTerms}

For a less-than-five minute job, you’d be mad not to. Might be a useful thing for local councils, government departments etc to do to make their stuff that bit more simple to find.

Bookmarks for September 2nd through September 3rd

Stuff I have bookmarked for September 2nd through September 3rd:

ReadWriteGov

There are plenty of events you can go to to find out about the social web, and how it can help public sector organisations, but they can be rather expensive, and pretty formal too. Another issue is that they are invariably in London, or one of the other major cities. What about those people who are a bit unsure about this stuff, and who don’t feel they can justify a £450 for a conference, or who don’t want to spend two days out of the office just to attend a one day event?

ReadWriteGov is an attempt to get around this issue by organising informal, half-day long events around the country at a very affordable price. The first event is being held at Peterborough City Council, where I have been helped out by Fran Paterson in organising things. I met Fran through the Social Media Community of Practice, which shows the value of this kind of networking. It’s happening on the 29th October between 1.30 and 4.30pm and is open to anyone who is interested, though I would seriously encourage people from local government to attend, along with folk from other parts of government and the public sector. You can sign up for the event at the Eventbrite page – it’s £25 for public sector folk and £50 for others.

It’s going to be a fun afternoon – I’ve lined up pals such as Dom Campbell and Steph Gray to come and talk about the exciting stuff they are doing with Barnet Council and DIUS, respectively. In addition to these luminaries, I’ll be running a social media game style workshop, which will hopefully help attendees identify how they can use social media in their organisations.

Of course, this is just the first of what will hopefully be many such events, which could be held all over the country. So if anyone is reading who fancies hosting a ReadWriteGov event, please do drop me a line.

One last note about the Peterborough event. Because Fran is heavily involved with the British Computer Society, especially the women‘s wing of the organisation, we are holding another event in the evening, again at the City Council, for BCS members and other interested people, such as the local college, to raise awareness of the tools that are out there and how they might be used. Booking for this event, which will run between 6 and 9pm, will, I believe, be through the BCS website in due course.