Opera Speed Dial De-Googling and Obscurity

I’d gotten the old broken MacBook Air to run again via the expedient of booting from an external USB adapter and micro-SD card. (The SSD had died, so I bought a new computer for the spouse and inherited the broken one. It was within a couple $Hundred of the same price as the ‘fix’ and this one didn’t have enough memory for further software updates anyway – and memory can’t be increased…) But not being one to toss a whole system for a single part failure, I found a way.

It works quite well. Right up until it swaps… which the Mac does rather a lot… Then I take a long pause, sometimes several seconds to several tens of seconds, while it swaps away. But, most of the time if I keep memory usage low (don’t open lots of browser pages) it’s quite nice.

The Opera browser is more careful with resources than many others (cough; FireFox; cough) so I like using it on limited machines. It also does a nice job of compressing feeds and reducing wire loading on your internet connection ( about 50% reduction of traffic) which has the incidental effect of making your traffic look like it originates from their cache / compression engine site. Not a big security bump, but a nice indirection some times.

So, OK, I like using it.

Except….

It has a panel called the “Speed Dial” pqge that has several of your preferred sites listed. So you click the + and it pops up Speed Dial and your top dozen can be there waiting for you. Nice, except it was afflicted with this Google Search Box that would not die. No way to change it to DuckDuckGo nor any other search engine. The ‘change my search engine’ only changes the combined address bar / search line. Google keeps shoving their orifice in your face, like it or not (NOT!).

I’ve just mostly ignored it for months. Occasionally used it when in a hurry. Constantly been bothered by it. Sometimes did a vague hunt for how to change the setting (not knowing it was impossible).

Now at least I’ve found someone who knows how to kill it, even if I’d rather make it DuckDuckGo. But that’s still an improvement. Orifice removed from face is good.

The Magic Page

I found the guidance I needed here:

http://newsblog.wti.com/index.php/2013/11/opera-19-developer-update-how-to-enable-operas-power-user-mode/

Power User Mode in a browser? OK… They go out of their way (Opera does) to warn of how risky it is to enable this before you click the ‘just shut up and do it’ box. Looking at the added settings, I’m not seeing much risk (other than turning off a revenue stream from Google for forcing their search engine, perhaps?…)

So the Mac is a bit different from their directions, but not much. I’m going to quote heavily just since it took so long to find this obscure process and I don’t want to lose it if the link ever goes away:

Opera 19 Developer Update – How to Enable Opera’s Power User Mode

It turns out that Opera’s Power User Mode hasn’t vanished after all … but Opera did make it so Power User Mode is pretty difficult to find.

To find out how to enable the power user mode, scroll down. Opera Software launched the first Chromium-based version of the company’s web browser back in the beginning of July 2013. The release caused quite the controversy, with many existing Opera users being disappointed by the lack of features of which some had been a part of the browser for more than a decade before.

The company promised to address several of the issues in time, and to keep an eye on the old branch of the browser for the time being until the new Opera would make a solid foundation for all users of the browser.

Several distribution channels were created to provide interested user, developers and testers with access to browser features that were not yet ready for prime time.

The company has released four new major versions of Opera in the meantime, with Opera 19 released to the Developer channel ten days ago.

Today’s update of that channel brings a new feature to the browser: the task manager. To load it, you first need to enable the Developer Tools menu with a click on the Opera button and the selection of More Tools > Enable Developer Tools.

It is then possible to launch the Task Manager from the Developer Tools menu.

So it looks like a swap of the core tech being used caused a lot of prior features to evaporate and that’s why I can’t find controls that ought to exist. OK…

The goal is to get to the Developer Tools Menu. On the Mac, one changes this slightly to:

Go to the “View” tab up top, in the drop down at the bottom, click on the “Show Developer Menu” line. This adds the Developer Menu just to the right between Bookmarks and Window. In that menu you will find ‘Task Manager’ at the bottom. Clicking that opens a task manager window. This doesn’t seem relevant to the rest of the process, but that’s how you get to it. I’m also not sure you need the Developer Menu activated, but just went along for the ride on that anyway since I’m following their cook-book.

The program looks and feels identical to the Chrome Task Manager, with two core differences. First, you cannot use Shift-Esc or any other keyboard shortcut to launch it in Opera.

Second, the Stats for Nerds link is not available that leads to the browser’s About memory page.

The changelog lists all other changes in the release. It lists many stability improvements as well as a couple of site-specific fixes. This includes a fix for YouTube not working in the browser’s Off-Road Mode, or a bug that caused Opera Turbo (Off-Road Mode) to fail to load websites.

The settings page has seen a couple of changes. Probably the most important change here is the ability to change the number of columns on Opera’s Speed Dial page, and also a new power user setting to hide the search box on the start page, according to the change log.

The real Magic Sauce seems to come in here:

Power User Mode

I could not find the power user settings in Opera even though the change log was making a reference to it.

The change I’m talking about is the following one:

DNA-12667 Settings | Power-user: Hide search box in the start page

To enable the power user mode press the following key combination while you are on the settings page:
Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right b a

If done right, the following overlay screen should appear.

Super user permission enabling rights

On the Mac, go to the Opera Menu up top, select “Preferences” and the Preferences Tab opens in the browser. Go to that tab and click in the empty space (to move the cursor out of the search box) then do that Magic Chord dance on the keys. Up. Up. Down. Down. Left. Right. Left. Right. b. a. Sigh… It actually does work.

Then adds a box to the Preferences Menu where you can click the box to enable this forever and click the box that lets you disable the Google Obligatory Orifice…

Then you can be Google Free At last Thank God Almighty I’m Free At Last!!!!

Simples…

Honorable Mention goes to these folks:

http://forums.opera.com/discussion/1832965/remove-google-search-bar-from-speed-dial/p1

Where I picked up the link that got me to that other page. And I note lots of other folks were happy to be able to Nuke Google’s Orifice…

alreadybanned
April 2014 1 3
alreadybanned
89 posts

You can remove it from Speed Dial by way of a silly easter egg; Go to the settings page and click an empty spot on that page, then (using your arrow keys) up, down, up, down, left, right, left, right, then the letters “b” and “a” this unlocks another mode which gives you the option. simple enough right?

As for your own default search engine, I’m sure just like with bookmarks, studies show that you only need google and the either provided search engines. So while you can add new ones, you can’t make them your default. Or maybe it’s because we have had only 5 major version releases so such a big feature will take time to implement. Opera is built from scratch don’t you know?

Honestly, the loss of features that I used regularly and lack of customization is bad enough but the google integration with NO way to remove it is the thing that leaves the most bitter taste in my mouth. Welcome to the New Opera Order

Just help the poster without the horrible negativity, already banned. it wouldn’t hurt you ;)))) If you’re like this about your life, you’re in big trouble.

What you have to do to make the change is to enter Power User Mode. Here’s a link on it:

http://newsblog.wti.com/index.php/2013/11/opera-19-developer-update-how-to-enable-operas-power-user-mode/

Already banned is quite right though, that when you go to the settings page click an empty space first, to get yourself outside of the search box (if you’re in the search box with the mouse, it will mess things up.

Then you do the stuff with the arrow keys . . . . Also, type the small “b” and small “a”at the end per alreadybanned instructions. When you get the Welcome Box, click “proceed”

Then you go down the menus. Scroll about half way down to the section on the Start Page, and put a check in hiding the search bar.

Voila, that should do it!

frankj9999
April 2014 1 1
frankj9999
2 posts
Thank you both! That did the trick. Now the speed dial page is clean (and no Google!)

colderwinters
April 2014 0 1
colderwinters
166 posts
Yeah, I never search with Google, I dont even like the term “Google it” I only search with Startpage or Ixquick with customized settings. Every one of those choices they give you to search with suck.

joelwol
April 2014 2 0
joelwol
1 posts
Thanks for sharing. I was also equally disturbed by having the Google search window always visible.

etc. etc.

So there you have it. I’m now able to use Opera “Google Free” on the Marginal MacBook Air. Yay…

Now on to the next bug, challenge, fix, enhancement, problem, opportunity, etc. etc…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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11 Responses to Opera Speed Dial De-Googling and Obscurity

  1. cdquarles says:

    I’ve been using Opera for quite a while now. I got tired of Firefox and hated both Chrome and Safari. I am liking Brave, too, as a fork of Firefox. I definitely want to push Google to the curb, though I still like their ‘free’ email. Then again, I used to like Yahoo’s, too. Yahoo is the spam trap. I guess I’m going to be easing away from any big name ‘free’ email. The question is going to be who can I trust and what the price is going to be.

  2. Jon K says:

    They seriously used the old nintendo cheat code? Too funny :)

  3. Larry Ledwick says:

    Actually Brave is a fork of Chrome not fire fox, in situations where online functions identify your browser they will determine you are running Chrome if you are on browser.

    It does have some nice ad blocking and does a better job with accidental information leakage but Brave is so locked down it breaks things it should not, like internal company VPNs which don’t have security certificates it likes. Unlike other browsers it has no option to set an exception to a certificate failure for a site you personally know is safe. That is not a feature as many company internal systems don’t do formal security certificates for special use situations which they have locked down using other means like only letting certain IPs or domains access the VPN.

  4. Steve C says:

    Does anyone do a blocklist of all known Google addresses? Or has someone tried it and been nuked? Enquiring minds want to know, but have been thwarted by a myriad links about the Google blacklist and the fact that they implement blocklists.

    It’s easy enough to make your own, completely Google-and-everything-else free, “Speed Dial” homepage with as many links as you like. It’s in html, it’s in your home directory, it’s a mass of links roughly grouped under headings in bold, and in my case it’s called “Steve’s Blue Page”. The minor hassle of editing it in Open Office (cut’n’pasting the new address from the browser) is just enough to keep the less important links out. And you can take it anywhere.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    I’ve not. I have a few of the “big ones” on my DNS black hole list, but had to leave some of them open for the family. (Basically the google search, maps, and gmail; but I ground the advertising ones as I find them.)

    These folks claim to have the list here:

    http://www.iplists.com/google.txt

  6. cdquarles says:

    @Larry, that’s interesting. Thanks

  7. Figaro says:

    The newer version of Opera allows removing the search box directly from the Speed Dial settings.

  8. Sera says:

    @ Jon K:

    I thought the same thing, I just can’t remember the game. Was it Contra?

  9. Jon K says:

    It was lol. Great memory. I would’ve never come up with that title.

  10. Sera says:

    I’ve got Super Mario, Zelda, Contra and Kung Fu- but the console does not work. So it had to be one of those.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @Figaro:

    I’ll have to see if the new version made it to old Macs… On the Android Tablet it still has the Opera Beta (or that was the only option last I installed it) while the Mac is stuck at this rev-level as the memory now limits OS upgrades, so if the new opera is dependent on newer than OSX 10,8 or so, it isn’t going to be helpful.

    (When the OS level is painfully out of date I’m going to put Linux on the Macbook. For now, it’s a nice light web interface as-is… )

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