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DiCheetal Searchelerator ™ - Desktop Edition

Running with Cheetahs

— or —

How Does This Thing Work??


  1. What's It For?
  2. Just the Basics
  3. Favs and Why They Matter
  4. Showing It and Hiding It
  5. Even Trickier Tricks

1. What's It For?

DiCheetal is a web Searchelerator ™ (search accelerator) that lets you produce targeted search results 22 times faster* than ever before. That's a fancy way of saying it helps you get what you want more quickly than any search engine alone can.

How can it do this? By making it far, far easier to create searches that get you exactly what you're looking for. Look at it this way. If you want to find information about a movie like Top Gun, you can just type the title into your favorite search engine, but you'll get some 71,400,000 results pulled from sites ranging from imdb.com to Joe Schmoe's "Why I Hate Your Favorite Movie" blog. You want to wade through all that? We don't think so. And the more specialized your search, the more trouble you're likely to have finding what you want.

All search engines give you ways to make more targeted (read "better") searches. But these are often complex and cumbersome, and are not used by most people most of the time. That's where DiCheetal comes in.

It allows you to store your favorite websites and organize them into groups. You search looking only at those sites. Results come from your favorite search engine and are displayed in your web browser, just as if you had done the search there to begin with. But DiCheetal does the hard work of building an advanced search for you. It saves you a ton of time and frustration, because you're only looking where you want to look and doing so without having to know how to tell the search engine to do it. A Top Gun search targeting just three major movie review sites returns only 151,000 results. That's only about one five hundredth of the untargeted blizzard! Fewer, better results means you're more likely to find what you want on the first page of the first search.

And if you want to search the whole web, well, you still can. You don't have to use any of your favorites if you don't want to. But even then we do something neat for you: you can run your search on up to five search engines with a single click!

The cheetah is the fastest land animal. DiCheetal is the fastest cloud animal!

* Our "22 times faster" claim is based on an analysis of how much typing you have to do in DiCheetal vs. in a regular search engine to get targeted results. Obviously we aren't making the search engine run faster. We can't do that and don't need to. Where we save you time is in making it far easier to create targeted search queries in the first place, so you'll use them frequently and end up with a smaller, better crop of results to choose from. Actually, the more sites you have in the favorites group that you use for a search, the more time we save you. So you may often be searching way more than 22 times faster.


2. Just the Basics

The DiCheetal window is very simple. It looks like this:

The DiCheetal window

Want to do a search? Type your search terms into the search terms box and click Go!. It's that easy. Your search results will open in a browser window. Have your browser open for fastest search results.

See a word or phrase on your screen that you want to search on? Highlight it, then drag it and drop it into DiCheetal's search terms box. Not only will the search term appear there, the search will run right away, without you having to click the Go! button!

We give you the five most popular search engines to start with: bing, Yahoo!, Google, Baidu, and Ask. You can search one of them, several of them, or all five of them at once. Just check the boxes for the search engines you want to use. Each result will be displayed in a separate browser tab or window, depending on your browser settings and capabilities. (We recommend a browser that provides tabs and is configured to use them.)

Here's what it would look like if you were searching for information on Albert Einstein using both bing and Google:

The DiCheetal window

Of course, you'll get all kinds of results for that. What if you wanted to only look for this information on Wikipedia? Well, you can enter a site into the domain name box, like this:

The DiCheetal window

Now when you search, you'll only get results for Albert Einstein from Wikipedia. And you don't have to know how to tell bing and Google that that's what you want! DiCheetal handles that for you.

Notice that the site name is green. That means you have a good domain name entered. While you're typing, the text will be red until DiCheetal sees that you've entered a valid domain name. (Um, okay, that's helpful. But it doesn't mean it's the right domain name, or even that it's a site that actually exists. It only means you have what looks like a valid domain name, something like xyz.com or abc.def.org. Well, we can't do everything for you!)

By the way, you don't have to type to use a domain name. You can drag a URL from your browser address box and drop it into DiCheetal's domain name box, and it will figure out the domain name for you!

"Okay," you say, "but I search Wikipedia all the time. I don't want to have to enter it every time." Well guess what: you don’t! You can add Wikipedia to your favorites list by clicking the + button next to the domain name box. If you do that, "wikipedia.org" will disappear from the box and appear in the Favorites drop-down. (We just call them Favs for short. Yeah, we're kinda lazy.) So from now on, you can just pick wikipedia.org from that drop-down list:

The DiCheetal window

Just in case you ever decide you don't want a Fav, select it from the list and click the red x button next to the list. That will delete it for you. (Yes, yes, we will warn you first, just so you don't make a mistake.)

Now, there are only five other things you need to know about the DiCheetal window, and they're all pretty simple.

The first thing is that counter just to the left of your Favs list. It tells you how many Favs you have in the list. If you point your mouse to it, it will pop up a little thing called a tool tip which will give you a breakdown of that count into the number of sites and groups in the list. But we'll talk more about that in part 3. By the way, a lot of the controls in DiCheetal provide you with tool tips, so be sure to explore them. They will help you remember what's what.

The second thing is the Favs button. This lets you organize your Favs into extremely powerful groups. It's so powerful, we'll talk about it in part 3. (Wait. We already said that. Hmm.)

The third thing is that checkbox just to the right of the Go! button. You may already have noticed that the DiCheetal window likes to stay on top of all the other windows on your screen. Cheetahs are like that. They pounce on things. That also makes it convenient for you to use it for searching. But sometimes you may not want it on top, or maybe you just don't like windows that act that way. Simply uncheck the box, and DiCheetal will assume a more normal and subdued position. Check it again, and it will stay on top again.

The fourth thing is the ? button. This is the help button. Click it anytime you need to read these instructions.

And finally the P button, which is where you can set various preferences. That's a bit more complicated, so we'll talk about that in part 5.


3. Favs and Why They Matter

DiCheetal wouldn't have much of a claim to fame if it didn't help you get to your search results faster and easier than you could by just using a search engine. That's why your Favs list is so important. With it, you can not only quickly and easily limit your search to just one site, you can create lists of sites and run searches against them.

We don't know who you are or what you like to search for, but just imagine this. Suppose you're into science fiction role playing games, and suppose there are maybe ten websites you regularly visit to find out about your favorite games, gamer organizations, and the like. You could go to them one at a time while hunting for information on a particular topic. Or you could turn the hunt over to an expert hunter: DiCheetal.

Click the Favs button on the DiCheetal window, and here's what you get:

The DiCheetal Favorites Organizer

This is the Favorites Organizer. (Well duh. It says that right up at the top, doesn't it?) It shows you two lists: Sites and Groups. The drop-down list on the main DiCheetal window lists your sites and groups so you can actually use them. Here in the Favorites Organizer, you can add and delete sites, add and delete groups, and shuffle sites around between groups.

We'll tell you how to do all that in a moment, but first, notice that the sites list has a checkbox in front of each domain name. These let you tell DiCheetal to either show or hide each site in the drop-down list on the main DiCheetal window. You might only want to show sites that you haven't added to a group, for example. In that case, you can uncheck all the sites that you've placed into groups. You'll probably find this helpful as you add more and more sites to more and more groups. It will keep the drop-down list from becoming too long.

Okay, so let's say you want to add a new site. Type it into the new site name box and click the + button. You can also drag a site name from your browser's address box and drop it here. DiCheetal will figure out the domain name for you. In fact, you can just drag that URL right onto the Sites list and drop it there!

Want to add a new group? Type in the name in the new group name box down (it can be whatever you want, so make it meaningful to you) and click the + button.

Want to delete a site or group? Highlight it and click the red x button next to the appropriate list. You can delete more than one site at a time. Use <shift>+click to highlight multiple sites. We also give you a pop-up menu for each list. Just right-click on an item (or a group of highlighted sites) and then click on the Delete command.

Okay, so you created a group. How do you put sites into it? Simple. Highlight the sites you want, then highlight the group you want to put them into, then click the +>> button. Or, if you like drag-and-drop, highlight the sites, then drag them and drop them onto the group. Even better, hightlight the sites you want to use, then right-click on them to get that pop-up menu. At the top you'll see an Add to Group command, which opens up a sub-menu with a list of all of your groups. Just pick the one you want, and the highlighted sites will be moved into it!

You can put one site into more than one group. You can move sites from one group to another by dragging and dropping. (Press the <Ctrl> key before you drop if you want to make a duplicate copy of a site in another group.) You can even rename a group by highlighting it and then clicking on it.

So as you can see, it's very easy to add sites to your Favs list and then organize them into groups for high-powered searching. When you are done, click the Save button to save your changes. If you make a horrendous mistake, you can always click Cancel to get out of there without saving anything. (But you wouldn't do that, would you?)


4. Showing It and Hiding It

Back in part 2 we told you about the checkbox that controls whether DiCheetal stays on top or not. You can also minimize the window, just like most windows, which makes it an icon on the task bar. But you might also have noticed there's a DiCheetal icon near your clock, in what's called the Notification Area or the System Tray. That icon, called the DiCheetal notification icon, tells you that DiCheetal is running and gives you quick access to it when you need it.

In fact, if you click the red X that closes DiCheetal, the window goes away but the program is still running, waiting for your next search request. To get it back, all you have to do is double-click the DiCheetal notification icon. Double-click it anytime you need DiCheetal: whether it's on the screen or not, whether it's on top or not, and it will spring to the front, ready to do your bidding.

So what if you really do want to shut down DiCheetal? Simply right-click the notification icon. A menu will pop up with two commands: Show and Exit. Show shows the DiCheetal window, no matter where it's at, and Exit shuts the program down.

We've also given you one other really fast way to make DiCheetal leap out of wherever it's hiding: press <window>+S.


5. Even Trickier Tricks

DiCheetal would be quite powerful as it is, but sometimes you might want to do even more with it. And that's where that P button comes in. It opens up your Preferences screen:

The DiCheetal Preferences dialog

You most likely have a search engine or two that you like to use all the time. Well, you can tell DiCheetal about it in the Search Engines section. Just check the ones you want DiCheetal to use by default and you're all set. You can also select a default Fav if you want.

DiCheetal is a fairly noisy animal by default. We've built some fun sounds into it. But maybe you like peace and quiet, or maybe you want different sounds altogether. The Sounds section lets you turn specific sounds on and off with a check box. The Advanced button lets you select other sound files to play for each kind of sound. It opens a window that looks like this:

The DiCheetal Advanced Sounds dialog

You can use this to locate the sound files you want to use.

The Search Engines section lets you specify search engines other than the five we've built in. You may never use this, but if you do, it's pretty simple. Click the + button to add a new search engine, or highlight an existing search engine and click the Edit button to modify it. This will give you the following window:

The DiCheetal Search Engine editor

This might look a bit scary, but the instructions in the box beheath the Color button will tell you how to do it the easy way. Basically, do a two-word search in the engine you want to add, then drag and drop the resulting URL onto the Search Engine Base URL box. DiCheetal will figure out the base URL and the search terms parameter name for you. You supply the name (which is what shows up in the list), the display name (the one letter that appears next to the checkbox for the search engine) and the color for the display name.

Back in the Preferences window, you can also delete a search engine by highlighting it and clicking the red x button, or you can shuffle the order in which search engines appear in the main DiCheetal window by highlighting an engine and using the up and down arrow buttons.

One thing to remember: DiCheetal shows you five search engines at a time. You can have more of them in this list, but only the first five will be used.

Now we come to the last thing, the Top Level Domains section. Top Level Domains (which we geeks call TLDs) are the things following the last dot in a website URL. You are already familiar with many of them: .com, .net, and so forth. We've built a list of TLDs into DiCheetal. This is part of how it knows what a valid website domain name looks like. The list is shown right there. But if you happen to need one that isn't in the list, what do you do? Well, you just type it in and click the + button. It will be saved in your custom TLD list so DiCheetal knows about it. You don't have to type in the dot, but if you do DiCheetal won't mind. It will figure it out. To delete a TLD, type in the name and click the red x button.

And that, believe it or not, is pretty much everything you need to know about DiCheetal. We hope you enjoy using it. Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions for improvement!


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