Full-page thumbnails and empty cells in the new Speed Dial
Friday, April 15, 2011 9:45:00 AM
Update (21.04.2011): added "Transparent cells with transparent skins".
Opera 11.10 introduced a new way of generating Speed Dial thumbnails. According to changelog:
The Speed Dial thumbnail/icon is now determined using these criteria (in order):
1. Send a http header to tell the server it is a Speed Dial request
2. Detect big icons: <link rel=icon,apple-touch-icon ...> and display them instead of a thumbnail
3. Find the important part of the page (logo), and zoom in closer
4. Apply CSS view-mode: minimized when generating the thumbnail
Although it sounds good, for some sites, the result of "logo finder" work may not be satisfactory. The image below, shows wrong "logo detection":
It's worth noticing that this new algorithm of generating thumbnails is disabled if you set the "Reload every..." option on a thumbnail. However setting reload interval doesn't mean we will ever see that page reloading. Right-click the thumbnail > select Reload every > Custom and write the interval. Maximum possible value is 28417211 minutes and 43 seconds (at least this is the value that was set when I tried to determine the maximum) which is more than 54 years.
There are also some thumbnail-related options in Opera's Preferences editor. After Opera Prehliadač.com: you can set opera:config#UserPrefs|ThumbnailIconMinHeight and opera:config#UserPrefs|ThumbnailIconMinWidth to a value near 500 (you can also try a different large number) and opera:config#UserPrefs|ThumbnailLogoScoreThreshold to something near 1000. This way every, or at least great majority of new thumbnails, will show full site preview.
You have to manually reload all old thumbnails. To do this at once, just hit the reload button (or F5) while being on Speed Dial page.
New Speed Dial doesn't have a fixed layout, meaning you can only set the number of columns and not the number of rows. If you want to leave an empty cell, you have to cheat. Instead of leaving an empty cell, we put a cell with an empty page in there.
Add a new Dial and in place of the address write either "opera:about" or "about:blank". In case you don't provide the title, Opera will show "Blank page" instead. Writing whitespace characters like space " " and tab " " will display the address instead of empty title.
Can we cheat again, to set an empty title? Yes, we can. We will set the title to a "tab" character, but not a standard tabulation but vertical tabulation. - Click the "Name" field, write 11 (ASCII code for vertical tab) and press keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+X. Done.
Maybe it's not a perfect solution (it displays an empty page after being clicked), but better than nothing.
Transparent cells with transparent skins
Using opera:blank in place of empty dials doesn't necessarily look good with a transparent skin. We'd prefer to see a transparent tile instead of a white one. As noticed by evilneko typing "opera:" as the address gives us exactly what we want (it can be any different, invalid address as well, i.e. "."). The only issue is that after clicking it, we get "Invalid address" page, but it's not about clicking it, it's about good looking .
Other useful settings
Removing the + button
Maybe it's not bad-looking, but it takes up valuable screen space. If you didn't notice yet, there is an option under Configure button in the top right corner, saying "Hide [+] Speed Dial button". After hiding the button, you can right-click on the empty space and select "Add New Dial".
Remove the Configure button or disable Speed Dial
If you've finished editing your Speed Dial and you don't want to make any changes to it, you can disable editing Speed Dial the same way like in previous versions. Go to opera:config and find Speed Dial State option. Setting it to "2" will lock editing of Speed Dial (including: no context menus on Dials). Value of "3" will completely disable Speed Dial - Opera will display an empty, white page instead.
Setting more than seven columns
If you want to have more than seven columns, change opera:config#UserPrefs|NumberOfSpeedDialColumns.
Setting non-standard zoom
The slider allows you to change the zoom of Speed Dial with a step of 10%. If you think your Speed Dial looks best with i.e. 87% zoom, you can change it here: opera:config#UserPrefs|SpeedDialZoomLevel. You will have to restart your browser, to see the change. Value has to be in range 50-200, otherwise it will be reset to 100%.
I will not write here whether I think that the new Speed Dial is better or worse than the old one. I'm sure it's different and if you want to use a modern, up-to-date browser (with all the "news" and security fixes) you will have to get used to it.