How to get direct downloads from SourceForge

Problem: Downloading from SourceForge may be impossible from the UK and EU, due to cookie madness. This occurs if your cookie-alert blocker and/or overlay-blocker automatically removes SourceForge’s huge “ACCEPT COOKIES!” blocking screen, then the SourceForge download-timer will never start. You never get your file.

Solution: Bypass all that junk, and go straight to the direct download. Do this by simply installing the SourceForge: Direct download links UserScript.

Result: You get a direct download from the Files tab. Right-click on your desired file and then “Save linked content as…” (or whatever your Web browser’s equivalent is of that right-click menu item).


Incidentally, the UK is to opt out of the EU’s questionable new copyright laws, once our glorious Brexit is done, and hopefully we’ll also stomp on the EU’s hated cookie alerts too. Which means that UK users may not need this solution, at some point in the near future.

Google Search in three columns: how to do it in 2020

Following on from my testing of new scripts in recent days, here’s a basic summary list and quick-start on what you’ll need for three column search in Google in 2020. This follows the effective demise of the much-loved GoogleMonkeyR.

First you want a good Chrome-based browser. Opera for Desktop is in use here, at 1920px. Turn off addons and scripts likely to conflict with the new ones listed below.

I assume you already have auto-suggest etc turned off, when formulating search-queries at Google, and are using a widescreen desktop PC.


Core script-management and element-blocking addons:

1. Tampermonkey for installing and running UserScripts.

2. Stylus for installing and using UserStyles.

3. uBlock Origin for blocking, and knowledge of how to use its element picker and how to edit its “My Filters” list. (I suggest that you unsubscribe from the “Peter Lowe’s Ad and tracking server list” after install, due to over-reach. It’s found under Filter Lists | Multipurpose).


UserScripts and UserStyles:

1. Google search in several columns for Tampermonkey.

And then tell it to exclude Google Books, by adding the following lines to the top of the script…

// @exclude http*://xxx.google.*tbm=bks*
// @exclude http*://xxx.google.*.*tbm=bks*

… where xxx = www

You may want to tinker a little with the script’s column-width settings, in certain parts of the script, to better fit your widescreen monitor. If you plan to use Google Search Sidebar (see below) then install that before you start tinkering with these widths.

2. Then let the Stylish script Google Search in columns handle the three columns for Google Books results, having first set the script to three columns when you downloaded it. This script also appears to have the very useful effect of preventing the other UserScript columnising script from splitting an individual search-result across two columns, with a bit awkwardly placed in each column. The two scripts seems to be able to co-exist on Google Search, News etc.


Cosmetic:

1. Re-order the top menu in Google, and remove links to “Shopping”, “Flights” etc, if unwanted.

2. Google Search restore URLs (undo breadcrumbs) + Old Google Search. Together these two place a full URL path, under the link title in your results, like it’s always been. Another script noted below will make the URL path green, like it should be.

3. Google Search Sidebar and its expansion Google Search Various Ranges. This also works with News, and “two weeks” seems a good recent time-point at which the Googlebot has cleared a lot of the robo-spam from Search but results are still fresh.

4. Google Hit Hider by Domain (Search Filter / Block Sites). Dynamically and automatically remove results according to a user’s own URL blocking list. But it leaves a space in the results page, so that the layout is not ruined and the user knows something was removed. Blocking is done by a little “Block” button placed next to each result.

5. Fix Google Images a bit with Google Search – Always Show Image Size and Google Images Fix 1.1.1 to add a download button for the full-size image.

6. Google Search – Visible Cached + Similar links. Add back the “Cached” link (which still works). Then hack the script to make the Cache links small and also colour-matched to your theme — simply add “font-size: 10px;” and a basic color fix in the /* Actual Link */ section of the script; and then add this wholly new section and tweak its colour chip…

/* li background */
.ab_dropdown {
background: #eaeff7!important;
}

7. Google Search – Classic Links. I’ve adapted mine for use in combination with the above and a preferred coloured background, and it looks like this…

/*** Basic fix of the main links to appear less shouty ***/
#search a h3, #search a.l {
text-decoration: underline !important;
font-size: 16px !important;
color: #3666aa;
/*** Since URLs paths are visible in results, make them green ***/
}
cite.iUh30.bc.rpCHfe {
color: darkgreen;
}


Blocking tweaks:

You’ll then need to use the Picker tool in UBlock Origin as you search…

…to block all the spammy ‘suggestions’ panels, massive ‘helper’ panels, nags and suchlike that will appear from time-to-time on your page to clutter up your Google Search.

The following will also be useful for en-masse blocking of images in search results in News and Books, using UBlock. Paste them into your UBlock Origin “My Filters” list, save it, then reload Google.

! Block any page-panel containing the keyword X - here the word is 'videos'
google.com##g-section-with-header:has-text(/Videos/)

! Block all Google News Thumbnails
google.*##[id^="news-thumbnail"]
google.*##[alt^="Story image"]
google.*##[class^="gs_md_"]

! Remove remaining image-block padding spaces on the News results
! and block the image favicons on results while we're at it
google.com##a.top.NQHJEb.dfhHve
google.com##.xA33Gc

! Block all Google Books cover thumbnails en-masse
google.com##*.th

The Google Books cover-thumbnail space cannot be removed, only the thumbnail images that sit on top of that space. The empty space left behind seems to be ineradicable.


That’s it. Enjoy your newly columnar, cleaned and tweaked Google search experience.

A new group test of search

Which Academic Search Systems are Suitable for Systematic Reviews or Meta-Analyses? Evaluating Retrieval Qualities of Google Scholar, PubMed and 26 other Resources, October 2019.

“Our tests revealed that the help files of numerous search systems promise a Boolean search functionality that our tests could not verify. These findings were especially alarming because users of such systems rely on functionalities that they assume work properly, but that may not be the case.” … “our results contradict systematic review guidance that assumes that “all the search engines in some way [would] permit the use of Boolean syntax operators to expand or restrict the search””.

Regarding… “full Boolean search strategies” the authors also noted that “Google Scholar [does] not offer such functionality”. The word “full” here is the critical word, and indicates that NOT is still a missing operator for Google Scholar.

For open access, this new test concludes that those outside of biomedical research… “are limited to the multidisciplinary system BASE” for discovering open access material, but that unspecified… “other open, or partially open search systems that fail to meet the criteria for query-based search might still be useful for supplementary search methods.”

Back on the menu…

Another useful Google UserScript that works in 2020, Fixed Order Google Categories.

This cryptically-named December 2019 script puts the Google top menu-bar into the following order, and prevents Google from pushing items around or pushing sales-oriented items forwards…

Before:

After:

You can then also very easily edit the script to remove “Shopping”, “Flights”, “Finance”, while having “Books” on the main menu. These items are still available if needed, but are hidden under “More” along with a “Books” duplicate.

Custom:

The new addition of “Books” happily passes through the search query as usual. Note that “Jurn” is being added here via my own additional script, and that “Videos” is also gone as I never use it.

So, now Google is fully “fixed up” again for me, following the demise of GoogleMonkeyR. With a slight toning down of the background colour, this is what it looks like for me in January 2020. The gaps being Google Hit Hider in action…

All ‘auto-suggestions’ and ‘quick answers’ panels and similar junk removed, and just the search results left. No images anywhere, except in the search results from “Images”. Robust blocking via Google Hit Hider. Full URL paths, in green below blue links.

Save the URLs

Lovely. Another useful new UserScript for Google Search and Google Books. Old Google Search simply brings the URL back down to below the link title, where it’s been for decades. Works fine on combination with the Google Search restore URLs (undo breadcrumbs) script.

The ugliness Google would like you to endure, with ‘screaming’ page titles…

What you get while using Old Google Search / Restore URLs / and the Classic Links UserStyle…

Also works on Google Books, and plays nicely with the Google search in several columns script I blogged about and tested earlier today.

Incidentally, those with sharp eyes may note above that the URL fails to wrap nicely and is slightly truncated and masked at the end, in a multi-column view. This has just this minute been fixed in the Google Search restore URLs (undo breadcrumbs) by a new update to the script.

New script: Google search in several columns

There’s a new Google Search ‘in columns’ script: Google search in several columns (Dec 2019). It’s the only one I know works on Google News results in 2020 (I mean the proper Google News search results, not the ersatz variety also available), for those using a desktop PC and widescreen monitor.

I found that 3 columns on a 1920px widescreen was possible, though I had to tweak the script a little for fitting and beautification. For instance I had to blank the silver dividing line between columns to accommodate the “block” buttons generated by my HitHider addon.

I also removed the “Cache” link on search results, which otherwise lays on top of and partly blocks the view of the URL title. “Cache” can be blocked from appearing, via adding a line in uBlock Origin thus…


! 16/01/2020 google com
! remove cache link button
xxx.google.com##div.yWc32e

Update: this cache link-removal/fix not needed if you have the latest version of Google Search restore URLs.

If you have image thumbnails blocked on News search results, via uBlock Origin thus…


google.*##[id^="news-thumbnail"]
google.*##[alt^="Story image"]

… then to aid this script’s columns you may also want to make sure you remove the space-padding left behind by such images, so as to straighten up the looks of the three column layout…


! 16/01/2020 google com
! remove empty image-block padding from results
! and also block tiny favicons from results
xxx.google.com##a.top.NQHJEb.dfhHve
xxx.google.com##.xA33Gc

Other items at work on the above screenshot are Google Search Restore URLs, and Google Search Sidebar. I haven’t yet figured out how to get the Goooooogle footer to centre on the page.

If you want to tell the script not to load on Google Books, then add…


// @exclude http*://xxx.google.*tbm=bks*
// @exclude http*://xxx.google.*.*tbm=bks*

The script also plays nicely with the Stylish UserStyle Google Search in columns, which takes care of showing Google Books in three columns and does a far nicer job of it. For the main Google Search also appears to prevent result-breaking, where half a result is in one column, and half in another column.


In the above code, replace xxx with www — despite wrapping the code in code tags, WordPress refuses to respect the actual code and shows www. as a linked http://www.