Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

App of the Week: Choose Wisely

Screenshot of Choose Wisely

If you’re reading this, then there’s a good chance that you have more than one web browser installed on your computer. I’m not psychic, it’s just that this blog can get pretty geeky at times, and geeky people are more likely to have installed a third-party web browser in addition to the one supplied with their operating system.

Anyway, this week’s app is a piece of freeware called Choose Wisely, and it’s designed for people who regularly use more than one web browser on their Mac. The idea is that you can set Choose Wisely as your default browser, and then whenever you open a link in another program (such as your email or Twitter client), Choose Wisely will then ask you which web browser you want to use.

As you can see from the screenshot above, as well as Safari (which I never use), I have Firefox, Chrome and Tor Browser. I use Firefox for my general web browsing, but I’ve locked it down with various ad blocking and privacy-enhancing extensions. Chrome, on the other hand, runs pretty much as it comes, without an ad blocker and very permissive cookie policies. This is because I often use cashback sites like Quidco, which rely on cookies to work correctly, but also because some sites don’t always work correctly in Firefox. And there’s Tor Browser there in case I need it for, well, you know, things.

When you first run Choose Wisely, it’ll just show Safari, but you can drag and drop other web browsers to have them show up. And they needn’t be web browsers – you can put VLC in there, for example, just in case you want to open a media file in there.

Screenshot of the General panel of System Preferences

You’ll also need to make Choose Wisely your default web browser. In older versions of OS X, there was a preference panel in Safari to do this; in El Capitane (and Yosemite I think), you open System Preferences, and then choose General. Set Choose Wisely as the default web browser, and then whenever you open a link in another program, it’ll pop up to ask you which web browser to use.

The app itself is tiny – less than a megabyte – and so it loads quickly. It therefore won’t slow you down too much compared with just opening a regular web browser every time.

Choose Wisely was last updated almost three years ago in 2013, and the web page to download it from is all in German, but it’s easy enough to use and still seems to work fine in El Capitane and with the latest versions of web browsers.

For Windows users, Browser Chooser 2 seems to do the same thing, has more features and is also free, but I haven’t had chance top try it myself.

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