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Geek Chic: Opera 9.0 Technology Preview 2

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The wizards in Norway have reached a new high note with an early beta of Opera 9.0 Technology Preview 2. They've enhanced an already great browser with some impressive arpeggios and trills, including widgets, thumbnail tab previews and improved content block.

When last I looked, there were already 50 widgets (Web applets) available for Opera 9, from clocks and calendars to one for calculating your BMI (body mass index). They're downloadable from the Opera Community Web site or you can write your own. Toggling widget viewing mode on with the F6 key brings up a toolbar for adding, deleting and "pinning" widgets. A pinned widget stays visible after you've toggled widget viewing mode off. But there's a downside, as the end-user instructions remind us: Widgets may contact untrustworthy Web sites and can pass on any sensitive information you provide. In other words, buyer beware.

There are a number of other useful tweaks in version 2. Opera 9 supports BitTorrent transfers (a feature first tested in Opera 8.02 Preview 1), which eliminates the need for a separate BitTorrent client. Your initial BitTorrent download begins with a configuration screen and you can go from there. BitTorrent also has been added to the default list of available search engines.

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