Thanks to reader Pavel Dvorak for this tip!
In a previous post we mentioned the website MandarinSpot that will annotate Chinese texts with pronunciation and translations of words and phrases. Great! The only downside is that each time you want to use the service you have to open your browser and navigate to the website. This might not be an issue if you live in your browser, as many do, but what if you want to have the MandarinSpot annotation service available all the time from your OSX Dock or Status Bar?
How to do it
In step Fluid, a Mac OSX application that allows you to create applications from websites called a Site Specific Browsers, or SSBs. Using Fluid you can create a desktop application out of the MandarinSpot annotation tool, or any other website for that matter, and run it directly from your desktop.
First download and install Fluid on your Mac, then after launching Fluid you will see the following screen. Enter the website address for the MandarinSpot Annotation service:
After you hit the create button the application will be saved into your Mac’s Applications and you’ll see the following screen:
Hit the Launch Now button and the MandarinSpot Annotation app we just created will launch in a new window:
Now, here’s when the magic happens – you could continue using this app as-is, as a regular Mac OSX app that you launch from your Dock or Applications folder, but we want this app to always be available from the Status Bar. To do this open the menu for for you newly created app and choose “Convert to MenuExtra SSB” and press OK on the confirmation message that pops up:
The favicon for the app will now appear in your Status Bar at the top right of your screen and to open the annotation tool all you need to do is click it:
Now, whatever you are doing on your computer all you need to do is click the button in your status bar and MandarinSpot will appear. You could use this for copying Chinese text from a website, a text document or PDF, literally anywhere – and have it annotated and displayed right there on your desktop: