Make your own search engine with 100% more Google

Google has publicly released their Custom Search Engine. In about ten minutes you can have your very own search engine on your site. You can control page rankings and which pages of your site are included or excluded when someone searches on your site. There are other services or scripts that can do this on their own, but this new search engine will be powered with Google and allows for future customization. #3 of the CSE FAQ:

  • Apply your website’s look and feel to the search results page.
  • Make money from your Custom Search Engine by participating in Google’s AdSense program.
  • Provide search refinements within results pages to make it easier for searchers to find the information they’re looking for.
  • Incrementally add sites to your search engine’s index as you surf the web.
  • Invite friends and trusted users to co-edit and contribute to your search engine.

Google already has long provided the option of including their search box on websites, now think of this Custom Search Engine as like having a little more control on how information on your site is used and what results are shown (e.g. no more feline animal results when someone searches for “tiger” on a golfing related website).

There’s a catch or possible downside, depending how you feel about it, Google will display short, text-based ads with your search results. At the moment, the CSE is only open to English language based Google searches like,, .ca,, and

100,000 slices of pi

It took Akira Haraguchi 16 hours to recite π to 100,000 digits from memory earlier this month. This would supercede fellow Japanese Hiroyuki Goto’s official Guinness Book of Record of 42,195 digits set in 1995. Mr. Haraguchi is not a novice at this. His current feat also bypasses his own personal record of 83,431 set also in 1995, but his previous event was never entered in the Guinness Book.

What I am aiming at is not just memorizing figures, I am thrilled by seeking a story in pi. – Akira Haraguchi

During the 16 hours, all of Mr. Haraguchi’s activities, including his bathroom breaks, were videotaped for evidence for verification to the Guinness Book of Records.

North Korea: Animal Farm revisited?

Kim Jong Il better be careful. He is walking a very thin line in making threats. Some people say that he is trying to show the world that North Korea is like the bigger nations—a nuclear power. Giving a false sense of self-reliance and patriotic honor to the North Koreans who have been depending on other nearby countries for food and other aid for about a century and has a failing economy that makes them one of the poorest of nations.

Recent events have lead me to the following possible theme of events:

  • It seems like they’re playing a game where they put everyone around them in danger even the people in North Korea to try to get what they want. Sort of like give us what we want—more food, resources, and other goods—or else. Part of me thinks that they just want to play this game to see how far they can get. After all they are pressed for resources. If it is a game it can be one that can get out of control and end horribly wrong (mainly for the North Koreans and their future).
  • It’s like a Jedi mind trick on the part of Kim Jong Il, his military, and his government. With very little food material goods, and resources to go around, I’m surprised there hasn’t been some type of internal revolution by the lower class. I&#8217m sure they’re getting weary. Little food among other things and maybe a growing sense of things could be better if there was a major change somehow. The mind trick scenario could come into play by showing the people that “Look, North Korea is not so bad under the current leadership. We have a large strong military.1 We’re conducting missile test as we speak. Were a big time major nuclear power now. Your suffering makes for a stronger, patriotic and honorable North Korea in the future.”

As of the food aid they do get, a good majority goes the military, the DPRK party elite and the few select rich people. It’s sounding more and more to me like George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

  1. That is, a financially well-to-do, well fed military.

Searching for the next Web2.0 trend

Recently I’ve been under a brain-fog over a new website layout. Yes, I was tempted to go the trendy route with heavy gradients and fancy slick web page magic tricks. All those toys out there are pretty tempting. I suffer from this eventual bad fate of working on a layout and tweaking this, tweaking that, putting a lot of time and thought into it until I finally grow tired of the design as a whole and scrap it. This is mainly because of one or more of the following (mostly all):

  1. It no longer looks the way it should after changing things around
  2. It’s beyond code repair after hours, if not days, of tweaking.
  3. It no longer looks right—must come up with something better.

Then the vicious cycle continues from the beginning. Stumbling across a website a few weeks ago, (I forget which one), helped me to realize that I’m not the only one with this problem of a “fix it ‘till it’s broken” mentality in designing. It makes me feel so much better about myself to know that there are a multitude of others who’ve had layouts/designs that went from looking cool but modest to looking like a $2 hooker with way too much makeup on—really trashy and increasingly butt ugly to boot. I still have trouble learning how to step back from a layout project before it grows stale on me.

Yesterday, I came across this article titled DRAG-ing Your Design Down – How To Style Yourself To Anonymity by Some Random Dude (that’s the name of the site). The author gave a long post about his opinion of the ongoing trend of Web2.0’s Drop-shadows, Rounded corners, And Gradients earlier this year. His site, for contrast, is rather minimal but still packs visual punch. It reminded me of one of my old weblog#8217;s minimalistic layout style of a white background and very little of the bling that is prominent with the Web2.0 design trend.

old site layout I’m also guilty of the rounded corners style with the main part of my old website, but it can only be viewed in certain browsers because it is created using a Mozilla specific CSS property -moz-border-radius. Oh well, the spaceman and alien with gray colors theme of mine is quite a few years old by-the-way. Now for this site there is only a minor gradient for the background of the entries which I hope fits in nicely with the design.

The article has inspired me to just stick with my old weblog design. Never mind the bollocks1 bling-bling. Hopefully by the end of this week this site will be graced with a slightly re-vamped layout of my old weblog. This should finally allow me to concentrate on other projects.

  1. Please pardon the Sex Pistols reference.


I’m Mihama Chiyo!

You are Mihama Chiyo!

Which Azumanga Daioh Character are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

Browsers need better Ruby markup support

I’ll anxiously be awaiting for better ruby annotation support in web browsers (no I’m not talking about Ruby On Rails). The “Ruby” I’m talking about is found mainly in print. The W3C’s recommendation article is currently dated from May 31, 2001. Sometimes it does take a while to for things to go from a recommendation to somewhat supported web standard recommendation. This is how the W3C defines what it is:

“Ruby” are short runs of text alongside the base text, typically used in East Asian documents to indicate pronunciation or to provide a short annotation. This specification defines markup for ruby, in the form of an XHTML module.

Here’s a sample…
Firefox’s ruby markup rendering:

Internet Explorer’s ruby markup rendering:

Here’s how it should look (ignoring the difference of font and font size):

So far Firefox (v1.5.0.7) is not rendering it correctly at all and strangely enough Internet Explorer (v6) shows the example correct but still has very little but at least some support. From the examples I tried myself, IE is OK as long as there is only one ruby text tag and one base tag. The main problem for me is that I don’t use IE on a everyday basis. I’ve seen ruby markup used in print (dictionaries) but the print world and web world can have vast underlining differences as pointed out in the article.

…the Web may lead to some phenomena and problems that are not present in traditional typography. Structural markup for ruby, as defined in this specification, cannot guarantee that ruby text will always be rendered alongside the base text. There are a very wide variety of current and future output devices for documents marked up with XHTML.

Anyone thinking that the web will cause print to be extinct soon shouldn’t hold their breath yet.

Update: There is now a .xpi extension available for XHTML Ruby Support by Hiroshi Shimoda

Redo of my currently reading script

Thinking about fixing up my PHP scripting that I put together of my currently reading section. Either I can make a new table inside my main site’s database with a different prefix, so I can tell which table is for the books and which is for the site, or create a completely new database.

Sure there are other scripts and plugins that can do the basically the same thing but I’ve either found them to be lacking in some areas or extremely bloated content wise for my current needs.1 I’m not looking to show detailed information or reviews at the moment. For the time being, I’m just using a simple link provided by in my sidebar. This is a lot less information than my original code which was showing a progress bar with the percentage of the book that was read and links to other sites.2 Instead of just inputting the information of title, author, ISBN, pages using PHP and MySQL, I’m now experimenting with combining Amazon’s XML product feed along with it so I can pull the information with just entering the ISBN and updating the number of pages and where I left of in the book.3

I’ve also been thinking of creating a stand-alone or extension to Firefox so I can easily update my book status. I like the idea of making something for Firefox more because it gives me a reason to learn XUL. The downside, having to learn the workings of XML-RPC.

  1. Such as: Amazon Media Manager, CG-Amazon, WP-Amazon, and many others. Plus, I want to create something of my own that I can call my own.
  2. Local sites for Canada, and United Kingdom, along with the standard US. I haven’t signed up for any other locales yet.
  3. It could have been just by entering the ISBN and last page read, but neither of Amazon’s XML feeds lite or heavy contain a book’s total page count.

Pros and cons of K2 and

I really like the K2 theme, but it combined with the current is a little too much heavy “bling-bling” for my website. I first wanted to steer clear from K2 due to its bulky package, but settled for it in the end for the reboot of my site. I’ve noticed a severe slowdown and hanging of the page loadings since day one. There is also some type of bug which sometimes shows the “busy” symbol of the circling dots when the page loads and stays there for a while. When this happens the “rolling archives” slider is inoperative. This lagging is happening way too much for my comfort. I’ve turned off a few special features like the rolling archives.

In comparison, the Default (the older Kubrick) theme has 17 .php files and Classic theme has 6 .php files. K2 on the other hand has 40+ .php files, about 9 javascript files (I included the .js files set in .php files here but did not include them in the .php count). This includes’ Prototype framework v1.5.0_rc0. Presented in K2 as a javascript file set into a .php page weighting in at 56KB. I guess this is not to bad since the updated v1.5.0_rc1 would most likely jack the .php page weight up to 64KB!

Not every file in K2 has to be used since it is possible to turn some features off in its theme control panel. A lot of these included functions, modules and possible plugin inclusions I’m not using yet and some may never be used. I really have no need for Flickr and don’t even have an account. I’ll also have to trim some of the extra if, else, and if function_exists out not due to extra weight to the files but because the stuff is not being use and to help ease the script reading and finding of the things I do use.

I’ll be studying the both K2 and files for awhile so I can figure out something lighter in weight and a different theme since I’m not use to using someone else’s straight out of the box layout. Hopefully I can come up with my own layout sometime soon.

Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test

Looking at the results of both the percentages at the beginning, the bar graphs at the bottom and comparing my results with other test-takers, there apparently must not be a lot of people in my specific age and gender group who took the test.

Although I don’t like the idea of the fact that the insertion code provided by this quiz is set in <table> layout and practically a whole page with advertising of the creator’s other available quizzes rather than a little sentence or two with the results. I present my results–drumroll please…

Modern, Cool Nerd
78 % Nerd, 82% Geek, 34% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.
You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn’t use to be cool, but in the 90’s that all changed. It used
to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a
pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world
that you couldn’t quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and
geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very
least, and “geek is chic.” The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent,
knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing
computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one
you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one
up there, winning the million bucks)!


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you’re interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality



My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on nerdiness
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on geekosity
free online dating free online dating
You scored higher than 99% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Jackie Chan uses his bean for a good cause

Guess who’s in the java business now. Yep, Jackie Chan!

Looks like his coffee kiosks are slated for distribution in parts of Asia only—for now. Boo Hiss—I’m all the way in Pittsburgh. Hopefully there will be a way to buy it here either online or in a store somewhere sometime in the future.

A major plus side… It’s for a good cause since a portion of the profits will “help buy books and build schools across Asia”. Another plus about this Chan/coffee venture is it will be produced right here in Pittsburgh by Hometown Coffee Co. (well, located in Bridgeville Borough to be exact, which is just outside of Pittsburgh).

Coffee is also a language in itself.—When you watch my movies, you think of Jackie Chan. When you drink coffee, I hope you will also think of Jackie Chan. – Jackie Chan

Look out Starbucks, Kung Fu star about to kick your bean’s butt!