Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Got PageRank 4

So Google recently completed their database update, and funnily, my blog gets one notch higher, from a pagerank of 3 to a pagerank 4. There are commercial sites which struggle to move above pagerank 3, so I am not sure why my simple, personal blog has a rank of 4. In fact, there was a time some years back when my blog was linked to some very popular/important webpages - at that time I had a pagerank of 5!

My website has a PageRank of 3 right now, even though it was put online only about a week ago.

But whatever, I don't really care that much about pagerank and all. This is mainly because recently at work, I had to do some research on search engine optimization, so that got me interested in this. As long as I enjoy blogging and the few visitors I have enjoy the content, it's fine!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rage Against the Machine to re-unite - only for a day

This is big news. Rage Against The Machine are going to play at the Coachella music fest in Los Angeles, after 7 long years. Read the announcement here. What more, Red Hot Chili Peppers and DJ Tïesto are set to perform as well, along with numerous other bands at the 3-day festival. I hope some sort of live cam or something is set up, or at least recordings are made available later. Those of you in LA, do something.. e.g. Take good quality camcorders to the show ;)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Les chansons Français

Up until some years ago, we had the French music channel MCM on TV. In those days there were several songs which I used to listen to and loved. Among them were some French songs. In a fit of nostalgia, I dugg up some of them. The French music scene is bumping when it comes to Pop (as compared to, say, Korea or Thailand, where I'd throw up if I had to watch their music channels for more than 10 minutes). Listen to them all, you won't be disappointed!

Des Palmas
Regarde moi bien en face - Catchy song, used to be my favorite, I even made a backing track for this, and know the lyrics by heart
J'en reve encore - A recent one. Actually I can't find a video of his other song, Sombre.

Marc Lavoinne avec Cristina Marocco
J'ai tout oublié - Very nice haunting song, duet, with lyrics. Not that I get more than 20% of it, but still fun.

Au soleil - Sorry for bad video, but song is nice
Des mots qui résonnent - Nice song, but some of the added sound effects destroy it (it's the TV version)
J'attends l'amour - For some reason I remembered this as "J'attends la monde" and was going nuts trying to find it :-\ First French song I heard on MCM. Valentines day is coming, appropriate video!

Iva Fruhlingova (or just "Iva")
Ou tu veux, quand tu veux - Amazing song. Haunting tune. This one appears to be a slightly remixed version from the MP3 I have. Very good video, and amazing vocals of a very pretty singer. One of my favorites.

Lorie - yes it's ridiculous but hey, at that time I liked it, plus she's hot as hell
Toute seule - First video I saw, I believe this was her first too. Apparently she was spotted on some website where she posted a song of hers. There is another of her songs which was way better and less cheesy but the title escapes me now.

Tiziano Ferro
Perdono - This is one song that had annoyed the hell out of me, being played non-stop. But it's OK. Endure to the end for the camera girl dance ;)
Imbranato - MUCH better song, must listen. Slower and soulful.
I don't think both these songs are French, though... my ability of identifying languages ends here but if I am given guesses, I would say Spanish or Italian. Te amor is Spanish right? But the lyrics have so much O sound I'm tempted to say it's Italian. Anyway, I don't know.

Renaud et Axelle Red
Manhattan Kaboul - It's obvious from the title and the video what the song is about. Catchy guitar riff and chorus. Video is recorded off MCM :D

There was also this song by Yannick Noah, but it was reggae and I hated it so I'm not going to bother recalling what it was titled.

And the mandatory: Alizée - Moi lolita - Everyone has perhaps heard this song (and seen the video). Dance track. Anyone know what they're talking in the beginning? All I got was Tu m'aime...(blahblah)..Je t'aime. Anyway, Alizée is such a doll you can't miss this video.

And that concludes my French Song Megapost. It's amazing I was even able to recall all these songs and dig up the videos, it's been something like 5-6 years. Oh good old times... what's crazier is that all these artists are located in one city barely 400 miles away from me!

Google Video search now includes YouTube videos: and vice versa!

I was just looking for something on Google Video and noticed that it returned a lot of results linking to YouTube videos! Although there was no fanfare, not even a separate page describing this, but only a small blurb on the Google Video homepage. Here's straight from the horse's mouth:
YouTube icon New! Now you can also search for videos from YouTube.
It's great that we can now use Google's search features (duration tag, boolean operators) to search for videos on YouTube. Because honestly, YouTube has the worst search feature (you can't even add a - sign before a word to exclude it from the search!). But it seems the integration is two-way, because YouTube searches are now playing well with Google-style search terms.

The Google acquisition was a good thing for YouTube, indeed! Let's just hope the whole copyright issue remains outside of Google's area of interest. What I mean by that is, hopefully Google will adopt a no censorship/monitoring policy and will only remove infringing videos on request. That's the stand any publicly available information carrier should take.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


So it snowed finally. Brings back memories. But it's January 24th - kinda weird for a first snow when it should be the end of the snowing season. And the 'entry' this time was not as grande spectaculaire as last year (late November). I hope it snows really heavily at least once this winter... it is a pretty sight.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 - soft launch

Yes I finally decided to change the site from offline mode to online mode. This is it - is now online for the whole world to behold! There aren't too many sections or pages yet, I will keep adding content later as and when I get time.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cult of Vi

...And I hereby proclaim that I am joining the Vimpires at the Cult of Vi.

The Vi brigade in the Holy War* now has a soldier more. Church of Emacs, bring it on. For you lesser mortals still in the clasps of Notepad or GEdit or what-have-you, it's time for an awekening. Rise to Vim.

On a side-note, I read about the ed editor (written in 24 bytes of code, jokingly called the 'standard text editor'). It sure is scary. Here is my first session with ed (blue: me, red: ed) -
Feisty> ed
Feisty> _
Reminds me of EDLIN from DOS days. Thank goodness, even Notepad is better. Electric Pencil, anyone? :-P
*There exists a lesser war: The tab vs space war.

Those of you who have no clue what this post is about are encouraged to check out all the links I have sprinkled across this post ;-)



Ferri's is good and great, but sometimes variety is nice. I might be the dream customer any Pizza house would ever want (6 pizzas in a row is no big deal), so I thought of 'expanding my horizons,' in the process also benefitting the Jacobs population (and perhaps any other Bremen visitors) by offering a small review of FlyingPizza.

First off is the convenience of being able to order online instead of by phone. It might just be a life-saver on a night when you really need a Pizza but don't have a calling card and your Skype balance is zero. Not that that has happened to me before, I am usually too well prepared for that kind of thing.

Second, the menu is good. It is a small annoyance having to pronounce the toppings you want in the clearest German accent you can fake so the Ferri's guy (or the lady) understands you mean Hähnchen and not Schinken. FlyingPizza has a vast range of toppings and pre-built pizzas available in 3 sizes (note: don't order larger than the 20 cm unless you know what you are doing - or have other people in your room) - all available online. Apart from pizzas, they also have a large selection of other stuff, noodles and all that. I decided to order their "Neue" Chicken pizza which comes with Hähnchen, Barbecuesauce, Zwiebel, Paprika und Goudakäse. Being really hungry, I went overboard and ordered an extra topping of Ei and Extra-Käse - on a 26 cm base!

Total cost: €10,40. Yes that's a LOT, especially in comparison to Ferri's five-buck-a-pop. I was determined not to let cost be a factor, considering this was perhaps the first tummy-filling meal I would be having in the past 2 days (sorry Aramark). What I should have realized is that a perfectly acceptable pizza could be 'crafted,' had I gone for a simple 20cm base with just cheese and sauce, and added my own toppings. The base starts at €3,90 so a 2 or 3 topping pizza would come at about €6 (their minimum delivery). Overall the prices were quite affordable, provided you are not foolish like me and know what pizza size you can handle.

The website is in German, but easy to follow for anyone who has taken A1.1 (proud pupil here). The website is easily navigable and adding a topping is quick (they use AJAX so the page doesn't reload on every click). Make sure you use the extra info field to type in the university name and your room number! The order is routed via another website so after you click Jetzt bestellen, you gotta wait about half a minute before it is confirmed.

Then the waiting begins. Delivery time was about 45-50 minutes, which is quite good considering it comes all the way from Blumenthal (Schwaneweder Straße or something) instead of from Grohn like Ferri's (who still manage 1½ to 2 hours at their whim). There was a once-in-a-blue-moon instance when Ferri's delivered in 20 minutes, but don't count on it. Considering that FlyingPizza probably aren't familiar with IUB (the bill had instructions printed on how to reach me), I was expecting a phone call and having to pick it up from the porter's or something (or in other universities: the front desk). Instead, the delivery guy rings the bell and it's delivered straight to your room. They speak English and are in uniform. All the more professional. But make sure you tip the delivery guy (I didn't and he was a bit taken aback as he counted the €10 note and two 20¢ coins I handed him).

The pizza: It was bulky. Yes, I repeat, don't order larger than 20 cm. Especially not with 5-6 toppings. It's a waste of money, as I found out. But the quality: delicious! Nice and juicy, unlike the dry cardboard that Ferri's calls pizzas (which we all have come to accept much like Aramark food). Yes it also does look exactly like the pizza photo on their website. My only gripe is that they don't slice the pizza for you. FlyingPizza is also the first pizza house which understood that by Ei I meant boiled eggs, sliced; not fried eggs scrambled in the middle of the pizza (unlike Ferri's who sent me a Peperoni pizza when I asked for vegetarian). It does taste a little sweet so even if you're not Asian, you might want to add some extra Scharf (60¢ extra).

Verdict: Just a tad pricey, but the good quality and fast delivery coupled with the ability to order online make FlyingPizza a very good alternative to Ferri's. Only downside is that they take orders only until 11:00pm.

PRICE: 6/10

Now for this little advertisement, FlyingPizza, will you also offer me 5-10 free pizzas, like Microsoft did for tech bloggers.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Ten thousand eight hundred?!!

Wow. Someone searched for 'mercurysquad' and landed on my website, so I click the statcounter link, and what do I find? Results 1 - 10 of about 10,800 for mercurysquad.

This is crazy. I should really stop using the 'net.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Facebook profile pic hack - reloaded

This was originally posted on my facebook profile's notes section, but is reproduced here with a bugfix and made easier to use for the benefit of mankind.
Here's a neat Firefox trick to view someone's profile pic (or another photo) in full size even when they are not in your friends list.

So here goes:
Simply drag and drop the following link to your bookmarks toolbar:
View Full Pic.

Note: If you are viewing this in Facebook, please click View Original Post and then drag the link from there instead. Facebook adds its own stupid link tracking so dragging directly from here won't work.

That's it. From then on if you wish to view the full profile pic, just right click the thumbnail > View Image > and click the View Full Pic bookmark on your toolbar.

This should also work in Internet Explorer (and maybe any other browser, but I have not tested). Firefox just has the View Image option making everything much easier.

How it works

As everyone (perhaps?) knows, to view profile pics of people not in your friends list or network, all you gotta do is (in Firefox) right click the little thumbnail of the photo and choose View Image. It opens up the same image. Now to view the full size pic, you have to change the /t130139303 (or whatever the number is) to /n130139303, in the location displayed in your address bar.

This is a hassle, so we create a bookmarklet to do the search/replace for us. Here's the code:

The regex has [t|s] because there are two versions of a thumbnail on facebook, a 't' (tiny) one and an 's' (small one). The full pic is 'n' (normal). Yes, I know the regex is not comprehensive and will match any URL which ends in a .jpg file whose filename starts with 't' or 's' but who the F cares when it works on facebook just fine - simply don't click the bookmarklet while on other sites to avoid running into 404 Page Not Found's and other side effects.

Let's see if I can whip up a Firefox extension to make it even less work.

PS: In case you are wondering about my motivation (you perverts), it was a 'side effect' while I was trying to muck with the commenting system on Apparently digg is quite secure (so far) and I didn't get anywhere but the idea worked on facebook for now.

Saturday, January 06, 2007 has perhaps the weirdest crowd online

Man, this is crazy. I have been visiting quite often in the past few months, because it's a great source of news and discussions. But with each passing day, it seems more apparent that most diggsters are a group of self indulgent, let's say, cultists.

As an example: A guy posts a lame comment on a story, with his website address plugged in as a signature. The comment gets dugg down to -ve thousands. Then he posts on his website about this. Someone posts his website on and now the same site gets front page with thousands of +ve diggs.

To sum it up in someone else's words: This is a post on digg about a blog posted in response to a comment on digg posted on a story about a mirror.


Link here