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Firefox Second Search Bar July 3, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Firefox, GUI, Technology.
Tags: , , , ,
5 comments

Ok. This post is actually useful for once. I finally figured out how to add a second search bar into firefox, and make it look exactly how I want it to:

Google and Wikipedia!

Google and Wikipedia!

I don’t know if there are any simpler ways of doing this, mine turned out rather difficult.

First, I used the old firefox add-on called thinger. Unfortunately, it has not been updated for the new version of firefox, so this is what must be done:

1) Download thinger by right-click>save-link-as on their link. For convinience, I have hotlinked it here.

2) Open the .xpi file using your favorite archive-manager. For me, it’s Winrar. You can use winzip, or 7-zip or whatever.

3) Inside, you will find a file called install.rdf. Open it with notepad. As you go through it, you will find the following code:
<em:maxVersion>3.0.a3</em:maxVersion>
Replace the “3.0.a3″ with “3.5″, so that it can run on newer firefox. Save it and close it all up.

4) Open up firefox. File >> Open >>toolbar-thinger-1.0-fx.xpi . Basically, open it from wherever you saved it. Firefox should then let you install the add-on.

5) Once you have the add-on, go to View >> Toolbars >> Customize , and there will be a new bar with a little search icon. Just drag it to wherever you want the new searchbar to be.

Thats that. However, if you want the second search bar to be right-aligned and the same size as the regular one like mine is, then you will need to add some extra code. Go to your userChrome.css file for your firefox. If you don’t know what that is, download the ChromEdit Plus extension (after you’ve installed it, go to Tools >> Chromedit Plus >> Chromedit).

Copy-paste this code I wrote into your userChrome.css file somewhere above the “namespace” code:


#searchbar {max-width: 250px !important;width: 250px !important}
#search-container{max-width: 250px !important;width: 250px !important}
.thinger-item {min-width: 250px !important;}
.search-proxy-button-dropmarker { display:none !important; }
.searchbar-dropmarker-image {display: none !important;}
#search-proxy-button { margin-top: 1px !important;
margin-left: -2px !important; margin-right: 2px !important; }

Then press save, then press restart. Firefox should then have your searchboxes done correct. If not, then play around with it or post a comment and I can help you out.

Hella Fantasy Baseball June 17, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Baseball, Calculations.
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I have created a giant spreadsheet to calculate the usefulness of a player to fantasy baseball.

I have called this statistic the PRU: Pitching Relative Usefulness.

The PRU Calculator

The PRU Calculator

There will also eventually be the BRU, the batting relative usefulness, and I will upload that later.

Best Pitchers

Most Useful Pitchers

So lets talk about the PRU. The PRU weighs pitchers by the five default categories in Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball. To be specific, it ranks all those players, puts them into a percentile, and then averages these percentiles. The PRU is a number 1-100. There is also the SPPRU (for starting pitchers) and the RPPRU (for relievers).

Now, many of you know that I don’t know anything about baseball, and have only started following it this year. I don’t actually know if this statistic is good, or if someone has attempted it before. Keep me informed.

OK. Now let me put up some tables of the rest.

BEST STARTING PITCHERS
Name SPRU
1 greinke,zack 95.81099
2 broxton,jonatha 93.82901
3 weaver,jered 93.24342
4 haren,dan 92.97315
5 halladay,roy 92.70288
6 jackson,edwin 91.30649
7 cueto,johnny 90.76595
8 johnson,josh 89.95514
9 lilly,ted 89.68486
10 verlander,justi 89.59477

And then the relievers:

BEST RELIEVERS
Name RPRU
1 broxton,jonatha 94.95501
2 rodriguez,franc 90.81087
3 bell,heath 90.40546
4 soriano,rafael 89.1442
5 nathan,joe 88.69375
6 bailey,andrew 88.51357
7 howell,j.p. 87.92798
8 madson,ryan 87.83789
9 downs,scott 86.26132
10 aardsma,david 85.49555

So it turns out I have the 9th and 10th most useful relievers in our league. Anyway, sorry this post was so long. The spreadsheet for pitchers is here.

Hella need baseball help! May 15, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Baseball.
Tags: , , , , , ,
1 comment so far
Manny being Manny

Manny being Manny

I know at this point I could probably count the readers of this blog on my fingers (on one hand), but I have a baseball question, so I am calling all baseball fans and stats majors from other blogs, who might stumble here by accident and leave a comment.

I’ve been thinking about how to maximize the utility of my pitchers on my baseball fantasy team, and I have been attempting to sort players by their ERA. After significant work in excel, I created a NORMSDIST plot and tried to assign pitchers their percentile.

However, I’m not sure: Are ERAs even normally distributed? Is the probability a bell curve? I created a histogram to try to find out:

2009 Baseball ERAs

2009 Baseball ERAs

In that histogram, I got rid of all pitchers who pitched less than seven innings (Including some dude named Chad Fox and his 450 ERA), and I am left with something that looks kinda like a bell curve. I don’t really want to go test  historical records, so I am curious, does anyone know?

*Note: I don’t know very much about baseball. In fact, I only got into it this year. Be patient with me.

Hella BIOS adventures March 22, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Hardware, Linux, Technology.
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I am waiting the two hours for my iphone to back-up and sync. Therefore, this will be a long blog post, with many pictures, so bear with me. I have noticed that my most visited post, by far, has been the one about the OSX themed linux, and I will devote more space to linux and technology. Today, I’ll recap my story about my Dell Latitude CPi.

Latitude CPi

Latitude CPi

So, I pulled out an old late 90′s Latitude c-series Pentium II notebook out of my basement, in order to install the new version of Backtrack 3 Linux on its tiny hard drive.

First, I inserted the BackTrack 3 LiveCD to see if it would work. Unfortunately, the computer wouldn’t let me boot off the CD, and instead tried to make me boot off of the non-existent floppy drive. Even worse, the BIOS was password protected.

Mark my words, Laptop manufacturers should never password protect their BIOSes. It does not stop the hard drive data from being stolen, and it does not deter theft. Criminals don’t carry around a list of difficult-to-crack BIOS passwords with them- they steal when the opportunity arises. Hella stupid.

So, I went to my computer to find latitude.exe, the program which cracks all latitude BIOS passwords, given their service code. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work for c-series computers, and definately did not work for mine.

Ram Chip

The Ram Chip

Ok. When a computer is off, the necessary functions (like the clock and BIOS data), are powered by the tiny CMOS battery. You can disconnect that, and after a while, the BIOS will reset itself. However, once again, the Latitude c-series is smarter than that. All the data is stored on an internal RAM-chip, which presents itself as an 8-inch pin on the motherboard.  You can disconnect the power all you want, but the data will be there.

I had heard that people had had sucess re-assembling the laptop so that the motherboard faced the other way, then shorting the RAM chip with a paper clip. Unfortunately, with the specific CPi model, that re-assembly would be impossible.

Russian Engineering

Russian Engineering

Things were getting more difficult. I dissasembled virtually every part of the laptop trying to figure out a way to start the laptop while shorting the chip, including the bitch-ass clamp holding the CPU down. Eventually, I went to my old soviet junior-electronics set and pulled out two standard wires. I tried to solder them onto the board, but ended up getting a really bad burn on one of my fingers from the iron. This is where Russian innovation came into play. I got out my scotch tape, and taped down the wires onto the chip, and hoped I wouldn’t start a fire.

BT3 in Flux

BT3 in Flux

After reasembling the laptop and holding down the power button while shorting the wires in my other hand, the bios erased itself on the third attempt. I changed the boot device to CD-rom, and hoped for the best. BackTrack 3 live-cd only ran in Fluxbox (couldn’t handle KDE), but I feel that I might be more sucessful replacing Windows 98 with a clean copy of BT3.

Moral of the story: never spend this much time trying to fix an insignificant thing. This laptop is a current hobby project of mine, though, and I will keep you posted as I gradually change this piece of the 90′s into a masterpiece.

Hella Synesthesia March 12, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Psychology.
Tags: , , , ,
3 comments

I am gonna try to make this post interesting, even though its not about linux or the watchmen. This post, actually, is about arithmetic…

No, it’ll be interesting, I promise. So, just a few days ago, I was trying to account for the money in my bank account by adding a few recent purchases in my head, when I realized that my arithmetic skills are lacking. The thing is, I don’t think I’m alone in wanting to be better at arithmetic, and so I began to research it.

Turns out, the human brain has a lot of computational potential. Just ask Daniel Tammet, an autistic savant who can list pi to 22,514 digits (and also learn the entire Icelandic language in just a week). He, unlike regular people, has a form of Synesthesia, meaning that his perception of numbers and letters is associated with the experience of colors. In otherwords, he sees numbers as shapes and colors (e.g. he sees Wedensday as blue). This is how he draws pi:

Tammet's perception of pi

Tammet's perception of pi

So, Synesthesia is not a common occurance in nature. But, after a conversation with my friends, I realized that many people do, in fact, associate colors with numbers. I soon realized, that, although I’m definately not a synesthesiac, I also associate numbers with colors. For me, 1 is yellow-white ish, two is green, three is yellow, four is brown, etc. I wondered if it would benefit my arithmatic if I would try to take advantage of this, so I made this game:

My Synesthesia Game

My Synesthesia Game

Ok. It’s pretty crude right now. It only has addition of one and two digit numbers. Also, the game is set in my colors, and you can’t change that. But, if anyone’s intrested in this expiriment I am conducting, you can find my current version of this game here. It only works in Windows :-(. (Also, press f4 to make it full-screen)

Also, I must say, people have started reading this blog. I had 120 views in one day a few days ago, my post has been replicated on another blog, and people are starting to have conversations in my comments section. Keep reading the blog, and don’t forget to add it to your bookmarks!

Hella Data Aggregation March 8, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Uncategorized.
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1 comment so far

Watched the Watchmen tonight. As a big fan of the book, I thought that it was a good rendition of the original graphic novel. The friends I was watching it with probably did not have the same enthusiasm as I did though. I’m not sure that graphic novel should have ever been turned into a movie (at least the film was better than the proposed script, which had Ozymandias killed by night-owl’s batarang at the last moment).

Awesome.

Awesome.

Anyway, I’d like to explain why Ozymandias was so awesome (at least in the book). In particular, I want to discuss the part where he watches 100 screens at once at half-volume, to absorb the aggregate data at once. For those of you not familiar, he describes it here:

Burrough's Cut up Technique

Burrough's Cut up Technique

He mentiones Burrough’s cut-up technique, which itself actually, is pretty facinating. American 20th century author William S. Burroughs cut up pages of a book and re-arranged the pieces, which he then read to get some sort of a subliminal meaning, in which he argued “the future could shine through”.

Ok. So it might sound like a stupid idea. But it is undeniable that if you aggregate many data sources at once and arange them in a useful manner, you can often see previously invisible patterns, and sometimes even catch a glimpse of where they go.

The internet provides us with an insurmountable ammount of data (mostly 4chan, I think), and it’d be great if we could aggregate that data somehow. Some of my favorite websites are Google Trends and TwitScoop, which both can say a lot about what’s on the mind of internet users.

Somtimes its just wierd.

Somtimes its just wierd.

Also, while I’m on the topic about data aggregation, take a look at Hans Rosling’s Ted Talk. Even you found what I said to be boring, you’ll find this speech pretty awesome. Keep the replies coming, and remember to bookmark this blog!

Hella OSX Ubuntu March 7, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in GUI, Technology.
Tags: , , , ,
6 comments

So the image I stole from digg in the middle of my last blog post got removed, so I need to make a new blog entry to stop make the front page of my blog look better.

This blog entry, will of course, again be about GUI. This time, I want to discuss what OSX actually is. This wikipedia image demonstrates what happened to UNIX over the years. As you can see, Mac OSX and Linux are not far from eachother. The main pillar to Apple’s recent rise has clearly been image. Their GUI has been recognized as something significant. Therefore, I wondered, how easy would it be to mimic OSX’s GUI in Ubuntu. Here are three screenshots:

Ubuntu, made to look like OSX

Ubuntu, made to look like OSX

I used Avant-Window Navigator for the doc. These pictures might be a little blurry, so just click on them to see them on my flickr account.

Ubuntu OSX File Manager

Ubuntu OSX File Manager

As you can see, I have gone into such details as the black cursor, the scrollbars, and even making the buttons appear at the top left of the window navigator, instead of the top right.

Same Widgets as OSX.

Same Widgets as OSX.

Mac Fanboys often remark about their cool f4 widget feature. Here is that exact same widget feature, reproduced.

*    *    *

Anyway, for me this blog is just practice, to see what people respond to. From my last post, I have noticed a lot of views (and even one comment), from people I don’t know. This is really awesome, if you stumble across this blog, make sure to bookmark it and recommend it to friends. Something great will come of it.

Oh Dude Hella GUI February 26, 2009

Posted by ecomnomnom in Uncategorized.
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1 comment so far

Ok. So. I made a new post on this blog, and yes, I did put it back online. Goddamn it.

So anyway, this morning, Apple announced that Safari 4 is gonna be 3 times faster than Firefox.

Safari 4, image taken of Lifehacker

Safari 4, via Lifehacker

Also, the browser takes the tab features we’re all used to and makes it hella pretty in regular mac fashion. For those of you who know me, you might take me as a Microsoft or linux fanboy (basically anything thats not mac).

It’s all about GUI really. Apple takes things that are already there and makes them pretty and easy to use. It is not made clear wtf not Windows can’t do this. Which brings me to the next image:

After having played with Windows 7, I feel like it’s just repackaged Vista (minus the annoying feature that asks permission to do any task on gods green earth, including using the mouse). So I have no idea why Windows released Vista, instead of just Windows 7 the first time.

GUI is not hard. It should be the first things these companies focus on. We can take Ubuntu 8.10 (linux) and stick a new gnome-skin on it, put avant-window-navigator on it, and we essentially get OSX. We can put a new skin on Vista and make it look like OSX (Ironically we can’t put a new skin on OSX, we can’t even make the top bar un-transparent).

This is my Vista desktop:

My Vista Desktop

My Vista Desktop

Why can’t Windows look like this out of the box? Instead, HP puts so much bloatware on these 2gb ram computers that they cannot even function without an out-of-the-box-reformat. This is why macs will win in the long run. Imma go download the Safari 4 beta now.

Hella Piracy in China November 24, 2008

Posted by ecomnomnom in Economics, Technology.
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Recently, I’ve been noticing articles about Microsoft trying to enforce their intellectual property in China. This Guardian.co.uk story and this Wall Street Journal article have explained what the problem is: in an attempt to deter piracy, Microsoft has made the screen go black on all Chinese computers that don’t pass their ‘genuine advantage’ test every hour. This has, of course, caused massive retaliation in China.

Wall Street Journal image of Blacked Out Screen

Wall Street Journal image of Blacked Out Screen

The statistics go as follows. Over 90% of China, including their president, use Windows. About 74% of them are using a pirated copy of Windows. A legitimate copy of Windows in China costs 1000 RMB, which is about the monthly GDP per person. A pirated copy of Windows costs 5 RMB, which is less than 1 USD. Chinese people who were outraged about the new system have argued that Microsoft should target sellers, rather than the consumers.

Personally, I believe that Microsoft is doing the right thing by targeting consumers, because targeting sellers would undoubtedly have completely no impact. Also, the ‘Genuine Advantage’ tool that Microsoft has is an amazing advantage against pirates—and one argument would suggest that anyone who hasn’t found a way around it probably deserves to be buying Windows at full price.

The real question is: How is having your screen go black occasionally any different than regular Windows?

Hella Financial Crisis October 27, 2008

Posted by ecomnomnom in Economics, Finance.
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Ok, to start off this blog, I’d like to post three very good videos explaining the current financial crisis. These videos were done by senior staff at Marketplace (a great show on NPR), and I have ordered them into a way I think they will make sense. Oh and I think the Vimeo embed feature doesn’t work in firefox for some reason so just click on the links then.

The first one is about default credit swaps, a concept that ties banks together.


Untangling credit default swaps from Marketplace on Vimeo.

The next one is about collateralized debt obligations, one of the main culprits behind this financial crisis.


Crisis explainer: Uncorking CDOs from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Finally, this one is about the financial crisis in general, although it is a little bit outdated in the sense that now the government is pursuing a different policy.


The credit crisis as Antarctic expedition from Marketplace on Vimeo.

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