Google Realtime Annoyance

Recently Google started inserting Twitter posts into the search results for current “trending topics”. Apparently they, along with Microsoft, paid a handsome sum to bring this “feature” to the masses. While I’m glad this has made Twitter profitable as I am a Twitter user myself, I find the animated display of tweets in the results very annoying. The last thing I want when trying to read through the results is an eye-catching distraction.

So to take the matter into my own hands, I figured out a relatively easy way to remove the animated elements from the page. In Firefox, you can set custom Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) rules for any web site in a file called userContent.css. The file is located in the chrome folder in your profile, the location of which depends on the platform.

Once you’ve located the userContent.css file, just add the following lines to block the display of the elements used for the real time results animation:

@-moz-document url-prefix( {
#rtr {display: none !important;}
#sb {display: none !important;}
#rth {display: none !important;}

The first line indicates to which pages the CSS rules should be applied. The next lines block the display of the real time result (rtr) list, the scroll bar (sb), and pause link in the real time header (rth). Unfortunately there is no ID value for the markup that includes the “Latest results for [search term] – ” portion. I suppose I could get fancy with following the hierarchy of tags from a specific parent element with an ID, but I figure it’s just as well to leave the link there in case I am interested in seeing those results.

After making the change, you will need to restart the browser for it to take effect.

Apparently Safari also supports userContent.css files, though I’m not sure whether it supports site-specific rules.


I’ve been tagged. Usually I don’t participate in these chain-letter type things, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything so I figure this is as good an excuse as any to get my butt in gear. So I’m supposed to post 8 facts/habits, eh? Well, here goes.1. I spend much too much time on the computer these days. Not only do I do it for my job, but I’m hooked on anything with an RSS/Atom feed. I initially thought Bloglines was the best thing to come along since sliced bread… I no longer had to keep going back to my favorite web sites to check for updates. Now I’ve got a bazillion feeds in my blogroll… friends’ blogs, techie news sites, photo streams, comics, deals, saved Craigslist searches, you name it. It’s hard to keep up, yet I feel obligated because I might miss some kind of gem. It’s a bit overwhelming. I think I might need to put a few feeds on probation.2. Sara, the person who tagged me, is the wife of the brother of an ex-girlfriend from high-school/college and to whom I unfortunately haven’t spoken face to face in probably a decade… but we have similar taste in music (see #3) and they’re good people. So I have their blog in my blogroll. See #1.3. Back in highschool/college, I listened to Toad the Wet Sprocket a lot with said ex-girlfriend and a number of her friends and close family, including Sara. So when I saw a post on her blog about a band whose music she really enjoyed called The Weepies, I decided to check them out. After a few listens to the samples on the iTunes Store, I bought their latest album Say I Am You and had it on heavy rotation from late summer of 2006 through the winter of 2007.4. This album was on heavy rotation during this time much because, well, lets just say I was in a… melancholy… mood, to put it lightly. Between the stresses of adjusting to a second child, dealing with knee pains that prevented me from running (after getting hooked on it while training for a marathon) and dealing with SAD symptoms brought on by the dull gray Michigan winter (yes, I’ve checked in to the Hotel California) among other things, it was not the best of times.5. On a lighter note, I’m a mango nut. It all started many years ago with dried mango fillets that I sampled at my aunt’s house in Nevada over the holidays. For the longest time, that’s pretty much all I had a craving for (not the sugar coated spears… bleh), even to the point of putting 5 lb. bags on my birthday/holiday wish lists. However, earlier this spring I tried a few varieties of fresh mangoes. Based on what I tried, I believe Champaign mangoes are the ones used for the dried fillets. What brought this all to mind was the fact that I came home from Trader Joe’s this evening with Mango Lemonade, Pomegranate Mango juice, and Mango black tea.6. Speaking of tea, I’m a big drinker of said beverage, though I’m fairly picky. Some of my favorites:

  • Bodum’s Best Black Tea: a mild black/green tea blend, yummy with a bit of sugar. I originally came across this as a sample in a Bodum loose leaf tea press we received as a wedding gift. I ordered more from their web site once upon a time, but they no longer sell any tea online. It can still be ordered by calling their New York store (which I have done).
  • Irish or English Breakfast/Teatime: pretty much any brand will do. With whole milk and sugar… one of my favorites. I was turned on to this by some Irish friends who would serve it when we paid them a visit to chill out to their latest music finds.
  • Tazo Honeybush: naturally sweet, caffeine-free. Needs no sweetener since it is not bitter like a black tea. It’s a good late evening tea that doesn’t run the risk of keeping me awake late.
  • Stash Licorice Spice: another naturally sweet, caffeine-free tea that requires no sweetener. Also good in the evening, though I prefer it in the cooler autumn or winter months after a good meal, with or without desert. My mom introduced this one to me.

I enjoy green tea with a Chinese meal, though I rarely fix it at home. I dislike Darjeeling. I’m not a big fan of most fruity or herbal teas, either.Even though I’ll drink one to three cups of tea a day, we have managed to stock pile enough to last us the next 12 months. And yet, I just brought another box home with me tonight (see #5). *sigh*7. As long as I’m on the topic of food, I also eat two fried eggs almost every morning. Last winter I started sprinkling dried oregano and basil on them, then started using fresh home grown oregano and basil in the summer. I’ve always thought it would be cool, though perhaps a bit vane, to have something named after me. So I thought I’d call the creation “Brahman Eggs”. It looks like I’m a little late in stepping up to the plate, so to speak.8. In general, I’m not a big fan of chain letters or pyramid schemes, so I’m not going to explicitly “tag” anyone. However, if you’re reading this and decide to participate voluntarily, leave a comment to let me know. I’m only going to leave the comments open for a short while, though. I forgot to close the comments on a single post on the infrequently-used extended family blog I put together and, due to a bug in Movable Type, was not notified of approximately 13,000 spam comments (now removed) that had accumulated over a 8 month period. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson.

Post Log

While I was training for the marathon I had been posting my progress on a separate blog. Now that the training and marathon are over, I don’t plan to update it anymore. However, I recently came across a new site called We Endure that touts itself as being a “social training log”, encouraging people to track and share their training for endurance sports with others. I’d like to continue training for future endurance events so I’ve created a profile. And since I’ve kept a running log (ever since I started running several years ago!) like a good runner, I was able to import my training mileage since I started with Team in Training back in January.As the site was only announced to the general public a few weeks ago, there are still a number of bugs to be squashed and features to be implemented. However, as it stands now it is quite functional and useful. I highly recommend checking out the site, maybe creating an account for yourself and, of course, start tracking! It would be great to have friends to share training trials and tribulations with.

Smart Power Strips

A few weeks ago, I started doing research on smart power strips, mainly for computer usage, to add to my holiday wishlist. A friend of mine has one with a motion detector that his company supplied for his home office set-up. The idea is to shut off non-essential items, such as printers, usb hubs, external flash media readers, cell phone chargers, etc. when the computer is not in use. More often than not, these devices’ power supplies (the ubiquitous “wall wart”) are not designed to stop drawing current even when the device is not attached to the power supply!I sent a tip to Treehugger detailing my find with the hopes that someone else may have used one or knew of others that are available, as I was only able to find two models online. Unfortunately, neither goal was fulfilled, though it did spark some discussion among the readers. Hopefully the more people talk about them and use them, the more awareness there will be and the demand for them will increase.

Getting Recharged

I’ve come across a few good links on rechargable batteries recently. Not all rechargables are created equally, and it definitely pays to get high capacity ones and a good charger. Considering how many times I’ve re-used the batteries in my digital camera and shower radio, I’ve definitely saved quite a bit of money even though the rechargables cost more up front.Here are a few sites I’ve come across (mostly dealing with AA batteries) that I’ve found helpful in making some educated decisions:The Great Battery Shootout is fairly up to date and focuses mostly on using rechargable AA batteries in digital cameras.Performance comparisons of some NiMH battery chargers is a little older, but shows that not all chargers charge batteries the same way.Battery University has a three part tutorial describing all types of rechargable batteries including the best charge and discharge patterns for extending long battery life for each type.

Sometimes Bad is Bad

Can’t keep up with the ever growing list of Bush administration scandals? Not to worry. Via Salon, Peter Dizikes has put together a list of the top 34 scandals from Bush’s first term.I can’t help think that anyone who voted Bush into a second term is 1) either living under a rock or completely being distracted from what’s going on 2) blindly and uncritically partisan to see that his/her ideals are not really being represented by this so-called “Republican” administration 3) standing to profit from all of this illegal/immoral/questionable activity or 4) two or more of the above.All I can hope is that the nation hasn’t completely tuned these scandals out. Perhaps one will emerge that will be just too big to ignore which will spark a movement to purge this merry band of evil doers from the oval office.

Conscious Marketing

Doing a little research on eco-friendly house remodeling, I came across a book called Conscious Style Home: Eco-Friendly Living for the 21st Century written by Danny Seo. I’d never heard of Danny before, but judging by the article about him in Outside magazine, I think he stands a chance at boosting the market for sustainable and eco-friendly consumerism.Being “green” has traditionally been seen by many as too “out there”. Often the terms “hippie”, “tree hugger” or “granola” are used condescendingly to refer to environmentally friendly people or actions because being eco-unfriendly is, for the most part, the norm and has been stereotyped to be lacking in style. Danny is using the visibility of the rich and famous in an attempt to change this attitude. He’s trying to make being green desirable by showing that being green doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style. If lots of celebreties are doing it, how can that be unfashionable?It’s applaudable how far he’s gotten in his efforts. He’s even working on a television series based on the premise of his book that Ford Motor Company is considering sponsoring. Though probably not working totally alone, his efforts will probably have more impact than many other large grass roots “Save the Whales” type organizations have had in changing the actions of the general public or corporations. For perception defines reality, and the perception of the general public even more so.I haven’t read the book yet, so what I know of him is only from the article. Based on this, I just hope that his “Fur Free” campaign isn’t single minded. Plastic beads and other marketing material might be spreading a message, but hopefully it’s doing so in a eco-friendly way at that.

It All Makes Perfect Cents

Here are a few things I’ve found recently that have piqued my interest:Camels and Rubber Duckies – the strategy behind pricing and how it is used to maximize sales.The Persuaders – The mechanisms marketers and politicians use to persuade us to act (e.g. buy or vote, respectively) the way we do while making us feel like we’re in control of the action. This is part of a PBS series called Frontline. For someone who watches very little TV, it’s nice to have worthwhile programs like this available online.I think what makes them interesting to me is that they explain something that affects us all on a day to day basis but we rarely have the time or notion to step back and question any of it. That probably explains my current fascination with nutrition and the food & health industries.