Google Gears + WordPress

WordPress 2.6 first introduced the Turbo button I believe which allowed it to work with Google Gears. I never really thought much about it, but recently I had to modify a bunch of posts on my blog and lets just say things weren’t as snappy as I’d like them to be. Updates took about 10-20 seconds. However I finally decide to try out the Turbo button and see where I could go from there.

Apparently what it does is that it downloads a bunch of static pages, so it doesn’t have to fetch them every time I load any of the editor/admin pages. And I do have to say things are now much snappier. It’s not lightning fast, but lets just say that post updates take less than 5 seconds. One would usually attribute these type of slowness to the webhost involved, but I’m seeing similar slowness on both Dreamhost and 1&1. However, after installing Google Gears and enabling it for both my blogs, things have been very smooth and I’m a much happier camper.

I also hate using my mouse to navigate the WordPress UI and wish they would implement some more keyboard shortcuts/hot keys. I did learn a new one. Apparently alt+shift+p publishes or updates a published post. For more WordPress keyboard shortcuts, take a look at The Ultimate List of WordPress Keyboard Shortcuts.

A few shortcuts I would really like are:

  • Save Draft
  • Preview
  • Jump to a specific section (i.e. Editor, Title, Tags, Categories, etc.)

Finally, I searched around to see what other stuff I use supported Google Gears. I couldn’t find anything officially posted by Google, but Wikipedia had this list:

There are a number of web applications that use Gears. These applications come from a variety of companies, including Google (Gmail, YouTube, Docs, Reader, Picasa for mobile, Calendar), MySpace (Mail Search), Zoho (Writer, Mail), Remember The Milk, and Buxfer. WordPress 2.6 added support for Gears, to speed up the administrative interface and reduce server hits.

The only things I use on that list other than WordPress are Google Reader and YouTube. Gears allows Reader to work offline, which is neat I guess, but half the stuff in my RSS feeds requires me to visit the site. For YouTube, I believe Gears support was only added to the uploader and <sarcasm>you know how big a video uploader I am on YouTube</sarcasm>.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-29

  • A hero can’t appear until the world needs one. #
  • @ryandjohnson You can set a manual recording on a specific channel for a specific time. Not sure if that’s the answer you were looking for. in reply to ryandjohnson #
  • RT @hungtruong RT @kathleenmarie “The purpose of this analysis is to determine the evolution of gravity in Mario …” #
  • @hungtruong Try out some New Balance. They’re very comfortable. in reply to hungtruong #
  • How long do you think it’ll take Earth to unite? Or do you think we’d destroy each other completely before that happens? #
  • @TikiJ Have you thought about hibernating instead of shutting down. in reply to TikiJ #
  • @ellism I believe that’s just recommended, just like for your cell phone they recommend you charge a full night before turning it on. in reply to ellism #
  • Who leaves a recruiting message at your work voice mail? I’m also curious how they even got that number in the first place… #
  • It’s been a long week. First day I actually got off at a normal time, instead of working past 12am. TGIF ๐Ÿ™‚ #
  • Fact about deliveries: #

Quotes from The Kite Runner

So RayAlome and I were chatting yesterday. It started with Christian Bale and what he did to transform from his role in The Machinist (130lbs) to his role in Batman Begins (230lbs) in just 6 months. Anyway, the topic went onto Terminator Salvation and if we could program a simple rule into robots (i.e. to never kill), what would it be to avoid what happens in Terminator? The topic continued on to discuss good vs evil; right vs wrong; what are ethics and morals. I pointed out that ethics/morals are nothing more than a set of social contracts that society has deemed to be correct. Even something as simple as the 10 commandments could be easily interpreted differently and that’s just a problem inherent to any human language. And even with those rules, there’s always exceptions (i.e. are you allowed to kill the baby, in order to save the mother?).

This reminded me of a set of quotes from The Kite Runner I had wanted to blog about in a review, but just never got around to it. I have a lot of respect for the father character in this movie.

When Amir (his son) questions his father that drinking [alcohol] is a sin, the following reply was superb:

There is only one sin. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft.

When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to her husband, his children’s right to a father.

When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth.

There is no act more wretched than stealing.

RayAlome quickly pointed out that does this mean you are not allowed to steal to save your starving family, or to steal to save someone’s life? I responded by saying, it’s never been about to never sin. It has more to do with the degree of the sin. And the following quote gives a good example of when committing one sin is excusable to prevent a bigger sin from occurring:

When a Russian soldier demands to have sex from a woman (who also happens to be a wife and mother) for safe passage through the border, Amir’s father stands up and says (do note there is a translator here):

Father: I want you to ask this man something. Ask him where his shame is.

Russian Soldier: He says, there is no shame in war.

Father: Tell him he is wrong. War doesn’t neglect decency.

Russian Soldier: He says he’d enjoy putting a bullet in you, almost as much as he’d enjoy her.

Father: I’ll take a thousand of his bullets before I let his indecency take place.

Son: Baba, please, he’ll shoot you.

Father: Have I taught you nothing? (back to translator) Tell him he’d better kill me good with the first shot. Because if I don’t go down, I’m tearing him to pieces, goddamn his father!

Mamma Italia – Mixed Berry Gelato

Kirkland Signature Hawaiian Sweet Roll Did my regular Costco trip yesterday since there were new coupons which started earlier this week. I was sad to find out that they had sold out of their Hawaiian Sweet Rolls (from their bakery). Guess that’s what happens when you go during the last hour of when they’re opened. Those things are so soft and delicious. I usually pick one up whenever I go.

Mamma Italia Mixed Berry Gelato However, not all was lost. I found a different reward instead. Turns out Costco now carries Italian Gelato. I’ve been craving ice cream earlier this week and this was perfect. They only carry one brand/flavor: Mamma Italia – Mixed Berry Gelato. It is a bit more expensive than regular ice cream, costing $8 for 1.9 quart. However, compared to other gelato, this is a great deal!

The even cooler part is that the cute cashier was talking about how awesome it was but said some found it a bit too sweet. I said, that’s even better, I have a sweet tooth. Then it happened again at the receipt checker. He commented that the gelato was very delicious and I definitely was going to enjoy it. I just smiled in return. ๐Ÿ™‚

After trying it, I do have to say it was extremely yummy. The gelato was so soft and sweet. ๐Ÿ™‚

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-22

Tolerant Society

Who knew the best remark about political correctness would be from Zero Punctuations:

A society where anyone can make jokes about anyone else and everyone laughs is a truly tolerant society. Political correctness charged censorship only serves to engender resentment and distance between social groups. – Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw

I had originally wanted to tweet this quote, but unfortunately it was 77 characters too long.

His whole spiel about racism and having to make a disclaimer about treading on dangerous territory are all things I agree with what’s wrong with how people believe racism should be fixed.

Oh yeah, he does eventually do a review on some game, but that part wasn’t too interesting.

New Credit Card Activation – Easy Phishing?

I’ve always found credit card activation through the phone system very insecure. I’m always afraid I might dial the wrong number by accident, so I always triple check the number I punch into my phone before I start entering any information. I mean consider the information they ask you during activation:

  • Full 16 digit credit card number
  • Last four digits of your social security number
  • 3 or 4 digit credit card code

If you reach a customer service, they might even ask for more information, like name and birthday. I mean if I misdial the number even by 1 digit, think of the potential identity fraud I could land myself in.

Several credit cards have implemented an online system to activate new cards, such as American Express, which I prefer to use instead of the phone.

Something I think that should be implemented is a 2-way verification. Meaning, they prove to me who they are, before I provide any of my real information. Something like a system where they include two x-digit numbers in the letter that accompanies your card or even on the sticker of new credit cards. You punch in the 1st number and the telephone system tells you the 2nd number. That way you can confirm the other side is really the bank that issued your credit card.

Of course, this doesn’t prevent random companies from sending you fake credit cards and stealing your information. However, you should never activate random credit cards, especially ones you don’t remember applying for.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-15

Etymology of Geass

Originally wanted to tweet this, but had more than 140 characters of stuff to say.

I was rewatching the ending of Code Geass – Lelouch of the Rebellion R2 a few days ago a began wondering where did the word “Geass” is derived from or if it was completely made up word for this anime. Neither, Merriam-Webster, nor Wiktionary had an entry for it.

I took a glance over Wikipedia’s entry on Code Geass and didn’t see anything that popped out.

I forgot what I did, but some how I ended up on Wiktionary’s page on Geas (probably by randomly removing characters):

1. (Gaelic mythology) A vow or obligation placed upon a person.
2. A curse.

And that had quite a resemblance to what Geass or at least what Lelouch’s Geass could do. Searching the term on Wikipedia resulted in:

In Irish mythology and folklore, a geis is an idiosyncratic taboo, whether of obligation or prohibition, similar to being under a vow or spell.

Read More…

Turns out Geas is another word for Geis which is a curse/spell that forces someone to do something or prohibits someone from doing something, which sounds exactly like Lelouch’s power. However, in the anime, they’ve expanded Geass to represent different types of powers (known as Power of Kings).

Turns out the Wikipedia entry on Code Geass also explained this (guess I wasn’t looking hard enough):

Geass is a mysterious ability which certain people (witches) can bestow upon others; C.C. and V.V. are the immortal and eternally youthful witches who can grant the power of Geass; they are also immune to it. The form the Geass takes is different in each individual. C.C. calls Geass the Power of Kings. It is represented by a bird-shaped symbol which glows red when active.

Every Geass has its own unique set of restrictions, limitations, or idiosyncrasies. These factors allow a Geass to be defeated, or its power limited, by someone who is aware of its characteristics. All Geass abilities that have thus far appeared within the canon of the television series have been related to the mind, influencing such aspects as will, thought, memory, emotion, and perception. Geass abilities in the manga spin-off Knightmare of Nunnally have no such limitations.

Various characters in the series do or did possess the power of Geass. C.C. had the power to make others fall in love with her, but she lost it when she became immortal; Emperor Charles has the power to alter a person’s memories; Mao had the power to read minds; Lelouch has the power to issue commands that are always obeyed (only once per person); and Rolo has the power to freeze the perception of time for living beings near him. Jeremiah is remade into a nearly-immortal cyborg with the ability to cancel the effects of Geass on himself and others.

The power of Geass increases with use, usually starting in one eye. It can eventually spread to both eyes and become uncontrollable with repeated use. When a Geass is at full power, this person can now become a recipient of the “Code,” the power which gave the person Geass in the first place. The person who bestowed the Geass can relinquish his or her “Code” to this person, allowing the recipient to continue the cycle while the giver is allowed to die. In exchange for their original Geass power, a person who takes on the “Code” becomes both immortal and immune to other Geass and gains the ability to him/herself bestow the power of Geass on others. This transfer, however, does not necessarily require the consent of both parties involved; C.C. received her “Code” against her will, and V.V. has his taken against his will. A person with the “Code” bears a physical mark (a sigil resembling that of the Geass) somewhere on his or her body.

According to an English edition of Newtype, the power of Geass has something to do with the very existence of humankind, and it may be used to destroy or transform just about anything. “Geass” may be an intentional corruption of the word geas or geis, a term for a type of magical contract in Irish mythology.

I guess I never really did a review on Code Geass after it completed. So I guess I’ll do an informal review here.

The story was amazing! Graphics were stunning and I really like how devious and strategic Lelouch was. He reminded me of Light from Death Note (which you can watch on Hulu), another series I really enjoyed. The story was thought out well, though there were times I wanted to kill the producers for what they did to us by leaving such a big cliff hanger at the end of season 1.

I wanted to find a trailer to share, but couldn’t find a decent one. Here’s a collage of scenes with some decent music in the background:

The music/soundtrack wasn’t out of the world, but it was still spectacular. My favorite track is Madder Sky (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS):

Listen to song w/o animation: Code Geass R2 OST – Madder Sky. Current play count according to iTunes: 103

Code Geass is definitely one of my top 10 anime series of all times. I’ve said that for quite a few animes. I wonder what’s still on that list. Off the top of my head in no particular order:

  • Rurouni Kenshin
  • Trigun
  • Monster
  • Hikaru no Go
  • Code Geass
  • Cowboy Bebop
  • Death Note
  • 12 Kingdoms (Juuni Kokki)
  • Berserk

That’s 9. If you give me some time, I can probably think of 1 more or maybe even more to push down some of them. There were other series I’ve seen, which I really enjoyed but with favorites, there must be great emotional attachment, which I found in all of the above. Other series I really enjoyed, but not top 10 quality, include Full Metal Panic, Azumanga Daioh, Full Metal Alchemist, Detective Conan, Hellsing, and tons more.

Code Geass (season 2) is actually currently playing on Cartoon Network/Adult Swim. Unfortunately, these are dubbed. They’re not bad, but the original Japanese dubs are a lot better in my opinion.

Too Much Butter is Bad for Cookies

For people who know me and are a frequent patron of my snacks, you know I sometimes bring in chocolate chip cookies. They are of course no other than the Otis Spunkmeyer ones I get from Costco. I’ve been a big fan of the Otis Spunkmeyer cookies, not only because they taste great, but they’re easily to make. They already come in little balls where I just dump onto my baking tray. I’ve tried the Nestle Toll House ones twice and was disappointed in the fact that I had to wait for it to defrost before I could start scooping out the cookie dough, which made baking them a lot less fun, especially if I wanted cookies immediately.

Anyway, I got a new batch of Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies several weeks ago and baked the 1st batch from it this weekend and the cookies came out weird. They were still delicious, but they were flat:

Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve baked tons of their cookies before and they’re typically quite plump coming out of the oven and then they flatten a bit. However, these came out flat shown in the above picture and were flatter than normal. I thought maybe they forgot to add yeast.

So I went to to their website and tried to find an email to contact them. Unfortunately, I was only able a mailing address and phone/fax numbers. So I shot an email to the email address listed in the whois info:


I apologize if this isnโ€™t the correct email address to forward my concerns. I wasnโ€™t able to find any customer service email address on your website ( If thereโ€™s a customer service department you can forward this email to, please do so.

I recently purchased some Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip cookies from Costco. Iโ€™ve been a long customer of Otis Spunkmeyer Chocolate Chip cookies and this was the 1st time I noticed the cookies were flat and didnโ€™t rise. See attached image.

Iโ€™ve baked Otis Spunkmeyer cookies before and they typically rise after baking and slowly flatten a bit afterwards. However, these cookies were fresh from the oven after baking for 20 minutes at 325F and were flatter than even cooled down cookies.

They were still delicious, but I was wondering if it could possibly be a batch that yeast was forgotten to be added.

And the next morning I get this reply:

Hi Tom

This was forwarded to me by our distribution department. First, let me clarify our website, which is There is a link for customer service questions/concerns on the site.

Addressing the cookie issues, after looking at the picture, it appears the cookies may have too much butter in them, which will cause them to bake up flat and thin. This would be caused by the dough not being mixed enough for all ingredients to be fully incorporated.

Please provide to us the stamped number printed on the bag inside the Costco box. That number will tell us which plant and what day the product was made on (ex. 8S250). Also, please provide us with your mailing address so that we can issue you a refund.

Thank you for allowing us to correct this issue for you.

I’ve already sent a reply back thanking for the clarification and the awesome customer service.

But I have to ask you guys, do you see a difference between: and And if anyone’s able to find a link for customer service questions/concerns? Update: As Xyon pointed out, I misspelled the domain in my original email, and that may have caused the confusion. However, I’m still not able to find the customer service link.

And I feel really stupid with my yeast remark. Haha, who knew that cookies didn’t need yeast to make them rise and be plump. I guess most people besides me. According to Ungsunghero, cookie dough doesn’t actually “rise”. And from now on folks, you know too much butter makes cookies flat.

Side Note: This has been the 3rd or 4th time someone’s referred to me as Tom/Thomas in an email reply. Does my name really map to Tom? I’ve checked my emails and it lists my first/last name correctly as well as my signature. Oh well.