Small site issues

I’m running into some problems with comment posting on the 2 sites that I’m hosting on this box. I think it might have something to do with the configuration of MySql, which is used as the backend for both sites. If you see a “fatal error: … timeout” if you are trying to post a comment, I am aware of the issue and trying to figure it out. The comment will be posted, you’ll just have to refresh.

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Honey as a topical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds

On the drive in to work this morning I had been musing a bit about the relative success of the carbonation of the batch of African Skies versus the batch of root beer, and it occured to me that I had once heard that honey had some antiseptic properties. So I finally got a few minutes free at work and started to do some net research, and there it was: Honey as a topical antibacterial agent for treatment of infected wounds, among other references.

Of course the African Skies carbonated less/more slowly than the root beer once the temperature was in the right range! The honey was killing off some of the yeast. The question then becomes, do I increase the yeast or decrease the concentration of honey in a batch of soda that uses honey as a sweetener? Are there yeasts that are going to be better or worse for carbonating in solution with honey? Hopefully more answers will be relatively easy to get through research and experimentation. For example, I would imagine that the yeasts used to produce mead, (if, in fact, yeast is used, which I’m not sure about) would be much more resistant to the antiseptic effects of honey, but then there is the question about whether they would produce the correct carbonation or not.

Batch Update: African Skies

I’ve had the chance to taste 2 of the chilled African Skies bottles, and it is good. The yeast is still a bit forward, but giving it a day or two to settle out should make a big difference. It still isn’t quite as carbonated as I would like, but it is definitely good enough, and the significant reduction in sweetness shows just how much. It is however still pretty sweet, but not too much, and the honey flavors are nicely subtle. Good stuff, I’m looking forward for the settling to see how it comes out.

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Lessons Learned: Pictures

The mess in the sink, still more

The mess in the sink, still more,
originally uploaded by nstohlma.

It’s a good thing I bought that digital camera the other week, so now there’s even photographic evidence of the mess this morning.

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Lessons learned!

Before I got into the shower this morning I figured that I would dispose of the 2 batches of soda that were still remaining in the cases that had failed to carbonate. I checked them 3 times last week, most recently on Friday morning, and they had been the same carbonation level the whole time.

Until today.

The African Skies is just about perfect. Possibly still a touch undercarbonated, but the flavor is about right, and what remains of the yeast flavor should dull quickly after a day or two in the fridge.

The root beer on the other hand… Well, I’ll be posting pictures later today, but suffice it to say that I just spent the last 40 minutes carefully opening bottles from behind a makeshift blast shield and then cleaning up the entire kitchen. The first bottle I opened left significant spatter behind the refridgerator.

How did it all go from flat to gusher in 4 days? Well, I think it might have been the weather. Starting on Thursday night things started to warm up significantly here in the Twin Cities. Every day since then it’s been in the mid to high 30’s and I think that made _all_ the difference in the ambient temp in the house.

Obviously I need to rethink my placement for carbonation in cold weather, but I suppose that’s the good news. And besides, I still have most of the batch of African Skies to drink now!


A friend at work gave me a bottle of Tarhun for Christmas! It’s Russian tarragon soda, so completely unlike anything made domestically. It’s also quite tasty, though possibly an acquired taste.

The company that produces it also produces quite a few other sodas, several of which I have tried and they are all fairly uniformly interesting and good. (Tarhun is the third in that list)

MSN Messenger

The company I work for has recently been very pushy about insisting that people use MSN Messenger as the only “approved” IM service. I had been proxying through IMSmarter, until they went belly up last week.

So this week I am using MSN Messenger v7.5, and finding it to be… adequate. But a coworker was able to figure out how to solve my biggest irritation: That damned tab bar on the left side! By default you can’t do a thing to modify it, and it’s just in the way and slowing things down. But she figured it out:

go to tools–>options–>security–> then select ‘this is a shared pc don’t display my tabs”

And thus, the thrice damned tabs from hell are banished!

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How not to sell a new product

SageTV has a new hardware product that I’m interested in, a Media Extender box to get content from a PC with the SageTV software loaded up to your living room without having to have a noisy PC next to the TV.

The problem is that there is absolutely NO information about exactly what it can do. Here’s what I know from their website: It displays stuff on some sort of television. It has an ethernet port and needs to be connected to a wired network. It costs $99.

How can they possibly be thinking that they are going to sell _any_ of these to anyone actually interested in putting one of these into their home theater system? Does it support HD? Does it have digitical audio connectors? What kind of video connectors does it have? Who was the idiot who thought this was all we needed to know?

New router

Due to some problems on the network, I isolated the issue to my venerable old SMC Barricade router. A port had gone bad a couple of years ago and now traffic through it was starting to drag and packet loss was getting pretty extreme.

So I replaced it with a Linksys WRT54G like most of the rest of the world and just finished getting it up and running. A couple of points for others who run into these problems:
– It appears that you can not upgrade the firmware through the secure http administration pages. You have to do it through the standard http site.
– After upgrading the firmware, if you have a static ip configured, you may need to go to the setup page and click the Save Settings button for it to use the configure ip again.

Otherwise it appears to be up and running and local network traffic is a _whole_ lot better again.

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