I bought an incredibly good techno-jazz album over the weekend: Saint Germain des Pres Cafe II. It’s a compilation of various French techno-jazz pieces, and some of them are incredibly good. If you’ve heard any of the Hotel Cotes compilations, or like St Germain, you need to hear this.
Author Archives: Old Blog - Page 2
So I’ve got a couple of new toys, but the one that I am the most excited about is the bluetooth GPS receiver. I went ahead and got the PalmOne GPS Navigator (Good price at buy.com) to use with my Tungsten T3 that I bought this last summer. I’ve only had it for less than 48 hours, but I’m already having a lot of fun with it.
It ships with TomTom Navigator for driving directions, and I’m reasonably happy with it though it looks like every map source I can find has not updated their data for several of the construction projects in my area that have happened in the last few years. Oh, and they have the house numbers on the wrong side of the street I live on. I’ve been reporting all sorts of errors in their coverage, and hopefully something good comes of it all.
But the really cool part is that I can finally do commute analysis, and hopefully after I have enough data even some decent route optimization to make it just that much faster to and from work. I imagine it’s going to show me mostly what I already know, but hard data to back some of it up will be very nice and I wouldn’t be too surprised if there were some surprises hidden in there.
The only problem was that the GPS package did not come with a data logger so that I could just collect information about my driving. After doing just a little bit of searching though, I ran across Cetus GPS, which is an incredibly good freeware GPS tool that includes a very nice data logger.
While looking for that, I also found the really cool tool: GPS Visualizer. Basically someone sat down and wrote an application that will take the route logs and output maps based on those logs with the option to superimpose the data on several varieties of maps.
Amazingly cool stuff, and even better when some of it’s free.
This is probably getting linked to by everyone by now, but it is so wonderfully entertaining. It reminds me of thought experiments that an old friend and I did in Physics class in high school.
And that’s all I really need to say on that matter.
I finally found the .Net Framework objects that allow execution of a shell command! Took long enough, but I found a hint finally here and the SDK documentation and examples are really quite good once you know what object to look for.
When blogger updated their interface and added all the new features I made a couple of changes to this blog to see what it all looked like. The previous post is really the first one in the new format.
Please note that I do have comments turned on for now, as there is some reason for this blog to be a bit interactive. I believe that I did set it up for registered blogger users only. Dunno if anyone who reads this (though with as seldom as I update this, I can’t imagine there are _that_ many) is a blogger user or not. If you think I should open it up a bit more, please send me email (see my profile for more info) and let me know.
The new look certainly is not settled, and in fact I really don’t like the typesetting in the header, but who knows when I’ll get around to messing with it.
I’ve completely fallen off the wagon as far as keeping this up to date is concerned, so I’ve started to re-title them somewhat more appropriately.
I did however recently do 2 batches of soda, both quite drinkable and one of them is a HUGE success. Absolutely terrific stuff, and so close to perfect that it’s really breathtaking.
And the other one… well, it was a good experiment.
I tried a new champagne yeast and have confirmed that it’s just something about the Red Star yeast that just DOES NOT WORK for me. Always a good tasting, but incredibly bad smelling batch with the Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast.
The yeast I switched to I HIGHLY recommend. It has now produced 4 great batches and produces a really lovely carbonation and even adds a nice, but slight, yeasty flavor to the batch. Lavlin EC-1118 Champagne is available from Northern Brewer and other sources, usually in the Wine Yeast section.
The first batch in the recent set was a replay of the Red Berries based soda from Icon last fall. The recipe:
2oz TeaSource Red Berries herbal tea blend
1lb Billington’s Demerara sugar
1lb bulk pure granulated organic cane sugar
1/4tsp Lavlin EC-1118 Champagne
2 Gallons purified drinking water
Carbonation time: ~58 hours
The nose is amazingly fruity, and the flavor is bright and fairly sweet while not being sugary. Slight yeast flavor that adds some depth and does not detract from the fruit. Brilliant red color, showed off well in the 16oz/500ml Flint EZ Cap bottles I was able to get most of the batch into (Had to fill a few fairly standard brown longnecks too). Carbonation is thorough and fairly lasting, a plastic cup full on Sunday night in very high humidity was still noticeably carbonated after sitting out for an hour. Almost perfect! I would still like to tone down the sweetness just a touch so the fruit can stand out a bit more on it’s own. I might try cutting the granulated cane sugar down to 1.5 cups for the next batch and see what happens. Hoping to get it done soon as several people are clamoring for more.
The experiment was an attempt to marry a few flavors that I find quite good on their own or in combination with other flavors. It’s basically a ginger soda, though I was aiming more for a ginger beer. The recipe:
2oz TeaSource Honeybush tea (not a blend, 100% honeybush)
6oz fresh ginger root, coarsely chopped
1lb Billington’s Dark Muscovado sugar
1lb Billington’s Light Muscovado sugar
1/4tsp Danstar Nottingham Ale yeast
2 gallons purified drinking water
Carbonation time: 62 hours
I left it go a bit longer carbonating because the Notthingham and related yeasts aren’t quite a quick as the Lavlin Champagne, and I am quite pleased with that result. The bubbles are a bit larger and more playful. However, the sugar I used pretty much trampled on ALL of the other flavors in the batch and so what I ended up with was a somewhat interesting molasses flavored soda with maybe a slight trace of ginger, and hardly any honeybush to be seen. Color is fairly cloudy brown, and the scent is strongly of molasses. There are so many directions to go with this batch, I’m not quite sure where to start:
- I was hoping that 6oz of ginger would be enough to get a nice nose tickle, but even the flavor is mostly not discernable unless you know to look for it. I might try crystallized ginger next time. I would welcome ideas on this.
- I definitely needed to go with just the Light Muskovado sugar, and the drop the Dark entirely and use either a Demerara or the granulated organic cane. That way there will still be some molasses, but not nearly the huge, overbearing, 800lb gorilla it turned out to be. I really thought that the ginger and honeybush would stand up to it a lot more.
- Once the sugar has been tamed, the honeybush should come out quite a bit more. Maybe adding some sarsaparilla to give it some additional spine too.
Anyway, certainly drinkable but not what I was looking for. I used the Dark Muskovado for Birch Beer with the Old Fashioned extract and it was really great. Just need to make sure there is something very potent for it to work against next time.
It would be so nice if I had the web layout foo of the common ant. It would be such an improvement. Gah!
Playing around with one of the new contact managment services out there called miniFILE. If anyone else is playing with it as well, here is my M-Code: M6599787