Archive for the ‘From the Internet’ Category


Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I might start using twitter. I signed up for an account ( I originally was planning on having it carbon copy from buzz, and facebook, but it looks like copying from facebook is impossible, which is dumb. It also looked like copying from buzz was possible, but for some reason, until today it didn’t work.

Today I began making preparations to use twitter as the source to copy to buzz and facebook instead. This is pretty standard setup that I know works, and supports open platforms. Despite that I know it works, I haven’t been able to get it to play nice with facebook yet. It was easy to make it play nice with buzz, and magically, making twitter link to buzz seems to have made my buzz to twitter link work. That’s good cause most of what I tweet/buzz/facebook post comes from Google reader. My Google reader has been interfaced with facebook for some time now.

I’ve added a little twitter app to the sidebar, which will hopefully liven up the content on the blog for anyone who regularly polls it for updates (yes you Paul) and isn’t on twitter.

King Cake

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

I made a King Cake for Mardi Gras with my friend Sarah’s help. It turned out much better than I ever expected, and I would totally make another one if it didn’t take so long. I followed this great King Cake recipe I found on

King Cake: Traditional New Orleans Recipe

1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 – 4 1/2 cups flour unsifted
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest, this is lemon rind, grated
1/2 cup warm milk
5 egg yolks
1 stick butter cut into slices and softened, plus 2 tablespoons more softened butter
1 egg slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1″ plastic baby doll


Pour the warm water into a small shallow bowl, and sprinkle yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into it. Allow the yeast and sugar to rest for three minutes then mix thoroughly. Set bowl in a warm place for ten minutes, or until yeast bubbles up and mixture almost doubles in volume. Combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, remaining sugar, nutmeg and salt, and sift into a large mixing bowl. Stir in lemon zest. Separate center of mixture to form a hole and pour in yeast mixture and milk. Add egg yolks and, using a wooden spoon, slowly combine dry ingredients into the yeast/milk mixture. When mixture is smooth, beat in 8 tablespoons butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat 2 minutes, or until dough can be formed into a medium-soft ball.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and knead like bread. While kneading, sprinkle up to 1 cup more of flour (1 tablespoon at a time) over the dough. When dough is no longer sticky, knead 10 minutes more until shiny and elastic.

Using a pastry brush, coat the inside of a large bowl evenly with one tablespoon softened butter. Place dough ball in the bowl and rotate until the entire surface is buttered. Cover bowl with a moderately thick kitchen towel and place in a draft-free spot for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the dough doubles in volume. Using a pastry brush, coat a large baking sheet with one tablespoon of butter and set aside.

Remove dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Using your fist, punch dough down forcefully. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top, pat and shake dough into a cylinder. Twist dough to form a curled cylinder and loop cylinder onto the buttered baking sheet. Pinch the ends together to complete the circle. Cover dough with towel and set it in draft-free spot for 45 minutes, or until the circle of dough doubles in volume. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash and bake on middle rack of oven for 25 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Place cake on wire rack to cool. If desired, you can hide the plastic baby in the cake at this time.

Colored sugars
Green, purple, & yellow paste
12 tablespoons sugar

Squeeze a dot of green paste in palm of hand. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the paste and rub together quickly. Place this mixture on wax paper and wash hands to remove color. Repeat process for other 2 colors. Place aside.

3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 – 6 tablespoons water

Combine sugar, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water until smooth. If icing is too stiff, add more water until spreadable. Spread icing over top of cake. Immediately sprinkle the colored sugars in individual rows consisting of about 2 rows of green, purple and yellow.

Cake is served in 2″ – 3″ pieces.

Actually, I forgot to do the “Brush top and sides of cake with egg wash” step but it turned out great anyway. Also I used a pecan instead of a plastic baby and blue instead of purple icing because I didn’t feel like going out in the snow to acquire them.

Know Your Meme and More

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

The Internets and I had an excellent evening together tonight. It all started with a need to eat up the most perishable foods in the house before I head home for the holidays. What can you make with eggs and chicken, google of course has the answer. What, it needs spinach, too oh man, there’s a huge bag of it that’ll never get finished before I leave. I was lacking for tomatoes, but with a little salt instead Tuscan Chicken Scramble was a crazy fast meal with all the right ingredients.

While I was trying to eat my dinner, and watch episode of Sliders, my phone interrupted asking for advice on buy it’s girlfriend… rather my friend’s girlfriend a holiday gift. I love turning goals into gifts, especially for significant others, but having always been alone for Christmas, I often just help. He suggested a “cookbook? Not the greatest gift but… it will give us something to do together (and you know that’s something I think we need).” I respond, “Yes, activity book for adults, good deal. Another idea along the same line (something to do) tickets to a show,” eliciting “Ooh. That’s an even better idea. Damn you. I love that idea. I’m already in a bookstore And now I’m going to have to see what shows are going on”. Luckily, “our phones rock.” And he was able to do it all standing right there in the bookstore. All the while discussing the shows, which I was surprised to find I knew a lot about. For instance, earlier today I had in fact read about one of them selling out often. And that was in the same vain as another show I’d heard of. One my other goals, besides not being alone for Christmas, is to know what is going on, apparently I do, and I didn’t need the net for that, strictly speaking in this case. There is still something to be said for knowing facts, even with the net always in my cargo pocket.

SlidersSo I digress. But yes, that Sliders episode is the one where they did get Sabrina Loyd back to reprise the voice, but not the body of her former regular character.

Following dinner, I started cleaning house, and left the roomba to do it’s job downstairs. I sat down to wrap a gift and finally get to know, Know Your Meme. I really love their style, and there are few memes that I did need to hear an explanation on. But mostly it was an excellent trip to some of the best places on the Internet, without even going, just listening to them being extolled for their virtues. It was like a mini roflcon!

Finally, it came time to but a bow on that gift. I don’t have fake bows, but I do have red ribbon left over from that Halloween costume. So pause that know your meme episode, and head over to google. First result, of course, a ~2 minute you tube video. 5 minutes later, ribbon tied, gift wrapped ready for tomorrow.

Know Your MemeBack to more meme history goodness. Via the Three Wolf Moon episode, a quick stop, back by you tube for an actual meme instance, in the form of this amazing Three Wolf Moon music video set to a Disney song. And of course, now I stay up too late considering I’ve got a 9:30 meeting telling the internets about how it fully entertained me for a night.

Verizon + Android Finally

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Maybe I will take Verizon up on their frequent calls and emails informing me that I am eligible for a new phone upgrade “within a matter of weeks” when they finally “will be launching two Android handsets,” Android handsets being the technical term for a damn phone worth owning! It’ll be exciting to both have coverage and have a cool phone, and it only took 4-5 years of waiting.

Got one! Blogging from it!

It’s a City!

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Purposed Skyscrapers Rendering It’s a city, where else do you put skyscrapers! The Massachusetts environmental secretary recently decided that two skyscrapers purposed for the Boston waterfront are “too tall.” This ruling supports a bunch of winy brats who are worried about the buildings casting shadows on the greenway in the mornings. Ok, look you dumb people! There is a guy who wants to spend a whole bunch of money and employ a whole bunch of people to build two beautiful new additions to the Boston skyline. All you have to do is let him do it and everybody wins. If you don’t like tall buildings, don’t live in a major city! There are some other concerns the state has, that may be valid, but luckily the developer plans to press on and employ some more lawyers so that the state may eventually let him employ construction workers.

RIP Jeff Goldblum

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Following the tragic death of Jeff Goldblum this past weekend, I feel now is the time to share a small revelation I had this weekend while watching one of his greatest works.

This past weekend I had to work on Saturday. We are trying to get some test flights of a new airplane based radar I’ve been working on in amid the rain showers. Don’t ask me why, but they don’t like to fly in the rain. This has been difficult and no sunny day can be wasted. I was not scheduled to fly originally, but following a flight on Friday in which no data was collected for mysterious reasons, the powers that be decided I should fly, with 2 coworkers because we were the ones who wrote most of the software involved. If we flew we would be there to diagnose and solve the problem on the fly, if needed. Everything worked perfectly on the flight so my presence was not particularly needed, but it could have been. I also did manage to get a little air sick while sitting on the floor, out of my seat, but in a position to see the control screen.

Upon returning home I found my room mate Sriram about ten minutes into the film Independence Day. This film, long one of my favorites, possibly my favorite action film of all time, is an oddity among my usual tastes in movies. Now, it does have, quite possibly, the best speech in a movie by an American president, but the events of last Saturday shed some more personal light on why I enjoy the film so much. I remember seeing it on July 3rd (or 4th) in Louisville, KY with my family the year it came out; I was 12 years old.
That same year, 1996, was also the year in which I first learned how to program, in qbasic with my buddy Greg.

In the movie Jeff Goldblum plays an MIT educated cable/satellite guru who looks into the alien television disturbance and finds something no one else bothered to see. Later, he creates a virus for the alien computer and flies up to the mother ship with the Will Smith character to deliver it, despite chronic air sickness. Why did he have to fly? He explains in the flim, “If anything goes wrong I’ll have to think quickly, adjust the signal, who knows?”

Now, my air sickness was nothing like his, and its all a different scale, but that’s essentially the same reason I was flying. Upon landing, while I helping to preparing for the next flight, some of the binary files used to setup the flight were found to have errors, errors so sever as to crash the program using them. I encounter problems like this, that require manually examining difficult to read binary files on a frequent basis at work. I enjoy it. Despite having a call in to the person who created the files, I couldn’t help but dive in and find the problem myself. Now that was easy, because I had the rubric for how the file was laid out. Goldblum’s character didn’t have that. I really wish there was more of a need to reverse engineer stuff like that at work. It is so much more challenging when one is not provided with a key.

This may also help explain why upon much self analysis, I consistently find myself thinking that if I go back to school, the only place to go, where it would be worth my while, is MIT (or possibly Harvard if I decide to go back for an economics degree). Clearly, everything in my life so far has put me on the path to become Jeff Goldblum’s character in Independence Day. At least, that is one way to interpret the facts.

Wind Power Problem Acknowledgment

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

I have a concern about wind power that I rarely see acknowledged. My concern is what happens to the weather when you remove enough power from the wind to power the country. This arstechnica article is the first one I’ve seen in a while to mention this.

The last issue is that, at some level, putting this many turbines in place will undoubtedly change the dynamics of the lower atmosphere, with results that are probably difficult to predict.

It also provides a key number, which I’ve been lacking. That number is, that the wind power over the US, in the gross sense holds 23 times the current energy use. This ignores issues of efficiency and distribution. Everyone seems to always claim that what we’ll harvest from wind is a drop in the bucket, but even if 1/3 of only our power came from wind, it is still a lot. I don’t consider 1/69th of the energy in the atmosphere above the whole country to be a drop in the bucket. I’m just happy someone is acknowledging this problem.

Google Reader Sharing Via Facebook

Monday, June 8th, 2009

A few weeks ago I saw on facebook that a college buddy of mine, Ed, shared a blog post he read in Google Reader. That is, he read a blog post someone wrote, via Google Reader and hit the share button on there and because it had been instructed to do so facebook add it to his news feed. I just had to have it. A few minutes later I found out how, and it’s been great.

It’s great for three reasons. First is how it works. Google Reader makes up a web page, that essentially looks like a blog, but it is of the posts that one has read instead of one has written. This page is public, and mine is here (for those of you who want to see what I share but don’t use Google Reader of Facebook. Now, that is pretty nice right there. What facebook does, is subscribe to the rss feed from that page. That means they didn’t have to contact or work with Google directly at all to get this to work. This was initially confusing, because I couldn’t figure out where to go to enable this magic. It turns out that you go to your own profile and click on “settings” below the big share button. They have similar setups for other sites too. Anyways, this is the wonderful kind of thing that open standards can buy!

But why is it so wonderful? Well that’s the second reason. Only like 2 people see what I share on Google Reader, and maybe one third of the time it’s stuff I’ve found because they shared it that I also agree is worth sharing. I also often ran across things that I wanted to share, but not with them; stories I knew they didn’t care about. I occasionally would use the built in email this option to share very cool things with the one person I knew would be interested. There were, however, still many interesting things that I wanted to share, but had no audience for. This little open standards miracle provides an audience. When it is as simple as clicking a button to share something cool with an audience, it drives one to share cool things.

The final reason builds on the second. Because now, I can easily share cool things, I have started reading more blogs. At least part of this is so that I can have more cool stuff to share. The other reason is that I found some other good ones on other strange topics I like, such as strange maps. Anyways, I’m a big fan, but it may mean less “From the Internet” posts on here.

Endings Done Well

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009


Nothing profound is ending for me anytime soon, but it sort of feels like it due to some well done final episodes. A year in the making, the final, first episode of the Tim & Diana Show was released yesterday. Having matured greatly over the year the show was humorously insightful and a lot of fun for a roughly bimonthly break from reality to the world of meta reality. There’s a paper half written in my head for which the Tim & Diana show is but one support; hopefully, I’ll figure it out and write it down soon. I might have to wait until after digesting the directors commentary available on the DVD, which I hope my status as number one fan will get me a copy of.

Scrubs - My Finale 1

The other show that ended well was Scrubs. When I first moved to Boston, I lived for two weeks in a hotel in Burlington, MA. Only one of those weeks I was working. The first week I was dealing with moving my stuff and watching Scrubs. I watched seasons 1 – 3 in that week (I think). It was just amazingly hilarious. I forget which, but one of those early seasons is in the running for best season of television I’ve ever seen. Since then Scrubs has soured, so much so that I begged them to put the show out of its misery at the end of season seven (Note: no actual literal begging or letter writing occurred). That said season eight has been quite a surprise and the ending, while not funny, was so well done it can’t go unmentioned.

I just absolutely loved the wonder years type filmstrip ending to Scrubs, which I didn’t get around to watching until yesterday. I really liked the twist that it wasn’t saying from the future, what did happen, but only saying what might happen. The scenes totally hit me, if only I could look forward to that kind of thing (maybe I can). Also, the music in season 8 of Scrubs has been amazing and it continued to be in that scene.

Scrubs - My Finale 2.

I guess what I’m saying about scrubs is that now I’ve enjoyed it for two reasons: for the comedy that it was and the drama it became. Before this episode I somewhat resented how it was often more touching the funny in than latter seasons.

Cookies FTW

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Taking full advantage of my day off I decided to make some cookies. Specifically faux girl scout cookies. More specifically this Do-Si-Dos recipe. I’m very impressed with myself, these cookies are a major win. Unfortunately my camera is still MIA, so you’ll have to imagine them.