Posted in Miscellaneous

Kindle

For years I’ve used an old Nook e-reader that my mom gave me when she upgraded to an iPad.  It still works great, but it seems like the writing is on the wall for Barnes & Noble to shutter that service, so I’ve been on the lookout for a good deal on a Kindle.  I really wanted to get a paperwhite, because they’re the nicest, but instead I picked up a 3rd generation Kindle Keyboard during a Woot Off earlier this week.  It’s an older model, and used/refurbished, but seems to be in good shape.

I had a lot of problems getting it connected, though.  It still refuses to connect to my wifi, instead I had to tether it to my phone.  I had that problem on my Nook from time to time too, no idea what the deal is.  But I only need to connect it when I’m downloading a new book, so it shouldn’t be a big deal.

I also had trouble logging into my Amazon account.  For starters, my password was something like 30 random characters, which is a huge PITA to type on that keyboard…although way better than typing it on the Nook’s tiny LCD screen keyboard. But even meticulously typing it out several times it refused to connect.  So I changed my password to something short and insecure…still no luck.  Turns out I had to disable Two Step Authentication to let it through.  So I did that, signed in, and then immediately turned it back on and reset my password again.  What a mess.

But it’s all working now.  And I downloaded a collection of the five Game of Thrones books from the Fairfax Library, so that should keep me busy for a while.  I tried watching the show a couple years ago and it didn’t really hold my attention (despite my love for epic/high fantasy), so hopefully the books do a better job of that.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Breakfast of Champions

My current favorite breakfast is to cook some sausage patties on the stove, then when they’re done and removed to some paper towels I add a little ghee to the pan and sauté some broccoli (I buy frozen broccoli cuts at the store so it’s all ready to go).  Once they start to get a little char on them I add 3 eggs and liberal salt and pepper.  Delicious.

I should have taken a picture, but I ate it too fast…so instead you get a stock broccoli photo.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Surface

I picked up a used Microsoft Surfac tablet a couple weeks ago to do more dogfooding of the WordPress.com app and website from a Windows perspective.  Most of the company uses Macs (myself included, although I may switch back to Linux when I replace my laptop next year…as long as I don’t have to do any iOS development…but that’s a discussion for another post).

Anyway, I really like it.  Although to try and use it as a true tablet without the keyboard cover is painful.  I’m writing this post on it right now!

Posted in Miscellaneous

Howdy

I haven’t been very good about blogging recently, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to do better for the rest of the year.  It would’ve been nice if I’d started yesterday, as the first of the month, but oh well.

Back in January I wrote this post about switching my keyboard layout to Colemak.  That effort stalled for a long time, but a couple weeks ago I finally made the switch for real, even moving the keys around on my keyboard.  The first few days my WPM (according to thetypingcat.com) dropped from ~90 WPM on QWERTY to ~25 on Colemak.  Miserable.  But after a week or two of practice I’m back up to closer to 40.  Still a long way to go, but it’s reasonable.

Of course, I’m writing this post from an iPad, which is still set to QWERTY.  It’s good to keep my brain confused.

Posted in Miscellaneous

Roastero

Over a year ago I got the FreshRoast SR700 coffee roaster, which has a USB interface for controlling the roasting process.  It came with an application to do that, but from what I read it’s not very good…so I never ran it.  Instead I found Roastero, an open source alternative that provides an even finer level of control over the roasting.  The application is written in Python, and should be completely cross-platform, but I was never able to get it to actually run.  I tried in Linux, OSX, and Windows with varying degrees of failure.  So for the last year I’ve just roasted my coffee manually, like some kind of sucker.  But finally I noticed that they did have a few pre-packaged versions available under the Releases tab of GitHub, at least for Mac and Windows.  And sure enough, it installed and ran on the first try.

Pictured above is my first roast, following the included “Diedrich Style” recipe:

This profile simulates the Diedrich drum roast slow start / fast finish concept.  The idea is to get to 1st crack at about 11min of heat, and then finish the roast 2-3min later

It’s a completely different style than I usually roast…much more subtle.  My normal roast runs at high heat from the start, and sometimes I drop it to medium after first crack before going back to high to finish.  And my roasts are normally done to second crack within 8 minutes, where this one ran (per the recipe) for 18 minutes overall and never even got close to second crack.  I’m generally a fan of darker roasts.

But the beauty is that now that I have the software working I can fine-tune my recipe to produce the exact type of roast I want, every time.  No more inconsistencies with some roasts coming out lighter or darker than others.  And now that I can more or less guarantee that I have the same coffee I can start experimenting more with different brewing styles to hone my skills in that arena too.