Johniac: Musings of a 50-Something Geek
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Friday, May 27, 2005
NIMBY - A New Hope
Found this article on Wired News that details activst John Hlinko's crusade against Bush's threatened veto of stem cell research.
May the force be with him!!!
There's never time to do it right, but there's always time to do it over. - Murphy's Law
I’ve been asked for my legendary (in my house anyway ;-) pancake/waffle and French toast recipes. So here goes….
Pancake or Waffle Batter
4 cups Gold Medal Buttermilk biscuit mix (or Bisquick Mix)
(For a healthier batter replace at least one cup of biscuit mix with whole-wheat flour)
¼ cup sugar
2 cups of water
2 tablespoons of vanilla
Preheat griddle to 375 - 400’
Blend biscuit mix, sugar and optionally whole-wheat flour together. Add the two eggs to one cup of water and blend with a fork, then add to dry ingredients. Add vanilla to another cup of water, blend and add to batter. Mix with a whisk until all ingredients are incorporated. If making waffles, you may need to thin the batter with up to another ¼ cup of water.
If your griddle isn't non-stick, lightly oil the cooking surface before cooking the first batch. Ladle batter onto hot griddle. Subsequent batches should not need an oiled surface.
Makes about 24 pancakes depending on the diameter of the batter puddle and how think the batter is. Left over pancakes are great with peanut butter and honey or jelly.
I am not sure if Bisquick has shortening in it, like the Betty Crocker mix does. If Bisquick’s pancake batter recipe calls for oil, use it.
Flavor the batter before cooking. I have used various flavors (chocolate, pistachio, butterscotch) of instant pudding or Jello instant gelatin (strawberry, or lemon). When using Jello, use the real Jello product not the no-sugar version. When using Jello, you can omit the ¼ cup of sugar in the batter recipe.
In the fall I like to add 2/3s of a can of Libby’s Pumpkin Pie Filling to batter to make a great pumpkin pancake. Cracker Barrel’s Apple, Blackberry or cherry pie fillings make a great replacement for syrup. Our favorite combo is pancakes with chocolate pudding topped with warm cherry pie filling.
Once you get the batter on the griddle you can sprinkle flavor chips (chocolate, butterscotch, white chocolate, etc) into the batter before it sets.
Preheat griddle to 325 – 350’
A loaf of good bread (sourdough, whole wheat, etc) preferably un-sliced, or thick sliced.
4 eggs or 1 cup of Eggbeaters
1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of vanilla
Pepper to taste
Butter for cooking
Blend milk, eggs, pepper and vanilla together for the bread wash. Slice the bread in ¾ inch thick slices. Soak both sides of the bread in the wash. Place a small piece of butter on the griddle and push around until the butter melts. Put the soaked bread onto the butter pool. Cook about 5-7 minutes per side. Add fresh ground pepper to each side as it cooks for a heartier flavor.
During the winter holidays I like to substitute egg nog for some of the milk in the wash. Gives the French toast a seasonal flavor.
Fusilli with Sausage, Artichokes, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Watched Giada De Laurentiis make this on her Food TV show. When I made it at home it came out fantastic!
Recipe SummaryDifficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 18 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, sliced, 2 tablespoons of oil reserved
1 pound Italian hot sausages, casings removed
2 (8-ounce) packages frozen artichoke hearts
2 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
16 ounces fusilli pasta
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, plus additional for garnish
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
8 ounces water-packed fresh mozzarella, drained and cubed
Salt and freshly ground pepper (optional)
Heat the oil reserved from the tomatoes in a heavy large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausages and cook until brown, breaking up the meat into bite-size pieces with a fork, about 8 minutes. Transfer the sausage to a bowl. Add the artichokes and garlic to the same skillet, and saute over medium heat until the garlic is tender, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, wine, and sun-dried tomatoes. Boil over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the fusilli in boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta (do not rinse). Add the pasta, sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan, basil, and parsley to the artichoke mixture. Toss until the sauce is almost absorbed by the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve, passing the additional Parmesan cheese alongside.
Here’s the link to the original recipe on the FoodTV web site.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
NIMBY – Route Around
When I was younger there was a term that technologists used disparagingly for folks who did not want a piece of technology located in proximity to their dwellings. The acronym is NIMBY and stands for Not In My Back Yard. NIMBY is still alive and well as evidenced by the fuss raised over near-shore windmill farms. I believe that the NIMBY concept is also a way to explain our stance on various new technologies such as stem cell research, downloadable content distribution, and morning-after birth control that various groups do not want to see the light of day.
Which brings me to the second part of this title: route-around. In this interconnected world, the influence of any group is much more limited than in the past. Something not available in your neck-of-the-woods due to legislation or other disincentives, hop on the Internet and find it elsewhere. Groups that are successfully limiting a technology based on moral, or other grounds are simply surrendering that technology to others who will do the work necessary to make that technology succeed.
People need to realize that you really can’t ban a technology, all you can do is cede the access to that technology while the rest of the world passes you by. So when stem cell research, therapeutic cloning or other technologies are illegal in the United States the development continues elsewhere.
Route around is not limited to just technology bans. In the world of commerce, the Cluetrain Manifesto expressed it best in item number 89:
We have real power and we know it. If you don't quite see the light, some other outfit will come along that's more attentive, more interesting, more fun to play with.
As the content industries are well aware, the market is demanding commercial-free familiar content available on an on-demand basis. Failure to satisfy the market by the content companies has resulted in market-side supply models appearing.
And its not just pirated content! Since these companies are trying to survive by ignoring the market and using NIMBY to defeat the technologies, the market is in some cases finding new content which does not come from these old line companies and thus is useful to the market on the market’s terms. The content companies are risking becoming irrelevant because no one wants their content on their terms when just as compelling content is available via more market-friendly supply models.
You can’t stop a technology by legislation. Further, when you do legislate a technology out of existence, you hand the technology and its expertise to another party. When the time comes that you recognize the benefits of this technology your choices are very limited: acquire the technology, or spend time and money playing catch-up. Not the best position to be in. All technologies need to be understood from a risk and benefit balance and the implications of a decision to ban a technology needs to be represented as the price for the moral purity obtained by turning away from the technology.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Over the past six months or so I have become a huge fan of Podcasting. The range and variety of content is truly amazing. Where else can I listen to Blues from London, Space Music from the Netherlands, Tech interviews from Australia and Celtic Music from the northeast USA! Although I do listen to several music-oriented podcasts, I am also listened to two different novels being podcast a chapter at a time and the quirky forsaken and Berkeley Groks programs as well. Below is the full list exported straight from my iPodder. The links are the actual RSS feeds so you can copy them straight to your podcatching client if you wanna take any of them for a test drive!
Future Tense - Short tech news bits from American Public Radio
Adam Curry: Daily Source Code - Good source for info on new podcasts
IT Conversations - Talks from IT-related various conferences and Moira Gunn's excellent Tech Nation
Tokyo Calling - An American living in Tokyo
Radio Adventures Of Dr. Floyd - www.DoctorFloyd.com - Radio drama/parody/comedy
Raven'n'Blues - Blues music program broadcast from British Armed Forces Radio
WGBH Morning Stories Podcast - Tony Kahn's excellent bio-clips
Science at NASA Feature Stories Podcast - Science and Astronomy news from NASA
In the Trenches - Information and experiences for Systems and Network Admins
Engadget Podcast - Gadget news
The Rock and Roll Geek Show - Great Rock and Roll music and conversation
On The Media from NPR/WNYC - Weekly dissection of Media related events
The Laporte Report Audio Edition - Leo Laporte's radio show segments
The Bag and Baggage Podcast - Intellectual Property talk with Denise Howell
Celtic Music News Podcast - News and great Celtic Tunes
Knobtweakers: Free Mp3 Blog - Free Electronica cuts
A Sampling of Michael and Evo's Science Fiction Podcasts - Master Feed - All the shows from the Dragon Page
MOREVI by Tee Morris - Podcast Serialization - Fantasy novel with a new chapter every week
ThePodcastNetwork :: G'day World - Good interviews from Mick and Camm in Australia
Biddycast - The Lascivious Biddies talk about their life and times as an indie music group
Kentucky - Public affairs interviews concerning the state of Kentucky
Morning Coffee Notes - Dave Winer's musings on media, technology and life
The Roadhouse Podcast - The best Blues you've never heard
The Echoes Podcast - Interviews with artists who appear on the Echoes space music radio program
EarthCore: A Podcast Novel - Weekly chapters of EarthCore read by the author
Caribbean Free Radio - News, sound scene tours and music from Trinidad
Speechless - New instrumental music
ThePodcastNetwork :: The Jazz Show - Jazz music and commentary
Slice of Sci-Fi - Podcasts - Science Fiction in the Media
Berkeley Groks Science Radio Program - Interviews with scientists as only the Groks guys can do
SCI FI Wire - The latest Science Fiction news from the SciFi channel
MAKE: Blog - Audio blog from the editors of Make magazine
Spacemusic hosted by *TC* - Space music and sound scene tours from the Netherlands
sciencefriday.com - making science radioactive - NPR's Science Friday segments
this WEEK in TECH - Leo Laporte and the old Screen Savers gang kibitz over tech news
Firesign Theatre podCast - Firesign Theater segments that air on NPR
You can find more info about Podcasts at these fine sites:
The meek shall inherit the earth. The rest of us will go to the stars.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Stop the Flag
Finally, someone who tells the Middle East situation like it is. I've got his book on order, can't wait. Full text included due to NYT's dorky linking policy. The link I used is here.
The Best P.R.: Straight Talk
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
The fact that the White House spokesman Scott McClellan spent part of his briefing on Tuesday excoriating Newsweek - and telling its editors that they had a responsibility to "help repair the damage" to America's standing in the Arab-Muslim world - while not offering a single word of condemnation for those who went out and killed 16 people in Afghanistan in riots linked to a Newsweek report, pretty much explains why we're struggling to win the war of ideas in the Muslim world today. We are spending way too much time debating with ourselves, or playing defense, and way too little time actually looking Arab Muslims in the eye and telling them the truth as we see it.
In part this is because we are so dependent on their oil - and addicts never tell the truth to their pushers. In part this is because the administration got so carried away by the vote in the Iraqi elections that it lost focus. (We don't even have an ambassador in Iraq at this critical juncture, when it is so important that an ethnically balanced Iraqi government be formed. But don't worry - John Bolton is going to reform the U.N.)
And in part this is because we are afraid to say the truth, because we - wrongly - believe these people are incapable of rational thought and will just react violently. Therefore, if we have an information campaign, it must all be about explaining to them who we are, and why we are not bad people, and why Newsweek made a mistake. It must never involve us asking who they are and why they are behaving in ways that don't live up to the values they profess.
Instead of sending Mr. McClellan out to flog Newsweek, President Bush should have said: "Let me say first to all Muslims that desecrating anyone's holy book is utterly wrong. These allegations will be investigated, and any such behavior will be punished. That is how we Americans intend to look in the mirror. But we think the Arab-Muslim world must also look in the mirror when it comes to how it has been behaving toward an even worse crime than the desecration of God's words, and that is the desecration of God's creations. In reaction to an unsubstantiated Newsweek story, Muslims killed 16 other Muslims in Afghanistan in rioting, and no one has raised a peep - as if it were a totally logical reaction. That is wrong.
"In Iraq, where Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni Muslims are struggling to build a pluralistic new order, other Muslims, claiming to act in the name of Allah, are indiscriminately butchering people, without a word of condemnation coming from Muslim spiritual or political leaders. I don't understand a concept of the sacred that says a book is more sacred than a human life. A holy book, whether the Bible or the Koran, is only holy to the extent that it shapes human life and behavior.
"Look, Newsweek may have violated journalistic rules, but what jihadist terrorists are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan - blowing up innocent Muslims struggling to build an alternative society to dictatorship - surely destroys the Koran. They are the real enemies of Islam because they are depriving Muslims of a better future. From what I know of Islam, it teaches that you show reverence to God by showing reverence for his creations, not just his words. Why don't your spiritual leaders say that? I am asking, because I want to know."
Fortunately, a few courageous Arab intellectuals, such as Abderrahman al-Rashed, have asked such things. Writing in Wednesday's Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, he said: "When thousands in Afghanistan are concerned about a report in a magazine that does not reach them, written in a language they do not speak, leading them to protest in a manner unprecedented among other Islamic nations that do speak English, the matter is worth pursuing further: it tells us more about the dangers of propaganda and its exploitation by opposition groups than it does about spontaneous popular sentiments."
And a few days ago, a group of Iraqi journalists actually went to Jordan and got right in the face of Jordanian columnists and editors, demanding to know why they were treating Muslim mass murderers in Iraq like anticolonial war heroes. It's already changed the tone. That's the war of ideas.
The greatest respect we can show to Arabs and Muslims - and the best way to help Muslim progressives win the war of ideas - is to take them seriously and stop gazing at our own navels. That means demanding that they answer for their lies, hypocrisy and profane behavior, just as much as we must answer for ours.
I see lots of posts and news about Bit Torrent, but I never really appreciated how far BT has penetrated. Yesterday I had a 15 minute discussion with my barber about the merits of various Bit Torrent clients! I find it fascinating that BT has penetrated to the lite geek / everyuser.
That creaking sound I hear must be breaking business models......
Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it. -Henry Ford
Friday, May 20, 2005
So here we go.....
I've been wanting to start a blog for quite a while, one of those things I'll do real soon now ;-) A little about myself: I'm a 50+ male from the just south of the Mason-Dixon line. Definitely a blue-state person in a sea of red. I've been married for almost 33 years and helped raise two children, a girl and a boy. I am interested in most forms of technology, especially aerospace and computer networking thingies. I listen to a broad cross section of music, but these days I'm listening to a lot of podcasts and less music. I have started playing guitar again after a 20 year hiatus while the kids were growing up, but I did achieve a personal goal last summer when I got a new Les Paul Studio and a Marshall Micro Stack. You just can't beat the Les Paul and Marshall sound combo.
Well the pager just went off
Rule of Acquisition #59: Free advice is seldom cheap.
RSS and Web Comics
I read a whole bunch of blogs via and rss aggregator, but have had trouble finding a good selection of comic strips available via rss. No More! I discovered Tapestry's List 'O Comics today and there are two pages of comic strips available via rss, including UserFriendly, albeit as a link only
The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side. - James Baldwin
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