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Showing posts from February, 2015

Google Talk Going Away

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Google Talk Going Away? Who Knew? One of the more confusing subjects (at least for me) that's been popping up over the last couple of days is the imminent death of Google Talk. I remember Google Talk from way back. I never used it all that much, I already had tools that I was using, some tools (Skype..DIE, SKYPE, DIE) I had to use for work, I didn't have a need for a new tool. There were one or two people I communicated with using Google Talk, but literally, it was just that one or two people. Then along came Hangouts. Eventually that tool took in my chatting, texting (using my Google Voice number), and I forgot about Google Talk. Hell, I thought Google Talk was already dead. 

Android Lollipop Notification Settings

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Community Impressions? Listening to podcasts and reading articles you'd think that the Lollipop notification settings were so bad that they'd be the end of Android as we know it. The only comments I've heard actually discussing the feature have been negative across the board. Me, I don't agree. I like the way it's been implemented. It's very simple to use, a very straight forward implementation. Yeah, it does need a little manual configuration, and yeah, it is missing a couple of features, but overall I think its pretty cool in its simplicity. So, what's it missing? You can set alert priority based on application, such as email, but you cannot filter based on account within a given app. If I could lower the priority of alerts by account I'd consider this damn near perfect. One more irritation around this, I've noticed that if I'm currently listening to music or a podcast, I can't enable the alert settings. The volume buttons set the volume,…

Eel River Brewing Porter

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Certified Organic Porter After the last porter I bought this was more than a pleasant surprise. It was a reminder that porter still is one of my favorite ales out there.
The Goods So, what's good about it. Well, certified organic, but then again, shouldn't all beer be? The ingredients are so terribly simple that all beer should either be certified organic, or come from grains or hops that were produced on a farm that is too small to be able to afford the organic certification.
This is just a nice beer to look at. Dark cola color, but crystal clear. Nothing but the deep dark brown to obstruct the light showing through. Maybe the head leaves a little bit to be desired as it dies down pretty quickly, but there are worse qualities in a beer. In my opinion this is one of those beers that most definitely gets better as it warms up. The flavors and smells are allowed to come out, and the smell just gets bigger. It's rich, malty, with an almost mocha flavor going on in there. Ove…

Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey - Not What I Was Hoping For

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There I am, wandering through BevMo, minding my own business, waiting for my wife to wander back, and sorta looking for the Three Howls Hopped Whiskey (good stuff. Hopped whiskey is one of the great achievements of mankind). When I found it I noticed this other bottle right next to it. Rogue Dead Guy Whiskey. I like Rogue beers, so this did get my attention. I picked up the bottle, looked it over, and when I read "DEAD GUY WHISKEY is distilled from the sweet wort of Rogue's award-winning Dead Guy Ale" I was sold. I had to give this stuff a try. When I got home and poured my first drink disappointment flowed over me like a tsunami and I realized I'd misread a subtle, yet important, detail. This whiskey is not distilled from the ale (as is the case with the Three Howls), oh, no. The Dead Guy Whisky is distilled from the wort that is used to make the ale. No hops, no bitterness to offset the syrupy sweet malt extracted from the grain, just the distilled syrupy malt wor…

LG Tone Pro Headphones And The Dark Side of Bluetooth Headphones

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Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love these headphones. No, the sound quality doesn’t compare to my Shure IEC headphones, nor should any rational person expect it to. These are not headphones an audiophile buys to listen to the subtle nuances of Dizzy Gillispie squeaking out an air biscuit when hitting one of those high notes, but they do sound pretty damn good. They're also very easy to control. Pressing volume up/down at the same time gives you access to the EQ presets. Nothing too in depth, but enough to dial in on the appropriate sound for your tunes of the moment. Naturally, they're dead simple to pair with a device supporting Bluetooth (as they should be), and they even act as a very functional Bluetooth phone headset. Clear sound so you can hear who you're talking to, and a good mic so they can hear you too. You even have a tiny bit of sound isolation with the in ear buds. I If you're actually looking for sound isolation, this probably isn't where you should…

I Need A New Chromebook

I was one of the lucky applicants to get my very own CR-48. For those who don't know, the CR-48 was The Google's first edition of the Chromebook that was sent out to applicants so that they could preview, beta test, and I suppose act as evangelists for the new computing platform. This is my first and only Chromebook, and within the first few usages I was totally on board with this thing. For most of my personal computing this little laptop is far superior to my Windows laptop...Seriously, I mean that. Like most people, if I'm not working I'm doing crap like this (blogging random crap), playing on social networks, email, whatever. It does all this and more with no problems. Plus, even if it's turned off it still only takes about 20 seconds before it's ready to use. On the other hand, my Windows laptop isn't quite so friendly. I don't use it often anymore, so the process is generally open the lid. I'm presented with a notification that I have to apply…

The Pomodoro Technique

Why Pomodoro If you read my previous post you may have noticed a brief mention of the fact that I'm an adult with ADHD. As such, I'm not quite what one would consider a master of productivity. I do things to try to stay on task, I take my little pill daily, I do what I can. The fact is I'm still scatterbrained as hell, and staying focused on things is not among my strongest skills. I get by, I work hard, I think outside the box, and that generally does a pretty good job of getting me by.  A couple of years back I was attending a Java developer's conference and I ended up having some free slots for time management seminars. One happened to specifically deal with something called the Pomodoro Technique. It sounded interesting, I took some notes, downloaded a couple of Android apps to evaluate, and promptly forgot about it (as I occasionally do) for a few weeks. Eventually I noticed the apps I'd downloaded and thought I'd finally give it a shot. Looking at the ba…

Refuting Some Common Myths About ADHD

This is turning out to be a harder post than I thought. First, I started the post. Then I edited it on my phone. Then I completed it on my Chromebook. Then I opened blogger on my phone which happened to have a previous incomplete version which fucking overwrote the completed one. Then a partial page load stuck the content of the partial post in to this post, and just totally slaughtered everything. Oh, well. Back to the drawing board. I’ll try to reproduce this as close to the original as possible. Lesson learned. Blogger app and Blogger site do not play nicely together.

So, back to the reason for this post in the first place. I wrote a little post on using the Pomodoro Technique, and part of the lead-in had to do with why I use it and how it works out for me, and that touches on the fact that I’m a professional adult with ADHD. That sent me off on a train of thought ranting on about some irritating bullshit that I’ve seen floating around about the “benefits” of ADHD and I realized th…

Android TV - ADT-1

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There are plenty of sites and reviews that break down the ADT-1 (the developer edition of the Android TV)
by specs. I won't bother going in to that.
What I will say, though, is that with the Android TV rev of Google's set top box I think Google has hit a winner. I was one of the few who was a fan of the Google TV set top boxes. I thought they were great. So great, in fact, that I bought two. I started with the Logitech Revue, and a while later I added a Sony box to my little collection. The remotes were weird, but they did what I needed. They served up my Netflix and my Hulu and a content from a couple of different DLNA servers up to, and including, the point when I finally settled on Plex for my home media needs. They also served up my music from Google Play Music when I decided to run tunes through my TV. I loved these things. Easy to use, just worked, and I could control them through my phone instead of those weird remotes. Then along comes Chromecast. This little thing bl…

The App That I Need

Actually, I'd be happy if there was a plug-in for the Locale app.  What I want is an app that, based on some defined criteria, would either disable an account or at the very least turn off syncing for a specified account. I don't mind having my work account on my personal phone since I spend a fairly significant amount of time in the office wandering around from place to place. It lets me know what meeting I've forgotten about and I'm able to get email when I've stopped off in one of the "quiet rooms" for a nap. This is a good thing. No matter how lazy I might be I have the ability to appear on task and engaged.  The issue is the weekend or those few hours during the week that I'm at home or holidays or vacations. I still get email. Appointments I guess I can ignore because those don't give me the feeling that some poor soul is sitting in front of a monitor at 2 AM waiting for me to respond, but emails. Emails make me feel somehow obligated to res…

Thoughts On The LG G Watch

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I admit it, I'm a geek. I love tech stuff for the sake of the tech stuff. In spite of that I've drawn a line at the smart watches. Not wearables, but specifically the smart watches. Why? I just can't see the value in the damn things. Do I really need a device on my wrist that rids me of the need to pull my phone all the way out of my pocket? No, not really...my phone probably isn't in my pocket. More likely it's already in my hand with me playing sudoku or checking email or watching a movie or something. If it does happen to be in my pocket, well, I'm just not so lazy that I can't reach in to my pocket and pull it out. I'm pretty damn lazy, but I'm not quite that bad. To take it a little further, the watch functionality just doesn't quite cut it. Yes, yes, the LG G Watch is really a very nice looking watch. Nice enough to get my attention, and this G Watch Urbane? Really, it's damn pretty. The problem is that reading about these things I…

Storing eBooks In Google Play Books

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Ok, I admit it. I'm probably way behind the times on this one, but I found it recently and thought it was crazy cool. I read eBooks, you read eBooks, we all read eBooks from time to time. If you're like me you've ended up in a situation where you have a few in the Amazon Kindle app, a few more in Box, a few more in DropBox, and several more scattered to the winds. I've been frustrated by this, and even more so by the fact that generally speaking I live in Google's ecosystem. One of the primary things I've been unable to do, however, is keep all my eBooks in the one location that I want to use them. Well, at some point along the way (when, I've no idea) Google solved that very problem. They enabled uploading of your very own eBooks in to Google Play Books so that you can have your own existing eBook collection treated just like any other eBooks you happen to have purchased through Google Play. It looks like only EPUB and PDF are supported...Of course, it…

I Don't Know, And Other Non-Beer Related Thoughts

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Everybody is an expert at something. Maybe it matters, maybe it doesn't, but everyone has that specialty. Some people have more than one. Maybe a few. They can be trusted to know about these areas, they can be seen as an authority. This is the way it is. It's easy to be an expert. It really is.
At the same time, nobody is an expert at everything. Nobody. We all have limits, there are things we don't
know, and we can all face a differing point of view that invalidates, in part or in full, what we believed to be correct. This is not easy. Some people act as if they'd rather go down with the ship than utter the three words, "I don't know." The problem is that a refusal to appropriately use these words can be damaging. You lose trust, you lose credibility, hell, you may lose a job.
Using "I don't know" is a skill. It's an important one. The inability to use it appropriately comes up in conversation more frequently than many people would rea…

Really, I don't want my money back

If we're going to be perfectly honest here, I don't really want my money back. I've purchased the product before and the Amazon seller had a killer price. I bought the product. I wasn't thrilled that it was scheduled for delivery more than a month later, but the price, the product, what ever. I'm ok with that. The problem is that the seller chose to ship using a service with no tracking. This means that here I am a week after the delivery was supposed to take place and I have no way of knowing where my product is. Worse, I emailed the seller. Nothing. Not a damn thing. I got my money back, but the product could still show up any day now. Or maybe it won't. Who the hell knows? Now I'm stuck with an Amazon credit that isn't enough to buy the product that I'd rather have in the first place. Amazon sellers, please use a shipping service that I can track. I would keep my mouth shut and not complain if I just had some idea if/when my product may or may no…

Zen Saison 2.0 Just testing the carbonation levels

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Ok, so maybe it's a little more than testing the carbonation. Maybe I'm just impatient...just maybe...
Either way, I do have some valuable learnings.

The head doesn't stick around all that long just yet, the carbonation is just about where I like it, and we're starting to clear up. Right now it's a little cloudy, along the lines of a hefe, but that will change...hopefully before the keg is empty. The flavor still has a little bit of mellowing to do, but in its current state it is very much drinkable. Subtle pairs, crisp light malt, and just enough bitterness from the hops to keep it from being too sweet. It's sitting just slightly north of 9% ABV, so it's better suited to the winter we should have, and not the winter we do have, but what the hell. I'll drink it, and I'll damn well enjoy it.  Oh, and of course, the mug :) A gift from my dad, and perfect for "Testing the carbonation."

100 Gigs Of Free Cloud Storage (sorta) With OneDrive

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I came across this today, free 100 gigs of free OneDrive cloud storage. They say if you join Bing Rewards, just log in to redeem. If you've already got an account, log in and redeem. I gave it a shot, and it works. 100 gigs free. Yippie. Free for two years. Great for some, probably not so much for me. I'm happily in the Google ecosystem, so I'm having difficulty seeing a situation where I would upload enough data to use this up, and put myself in to a situation that would require me to purchase additional storage in a couple of years. Still, it's a hell of a deal. I suppose I'm not really being fair with the sorta crack, but I figure if you're going to give me a trial call it a trial.
Oh, and Eddie.

Restoring The Hard Drive

Obviously the drive is failing, it's just failing in such an oddly unique way. Anyway, we did get a replacement installed, and the restore process has begun. Fairly painless, but such a long, drawn out process. The upside is we've been using CrashPlan for a while. Solid, reasonably unobtrusive service, and quietly keeps everything up to date. The only downside? 1.5 TB data restore is taking for ever. CrashPlan does offer the ability to ship my backups out to me for a small fee, but at the rate my restore is going I'll be done before the restore disks get to me and I'm able to copy the restored files back to the new location.
So, cheap, unlimited backups for all my machines, weird behavior in my dying USB drive, and a simple restore to a new drive before the old dying drive is actually dead.
One day I'll just be able to move all this crap to the cloud and be done with it.

Free stuff from The Google

Course I'm behind the times on this, but it's still cool. If you've got a chromecast google wants to give you $6 to buy a valentine's day movie. You can use the credit for what ever you like. If you've got more than one chromecast google wants to give you $6 for each one. I've got three. They gave me $18.http://m.androidcentral.com/chromecast-owners-can-now-claim-6-google-play-movies-credit

New Belgium Portage - A Solidly Average Beer

To start with, I'd drink it again. I'd happily accept one if someone bought it for me, and if I have it again I will enjoy it.

That said, will I buy it again? Probably not unless it happens to be the only porter on the shelf and I have a really strong need for a porter. It hits all the points of being a porter. It's black with a mild, comforting toasty flavor. Hops are exactly as they should be, nearly unnoticeable, and it's creamy if just a little thin. If I try really hard I might be able to pick up on a little sweet malt, but I have to put some effort in to it. What can I say? This is a porter, but that's about it. Absolutely nothing stands out. It's as if it was produced for the widest possible audience possible. I shouldn't be too harsh. If I brewed one of these I'd be pretty damned proud. I would consider it a good showing, and I'd have no worries that when people told me they like it they're not trying to spare my feelings. It really isn&…

Watching A Hard Drive Slowly Die

I suppose I should have a better idea about what's going on, but I'm stumped, and I'm pretty sure I'm watching it die.

I've got this 3 TB USB drive that's served me well for a few years. It's housed my media collection, it's served as the data source for my Plex server, it's made me happy by giving me a little blue light that lets me know I'm not alone in my home office. Lately, though, it's stopped behaving in a reliable manner. Out of the blue it will unmount, sometimes it will still show as an attached device but remain unreadable, but removing and reattaching (or just rebooting the computer) fixes the problem for a couple of days. Recently I got ambitious and ran chkdsk which found, and repaired, a couple of errors. Things were fine for a bit longer, but eventually the problems came back. Some of the behaviors seemed to be acting like file locks, so I shut off the indexing service (this feature has gotten better in the last few years, bu…

Reinheitsgebot

With the proliferation of craft beers incorporating everything from peanut butter to pumpkins to chili peppers one might be forgiven for thinking that Reinheitsgebot is a four letter word (yes, I do think that's funny), but me, it's a rule that I find fascinating. The quick definition is that in Bavaria in 1516 a law was passed that required any beverage sold as beer could only contain three ingredients: Water, Malt, and Hops (We can forgive them for leaving the yeast out of the rules since it would be more than 100 years before yeast was first observed).
Somehow, in spite of this, that particular region of the world has produced a virtually endless variety of beers. Colors, flavors, strengths, that are far more than simple variations on a theme. They're a reflection of the people, the regions, and even the seasons in which the beers were produced. Interestingly, one of the more important ingredients making this variety possible is the as yet to be known yeast, but we'…

Why I Brew

So, I've been not getting around to writing this for quite a while now. I suppose it's high time to get to it.
Anyway, why I brew. I imagine like most brewers I have a few reasons. Originally the idea sounded like fun. I went to the library, checked out a book, and was intimidated. This was before supply stores were common, and it looked like more than I could really take on. Especially the whole malting thing. I stuck the book in a box (yes, I still have that library book from 2 decades ago) and went on with my life of drinking Miller genuine draft. Time went by, and I relocated from Utah to Washington. One of the first things I learned was that beer was a rich and varied beverage. I had no idea that beer meant so many different things, and I went from drinking beer for a buzz to genuinely enjoying experiencing as many varieties as I could find. A few years later, work took me back to Utah, and I was faced with the reality of bud/Coors/miller, or learning to make the stuff m…

Test

This is a test. Pay no attention to the monkey behind the keyboard.

Carrier Bloatwear And Some Non-Beer Related Thoughts

As much as I really liked my G2 I'm rediscovering some of the reasons I'd been a Nexus guy since the Nexus S. Carrier Bloatwear. Not that it doesn't exist, and frankly, not that I think carriers have no right to put it on a phone that they sell me and I use on their network. No, what I like about the Nexus world is that when I look at carrier bloatwear I can say to myself, "I'd like to uninstall this", and then I can go and actually uninstall it. No more T-Mobile TV (that won't let me cast it to my TV using my Chromecast). no more T-Mobile Visual Voicemail that, while I'm sure a competent service, is not Google Voice (which is what I actually use). No more T-Mobile My Account which more often than not would change phone settings when it updated. Phone settings like turning on WiFi calling (which is a wonderful idea, but I'm paying for unlimited calling, I want to drink as much as I can), or like changing when my WiFi for data turns on (which, also…

Corporate Security, Nexus 6, And Some Random Non-Beer Thoughts

I connected my Nexus 6 to my corporate account. I need my calendar, and sometimes email. Naturally, we've got security policies, but Lollipop being what it is, the Nexus 6 hits the requirements out of the gate. Things are going fine for maybe a week, and suddenly Monday morning I've got an alert telling me a need a security update. I read the alert. Alert says I need to encrypt my phone. Don't you know what kind of phone this is, you dumbass alert? Without rooting this phone does not come in an unencrypted flavor.

I gave the alert the benefit of the doubt, and clicked the "encrypt phone" button, but of course nothing really happened because this phone is encrypted. After doing a little research I found some issues with similar descriptions with a resolution of factory reset. Well, since Lollipop provides a really cool backup/restoration feature I only had maybe 20 minutes to lose by doing a reset, so I went for it. Restore, done, Exchange account configured again…

Still Waiting To Keg The Saison

So, here I am a couple of weeks over plan. The Saison is still sitting in the secondary in the garage clearing up a little. After my schedule had gone totally out the window I'd planned on doing a little brewing and a little kegging this past weekend, but I got sick and somehow having the flu has totally killed my motivation. Shifting the plan to next weekend. 
That is all.