You’ll find “Reader’s Digest” atop my toilet

All kinds of articles with big words that make me look smarter than I really am.

Runner’s World
A little bit of motivation, a little bit of guilt, a little bit of product placement

Reader’s Digest
This one belongs to Emily; I don’t read it. They collect in the upstairs bathroom, where David likes to look at the pictures while he sits you-know-where.

Bon Appétit
Most of the recipes look good, and most of the photography in the last year is so harshly lit that it’s completely unappetizing. We usually aim to make one or two new recipes a week.

IEEE Spectrum
All kinds of articles for and about EE nerds. It’s a great way to make you question the progress you’ve made along your career path.

Automotive Design & Production
This is what a car magazine should be like, focused on the engineers who make cars reality.

I’m turning into my parents

My grandfather and father both have patterns of mailing newspaper clippings, and now look at me — now I’m the one who emails everyone links to newspaper articles. Services like ShareThis and Clickability enable the habit by making it all too easy.

Brewing with Miss Silvia

814Politics aside, one of the things I will give George W. Bush credit for is chipping in for my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine with that tax rebate back in 2001. I love this machine. It’s built like a tank and brews excellent coffee.

Looking back, it’s been a superb value, even at $395. Amortizing the cost of the machine over 8 years and adding the cost of ingredients, our latte habit has cost 65¢ per day. Compare this with a $3 latte at Starbuck’s, and there’s just no contest.

Today, the going rate for a Silvia is $595. Add in the essential accessories, and the price probably comes closer to $650. This sounds like an awfully large investment, but the break even point is just 275 lattes — less than a year for most folks. My advice for anyone looking for an espresso machine has always been to get a good one. If you don’t get a good one, then it you won’t enjoy using it, you won’t be as happy with what you make, and the result will be that you won’t get much use out of it. So you will have wasted your money. 

I stumbled on a video made by Mark Prince of that shows how satisfying it is to make your own espresso based beverages. He published a detailed review of the most recent revision of the Silvia a while back. If I had to get another espresso machine today, I wouldn’t hesitate to replace ours with another Silvia.

So, I’ve been saying ran-silly‑o all these years, but apparently it’s ran-chilly‑o. I find the rules of Italian pronunciation to be elusive.

America’s Most Walkable Neighborhoods

Walk Score ranked the largest 40 U.S. cities by walkability. Guess where Indianapolis ranked? 37th. Several factors increase the walkability of a neighborhood, according to their algorithm:

  • a discernable center
  • compact enough to support public transportation
  • mixed income levels, and a mix of businesses and residences
  • parks and public space
  • schools near workplaces

This is really strong!

To the person who put this post-it on the coffee maker at work: don’t be sorry, no problem here. I like it when my coffee actually tastes like something!


Panorama stitching with Photoshop

photoshop-iconPhotoshop CS4 includes a well-hidden tool (File → Automate → Photomerge…) that automatically stitches panoramic photos together. It’s surprisingly good! Things to keep in mind when you’re shooting by hand: keep the lens horizontal (don’t angle it up or down), lock the exposure and white balance settings, and don’t move! I violated my own guideline by angling the camera down toward the floor, so I had to do some manual work to de-warp the result, which added some other distortion. This is why Adobe prices Photoshop the way they do: to keep it out of the hands of amateurs like me.


Respect the Prius: The two dressers, hidden nightstand, and bed frame all fit inside the Prius, thanks to the wizards at Ikea, and the mattress set fit on top.

I Hate Cilantro — an anti cilantro community

Nothing is a surprise on the internet. Today I read about an online hate group for cilantro-bashing gadflies. Personally, I love the crisp freshness of cilantro, but these folks are pretty funny. According to their community map, one of my neighbors doesn’t like cilantro because it “tastes like [his] lawn!” He joined this community because he was kicked out of the I Hate Paprika Club.

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal indicates that there are also Facebook groups devoted to similar causes, with names like “Youth Understanding Cilantro Kills” (Y.U.C.K.) and “I Hate Tomatoes, But I Love Ketchup And Other Tomato-Based Products.”

It’s amazing that a humble, 3,000 year old herb can be so polarizing. Especially the most delicious herb of all!

Brewery Business Hopping Despite Tanking Economy : NPR

This NPR story on breweries’ successes touches on several subjects close to my heart: brewing, Austin, cheesy headlines, and finding bright spots in our crummy economy. I haven’t been there in years, but I certainly remember enjoying the Draught House’s house made vanilla porter on a cold evening after work. I might have to try 512 Brewing Company’s all organic malt based pecan porter or wit while we’re in town for Jaysun and Louisa’s wedding!

Google Earth update

The free version of Google Earth 5.0 now imports GPS tracks from Garmin and Magellan units!

Via Google LatLong.

BBC Bourbon Barrel Stout sighting

What a great day! I found a favorite beer, Bluegrass Brewing Company Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout at the Payless at 96th & I‑69. Pick some up, you’ll love it!