cold-brewed coffee


a few people have asked how we make our cold-brewed coffee.  we make it a gallon at a time, you can adjust quantities as needed.  it takes a while to make a batch but you can make the second batch while consuming the first.  🙂

you need a pitcher, a sun-tea jar, a strainer, coffee grounds (medium or dark roast), and coffee filters.

medium-grind two cups of coffee beans, pour them in the pitcher, add water (seems to be about two quarts.)  let it stand at room temperature for 12 hours.  stir it every couple of hours if you remember.

after 12 hours, put your coffee filter in your strainer and place it on top of the sun tea jar.

pour the coffee concoction through the filter.  you can fill up the filter but it won’t flow outside the jar.  this is the slowest/hardest/worst part for us because we’re impatient.  pour the mix in and walk away for 10 minutes, don’t watch it.  repeat this until the pitcher is empty.  you can replace the coffee filters when they get too gunked up to pass coffee any more.


almost done!  use your fingers on the outside to gauge how deep the coffee is.  then add that much water.  chill.  enjoy.  it will be good for about five days but rarely lasts any more than two days in our house.

Categories : fun  geek  reviews

Nick vs Pre


Amanda and I migrated to Sprint over the weekend and picked up a couple of Palm Pre handsets.

Sprint’s service has been fine so far, we’ll see if there’s any billing or customer service fiascoes to deal with over time.

Good parts about the Pre:

  • Compact hardware
  • Slick OS
  • Screen
  • WiFi
  • Google integration (contacts, address book, mail, maps, chat, etc)
  • GPS
  • Synergy
  • Homebrew Community – there’s an active homebrew app/tweak development community with a few good repositories of such stuff.  I wonder how much of the official App Catalog‘s efforts are being thwarted by the increasingly popular homebrew stuff.  In all seriousness, is it that tough to get software approved for proper distribution?
  • ‘developer mode’ easter egg of searching for upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart
  • Browser – The Webkit browser is pretty quick at rendering webpages.  It handles zooming, panning, and scrolling nicely
  • Touchstone charger – although kinda pricey, inductive charging base is pretty sweet.

Bad Parts:

  • Battery life – some of this can be mitigated by changing data sync settings, screen timeout settings, and GPS settings
  • Select/Copy/Paste – Gestures for managing these are a bit cumbersome
  • it can be a bit slow.  for example, i have about 300 well-populated contacts.  the address book can take a few seconds to come up
  • Smallish keyboard takes some getting used to.  The ‘alt’ key is annoyingly close to the / key, which is the alternate for q (typing URLs is a pain.)

What I miss and might come later:

  • having both a ‘d-pad’ and touchscreen like previous Palm devices.  Makes it easier when you have to move one character over.  🙂
  • Screen brightness control – homebrew to the rescue for now though
  • on-screen keyboard – this one can be done with homebrew apps but nothing official yet
  • ability to remove some of the carrier-provided default applications

Essential Official Apps:

  • TweeFree – Twitter client that’s fast
  • Pandora – music genome project, 40 hours/month of free music
  • Facebook – Faster than the mobile site but less featured
  • Yelp – Location-based business reviews (restaurants, stores, etc).  I wish you could update/post from it though.

Essential Homebrew Apps:

  • Preware – Framework for installing homebrew apps
  • drPodder / PrePod – Podcast client which supports downloads for offline listening
  • Battery Icon and Percent
  • Brightness in Device Menu – saving battery
  • Calendar Month View Default
  • Call Duration in Call Log
  • Char Count in Messaging – Finding out when you’re close to 160 characters
  • GPS in Device Menu – Easier access to turning off the radio, saving battery
  • Just Charge by Default
Categories : geek  mobile  reviews

ps2 device to usb port adapters


many new motherboards don’t come with ps2 ports anymore.  if your favorite keyboard only has ps2 ports, you’ll need a usb adapter.

with a usb keyboard or a ps2 keyboard plugged into a ps2 port, your keys behave as you think they would in 3d games.

with most ps2 to usb adapters, multiple key presses do not work properly.  example: you’re running forward, holding down the forward key and you want to strafe right.  while holding forward, you press your right key and let it go.  however, you stop moving.

my understanding about the issue is that the usb to ps2 adapters don’t emulate and translate the ps2 key presses properly.  the ziotek jobbie does.  however, it’s usually out of stock and recently back in stock.  you should consider picking it up if it’s an issue for you

Categories : geek  reviews

mm fresh roasted coffee


the beat cafe in warren roasts their coffee fresh.  fresh roasted coffee is where it’s at.  buy a pound to go.  it makes other “gourmet” coffee like starbucks and cardboard coffee like foldgers and maxwell house almost undrinkable.

besides that, the owners are awesome.

sandwiches are good too.

if it’s not a night for battle of the bands or stand-up comedy, it’s a nice quiet place to study.

Categories : reviews

adobe’s lightroom


rules.  speeds up the process of touching up images without being cumbersome like photoshop.  most shots just need some color and exposure correction.

students should pick it up with their student discounts.

thanks greg for turning me onto it.

Categories : photography  reviews

popcorn hour


i love xbmc, i can tolerate the xbox fan noise and the loud hard drive i put in it.  however, it’s too slow for any high-res content or any content encoded with newer cpu-hungry codecs like h264.

i poked around and found the pocorn hour.  runs a little sigma chip which can decode h264, various other codecs, output 1080p, smb/nfs client/server, hdmi, component, spdif, svideo, composite, ata100 jack, 2 usb ports, remote control, runs embedded linux.  etc.   you can read more about it on their site.

i read some reviews, compatability with some televisions is a bit odd, but so is anything.  interface isn’t nearly as mature as xbmc.  samba server/client can be a bit odd.  it plays just about anything.  some scene-released content isn’t compatible.  doesn’t downsample/handle DTS, just passes it on through to the tv/receiver (licensing issue.)

i pre-ordered an a-100. it arrived about three weeks later, i hooked it up, set a static address, downloaded new updates through its interface, and pushed some stuff to the 40gb hdd i put in it.  802.11g w/ 30% signal strenth through linksys jobbies isn’t fast enough to watch any 720p content.  it does work.  first h264 720p movie i watched had DTS audio.  my receiver doesn’t have anything more than analog inputs, so i had no sound..  the popcorn hour community wrote an app which converts the DTS audio to AC3 and adds the AC3 channel to the original file.  All automatic-like.  nice.  while that encoded, i watched some ‘planet earth’ stuff i had laying around.  besides some UI issues, some .mkv files won’t let you seek.  i don’t claim to know the circumstances, that’s what the forums are for.

with an older 7200rpm hdd in it, it’s kinda vibratey.  i put some clear rubber protective pads on the hdd mount, in the corners of the lid, and the corners of the base.  this helped considerably.  i also had some 1/4″ rubber grommits laying around, i put them under the corners to isolate it from the table..  this helped some more.  i suppose a 2.5″ 5400rpm drive would be better.

so far, it’s nice.  it’s locked up a few times but they release updates regularly.  if i don’t like it, i can unload it on ebay for more than i paid for it. 🙂

Categories : reviews

worth watching


why we fight –

the last abortion clinic –

agree with them, don’t agree with them, or fuel for your own discussions. either way, worth watching.

Categories : reviews



nami sushi
tasty sushi. little place in ferndale called nami.

scarface roll is probably my favorite

Tempura Shrimp, seasoned mayo & asparagus inside with Shrimp & Eel on top

i’ll go anytime. just ask.

Categories : reviews

flashy blinky useless hell


is it possible to buy a car stereo these days where the display is large enough to read it? where the display isn’t overgrown with bouncy graphics and other annoying useless icons?

volume/tone controls. track/tuning controls. input/source controls. 6 preset buttons along the bottom. a display which can concurrently show track time (or frequency,) earth time, track number. high quality RCA-preouts, the more the better. aux input.

i wish the consumer electronics industry would standardize portable-player connectors and command/control signaling.

nothing is wrong with what i have, but trolling around lead to discovering some bullshit available for us.

Categories : reviews  transportation

altec lansing atp-3 multimedia speakers


finding critical reviews of multimedia speakers can be a challenge if not impossible. usually, you get statements like, “the bass is awesome!” or “they play really loud!” or “it doesn’t play loud enough.”

besides system beeps and mail notifications, my speakers usually play music. accurate sound has become important to me, although budgets hold me back from putting a big audiophile music system in with the computer. 🙂

i bought a set of altec lansing atp-3’s for my brother as a christmas gift on a suggestion from a coworker. impressed by their performance and value i picked up a set for myself. i’ve owned them for about four years now. i thought i’d post my critical review.

they are discontinued now and available on overstock sites or (fl)ebay. however, they were replaced by the updated altec lansing vs4121 speakers.


2 satellites, 1 subwoofer. amplifier is integrated into the subwoofer. volume/power and bass/treble controls are integrated into the right satellite. each satellite has two 1″ front-firing tweeters and a down-firing 3″ midrange/midbass. the subwoofer appears to be of the 4-5.5″ variety. each satellite gets 12 watts and the subwoofer gets 18 watts.


the subwoofer makes a great footrest in its natural home under my desk. the (generally) omni-directional nature of bass lets you put this anywhere you want.

i have the satellites on my desk 3-4′ apart, facing straight back. this gives the speakers a wide soundstage and a good center-image. if i point them towards the center at me (the listener,) they lose the soundstage width and the center-image loses its clear definition.


the volume control also acts as the power switch. altec lansing was kind enough to include a treble and bass knob. these knobs have held up through constant use over four years, none are scratchy and maintain their solid feel.


the feeble amp tries, but there isn’t much headroom for really loud music. when it gets to the point where you have to yell at others in the room, distortion becomes more apparent. i don’t have any fancy SPL meters to give you a real measurement. another side to the modest power-output of the amp is low-frequency and high-frequencies fall off fast. this amp is no different.

from the subwoofer, low-end extention is non-existent. if i play something that has 20-40hz in it, i don’t hear it or feel it. anything above that sounds great. i usually turn the bass knob down a tad because it overpowers the rest of the sound. the sound falls off quickly. when the drummer hits the kick drum

this set is one of the only multimedia speakers that have dedicated midbass/midranges and tweeters. the 3″ midbass/midrange does a great job filling its responsibilities, providing a warm full sound. recordings with floor-toms or chellos come through wonderfully, especially given the speaker sets’ price. since the midbass/midranges are down-firing, they can have a bit of a reflected sound to them. however, the reflected sound was only apparent when listening to other direct-firing speakers in comparision.

front-firing tweeters have a bright sound but they don’t extend to a very high frequency range. high-frequency response might be the amplifier’s fault, it’s hard to tell in a system like this. the upper-midrange and lower high-frequencies are strong but not overpowering. i happen to like a bright sound though. they appear to have a wide-dispersion pattern, given how they “image” i have to turn up the treble slightly to gain some high-frequency extention.


imaging is good for a 2.1 set of speakers. in my book, if a set of speakers can perform well for music, it can perform well in movies. this speaker is no exception.

wish it had:

  • more cleaner power (less distortion) – keeps the highs clean and deeper low-frequencies
  • larger subwoofer – aid the low frequency extention
  • direct-firing midbass/midrange – lose the reflected sound

for $80 in 2002 dollars, they’re a good speaker. listening to music or watching movies, i’m still impressed to this day. the sound coming from them is almost forceful, like how a trumpet is forceful. it can take you by surprise.

Categories : reviews