Monthly Archives: February 2003

Pasta Pot Pro Review

My wife got me a Pasta Pot Pro a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of those kitchen gadgets that you see on TV that’s suppose to save you all sorts of time and aggrevation in the kitchen. Actually, the design isn’t a total flop with this thing. It does do a decent job of draining the liquid off of non-delicate items like spaghetti or potatoes or carrots but delicate or stuffed pastas are torn up when you try draining through the lid.

The biggest problem with the Pasta Pot Pro is that it’s flimsy. The pot is made out of a real thin aluminum so the lid doesn’t go onto the pot very easily. While I’m cooking I don’t like the aggrevation of my tools not working smoothly. It’s especially aggrevating when the tool is a hot pot that you can’t get lid on properly. I’ve burned my fingers a few times already.

Now, for $20 this really isn’t all that bad of a pot, about what you’d expect to pay for cheap cookware, but if you are at all serious about cooking don’t waste your money on this thing. It is only going to be aggrevation.

Beta 1 Looked Good

I was able to get Blosxom 2.0 Beta 1 working without much of a hitch at all. I like the plugin archetecture that Rael has implemented. It seems to work smoothly and has already generated a number of plugins. You can see it in my /betalog directory

The Trackback_Counts plugin is the only one that has me a little troubled. The trackback ID it generates doesn’t appear to be available to Blosxom so in the RDF imbedded in each story I’ve got a slightly different trackback ID than the one the plugin is using for counts.

I attempted to install Beta 2 and evidently I’ve got something wrong. It won’t generate the static files. I’ll work on that some tonight, I guess. I’ve got to leave to go out of town tomorrow morning and I don’t know how long I’ll be away.

Private Air Show Draws Fire

A month or so after the terrorist attack on 9-11 and not long after GA aircraft were allowed back into the skies Mark Winton was flying his Beech T34 Mentor when he looked down and noticed that football practice was going on at his son’s school and he knew his son was amongst the players practicing. He turned on the smoker as a way of saying “hi” to his son.

Next door to the high school was an elementary school with their after school program kids out playing. The caretakers for the children saw the smoke and assumed the worse — a chemical attack was taking place. Phone calls to 911 were placed and the police, FBI and FAA started investigating.

Mark had done nothing wrong, was in complete compliance of all FAA regulations and had not broken any local, state of federal laws but boy has this caused him some embarrassment. We do things that are perfectly innocent and perfectly legal that come back to haunt us later.

Fast forward to the present. Maj. Whitney Sieben of the Oregon Air National Guard wanted to show off his skills as a pilot to his grandmother so he orchestrated a private air show for her and some othe family members. He notified the local air traffic control facility and Quad City International Airport controllers were advised of the impending air show however, he didn’t stop to think that no airshows are completely private when held in close proximity to a town of 6,400 people.

The result was a swarm of phone calls to the local law enforcement. People were concerned, said Geneseo Police Chief Tom Piotrowski.

Blosxom 2.0 Beta is out.

Rael released the first beta code of Blosxom 2.0 yesterday. I downloaded it this morning and will be installing it sometime today to create a test blog for this software. I’ll point to it when I get things working well enough. It will mirror this blog.

The biggest news is that this version of Blosxom supports plugins so it ought to be easier for me to make it do things it doesn’t do right out of the box. It may also make it easier for me to break things. :-)

Excess Coffe Consumption Can Increase Stillborn Risk?

For years I’ve been seeing studies pop up telling us about one health risk or another associated with coffee intake and then a month or so later reports start popping up contradicting those health risk. It seems like certain factions of the scientific community want to find a reason for me to stop drinking (so much) coffee. Of course there also seems to be other factions that are hard at work trying to disprove the anti-coffe factions so I guess that evens things out. It does make me wonder about the community of scientific researchers at times, though.

What brings this up is that the anti-coffe faction seems to have found another health risk. If you are pregnant and you drink more than four cups of coffee a day you are more likely to have a still-born baby than non-coffee drinkers.

The researchers looked at 18,478 pregnant women booked in to give birth at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark between 1989 and 1996.

The team, led by Kirsten Wisborg of Aarhus University Hospital, found that pregnant women who drank four to seven cups a day had an 80% increased risk.

And those who consumed more than eight had a 300% higher risk, compared with women who did not have coffee during pregnancy.

Now, I’m not going to suggest that pregnant women ought to completely ignore this study and keep on drinking copious amounts of coffee. I think its very reasonable advice for pregnant women to moderate their coffee intake or even abstain from coffee all together. I’m just wanting to see how long it takes for this study’s results to be questioned by another study finding no similar results.

About That Trip to Bristol

Oh, about that trip to Britol, TN I mentioned Tuesday morning, it was very fruitful. I’ve got some work now and I’ll have a little more in Chattanooga next week. I hope I can keep this going.

One thing that I was really impressed by was the amount of monitoring this customer wants to do with their emmissions. They are going beyond what is required and are trying to anticipate any future requirments in order to minimize their emmissions, both air and water. I was impressed.

In my permanent record…

Never act in a public place in a manner that you would not like to have videotaped and broadcast on the nigthly news. Never let anyone take pictures of you that you would not care to share with the rest of the world. Never, and I mean never, believe that you can send an e-mail or make a comment in a newsgroup or on a website and think that what you said will not become a permanent record of what you have said that can easily be found just by typing your name into a search engine.

I really don’t think that’s news to anyone reading this but from some of the fuss over Shelley introducing Talkback on her weblog one might think that to be the case. I agree there is a problem with one person masquerading as someone else in the way comments are now implemented in weblogs but that can fairly easily be taken care of. I participate over on Flutterby quite a bit and over there one is required to set up an account in order to comment. Dan’s had it that way for a couple of years or longer now. It adds a layer of administrative headache to operating a weblog but it is a simple solution for the problem of masquerading.

Another solution to this problem is just don’t turn on comments or only use Trackback or Pingback for your commenting. Yeah, that’s going to eliminate anyone that doesn’t have a weblog from commenting on your site but there are tradeoffs for everything.

Eventually I’ll add comments to this weblog. Trackback is here right now and I’m going to work on it a bit more before turning my attention to comments. I’ll look for a way to make sure that the folks that comment are not someone else. Just remember, though, anything added to the public record is a public record and should be considered permanent.

Business is good

After chasing down leads for the past two months I now have one purchase order in hand and another request for my services. Both of these jobs look like they may very well become ongoing things. Maybe things are about to shake loose.

Just noticed something with Blosxom and RSS

I was just playing around with my Blosxom templates and did a rebuild of all my static pages to implement the changes on all the pages. I’m also checking out Syndirella, and liking it pretty well for Beta software, and noticed that there were updates in my list of sites. This site was showing to be updated with no new entries as was Sam Ruby‘s. All the entries on my site were showing updated along with all of Sam Ruby‘s.

Now Sam is redoing his site with his own Python based CMS that, I believe, is based on Blosxom or at least on Blosxom’s story management. Evidently he just rebuilt his site with his new software. What strikes me is that I can not only tell when a site has updated but I can also tell when someone is diddling with their site just by watching my aggregator. Cool!

NATO reaches agreement over Iraq

Deutsche Welle is reporting that NATO has come to an agreement over defending Turkey and will begin planning for Turkey’s defenses in the event of a war with Iraq. AWACS and missle batteries are on their way.

Regardless of what one thinks of a war with Iraq this is a good thing. NATO has to be pragmatic rather than idealistic and pragmatism called for the planning of the defense of Turkey in the likely event that war does erupt. NATO has to defend its members or it has no reason to exist.

A few tweakings and more about Blosxom

I’m playing around with the templates this morning, trying to get an index working for this site and also adding a few things that are more or less invisible to you while reading in your average browser. I’m adding a few meta tags and adding some attributes to the various HTML tags in the templates.

The index has some more work to add to it and I’m not sure exactly how to go about doing this. I like the way the default index file template handles regular posts but I want to add a catagories index and I don’t think I have the time this morning to figure out exactly how I want to implement it. I’m really liking the simplicity and extensibility of Blosxom but it is going to take some time to work out how I want everything to work. The nice thing is that it is also so easy to implement things in stages and then back out and redo things if your original plans don’t work.

The next two items on my list is a valid RSS flavour and getting comments working. It looks like it will be the week after next before I can really spend any time on these things. I’ve got paying work to do next week and hopefully that will extend on for a few more weeks to come.