TV on the Internet?

Disney is trying something new. During May and June they'll be offering some shows on their website, including Lost and Desperate Housewives. I can guarantee I won't watch the latter, but I might try out Lost. Well, actually I've kinda lost interest, but my wife really loves the show and once in a while misses it. A TiVo (or MythTV preferably) would be much better, of course.

Here's what they have to overcome. Right now you can download HDTV versions on P2P networks, with no commercials. They're not instant, but with enough seeders they're not too slow. These versions apparently are only 700x394 which is a widescreen version of standard TV quality. The tradeoff there is that the bandwidth is low enough to deliver in real time.

But speaking of that, they have to deliver the video without any jitter, and I mean none. One of those infamous "buffering..." messages that RealPlayer was known for, will be killer.

It has to Just Work(tm). They're using a Flash media player, so that should work pretty well I think. I'm sure they'll wrap it in all sorts of DRM, which will almost certainly lead to problems (and DRM is just plain wrong anyway).

They're not going to eliminate the P2P TV show swapping, but I hope they realize that's not supposed to be the goal. It's nice to see that they're finally waking up to the fact that people want media on their terms, not on the networks. Hopefully this leads to the next step which will actually be worth using.


Granola Bars

Another Alton Brown granola recipe for you. This one comes in bar form. How can you go wrong with anything in bar form? I've played with a number of variations on this one and have found it quite flexible as well as quite delicious. Loads better than most of the granola bars you can get at the store, although I'm still trying to get it a little more chewy.


Ctrl Alt Chicken

On TWiT they mentioned that Revision 3 has posted a new cooking show, Ctrl + Alt + Chicken. I'm new to the whole Revision 3 thing, but I really like this show. I intend to watch further episodes.

This first espisode was chicken cordon bleu. The show was clever and very well done. The food, unfortunately, wasn't. They fried the chicken in oil that was way too hot so it was burned on the outside and raw in the middle. Sounds yummy, no?

Luckily the hosts were funny, had a witty rapport, and seemed to know how to host a show even if they couldn't cook. The production was excellent with high quality equipment, script writing, and editing. It was done with a geeky flair but would be fine for your average cooking enthusiast. They could really stand to watch the language a little, although now that I think about it the average prime time drama uses more foul language. Still, I found it only detracted from the show.


Meat Packing

You know that feeling you get when you eat half a sandwich only to discover the bread is moldy? C'mon, fess up. We've all done that, and we know that sinking feeling you get in your gut. No amount of brushing your teeth really makes your mouth feel clean.

Well, that was the way I felt last week as I was listening to a podcast of KCRW's Good Food while driving to Wyoming. They were discussing a new trend in food packing where meat containers are filled with carbon monoxide to prevent the meat from turning brown. "That's horrible", I thought. Then they described the packages and that's when it hit me. That's exactly the meat I've been buying from Walmart. Well, I guess I should have expected it from them.


Deep Dish Pizza

One of my favorite cooking sites, Cooking for Engineers, posted a recipe for deep dish pizza. I love a good Pizza Hut pan pizza, even despite having worked there and seen what goes on behind the scenes. This recipe wasn't exactly a copy, which is fine because it was delicious.

Since I didn't vary much from the original recipe I won't reguritate it here, instead I'll just write up my comments. My dough sure turned out dry. I ended up adding another couple tablespoons of water because the dough wouldn't hold together. I wonder if that was an altitude thing.


The Curious Cook

Title: The Curious Cook
Author: Harold McGee
Published: 1990 by North Point Press
ISBN: 0-86547-452-4

I'm all about the science of cooking. I'm a sucker for science in a lot of forms, but cooking is great because you can eat the results. If you like Alton Brown, you'll feel right at home with Harold McGee.


SSH Lockout 0.4.2

Just some minor bug fixes. No changes to code, just docs and install files. If you're running 0.4.1, there's no reason to upgrade.

  • change default settings of debug and detach
  • overhaul INSTALL (thx Erin)
  • check for NetAddr::IP at install (thx Erin)
  • fill in README

SSH Lockout 0.4.2

The Smoked-Foods Cookbook

Title: The Smoked-Food Cookbook
Author: Lue & Ed Park
Published: 1992 by Stackpole Books
ISBN: 1-985771-00-5

Lately I've been quite infatuated with barbecue. I place the blame squarely on Alton Brown, who has a really great recipe for ribs. He also came up with a wacky idea to build a terra-cotta smoker, which I've decided to implement. That's another blog post (complete with pictures, of course), but in preparation I decided to visit the library.


SSH Lockout v0.4.1

The long awaited update to SSH Lockout is finally here for the downloading. Hey, I beat the one year mark by a week! From the changelog:

  • only blacklist on $tries == $max_tries, to combat log latency
  • new log filter
  • improved logging
  • more examples in the sample config
  • Gentoo init script (thx Nicholas Leippe)
  • Makefile updates

SSH Lockout 0.4.1

Printing Multiple Pages

I'm working on a publication for my wife. I can't say more because it's really hush-hush (nuclear secrets, you know). We decided to print it on 5.5"x8.5" paper, which the astute among you may recognize as a half-sheet of US Letter size paper. We just didn't need a larger size (atoms are pretty small). The hard part was getting to double up the pages.

My first try was to change the page to Landscape and create two columns. That worked, but the page numbers got messed up and I couldn't find an analogous "column number" field. That's a problem because we use automatic tables of contents and indexes extensively.


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