Thanks to the mysterious liquor provider...

wtf?, friends

Jefferson's Reserve When I was away for xgiving, FedEx Home Delivery (whatever the heck that is) tried to deliver a package three times. Of course, I was away and unable to get it... the weird part was that instead of going to the usual FedEx place by the airport, I had to go a bit farther south to San Leandro to get it.

What was inside? A very nice bottle of bourbon; Jefferson's Reserve. No note or anything... I can only assume it's a birthday present of some sort (I recently had one of those). It's a very small batch bourbon and this is bottle 400/2400 of batch no. 49. Sounds yummy!

So, thanks to whomever sent this... it will be savoured. I've been so busy lately that even the bottle of Black Maple Hill that I bought a few months ago is only a few fingers from the top. Sigh.

A Great Piedmont (East Bay) Run

friends, exercise

thumbnail of the route for a run in Piedmont, CA This is a new 4mi. run I've just added to my repertoire (Here's the route on the Gmaps Pedometer). It starts by the Rose Garden in Oakland, goes up Oakland Ave (a big hill), then takes Highland and Mandala back down to Oakland and hooks up with Grand Ave. It's a great morning run as Piedmont is full of lush landscapedness and there's not too much traffic. One note: this is a hilly run with at least three big hills; Oakland ave is huge, Mandala has a significant bump right before Grand Ave. and that last bit up Oakland Ave. towards the Rose Garden is a similar size as Mandala.

I was really interested to read Eric's post about his new GPS/HRM wristwatch, a Garmin Forerunner 350 (see: "A frickin' GPS on my frickin' wrist"). Being able to get real-time velocity, heart rate, store lat/lon and even to be able to get yourself out of situations where you're lost on a trail sounds a-freakin'-mazing. I'll have to figure out a way to get one of these for near the price he did (anyone with a Costco membership out there?).

Kapor on "Virtual Worlds"

open source, privacy, berkeley, photos, friends, policy, podcasts, education, iSchool

Link: http://groups.sims.berkeley.edu/podcast/audio/Mitch_Kapor_UCiSchool_28Nov2007.mp3

Mitch Kapor talking with hand gesticulating next to a banner for UC Berkeley School of Information

Mitch Kapor gave the third installment in his series of Distinguished Lectures here at the UC Berkeley School of Information yesterday. His talk was entitled, "Disruptive Innovations I Have Known and Loved, Part 3: Virtual Worlds". Audio from the talk is here and some photos from the event are here.

Mitch talked about why he finds virtual worlds like Second Life so compelling. He illustrated this with an anecdote about a performance that Suzanne Vega gave which was mirrored in Second Life (here are a couple youtube videos of her performance and the making of her virtual guitar). Mitch realized while watching the recording of this performance that the capabilities of something like Second Life only depend on the limits of the human imagination. That's a profound concept; we can't even imagine how removing physical limitations on space and resources will affect what people can do in virtual worlds.

Mitch then spent a while talking about the business model for Second Life and about how it is slowly transitioning to a more open environment: from the client (which is now open source), to the architecture and even plugging your own segments of the Second Life Universe. In the Q&A, Mitch addressed issues with long-term business models of virtual worlds, the implications virtual worlds have for robotics and governance issues (both in the norms sense and in the underlying behavior and rules of the world).

'Frigerator' Rolls

recipe, family, food

This is a pretty simple and very tasty rolls recipe perfect for Thanksgiving. I originally got this recipe from my Mom and I believe she tore it out of Sunset magazine... but, I've changed the recipe a bit over the years. These are great for entertaining because you make them the night before, do a second rise and bake them off 30 minutes before dinner's ready (after the turkey's out on turkey day).

'Frigerator' Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 package of active dry yeast (a whole package is a bit too active)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • About 1/2 cup (1/4 pound) melted butter or margarine, cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • about 5 cups AP flour

Note: For a shiny crust, beat 1 large egg yolk to blend with 1 tbsp. water. Brush mixture (an "egg wash") onto rolls right before baking.

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over 1 and 1/2 cups warm (110°) water. Let stand until yeast is soft and active, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add sugar, salt, 1/2 cup butter, and eggs; beat to blend. Add 5 cups of flour and stir until well moistened. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 hours or up to 4 days. (the slow rise in the refrigerator really makes the bread taste like dynamite)
  3. In bowl, punch down dough to expel air, then knead on a lightly floured board until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Divide dough into 24 equal pieces. form each piece into a smooth ball. Arrange equally in 2 buttered 9" round cake pans. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise until puffy, about 40 minutes (30 for higher altitudes).
  5. Bake in a 350° oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes (about 20 minutes in a convection oven).
  6. Serve rolls hot, warm or at room temperature (be sure to cover them as they cool or they will dry out).

Makes: 2 dozen rolls.

Kapor, Disruptive Innovations, Part 2

berkeley, friends, policy, legal, podcasts, iSchool

Link: http://groups.sims.berkeley.edu/podcast/audio/Mitch_Kapor_UCiSchool_14Nov2007.mp3

Mitch Kapor speaking at a podium at the UC Berkeley School of Information Mitch Kapor gave the second installment of his Distinguished Lecture series on Disruptive Innovations here at the UC Berkeley School of Information this past Wednesday.

This talk focused on the role of the internet and world-wide web and why the internet and networking in general seemed like a safe bet to Mitch in the early 90's. Mitch spent some time discussing the origin of the EFF and how it arose out of civil-rights interested individuals who knew each other from the Well, one of the first and most influential online communities. He then went on to talk about UUNET and attempts to bring the internet to people's homes, a far from trivial task in the early 90's.

You can get the mp3 of Mitch's talk here.

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