Pink Panther

Something positive now!

So, woke up to more unpleasant house-related email. Nothing unexpected, just more Ring Around the Rosie. Then I saw this!

Knackered (Image,, worksafe)

Apparently, feren got in on one of Kaput Otter's lotteries, and requested a pic of me and enveri after the move. That's...pretty accurate, after lugging a house worth of stuff cross-country, and cramming it into a tiny Boston apartment ;)

Thank you, inkblot!
  • Current Mood
    rejuvenated rejuvenated
Gordon Freeman Annoyed

Let me help with that FAQ thing

Okay, so let's look at the abbreviation:

I know it's a little vague. Who asked the questions? How frequently were they asked? I'm here with a handy little guide for your average company as to what constitutes a single FAQ element. If the Q in question came out of:

  • An internal brainstorming meeting

  • Marketing

  • A sales team presentation

it doesn't count. No matter how frequently it was asked in that context. If you find your Q is along the lines of:
"Why is your product so awesome?"
"What other fine products do you offer?"
"How can I buy more of your product for friends and family?"
You may want to either leave it out, or put it in a separate section clearly designated for sales. This section should under no circumstance be linked to from a general Support Search.

What's the big deal, you ask? Why not include such questions in the FAQ? Well, the popular acronym leaves out a couple implied points. Generally, we customers see it as is:
Asked by

So, since FTQAC doesn't roll off the tongue quite so easily (unless you're Donald Duck), we go with FAQ.

We're looking into the FAQ because we're using the product in a way consistent with the intended usage. We've encountered a problem while doing something that should be a routine task. As such, we figure we must not be the first person to encounter it. So we go look at the FAQ!

Which leads to my main point. The worst time to try and pitch more of your product to a customer is when they're actively experiencing a problem. I realize the temptation is great to add a little marketing to your FAQ. Don't do it. Just...don't. No matter how much your marketing department talks about proactively leveraging all contact points for maximum resale potential.
Fruitbat noms

I break the silence to bring you...


Okay, so, like, there's been a billion things going on, what with new job, new location, trying to sell house, trying to keep nose above water...It's been interesting. And I should probably write it up. However, this post actually is about yogurt o_o

I've been experimenting with homemade yogurt since the move to Boston - my office is right next to the kitchen, which makes cooking much easier than in the old house. And since apparently several folks have been inquiring about the homemade yogurt process, I'm putting it here for any interested for easy linking! Without further ado:

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Fruitbat noms

Beers #1 and #2: Flying Dog and Unibrou meet Tapas

What better way to inaugurate the Beer Blog than with an old friend, and a new friend?

Tonight, enveri and I went to Rugan's, our little town's tapas bar. Until recently, the very thought of this rural farm town having a tapas bar was laughable, but now it seems to fit right in. Used to be more of a topless bar area, if you know what I mean. That's suburban growth for you.

We walked to the bar, not because we were expecting to stagger out all "Why is the rum gone?", but because there's something inherently nice about being able to enjoy civilization without once setting foot in a vehicle. It's about a mile and a half from front doorstep to downtown in a straight line, and we find it quite pleasant to meander in, grab a bite and a drink, then meander back (usually not taking the straightest route). Not needing to worry about driving after a beer or two is an added bonus, of course.

So anyways, we got to Rugan's about 5:15ish. It only opens at 4, so things were still pretty quiet. We found a spot at the bar - Genet acquired a chocolate martini, and I acquired a Flying Dog porter, "Road Dog":

I've had Flying Dog before, and generally been pretty happy with it. They do seem to go a bit overboard at times on the "raunchy" names and labels, but for all that, they make a good beer. Hadn't had the porter before, so this would be a new one for me. It arrived as presented above, and we put in our food order.

While we waited, I sipped through most of my Road Dog. It was pretty tasty, but not what I was expecting. The menu actually made it sound like a red ale, so was surprised when the bottle arrived and said 'porter'. It doesn't really taste like a lot of porters I've had - actually fairly light, all things considered. Very easy drinking, especially after a brisk walk on a warm day! As stated in the initial entry, I'm not a purist, and I found it quite nice.

Once I'd finished, the food arrived, and I ordered my second beer. This one is an old friend I've had many times before, Fin du Monde by Unibroue up by Montreal. It's a Belgian tripel, and probably not an ideal beer when facing a mountain of food, plus another walk in the sun, but it's hard to turn down:

There it is, nestled cozily in with the white flatbread pizza, beef tenderloin quesadilla, and the spinach artichoke bread bowl that I'd cheerfully live in. I'm really not sure what to say about Fin du Monde that hasn't been said better elsewhere. Suffice it to say, if you're good with the whole Belgian-style beer thing, and aren't driving anywhere anytime soon, it's about as good as it gets. Not only that, it stood up very well to the heaping pile of rich food you see up there.

As for further reviews - apparently Rugan's now does a Beer Fraternity. You drink one of each of the beers they offer, and you get your name in the menu, on a plaque, and on a personalized glass. I do think this will mix well with the whole beer blog thing, since we're downtown all the time for walks!

Next up: Lagunitas and BBQ


Huh. I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before, but...I like it!

When lacking for other things to post about, I shall post about beer.

A little clarification on that - I love beer. For some people, their comfort food is mac & cheese, others meatloaf. For me, beer. Which puts me in an odd position among professional beer guzzlers. Many will grade brews on a variety of fairly quantifiable scales; aroma, taste, adherence to style, etc. This is honestly all well and good, but it's the way a connoisseur approaches food. Your average food critic wouldn't give Kraft Mac & Cheese a very good review, and your average beer reviewer wouldn't look twice at a macrobrew.

I'll be reviewing much more subjectively. Beer makes me happy, and I came to a realization some time back. I was browsing a popular ratings site, and out of curiosity, looked up the #1, most awesome, best beer in the world. It was a very expensive, limited, hard-to-find brew, made by Belgian monks, and competition for each bottle was fierce.

At that time, it ranked 4.5 out of 5.

For anyone curious, that's about a B+. Best beer in the world. The aforementioned realization was that some of these people analyzing each sip like a gas chromatograph would never be truly happy with a beer. They'd never find an ale that met their expectations. They are so focused on minor imperfections in the style that they sometimes forget the most basic question of all: "Did you like it?"

I won't like every beer I post about. But I'll taste drink each one fairly, and write about its good points, and its bad. I'll be unashamedly biased - some beers will get an unfair advantage due to pleasant associations from my past. But that just gets back to the above paragraphs - if you want clinical, unbiased reviews, there are already plenty of sites for that. I've dabbled in homebrew, and am not ignorant of the technical trappings of the craft, and some of it may make it into the reviews; but it won't be as a factor in grading. In fact, I won't be using grades at all. And I sure as hell won't be using any spitting buckets.

So, I'll close for now, but I'll leave you with the immortal words of Father Jack, from the icon above - DRINK!
Yeah I'm bad

World's most passive-aggressive house

So, we're currently in northern Washington. The trip has been awesome so far, with brewpubs, rafting, and much food. There will be more on this after the trip. This post, however, is about the house.

The passive-aggressive house.

There are little notes everywhere. Some are sensible, some are threatening/accusatory, but really, it's the quantity that baffles. When I was halfway through shampooing my hair, and turned left to see one, I knew we were in a special place. Below, a partial selection from the main floor:

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Belleville Fridge Strum

New toy!

Well, I'd been debating picking up a guitar for a couple months - as much as I love the piano, it's pretty tough to take with you, and I thought trying something new would be nice. I'd mostly settled on a make and model, but today, enveri and I were out and about, and decided to stop by the local music shop. Turns out they were having a pretty major sale, and this happy fellow ended up following us home:
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  • Current Mood
    excited excited
Brazil Phone Madness

Conference Call Random Encounter Table

For every participant over 2 on a conference call, roll 1d4. If a 1 is rolled, roll percentile dice:
00-15 Testing of new ratchet on phone
16-25 Rearranging hollow metal trashcans in room
26-50 Obscene heavy breathing into headset mouthpiece
51-60 Standing in hurricane-strength wind
61-65 Bagel chips being eaten
66-75 Heavy road noise, including rumble strips
76-90 Noisy conference room speakerphone
91-98 Screaming children, barking dog in background of home office
99 Meeting moderator ends call early
  • Current Music
    31 on percentile dice
Belleville Fridge Strum


I just took my first pass at a Genius playlist in the new iTunes. I started with:
"Fly" - Moxy Fruvous

I clicked the Genius button, and it quickly created a playlist with the following as the first three songs:
"Learning to Fly" - Pink Floyd
"Butterfly" -
"Flying Condor" - Cusco

Truly, this new functionality is stunning. I only wish I could get a behind-the-scenes peek at whatever complex algorithms they're using to build the lists!

(To be fair, it did better when I re-tried the same song, but that first one made me giggle - it's practically what I would've seen if I typed 'Fly' in the search window!)
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
Brazil Phone Madness

(no subject)

As feren and jwz put it, "Dear Lazyweb,"

Do any of the tech-types out there have a recommendation for a good utility to turn an export of configurations into a formatted document? Essentially, I'd like a way to generate some system documentation, and I can get a list of all the configurations on the platform I work on (in raw text, tab-separated files, or HTML). I know there's tools out there like the older Rational stuff for converting technical data into documents, anyone have any current experience/recommendations?

I'd dearly love to reclaim some of my life, and this could at least help prevent losing even more hours ;)
  • Current Mood
    hopeful hopeful