Framclonezen

Last night I attempted to clone Frambozen which is a great new beer from New Belgium brewing company. It’s a brown ale with raspberrys added, kinda sour with an almost overpowering aroma of raspberrys. Very good! You can get a six pack in a decent liquor store, and you should because it won’t be around for long.

I won’t know how my attempt turned out for another 5-6 weeks, but so far it looks promising. It smells great and the fermentation is going like a rocket this morning. I’ll let you know how it tastes when it’s ready.

Comments

As you can see up there ^^ and from Eric’s comment down there vv, I added a little comment thingy to the site. Eric wrote yesterday asking when I was going to add comments and it sounded like a good idea, so I did 🙂

So, have fun. And be nice.

Search and Much MySQL Love

Yep, that’s a search bar down there. Silly, isn’t it? Over the last few days I have been doing a lot of work with MySQL and I was so impressed with their full text search feature that I wanted to play with it some more.

Now I have search.

If you haven’t looked at MySQL in a while, you would be well advised to do so. The little database that could has really grown up and it’s sporting some pretty impressive features these days. Replication, partitioning, transactions, full text search on large text columns and quite a bit more. There is a still a bit of a disjointed feel to some parts, but they seem to be cleaning those up quickly. For instance, full text search only works on MyISAM tables (which is the default for MySQL) but transactions only work on InnoDB tables. Little things like that can cause some gotchas, but in general MySQL is looking really good.

Um. That’s all.

Doing It Myself

The other day I was driving along and I noticed my Check Engine light was on in my truck. Sad days indeed! The check engine light (or Malfunction Indicator Lamp as we in the know call it) is used to let the driver know that any one of thousands of things is going wrong with your car and you should take it to the shop and give them a blank check. Being the do it myself kinda guy that I am I didn’t WANT to take it to the shop and give them a blank check so I started reading. I soon found out that since 1996 every car sold in the United States is required to support a diagnostics specification called OBD II. Additionally, the OBD II port is standard and must be within 3 feet of the steering wheel inside the driver area.

A little more reading led me to learn that there are 3 protocols supported in OBD (with more being added now and then) and that my Ford Ranger supported SAE J1850. Alas! That sounds familiar indeed. That’s the same protocol that Ford uses to talk to their CD changers and I have been working on a project to speak it! Unfortunatly that project is not done and I was in a hurry to get my truck happy again.

I did some research and found you can have a OBD II code scanner for anywhere from $49 through several thousand. There is one interface available that I found that will do all the available protocols and talk to your PC via a serial port for $88 which had I the time would definitly have been my choice but instead I ran down to O’Reilly Auto Parts and picked up the one they sold for $150.

My impulsiveness is a crutch 🙁

Anyway, $150 later and my car is trying to tell me P0401 Exhaust Gas Recirculation Flow Insufficient Detected. Sounds like something to be ignored to me. I erased that sonofabitch and the Check Engine light went off. If it comes back on I’ll worry about it but for now I have reduced my stress.

There is a long story about why I own a Ford truck when I HATE Ford trucks, but I’m not going to get into it. Suffice to say I think domestic cars are all shit and I would not own one if I didn’t have to. My opinion is that they break down too often, and are just unreliable. This brings me to why I am willing to spend $150 on something that I could have had a mechanic check out. I fully expect that my Ford truck will show me it’s bad side again in the future and instead of paying (at least!) $50 each time it does for the mechanic to tell me what is wrong I’d rather just have the power. It also appeals to the unstoppable geek in me to be able to see what my car is doing all the time, and what is making it sad.

So anyway, yea, if your car’s check engine light comes on and you don’t want to take it to a mechanic just to find out that it’s some part you can replace for $10, grab an “OBD II Code Scanner” from your local auto parts store and give it a shot. This one looks really nice and shows a lot more than what mine is able to, but requires a laptop. Of course, if you are reading this you are probably a friend of mine and you are welcome to use mine 🙂

I Walk Among You…

This weekend Turtle Radio was down. Turtle Radio is the service that lets me configure which streaming radio stations my Audiotron can use. A few months ago this would not have been a problem, but not long ago Adam turned me on to Groove Salad and I am completely addicted.

So anyway, I was working on ATTray this weekend which often requires me to reboot my Audiotron. Unfortunatly, when I rebooted it I got no radio stations! The horror! I checked the URL that the Audiotron asks for it’s radio stations from and it looked like they were getting some kind of database error.

Not one to shy from challenge, I looked up a handy text file I had saved months ago. In this text file I had a copy of the document that Turtle Radio sends back to the Audiotron. I had grabbed this because I am paranoid and I thought that maybe some day if Turtle Beach went out of business I might need to make my own Turtle Radio. With XML document in hand I quickly wrote a proxy server in Java that let me feed stations to my Audiotron. I was saved!

Sometimes I wonder if there’s anything I can’t do, and then I remember that I am sitting at work typing into a little text box on my web site instead of sipping margaritas on the beach. It’s good to have something to look forward to.