There are a lot of sweet short videos being made these days on the interwebs. Besides the “how not to dress like a schlub” series on Put This On starring Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor, there is also the pretty freaking amazing Everything Is A Remix created by Kirby Ferguson, & this 4 minute short below by C.G.P. Grey about coffee and how it’s not evil is pretty funny and well done.
Who doesn’t like a nice long 512-bit message digest to confirm that the file they’re opening is secure? Cryptographic hash functions are one method of verification to insure file integrity between two parties (or as a signature or authentication code). The most commonly used hash verification is MD5 check sum (proven insecure). Apple uses SHA-1 for it’s package update manager (also likely insecure). But if you want to get deep, go with Whirlpool, and I’m not talking about appliances here, I’m talking about 512 bits of hash (the authors, Barreto & Rijmen have a page here). Ironclad and md5deep are two easy to use packages if you’re looking to implement Whirlpool under most *nix and Win 32/64 systems.
And as it turns out it works pretty darn well. It’s mostly plastic with a stainless steel shaft and a small ceramic burr set. My only gripe would be that with the plastic lid/cover off the handle seems to fit a little better on the grinding shaft. I started with a pretty coarse setting and the burrs are significantly sharper than my old PeDe (from the 1940s, I believe). I should have no problem dialing in various espresso grinds for use with my temperamental Gaggia Classic. And of course for brewing pour-overs, French presses (w/ a slighter finer grind) and my macchinetta, it will be swell.
New photos posted again at www.flickr.com/markrbeattie. Please enjoy as each upload is a dedicated act of love involving very low bandwidth, 10 year old computers, Windows and a hubby gnawing hungrily on his arm upstairs in the hotel room.
There’s one photo set for Laos, including the epic Mekong River ride (though we later found out another boat had it worse when they hit bottom, sprung a leak and promptly sunk) and beautiful Luang Prabang, with its myriad temples and quaint French Colonial architecture.
There’s a new set from this week in Hanoi, about half of the shots are of food, which has been amazing. We’ve been relying heavily on the street food guide SavourAsia.com and have sampled some pretty delicious variations on noodle, broth, meat and greens/herbs.
When we first arrived in Hanoi we were suffering our first bout with stomach bugs and stuck to mild pho and a delicious, eggy, challah-like cinamon raisin bread we found at a local bakery for 50 cents a loaf. We’ve since recovered and now venture further afield, and Mark is happily well enough for the famed Vietnamese coffee (usually black and sometimes with sweetened condensed milk on the bottom).
Hanoi itself is an interesting city of colonial facades, thriving commerce, and Communist propaganda. Colorful government billboards and red and yellow banners line the streets, which light up at night with Christmas lights in hammer and sickle shape. We arrived in time for the end of the lunar new year celebration with many locals making offerings (burning incense and fake money) at temples and shrines around the city for luck, prosperity and good health in 2010.
Probably the biggest hurdle we’ve faced is that there are almost no price tags on anything, so haggling skills become essential. Typical tourist price inflation is between 200 and 500% for the initial price quote; the pineapple and banana ladies seem to be the worst but it’s everything from bottled water to shoes (it’s cold enough that Zoe finally needed sneakers) and of course, taxis.
We’re going to spend a few days in Ha Long Bay and Cat Ba island relaxing, possibly rock climbing. It’s only a two hour bus ride from Hanoi, we’ll see about that.
Like many residents of this city an occasional stop at the “Starbucks Public Restroom Service” happens, but as I was waiting on line I found a set of Bodum 3oz Insulated Shot glasses with ounce increment markings for sale ($10.95).
As far as I can tell these do not exist on the internet and I think they are an older version of the Bodum Assam 2oz shot glass. The glass I’d been searching for was from a specialty coffee distributor called Rattleware who make a 3oz mini shot pitcher, but these insulated Bodums (with a silicone pressure regulation seal at the bottom, no less) appear perfect for pulling up to 3oz shots and are certainly nicer to drink espresso out of.
Bodum Assam 2oz: the version I bought has parallel straight glass walls and two 1oz interval markings, allowing up to 3oz total volume