Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What do you do?

Every time I spend any time at all with my mother she asks "What do you do?" From now on I think I'll just play this video for her and save my breath.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

AIDS Lifecycle 2007

Click to visit Tim's Lifecycle Blog. From June 3-9, 2007, our whistle buddy Tim bicycled in the AIDS/LifeCycle. It's a 7-day, 565-mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for vital services for people living with HIV and AIDS.

You Rock Mr. Hart!

Please consider allocating a portion of your 2007 charitable donations to the SF AIDS Foundation and sponsor Tim's ride. Whistle Boy has Triumphed!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Cutlets

[[From Cook's Illustrated, no. 85, page 6-7, March & April 2007, the America's Test Kitchen folks.]]

The Problem: With a short ingredient list of only chicken breasts and Parmesan cheese plus one or two adhesives such as eggs or flour, this recipe should be straightforward. But we found pale, wet, and gummy baked versions as well as bitter and burnt pan-fried versions.

The Goal: We wanted moist and tender chicken coated with a thin, crispy-yet-chewy, wafer-like sheath of Parmesan cheese.

The Solution: We found that we needed to use a pan-frying method to achieve a crisp crust, with a nonstick skillet to keep the crust from fusing to the bottom. To keep the cheese from burning, we used fairly thin (1/4-inch-thick) chicken cutlets that cook quickly. To create a substantial crust, we required both a base layer of equal parts flour and grated cheese and a top layer of just cheese. But the cheese in the base layer needed to be grated to a fine, powdery consistency to successfully combine with the flour, while the cheese for the bulkier outside layer needed to be a thicker, coarser shred. And just a tablespoon of flour added to the shredded cheese ensured a gap-free surface. The final challenge was timing—when the chicken was cooked to a deep, dark brown, it tasted burnt. But turning the heat down to medium once the cutlets were in the pan allowed the chicken and cheese to cook through without becoming bitter.

Note: Two Ways to Cut the Parmesan: An ideal crust requires cheeses of two different textures. A base layer of finely grated Parmesan cut on the smallest holes of a box or Microplane grater is paired with an exterior layer of coarsely shredded Parmesan cut on the largest holes of a box grater.

The Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each), tenderloins removed, breast trimmed of excess fat and halved horizontally
Table salt and ground black pepper
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
½ ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup) [see note above]
3 large egg whites
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (optional)
6 ounce Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 2 cups) [see note above]
4 teaspoon olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges

The Process:Sharon's batch made on June 10, 2007

1. Adjust over rack to middle position and heat oven to 200°F. Place chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound to even ¼-inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper.

2. Set wire rack on rimmed baking sheet. Whisk together ¼ cup flour and grated Parmesan cheese in pie plate. In medium bowl, whisk egg whites and chives together until slightly foamy. In second pie plate, combine 2 cups shredded Parmesan and remaining tablespoon flour.

3. Using tongs and working with 1 cutlet at a time, coat chicken in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Transfer chicken to egg-white mixture; coat evenly and let excess run off. Coat chicken with shredded Parmesan mixture, pressing gently so that cheese adheres. Place on wire rack.

4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place 2 cutlets in skillet and reduce heat to medium. Cook until cheese is pale golden brown, about 3 minutes. While chicken is cooking, use thin nonstick spatula to gently separate any cheesy cutlets and continue to cook until cheese is pale golden brown on second side and meat is no longer pink in center, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Wipe out skillet with paper towel and return to medium heat. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil and cook remaining 2 cutlets. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

PDF Compare

Problem: I want to compare the output, in PDF format, of reports generated by one build of the software with the reports generated by "the current" build.

In other word, I need to compare the system under test to the golden results oracle.

I've posed this problem to many people over the years and have never gotten a satisfactory answer. Today, working from home, I am doing my own investigation into the solution.

Problem Refined: After some investigation I discovered that the document comparison tools were designed for the legal industry (my opinion, not a fact) and are not intended to be "image" checkers. As a result, I am now looking for a tool to tell me the "text" differences between PDF documents. Programs for picture/icon/color/placement differences will have to be left to the GUI test automation tools.

Diff DocDiff Doc site This Diff Doc tool looks like something worth test driving. The webpage says it will do exactly what I need.

The Diff Doc website had testimonials that rang true. The product documentation is available online and I was able to read about the PDF features.

Test drive of the easily installed trail software was straight forward. Detected 2 values that have changed in the ANA method file (XML). With the sheet music test I learned that the images are stripped and only the text is compared. Diff Doc found the differences in the chords and the change of title and comment lines. This may just do for me at work, assuming that the text and data values are important and the layout and icons are verified via another method.

Law Firms need such a tool Law firms like yours use advanced utilities to increase productivity (proof-reading at $100 per hour or more can be pretty expensive) and eliminate errors. The leading comparison tools in the legal market today are CompareRite from Lexis (no longer support CompareRite) and DeltaView from Workshare Technologies. These tools offer easy to use and powerful comparison features that make changing documents an easy and error-proof task. The products may be used stand-alone or integrated with a document management system.

None of the testimonials on the Workshare DeltaView site were compelling to me, I don't care that their partner thinks they rock. I don't have a global organization with lawyers who don't know how to use computers. The way they don't mention price leads me to believe that their sales organization and senior management get paid to much. I am not going to bother with their "free" download. Besides, they don't mention PDF in their so called technical page.

Other Uses Beyond Compare In addition to file comparison for test results this would also be a replacement for Beyond Compare? Beyond Compare is good for folder but it does not handle PDF (as far as I can tell.)

These are the files I used to evaluate the trial software installs. BPX 2\APF_ANA Screen with MDSS_101001_SW2_v2.xml BPX 1.x\APF_ANA Screen_101001_SW1_v2.xml

Blackthorn_Stick.pdf Blackthorn_Stick-7024.pdf

Friday, June 8, 2007

Family Guy: Star Wars Special

This Family Guy: Star Wars Special, 10 Min Preview was sent to me by my yoga buddy Lisa. It looks like it was bootlegged at a SciFi con, you hear a "real" laugh track. Enjoy! http://www.devilducky.com/media/62681/

Monday, June 4, 2007

Didgeridoo Ordered

Last month I posted about thinking about taking up the didgeridoo. Well this weekend Sharon ordered one for me.

Modern Flared Didgeridoo (Gold Wing) Tuned to the key of D, perfect for sustaining a rousing set of reels. The huge 4.5" bell really brings out the bass and resonance. The mouthpiece opening is 1.2" and it is 54" tall. Strikes a perfect balance with big sound, booming vocals, full range harmonics, and backpressure. gold wing with 4.5in bell cool embers didge bag It comes with a tie die travel bag, cool embers.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Lola Lee's Hot Fudge Sauce

Last week I learned that Sharon had never had my mother's special hot fudge sauce. I could hardly believe that I hadn't made it in several years. Tonight that will be corrected.

1/2 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup Hershey's cocoa powder
1 pinch of table salt
1 cap artificial vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)

In a sauce pan over low heat mix the water and sugar, dissolve as best you can. Add the cocoa powder salt and vanilla.

Stirring to keep from burning bring the sauce to a simmer. Remove from heat.

Serve over vanilla ice cream.