HOW DID I NOT KNOW THERE WAS A HALLOWEEN THEME AVAILABLE? Now you’re all stuck looking at it after the holiday has passed. Sorry, but I have to use it at least for a while.
Luckily nobody is going to read this post again in a few days/weeks when I change the theme again and it doesn’t make any sense.
I haven’t been very good about blogging recently, so I’m going to make a concerted effort to do better for the rest of the year. It would’ve been nice if I’d started yesterday, as the first of the month, but oh well.
Back in January I wrote this post about switching my keyboard layout to Colemak. That effort stalled for a long time, but a couple weeks ago I finally made the switch for real, even moving the keys around on my keyboard. The first few days my WPM (according to thetypingcat.com) dropped from ~90 WPM on QWERTY to ~25 on Colemak. Miserable. But after a week or two of practice I’m back up to closer to 40. Still a long way to go, but it’s reasonable.
Of course, I’m writing this post from an iPad, which is still set to QWERTY. It’s good to keep my brain confused.
Over a year ago I got the FreshRoast SR700 coffee roaster, which has a USB interface for controlling the roasting process. It came with an application to do that, but from what I read it’s not very good…so I never ran it. Instead I found Roastero, an open source alternative that provides an even finer level of control over the roasting. The application is written in Python, and should be completely cross-platform, but I was never able to get it to actually run. I tried in Linux, OSX, and Windows with varying degrees of failure. So for the last year I’ve just roasted my coffee manually, like some kind of sucker. But finally I noticed that they did have a few pre-packaged versions available under the Releases tab of GitHub, at least for Mac and Windows. And sure enough, it installed and ran on the first try.
Pictured above is my first roast, following the included “Diedrich Style” recipe:
This profile simulates the Diedrich drum roast slow start / fast finish concept. The idea is to get to 1st crack at about 11min of heat, and then finish the roast 2-3min later
It’s a completely different style than I usually roast…much more subtle. My normal roast runs at high heat from the start, and sometimes I drop it to medium after first crack before going back to high to finish. And my roasts are normally done to second crack within 8 minutes, where this one ran (per the recipe) for 18 minutes overall and never even got close to second crack. I’m generally a fan of darker roasts.
But the beauty is that now that I have the software working I can fine-tune my recipe to produce the exact type of roast I want, every time. No more inconsistencies with some roasts coming out lighter or darker than others. And now that I can more or less guarantee that I have the same coffee I can start experimenting more with different brewing styles to hone my skills in that arena too.
Yesterday morning I hiked out to Lost Lake, which gave me my 10,000 steps on my Fitbit before 11am. Then in the evening a bunch of us went out for another quick hike to see an old train wreck in the woods (pictures below). And then on top of that we had the Automattic closing party last night, which involved a lot of dancing (or at least jumping in place and shaking my fist in the air). The picture above is a personal best, but it’s not the whole story, because that counter resets at midnight. When I finally went to bed at ~1:30am I already had 7,800 steps for today. Craaaaazy.
I left the hotel this morning to go for a walk. I thought I might end up at a coffee shop, so I brought my laptop. Instead I ended up walking all the way out to Lost Lake. It’s a great easy hike, but a messenger bag is not ideal.
Today we took a break from work to do some team building activities. I went downhill mountain biking for the first time, and it was a ton of fun. A little scary for the first trip down the mountain, because it took a while to get used to the fact that the rocks and roots wouldn’t knock me off my bike like they would with my road bike. But then we went down two more times, and it was great. I just had to relax and stop thinking so much.
Then this afternoon I went ziplining through the rain forest which held up to its name – it was raining the whole time. So I got soaked, but it was still a blast. The picture above is from the top of one of the trees where we took a break.
The most important part of any business trip is bringing back gifts for the kids. I know it’s safe to post this because I know my kids don’t read my blog, but I can’t post pictures of the gifts for my wife. For now she’ll just have to assume that I bought fancy Canadian diamond earrings.
These are actually pretty tasty.