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Does anyone know if beer yeasts can be used in breadmaking? Not necessarily as a replacement - I'm thinking more as an augmentation. After all, many good beers are bottle conditioned - would there be any harm in introducing what would be considered dregs there? ('Course, I suppose I already know the answer - I'll try it anyway, unless there's some ZOMG NO YOU'LL CROSS THE STREAMS reason. And maybe even if then =:) Anyway, another batch of dough's currently sitting on the sofa, happily swelling away - this time, primarily spelt, with a bit of wheat and malted barley, which apparently took up much less water than the wheat/oats first time around, so I've wound up with rather more - time to go experimenting with chapati and pizza bases, I think.

For ysengrin: felt teddy bear skulls.

Ten Sundance shorts available for free through the iTunes Store, temporarily - grab them while you can. ^_^

On the future iPhone Must Have list: Vector Tanks, looking absolutely delicious in the developer's video.

Want a TF-themed short story for $10? Look here for details. ^_^

An interesting little presentation from SL, courtesy of Nature, on the vision of the Great Cormorant.

Also in SL, today, Kim Stanley Robinson. "When we asked Stan what he wanted his avatar to look like, he suggested something interesting and non-human, like a rock or a tree. In brainstorming about it, Argent Bury came up with the idea of a coyote, to commemorate the use of the Native American legend in Robinson's Mars trilogy."

Mind you, that av pales in comparison to this Arctic wuf schnee located.. isn't he beautiful?

Some minor, welcome 3D news from Autodesk: Mudbox, Toxik, and ImageModeler will be coming to OS X in February and March.

A quick tribute to mascot handlers, courtesy of Woot.com. ^_^

An interesting creative challenge: Furry x 60. All submissions - music, sound art, poetry, etc - are exactly sixty seconds long, and due by June 2009. I may give that a go.

Hm. One Japanese word for "donkey" is apparently a compound of the words for "rabbit" and "horse". ^_^

Now, who was it who mentioned they were going to be giving latex pillowcases a try? I could do with a bit of a change.. and the duvet cover, especially, though I'm a bit worried about surprise nighttime burns with something like that. ^_^; Shiny is good, smooth is good, blindingly saturated hues are good.. =:)

I can't find anything similar for Panasonic Lumix cameras, but if you've got a non-ancient Canon, the CHDK project, which rabitguy noticed, offers replacement firmware that enables a number of nifty additional functions for supported cameras, not least of which being RAW support.

For anyone needing speed in their laptop drive, some comparison figures between an Intel SSD and a MacBook's stock Toshiba HD might make enlightening reading. It's a fairly extreme difference. (And price =:)

Courtesy of roohbear, Pete the Meat Puppet. Quite.. odd.

Aha! AjaxLife does seem to work under OS X after all - one bit of information that was missing from the minimal documentation is that you need to be in "server", and run it using "mono bin/release/AjaxLife.exe" (plus whatever options), rather than being in the executable's directory and running it from there. With the latter, it'll almost work, but missing the login fields at the bottom of the window, complaining about missing part of a path instead. It's also necessary to get Mono's search path set up correctly - in this case, using "export MONO_PATH=path_to_dependencies", where the path is that of the dependencies directory in "server". Not that that stopped me from just timing out after all that, on trying to log in..

And it appears AjaxLife's maintainer has returned. ^_^

Oy, the fun of board bring-up! Nothing better than wondering what's wrong with your code than to ultimately discover it's performing perfectly - it's the radio's oscillator that's doing a pancake impression. Still, that did give me the opportunity to note the co-worker's problem was the same issue - the very first SPI reset and legitimate transaction was locked up, so the display was never getting any love. Since then, I've mostly been getting down and dirty with the keyboard (again.. and I thought that'd been laid to rest a few months ago, but the circuitry there's changed completely with the latest board revision), involving getting one of the new boards all wired up, exposing all the relevant lines. And that's involved importing the layout as individual layers into Potatoshop, so I can play with each layer's opacity, identify what traces lead where, and identify precisely where a given signal can most easily be accessed, preferably avoiding the need to apply grabbers to the CPU - they work, but they're fiddly to apply, and if it's a choice between soldering onto one of a load of pins, all a hair's breadth apart, and finding the right via, I'll go for the latter every time. ^_^

Also started to play with the new handheld spectrum analyser - up to 9GHz, 1MB sample buffer, bandwidth down to 30kHz. Fairly hideous UI, but a very slick bit of kit otherwise.

Huh. Seems GreatestJournal, one-time migration target, is closing at the end of the month.

Rather a nifty window that appeared on randompics recently: the rainbow of the Palais des congrès, in Montreal.

Clearly, fleetfur has to get a MacBook Pro now. =:) (Though, sadly - if understandably - the squirrel design apparently sold out upon appearing on Wired's site)

I imagine everyone's heard, but still, it bears repeating: the wretched policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell is on the chopping block.
If nothing else, the removal of DADT might bring some amusing shrieks from the lunatic fringe...

CHDK is wonderfully useful, though it's actually a firmware addon, rather than a replacement - this is important since it's stored on your SD card and loaded up at power-on, which means you don't invalidate your Canon warranty as you would with an actual firmware replacement. At any rate, I wouldn't be without it these days.
"If that doesn’t convince you, then you need to understand that homosexuals predominantly want to serve in the military in order to have access to people their own age with whom to engage in sex. It’s just that simple."

Heeee! Oh, that's priceless. =:D (I admire the Onion - how can one routinely use such writing as the basis for parody?)

I admit, it's very tempting to get a compatible Canon sometime, because of CHDK - what have they produced with a good zoom? I've noticed a couple from random manufacturers with 18x, which would be a useful gain over the TZ5's 10x (4.7-47mm), though I suppose for serious rabbiteering photography, I'd need to go the DSLR route, which seems to start heading into equally serious money quite rapidly. Certainly, I could see myself enjoying it greatly, but anything like that would obviously have to come some time after the MacBook Pro.

He's lovely, isn't it? And there's a female version, too, not to mention other colours (which are, in fact, even lovelier, since the arctic wolf suffers from being... well, more grey than arctic).

1500 L$, but the avatars are worth it. Extremely well-done, as I've found, and with lots of care and polishing put into them.

FWIW, they're for sale at the Rocket City Fur Meet vendor area near the Luskwood stand. The vendor area is a bit hidden, but worth it - quite big, with many interesting furry avatars and stuff. :)
Quite inspirational, really - I'd love to see more avs with such care and detail, as well as a more anthro look - not that there's anything wrong with toony, far from it, but that more "realistic" look does seem to be quite challenging to pull off.

Mm, a bit more expensive than most, true - the norm seems to be around the L$800-900 mark - but quite worth it; and after all, I've only "gone through" three primary avs in my time, so that's not much of an annual expense. =:) Better value than a color print, for my money.

RCFM! Now there's somewhere I ought to explore - still never been there. And I'm always curious to see what new avs folks are coming up with, though it'll probably take quite a bit to win me over from my current form. Yay fluffy feet! Secondaries, though, I can always enjoy more of - wouldn't mind a hoofie of some description, and maybe a cute lizard, such as a gecko.

Anyway, another batch of dough's currently sitting on the sofa, happily swelling away

Wait - is that bread dough, or a furry roommate?

On the hardware geeking front, this is coming to the Mac at some point.
*giggle* As and when I can finally find that farging Intuos pen, I'm going to have to at least try drawing that. =:D (No idea what's become of it - everything else eventually got brought over from the family warren, but with that irksome exception. I suppose a replacement wouldn't be hugely expensive.. 'course, what I should maybe do, if only for geek points, is write a simple drawing app for the iPhone, and use that as a pocket Cintiq. The idea of having the drawing and one's hand actually in the same physical location does have some appeal, strangely enough, albeit tempered by Wacom's prices)

Oh, that does look rather tasty - markedly better than the ANT16's pathetically anaemic buffer depth, for one thing, which is the latter's particular weakness, and the reason I like to keep hold of the Agilent when I can. =:) 200Msamples means you can look at a long reset sequence on a slow timebase like 10ms/div, yet still zoom right in to some critical or unexpected portion and see whether there's other data being placed inappropriately on the bus, or if it's just switching transients. (Though it did catch me out the other day, when I realised the digital and analog inputs all have a 100K input impedance - fine most of the time, when you're examining regular digital circuitry, but not quite as one might want when dealing with keyboard circuitry, with 100K pullups.. that caused quite a bit of collective headscratching, with the logic threshold having to be wound down to see what I was expecting from the row/column scanning, as well as the analog line on one of the columns)

Speaking of the Agilent, the owner (it actually belongs to one of the contractors) recounted one tale where another client was in the market for a high end analyser/scope, and had salesweasels for various vendors come around to put on their song & dance acts. It was then that the horror dawned: many of them were running WinCE. So they had to boot up. They wound up bringing one of them back, and showed him the HP - turn it on, bloop, it's ready. He sheepishly admitted they couldn't even come close to that. =:)

You can bake with brewers yeast, but it will take much longer to rise because it lacks the enzymes to break down starch. Two different yeasts will compete with each other and the result can be unpredictable.
Ahhh! Okay, that makes sense. (Did you read about the beer made from a reanimated prehistoric yeast last year? Apparently very pleasant stuff, and somewhat different in nature as a result of it only being able to take advantage of a narrow range of sugars)
Well, yeasts are pretty much yeasts, no matter where you get them? I stand corrected in the above comment.

For an interesting experiment, carefully gather a few handfuls of blue juniper berries and mix them into a jar of flour and warm water with a bit of sugar. Let them sit in a warm spot overnight, then pour off the liquor and mix with flour to make a poolish.

That white powder on the berries is wild yeast! This is how the early frontiersmen would make their sourdoughs, and they would carry the "starter" in a bottle under their furs to keep it alive and warm. Of course, kept like that for a while, the yeast will eventually turn the sugar into alcohol.

So just to keep the yeasts happy, the miners would pour out some of the "unhospitable" alcohol, add some "fresh" water, sugar and flour, and return the bottle to it's place near their skin. Of course, what they did with the booze doesn't require much imagination, but it explains where we got stories like Paul Bunyan and his Big Blue Ox, Babe.

Edited at 2009-01-17 10:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, indeed! Wild yeasts are wonderful creatures - without them, we might not have the oddity of lambic beers, after all. ^_^ (Although, ISTR a critical part of the process is actually bacterial in that instance. If you get a chance sometime, try a "raw" lambic, completely unsweetened, not just unflavored - very sour, but so delicious! I found it amusing the guy serving it at the Belgian stand at the GBBF this year - an amazing event, to be sure, and only the second time I've managed to get along there - was asking everyone if they'd tried a lambic like that before, offering them a taste first, before accepting their order)

I've read some playful speculation that some of the more surreal works from certain Flemish and Prussian painters may have had psychotropic contributions, courtesy of mold in the bread grains.. ^_^

And the batch I mentioned to you in email turned out really nicely. ^_^ Lovely crunchy crust, and good enough to enjoy just by itself, let alone with a couple delicious local cheeses (two from unpasteurised milk, which can make a surprising difference). I'll be wanting to remember to bake up a loaf for Monday morning - the last one went down very well with everyone. ^_^ Might be fun to try making sorta English perogies out of it, too - little beef meatballs, covered in dough. Or even a full-blown bread pasty, for that matter, with proper cubed steak, onion, and swede, with a nice balance of salt and pepper.

I wonder how the secret of distillation was first discovered, with regard to whisky/vodka/etc.. indeed, how old is distillation for drinks? I feel a Google quest coming on.

Ooooo!! thank ya! :)
That "Vector Tanks" game sort of reminds me of "Panzer Panik", a game on one of my GBA multicarts.
Oh, neat! Almost tempting to get an R4 for the DS.. ^_^ I would, but, it's all extra money, and that'd be enough for a veritable stack of iPhone games, or some fun bit of lycra. Or can said GBA cart be found cheaply now? What's its (hopefully googlable) title? Would be nice to have the DS doing more than gathering dust.. I finally gave up on AC:WW just before Christmas - I eventually found the routine of checking up on the villagers to make sure no-one was wanting to leave to be a bit tiresome, coupled with the lack of extensibility or updating. Still, a couple years of play value isn't too bad for one title. ^_^ Pity they don't seem to've really done much with the formula for the Wii "City Folk" title.. certainly looks good, but I probably wouldn't bother picking it up, even if I had the console. (Maybe later this year, but there's plenty ahead of it in the spending queue)

There was quite a good Battlezone for old Mac OS, back when dinosaurs roamed the world, Spectre, but that was before I actually used Macs, so I only got to play with it a few times. Much fun, especially with networked play.

Where is this Orca S2 of which you speak? I've got one :)
Ooh! Are there photos? ^_^

I'll likely take one or two pics, possibly even this weekend - it's a cheaper feeling suit than the Mako, definitely, but still mostly very comfortable, other than the back of the neck applying a bit of pressure, given the S2 seems to be cut noticeably shorter than the Mako, despite claiming to be made for the same height, on their respective sizing charts. (The Mako you can see over in spandexfurs, or in my FA gallery - very nice indeed, and surprisingly affordable, not much more expensive than the S2. Neither are as colorful as I'd like, but that perhaps goes without saying =:)

Hmm, your question regarding beer yeast reminded me of this:
that I saw at my local walmart one day... Didn't buy any, but... no idea what that beer bread in a bottle required.
Heh! Cute. ^_^ I'd have thought it's the flour and whatever yeast (beer, presumably, although maybe some blend they've found that works, given that apparently beer yeasts aren't equipped to handle starches, so much as mono- and disaccharides), perhaps along with any seasonings or other tweaks to make it a particularly tasty loaf.

Think you might drop by FC this year and see what the local furs get up to? ^_^

Oh, and about those laptop SSDs...

Right now my laptop has a Toshiba MK4025GAS hdd in it. PATA, 40GB, 4200RPM, not exactly great.

Was looking at a Samsung HM160HC hdd. PATA, 160GB, 5400RPM, apparently beats even a Seagate SATA 7200RPM laptop drive for speed somehow! Compared specs with a few PATA 128GB SSDs I saw on eBay - and those SSDs at least weren't really much faster than the Samsung HM160HC!

So, while SSDs /do/ seem to be coming down in price, and I rather like the idea of non-mechanical drives (especially from a durability standpoint), I'd sort of like a bigger faster drive *now*, preferably without going broke in the process.

So I'm not really sure what to make of all this anyore. :-/
I've been doing some quick research here and there, and it seems you can get either very fast SSDs or Big SSDs. One has just been developed within the last few days that can store a terabyte (or four terabytes, if you increase the form-factor to 3.5"). I think the faster ones can max out SATA2 speeds, though I think the buses on the motherboard are a bit slower than that.
Basically, you'd need to get one of those ones coming out this year. Try to keep an eye out for a 512-GB model.
Now, who was it who mentioned they were going to be giving latex pillowcases a try?

Yo. They're sticky, and have an unfortunate ability to absorb cold very quickly - which is generally not something I've wanted in my bed for a few months now, unfortunately.

I've also had a bad habit of waking up with my face stuck to the pillow, which is bizarre without being particularly pleasant or unpleasant.
Ah! Oh, that's rather a nuisance.. are they prone to causing you to wake up in the night, through inhibiting the usual occasional turn? That's what I'd most want to avoid, obviously - it's a wretched realisation, knowing that the loss of good sleep is going to condemn one to a semi-zombified existence for the rest of the coming day, with no way out beyond slogging it through and hoping the next night's sleep passes less eventfully. Thankfully, not something I'm having to deal with now, though there've been a couple times where the digestive tract's felt it necessary to draw attention to itself in a rather acidic manner.

Ooh. That sounds rather curiously pleasant.. ^_^

Have you any experience with how latex duvet covers might fare? I suspect they'd be impractical for sleeping, but it'd be nice to be proven mistaken. Either way, I could definitely use something a bit more fun on the bed, especially given this cover's very loose fitting, so getting up in the morning sometimes entails unwrapping myself first.

Do you bake with sour dough at all? If not, would you be interested? DH has some that he's had for about a year now and I suspect we could split.

It seems that, often, the things I buy tend to be the competing products that DON'T see all the homebrew action. Netgear router that won't take a new firmware (it runs linux, but so far as I'm aware, no-one knows the boot loader on it), Nokia N82 (strangely not as busy as the iPhone scene) and Nikon camera (so same problem as yourself there).
Oooh! I'd love that, yes! Supposedly, this recipe will develop something of that character, assuming I can remember to not wash out the dough storage container with the last loaf, but obviously, a mature starter would be a fantastic boon to that end.

The latest batch turned out very nicely - sauteed two cloves of garlic in a little oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes (nummy things, ne? Hafta remember to pick up another jar sometime soon), and added that plus a good sprinkling of basil and herbes de provence to the water. Only problem is, it smells horribly good while baking - makes it difficult to concentrate on anything else. =:)

Hee! It's a bit frustrating that way, ne? Hyzenthlay's got a Samsung UJ-846 as its internal DVD-R, which wasn't cracked for region-free operation for a good year or two, whilst many others, especially Pioneer's wares, all but come with instructions for such in the user guide. Similarly, my old 3Com router (quite a nice unit overall, with a surprisingly good UI, though cursed with a tiresome obligation to reset itself on changing things like port mappings. Definite minus point for the PSU frying itself a year after purchase, though - it's now on a cheapy universal supply from Maplin, or would be, if I weren't using Be's supplied router, a Thompson. Quite a reasonable UI, and with a few extra bits of information available on the line condition) doesn't seem to have any homebrew action available. Still, it does its job well, which is what counts most.