A coworker threw this acronym at me today and I can’t believe I haven’t heard before…

PICNICProblem In Chair, Not In Computer.

I’ve always liked the term PEBKAC, which describes the same problem, but I think I may have to adopt PICNIC just because it’s easier to say.

PEBKACProblem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair.

Either of these acronyms describe a problem which despite initially being blamed on a computer/network/server/program is actually caused by the user, often by misuse or a complete lack of understanding of how the software is used. Preferred solution: remove user.

language, acronym, buzzword, terminology, technology

Bloc-Tronic ManualI have written about my Bloc-Tronic electronics kit before. My original article on the kit has garnered several comments asking if I could scan and upload the manual.

I’ve finally uploaded the first 100 pages to my images site! The entire manual is around 180 pages, so this is most of it and I hope to get the rest up sometime soon.

If you are lucky enough to have a Bloc-Tronic kit without manual, hopefully this manual will be of use. Also, since the experiments include schematics in addition to the block layout they could be done on a standard breadboard or even permanently assembled from components.

The experiments start off simple and get progressively more complicated. There’s everything from a volt meter to a radio receiver.

electronic, electronics, toy, block, educational, electronics kit

Luwak Coffee, the rare beverage made from beans found in the droppings of the palm civet, has become a perennial topic in popular media these days, but Paul Watson of the Los Angeles Times has written an outstanding article on the coffee.

A hungry luwakWatson highlights many of the concerns around Luwak coffee, which can fetch prices of up to $600 per pound.

Human hands don’t harvest the beans that make this rare brew. They’re plucked by the sharp claws and fangs of wild civets, catlike beasts with bug eyes and weaselly noses that love their coffee fresh.

They move at night, creeping along the limbs of robusta and hybrid arabusta trees, sniffing out sweet red coffee cherries and selecting only the tastiest. After chewing off the fruity exterior, they swallow the hard innards.

Beyond the unusual process it takes to create the coffee, Watson also mentions the love/hate relationship coffee farmers have with this animal, which can do serious damage to many crops, not just coffee. He also mentions that civets, which can grow to over 100 pounds and are themselves fairly tasty are often killed for food.

Watson quotes Canadian food scientist Massimo Marcone about the authenticity of the luwak coffee on the market and offers a description of authentic luwak coffee which echoes my review of the kopi luwak from animalcoffee.com.

“About 42% of all the kopi luwaks that are presently on sale are either adulterated or complete fakes, unfortunately,” he said.

Real kopi luwak has a top note of rich, dark chocolate, with secondary notes that are musty and earthy, the scientist said. An Indonesian coffee lover described the scent as the smell of moist earth after a rainfall, with hints of vanilla, that teases the palate for hours after the cup is empty.

Check out Watson’s full article on the LA times website. I have never seen a more complete article about luwak coffee.

Via Don Burleson

coffee, beverage, luwak, luak, kopi luwak, kopi luak, civet, palm civet

White Mountain Gourmet CoffeeWhite Mountain Gourmet Coffee is a small coffee roaster in New Hampshire and since one of their cafes is local to me in Concord I decided to give them a try.

The cafe is well stocked with White Mountain coffee and has a full espresso bar, some food and a fair amount of seating. I picked out a couple coffees I wanted to try and asked the worker at the cafe to suggest a couple more. Service was good and I was ready to try out their coffee with 4 half-pound bags of single-origin coffee.

The first of White Mountain’s coffees I tried was their El Salvador Peaberry. This is a pleasant, full bodied coffee with a sweet flavor. Though not overly complex this coffee is very pleasant in the cup and has a nice long finish.

The Zimbabwe AA was also rich and flavorful. Somewhat more complex than the El Salvador this coffee has some brighter tones and good depth. Another rich, full-bodied offering, the Sumatra Mandheling had little acidity and a clean finish.

White Mountain’s Papua New Guinea is a nice, slightly earthy coffee. This coffee’s slight acidity is pleasantly balanced by a sweet flavor.

I specifically sought out rich, full bodied coffees to try, but all of my trials were regular roast. I found the regular roast to make a sufficiently rich coffee, but most of their coffees are offered as a dark roast as well. White Mountain has a long list of single-origin, blended and flavored coffees but my preference, as reflected in my sampling choices is to the single-origin.

All the coffees I tried from White Mountain Gourmet Coffee were excellent and I look forward to trying more of their offerings. While I am fortunate enough to be near one of their cafes White Mountain coffee is also available via mail order from their website.

dining, food, coffee, review, drink, beverage, gourmet

Don Burleson points out that Oracle has sent out some Cardboard laptops!

Oracle cardboard laptop


The outside of the laptop which showed up in Andy Armstrong’s mail July 5th read “We’ve taken the idea that the outside world is a dangerous place for unprotected content.” and the inside reads “And shredded it.”

Thanks to Zach for posting the full text of the interior which reads:

“To derive maximum benefit from your business critical content, you need to share it across a wide user base. But the more people who have access to it, the greater the threat of sensitive information leaking to your competitors. That’s just for starters; content proliferation also raises the risk of regulatory non-compliance and escalating management costs. You know you can’t live without your information, but you’d be forgiven for wondering how to live with it.

Oracle’s recently acquired Information Rights Management solution can help. A key component of our Document and Records Management portfolio, it enables you to share your information when and with whom you want – without fear of the outside world.

But it doesn’t stop there. Should the worst happen – and your laptop falls into unsafe hands – we can even scamble your content before anyone works out how to access it.

We’ll be in touch shortly with more details of how to shred your content management worries.”

So what’s the story? What bandwagon is Oracle getting on here? Only time will tell. Burleson thinks it may be another step in their “unbreakable” theme. I think it may be something with Application Express as a content management system. Something to do with enterprise blogs or wiki or some other web 2.0 kind of content management.

wiki, blog, web, web20, web 2.0, oracle, dba, rdbms, dbms, marketing, laptop

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