Blanchard's CoffeeBlanchard’s Coffee Co. is a small, relatively young, family owned coffee roaster in Richmond, VA. Started less than two years ago they are already well on their way selling their coffee both mail-order and in area supermarkets.

But the proof is in the cup. I recently got the chance to try several of Blanchard’s coffees. Here’s what I thought.

Blanchard’s Tanzanian Peaberry is an outstanding coffee. Well balanced with a good body, this is my type of coffee! It is rich without any taste of smoke or burn.

Ethiopian Yergacheff was also excellent with a medium-light body. I would recommend this as Blanchard’s best all-around coffee of the ones I tasted. Low acid and hints of florals make for a superb cup.

Brazilian Daterra Sunrise nicely rounds out the roaster’s offerings as a light bodied, very smooth coffee. Many light bodied coffees lack complexity and flavor but this one is a notable exception. With practically no acid the coffee has a very clean finish that will leave you wanting more.

Blanchard does a monthly decaf coffee and the one I got to try was a Columbian Decaf. It is a good representation of Columbian coffee with a medium body and good flavor. While not overly complex this decaf doesn’t sacrifice flavor and I would recommend it to those relegated to decaf.

Unfortunately Blanchard’s House Blend didn’t match the quality of their other coffees. The bean was very dark and oily suggesting it was over roasted and though it was not ovely bitter in the cup it had a smoky, burnt flavor. There was no real depth to the flavor of the house blend and I really thought it was not very good.

Blanchard’s Coffee Co. is turning out some fantastic coffee. Roasting small quantities they roast their coffee within days of shipping and their attention to quality shows through in their product.

With the single exception of their House Blend, this coffee is outstanding, and how can you beat a roaster who says on their about page: “If you are in Richmond, come share a cup of coffee with us and watch us roast!” I love these small roasters.

coffee, food, dining

With Christmas shopping season in full swing I figured I’d throw out a few suggestions for other people’s holiday shopping while successfully procrastinating doing my own. So here they are, in no particular order, your Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanza, Decemberween, New Year or Yak Shaving Day shopping suggestions from Life After Coffee:

USB Missile Launcher

  • USB Missile Launcher – While this list is in no particular order, this little piece of office ballistics is my top pick. Check out my review of it and don’t miss the other cool stuff at KlearGear.com
  • Pink Flamingos – Now possibly endangered this may be the last year you can get these little plastic beauties. I know there are a couple under my tree (actually in it right now.)
  • An Electric Chicken Cup – This rare gem may have to be a do-it-yourself, but I bet no one on your list has one!
  • And now the coffee related gifts:
    AnimalCoffee Luwak

  • Kopi Luwak Coffee Gift Boxes – Fantastic coffee and a great gift box. Probably the most unique coffee related gift available.
  • AeroPress Coffee Maker – A great coffee and espresso maker. Perfect for small batches and single cups. Check out my review.
  • Easy Linux Commands – Okay, so this is a shameless plug for my book, but since it just came out it’s unlikely anyone on your list already has it.

Most of all, have a fun, happy and safe holiday season!

christmas, holiday, shopping

After spending a couple days picking through Oracle statspack reports for clues on what could be causing some database latency I finally got the chance to try out the new, free Statspack Analyzer from Texas Memory Systems, Inc. and Burleson Consulting.

StatspackAnalyzer.com is a FREE SITE provided to the Oracle community by sponsor companies including Texas Memory Systems, Inc. and Burleson Consulting.

Our shared goal is that the advice provided by this website evolves as community feedback indicates that the heuristics should be updated. If you like what you see, please let us know. If you don’t like what you see, please tell us what you would do to improve the site and which if any decision rules should be updated.

Just paste your whole statspack or AWR report into the analyzer and it will do the heavy lifting and give you custom recommendations on what areas you can possibly tune to increase performance. I had the chance to run several reports through the analyzer this week and it came up with many of the same conclusions I did in a fraction of the time.

Tools like this aren’t about to replace the DBA but rather help take the edge off intensive tasks like tuning. Check out the sample report to get a better idea of what the analyzer output looks like, or better yet try it out! After all, it’s free!

oracle, database, dba, database administrator, database tuning, sql

Still hanging in there the tar command remains the de facto standard for archiving files and directories in UNIX and UNIX-like operating systems. Here are some tar basics from Easy Linux Commands

There are several reasons you may want to create an archive of a file or directory. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Archive and compress unused directories to conserve disk space
  • Create an archive of a directory and files before an upgrade allowing you to restore the original contents if there is a problem
  • Archive a directory before making any major changes
  • Create an archive to move several files and folders to another system as one
  • Create an archive as a means of software distribution

One of the most useful utilities for archiving a set of files and directories is tar. The name tar is short for Tape ARchiver because tar was originally written to write data to a tape backup device.

The following is a basic example of archiving a directory into a tar archive file and also extracting the archive into its original structure.

$ tar -cvf examples.tar examples
examples/
examples/declaration.txt
examples/gettysburg.txt
examples/preamble.txt
$ rm –r examples
$ ls
examples.tar
$ tar –xvf examples.tar
examples/
examples/declaration.txt
examples/gettysburg.txt
examples/preamble.txt
$ ls
examples examples.tar

In this example we have demonstrated the two most common uses of tar. The first tar command combines the –c (create) option to create a new archive, the –v (verbose) option to list the files and directories it’s archiving and the –f option to write to a file rather than to tape. Remember that tar was originally written for use with tape drives and it still defaults to tape if you do not use the –f option.

The two arguments for this tar command are the destination file (examples.tar in our example here) and the files which should be added to that file. This can be confusing since most other Linux commands take a source argument before the destination. tar takes them in the order of destination then source so you can list multiple source files to be archived into a single file. Also not that we have to specify the file extension (.tar) if we want our new archive to have an extension. You can name a tar archive (typically called a tarfile or tarball) anything you want, but the .tar extension is a widely accepted convention.

In the second tar command the –v and –f options have the same result and the –x (extract) option tells tar that we want to extract the contents of a tar file rather than create one. We then give tar the name of the archive to be extracted and it goes to work restoring our files.

A Warning about Relative and Absolute Paths in tar

As with other commands tar can be used with either relative or absolute paths. When specifying the tarfile to be created or extracted there is little difference between these two methods; however, if you use an absolute path when listing files to be archived you might get a surprise when you extract them!

If an absolute path is used to tell tar which files to archive, like with the command below the archive will record the absolute path and restore those files to that path, no matter where tar is run from or where the tarfile is.

$ tar -cf examples.tar /home/tclark/examples

If an absolute path is not specified on archiving the files will be extracted into the working directory or the appropriate subfolder of the working directory.

Easy Linux CommandsFor more tips like this check out my book Easy Linux Commands, only $19.95 from Rampant TechPress.

Buy it now!


linux, unix, system administration, sysadmin, tar, tape archive

iPod FireplaceNow that we’re finally seeing some seasonably cool weather in New England here’s a nice little fireplace video for your iPod video. It looks even cooler on my black iPod than it does in the picture and even has some nice sound.

Thanks to the folks at Eastwind Budo Life Centre DVD for providing this video.


christmas, xmas, fireplace, fire, ipod, ipod video, video

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