KölschThis is a very simple Kölsch that comes out really clean and smooth. It has been dubbed “sneaker beer” by some as it tends to sneak up and kick your ass when it looks like a very tame ale. The Original Gravity is 1.050, and the Final Gravity is 1.013. The IBU finishes off at about 28 and the ABV is 4.8. Enjoy! Continue reading

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High Sierra Trail – Explanation and Preparation

My brother and I are both avid backpackers and we routinely hike with our children. This summer, we joined forces and took our two families along with my nephew (of our sister) and we did the High Sierra Trail (Also known as the Trans-Sierra). Starting from Wolverton trail head in Sequoia National Park we hiked 66 miles in 8 days to Whitney Portal. At the Trail Crest in Whitney wilderness, we dropped our gear and bagged Mt Whitney to boot. This is the first article in a series of articles detailing our trip. Continue reading

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Configuring Cradlepoint PHS300 for Blackberry on AT&T

I configured this for my Torch, I’m certain it will work on the Bold as well. Although not officially supported by cradlepoint, it does indeed work.

For starters, upgrade the firmware to the latest provided by cradlepoint. For me this was version 2.6.1. For the sake of brevity I am only going to cover the changes to make it work with the modem. I am not going to do the whole configuration (ie I am excluding lan configuration). Its pretty simple in the end …

Basic -> WAN
    username: isp@cingulargprs.com
    password: cingular1
Modem -> Settings
    uncheck: Aggressive Modem Reset
    Access Point Name (APN): wap.cingular
    Modem Password: your blackberry screen password

Thats it, thats all I had to modify. For full configuration explanation for other carriers, and other possible troubleshooting tips go to cradlepoints site.

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Creating a media pc with Gentoo and XBMC

I am using an old broken laptop I have (Samsung N130) to work as a media pc. Its hardware is fairly typical of laptops, and is fully supported by Linux. I like using System Rescue CD to install with, I’m presuming you already have a working knowledge of Gentoo.

  • Intel 915 Video
  • eth0 RTL8101E/RTL8102E
  • wlan0 RTL8192E/RTL8192SE
  • Intel HD Audio

Basic Setup

  1. Boot into System Rescue CD
  2. /etc/init.d/ntp-client start
  3. Follow the basic setup here, stop after the first reboot.
  4. Setup wpa_supplicant if you are using wireless
  5. emerge and setup ntp

Config Tweaks


USE="X gif jpeg png tiff opengl samba dbus gtk alsa aac mp3 wma 
     xvid win32codecs mpeg dvd ogg sdl vcd a52 flac gnutls"
VIDEO_CARDS="intel vesa vga"
INPUT_DEVICES="evdev keyboard mouse synaptics"
MAKEFLAGS="-j2 -l2"

media-tv/xbmc ~x86

dev-libs/libxml2 python
media-tv/xbmc alsa xrandr udev
sys-fs/udev extras
sys-auth/consolekit policykit
sys-auth/pambase consolekit

Install Packages

These 2 major packages pull in everything you need.

  1. emerge xorg-server
  2. emerge xbmc


  1. rc-update add alsasound default (make sure to unmute alsa)
  2. rc-update add consolekit default
  3. useradd -m -c “XBMC” xbmc
  4. usermod -G audio,cdrom,cdrw,video xbmc

Create ~xbmc/.xinitrc

exec /usr/bin/dbus-launch \
    --exit-with-session \

Create /etc/init.d/xbmc with the following, and add it to the default boot level

depend() {
        need dbus
        need consolekit
        need net
        after alsasound

start() {
        ebegin "Starting ${SVCNAME}"
        su -l xbmc -c startx > /tmp/xbmc.log 2>&1 &
        eend 0

stop() {
        ebegin "Stopping ${SVCNAME}"
        xbmc-send --host= --port=9777 --action="XBMC.Quit"
        eend 0

If you are using DRI, /usr/share/X11/xorg.conf.d/90-dri.conf
Section "DRI"
    Mode 0660

Create /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/custom-actions.pkla
[Actions for xbmc user]

Alternatively, for newer polkit versions, you’ll need to create a rules script /etc/polkit-1/rules.d/10-xbmc.rules
polkit.addRule( function( action, subject )
        if( subject.user == "xbmc" )
                if( action.id.indexOf( "org.freedesktop.udisks." ) == 0
                        || action.id.indexOf( "org.freedesktop.power." ) == 0
                        || action.id.indexOf( "org.freedesktop.consolekit.system." ) == 0 )
                        return "yes";

That’s it! Reboot and your good to configure XBMC and watch movies!

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Hidden binary message on coyote creek trail

I came across this while I was out running today. Its on coyote creek trail next to Metcalf road. Its a binary message engraved into a piece of granite on the right side of the trail when heading south. I have been running on this trail for 4 years and I have never seen it before, however the county came through and cleared out the brush and it caught my eye while I was out.

Coyote Creek Trail Binary Message

The message isn’t anything fantastic, but just the fact that someone from the county (I presume) had the gumption to put this on a bike path heading through Santa Clara County is really quite cool.

The GPS Coordinates for this are N 37° 13.66′, W 121° 44.67′

I found this on Google …. https://www.sjparks.org/Trails/coyote/index.asp, however the binary does NOT decode to “Silicon Valley” 🙂

I emailed San Jose city who owns the website above, we’ll see if they fix the 2 typos (its not etched in 2 languages)

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Chocolate Stout

Chocolate StoutI brewed this once, this now includes pictures and some adjustments which will be my next brew attempt. I don’t have a good name for it yet, but I usually do that after I play with the recipe and make a couple batches. Even though this was my first batch, I feel it came out really clean with a really great taste. The chocolate wasn’t over powering, but on the next batch I think I will add some carapils for better head retention.


  • 6 pounds Briess Sparkling Amber DME
  • 1 pound Briess Caramel 80L
  • 1 pound Briess Organic Roast Barley
  • 1 pound Briess Organic Chocolate
  • 1/4 pound Briess Carapils
  • 2 oz Tettnang Whole Leaf Hops
  • 2 Packages Safale US-05 Yeast
  • 1 teaspon Irish Moss
  1. Mash grains in 4 quarts of water @ 165 dgrs for 30 minutes
  2. Rinse grains with additional 4 quarts of water at 155 dgrs
  3. Bring 10 quarts of water to a boil, add grain extract
  4. Add 3 pounds DME
  5. Boil 15 minutes
  6. Add 1 oz Tettnang hops
  7. Boil 30 minutes
  8. Add remaining 3 pounds DME
  9. Boil 10 Minutes
  10. Add remaining 1 oz Tettnang hops
  11. Add 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss
  12. Boil 15 minutes
  13. Cool off to about 70 dgrs, and fill water level to 5.5 gallons
  14. Pitch yeast!
Stout 12 hours after yeast pitched

Stout 12 hours after yeast pitched

  • OG: 1.063
  • FG: 1.020
  • ABV: 5.64%
  • IBU: 29
  • SRM: 50
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