Sunday, May 1, 2016

Tim3 Machin3

The Tim3 Machin3 cooking device, available everywhere. Maybe not *everywhere* but in lots of places. I got mine at Costco about two weeks ago and this thing is amazing. I've used it to cook rice, make oatmeal, and steam foods so far.

 Rice cooking: The included cup is actually about 3/4 cup, so if you ever need to replace it don't use a 1-cup measuring cup. So far every time I've cooked rice it's come out very nicely. Cooked all the way through (no crunchy rice) and fluffy-to-sticky depending on how much water I've put in.

 Steaming: There's a water level line on the inner pot to help you judge where to fill it if you're just using the steam tray. I got some of those frozen buns, rice flour dough with a little ball of meat and stuff in the middle, at the Asian Pacific Market in town and the Tim3 Machin3 steamed the outside very nicely. The inside was still frozen solid, but that's my fault. Even after popping the bun into the microwave for 3 minutes to cook it fully, it was still great. I've also left the steaming tray inside the cooker while making rice, to steam things at the same time. Frozen dumplings/pot stickers came out just right, and eggs steam up nicely to a hard-steamed state too.

 Oatmeal: The Tim3 Machin3 cooker did an excellent job cooking steel cut oats. I put everything in and set the times so it would be ready in the morning. That being said, give me pressed/quick oats every time. We just couldn't get past the texture, so most of it went into the trash. It does an amazing job cooking these things, but they just aren't my bag, baby.

 Go get one. $30 at Costco.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Minecraft Mobile Admin for Android

I managed to get Minecraft 1.6.5 running properly yesterday, then got ambitious.  I installed the latest built of Bukkit, which actually worked despite not being listed as "stable" or "supported", added WorldEdit and was flush with success.
"What the heck," I decided, "I've wanted to try Mobile Admin for a while, why not push my luck a bit?"  So I dug into the router controls and figured out the (relatively simple) controls to allow outside services to access our Minecraft resources.  Yes, this means people can play who aren't physically in the house and connected to our network.
Minecraft Mobile Admin is exactly the service I had in mind for this.  It's an app that runs on Android, and allows someone who runs a Minecraft server to do some pretty amazing things, remotely.
After logging in with the application, you'll be presented with several tabs across the top of the screen.  Each tab's function is clearly labeled to make its functions obvious.

Server: bans, whitelists, command line, et cetera

Players: lists players and even shows a headshot of their avatar.  It also allows you to give items to them and kick them off.

Plugins: lists the various mods running

Chat: this lets you type messages with your players

Map: enabled with the paid version and the dynmap mod

There's even a homescreen widget to get a quick glance at the server status, and it checks every half hour so as not to use a ton of data (and therefore, battery).

My overall review is that while it's a bit of work to set up, the paid application is well worth the three bucks it costs in the Android Market.  Which is to say that while the free version is in fact *free*, you'll spend more than three bucks worth of your time setting up so just go ahead and buy the full version.

5/5 stars.  It's excellent.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Potato pancakes!

One recipe of potato pancake mix.
One package of hashbrowns.

Prepare per instructions.  Mix together.  Fry in a little grapeseed oil.  Enjoy with sour cream, applesauce, or cheese.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I just finished watching Kick-Ass on Netflix. 
Having read the comic previously, I know why Hollywood picked up the movie rights.  It's a good story, well-written, and the art and layout of the comic make it an excellent candidate to get to the big screen.
I'm sitting here watching the credits roll, and I'm thinking that the movie interpretation was good, but in a different way.  They did exactly what I thought they would with Hit Girl and Big Daddy, and it came off well.  The main character was good, though the romantic interest storyline went down a bit differently than it did in print.
The action sequences were simply excellent, and unlike most fight scenes these days I didn't feel like they were designed to give me mild A.D.D. while establishing how much bigger badasses the characters are than anyone in real life could be.  Most surprising was the filmmakers' ability to add some pretty significant tension/suspense moments that I felt added a lot to the overall film.  Second most surprising was how contrived the ending seemed.  Now I realize I'm a Spoiled American Consumer and as awesome and as over-the-top as previous fight scenes had been, the finale had to be even moreso, but I felt that whatever budget was spent on the Final Gadget could have been better spent on more stuntmen, fake blood, and film.  I found myself wanting the end to be just as awesome as the previous fights but longer and with even more action-porn, if such a thing is possible.
I'll give it a 7 out of 10 for the amazing action and good direction/cinematography, and for following the original product *most*of the way through.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Media Box!

A couple of months back we bought a Sony SMP-N100 network media player at CostCo for around $100 after tax and instant rebate.  It has a home in our living room with the dvd player.
It streams a number of internet video services (similar to Roku) and has a usb port to allow attachment of external storage devices like a thumb drive with photos.  A sleek-looking little black box, it has changed many of our home entertainment habits.

First, the setup:
The hardest part was reaching behind our old tube tv to hook up the rca (composite) cables, after that bit of gymnastics it was very very easy.  The device registered itself on our network quickly and downloaded updates to get itself up and running.  We registered it with Netflix and Hulu (Plus), and logged in to Youtube, and it was ready to go.

In use:
Netflix streaming is excellent, our connection speed is detected to minimize buffering and our instant queue is fully available.  Youtube is quite good as well, 720p video shot with my G2X comes across very nicely.  Hulu Plus...buffers a lot.  There isn't a way to downgrade the video quality like you can when viewing on a computer, and our internet connection isn't fast enough to keep up as video plays.  I don't mind pausing to let segments load, but since Hulu breaks a program up into pieces to allow commercial breaks it makes for an awful lot of pauses while video loads.

The 2nd one we got (for back in the bedroom) uses WiFi since I haven't run a cable back there yet.  It got too hot on its shelf and spewed out connection errors.  Until I can get a shelf to put it on for cooling purposes it sits on a can of beans.  There is a $20 credit included toward a Hulu Plus subscription, but only for first-time signups.  Since we already had the service, we don't get to take advantage of this offer.

Good, 4 out of 5 stars.  Good enough that there's a second one in our house now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fun Tech:

We've recently gotten the Minecraft bug, buying three copies/memberships in the house.  After playing solo offline games for about a week, I installed the multiplayer server software on my computer so we could enjoy a bit of cooperative play.  The learning curve was easy, but I didn't think my machine had the proper resources to run it properly, so I got a month's worth of server time on a hosting service.  This ended up being more trouble than it was worth - the host was often unreachable, and ran far more slowly than our own in-house server did.  I cancelled the service and we ended up hosting a server at home.

This isn't about the poor hosting service (which will remain nameless), but something really neat we found to show off our little world.  It's a free service that you upload your World file to, and they render a google maps-esque map of your world.  It shows day, night, and cave views, and offers highly detailed zooming and scaling.  They also host the map so you can show off your work. is the place, give it a try and then give them a donation!  While you're there, look up the Doodlebug map(s) and check our little virtual world out.  :-)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Holy cow it started!

I actually got my car to start, and it drove for almost 60 yards.  Brian from down the hall helped me push it the last 10 feet into my reserved spot.  Now I'm just waiting on my tax return to come in, so I can have it towed to a garage to have it fixed.

But at least it won't get towed now :)