Today another episode in my seldom-updated series about building a home aluminum foundry.
The technique I use for casting aluminum is called “green sand” casting not because the sand is green (though the sand I use is in fact slightly olive coloured) but because the sand is moistened with water and clay rather than oil. I made the sand myself; it’s a mixture of about ten parts olivine sand to one part finely powdered bentonite clay, and then “tempered” with water until it feels right. (Use a spray bottle set to a fine mist and stir the sand as you temper it.) It should feel like perfect sand castle building material: wet enough to hold its shape but not so wet that you can squeeze water out of it. If you can make a “snowball” of sand with a fist and break it cleanly in half, that’s probably good. Continue reading
I recently spent a week visiting customers and giving talks in Europe and holy goodness, never have I been in so many countries in so little time. I flew from Seattle to London, changed planes, flew to Amsterdam, visited customers in the Netherlands and Belgium, then took the Eurostar from Lille back to London, and that was just the first two days! Continue reading
No computer stuff today; since I am actually in Hungary today on business and it is the the anniversary of the happy event mentioned below, today’s FAIC is a rerun. Enjoy!
I’m back from my fabulous adventures in Austria, Romania and Canada and I had a fabulous time, as you might imagine. We were in Romania for a wedding of some close personal friends who live here in Seattle; much of the groom’s family escaped from Romania during the Communist period and settled in Austria, so we spent some time in Vienna and then headed to Bucharest, and then crossed the Carpathian mountains by bus into Transylvania for the wedding. Some of the highlights included:
Today on Fun For Friday FAIC, a classic episode first posted in 2009. Enjoy!
I’ve returned from a brief vacation, visiting friends on the island of Maui. I’d never been to that part of the world before. Turns out, it’s a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, entirely made out of volcanoes. Weird! But delightful.
A couple weeks ago I had an online meeting with some European colleagues; I showed up in the chat room at what I thought was the agreed-upon time and they did not, which was odd, but whatever, I waited ten minutes and then rescheduled the meeting. It turns out they did the same an hour later. I’m sure you can guess why.
If you have been sent a link to this page, it is to remind you that “Eastern Standard Time” is not defined as “whatever time it is in New York City right now”, it is defined as “Eastern Time not adjusted for Daylight Saving Time“. Parts of the world in the eastern time zone that do not observe Daylight Saving Time — Panama, for instance — stay in Eastern Standard Time all year, so it is an error to assume that Eastern Standard Time and Eastern Time are the same time.
Someone at Reuters is having too much fun:
China threatens drama
meets the Dalai Lama
meets the Dalai Lama
despite China drama
I am reminded of the immortal words of Ogden Nash:
The one-L lama, he’s a priest
The two-L llama, he’s a beast
And I would bet a silk pajama
There isn’t any three-L lllama
To which my Bostonian friend Marty responds “that big fire was a right three-alahmah”.
Dear non-English-as-a-first-language-speaking phishing attackers, let me point out all the ways that I know that this is not actually from PayPal:[1. Oddly enough gmail did not flag this as phishing, despite having a PayPal logo embedded in it and a link to what is obviously a phishing site.]
Dear Costumer, [A costumer is someone who makes clothing for actors. You meant "customer".]
We need more information from you [missing period]
We need your help resoving [resolving] an issue with your account. To give us to work together on this, [this phrase doesn't make any sense] we’ve temporarily limited what you can do with your account untill [until] the issue is resolved.
We need a little bit [of] information about you to help confirm you [your] identity [missing period]
Note: Please note that in 50% of cases you will receive this e-mail in the spam box, [comma splice] it is because of the increased security emailing services you use. [No, it's because you're criminals.]
UPDATE: This is deliberate! How astonishingly devious. See this transcript of On The Media and this Microsoft Research paper.
No technology today. I’m spending this week in San Francisco at Coverity head office and did not have time to get blog posts in the queue ahead of time. But here’s a question I got from my friend Peggy a few days ago:
I watched The Return of the King on TV again last night and was left wondering: how it is that Gollum manages to get the Ring away from Frodo when Frodo is invisible?
Well that’s an amazing coincidence as I was watching TROTK on DVD with my housemate at I suspect the same time, even given the time zone difference. Clearly we are connected by some mysterious fifth sense! Continue reading
I had a delightful and relaxing American Thanksgiving weekend where I did not think about programming languages hardly at all. My general plan for the weekend was to (1) roast a turkey to feed 19, (2) make soup from the bones, and (3) do jigsaw puzzles with friends while eating soup.
Missions accomplished: (As always, click for larger versions.)
Many thanks to my crew of helpful friends who did most of the work putting Aragorn together.
I roast a turkey every year; people often ask me how to make it come out well. The answer is simple:
1) Brine the turkey for 12+ hours in a clean, food-safe five-gallon bucket with eight litres of water, half a kilogram of salt and two bottles of the cheapest chardonnay you can find.
2) Carefully follow the instructions in the Joy of Cooking. That is, truss the bird, roast it upside down at 325F for the first half, then flip it to roast breast side up for the second half. This solves the problem of undercooked legs and overcooked breast. Increase the temperature at the end, and measure the temperature inside the thigh. I find that going all the way to 175F is unnecessary; I’ve never had a problem with undercooked legs after the thigh gets to the mid to high 160’s. I stuff the cavities with apples and have someone else make the bread stuffing separately.
Next time on FAIC: Back to C# with another look at the method type inference algorithm.
As I mentioned in my interview with George London, I have too many hobbies. Long-time readers of this blog know that I started a second blog, Fabulous Adventures in Casting, because I was building a backyard foundry to learn how to cast aluminum. Starting a new job on top of everything else was too much and so I decided to put that hobby on hold for a year or so, but I’ve started up again recently. And since this is not just my MSDN-hosted work blog anymore, I’m going to gradually move that content over here and occasionally post about stuff I’m doing that does not involve C#, like casting and woodworking. (UPDATE: As promised, those posts have been integrated into this blog; see the Foundry category.)