This post is being written on the OLPC XO laptop. Why, didn’t I already make the point that it could be used to do actual work here? Yes, but I’ve got a new, small, usb keyboard for it (yes, I am keyboard obsessed), small enough to fit into a laptop bag accessory pocket, yet big enough to touch type on!
(chopstick rails prevent interference with XO’s keyboard and trackpad)
I got the wee wireless mouse from the same source, Brando, usb.brando.com.hk. Prices are good on many items, and they charge a flat $3.00 to ship anywhere. From the stamps, it looks like my order cost over $10 US to ship, so they’re folding some of the shipping cost into their pricing.
I have another order in for an even smaller keyboard, and for a slim dvd burner.
At $78, it’s one of their pricier items, but still less than similar items at NCIX, and about $20 cheaper than the Apple MacBook Air SuperDrive. (The MacBook Air is so slim that it doesn’t come with much that’s useful, like a dvd burner.)
Thanks to the Seattle XO User Group for putting me on to Brando. Brando has lots of neat little usb things that will be of interest to people with this emerging class of wee laptops, or for crazy MacBook Air owners. For them, Brando also has a variety of usb hubs to make the most of that one usb port.
Last time out, I documented an attempt to make ginger ale following the recipe at the Barley Legal web site. How did it turn out? In a word, delicious, quite amazing for a first attempt.
There was room for improvement, though, especially in the area of ginger prep. As Barley Legal’s proprietor Saul points out in the article, sliced ginger (as opposed to shredded) is used in order to end up with a product that has as little physical ginger matter in it as possible — just pure ginger flavour. However, the process of peeling is a bit like shredding, and it would be wise after peeling and slicing to add the step of carefully rinsing the ginger to remove as much fine particle as possible. Why? Check out this vid I made of the final product…
I did three takes with different bottles, and while that wasn’t the best, it was the most dramatic, so in the interests of both education and entertainment, there it is. It ends abruptly because my little digital camera doesn’t believe any shot should last longer than three minutes.
Saul also mentions in his article that the product would be better if a proper champagne or brewer’s yeast were used instead of plain old baking yeast. He only features baker’s yeast in his article to make the point of how simple this is, achievable with gear and ingredients common in many kitchens.
It may be that if I had used a more appropriate yeast my ginger ale would smell less sulphurous. I tested bottles throughout the fermenting/chilling period, and the scent was most noticeable on day three. As was the volcanic effect: when I opened a bottle that hadn’t been refrigerated, the foam-over problem was about 10 times worse than in the above vid.
The sulphurous smell diminished with time. I would recommend two days minimum refrigeration for a better smelling and better behaving ginger ale, though even after a week in the fridge, if you’ve got a lot of particles in the sediment, you still risk foam-over, as the video demonstrates. There’s no avoiding sediment (pour carefully), but best if it doesn’t have wee bits and pieces in it.
Finally, I should add that Saul makes a major point in his article of warning people not to use glass bottles. The amount of pressure in the bottle from carbonation is very high. With a plastic bottle, if it’s too much, the cap will hiss or the bottle might even split, but with glass . . . Well, natural carbonation is only fun until someone puts out an eye.
Next attempt I will also add an apple and a stick or two of cinnamon, just for kicks. What can I say, I’m a wild man.