It being "the holiday season", here's a podcast episode with some backstory on a common feature of our Western culture's festivities: the elf.

Homemade bread

Okay, it's not that secret. But it is one that my Dad came up with after much tinkering with recipes for breadmakers.

This recipe works with most breadmakers, and makes a 2lb loaf (the 1.5lb recipe follows). It works with any mix of whole wheat and white flour, though it's best with slightly more whole wheat than white.

People seem to think that the best way to get noticed on social media is to be active everywhere. It's not.

There are many variables when it comes to how fast a webpage will load, and most of them are out of the developer's hands. Thankfully, there are a few things we can do to optimize how the page is delivered to the user, speed up the whole browsing process, and also use less bandwidth.

I'm frequently asked for TV series recommendations, and I frequently ask for recommendations myself, so I thought it'd make life simpler if I just listed my favourites here.


The IT Crowd

Here's a fun British comedy which accurately describes the terrors and triumphs of the corporate IT department, and on a wider spectrum, geekdom as a whole. Don't worry, it's written in a way that doesn't alienate non-nerd too much (to the point where my wife even enjoyed it).

  • Does not require watching sequentially, but does have an ongoing story arc
  • No longer in production

For me, and a lot of people that I've talked to, the most difficult part of waking up in the morning is getting out of bed. Being able to just reach over and snooze — or completely turn off — the alarm and fall back asleep is just too easy.

A very common solution to the issue is place one's alarm clock on the far side of the room, so they have to get out of bed to turn it off. This works rather well, as long as you have the self-control to not just climb back in bed. This is what I currently do, but I have a better plan (and it doesn't involve buying a clock that runs/flies/hides or something silly like that).

A glass of ginger beer

Here's a simple recipe for ginger beer, with no other flavour additives (I'm still experimenting with those). 

Ingredients

  • Fresh ginger root (I use one chunk, about the size of my palm)
  • Sugar (1 cup)
  • Yeast (½ teaspoon)
  • Water (2 litres)

We live in an age of striving for positive feedback from our peers, but also making it so easy for our peers to give positive feedback that the effect is diluted. One can show that they "Like" a Facebook post or "Favourite" a Tweet in just one tap. Instagram makes it even easier, and lets you double-tap an image to give it your love, so you don't have to take the time to find and tap the heart button.

I used to use Hootsuite for scheduling posts on Twitter and Facebook, but have recently switched over to Buffer. Here's why.

No-nonsense scheduling

Hootsuite gives you two options when it comes to scheduled posts: regular, pick-time-and-date scheduled posts, and "auto-scheduled" posts. Auto-scheduling works by you giving it the days, time windows, and how many posts per day, and it is supposed to pick the best times for those posts to happen. In my experience, it doesn't work. It seems like Hootsuite just sticks the post in between the two times given, and that's it.

Andy Maxwell:

This week an Irish man was handed a four-year sentence for running a pirate linking site. The Court accepted that he led no lavish lifestyle. In contrast, a man who stole almost £9m from a bank and bought homes worth £1.4m, three Bentleys, three Aston Martins, a Porsche 911 and a Rolls Royce, was also jailed. He received just 3.5 years. Fair?