Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Caffeine Test Strips

From Engadget: I'm not sure why you would want to order a decaf but if you really must, and you think your barista is out to get, you then you need D+Caf strips. These litmus test like strips will detect if you've accidentally gotten the full caf version of your favourite brew.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's All About the Flavonoids

Okay, we all know that tea is supposed to be good for you but why? Apparently it's all about the flavonoids baby! They are a powerful anti-oxidant that helps lower your LDL cholesterol levels. Which is an important factor of heart health.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Why not Tea?

A nice primer on tea for those of you who are die hard coffee drinkers and are looking for a change.

My favourite bulk tea here in Canada is Lipton Yellow Label. It is a nice smooth tea that has been brewed for over 110 years. It comes in convenient single serving bags and is relatively inexpensive. Try it over Red Rose.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Coffee as Biofuel

Can Coffee grounds be used as biofuel? In the future ordering a cup of coffee could be good for the environment.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Anna with Santa

Here are a few pictures of Anna with Santa. We all went out for dinner at Theo's Greek Taverna or as Dad calls it, the Thai place, then walked through the Carlingwood Mall. Lucky for us Santa was there and we got some good pictures of him and Anna.

Santa Pics
P.S. I working on getting more pictures up for everyone to see. I expect them to be in reverse chronological order. Probably see the ones from Halloween up next.

Friday, November 14, 2008

New Watchmen Trailer

Arguably, the greatest comic book story ever told is getting a movie treatment. Somewhat controversial as it has been considered un-filmable. Mind you they used to think that about the Lord of the Rings before Peter Jackson got a hold of it.

Zack Synder will be directing the Watchmen and I'm cautiously optimistic that it will be enjoyable not only to the geeks who've read the book but the general movie going public.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ottawa Team to Climb Mount Kilimanjaro

No, I'm not going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. However, Jim Davis will be in order to raise money to fund cancer research. Jim was my bosses boss at Nortel over a decade ago. He was also my bosses boss at Mitel and a big reason I decided to join Mitel.

Here are the details from an email I received from Jim today:
In January 2009, I will joining a team of 30 doctors, professionals and business leaders from the Ottawa area who will embark on the journey of a lifetime, the ascension of Mount Kilimanjaro, the summit of Africa. The ascent/descent will last 13 days (approximately 9 to 15 km of climbing each day). The climb will take the expedition through every climate zone on earth, with temperatures ranging from +40 C in the African Savannah to -45 C at the Summit of Kilimanjaro.

Each of the participants will look after their own costs of ascending Kilimanjaro and have also committed personally raise substantial donations for the “Reaching the Summit for Montfort” challenge. The expedition goal is to raise $500,000 to be invested in Cancer Care Programs with a particular focus on the prevention, detection and treatment of breast cancer. We all cannot help but to be touched by cancer in some way - personally, within our families or within circle of friends. Recent data shows that 39% of Canadian women and 44% of men will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime and despite all the advances in cancer treatment 1 in 4 will die from this disease. Cancer is a top healthcare priority for our society.

Personally I am excited to involved in such an unique challenge in support of such a worthwhile cause. From our experience working with Gerry Savoie (CEO of Montfort) and his team at hospital, I have been impressed with the Montfort’s willingness to take reasonable risks to achieve breakthrough outcomes. I have no doubt that the “Reaching the Summit” challenge will be similarly successful for all those involved – the precipitants, the donors, the patients and ultimately the broader community that will be touched by cancer.

I asking for your support in form of a donation to Montfort foundation (see details below). All donations over $20 are eligible for a Canadian tax receipt. 100% of the donations will be directed toward Cancer Care Programs at the Montfort Hospital working in collaboration with Cancer Treatment Center of the Ottawa Hospital.

Thank you for your support,

Jim

To donate to Jim, go to the Mountfort Foundation. Pick Sponsor Individual or Team. Pick Jim Davies. Pick Make a donation besides Jim's picture and fill out the donation form.

This is a great cause and it certainly will be an amazing accomplishment.

Good luck Jim!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Coffee 2.0 from Joffery's

Awhile back I saw a post on Mashable where Joffery's Coffee & Tea Company was giving away free coffee to bloggers. I decided I'd like to give it a try so I submitted my name into the mix. About a month later I received my packet of Jamaican Me Crazy.

Then it took even longer for me to brew Jamaican Me Crazy as it got buried under a number of other items in the pantry. This was to my detriment as Jamaican Me Crazy was a deliciously smooth brew with caramel and vanilla under tones. The coffee was well like by Kate and I and the smell of it was sinfully good.

Now Joffery's is releasing the culmination of the comments received from bloggers as Coffee 2.0. I'd recommend everyone check it out especially if you are a big fan of caramel like myself.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anna's Fourth Birthday

A collection of photos from Anna's 4th birthday party.



We had a small party for her attended by the Stuchberry-Pottle clan. Thanks to everyone who called to wish and sing Anna a happy birthday.

The Ultimate iPhone App for Canadians

Well this has to be the most perfect iPhone app for us Canadians. TimmyMe is the quickest way to find a Tim Horton's using your iPhone's built in GPS. Best of all the application is free!

My only question is why isn't there a similar app for Starbucks.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Always Postpone Meetings...

One of my favourite quotes from Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, is to Always postpone meetings with time wasting morons.

However many of us can't be as rude as Mr. Adams as we don't have his truckloads of money. So instead we have to show up for meetings or social functions we don't really have the time for or want to participate in. I'm sure some of you out there have even setup a safety phone call with a friend in order to get you out of a meeting or date.

That's where the iPhone comes in and it's killer app, the Clock! The Clock has a great feature called the Timer. You set the timer to count down for X number of minutes. Once the timer reaches zero your phone begins to ring. At this point your acting skills come into play:
Hello
Pause
What do you mean a group of atheist, vegetarian, motor cycle riding U.S. mortgage company CEO's are tearing up the front lawn with their hogs?
Pause
I'll be right over!


You might want to have an excuse in your head as you go into the meeting as not everyone is as fast on their feet as I am.

Warning Labels on Energy Drinks?

As much as I love caffeine I do support the call by John Hopkins medical researchers to put warning labels on energy drinks. The only reason they don't have warning labels is because they are using the dietary supplement loophole whereby products don't have to be regulated by Health Canada or the FDA. With some energy drinks containing as much caffeine as 14 cans of Coke you could give yourself some serious medical conditions by over indulging.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Second Triathlon

I completed the Last Chance Triathlon 2008, my second triathlon ever, on Sunday. With my buddy Paul being in the UK for the week I was able to borrow his speed bike and use it in lieu of my mountain bike. What a big difference, it was like I was riding a feather around the course. This time around I finished in 20th place which was a big improvement over my last tri. Once again I had a blast and I'm going to look at investing in a speed bike for next year.

Terry Fox Run 2008


My fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run is over. I collected $685 of my $1200 goal. I think there is one donation still to come in which will probably push me over $700 for the year. It is a pretty respectable number considering the 'no soliciting' policy at work.

The run was on Sunday September 14th and as it is our tradition Paul and I did the 10km on our roller blades. We also got a chance to see our team mate Alexandre with his son biking the 10km.

I was a great time, I'm glad to get the opportunity to help keep Terry's dream alive and looking forward to next year.


Please support my participation by donating.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Terry Fox Run - Update 3


Fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run seems to have bottomed out. I have collected $485 of my $1200 goal. The run is this Sunday so there is not much time left to donate.


Please support my participation by donating.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Terry Fox Run 2008 - Update 2


Fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run is starting to pick up. I have collected $390 of my $1200 goal. The run will be September 14th this year so there is not much time left to donate.


Please support my participation by donating.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Can an $11,000 Coffee Maker Save Starbucks

Wired has an interesting article on Clover, a new coffee brewing machine. Originally the machine was being sold by the Coffee Equipment Corporation to smaller cafes. That is, until Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, tried a cup of joe made by Clover and decided to buy the company. Roll out of the machine is slow in the US, only 80 stores. No word on when it arrives in Canada.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My First Triathlon

From Triathlon 2008
I did my first triathlon on Saturday with my buddy Paul Brun. I was a blast and I'm hoping that I'll be able to do some more next year. We were in the tri-a-tri category which is a 200m swim, 15km bike and 3km run. This is ideal for new tri-athaletes especially for those of us using our mountain bikes. I finished at 78 while Paul did incredible coming in fourth overall. Click on the photo to the left for more pictures.

I'm Writing a Column on Comics

Anyone who knows me is aware of my love of comic books or graphic novels which is the trendy new name for them. We'll I've just started writing what I hope will be a weekly review column at Comic Fodder. My first review is up, Planetary Volume 1.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Terry Fox Run 2008 - Update 1



Fund raising for this year's Terry Fox Run is going pretty slowly this year. I have only collected $170 of my $1200 goal. I attribute the slow down to my new employers rules about soliciting donations at work.



Please support my participation by donating.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Free Starbucks Recipe eBook

Coffee Fair has posted a free eBook of StarBucks coffee and pastry recipes. I gave it a quick glance over and I plan on trying out their Chai Tea suggestion.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obligatory Olympics Post: Unfair Judging

After reading Ryan's LEAGUE OF MELBOTIS: Obligatory Olympics Post: Hyperbole and NBC I figured I needed to weigh in my two cents on Olympic judging. It's crap! I know this is happening to other countries but I'm taking a Canadian perspective here as in the past two days two of our athletes have been screwed by the judges. On Tuesday Jason Burnett was awarded the silver for mens trampoline after pulling off a more difficult routine, with no mistakes, than the eventual gold medal winner from China. Then on Wednesday Ivett Gonda lost her first round taekwondo match after being shut out by the judges even though she quite obviously scored with some good kicks.

Originally I thought I'd have a hard time caring about the Olympics as they are all on steroids but the excitement in the pool and on the track have pulled me in. Now I have to think that I will avoid any sport with judging and stick to ones that can be measured objectively instead of subjectively.

As Grandpa Tom used to say It's all fixed!

You Can't Handle the Truth About Coffee

Sorry, I couldn't resist that bad pun on the headline from this story on the truth about coffee's effects on your body.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Good News for Green Tea Drinkers

Looks like an ingredient in Green Tea inhibits breast cancer growth in mice.

I've been drinking some green tea that friends of mine brought back from China. Can anyone recommend a good brand I can get in Ottawa as I'm running out of my supply?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

When Interests Colide

Tech pundit Joel Splosky author of the blog Joel on Software and one of my favourite books on hiring talented software developers Smart and Gets Things Done has posted an article comparing Starbucks and software development companies on customer service.

I agree with Joel that you should rely on your front line staff to use proper judgment when dealing with customers rather than dictating a number of hard and fast rules from management on down.

Little Brother


The latest book from Canadian super sci-fi writer Cory Doctorow called Little Brother is marketed as a young adult novel but that shouldn't deter you from picking it up. Read this post by Cory for a more detailed explanation of why it ended up in the YA section.

The novel follows a group of teenagers in San Francisco after a terrorist attack. The government responds to the attack in a draconian manner and civil liberties are trampled upon. This doesn't sit well with kids and they fight back in the only way they know how, buy using the technologies and social engineering that kids are oh so familiar with these days.

I really did love this book and so did my friend Alexandre based on his review. It is a very near future allegorical romp which contains plausible technologies. As a geek nothing drives me crazier than those deus ex machina moments you see in books and movies where they pull out some crap that doesn't even exist. One of the things I love most about Cory's writing is that he's able to avoid this contrivances. In fact the technology is so plausible in the book there is a rss feed on instructables.

Anyway as always Cory has released his book under the creative commons license and you can download it from the books website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Terry Fox Run 2008

Once again I'll be taking part in this years Terry Fox Run. The run will be taking place on Sunday September 14th where I will participate with the Blades@Ease team. We are always looking for more members for the team so if you are interested in doing the run on roller blades please contact me.

My goal in fund raising this year is $1200. Last year our team collected over $2000. Let's work together to end cancer and keep Terry's dream alive. All money raised goes to cancer research; please support my participation by donating.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rock Climbing for Dummies

So I went indoor rock climbing on Tuesday night at Vertical Reality with my buddy Alexandre.



Before starting the night I went through my pre-climb checklist:

  1. Greasy Chinese food meal - Check
  2. Sprained wrist 2 weeks previous - Check
  3. Intense fear of heights - Check
With all that in mind I was ready to go.

The cost of climbing for one night was $20. There is a $10 fee per night, $5 for a half hour of training and $5 for equipment rentals. The equipment consisted of a harness and climbing shoes. The shoes are ridiculously small and cramp your toes horribly which is apparently the way they are supposed to fit. Personally I think they are trying to take your mind off the fact you are about to climb a 30 foot way by putting your feet in constant pain.

Anyway, after the quick training session we were ready to climb walls. I was up first so I went about 10 feet up the baby wall. Then I decided that I'd like to find out what it was like to fall off the wall from this height rather than getting all the way to the top. Happily all the equipment was working and Alexandre slowly lowered me to the ground. This gave me the confidence to head all the way to the top of the baby wall.

After coming down it my my turn to belay Alexandre. We then took turns going up or trying to go up the various wall faces at Vertical Reality. We were able to make it up a couple of the easier walls but some of the harder ones were way beyond us.

All in all I had a great time and I'm planning on heading back when I have a spare evening.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Starbucks Losing it's Luster

The Chicago Tribune runs a great op ed piece on how Starbucks has lost is cache. It makes me wonder if this is indicative of all elements of popular culture. At what point do the masses turn upon the popular. It seems like we love to build things up only to tear them down again.

Mind you I completely agree that the brand is over saturated and something has to change in order to make Starbucks fresh again.

Update July 8th: Just like I mentioned earlier people just love shooting down successful companies.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Why Canadians should care about Bill C-61

I'm going to depart from my pictures of family, rambling about books and posts about coffee to talk about what I feel should be an important topic for all Canadians.

On Wednesday June 12th, 2008 Minister for Industry Jim Prentice introduced Bill C-61, Amendments to the Copyright Act. The bill is an attempt to protect the rights of those who hold copyright while balancing it with the needs of users to access copyright works.

After reading the bill and a investigating the on-line commentary it is in my opinion that it does a poor job of protecting the consumers rights and in many cases turns ordinary Canadians into criminals.

Let me give you a couple of examples from my own life:

Example 1: I have a three year old and I have gotten into the habit of making copies of the DVD's we purchase for her to watch. Anyone who has a three year old has no doubt had to repurchase a favourite DVD because of scratches or grilled cheese incidents.

Under Bill C-61 this would be breaking the law and I would be subject to a $500 or $20,000 penalty depending on how you read the bill. See the format shifting limitations of the bill.

Example 2:
I have a PVR which I use to record TV programs as we generally are not able to sit down when the programs are first aired. One of my favourite shows is Battlestar Gallactica and I have been recording it for the 4 seasons it has been on.

One of the things I plan to do once the series completes later this year is to watch all the shows from season 1 to 4 in order for the pure enjoyment and to marvel at how tightly written it is. Uh oh, once again this is illegal under the time shifting limitations of Bill C-61 as I am not allowed to keep these recordings indefinitely.

So those are two very innocuous ways in which I personally would be considered a criminal if Canadians don't get out and speak up against Bill C-61. Hopefully by this point you are wondering how you can speak out against the bill. Try any number of these helpful links:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

IBM Summer Picnic 2008

Here are some shots of the IBM Summer Picnic held at Saunder's Farms. This is the first year we've attended and we lucked out as Gerri was able to come with us since she was visiting us from Toronto over the weekend. Actually, we were very lucky since I forgot to bring our camera.

Coffee: Behind the Sceens

A great demonstration of the inner workings of Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea in Los Angeles.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Anna's New Bike

Here's Anna on her sweet new ride. A purple bike with 14 inch wheels. Check out videos of her in action: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Starbucks Wi-Fi Offer Not as Strong as their Coffee

It looks like the large demand for free wi-fi at US locations is causing problems for the company's Starbucks.com site.

Has anyone heard when they will be rolling this service out to Canadian locations?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

How Green is Starbucks?

Find out in this well written article. Also, for all you gardeners Starbucks will give you used coffee grounds for plant fertilizer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Victoria Day Weekend in Boston

Over the Victoria Day weekend we headed down to Boston. We had a great time there visiting the New England Aquarium, follow the Freedom Trail to the Boston Commons and the Boston Children's Museum. The children's museum was particularly awesome. They did a great job of putting it together and the 3 story jungle jim was amazing.

We even lucked out and got to see my Dad, Sue, Chad and Allie while we were there if only for one day.

More pictures can be found here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Does this Logo Look Obscene to You?

Apparently it does to some Christian rights groups in the United States. I'm going to have to file this under people who have too much time on their hands.

On a related note, we spent the weekend down in Boston and they have rolled out the new logo and new blend, Pike Place Roast, at a number of their stores. I have not seen any changes in our Canadian stores as of yet.