Thursday Sep 18, 2008

Message In Hand

Message In Hand I am stoked to tell you all about a great initiative that Third Place Consulting is launching. This goes to the bottom line of using a third place to fund causes. We can change the world one cup of coffee at at time.

Ever heard the phrase that ‘for the price of a cup of coffee you can change the world?’ Well, it might actually be true, but you don’t have to give up your cup of coffee to do it. Just USE your cup of coffee to change the world!

Message in Hand is an initiative to create conversational coffee sleeves that will share the message and bring awareness to great causes. Through the exposure to these messages, people will become aware of ways to be active in supporting or becoming involved in efforts, causes, and plans to bring support to children in underdeveloped countries, provide mosquito nets for families in Africa, help aid homeless families, etc. The average person spends 45 minutes with their coffee drink, and this is a way for a cafe community to reach beyond itself and make a difference in the world.

The current Message In Hand is in collaboration with the Junky Car Club and Compassion International. This year Junky Car Club set an ambitious goal of supporting 500 children through its network, and we thought this would be a great way to launch Message In Hand.

How can you and your café become involved in this initiative? It will involve simply ordering Message in Hand sleeves for your café. These sleeves are similar in price to the sleeves that cafés are already purchasing and are made by a reputable company in the coffee industry. Why not leverage your purchasing power to get the message in the hands of your customers?

Wednesday Apr 16, 2008

Michigan -> Amsterdam -> Edinburgh -> Cluster Hacking -> return(home);

Last week I was on some travel for work that took my from my home around the world to Edinburgh, UK to work on a large cluster of Sun v20z nodes. This is an internal cluster that will further enhance what we can test and try out with our products. More on the cluster to come... now for the adventure.

My manager called and asked if I wanted to fly over to Scotland to setup Nessie... that is right, we have a corny nickname for the cluster that matches the region of the world in which it is located. Of course I said that I would travel the world to setup a massive cluster so that we could make Sun HPC ClusterTools a more rock solid product. I have a passion for playing with the hardware as well as the software and have not been able to do that for some time. After the right folks all signed off I was given the green light to pack the bags and book the travel. So off I went.

I left the United States late one evening and landed in Amsterdam, Netherlands the next day on my birthday. On the flight over I watched, The Simpsons Movie, and American Gangster. I had a 11 hour layover so I headed into the city to walk around a bit. My plan was to first find a nice little cafe to have a coffee at, notice I said cafe instead of coffeehouse there is a difference. I chatted a bit with the barista and got some good directions on where to head to just browse around the city. I was pointed down a small side street to reach the canals and which ones might be better to see. While walking around with the day pack, the earbuds in and a camera out... I am sure I stood out like a tourist. Now after some wondering around a bit along with the lack of sleep I think I was basically lost, well that would mean that I knew where I was to begin with. I was just about to ask for directions when I saw the train station. I stopped by a small pub close the train station for a birthday drink. After that I headed back to the airport for a nap. Late that day I arrived in Edinburgh and off to the hotel for a couple hours of sleep before I headed off to the Sun facility to get cranking on the cluster setup.

After arriving a little late for my first day of cluster hacking (man I needed even more sleep) I was hooked up with some of the local folks on sight, given the quick ESD overview and pointed to the lab. The cluster will consist of 1024 v20z nodes, each with two AMD procs. The nodes are broken down 32 to a rack and there will thus be 32 racks. By the time I left we had the SPs up on 576 and Solaris installed or ready to be installed on 480 of them... ran out of hardware to get the three other racks up with Solaris. The other 14 racks are waiting for a power issue in the lab to be resolved and then they can come up online. I don't take all the credit, the local folks all ready had the racks in place and power to them and I was joined by a colleague from the London area.

While spending the week in Edinburgh I did venture out for dinner each night and a little sight seeing. Note, that almost all of the shops close at 18:00, plan accordingly. I had some great food while out in the city including some local favorites... fish and chips, bangers and mash. I did not partake of traditional Scottish breakfast... I stuck to my americano and muffin from one of the cafes right by the hotel. The Edinburgh castle was amazing and all of the sites along the royal mile. A full collection of photos from the trip can be found over here.

The travel home was a little eventful, I was delayed leaving Edinburgh do to a security issue with baggage on the flight I was on. By the time it was resolved all the bags were removed from the plane, laid out on the tarmac, each person had to claim their bags, re-board the plane, the extra bag was identified, removed and the flight finally took off... two hours late and two connections in Amsterdam down the drain. I stand behind the pilots decision to ensure that the correct bags were accounted for and unknown bags were not onboard in this day and age of travel. All delays aside, KLM is my new favorite airline. Their level of customer service is second to none. I have not flown Southwest or Jet Blue but the KLM folks know how to do it right for their passengers in flight, the counter crew could be a little more friendly. On the flights home I watched The Bourne Ultimatum and The Kite Runner. I finally made it home 17 hours later than I was set to and a couple hours late for my little girls birthday party. No worries, I was here for the presents and the cake but missed the pinata.

All and all a great trip and a wonderful experience... I would head back anytime to work on the cluster and to help bring the over half up when the power issue is worked out.

Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

coffee abroad


The coffee abroad has not been to decent to date. Had a nice americano in Amsterdam at Coffee Connection, Dave was great barista. The coffee on flights and at the hotel are a pass. Stopped by Caffe Nero yesterday for the latte above, a bit less than I am use to. The americano this morning from Nero was proper and good to the last drop.

For what it's worth.

Tuesday Apr 01, 2008

Starbucks keeps growing...

Arizona Coffee to be acquired by Starbucks.

Tuesday Feb 26, 2008

ink anyone?

I give this guy props for showing off commitment to the craft.

I sent my wife the link... and got the following back, "don't even think about it". If you have some ink that shows off your dedication to the career you are in post the links in the comments.

For what it's worth.

Friday Oct 26, 2007

mini portafilter

portafilter keyring Today brings me one step closer in my coffee geek life, I have ordered a keyring that is a mini portafilter. Just working daily at increasing my geekness in all areas of my life, today is in coffee.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Sep 27, 2007

Off to the island

Tomorrow morning very early I am headed out for the second to the last backpacking trip of this season. Dave and I are headed for a three day hike on North Manitou Island about 6 miles off shore in Lake Michigan. If you are a follower of my hiking adventures you will know that I normally also take along the furry hiking buddy (my dog) but there are no dogs allowed on the island... guess she has to sit this one out, she is going to be depressed and confused when I leave with the pack and without her, sorry girl there is another one coming up in mid-October that you can come with.

After I get back I will post the pictures that we get. I hear there are some awesome sights and Dave love his camera so I am sure that there will be some great photos to share.

For what it's worth.

Friday Sep 14, 2007

Art in different forms

So the current world barista champion posed a litte challenge. That is to pour some absurd latte art. I have to say that so far I think the boys from intelligentsia LA are winning. Check out these fliks.

For what it's worth.

Friday Aug 31, 2007

Alfred Peet, 87

Alfred Peet the founder of Peet's Coffee & Tea has pass away at 87. Thank you Mr. Peet for your years of service to the specialty coffee world.

For what it's worth.

Thursday Sep 28, 2006

Extra Shot Please

Whenever I am listening to the radio and a story that talks about coffee comes one I perk up and listen in closer. Today I was ablte to hear the story Coffee: A Little Really Does Go a Long Way on Your Health. For the full details take a few minutes and listen in. One of the points that they draw out is that a shot of espresso contains less caffeine than the standard cup of drip coffee. So for those that are getting the espresso based drinks, whatever your favorite is, you are getting a moderate dose of the good stuff without over doing it. The problem is for folks like me that order up their favorite espresso based drink with an extra shot of espresso... so for me that would generally be a 16 oz. latte with three shots of espresso... okay that might be pushing it but you decided for yourself.

For what it's worth.

Tuesday Sep 19, 2006

No Conversation

Oh the growing pains of podcasting... even for a large company sometimes little things like posting the podcast fail. I will admin I subscribe and listen to Coffee Conversations. They posted episode three and updated the rss feed... but there is now enclosure found, someone forgot to post the audio along witht the show notes.

For what it's worth.

Update: Shortly after posting my entry I went back to the site and they have pulled the entry from the site... sit and wait until they put it back.

Update: Now episode three has been published.




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