Oskar Blues Beer Dinner at the Rocky Hill Inn

Last night I attended my first beer dinner. The dinner was hosted by the Rocky Hill Inn. The RHI is one of our favorite places to grab a quick brew in between the 45 minute tae kwon do classes our kids are in. We enjoy chatting with Eric the bartender, and meeting interesting characters from the neighborhood. My favorite bar food are the deviled eggs. Delicious.

Last night’s event featured five beers from Oskar Blues Brewery from North Carolina. I quick look at Untapped and I knew that I would be sampling at least four new beers.

For the first course we had a mushroom toast, crème fraiche, pancetta, poached egg with a wine glass of Mama Little Yella Pils. I have had the Pils before but apparently did not like it. I’m not a fan of pilsners in general. I find them lacking in any notable character. The mushroom toast and crème fraiche were also “meh”. It was not memorable.

The second course was a roasted wild boar chop, wild boar sausage, quince purée, and bacon jam with Dale’s Pale Ale. The ale was quite good with just the right amount of hop. The wild boar sausage was spicy and salty. I enjoyed the heat but not the salt. The wild boar chop with bacon jam was perfectly paired with the Dale’s Pale Ale.

I was starting to feel a little full by the third course; BBQ pacu ribs, chimichurri aioli, jicama slaw paired with the Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale Nitro. This course was my favourite. The jicama slaw was incredibly delicious. It is something I think my wife would have enjoyed. In fact I’m going to look for recipes to make this. I think the slaw could have stood on its own.

The pacu is a large omnivorous South American fish that is related to the piranha. These pacu ribs actually looked liked miniature BBQ ribs. However, despite the size of the fish, the fish bones are smaller than normal ribs, which made this slightly more challenging to eat. The Old Chub Scotch Ale Nitro was fantastic. It’s my new favorite stout. Smooth. Perfect. It was just right for the smoky sweet taste of the pacu ribs.

For the fourth course, Chef Evan served a mini-burger (slider), with St. Agur cheese, pickled red onions, roasted red pepper, and wild arugula. The Oskar Blues rep paired this with the Icey PA, a double IPA. this was my second favorite course. The burger was delicious. The salty cheese with roasted red pepper was incredible. Although a double IPA, the Icey IPA was tamed by the flavours of the burger.

The last course was desert, a Resse’s Peanut Butter Cup bread pudding with bacon crème anglaise. For this final course we were served that Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. I didn’t like this stout. Too high in alcohol. Its’ 10.5%, hence the name. It reminded me of the Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS) but much less sweet and without the hints of bourbon. I only had a small bit of the bread pudding. It wasn’t so sweet that it needed a stout this strong. I think a white ale could have stood in nicely.

Overall, I enjoyed my experience and look forward to doing this again. But I would prefer the company of my wife and some good friends.

The Cost of Privacy

Woman's Blue Eye

It seems that privacy is the buzzword du jour for security. This is expected given the recent White House Summit on Cyber Security and Consumer Protection that was hosted at Stanford University on Friday, Feb. 13. Many of the executives in attendance challenged the government to do more to protect American’s privacy and some warned of the consequences of a “surveillance culture”.

If those of us in positions of responsibility fail to do everything in our power to protect the right of privacy, we risk something far more valuable than money. We risk our way of life.Apple CEO, Tim Cook

But I think what’s really at stake is “trust”. Perhaps I don’t trust the government to respect my right to privacy especially when their agenda — dealing with their fear — conflicts with mine. But perhaps I trust other entities. Perhaps I trust certain companies via the written service agreements they put in place. They state their philosophy and intentions clearly but back it with action.

Or perhaps I don’t trust anyone so I host my own services and I trust in my ability to configure my server and applications. It means more work. It means spending time and perhaps money. Even if I only buy surplus on eBay the costs add up.

In the past I was a big supporter of cloud based services. At one point in the past, my email, calendar, contacts, photos, and documents were all hosted with Google. I trusted them. But when Google launched Google+ then soon after started “hard selling” Google+ to users of every other Google service; I realized that perhaps I had made a mistake.

Then they shut down Google Reader. It took a while but I found alternative services. Most were in some ways better than Google Reader ever was. But they were not free. The cost wasn’t prohibitive for me; about $30 per year. $30/year was the cost of being profiled and “used”. The quality of the service improved over time, adding features I never saw in the many years using “FREE”.

Unfortunately, it’s become clear to me that digital privacy is quickly evolving from what should be a right to something that looks more like a privilege; a privilege I think we’re going to end up paying for.Paying for Digital Privacy | Tech.pinions

I started to think about other services and about my network traffic. How do I protect my self from being tracked and profiled by my ISP or cellular service provider? I started using a network VPN service on all my devices. The cost of that? $28/year.

I started paying to host my email. I bought hardware and built my own personal cloud storage system. I moved my calendar to another provider. Protecting my privacy was starting to get expensive.

I’ve only just started and it’s only going to get worse.

It bothers me that this is happening at all. Are American (mostly) companies so hell bent on making profit at any cost that there are willing to disrespect their customers in this way? Are we nothing but revenue streams?

There are those who understand what’s at stake. They get it. Let’s encourage them. Consumers need to start weening themselves from the “trap” of free. These companies need to pay for servers and bandwidth and developers. Your privacy is the product. If you value it, you may have to start paying to protect it.

With ad-supported business models, the desire to collect as much data as possible to better target advertising to you becomes an insatiable addiction.The Superfish Truth: A letter about Internet Security and Online Advertising.

The Superfish Truth: A letter about Internet Security and Online Advertising.

Published via MarsEdit

How To Setup iCloud On OS X

The following information is based on OS X 10.10 Yosemite. If you are running an earlier version of OS the information might still useful but you may have to look in different system preferences.

I love iCloud. iCloud connects all my Apple devices in ways that make it easy for me to work from any device . I always have the latest versions of my most important things — like documents, apps, notes, and contacts — on whatever device I am using. It lets me easily share photos, calendars, locations, and more with my friends and family. It even helps me find my iPhone if I lose it.

But what about the Mac? How does iCloud improve and extend the capabilities of OS X?

iCloud Drive is very similar to Dropbox and Google Drive. If you click Options.. you can see the list your apps that use iCloud Drive to store information. You can disable any of these apps at any time by de-selecting from the list. With iCloud Drive all your presentations, spreadsheets, PDFs, images, and any other kind of document stored in iCloud is accessible from a special folder on your Mac. Open the Finder, click on the icon, work your way through the folders and open any document.

To upload your files to iCloud, simply drag them into the iCloud Drive on your Mac running OS X Yosemite. Or start a new document using an iCloud-enabled app on your iOS device. Then you’ll be able to use those documents appear on your Mac.

Access iCloud Drive directly from the Finder.

Access iCloud Drive directly from the Finder.

With iCloud, you get an @icloud.com email account that’s ad-free, is up to date everywhere you check it, and includes e-mail at iCloud.com. Just select Mail in iCloud preferences and follow the onscreen instructions. Once iCloud is enabled on your Mac, you can use Mail, Calendar, and Contacts so send email, schedule your day and keep important information on your contacts.

iPhoto also has support for iCloud. You can sync photo to and from your Mac to your iPad or iPhone.

iCloud can sync data from Apple and third-party apps.

iCloud can sync data from Apple and third-party apps.

Using iCloud Drive means you’ll always have access to the latest version of all your documents from any device. For example, you can start creating a presentation on your Mac at home, then make final edits and present it in class using your iPad. The changes you make along the way appear automatically on all your devices.

How do you enable it?

It’s easy. Open System Preferences on your Mac. Click iCloud, enter your Apple ID, and select the services you’d like to enable. Boom! That’s it. Feature enabled and ready to use.

iCloud, OSX, Preferences

Select all the iCloud services you want to enable.