I’ve been behind. The past two months haven’t been great. But things are looking better, and the holidays couldn’t have come at a better time. We were in the US this time around, got to see more friends and family than I could have hoped. Here are some of the things we got up to.
New year, new lick of paint. See previous version of this site in the internet archive. It isn’t perfect, but I’m happy with where it’s going. The colour remains an ongoing experiment. The years archive on the Browse page is probably the site’s most vibrant manifestation at the moment.
After a rotten week health-wise, it was really nice to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving yesterday with a few friends. The image above is one of Grandma Piper’s very many post-party notes, a sort of debrief she wrote to herself about what she made and what she might change next time. This particular page seems to be her neighbourhood holiday open house plan from early December 1971 for around 110 guests (guest list is on reverse). I expect she found these notes super useful, particularly since she seemed to keep every single one of them. Here’s what I made this year, documented for a similar purpose.
It’s impossible to watch GBBO without wanting something sweet… Cocoa powder brownies fill the void. Baking takes a bit of time (25 min), but the prep is very quick since there’s no fiddly chocolate melting. These lie in the fudge-y end of the brownie spectrum, very dark and dense. In fact, I’ve made this in a cake format before since it’s almost like flourless chocolate cake. Bake in a round tin and spoon fresh whipped cream and berries over the top. Finally, this takes substitutions pretty well. I’ve made these vegan and gluten free before (coconut oil not butter, blitzed and gelled chia seeds not eggs, GF flour). Comes out great, though they’re a bit gooier and have to cook a little longer.
Simple cocoa brownies
Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line a 20 cm (8″) square tin. In a pot large enough to hold the rest of the ingredients, melt 150 g (1 1/3 c) butter. In a small bowl, combine 250 g (1 1/4 c) sugar and 90 g (heaping 3/4 c) cocoa powder. Beat this in to the butter. Once the mix is sufficiently cool, beat in 2 eggs and a tiny splash of vanilla extract or orange flower water (optional). The mixture will come together firmly, it will be almost taffy-esque. Gently stir in 64 g (1/2 c) flour just until combined. Pour in to the lined square tin, spread it in to the corners, and bake 25 minutes. The top should be glossy when done, possibly with a few cracks. Let it cool in the tin on a rack until nearly set but still warm.
This past Thursday 18 October was the second Server Co-op meetup in Rebecca’s Flat at Raven Row. See all Server Co-op notes.
I didn’t take as many notes this time, wasn’t feeling fantastic. Very sketchy notes below.
click public button twice if the Patchwork feed seems stuck after first install
how to have Scuttlebutt on multiple devices?
eh, maybe not worth the hassle, just use one device
“sameAs” is currently being worked on by devs in Scuttlebutt community
identity = private + public + network key combo
back up private key and gossip.json
dark crystal for backing up private key using social network
“shamir’s secrets” algorithm
kind of like horcruxes!
with Scuttlebutt, your friends are your cloud/datacentre
nothing is ever deleted (same as Dat)
could technically have multiple identities, but functionality isn’t implemented currently. Would have to swap .ssb directories
Friday 28 September 2018
Swam in the sea at Abbey River Beach with Ben, Daisy, Joe, Sam. It was ~60F/16C outside, ~62F/17C in the water. Very sunny, warm when the breeze died away. GIF grabbed from video by BL.
There *is* a mobile Dat browser, but apparently it’s a bit… buggy. See Bunsen for Android (nada for iOS). Still, kudos to them for taking a stab at it. Apparently the project of making a Dat browser sort of hits a brick wall due to node.js, but a bunch of devs have taken it upon themselves to make a Rust implementation of Dat. TBH I don’t understand the ins-and-outs well enough to be able to describe how that lowers the barrier, but it sounds like the future of mobile Dat might be brighter for it.
I haven’t dug in to Scuttlebutt yet, and it sounds like it’s about time. An offline-first protocol, described by KG as a database/social network/community. See also Patchwork. Feel like I heard HL say that it came about after 2011 Christchurch earthquake due to the difficulties at the time with having any sort of connectivity, but that might be wrong?
And crucially, are there ethical conversations around P2P tech that we’re failing to have, or happily skating past? I’m thinking about when Facebook and similar now-giants were in their nascent stages, surely some of the current nastiness could have been avoided if the making was accompanied by a little more thinking, more extrospection? How do you wrap your head around the potential ethical implications of something that doesn’t yet exist? I found KB’s anecdote interesting, when a few fascistic idiots attempted to hijack Scuttlebutt but were almost immediately, organically, blocked from having any meaningful impact. It feels great, but who’s to say they’re not off in their own node somewhere trolling away? Feels awful to think that Scuttlebutt might be harbouring some sort of extreme-right cell, and yet maybe so be it, should it be a decentralised network’s responsibility to police that? How on earth would that work anyway?
There are a few tunes that you turn up and hum along to when they come on. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin ticks the box for me. It’s one of those weird ones though, a song that has a kind of uplifting melodic line but some pretty sad lyrics.
Quick edit: Oh man, and “Crying” by Roy Orbison, and “Heaven Help Us All” by Stevie Wonder, and “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers. (Solid playlist on right now, clearly.) That last one will always have the softest spot in my heart.
Here’s a recipe for fake-but-tasty horchata. For the real deal, look elsewhere. For something quick, single-serving:
In a medium jug or bowl, whisk together 250 ml rice or oat milk, a generous pinch of cinnamon, a drop of vanilla essence, and 1/2 tsp brown sugar (or to taste). Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. For a more pervasive cinnamon flavour, allow to rest for 1 hour and then whisk again. Serve over ice, with a little spoon to keep stirring.
Is there a a cocktail to be made from this, with dark rum or tequila?
Holy cow, see the Wikipedia article. Had no idea that horchata is such a widespread thing, and with so many different methods.
Very pleased to now be a part of Host. Feels like a really good fit.