Sunday, August 29, 2010

Post Number 405: The Envelope Please

A couple of weeks ago I hit post 400 and rambled on about this milestone. Since then there's been another five posts and some slight changes. I have upped the number of posts on the home page to 20 and changed the sidebar so that "This Page's Posts" does just that... links to the posts wherever they might appear on the current page. I had a large backlog of links to add to each of the category pages, but I am now all caught up. Finally, I added a Food category and got rid of two older ones that no-one (including me) seemed to care about.

I previously posted seven reasons why this site exists, so here I'll complete that tally with reason number one.
Sunday, August 29, 2010

Myths And Fundamentals Of Indian Food Part 2

mustard seed and garam masala Continuing on from my last article, a general ramble about Indian cuisine, this post will cover some fundamentals ingredients you will need to make your own Indian dishes at home.

First, there is no such thing as a "curry", properly speaking, and neither is there any such thing as "curry powder". If you see a mixture advertised under that name, avoid it entirely. It is probably mostly stale turmeric. Curry is a leaf that gives flavour in combination with other spices. But for the sake of convenience we do indeed call a dish that has a certain mix of spices and a rich gravy a "curry". Even I do that, realising the simplification I am making. No-one is going to get called on orthodoxy here!
Monday, August 23, 2010

Advantages of a Full-Frame Camera

photographyLast September I wrote the article Thinking Outside The Frame: Sensor Sizes Explained. In this post I want to discuss more specifically the advantages of full-frame (FF) over APS-C cameras. The four photographic reasons to choose FF are lower noise, narrower depth of field, wider lens coverage and less diffraction. I will discuss each of these in turn, keeping the discussion pitched at the beginner.
Monday, August 16, 2010

ASUS X5EAE / K51AE Performance Tests

This is the last of three articles concerning the ASUS X5EAE laptop; the first was a general review, the second covered software configuration. Here I will provide some tentative performance and battery tests. As mentioned previously, this laptop reports to Windows as the ASUS K51AE, so perhaps that model is fundamentally the same.
Saturday, August 14, 2010

ASUS X5EAE / K51AE Configuration: Bloatware Hell

ASUS X5EAE desktop beforeIn my last article I recommended the ASUS X5EAE laptop based on its features, build and aesthetics. In this post I will discuss the experience of removing all the extra unwanted applications and getting the system ship-shape and usable. This might benefit those with other computers as well, especially if you are new to this game. In particular I will present my list of valuable software (every product free of charge) I ensure is always on a computer.

Turning on the computer for the first time initiated the Windows configuration process. Unlike earlier OS versions, your super-long product code has already been entered by the manufacturer, so all that is required is a user name, password and machine name. After this I was prompted for Windows to grab updates and allowed it to get only those deemed "important" (for now). It found two security fixes. Once this was done, some sort of annoying introductory ASUS video played, which at least had the benefit of waking me up. I will spare you a shot of the menu but above you can see the initial desktop, clutter and all.
Friday, August 13, 2010

ASUS X5EAE Laptop Review

ASUS X5EAE: openI was recently looking for a "starter" laptop for my daughter, with a budget of 500 euros. Sticking with a standard 15.6" monitor form factor, you can get a lot of bang for your buck in this commodity market. I short-listed models from Lenovo, Acer, HP and Dell, but ended up going for an ASUS model that it almost undocumented on the web. So here is the Internet's first published review of the ASUS X5EAE-SX047V.

(Click through the pictures to get to a Flickr set with larger versions. You may want to keep that page open in a second tab for ease of reference.)
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Post Number 400: Some Sort of a Milestone

post400Five years ago I retired my previous Theatre of Noise website and started this blog. I am not sure if I thought then that I would reach my four-hundredth article. Maybe I did. But to write 80 posts per year? Likely I did not anticipate that.

To be clear, that figure does not include various book-keeping entries (for example, the category pages), the pages on my many websites, the 66 posts at diagrammes modernes (a blog I spun off from this one, though it is rather moribund these days), nor those on temporary "project" blogs. And of course it cannot incorporate the over 6000 posts I have made in the last two years on the photography forums I frequent. Nor the thousands more on newsgroups and Yahoo Groups and other areas dedicated to specific topics of interest, ranging from audio recording to gaming to music and film. I also do not include MySpace and FaceBook and other social networking sites, some of which I was once quite active on.

So why do I do all this web stuff? At this juncture I figured a pause for self-reflection was in order. So I waited until three a.m. (the best time for introspection), put the last good Wire album on the headphones, poured myself a glass of decent red wine, and started thinking. In not too much time I had eight reasons. Here are the first seven; I'll leave the last one for next time.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Myths And Fundamentals Of Indian Food

masala dosaIndian food is popular the world over. Certainly it's one of the best-prepared options here in Ireland, just about the only thing worth going out for. Perhaps due to this popularity, there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding this cuisine. Here I will cover some general points, but must first declare that, though I am half-Indian, I have never been to that country. All my knowledge comes second-hand -- a pretty close second-hand in some cases, but still.
Friday, August 06, 2010

My First Foodie Post

varuval masalaI don't think I've ever shared a recipe on this blog, due to some strange oversight. I love cooking, especially healthy, spicy food. For years I was vegetarian and love good hearty dishes that would fit that diet, though now I am happy as a meat-eater. I have never been one for excess additives, sugar, dairy or baking -- I generally skip dessert entirely.

In future posts I will present recipes and food lore for your enjoyment, based on what my family and I enjoy. Recipes won't be too formal and won't be too complicated. But they will be tasty!