“Counting the beats,
Counting the slow heart beats,
The bleeding to death of time in slow heart beats,
Wakeful they lie.” — Robert Graves
XKCD

(this unusual XKCD does not embed, please click to be mesmerised by it)

Setting Up Our Voice-Over-IP Phone System

Simon Phipps:

Interested in Raspberry Pi or VoIP? You’ll want to read about our new telephone system at work!

Originally posted on Meshed Insights & Knowledge:

As I mentioned recently on Google+, I’ve recently installed a telephone system for Meshed Insights using a Raspberry Pi. Here’s a description of the system I’ve put together.

Raspberry PI PBX

The brains live in a model B Raspberry Pi. I installed the GNU/Linux distribution Raspbian using the easy NOOBS on an SD card, then installed RasPBX — FreePBX and Asterisk — using the Pi Store via the desktop as that was easiest. I enabled sshd so I can log in from the office (using a private key so it’s less hackable), set the unit to have a fixed IP on our internal network and then disconnected the keyboard, mouse and screen. The system now runs headless in our server room.

View original 662 more words

Bitcoin Commodity Exchange

Turns out you can buy and trade Bitcoin mining capacity as well as Bitcoin. As I’m gradually learning more about the Bitcoin world, I’m finding a rapidly maturing technology space. I just stumbled across a commodity exchange, for example. Akin to an exchange trading gold or oil, this one trades the capacity to mine Bitcoin — processing power measured in GHash/sec.

Called cex.io the exchange looks easy enough to understand. One advantage of trading processing power is all the time you earn it, you also earn the Bitcoin the associated processing power creates. I’ll be giving it a try with a small amount of Bitcoins to see what happens — as described it looks like a better “savings account” for Bitcoin than keeping them on a computer here.

2013 in review

WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

New Police Powers

Adding Bitcoin Subscriptions

If you’d like to support my writing, I can now accept donation of Bitcoins.  You can subscribe to make a monthly donation, or make a one-off donation.  I’m using Coinbase to handle this, I’d welcome input on other people’s experiences.

Chocolate Martini Redux

Almost ten years ago I posted a recipe for a very different style of chocolate martini. Most of the variants of this drink I have tried have had a chocolate taste but a texture that seems incongruously light and watery. Not this one; it’s dense and rich like melted chocolate.

It was the top hit on my web site for many years, but my recent web site migration means the original URLs have gone dark. So here’s the recipe again, just in time for the holidays!


Chocolate Orange Martini

Chocolate Martini
If you’ve made chocolate sauce, you’ll know that you melt chocolate and then keep it liquid when it cools by adding a solvent – usually fat (in the form of cream). It struck me that one could probably use alcohol instead. Here’s roughly the recipe I use; it makes shots for at least 10 people.

  • 1 bar high cocoa ratio chocolate (150g)
  • Grated chocolate for garnish
  • Chocolate truffle per glass (optional)
  • 200 ml vodka
  • 100 ml curaçao or other triple sec/orange liqueur
  • 50 ml single (pouring) cream
  • 75 ml coconut cream (not coconut milk or coconut water)

Melt the chocolate carefully (I use a double-boiler) and when it’s liquid slowly stir in the vodka 25ml at a time to start with and then 50ml at a time. Then shake with everything else with plenty of ice in a large cocktail shaker. Strain and serve – I recommend straining into a small jug so that the melting ice doesn’t dilute the drink too much as you’re carefully pouring it.

Although I show it here in cocktail glasses, the drink is so rich and dense that I suggest serving it in shot glasses instead.  Garnish with a dusting of grated chocolate from the same bar you used for the drink. Optionally serve with a single rich chocolate truffle in the bottom of the glass as a reward.

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