November 1, 2009

Jambalaya!

jambalayaNothing better on a nice autumn day than a little football, a little World Series baseball, and a whole lot of comfort food. I created this jabalaya recipe several years ago. It is a Creole or red style jambalaya, with equal parts sausage, chicken and shrimp. Other meats can be substituted, such as taso, duck or lump crab meat. The important part is the ratios. You can make this recipe as spicy or as mild as you want, by varying the amount of cayenne and Tabasco. It is important to chop the onion, jalapeño, bell pepper, and 1/3rd of the sausage as finely as possible. As the mixture cooks down, these ingredients will somewhat disappear, acting more like seasonings than major elements. As you are cooking, scrap the bottom of the pan frequently. This recipe takes about 90 minutes to cook, but trust me, it is well worth the time. This is the perfect dish for Christmas Eve, a football party, or any family get-together.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs Andouille sausage
  • 1 1/2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 lbs 21-30 Count shrimp (frozen)
  • 3 – 4 Yellow onions
  • 3 – 4 Green bell peppers
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 5 – 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 Bunches green onions
  • 4 Cups rice
  • 8 Cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup grape seed oil (or canola oil)
  • 20 Cloves garlic
  • Spices: salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, Emeril’s essence, and Tabasco to taste (read more…)
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October 18, 2009

Mango Habanero Salsa

Mango Habanero SalsaWhile creating my recipe for El Fuego Del Diablo, I started toying with ideas for fruit salsas. I wanted something that could be eaten with chips like a regular salsa, used as a garnish for fish or other meats, or served as part of a dessert.

I love mangos and I love habaneros, so that seemed like a good place to start. This recipe is a little sweet, has a little heat, and goes great with any Mexican food.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 3/4 cup diced pineapple
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 2 finely diced habaneros
  • 1 lime

(read more…)

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El Fuego Del Diablo

el fuego del diabloMan cannot live on technology and politics alone. Occasonally, you gotta eat. You might as well eat well. Real men do cook, but they don’t cook like wussies. Thus begins my series of posts on my favorite recipes. Most of these I made up myself, or bastardized from the work of others, with my own special twists.

First up: SALSA!!!! Specifically, my own 4 pepper, fire roasted, burn your face off, devil’s fire salsa. This stuff is HOT but it has a great flavor to match the heat. It is addictive too. If you are a chili-head, you must try this. The key to this salsa is the BBQ. I fire roast everything. This gives it a great smoky flavor, caramelizes some of the sugars in the peppers to add sweetness, and really intensifies the flavors of all the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 5 – Green jalepeno peppers
  • 5 – Red jalepeno peppers
  • 5 – Serano peppers
  • 5 – Habanero peppers
  • 6 – Large Roma tomatoes
  • 2 – Bunches of green onions
  • 2 – Limes
  • 1 – Garlic clove
  • 1 – Bunch cilantro
  • Salt and coarse black pepper to taste

(read more…)

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October 10, 2008

The best gadget I ever had…

Not all gadgets are created equal. Some are cool for a while, and then end up at the back of the drawer. Others stand the test of time. In 1976, my dad gave me a PROTO key ring screw driver. 20 years later, it is still on my key ring, and I use it daily. It is the best gadget I’ve ever had.

The simplicity of the PROTO is its brilliance. This is no cheap piece of metal. This is solid steel. Designed to do one thing, and do it well. Back when tools were built to last, PROTO was the king. The screwdriver key ring was, I think, a give-away as advertising. But I would gladly trade a whole box full of normal tools for my PROTO.

Over 20 years, this simple tool has been pushed to the limits. As a box cutter, it is second to none. I’ve opened thousands of boxes with it, without cutting myself or the goods inside. As a computer tech, the PROTO is the 1st tool I grab when I need to get inside a case quickly. Other uses for the PROTO include paint can opener, beer opener, lock pick, hole punch, ice scraper, staple remover, paper shredder unclogger, and oh yeah, screwdriver.

Unfortunately, they don’t make em like they used to. PROTO was bought at somepoint by Stanley tools. They still make good industrial tools, but the replacement for the screwdriver key ring is a cheap knock-off. Compared to the original, it is crap. If you are lucky, you can still find the old ones for sale on E-Bay. I stole the photo for this article from a current auction. Go get your own, and stay away from mine!

Editor’s Note: This article originally published on GadgetWorkshop.com.

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September 9, 2008

IronScale – The Future of Web Hosting?

IronScaleIt was the shot heard round the hosting world. Last month, my good friends at RagingWire announced their latest offering, IronScale, which has the potential to fundamentally change the hosting business. At least, that’s what the press release and the voice mail I received from Doug Adams, their head of sales claimed. Now, I’ve been doing business with RagingWire for almost 8 years, and I often tell people they have the best designed/built/run data center in Northern California, so I know they offer great services. I’m one of their only three-peat customers (I’ve put three different companies into their facility) and I’ve never been disappointed. Still, I tend to discount terms like “game-changing” as marketing fluff. I’m a “show-me” kind of guy. So they did.

Today I had the pleasure of an on-site demonstration and walk through of the IronScale service. I am impressed. On the surface, it is a typical managed server hosting offering. You rent one or more dedicated servers in their data center and they provide the operating system, network, internet bandwidth, security, etc. Pretty common stuff, and pretty boring. Why did I drive to Sacramento on one of the hottest days of the year for this (110F)? Well, you have to look beneath the surface, which I did, to see what they are really offering. At what I saw was awesome. (read more…)

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August 12, 2008

DNSCMD Kung Fu

In a previous article, I extolled the virtues of DNS on Windows. In particular, I love the scripting interface that DNSCMD provides. In that article, I claimed: “Need to create 500 host records, both forward and reverse, in different domains and subnets? DNSCMD can do it with a 1-line script… there is no *nix alternative that is this simple or powerful.” Well, enough people have been bugging me to provide it so here is is:

REM### Copyright 2008 William L. Dougherty
REM### Script for bulk uploading DNS records into Windows DNS
REM### Script requires hosts.txt file in format: FQDN,IPADDR 1 host per line
REM### Example:
REM######host1.domain.com,192.168.1.1
REM######host2.domain.com,192.168.1.2
for /F “tokens=1-7 delims=,. ” %%a in (hosts.txt) do dnscmd /recordadd %%b.%%c %%a a %%d.%%e.%%f.%%g && dnscmd /recordadd %%f.%%e.%%d.in-addr.arpa %%g ptr %%a.%%b.%%c

Just put it into a batch file and you are good to go. Simple, right? Well, maybe I should explain. (read more…)

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January 25, 2008

BlackJack Upgrade to Windows Mobile 6 – 1st Looks

Cingular BlackjackSamsung finally released the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade for the AT&T BlackJack yesterday. Having spent a whopping 6 hours playing with it, I can say this is upgrade is well worth the trouble. If you have a BlackJack, upgrade immediately!

Upgrading your phone is a smooth process, if follow the steps Samsung lists here, with a few caveats. First, backup all your data. This upgrade will wipe your phone, so you will lose all data and installed programs. Second, make sure you have links and license keys for any software you have added to your phone. You will need these to reload your software. Third, remove your SIM card before starting the process. You risk losing data on the card if you do not. After that, the upgrade is incredibly straight forward.

There are many differences between Windows Mobile 5 & Mobile 6. The Microsoft Mobile 6 Comparison Guide highlights the main differences. The upgrade will install Mobile 6 Standard edition on your phone. This is still not as feature rich as the OS you’ll find on Windows Mobile touchscreen devices, because it is optimized for 1-handed operation. Even so, I’ve found many improvements that make the upgrade worthwhile.

Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade to WM6: (read more…)

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January 23, 2008

Mobile 6 for BlackJack

Windows Mobile 6 is finally available for the AT&T/Samsung Blackjack. You can get it here: http://ars.samsung.com

Don’t forget to backup your data first and remove your sim card!!!

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January 8, 2008

Windows is better than Unix/Linux, sometimes.

Well, I agreed with Bill’s last article, until I read the part that said “Windows is better than Unix/Linux.”

Oh wait, that was the first sentence.

Now, if Bill had said “Windows is better than Unix/Linux, sometimes.” or perhaps if he had stretched and written “Windows is better than Unix/Linux — most of the time,” I may have agreed entirely.

Look, I’ve been a fairly OS neutral IT Manager for many years. If you’ve ever used CP/M, Xenix, DOS (any flavor), Novell, Windows (old school pre 3.11), OS/2, Windows, Linux, Solaris (SunOS), HP-UX, AIX, OS/400, Windows 9x/NT/2k (etc.) and now Vista (bleh), and so on, you’ll understand that every OS has features where it will excel. Every OTHER OS will have features that leave the other OS in the dust.

The key to success here is to identify where the use of one OS will benefit you more than the use of another OS. (read more…)

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January 7, 2008

Top 5 Ways Windows is Better Than Unix or Linux

Windows is better than Unix/Linux. Now that I’ve incited volumes of hatred from my Unix/Linux brethren, let me clarify my stance. I work with massively heterogeneous environments. For the past 10 years, every company I’ve supported has utilized at least 3 different operating system platforms including multiple versions and flavors of Linux, Unix, Windows, with some mid-frame (As/400) and Novell thrown in for good measure. The experience has taught me to choose the best tool for the job, rather than get religious about a platform. There are many functions that Windows performs better than *nix, and the *nix community should embrace them.

I hire a lot of Unix/Linux sys admins. One of my favorite interview questions for them is: “Name 5 ways Windows is better than Unix/Linux.” This is a great stress question, because most *nix guys think Microsoft is the devil. But Microsoft remains the most successful software company in the world. If you cannot recognize the areas where Microsoft excels, you are artificially narrowing your view of the world, which means you aren’t making the best technology decisions for your company, which means you can’t work for me (To be fair, I also ask Windows guys to name ways Unix/Linux is better than Windows). As a public service to *nix admins everywhere, I offer this list of 5 ways Windows is better than *nix. There are many others, but I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much info at once. It might overload your system, and cause a kernel panic. 😉

  1. Windows XP is the best productivity desktop
  2. Windows 2003 Active Directory Service is the best directory service
  3. Windows DNS is the best internal DNS server
  4. Exchange 2007 is the best groupware application platform
  5. Windows has better hardware support with vendor-supported drivers

Let the flame wars begin! Seriously though, I stand by each of those pronouncements. For those of you who haven’t run screaming from the room, my reasoning is below: (read more…)

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