Monday, April 30, 2007

White & Nerdy

If you are reading my blog you may or may not be white, but you are probably nerdy.
Admit it.
Don't be shy...


I promise to post something worthwhile soon :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Meson Sabika - Naperville

My wife and I just celebrated our 8th anniversary. We had Grandma come over to watch the kids so we could get out for dinner. We went to Meson Sabika in Naperville. This was one of the best dining experiences I've ever had. It is a Spanish Tapas restaurant serving only authentic Spanish offerings.

The food was amazing. I had never been to a Tapas restaurant, and had no idea what it was. Essentially the entire menu is appetizer sized portions of traditional Spanish dishes. They are relatively small portions meant for sharing. The prices are mostly in the $5 and $6 dollar range. You can go up from there of course. Everything we ordered was from the "Hot Tapas" menu if you're following along. First we had "Pincho de Solomillo", "Champinones Rellenos", and an "Empanada de Buey". My wife ordered a glass of white Sangria and I (of course) ordered a glass of Spanish red wine from Rioja. The name of the wine I had was Azabache, it was fantastic. Unfortunately I don't know more about the wine than that (I'm going to give them a call later).

Our server was fantastic. We had finished off our first three dishes and were going to order another. We ordered a dish that involved artichoke hearts, spinach, and a Spanish cheese. Unfortunately I don't see that dish on the menu right now. The cheese was fantastic, and the dish overall was very good. Back to the server, he told us that we absolutely had to try the "Datiles Con Tocino". This dish, as the menu reads, is "Baked dates wrapped in bacon served with a red bell pepper sauce". Sounds strange right, dates wrapped in Bacon? It was one of the most amazing dishes I've ever had. I commented to the server that it was excellent and sounded completely strange. He said everyone says that, but when they come back it's the first dish they order. I'm thinking that will be the case for my wife and I as well.

Next it was time for dessert! Again, our server takes over to ensure success. We asked him what the Flan of the day was. I'm going to try and reproduce his response in writing as best I can. He said, "The flan of the day is cinnamon... Do you like chocolate?" My wife and I laughed, at this point we trust him, so we said "absolutely". He recommended the "Crema de Chocolate". The dish is like a Crème brulée made with heavy creme on a bed of chocolate. It was mind blowing. Our server told me that I had to try it with a glass of Port. I had said that my wife put her foot down on that idea already. He said I was really missing out, and went on his way. He came back shortly afterwards with a small taste of Port and said, "This is on me my friend, you have to try it. If you like it maybe you buy a glass next time". This guy kicks ass right? Man, he was right, absolute heaven.

I realize this is my longest blog post ever. Simply put, if you are ever in the Naperville IL area and looking for a fantastic meal stop into Meson Sabika.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Friday, April 20, 2007

OpenID support in Acegi Security

SourceForge.net: acegisecurity-developer

Acegi security now has a first-draft of OpenID support as provided by Robin Bramley of Opsera Limited. We'll definitely need to get some documentation and samples going. It's a great start though.

More info on OpenId...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Congratulations Mark Buehrle!

Last night, a rare and very special thing happened on the south side of Chicago. Mark Buehrle, long-time ace pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, pitched a complete game no-hitter.

This is special for many reasons. This day and age a complete game itself is less and less common. Managers like to bring in middle relievers and closers, because everyone worries about pitch count. Most of the time, if your pitcher gets to 100 pitches, they get yanked. There are a few horses left out there that will go the complete game, Mark Buehrle is one of them.

A no-hitter (or in baseball slang, the no-no), is a game where the offense fails to get a single hit during the entire game. You can have a no-hitter, while still switching pitchers, but that's no fun. What's important is to see one pitcher go all the way without allowing a single hit. Not one. There is also the concept of the "Perfect Game". A perfect game is one where the pitcher does not allow any hits or walks for the duration of the game. Mark did walk Sammy Sosa in the fifth inning, but he promptly picked him off at first base.

Here's some perspective on the no-hitter accomplishment. Mark is only the 16th pitcher in White Sox history to throw a no-hitter. The White Sox have been around since 1900, so think about that a second. Here's a list of all the pitchers in history who have accomplished the no-no.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

free.winelibrary.com

Here's something fun that I should have blogged about earlier. Have a look at http://free.winelibrary.com. Here's the deal. Monday through Friday at 1pm EST a new wine will be offered with free shipping. One wine, one day, free shipping. What sort of wine will it be? Well that's up to Gary Vaynerchuk and friends.

Overall the wines are usually intriguing ideas from various places around the world. For example, here's a recent entry from Greece. (note that the old links are not valid for free shipping) Is it good? Who knows. Usually the community will leave comments on the wine if they've had it or not. You gotta be quick though if you see something you like. The wine will sell out pretty quickly. Then you'll see the comments go from Wine to Whine in a hurry.

Here's a tip I posted on one of the quick-sellouts recently...
I setup a “Scheduled Task” in Windows to open a browser to free.winelibrary.com at 12:05 (CST). That way I never forget to check it.

This is a great service where you can really find some steals if you pay attention. Don't miss out on something you think you might like by second guessing it. Get off the fence and ring it up!

For more information you can read the "About" tab.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Learning Flex

I'm having a little fun on the side learning about Adobe Flex 2. I don't have Flex Builder 2, as it is incredibly expensive. I'm just using vi and the mxmlc compiler from the free Flex 2 SDK download. I have also downloaded the Flex Builder 2 Trial from the site, but haven't installed it yet.

Right now I'm following the "Live Docs" available online from Adobe. They're not bad, most of the examples have the Flex Builder part first and then show you the mxml source output on the next page. I've gotten along pretty well by just skipping the "Set up your project" pages.

So far, it's fun and interesting. I don't know if I'll invest in a book just yet, just to see how far I get without one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pandora: Internet Radio

It's seems Vinay and I are playing blog-tag. My friend Vinay posted an article about Pandora, an internet audio site. This is too cool. You type in an artist or song and it navigates you through music with similar styles. Like I said, too cool.

Another thing I noticed about the site is the advertising. I know it sounds odd, but I like their approach. There is a somewhat obtrusive advertisement in the top right corner, but it isn't overwhelming. The interesting thing is that the site is basically skinned to the advertisement. Each track change brings with it a new add, and a new skin to the site. The current BP campaign involves these cartoony looking babies driving in a car. The Pandora page gets re-skinned with the colors and background image of the babies in the ad. A very interesting approach.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Event Stream Processing

I recently read an article at OnJava: "Esper: Event Stream Processing and Correlation". Event Stream Processing is a very cool technology that allows real-time reaction to events in your business. It can be used effectively in network monitoring and business intelligence.

Rather than reacting to receiving a single event, which doesn't scale well from a network monitoring perspective, you react to an aggregated view of those events. If one request to your database is slow, that isn't significant in a large application. If you look at the request times over a 1 minute period, and see that the latency is increasing; that's very significant. Stream processing allows you to process these sort of events.

I'm not a business guy, so any example I come up with for that is going to be totally contrived and lame. I'm sure there are some great ones though :P

Have a look at Wikipedia for more explanation.

Back to the article...
The article focuses on using an open-source tool caled Esper, which is avaialable from Codehaus. I haven't set the application up yet, but I will on one of my two 40 minute train rides. We use a similar product where I work. It is not open source, and is not available to me here. Politics :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007

President Feed: Update

Tim O'Brien and friends have made some nice updates to PresidentFeed. I see you can remove your vote, without having to cast a new one now. The UI is cleaned up, it looks a little more - I dunno - serious I guess. The new widgets that show approval percentages, and vote charts. Very nice.

One thing that was removed, that I think is unfortunate, is the links to the candidate sites. I'd love to see the site aggregate news info about the candidates. Having one site that gets news updates for all the candidates in one friendly place; that'd be extremely cool. Hell, even if it's just links to a news.google.com search.

What do you think Tim? :P

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back from Vacation

My family and I drove down to Florida for a week long vacation. I live in Chicago, so it takes like two days to get there with three kids in the car. The vacation was nice, though not very relaxing with so many things to do and see.

The most amazing part of the vacation was taking my 4 year old daughter to Disney World. She loved it, she was so excited for almost every part of it, it was fantastic. Seeing your daughter talking with Snow White, Cinderella and Belle is enough to get any Father choked up.

And now, it's back to work ugh :P