2008-09-20

Saeco Nina

We've had a Saeco Nina at the office for a few months. After a lot of trial and error, we think we finally figured out how to get the best cup of coffee from it. Here are our tips.

We usually buy the Starbucks Espresso Roast. We don't necessarily prefer Starbucks or this particular blend and roast, but Starbucks is the nearest bean seller to our office, so it's very convenient and good enough. At our Starbucks, we ask them to set the mill to number 4; the grind is just a little bit coarser than a true espresso grind, and just right for the Nina. We store the coffee in jars rather than in the bag, and we store the jars at room temperature.

We use the rubber gasket, we don't tamp, and we don't use the nipple. This machine pressurizes the coffee with the assistance of the rubber gasket, so we don't need to tamp. We scoop a heaping spoonful of coffee into the filter, and we tap the basket on the table to level the coffee in the filter before screwing the basket onto the pump head. We removed the nipple that directs the coffee to the two spouts--we find that the nipple obliterates our crema and makes the coffee too bitter. We programmed the Nina to pour the right amount for our cute little cups.

We clean the basket and filter at least once a week with Cafiza, and we scrub the filter with a stiff brush.

We love our daily espresso.







2008-09-08

Spooler subsystem app has encountered a problem and needs to close

After installing Windows XP SP3 on one of my PCs, the print spooler stopped working. After logging in, error message windows with text like this appeared:
Spooler subsystem app has encountered a problem and needs to close.
I couldn't start the print spooler service, and I couldn't even run Gimp to take screen shots of the error message windows.

Following Microsoft's instructions, I uninstalled all the printer drivers, and the problem was solved. Then I uninstalled and reinstalled the printer drivers I care about (HP Universal Print Driver and PDFCreator), and everything was back to normal.

2008-09-05

Real guitars are for old people

I like to observe how people use technology. I watch my family, friends, coworkers, and strangers to see how they use their gadgets in public and private places. Young people and old people use technology differently from each other; mentally cataloging these differences has become a hobby.

When I use the terms "old people" and "young people", I don't mean a particular age group. I do have particular ages in mind: a "young" person is more likely to be a 14 year old, and an old person is more likely to be a 48 year old, but what I'm really trying to convey is a person's style. An old person is stodgy, resistant to change, and inexperienced with newer technology. A young person grew up with a laptop PC, a cell phone, and a DVR, and has plenty of spare time to try new things.

Here are some of my observations and stereotypes:
  • Old people print web pages and carry paper around to show others. Young people just Google it and walk away contented.
  • Old people leave voice mail. Young people don't listen to it.
  • Old people use email. Young people use IM and text messages. (Old people say SMS instead of text message.)
  • Young people read manga and graphic novels. Old people think they are too old for comics.
  • Old people print driving directions. Young people don't drive. Young people who are old enough to drive use the directions on their phone.
  • Young people watch feature films on their iPods. Old people wonder why you'd want to watch a movie on such a small screen.
  • Old people listen to music on their phones. Young people use their iPods because their phones aren't good music players.
  • Old people buy music from iTunes or on CDs. Young people borrow a friend's iPod.
  • Old people wait for the latest sports scores on ESPN or the TV news. Young people look up the latest scores and info on espn.com.
  • Young people read RSS feeds. Old people read the tree killer edition of the newspaper.
  • Young people share to an embarrassing degree on FaceBook. Old people are more careful.
  • Old people play guitar. Young people appropriate, repurpose, and mash up. As Cartman says, "real guitars are for old people."

2008-09-02

Traffic signal control

Walking through Porter Square yesterday, we found this open traffic signal control box.


Here is a closer look at the signal controls.


The door to the control switches appears to be "locked" only by this screw-latch.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails