November 23, 2005
The best punkin' pie recipe evar!
First, yes, it’s *Punkin’* Pie. This isn’t just the end result of senseless squash slaughter. It’s supposed to make you feel good at all levels. A Pumpkin Pie, of course, cannot do this. But a Punkin’ Pie? Oh yeah, gimme ‘dat Cool Whip and ice cold whole milk, and I’m a happy scooter.
Some Punkin’ pies are made to be light, almost airy. This of course, is an abomination. When properly made, a Punkin’ pie should have mass, it should have weight, it should have its own gravity field, it should BEND LIGHT!
Now, this requires you to use a pumpkin (it’s not a punkin’ until it’s a pie). Not canned. But the actual fruit(?) itself. It’s not that hard to do, and it’s kinda fun. Take the pumpkin, and cut out the stem. Then carve it in half. You’re going to want a VERY sharp knife. Oddly enough, I have great luck with Ginsu knives here. So cut the pumpkin in half, then cut the halves into small wedges about 4” wide. Once that’s done, cute each wedge into thirds. Once that’s done, use your oh-so-sharp knife, and cut the pulp/seeds off of each piece. It may seem like a waste, but if you are careful, you won’t waste much, and you’re going to get a LOT of pies out of an average pumpkin anyway, so it’s no big deal. It’s also a heck of a lot easier than trying to scrape that stringy nastiness out.
Once the pumpkin is de-pulped and sectioned, heat the oven to 400°. (No, you are NOT “preheating” it. You’re heating it. What is “preheating”? Making it hot before you make it hot? Not on my watch.) Cook the pumpkin chunks skin-down for 90 minutes, or until the ‘meat’ is soft and about falling apart. Note: there's no really good way to tell other than experience. I've been doing this for about a decade now, so I just kind of know. The skin will look nasty and burnt where it touches the cookie sheets, (I know, I didn't EXPLICITLY say "use cookie sheets". Do I really have to?), but that's good. Makes it easier to get the skin off. You just kind of eyeball it here and there, and you'll get it. There's a LOT of room for error here.
Once that’s done, let the pumpkin cool, and cut it out of the rind. Next you have to slurry the chunks. If you have a big mixer, use that to go from chunks to glop. (It's a HUGE time saver over straight to blender.) Next, get a blender. Not one of those fancy-schmancy ones, but an genuine Osterizer bar blender, no less than a 500w motor, and sharp steel blades. You can actually find 700w models somtimes, and if you can, grab one. (No, you DON’T need a row of buttons. You need, at most, three settings: Off, On, Pulse. That’s it. everything else is just propaganda from the wussy blender people.) If it looks like it can process entire countries, it’s a good blender. Take the pumpkin you just peeled from the rind, (if you don't have a mixer, or the pumpkin glop if you do), and run it through the blender until it’s a nice slurry.
Now, as to the ingredients, (Note: This is PER PIE):
- 2 eggs
- 1¾ cup pumpkin
- ¾ cups sugar (I tend to use brown, I like the molasses flavor)
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 1½ cups sweetened condensed milk, (helps with the density)
- Pie crust of choice. This is a spicy (as in flavorful) pie, so a blander crust works better. I like graham cracker or ‘Nilla wafer crust. Just buy them. Making pie crusts sucks.
- Put all the ingredients in the blender and run that puppy until they flow freely.
- Pour the contents of the blender into the pie crust
- Heat the oven to 425°
- Bake at 425° for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350° for 45 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test
- Let cool, and eat with lotsa Cool-Whip and really REALLY cold whole milk.
November 4, 2005
The ultimate comment on the "Blogosphere"
Dear Scoble, Winer, and all the rest who think bloggers count more than anyone else...
Maddox rules| Comments ()
November 2, 2005
In the past, when people asked me what email server they should use for their business, my answer was immediate;
If they asked me what email server should they use for high reliability where email is an absolutely mission - critical service, and they need to have thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of users supported, my answer was immediate:
It was, (and really still is), a rock solid email server that is able to handle any load, no matter how large.
But I can't recommend it anymore, and I honestly apologize to anyone I recommended it to in the past. Not for any technical reasons. I can't imagine a bug that the CGPro coders can't fix, and well.
It's because of the company behind it, Communigate Systems, née Stalker software, and the way they are now treating their customers.
When you bought Communigate, aka CGPro, you always had a license for the version you bought, and a certain amount of version upgrades. That was never a problem, primarily because it was pretty much unenforced. However, this worked for their customers beyond just saving them money, because it allowed them to follow the "upgrade to version X to fix that bug" recommendations from CGPro tech support.
About a year ago, some things changed. First, the MAPI groupware connector, which had heretofore been an optional component was now a mandatory part of any CGPro purchase, unless you could 'prove' to CG Systems that you were an "ISP". The licensing costs for CGPro of course went up rather astronomically. The management of CG Systems gave a number of replies that basically boiled down to, "That's the way it is, and if you can't deal with that, we don't need your business". For people who wanted just a rock - solid email server, this was a very bad thing. So they held off on new licenses, upgrading licenses, and just did version upgrades as they needed to, or when told to do so by CGPro tech support.
This is where the second issue comes in. CG Systems decided to be far more hardcore about enforcing their license agreement, and made a modification to what was the current version of CGPro to enforce the license. Basically, if you upgraded, regardless of reason, past where your licenses were supported, your server quit. Bang. Initially, there was no obvious reason. Nothing in logs that indicated this was a licensing problem. CG Systems modified this to show log entries saying, "Your license expired, call CG Systems sales to upgrade". In the mean time, you don't have a functional email server.
If you're thinking "That sounds like a timebomb", well, I think that too.
Now, I do not have any problem with CG Systems enforcing license agreements. That is not the problem. The problem is that they have chosen to do it in a way that can, (and has, and is) cause real problems for even customers who want to stay current. When CGPro tech support tells you to upgrade to version "Foo" to fix a bug, and that version timebombs on you, and you ask them what's up, and they check their records, and they tell you that your license is invalid for the version they told you to upgrade to so you could fix a bug, that is something I have extreme problems with.
When you take into account that CG Systems knows exactly what every customer is licensed for, (since they manually issue you the license key for every copy of CGPro you buy), there's no way they can say "We didn't know it would timebomb you, but it's your fault for not knowing what you're legal for". While that's technically correct, I think it is reasonable to assume that when a company representative, (tech support) tells you to upgrade to a specific version of CGPro to fix a bug, and you ask them "is this okay for my license?" and they say yes it is, that you are not going to get timebombed.
Following technical support's advice should never blind-side you like that. If the license is not valid for that version, then the installation should fail with a clear, specific dialog telling you that you are not licensed for that version, or it should warn you about your license problem, and give you a chance to rectify it. Even Microsoft allows you time to do the right thing. CG Systems isn't even doing that.
They are technically within their rights to do so, but it is, to my definition of things, unethical in the extreme to screw over a customer, (especially when that customer is also, in some cases, a reseller) like this. I personally know people who are having serious business problems because of CG System's cavalier treatment of them. In some cases, they cannot even get calls returned from CG Systems so they can even begin to rectify this. Not only are their email servers dead, they can't talk to the company to do anything about it. This isn't a minor issue, this is a tactic that even Microsoft would hesitate to take.
CGPro is, from a purely technical view, the most solid, and reliable email server on any platform. The technical excellence of that code is still as solid as ever.
But the company behind it? Barring a complete and permanent change of management, I wouldn't give them money for a cup of coffee anymore. Yes, the company behind the product, along with its corporate ethics and policies does matter.
So to everyone I ever recommended Communigate Pro to, I apologize. It was a good recommendation at the time, but if you took that advice, and got nailed with the time bomb, I'm really sorry the company turned out to be such a pack of amoral jackals.| Comments ()