Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am currently going through the "joy" of renewing my Canadian Passport. Unlike the pampered Brits who get 10 years of use out of their passports, Canadians have to go through this every five years.

The passports gods have decided to add a couple new hoops to the process, including two referees and additional documentation. The guarantor must be providing his services free of charge, which means that your GP are out of the question (since they charge for everything)

Finally, there is the pain of trying to find a photographer who meets the criteria of the Canadian Passport Authorities (no photo booths allowed). Size requirmentsand the elusive stamp on the back with photographer's address and space for the guarantor's signature.

Thankfully, I found folks in Glasgow who do this - Venart Photography on Bath Street in Glasgow. So I have an appointment to get this done. Then it is just the Guarantor and getting the documentation together for mailing to London.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Perhaps inspired by the 56 Geeks poster, I thought i would document some of the peoplpe who take a single subject and pour hours of devotion into it. If Geeks are not obsessive, then who is?

So this is the first post in the Geeks Community series

Today's Geek Community is - Coffee Addicts

I originally saw the manifestation of this devotion to caffeine back in the old days of the internet. The rec.food.coffee newsgroup was filled with people who were devoted to the ultimate expression of Caffeine (trimethylxanthine coffeine theine mateine guaranine methyltheobromine)and they produced the first online documentation for the ultimate coffee delivery systems .

I guess the ultimate of all devotional coffee sites is CoffeeGeek, a Canadian based site which provides reviews of machines and beans and adulation to all things coffee. They have excellent guides for the novice to extreme caffeine.

The folks at coffeegeeks discuss things that seem very alien to the occasional sipper of the workplace cup of caffeine. At no time would you consider that people compete in Professional Barista Championships or know about Cups of Excellence and the practice of cupping.

There are some great hacks to improve the technology behind a great cup of coffee.

Then we have the purveyors of beans. The well-known supplier to the starter roaster in the states is Sweet Marias, however in the UK Hasbeans seems to have taken up the challenge

Finally, we have those that love the art of the expresso,

- Update January 1st 2008 - What happens when you combine a great expresso machine and the power of the open source Arduino hardware - you get a great coffee hack. This guys adds a PID temperature controller and computer interface to his Gaggia Expresso Machine.