Today’s Coffee Tip

I found this interesting post on cleaning your coffee grinder.

If you aren’t drinking freshly ground coffee, you should be.

Ok, here is the tip from weeklyroast.com’s coffee blog, uncooked white rice.

A really great way to clean out your grinder is to use uncooked, white rice. If you use a blade grinder (and we highly recommend upgrading to a burr grinder!), fill it with white rice up to the blades. If you use a burr grinder, put about 2-3 teaspoons worth of white rice and set the burr grinder to a fine grind (espresso) setting and start grinding.

After you’ve finished grinding, you’ll notice immediately that large clumps of previously ground coffee are now clinging to the powdered, ground white rice and after dumping the grounds out, you should see spots you could never clean before coffee-ground free. The inside of the grinder should also be a lot cleaner than before as most of the old, rancid coffee oils also attached themselves to the white rice (they’re attracted to the starch in the rice – that’s why this technique works so well).

Repeat this process until the ground rice no longer has any black particles in it.

I was cleaning out my grinder fairly regularly, but this clearly did pick up some coffee particles that my regular cleaning didn’t get.

Originally posted at the Urbin Report.

Barnes and Noble enters the e-book reader market

Barnes and Noble has announced the Nook, their e-book reader.

This is in direct competition to Amazon’s Kindle.  It’s a very similar bit of technology, the major difference being that the B&N Nook will allow users to “share” e-books with other Nook users.  It works this way.  You purchase an ebook from B&N on your Nook.  You like it.  You think your buddy, who also has a Nook, would like it. So you can “loan” that book to said buddy.  It will be available to be read on his Nook for two weeks.  My bet is that this will generate a lot a ebook sales.

Now, some may argue that Amazon already owns the  mind share for e-book readers, having crushed the Sony E-Reader in the market.  The Kindle took off because Amazon was already seen as a major e-retailer of books and they had the ability to buy books immediately on the Kindle using mobile Internet technology.  Sony wasn’t known as a book seller and they had no such “instant buy” option.  The Nook has a similar broadband connection to the Kindle and B&N is seen as a major retailer of books by the public.  The fact that B&N has a much larger ebook library than Amazon doesn’t hurt either.

There are two major flaws I can see with the Nook.  First, the whole DRM thing. Second is that it only supports three formats, EPUB, eReader and PDF.  A few more, including unencrypted Mobipocket, would be nice.

Amazon has responded, quietly, with the announcement that they will release free “Kindle software” for the PC platform, so people can read Amazon’s DRM crippled ebooks on their desktop or notebook computers.  MAC and LINUX users are not supported in this release.  Amazon is also selling refurbish (i.e. used) first gen Kindles for $150.

US Special Forces gets the cool toys…

In this case, it’s a Plasma Knife!

According to this Popular Science article, it’s a medical tool, not a battlefield weapon.

The knife, whose blade consists of heated, ionized gas, cuts through flesh just as easily a steel scalpel, but also cauterizes the wound. By sealing off the damaged flesh, the plasma knife protects against infection, and stops the bleeding that imperils the wounded soldier.

This is too cool not to be turned into a close quarters combat weapon.  I expect some “field expedited” tests coming sooner rather than later.  Really, look at just whom these are being given to.