An interesting sequence of events started here earlier this week. I received an unexpected box, posted from Dunedin, apparently from one "Olga Fiedo". Inside the box a small clay ornament, with a numbered card.
I don't know Olga Fiedo, and search attempts didn't return anything meaningful.
But this morning I got a phone call. Someone asked for "Olga Fiedo". It seems this person also got a box from this mysterious "Olga Fiedo". With my phone number in the sender details.
Now curious, I looked at the box I received earlier this week and noticed that the phone number in the recipient details was not from Dunedin, but a Wellington area number. So I called that number and reached a family voice mail. No "Olga Fiedo" in the welcome message though, only mum, dad and two kids.
It's obvious now that whoever sent this wanted people to call each other, and spread the name - or get curious about it. As I posted to my Twitter, ok Olga, I'm listening...
Do you know Olga Fiedo?
I will take a break from my on going technology theme and get into something that is dear to (almost) everyone in technology: coffee. I like to drink coffee, mostly espresso - which in New Zealand is sometimes called short black, but in some places ordering an espresso can just give you a ristretto.
Anyway, I used to have an espresso machine at home but lately I have been converted to Nespresso machines. The coffee is actually good, consistent in results and very easy to use. Nespresso uses aluminium capsules filled with coffee grounds, and there are many varieties to choose from. Here is one Nespresso machine (there are many different models) and a capsule:
A lot of people don't like the Nespresso. Many say the coffee in the capsule is stalled and old, but I am not sure many of the critics actually tried the coffee. We don't have a Nespresso store in New Zealand but next time you are in Sydney (King St), stop by their shop there and ask for a free sample.
Anyway, this is not about the Nespresso, but how I posted on my Twitter about making coffee and someone offered me a free trial of their AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker, available in New Zealand through the NZShop.
The AeroPress looks like the well known French Press (or plunger), but it's not. The main difference is that while you let the coffee sit for minutes on a plunger, with the AeroPress you extract it pretty much straight away, creating pressure with a device that looks like a. syringe.
Making coffee is easy: insert a paper filter in the base, use the measure spoon to add ground coffee (in my case I used L'Affare Primo), pour hot water (not boiling), stir for ten seconds, then apply pressure for twenty seconds. Yes, that's it, just check the pictures:
The final picture shows the espresso out of a Nespresso machine on the left and the AeroPress coffee on the right side.
The resulting coffee is good, strong as expected and not too bitter as some espresso. But you won't have any crema on top - some say an espresso will always have crema, so I wouldn't call the coffee out of the AeroPress an espresso, while the manufacturer obviously says it is. Also note because of the size of the device you can't extract directly to a demitasse. I personally drink espresso with nothing else - not even sugar, so I prefer to drink from a demitasse.
Final word: quicker than plunger coffee, stronger but not quite an espresso. Worth having for that quick fix if your office doesn't have a coffee machine.
If you have any information about missing girl Aisling Symes you can contact the New Zealand Police on 0800 4 247 5464 (download pdf poster). The Help Find Aisling Symes website provides more information, videos and pictures that can help you identify the missing two years old.
Aisling Symes went missing on Monday 5th Otober 2009.
You can also join a Missing Aisling Symes Facebook group and spread the links so your friends are aware of this.
Let me also be clear about what we will not do. Our pursuit of cybersecurity will not -- I repeat, will not include -- monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as Americans. Indeed, I remain firmly committed to net neutrality so we can keep the Internet as it should be -- open and free.
Here is the video (transcript available):
I will have some videos and photos from the flight - but in the meantime I recommend people update their Geekzone profile...
The good stuff? Their cabin manager now comes around the Air New Zealand Koru Lounges before boarding for international flights, introduces him/herself and even come back later to take us to the plane.
The bad stuff? Their loyalty program actually is everything but about loyalty.
For example I had a ticket Auckland - Los Angeles - Wellington. The electronic ticket was issued in Premium Economy but I used some of my upgrades to use the business class. Great stuff, all worked well so far.
Once I landed in Los Angeles I took another flight to Austin and back. The flight back from Austin to Los Angeles was with US Airways, a Star Alliance partner. As such I entered my Air New Zealand Airpoints number to claim some points. What a mistake!
You see, even though these tickets were not issued by Air New Zealand and not even in the same booking, Air New Zealand automatically reverted the 130 points I earned for each of the long haul flights and credited me with less points.
They say that if any Star Alliance flight is taken during 30 days of my Air New Zealand flights and if they decide these Star Alliance flights are part of my original journey, they will give me less points - less points on a full fare Air New Zealand ticket issued in separate!
Now the kick in my low area: Air New Zealand reduced the points by more than the Star Alliance points they gave me for the other flights. Which means these points will make it harder for me to keep my Gold status or go down to Silver status.
This, with the fact that cheaper domestic fares receive zero points is just another example of how Air New Zealand wants to destroy loyalty.
What a shame.
I've met Sandi many times around the world - a couple of times in Seattle for the Microsoft MVP Summit, a couple of times in Las Vegas during the CES, in Singapore for a Microsoft Windows Vista Lab, and somewhere else I can't remember.
From the official press release:
Ms. Hardmeier is a recognized and widely sought after industry expert in the field of malware and malvertizing and their impact on consumer privacy and security. She will play a key role in TRUSTe’s development of improved network monitoring strategies while providing customers with expert insight and recommendations to combat existing and emerging Web threats such as spyware, computer viruses, and other types of malware.
“Sandi has been studying malware since 2000, and has watched its metamorphosis from simplistic, easy to remove adware into the sophisticated crime-motivated products we see today,” said Fran Maier, executive director of TRUSTe. “Sandi will help us build our expertise in the important intersection between online trust, privacy and security.”
Sandi has been a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP) since 1999, specializing in Internet Explorer and Internet Security as it pertains to business and consumers. She also has an array of published work and is the author of www.msmvps.com/spywaresucks (a Web site dedicated to teaching Internet users about the latest risks to their online safety and how to stay safe when surfing the Web); http://www.ie-vista.com/ (dedicated to providing technical support to users of IE7 and IE8); and http://inetexplorer.mvps.org/ (dedicated to providing technical support to users of IE6 and earlier).
Well done Sandi! See you around...
We don't know yet where we will be holding the Christchurch event but this time it will be on a weekend. If you want to come to this one please RSVP in the discussion.
I like espresso at home. It's quick to make it. We do have an espresso machine here but for the sake of speed I bought a Nespresso machine. The coffee is still good, and it doesn't take all the cleaning after.
But I digress. The whole thing with this post is that New Zealanders tend to serve a ristretto when you order an espresso. The problem with this is that, unlike manual machines, automatic machines will not make the water go through faster, instead just pushing less water - as you can read in the wikipedia entry:
The resultant shot could be described as bolder, fuller, with more body and less bitterness. All of these flavors are usually attributed to espresso in general, but are more pronounced in ristretto. Because of this exaggerated flavor, ristretto is often preferred by espresso coffee lovers. Today, with the hand press out of favor and modern automated machines generally less controllable, ristretto usually just means less water; a normal (double) espresso shot is a 88 ml (3 fl oz), while a (double) ristretto is a 30-45 ml (1–1.5 fl oz).
A espresso should fill a demitasse. Some would call it a double shot. Here's a picture of what I know as a ristretto and served in New Zealand as an espresso. Bellow is what I know as an espresso and New Zealanders call double shot:
I have a few demitasse here. But lately I am enjoying this bodum glass - it is insulated with air, so the coffee stays hot for longer, with the glass itself being cooler.
Your opinions on coffee?
I will still be connected via e-mail, but we will probably have less posts here in my blog or on Geekzone. Of course if something big comes up we will write about it, but you should just assume we are now all in holiday mode.
All the best, keep the discussion going in our Geekzone forums if you must (I will reply there too and I've seen in the last five years that things never really stopped). Or just join the Geekzone Chat because we always have people around there.
See you all again soon!