Tips for a successful Craft Beer

2012 May 4
by Nick Lamb

I’ve been making a mental list every time I see a new craft beer and I think I’ve come up with just the right recipe to make it in the craft beer industry.

1. Use religious symbolism on the label

Preferably some sort of demon or gargoyle or something.  This will contribute to the “epic-ness” of the beer and help with the next step.

2. Use a pejorative or challenging slogan

Something like, “You’re not man enough to drink this” or “This beer has way too much taste for you”

3. Make it taste terrible

The worse it tastes, the more people will buy it.  This goes along with step 2. If you create a sense that you have to “man up” to drink it then people will feel like they’re wimping out if they say it tastes bad.  This will have a collective effect when around other craft beer enthusiasts because, after all,  nobody wants to be known as the wuss who couldn’t handle all that “flavor.”

4. Make sure it’s got something “double” about it

The more hops, the better.  The bitterness will cover up any mistakes in the brewing process.

5. Put it in a bigger bottle and charge $10 for it

Install Windows 8 Developer Preview Side by side with Windows 7

2012 January 11
by Nick Lamb

I wanted to install the windows 8 developer preview on my current development machine, but I only have one hard drive that already has windows 7 on it.  You can get the windows 8 developer preview iso here

Step 1

Create a new partition that windows 8 will get installed on.  Windows 7′s disk management console has a nifty feature that lets you shrink the partition size of your currently formatted hard drives to allow for new space to create a partition on.  Click the start menu, then right click on Computer and select Manage. From there click Disk Management under Storage.

Shrink the size of your current partition.  I chose to create a 50GB partition.

shrink partition

Step 2

Format the new space so you’ll be able to install a bootable copy of windows 8 developer preview

format drive

Step 3

Put the windows 8 developer preview iso onto a usb drive.  Microsoft provides a nice little tool that will take an .iso file and put it onto a usb flash drive and make the drive bootable.  Get the Microsoft USB/DVD download tool here

microsoft usb download tool step 1microsoft usb download tool step 1microsoft usb download tool step 3

Step 4

Restart your computer and boot into the windows 8 install process and you’ll be ready to go.  You may need to change the boot order in your bios to use the usb drive.

Laila’s Natural Water Birth Story

2011 December 12
by Nick Lamb

Baby Laila smilingMy wife just wrote up the story of how our baby girl Laila was born. It’s a great read. I may be a little biased, but how can you not be, looking at those cute little chubby baby cheeks? Anyways, head over and check it out.

The Harvest is Plentiful

2011 October 10
by Nick Lamb

When I built and planted our new vegetable garden I had no idea how much it would produce.  God is good and the harvest is plentiful this year.  Who knew 48 square feet of garden space would produce so much.  We’ve been able to have delicious salads every day for the past month with only ingredients from our garden.  That’s right, you probably think I’ve turned into a total hippie.  Anyways, see the photo evidence below.

Peppers: cayenne, serrano, and anaheimHolding a Cayenee pepper plant
bush blue beansbountiful harvest: arugula, tomatos, cucumber and radishesconcord and pinot noir grapescucumbersgenovese basilcanadian red cherries

I like this sarcastic saying about organic food. It sums up how far our food system has gone with processing and genetically modifying what we eat.

Try organic food...or as your grandparents called it, "food"

My 5 day juice fast

2011 September 11
by Nick Lamb

power juicerWhen I decided I wanted to try and do a 5 day long juice fast I had no idea how hard it would be.  I don’t think I’ve gone a day without food ever.  I also had no idea how hard it would be to have to make my wife coffee and cook her bacon (mmm, bacon) while not having any for myself.  But duty called since we just had a baby girl and she needed some help.  The idea behind the juice fast was to give my system a kind of reboot and maybe lose a little weight in the process.

Here’s how each of my 5 days looked: I could only drink water and freshly made fruit and vegetable juice (no coffee or alcohol, boooo).  I started the morning out with drinking a glass of hot water with some lemon juice squeezed in.  The rest of the day was spent drinking various concoctions of fruit and vegetable juice starting with more fruits in the morning and transitioning to more vegetables as the day went on.  And then I would end the evening off with a night cap of lemon ginger herbal tea.

How I felt: The first day was pretty easy but the afternoon got a little harder as my body realized it hadn’t had any caffeine.  The second day was the low point. The lack of caffeine really got to me and knowing that I couldn’t partake in any of the delicious food my wife was having made it even harder.  Even so, I was surprised at how much energy I had.  Before I started I thought I’d be a lazy sack laying on the couch unable to move.  By the third day I seemed to have normal energy levels and was craving food less.  The 4th and 5th days I had plenty of energy and was able to take the dog on a long walk and then ride my bike to and from my client’s office.

Starting weight: 237 lbs
Ending weight: 227 lbs



Building a Vegetable Garden

2011 June 15
by Nick Lamb

This year I decided to try my hand at growing some vegetables.  First I needed to build some planter boxes and then find some way to keep the dog out.  Here’s the materials to make two 8′ x 3′ cedar boxes:

  • 12 cedar 2″ x 4″ x 8′ boards – $70
  • 2 cedar 4″ x 4″ x 8′ posts – $24
  • Exterior wood scews – $4
  • 1 cubic yard of compost/topsoil mix – $40
  • Wire fencing to keep the dog out – $30
  • Total: $168




Now we’ll just wait and see what grows.  I’ll try and update later in the summer.

Impressions of Windows Phone 7 vs. iPhone

2011 February 6
by Nick Lamb

To keep the arguing to a minimum before I start.  I like the iPhone and I had a 3G and a 3Gs for the past few years.  That being said, I thought it was time for a change, something fresh and new.  I’m a microsoftie at heart.  I’ve worked in the Microsoft development ecosystem for a long time now and love Visual Studio and all the developer tools.  So why wouldn’t I try Windows Phone 7 and even tinker with building some apps for it.   C#/Silverlight has got to be better than the monstrosity that is Objective-C, right?  I got the Samsung Focus so that’s what my opinions of the hardware are based on.

The Good

  • Software Keyboard
    • Windows Phone 7′s keyboard blows iOS’s out of the water.  It’s just more intuitive and useful and I find myself hitting the right keys more of the time.
    • Spell checking and suggestions are great.  Once you get used to the suggestions they’ll save you a lot of key presses instead of typing out the whole word.  One in particular is that I end up typing  the word “we’re” a lot and on iOS you have to type the “we”, switch to the punctuation find the apostrophe and then switch back and type “re” and lets face it, that’s a lot of work.  On WP7 you can type “were” and it gives the suggestion for “we’re” to replace it.  It’s not a big time savings for just that word but when you’re able to do that for longer words it ends up being very useful.
  • Text Messaging
    • Thankfully there’s a character counter that kicks in when you’re over 130 characters to let you know when you’re close to the 160 character SMS limit.  No more sending multi-part texts where the second part arrives before the first.
  • The Back Button
    • This actually took a long time to get used to coming from an iPhone.  I had to re-map how my brain thought about navigating the phone, but once I did I don’t know if I could go back to hunting for a different type of back button in every app like most of the ones on iOS.
  • Live Tiles/Lock Screen
    • Having information that gets bubbled up to the homescreen and the lock screen is really refreshing compared to having to dig into each app like you do in iOS.  Appointments get shown on the lock screen too.
  • Facebook Integration
    • This may not be for everyone but if you like facebook it’s great to have the deep integration so you don’t always have to open an app.  With one click from the home screen you can see what’s new with all your contacts since their facebook info is automatically retrieved.

The Bad

  • My biggest complaint isn’t with Windows Phone 7 itself, but the capacitive buttons on the Samsung Focus.  There’s no separation between the edge of the screen and the back, home and search buttons which can lead to a lot of frustration.  Especially when games have their onscreen controls near the capacitive buttons.  There have been many times when I was playing a game only to accidentally move my finger too far and the back or home buttons were triggered.
  • Apps.  The Windows Phone 7 marketplace is just like the iPhone app store back in the beginning, a few good quality apps and a ton of terrible fart-style apps.
  • Loading times some of the third party apps take forever to load, lets hope they can fix that.
  • No visual voicemail.  I didn’t know how nice visual voicemail was until I switched since I never got many voicemails, but once you have to go back and use the automated system, it sucks.

Hopefully Microsoft can fix some of the problems and get updates out in a timely manner.  For the time being I’m satisfied, especially since the wife has an iPhone 4, so I can play angry birds whenever I want.

Building a desk for the wife

2010 November 10
by Nick Lamb

My wife was in desperate need of a new desk.  Her existing desk was overflowing with what might have been considered “junk” but I think she somehow becomes more creative by keeping a messy desk.  So here’s a rundown of how I gave her more desk space thus allowing her to be more creative.

The original desk


  • 1 stain-grade pine board 2′ x 8′ long ~$20
  • 1 metal shelf unit 24″x13″x30″ ~$20
  • 1 metal closet rod 1-5/8″ diameter x 8′ ~$20
  • 2 closet rod mounts ~$3
  • 4 copper pipe hangers ~$2
  • Stain ~$10
  • Total: ~$80

The parts

Attaching the shelving unit

Attaching the legs

Making it look pretty and protecting it from Kirsten's coffee

The final product

Social Reply Hell

2010 September 25
by Nick Lamb

Here’s a real-world example of mine from a few weeks ago that shows what it’s like to be in social reply hell.

Click To Enlarge

It started out on Twitter as a tweet, then on to facebook as a status message and Google Buzz picked it up from Twitter as well.  Then there was an @reply that I saw in Tweet Deck.  Then an email from facebook saying someone had commented.  Then notifications once I’m logged into facebook. Then notifications and an email inside Gmail.  Rinse, lather, repeat…  More emails, more notifications.  I can only imagine what this would be like if I were some kind of internet celebrity.  I’d have to quit my day job to manage replies and notifications.

But what do you really think about Tabs vs Spaces for code indentation?  Then we can string this conversation out over another internet medium.

Dogs, Rules, God and Camping

2010 July 1
tags: ,
by Nick Lamb

Kona Puppy CampingWith my wife’s and my flexible schedule these days, we were able to take off last Friday and go up for a night of camping in the Lost Creek Wilderness.  It was a perfect little get away.  We got away from the summer heat of the city and got to spend some well needed and relaxing nature time together.  This was not-so-little Kona Puppy’s first camping trip sans leash. She was able to run free and wild, which she did heartily, playing in the creek, digging up sticks in the mud, and sprinting around camp like a dog who’s just eaten a bowl of speed.

This is where this blog is going to take a turn for the worse.  I’ll just get it out there; Kona eats poop.  Sure enough, she sniffed out all the places around the campsite where it could be found and went to town.  It’s one of those things that we try and try to stop, but she does it anyways and no amount of “No!”s can get her to stop.  Somewhere along the way in her development she decided that this rule we made of “no poop eating” was us being cruel and holding her back and that she was missing out on a delicious treat.  No, it’s quite the opposite, that rule is for her own good and ours.

I think a lot of people see God’s rules in the same way (I know I did at one point in my life), but they’re really there to protect us.  He’s not a prudish God holding us back from a treat or having fun. His rules are looking out for us, trying to keep us from the poop of life: drugs, power, greed, the way sex is portrayed in our society, gossip, gluttony, and so on.  And even though money and sex aren’t inherently bad, God knows all the ways that we’ve perverted them to suit our selfishness.  And so He lays out what a lot of people in society see as antiquated rules like marriage only being between a man and a woman or not being so attached to your money and material things that you can’t see the real meaning in life.

So, we will keep trying to show Kona Puppy that she doesn’t really want that poop and give her a real treat instead, and God will continue to guide us away from the poopy things in life and give us abundant life.