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Michael Pedersen
1,593 followers -
Nothing is impossible. Some things just have to be figured out still.
Nothing is impossible. Some things just have to be figured out still.

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Update: I did have my issues with this, but after having spoken with the owners of the company, they have been resolved. Because of that, I myself am backing this game at the top tier. I want to get the whole set.

I should probably let this go, but for various reasons, I can't. I've just found out a Kickstarter for Armored Core as an RTS board game. The creator is known to me as the creator of another game called Serpent's Tongue.

He failed to deliver on that game. His mismanagement of it ran him and his newly made company out of money, and he is unable to deliver everything he promised after working on doing so for four years. He has publicly mocked supporters for asking him to actually talk about what's going on with the KS (myself included). And one of the people that's some sort of "senior partner" on the Serpent's Tongue game has stated that proceeds from Armored Core are expected to go to help fulfillment of the Serpent's Tongue rewards.
Do not back this project. Not unless you have money that you would prefer burning to using on something else. And even then, just burn it. You'll have more fun than dealing with him.

For reference, here's the URL. For your own sake, avoid backing it. You have been warned. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/223137030/armored-coretm-rts-a-real-time-strategy-board-game/description

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“It’s been a long road, getting from there to here.
It’s been a long time, but my time is finally near”
— Russell Watson, Faith of the Heart

Back in November 2012, I was perusing the newly created Google+ when I started reading posts with the tagline “What is the Niantic Project?” When I found out it was an Augmented Reality Game, I was intrigued. I was also completely convinced that my wife would hate the entire thing, so I started playing on my own (after I got an invite code, back in December 2012). A couple weeks later, we were on our way home from shopping, and I saw my first ever Resistance portal on the scanner. I asked her to stop so I could take it down. She became intrigued, got her own invite code, and joined me playing a month later. A few months after that, we made level 8 together, on the same portal. Due to our scheduling needs, we wound up doing it a few hours apart, but we did it, together, as with so much else we’ve done with Ingress over the years.

We participated in the Cassandra anomaly series when it came to New York (this, by the way, was the first time a series of anomalies had been linked like this). My team put up the biggest field that had ever been seen in the area (and I’m still amazed at what we did). We participated in Interitus. We’ve had people in Australia and Russia running ops for me. We’ve worked with people in Washington, DC to move shards the first time they came out. We’ve talked with people, and worked with people, in so many places.

I bought a drone to get at difficult portals during a time when they couldn’t be gotten any other way. I got my ham license to be able to use first person video while flying that drone. We figured out how to use unrelenting Resistance attacks on us to speed level people, and helped (at last count) 15 people level up to 8 in our little corner of the world (sadly, between people moving away, having babies, and other real life issues, we only have three of us still active right now).

We’ve seen the evolution of the scanner, too. When it first came out, it was possible to get more than four hacks simply by hitting the back button and hitting hack again. The most I ever saw was someone getting an extra four hacks on a portal (total of 8) before getting the “portal burnt out” message. We’ve seen stack firing basically get removed (nothing quite like seeing 10+ bursters go off at the same time). We’ve seen the introduction of power cubes, of Jarvis and Ada viruses, of force amps, turrets, multi-hacks, and heat sinks. We’ve seen the addition of capsules, and MUFGs. We’ve seen portal keys go from “just another item on the hack list” to “make sure you don’t have one in your inventory if you want another one”. We’ve seen the introduction of glyphing, and the gradual changes/encouragements to make glyphing what people should be doing when farming (more gear, AP, and a badge). I’ve recycled more media than I can count.

We’ve seen the introduction of checkpoints and cycles, and the updates to scoring for regions. We’ve seen the way MU get calculated change to use checkpoints. We’ve seen the introductions of leaderboards and individual agent ranking.

We’ve seen more people come and go than I would have thought possible, on both teams. We’ve seen the good of the game, and we’ve seen the bad of the game (toxic personalities coming out on comms is not a good thing, and for a while I was one of them).

We’ve seen the globe spanning operations, and we’ve seen the tiny little operations.

We’ve seen communities build up, and friendships get made that will last a lifetime (for us, darthnugget fits that category perfectly. One of the most awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet).

But most of all, we did it together.

And last night, we leveled up again, together. On the same portal. Within about 30 seconds of each other. We threw the final link, that made the final field, that got us both to level 16.

It has been one helluva ride, and one that I’m not going to get off anytime soon. Thank you, +Niantic Project  I don’t know what the future holds, but the past has a lot of fantastic memories.
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2016-06-05
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TL;DR There's an impostor out there using my name and my photo. Please double check who you're talking to. And if you're looking for my G+ profile, it's at https://google.com/+MichaelPedersen , Any faker will not have that profile URL. Please look for it.

People wonder why I view so many of the Resistance in such a negative light. And why I look so sadly at Niantic.

Over the weekend, I learned that somebody on that team made a false Ingress account, changing the name "ShadowFall" very slightly to look legitimate if nobody paid attention.

They then proceeded to make a false Google+ profile, put my name on it, and used my profile photo to make it look more legitimate.

Finally, they attempted to use all of these lies to gain access to anomaly planning information for Aegis Nova in Brooklyn. When they registered, they even added in that they are from my town, and supposedly my level (looking at the actual account, they are L2).

Somebody out there is so desperate for a Res win that they're willing to lie about who they are in an attempt to make it happen. Breaking rules, etc. I really should not be surprised by it.

The thing that I am surprised by is the lack of proper response by +NIA Ops. You'd think that making sure such accounts are dead would be a priority for them right now. I reported the false account, and (as I expected), it got closed and the fake account got left intact. No surprise there.

+Ingress do you really care so little for integrity that even blatant abuses like this are going to be allowed to go unchecked? My ticket number is 175412 if you want to take another crack at ignoring it.


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I've just read about something that surprises me. Is there really a stigma about people who have hearing aids? Enough of one that people actually are bothered by the idea of getting one?

I've known since I was a kid that the day would come when I'd need one (and, actually, I'm about to get one, next month). Maybe that's why it doesn't bother me, since I've known I would need it for so long.

Seriously, is this something that would bother people?

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/20/technology/personaltech/soundhawk-smart-listening-system-a-hearing-helper.html

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Cooking Experiments - Mar 27, 2016

Our bread is pretty decent by now, but not perfect. We made four loaves. We gave one away, we ate one, and we burned one. The last one, since it got kept in the same bag as the burnt one, wound up tasting not so good. At least the dogs got some as well.

Despite that setback, we’re still comfortable enough with our results to let us begin experimenting with additions next week. And the week after. We’ve got ideas for a cranberry/blueberry bread, along with a banana coconut rum bread. Can’t wait to try them out.

We’ve also ordered some Grill Armor Gloves[1]. I’ve only gotten one burn, but that was enough. Hopefully, I never forget to put them on when dealing with the cast iron cookware. The packaging says I should be able to hold 500F items for about 30 seconds without a problem, so I’m looking forward to trying them out.

Scotch Eggs

We did one real experiment, though, and that was Scotch Eggs. We used a recipe from All Recipes [2], and found an interesting dish overall in it. It does need some tweaking. What we had was way too salty. After trying one of them out with some maple syrup, I now also know why most serving suggestions include a sauce of some sort. It masks the amount of salt.

We also needed to learn a good way to hard boil eggs. What I’ve done in the past has been to put the eggs in water, boil the water for 12 minutes, run cold water until I could peel them, and be done. This also resulted in lots of burst eggs. It turns out that perfect hard boiled eggs is easy. Eggs into cold water, bring water to a rolling boil. Take pan off heat, cover, wait 10 minutes. Transfer eggs into an ice bath where they need to sit for at least one minute, and then peel. Perfect boiled eggs, and they come out nice and neat. Wish I’d learned that trick years ago!

We’re going to work on a version of Scotch Eggs a bit, and find out if maybe we should begin making our own sausage in the next couple weeks.

We’re going to try out reducing the sausage (four ounces of sausage per egg results in something quite large, and difficult to fit into a pan for deep frying). We’re going to try some other varieties of sausage (a low sodium sausage, a spicy sausage, and even a Spanish chorizo are varieties that we’re considering).

We’re making steady progress on putting together a real meal out of this. How’s your cooking coming along? Any good stuff to share?


[1] http://smile.amazon.com/Grill-Armor-Extreme-Resistant-Gloves/dp/B00ZORPCGG
[2] http://allrecipes.com/recipe/87110/scotch-eggs/
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Last weekend, our cooking experiments were limited. We restricted ourselves just to baking some bread. We also had a bunch of other things going on, so we didn’t want to prevent getting them done. After the previous week’s really bad bread, though, we wanted to make sure we could make good bread again.

I’m happy to say that awesome is back! Our recipe is simple, if time consuming. After everything else I’ve been learning, and sharing, I don’t have anything new this week. We used a combo cooker (cast iron, invertible dutch oven[1]), and get great crust. I’ve really nailed down the starter feeding (mostly due to the raspberry pi device I shared last week, still working on a nice web interface for it), and I’ve learned to use the float test to ensure that the leaven is ready to go.

The one tip that I have found is to use a small amount of vital wheat gluten [2]. In the mix that we use, I find that having just 6g of vital wheat gluten (to go along with 1kg of flour) produced a much stronger dough for the loaves. I need to learn what I’m doing better so that I don’t have to use it, but it’s a start.

Another tip I’ll share: After you’ve preheated your cast iron, do not (even accidentally) touch it. I did so, and the burn was instant and painful. I’m just glad I didn’t drop the pan. Could have cracked floor tiles, or hit me, or Jess. Just bad things to consider as possibilities. And yes, that blister in the final picture is that burn. Don’t make my mistake. It sucks.

I started to write up the recipe I use, and realized I was just leaving out too many details that have a noticeable effect on the bread. Instead, I’ll ask if you want to see the whole process, or just see the results.

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Lodge-LCC3-Pre-Seasoned-Cast-Iron-3-Quart/dp/B0009JKG9M
[2] http://www.bobsredmill.com/vital-wheat-gluten.html
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3/25/16
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Last weekend, we made our sandwich again. I haven’t posted the results for two reason: I was way too busy, and I was surprisingly disappointed with the bread. At least the bake today has a chance of redemption.

Bread

I’ve been trying to make a sourdough for this sandwich since I got started on it. When we first experimented, we grabbed a few different types of bread at the store, made some Pork al Pastor, and tried out. Of them all, sourdough had the strongest and most compatible flavor. I figured that, if I could recreate that flavor, I would be doing very well. I have now learned that that is wrong, and in a way that surprised me.

Last weekend, I got actual sour flavor in my dough. I let the dough ferment for an extra 5 hours. I also lost all the other flavors. This bread I’ve been making, with its deep flavor profile, it’s subtle hints of flavors that come together in your mouth to make something unlike any store bought bread, now tasted dead to me. One note of flavor remained, and all I could taste was sour.

To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. This week, I actually began trying other breads to see if maybe I was missing something. At work, the team had a lunch outing. I ordered a beef stew mainly so I could try their bread with it. Their bread was simply there. The meal didn’t benefit from its presence really at all. I tried a sourdough roll from a local grocery, and it was pretty much a one note wonder of sour (there were some other flavors present, but sour was too dominant).

I’m not making sourdough anymore. I’m making bread. Real bread, with real flavor. This weekend, I returned to the basic recipe. I’m just looking to get the awesome back.

Toasting That Bread

On the plus side, we did learn a bit more about how we can use the bread this week. In our case, I started making some toast that managed to make the bread palatable. Here’s how:

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place bread on a foil lined baking sheet. Lightly brush with olive oil. Put sheet in oven for up to 10 minutes.

That’s it. Considering this made some bad bread palatable, I can’t wait to try it out on some good bread.

Pork al Pastor

We’ve had minor issues making this in the past, and Jess wanted to address them. The results here are exemplary. As with last week, she went with a roulade style for the pork, and this works out phenomenally in a sandwich format.

The bacon strips that get rolled into the middle aren’t entirely satisfactory, though. The texture comes out closer to raw bacon than cooked bacon. This is great for keeping the roulade from becoming unmanageable (putting a solid mass of pork into a sandwich will make it harder to eat), but it doesn’t make eating the bacon into a great part of the experience. We’re going to try cooking it to various stages of doneness for the next few times to see if we can’t improve that texture.

Outside of that, though, this recipe seems to be done.

Lefse

Potato Pancakes (though they’re actually thin enough that it might be better to call them potato crepes), served warm with butter and a variety of fruit jellies. This is a real treat. We’ve gotten this recipe to the point where we can make it pretty reliably.

The one drawback we have is that it takes a lot of time. The rolling and cooking alone takes about two hours to make about 30. Fortunately, it’s not something we’re going to do every day.

Odds and Ends

I’m still reading “Tartine Bread”, and loving it. I’ve learned how to make croutons, bread crumbs, so many different types of bread it’s going to take me years to get through them all, and then there’s recipes for how to use all the bread in other recipes. If you’re into bread, get this book. You will not be sorry.

I’ve also discovered that I don’t know how best to watch my bread starter. This is a major lack for me, as feeding that starter at the right times is crucial. To that end, I’ve built up a small raspberry pi computer with a camera and temperate/humidity sensor. I’m going to add the ability to control a light (just waiting on a part I ordered which is apparently being shipped from China), and a better web interface before I share the results.

Right now, though, I’ve learned that it takes about 5 hours after feeding before the starter reaches its maximum rise, where it will sit for about 12 hours before it begins to fall. I’m seeing the temperature ranges it likes (surprisingly diverse, as low as 60F seems to be pretty good for it). All in all, this is nice and useful. Can’t wait to share that with everybody.

Understanding bread has obviously become a solid hobby of mine. How about you? Are you pursuing your own cooking hobby? What’s coming out of your kitchen?
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3/20/16
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Our baking and cooking experiments from this weekend couldn’t have gone better!

Bread

As I mentioned earlier, my wife gave me the Tartine Bread book, by Chad Robertson. I’m still reading it for the first time (I expect to read it at least twice, and then use it as a reference for a while). When reading, I’ve discovered why certain tools get recommended, so I finally made sure to have them. In particular, I bought a cast iron combo cooker (essentially, an invertible Dutch oven).

The results of using this were simply incredible. We had one loaf pancake on us, but we’ve figured out that we need to deal more thoroughly with preshaping. The rest all displayed beautiful oven spring, and the crust on them just shatters on cutting. The flavor and aroma are incredible. If we’re hitting this mark at two months, I wonder where we’re going to be in a year.

I also have discovered the joy of using banneton baskets for proofing. They fit the dough better than the mixing bowls I was using, and they even leave some nice impressions on the side that make it through to final baking. Very well worth it.

I’m still working on the sour aspect, but this book has given me some tools to use next weekend to improve that point. For now, I’m just going to have to settle for some amazing bread that isn’t sourdough. Oh darn :)

Pork al Pastor

We kicked off an experiment this weekend. Instead of using shawarma style layers of meat on a vertical spit, we went with a roulade style pork loin. Opening up the loin this way, layering some bacon and marinade in, and then cooking to about 145F meant some pork that was not at all dry, but very tasty. Sliced up thin, added some lettuce, all on that bread, and the results were some of the best sandwiches we’ve ever had.

We’re going to try out pan frying the bread tomorrow for the sandwiches. I hope that goes just as well.

What was your weekend like? Any kitchen masteries happen for you?
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3/6/16
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I try to avoid posting multiple cooking posts/week, but this is one time I feel a need to do so. My wife got me a book named "Tartine Bread" by Chad Robertson for my birthday, and I finally started reading it last night. I'm not even 1/4 of the way through the book, and learning so much already. I've now started learning why everybody I've read online refers to this book.

No referral links here, just wanting to share some baking happiness. http://www.amazon.com/Tartine-Bread-Chad-Robertson/dp/0811870413
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