Thursday, December 1, 2016
Only very recently that the Western press talks about Japanese washoku 和菜 . Washoku 和菜 means Japanese home cooking in a not so good translation. The two Kanji 漢字 words - 和 means in harmony and 菜 means a dish. A similar term in Chinese is 家菜 (pronounced as gar-choy in Cantonese) though the Chinese one has a connotation of being simple and prepared with unassuming ingredients, except for special occasions. The alternate term for is chang-chai 常菜, meaning daily routine home dishes.
The definition of gar-choy 家菜 can be quite problematic as China is so vast. The ingredients or the lack off can vary significantly from cities to rural village, and from rich to poor. A few characteristics that are typically common are cook with the ingredients available locally to make the most out of them. Contrary to the misrepresentation of Chinese cuisines in the West deep fry and greasy dishes are not the norm. Almost always there are plenty of vegetable dishes and often a soup accompanies a typical family meal.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Sunday, November 13, 2016
Years ago when I first encounter matsutakes 松菇 I had little idea what they are. Their strange appearance and the high price intrigued me and I brought a pack home to try. Later on I would realize matsutake 松菇 is one of the Pacific Northwest forest bounties. Matsutake 松菇 means pine mushroom in Chinese and Japanese. I would eventually found my prefer ways to prepare them.
Saturday, November 12, 2016
I bought a whole piece of pork butt to make braised pork (charsiu) for ramen. However I didn't want to have that much of ramen charsiu. I decided to only use one half. What to do with the other half? I initially thought I would make tasso with it. Then seeing the jar of Chinese fermented red bean curd that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for months, the decision was easy. I would just make Chinese charsiu with it. Sound strange? What is the difference between the charsiu that is used as topping for a bowl of ramen and the Chinese charsiu?
Saturday, November 5, 2016
The air is getting damp and cold. It is near the season for clay pot rice. Clay pot rice is one of the most versatile dish once you master the fundamentals of the preparation. It is very fast to prepare and involves only one cooking vessel. I have written about clay pot rice in many posts over the years. In recent weeks I have made many meals of clay pot rice, each time with some variations of the ingredients.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Sunday, October 2, 2016
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Monday, September 19, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Friday, September 16, 2016
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
A friend met up with me to go try the new ramen place that is in Uwajimaya. We have high hope that it serves half-decent bowls of ramen. I have to admit I am very hard to please and I have yet to be impressed by any that I tried in this country. The decor and presentation of the restaurant looks right, and so is the menu. Usually if the place try to be everything of Japanese it is a sign to avoid. You want to see they serve nothing else but ramen and Gyoza, and drinks.
Tuesday, September 6, 2016
I have been evaluating this NVR security camera system for 10 days now. While I jumped from the initial cash outlay of $250 to $1000 I have no disillusions that this is nothing like the systems used in commercial applications. Then there is law enforcement equipment that a camera alone cost a few thousand dollars. I think I have a well informed level of expectation of what to expect. I am very glad that I opted to spend a bit more. The network based NVR is the way to go for the ease of camera installation if you want to maintain unobtrusive professional installation.
Saturday, September 3, 2016
Hummingbird feeders are some of the worst ripoffs of consumer goods. Most are very poorly design and made. The prices for one of this cheap plastic thing that cost may be $0.30 sold for 50 folds. I never want to pay over $5 each. The secret is to way for autumn when the stores are making room for Christmas merchandise.
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Looking back it has been a while since I ate pig stomach. While shopping in my regular Asian grocery stores I was disappointed at the lack of selections of live seafood. This year the Pacific Northwest crab and other shellfishes harvest must be abnormally low. I came across the nice looking pig stomachs. They were 2 in a pack so I bought a pack.
Friday, August 26, 2016
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
It was only in 2014 my Windows desktop computer went kaputt. I managed to diagnosed to the system power supply, or as I thought but the root cause was not entirely clear even though I managed to repaired it. I swapped out the power supply with another PC that has an identical unit. Strangely the donor PC works just fine with the "bad" power supply. That left me wonder if the power supply as after all not the cause of the failure. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, my same Windows computer died all a sudden while resuming from sleep.
Monday, August 22, 2016
It has been nearly a year since I decided to buy a 4-stroke leave blower against the common wisdom. Upon first receiving it I was very pleased with its performance, and especially how quiet it is. Even at full throttle I find it no need to wear any hearing protection. The other benefits are the cleaner exhaust and without having to deal with gasoline and oil mixture. I was also very impressed on how little fuel it consumes - until a few months into the ownership.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
I managed to maintained the upholstery in Isolde in pristine condition after 27 years. The secret is a layer of sacrificial material over the factory fabric. In recent years the fabric on the bed cover deteriorated and I have been challenged as what to do. The cover is a old fashion sleeping bag that has been modified in circa 26 years ago. Today these old fashion sleeping bags are few and far in between. I entertained replacing the worn fabric while keeping the insulation core of the sleeping bag. The problem is the retail cost of the fabric would cost more than the sleeping bag.
Friday, August 19, 2016
As in any design development, there are challenges with the parts that one specified. I happened upon the DHT11 temperature and humidity sensor because of its dual function. It would turn out it was fun while the curiosity lasted. I have 3 of this and found that they are worthless junk. The temperature reading often jumps around 2 degrees, and at time 8 in consecutive samples. Also all three are extremely inaccurate. I had play with the Maxim DS18B20 quite early on and found them to be very accurate for solid state active sensor. One reason reason that I didn't choose it was my attracted to the DHT11's humidity capability. The bigger reason is the library for the DS18B20 is very memory intensive, and I had ran out of program memory as well as SRAM.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Recently I have been into making Japanese rolled omelette. Actually more like my interpretation of this omelette technique. I am inspired by how Japanese would take foreign dishes and turn them into their own versions of Western dishes but suit their taste.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Thursday, June 16, 2016
I added a clock and calendar screen. It took a bit of work to sort out the navigation logic since this is a new feature that I didn't plan for. With each feature that I add, it had been a hand-to-hand combat to conserve precious memory, both the flash and the static RAM. The latter is most critical as there is only 2k bytes. My goal is to have a least uncommitted 512 bytes left. The power management features that I implemented is working very well now and appears to have few bugs. The joystick UI is very smooth without mis-registration. I also managed to add time stamps to the file creation and modified.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
This is the continuation of a series of post staring with my purchase of an Arduino Uno microcontroller board. Started as a project in search of a mission soon it took on an evolution. It evolved into a project that fulfills some needs that I have long wanted to address and more.
The keyword for this post is power management. Dealing with power management is complex work in hardware or software design. The algorithm of this Vanagon multi-function display has now becomes quite complex. There is a round robin multitasking in which the tasks has their independent cadence and conditional logic. Additionally there is timer interrupt driven polling of the joystick. Now I am adding power management features to manage the ability of soft-on and soft-off based upon the Vanagon's ignition, as well as the ability to use the data logger function independent of the Vanagon's ignition key position. I started to add the power management function when the flash memory is already at 95% capacity. The RAM is already at 70% capacity. Cutting it tight is an understatement.
Friday, June 10, 2016
A lot of Arduino toys keep arriving in the Asia to USA transit pipeline. Because of the 20 to 25 shipping time I have been trained to put stuffs that I anticipate I can use way ahead of time. I also tend to buy 2 if I anticipate the item would be good because I need to keep one copy of the system for continue code development and maintenance. I however buy 1 if the item is unknown or expensive. Most of these stuff cost between $1.50 to $6 so it is not like I am going poor house doing shopping spree.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
The rude awakening that my code exceeded the 2k bytes of RAM in the Atmel ATmega328 uC's quickly put the brake on the progress. I have spent some time in the weekend investigating what are the big RAM consumers and to find way to work around them. Else I have to readjust the list of features that I set.
Friday, June 3, 2016
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
This is a continuation of a previous post a multi-function display for isolde - part 4. I have been searching for ways to mount the OLED display and the joystick onto Isolde's accessory track. My plan is to hide away the Arduino Uno and the miscellaneous electronics in an enclosure.
Friday, May 27, 2016
The reason I purchased these engine oil pressure and temperature gauge was to get the corresponding sensors. The gauges were so cheap ordered directly from China so I thought the purchase would be a good hedge against my homemade multi-function display project should I decided against it. I would have the option to install these two low cost, yet relatively unobtrusive gauges.
Monday, May 23, 2016
This is the following on post to "a multi-function display for isolde - part 2". I am making some small progress on the programming, and more parts arrived. Among them is the 128x64 pixel OLED display that I was looking forward to play with.
Recently I took Isolde out during an early hot day. The ambient temperature was about 88F which is unseasonably hot for May. In my return trip home, the red LED in the coolant gauge began to blink. I thought to myself this is not good. I was crossing a long bridge at the time and I had yet to gather my faculty as what the LED indicator is for. I initially thought it is the engine oil warning light.
Thursday, May 19, 2016
the previous one in this series.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
This is the following on post to "a multi-function display for isolde - part 1". I have been giving some thoughts to how to package the bits and pieces of this multi-function display system. It is quite easy to design the electronics and develop the software. What often overlook aspect in project like this is how to package the electronics and dealing with the interconnects. Fabricating good looking enclosures are always the biggest challenge for hobbyists and I am no different.
Monday, May 16, 2016
The idea of a multi-function display for Isolde came to me quite accidentally. It started from when I decided to play with the Arduino microcontroller board. In anticipating its arrival via long shipping time from China I tried to prepare for what simple programs to write. I found this LCD display that I have at home since circa 1994 without any expectation it is of any good or I can find datasheet for it.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
The more I play with the 4x20 dot matrix LCD display the more I like it. It is a nice size that offer good legibility and can display quite a lot of crucial information. It would serve well as a multi-function display that can be configured for many different purposes, including data logging. It would make a nice instrument without causing distraction for nighttime driving. It has great viewing angles and the font size is just perfect.
Saturday, May 14, 2016
This is the following post to a previous post of a blog post series on my venture into tinkering with Arduino microcontroller boards. I have been doing a lot of reading about the Atmel's ATmega microcontroller architecture and programming. I also have been doing sporadic research of all the Arduino compatible sensor shields and breakout boards out there, and I have been itching to start playing with them. Yesterday the $3.99 Arduino Uno compatible board arrived from China.
Sunday, May 8, 2016
I learnt by mistakes of most things all my life, and making brisket is no exception. Fortunately for me I am an introvert. When confronted with a challenge I turn to myself to seek answers, as well as to read between the lines from those I respect and trust. This is my 3rd or 4th attempts in making smoked brisket. Do not trust the hypes on the internet, especially from those self-professed pit masters. They would lead you to believe it take decades of experience to make a edible brisket. With a lot of things there are more disinformation and "the dead leading the dead phenomena abound. When I first set out to make the authentic Texas barbecue brisket I thought it is some mystical thing that you can only learnt from the famed masters. Not until I turned inward and to read from those I trust and respect. Think out of the box is the password of this game.
Friday, May 6, 2016
The problem with finding a replacement for this failed pressure switch is its unique design in which it has small plastic air nipple which it bolts up directly to the small air port of the gauge manifold. As this switch is long ceased to be in production substituting any other pressure switch, I must find a mean to plug up this port. This port sees the tank pressure which can be as high as about 125 PSI.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
Saturday, April 30, 2016
I am tired of sitting on the fence of which microcontroller to buy. I have been wanting a Raspberry Pi but upon some research I decided to start with a Arduino Uno as it is a better choice with hardware controls. I made a big $3.99 investment at less than 1/2 the cost on Amazon. It is a bare bone Uno but I should have everything else I need at home to get started.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
When I set out to build a ventilation fan for Brunnhilde in 2012, I envisioned it would eventually become automated. It took nearly 3 1/2 years for the pieces to all come together, while the manual version served well.
Monday, April 25, 2016
This post resumes from a previous post of the temperature controlled ventilation fan for Isolde. As always a simple project in conception turns out to be much more involving. After proving out the the concept, it is time to perform the full installation. There is inevitable feature creep as I think though the complete system. I want it to be as easy and intuitive to use as possible, while complete it in an unobtrusive appearance.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
It must be true that the more you have, the more maintenance there is. A few weeks ago, my neighbor came by when I was working on something in Isolde. I showed them the recently updated audio system that I have been so happy with. I put in a CD by Angelique Kidjo that I really like for them to audition. They were impressed, and asked to borrow the CD.
I have been wondering how this is going to end. US regulators clearly want to stick it to the German company to set an example. I am sure if this is one of the US big three, they would have handled the matter with kid's gloves. Don't get me wrong, I am no fan of VW on this blatant deception, and I don't believe for a moment, that the high level management is ignorant as the company claimed.