Adventures in homebrewing: Dirty Daemon

Adventures in homebrewing: Dirty Daemon

Today’s a day of firsts:  The first time I’ve used a yeast starter, the first time I’ve used Star San, using my new immersion cooler and the first time I’ve followed a recipe I’ve customised.

The main change was to down-scale the boil to around 10 litres, with a top-up in the fermentor – The main adjustments made were to the amount of hops required to maintain the required flavour.

My recipe, which I think I’ll call Dirty Daemon, was based on a Zombie Dust clone written by skeezerteezer on Homebrewtalk.com.  You can find my version of it here.

Here’s some pictures of my brew day:

It looks like the yeast starter is doing it’s job – Just a couple of hours after pitching the yeast, there’s a big krausen forming on the top – You can just about make it out in the last pic.  Fingers crossed for the next 2 weeks 🙂

Adventures in homebrewing: Building a stir plate

Adventures in homebrewing: Building a stir plate

I’m planning to brew another batch of beer this weekend, however this one has a much higher estimated Starting Gravity (1.063) than any I’ve made in the past.  Most of the advice I’ve read suggests that making a yeast starter would be a good idea.

The most efficient way of making a yeast starter would be to stick the starter on a stir plate.  “Proper” stir plates can cost anywhere from £50 to over £200!  So, I set about making my own on the cheap.

Armed with the following parts from Amazon, I set to work:

Remove all the rubber feet and then the mesh grills from the fan.  Re-attach 2 of the feet to what will be the “bottom” of the fan on opposite corners & squeeze the lot into the project box.  Glue a couple of magnets to the fan, noting the polarity so the sides facing up oppose each other – Double check with the stir bar to ensure it’s attracted to both magnets at once.

Push the fan into the box, but not too far – You want it so the magnets will spin just below the plastic lid without rubbing or getting caught on the ridges.  Snip a little notch in the plastic on the base & lid of the box to let the cable through and screw the lid on.  With luck powering it up will get you the following:

My starter should be ready for the weekend, when I’ll be giving my Zombie Dust clone a shot…

Adventures in homebrewing…

Adventures in homebrewing…

I’ve recently got back into brewing beer at home again and have made the switch from doing simple pre-made extract kits to following & adjusting extract recipes.  A few weeks ago I brewed my first extract beer, following a friends recipe for an American IPA.  It’s turned out quite nice!

I’ve posted the recipe & source here

Here’s a few pics from my new setup and the brewday (click for fullsize)…

Next up: A clone of Zombie Dust IPA…

PHP & Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 online

PHP & Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 online

We’ve been using Microsoft Dynamics 2013 at work for a little while now.  One thing that’s been on my to-do list since the beginning has been automating the creation of CRM accounts when our internal hosting system had a new account added.

On and off over the past couple of months, I’ve been trying various pieces of sample code dotted here and there and have not managed to get anything working.  Until now that is.

The sample code came from a surprising source, Microsoft themselves! 🙂  Hidden away in the Dynamics CRM 2011 SDK is some PHP code.  The code as-is is broken and won’t login to a Dynamics 2013 instance that uses Office 365 live-id’s for authentication.  However, with a little tweaking it’s possible to get it all working!

Grab the tweaked code from here

Edit Main.php and update the Username, Password and organizationServiceURL variables.  When you execute Main.php it should:

  • Authenticate
  • Create a new account
  • Update the account with a new name
  • If enabled, delete the account
[[email protected] crm]$ php Main.php 

Array
(
 [0] => Array
 (
 [name] => Newer Corporation
 [accountId] => b0d711b3-e629-e411-b376-d89d67631e7c
 )

)
Array
(
 [0] => Array
 (
 [name] => Updated Newer
 [accountId] => b0d711b3-e629-e411-b376-d89d67631e7c
 )

)

 Update 20th Nov 2014: Due to changes of configuration on Microsoft’s servers, you’ll need to update LiveIDManager.php.  Comment out the following line:

curl_setopt($cURLHandle, CURLOPT_SSLVERSION , 3);

Rather than specifying SSLv3, we want to allow curl to auto-negotiate the best SSL/TLS version available.  Thanks to Django Radonich-Camp for spotting that.

Something different for 2013 – Windows Phone 8

Something different for 2013 – Windows Phone 8

Last November the Orange contract on my old HTC Desire-Z phone came up for renewal.  I’ve been intrigued by the new Windows Phone system since its original launch but never really though about switching, at least until a friend lent me his old Samsung Omnia 7.

Samsung Omnia 7
Samsung Omnia 7

This phone runs the older Windows Phone 7.5 system, but is good enough to get an idea of what switching to a new Windows Phone would be like.  I really liked the new system and just before Christmas I decided to make the switch.  I’ve now got a nice new shiny HTC 8X on Three and I love it!

HTC 8X
HTC 8X

Here’s a quick list of the Windows Phone apps I’ve found essential so far…

  • 7Pass – A Keepass password database client.  Nicely hooks into Skydrive/Dropbox too.
  • Baconit – A great Reddit client app
  • CrashPlan – Monitor/restore data from Crashplan cloud backups
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • NextGen Reader – A great Google Reader client.  Syncs articles for offline reading too.
  • Podcatcher – Probably the best Podcast app in the Windows Phone Store.  Could do with a couple of extra useful features, but it’s updated on a regular basis…
  • Rowi – A fantastic Twitter client, again it’s probably the best available.
  • Token2Shell/WP – An SSH client app.
  • TV Guide+ – There’s no official Sky TV Guide app yet, so this is the next best thing.
  • XBMC Remote – The best XBMC remote control app I’ve seen on any platform.