August 2005

Medicine (the restaurant)

by Michael Alderete on 8/31/2005

Rochelle and I ate lunch today at a new restaurant called Medicine. The food is Japanese Zen monk vegan, called “new-shojin.” The flavors are delicate, subtle, and quite good once your brain and palate adjust.

What’s kind of funny is the weird visual sensation I had while eating. The restaurant has an Asian-style glyph, which the staff all wear on their black shirts (photo at right). The glyph, rendered in white, has shape elements to it — most of a cross-hatch, loop-ish strokes at three corners — that it looks, out of the corner of your eye, like the Macintosh Command symbol: ⌘

So, the effect — of the clean lines of the restaurant’s brightly-lit interior, and of the couple dozen staff whizzing around in their black pants and black shirts with the Command symbol on it — is that you’re eating in the Apple Store.

Zen vegetarian food, beautifully prepared and presented, served in a clean, simple environment. I think Steve Jobs would be a fan.

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 8/31/2005 · 1 comment

Heard around the office…

“You can’t take tomorrow off, I’m already out of the office.”

“How come?”

“Our au pair is at Burning Man.”

If you’re not familiar with the linked terms, be sure to view the definitions…

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Importing MP3 audiobooks into iTunes

by Michael Alderete on 8/29/2005 · 15 comments

Note: These instructions have been superceded by a new version available in the Aldo on Audiobooks section of this site. Please use that version instead of this page.

Our preferred method for obtaining audiobooks is from, as part of our monthly subscription. For about $11 each, we receive an electronic-only version of a book, broken in to manageable chunks of 5-6 hours long each. The files arrive pre-encoded in a format which is bookmarkable in iTunes and on an iPod, and have all appropriate meta-data attached. The subscription format is both cost-effective and highly usable.’s major liability is the selection; while there are thousands of books from which to choose, if you get interested in an author who has been writing for a while, chances are good won’t have the older books, at least not yet.

The next best method for getting audiobooks is to borrow them on Audio CD from the local public library. While the procedure for importing them into iTunes is laborious, the price is right. This is an ideal way to experiment with authors you don’t know, to find books worth paying for. However, like, the selection can be limited.

So, what do you do when you want a book that’s not available from either method?

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Quotation of the year candidate

by Michael Alderete on 8/26/2005

“I have to drink to stop the ping pong balls from bouncing around in my head.”

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The kitchen in August

by Michael Alderete on 8/19/2005 · 2 comments

It’s been quite a while since I posted photos of the kitchen progress. We basically came to a standstill two months ago, when we ran completely out of money to do more work. Fortunately, very nearly all of the work is done. Some painting touch-ups, painting the base board, and a couple of similarly little things. We’ll be getting them done in September.

It also took us forever to really finish bringing things back into the kitchen, and arranging them to our satisfaction. Two weeks ago we bought a new kitchen storage unit at IKEA, and that has made all the difference in being able to get things organized enough that we can work well in the new room.

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I dream of Harry Bosch

by Michael Alderete on 8/17/2005 · 11 comments

I’ve written how Rochelle and I listen to audio books on our iPods. It’s by far the best way we’ve found to fill commute and other dead time, and I frankly barely use my iPod for music; probably 95% of the time, it’s on for audio books.

The novel that got me well and truly hooked was Lost Light by Michael Connelly. It was one of the highest rated unabridged books on in 2004, and Rochelle picked it out on a whim. Mystery genre, highly rated by other listeners, a good narrator on the sample provided. Nothing more complicated than that.

We listened to it on a drive back from LA, and were gripped. When we got home, we dragged our crap into the house, and got immediately into bed with the book playing over the stereo to finish it. It was superb, and remains my favorite audio book.

The best news was that it was the ninth book in an 11-book (and continuing) series about LA homicide detective Harry Bosch. We’ve since acquired all of the other Harry Bosch novels which are available in unabridged format on (about half of the total books written)…and all the rest on MP3 CD (I’ll write more about those soon).

Every time I listen to a Harry Bosch novel, especially the ones narrated by Len Cariou, I have Harry Bosch dreams, and can hear the narrator’s voice in my head for weeks. Highly, highly recommended.

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Two months ago I upgraded to PGP Desktop 9, because the new version would finally work with Eudora on Mac OS X. Indeed, all I had to do was install the new version, reboot, and the new automatic mode began immediately discovering and auto-enabling my email accounts as I used them. It does this with some clever connection redirection using the built-in Mac OS X firewall, courtesy of the Unix subsystem.

Unfortunately, the automatic mode doesn’t work so well if you are also using some kind of network tunnel, such as a VPN or ssh port forwarding, which is increasingly common for me as I take the laptop to clients or on the road.

I finally got around to figuring out how to set up PGP Messaging’s manual proxy mode, courtesy of decent instructions for Windows users written by Robert Johansen of PGP. I thought I would document the configuration for Mac OS X users, since there are substantial differences in the application between the two platforms.

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