Sierra Nevada – Torpedo Extra IPA

Tonight, I’m finally trying the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA.

Sierra Nevada - Torpedo Extra IPA

Sierra Nevada – Torpedo Extra IPA

From the label:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Ale is a big American IPA – perfectly balanced yet full of flavor and aromas that highlight the complex citrus, pine, and herbal character of whole-cone American hops.

At Sierra Nevada, we take hops seriously. Torpedo Extra IPA starts with the world’s finest whole-cone hops and intensifies their flavors with a little magic from our “Hop Torpedo.” A revolutionary method of dry hopping, the torpedo brings this beer alive with a rush of complex hop aromas and flavors not found in any other beer.

Surprisingly deep, and flavorful, for what is considered an IPA with a citrus overtone.  Crisp, but not too bright (what with enough spice to kick back the citrus).

Currently, as I write this, I am thoroughly enjoying this brew.  At a 7.2% ABV, it is very nice, and holds its own against other IPAs.

The Security of Online Game Management Services

Today, I was asked to give my opinion and technical know-how on Steam.

My 15-year-old is quite the computer lover.  Among other things, enjoys playing some games on “Steam” (owned by ‘Valve’), and talking to a couple friends via Steam’s server.

My wife is very concerned about our home computer’s security, specifically that outside parties can hack into our computer via Steam.  Are her concerns legitimate?

What follows will possibly be overly complicated, but should give you a general concept into what can and cannot happen via Steam or any other legitimate (EA/OriginImpulse) online game management service.

Steam functions primarily as a storefront and product licensing operation, with downloadable content (games) which can be managed by the user, and have a social network of friends.

From the licensing perspective, purchases are for the lifetime of the user.  As in, what you buy in Steam, you own.  Forever.  And it’s not tied to your one computer.  You get a new computer, you can install the Steam client, and get all of your games back, and, with some newer games, saves from those games.  The downside is, if you have multiple users for that computer, who have different Steam accounts, they cannot play your already downloaded games unless they have purchased them for themselves.

The “social network” of Steam is limited, and can be completely ignored if you don’t want to deal with it..  It’s nice to have an achievement page (which is automatically generated with an account), and you can share that page via other social networking services (like Facebook), but it’s more for that personal “warm and fuzzy” feeling.  You can add friends to a list, and chat with them, join games with them (depending on the game), and see what they’re playing.  But overall, the social part of Steam is useless.

In the face of malicious hackers, have a long, and complicated password.  Uppercase and lowercase, and throw in a ! or any other special character to make it near impossible to guess, and take hours to brute force.  Just in case, DO NOT ALLOW YOUR CREDIT/DEBIT CARD TO BE STORED ON THE ACCOUNT!

There are other measures you can use to protect your computer from the strange and wild Internet.  One that I use is PeerBlock, which stops outside sources that even look shady from getting in (and likewise for things going out!).  Additional lists of addresses can be added manually, or by importing a .p2p file (I find I-Blocklist is useful, as others have done the work already, in the case of the Steam blocklist).  Some items are good (the Allow type) and some items are bad (the Deny type).  Steam would be in the Allow, for me.

Within Steam, there are no Parental Controls.  M rates games can be blocked only by the user account birth date.  To help with this, there are other tools that can be used instead.  Windows 7 has Applocker (tutorial), and a variety of other applications out there.  I will not post any here, as many of them come with key logging functions, which I will NOT abide by.

Essentially, Steam is a safe application to be running.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t tell a stranger, and you’ll be fine.

 

As for Origin or Impulse, I haven’t had the pleasure (or displeasure) of working with those applications in many years (in the case of Impulse, never for Origin, though I’ve heard horror stories).  I would guess something like Steam, and still apply the rules above to these as well.

Obligitory Patent Troll

If you haven’t heard yet, the folks at Mojang AB (the makers of Minecraft), are now being brought under suit by Uniloc USA, Inc.

The funny part is, it’s not for the PC desktop version, it’s the Android Minecraft PE.  For something that the particular edition doesn’t do!

In particular, section 12 is where the “infringement” is laid out.

12. Mojang is directly infringing one or more claims of the ’067 patent in this judicial district and elsewhere in Texas, including at least claim 107, without the consent or authorization of Uniloc, by or through making, using, offering for sale, selling and/or importing Android based applications for use on cellular phones and/or tablet devices that require communication with a server to perform a license check to prevent the unauthorized use of said application, including,but not limited to, Mindcraft.

The Android edition has no communication with an authorative server.  The possible “license check” is done via the Google Play Market, so Mojang is definitely not at fault here.

Plus, “Mindcraft” != “Minecraft”.  Just saying.

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Ovila – Golden

A new style from the Sierra Nevada and the New Clairvaux Abbey, the Ovila Belgian-style Golden.

Ovila - Golden

Ovila – Golden

From the label:

This abbey ale is a collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and the monks, at the Abbey of New Clairvaux.

Belgian inspired golden ales are noted for their devilish personalities, but there is nothing mischievous about this complex ale. It is brilliant golden and layered with notes of summery apple and pear and pepperv spice from the use of a traditional Belgian yeast strain.

A portion of proceeds from this ale goes toward the restoration of the historic Santa Maria de Ovila chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. This medieval building stood for nearly eight centuries in Spain. William Randolph Hearst purchased the monastery 1931 and planned use the stones for a castle even grander than his famous San Simeon. Although Hearst’s, plans crumbled. these historic stones will rise again in a California Cistercian abbey.

This was an interesting find in the store.  The bottle comes with a paper label seal over it, stating that the contents are under a high pressure.  And when uncorking it, I could see the reason for the warning, as the cork came out smooth and easy, with little need for force.

Ovila - Golden Seal

Ovila – Golden Seal

Taste wise, my first reaction was a disapproval.  Do not sip this beer.  It goes down much smoother, with a better flavor when not held in the mouth.  The many notes they used in this brew are appropriately balanced, but too long on the tongue, and it’ll go downhill very quickly.

The look is very light, as per the picture, and initial pouring is very heady, due to the carbonation they put into it (again, hence the warning seal).

After all is said and done, an 8.5% ABV, and quite appropriate for Summer.  A good brew all together.

Ovila – Saison

This is a long time coming, as this particular brew is no longer available on the shelf.  However, the Ovila Saisonwas a great way to end the Spring.

Ovila - Saison

Ovila – Saison

From the label:

A collaboration between Sierra Nevada Brewing Co and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux, Ovila Abbey Saison brings the centuries-old monastery brewing tradition to America

Ovila Abbey Saison is complex and contemplative-but also refreshingly dry and drinkable. With earthy and spicy aromas, this rustic Saison has note of green grass and a faint citrus tang. The body is light and layered with fruit and spice accents and a dry, peppery finish.

A portion of the proceeds from this ale go toward the restoration of the historic Santa Maria de Oliva chapter house on the grounds of the Abbey of New Clairvaux. This medieval building stood for nearly eight centuries in Spain. William Randolph Hearst purchased the monastery in 1931 and planned to use the stones for a castle even grander than his famous San Simeon. Although Hearst’s plan crumbled, these historic stones will rise again in a California Cistercian abbey.

My first tasting of this brew was a bit hasty.  The citrus brews are rarely ever my personal choice, but this one grew on me quickly.  If this ever comes back, I will be investing, and storing for the long-term, as this is a better choice for the Summer months than the Spring, in my opinion, with a 7% ABV.

Star Wars: The Old Redo

I admit it, I bought the Collectors Edition of Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR to most) when it came out.  I played for the first three months, then everything fell apart; it was yet another MMO.  Something to possibly eat into the great behemoth that World of Warcraft is.

Yesterday, I got wind, via MMO-Champion, that Electronic Arts (EA) was converting SWTOR to a free-to-play limited-trial model, another item similar to WoW (level 15 max), and enticing previous players with a 7-day window to play without having to re-up their subscription.  Tonight, I’m going to see if they’ve made changes and added things that should have been around since the launch.

Yeah.  Nothing’s changed.  At least, from my perspective, at a level 41 Smuggler/Gunslinger, with a level 2 in Legacy.

I find that the new Legacy reward system is lacking for lower level players, as Legacy is a leveling system all on its own.  Mechanics are still the same for combat, companions are still the same for trade skills…

Now you can color your armor to match.  Ooo.  Ahh.

Oh, and plus I’m being forced from my native server of Fa’athra to Drooga’s Pleasure Barge.  Where my character names are being taken by someone else.  As my server is now very VERY lightly populated, I find this odd, as we were a full server when the game launched.  But, as it happens, that’s the way it’s going.

So yeah, just going to pass on this, and realize I bought the CE version, and enjoyed it for a while.

Higgs Boson – A Quick Statement

Out of the 4th of July celebrations (including the 15 second “oops” in San Diego), CERN (our universe’s version of the Black Mesa Research Facility) believes they may have found the Higgs Boson!

And then there’s another term that’s floating around for that particular quark characteristic: “God Particle”.  Follow that up with the amazing amount of religious … individuals, claiming that the possible discovery (science is all about test-test-test to prove something exists or is a fact) is a clear sign that their deity exists.  I won’t say which group, as most groups claim the other group is wrong (in most things, even what the skin color was of the guy that was nailed to a tree), and all of them are stating similar “arguments”.

Higgs Boson is a theorized characteristic particle, that exists in what is called the Higgs field, and gives other particles mass.  The problem with figuring this all out, and observing the particle, is that the Higgs mechanism (both the particle and the field) exists for the tiniest fraction of a second.  We’re talking billionths of a second or more.  So CERN runs the Anti-Mass Spectrometer LHC, all day, every day, in hopes to glimpse that brief instant.