So for the past several weeks I have been making my own lunch. I was getting tired of the same old stuff with out any variety. Thus began my search for interesting and tasty recipes. Then one day I came across this recipe for Orzo Salad with Artichokes, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Feta & Lemon Basil Dressing:
- 4 cups vegetable broth (you can use water)
- 1 1/2 cups orzo
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chopped artichoke hearts
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup feta cheese
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Lemon Basil Dressing:
- 3/4 cup basil leaves, packed
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Pour the broth into a heavy large saucepan. Cover the pan and bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo. Cook until the orzo is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 7 minutes. Drain the orzo through a strainer and rinse with cold water. Drain completely and transfer the orzo to a large bowl.
- Add the chickpeas, artichokes, tomatoes, and feta cheese to the orzo. Stir until combined. Season with salt and pepper.
- To make the dressing: in a blender or food processor, blend the basil, garlic, salt, and lemon juice until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil. Blend until combined.
- Pour dressing over orzo salad and stir until well combined. Serve salad immediately or chilled.
Overall I found the orzo salad to be quite good and it didn’t take very long to make. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants something a little different for lunch.
SOURCE: Orzo Salad with Artichokes, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Feta & Lemon Basil Dressing
California has passed a law that prohibits employers from asking applicants for their passwords to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media web sites. This bill officially takes effect on January 1, 2012. “The Golden State is pioneering the social media revolution and these laws will protect all Californians from unwarranted invasions of their personal social media accounts,” Brown said in a statement.
Currently there is a law similar to this in the house called The Password Protection Act of 2012, which not only makes it illegal for employers to ask for these passwords it would also make it illegal for the employer to discriminate against a current employee who refuses to divulge their passwords. Illinois and Maryland have also passed a similar law.
I see this as a step forward in protect the rights of employees, if they view the public side of a Facebook or Twitter profile that’s fine. But asking for a password to poke around the private parts of those accounts is over stepping the privacy boundaries. I only hope that more states will follow ad pass similar bills. In this digital age employers are finding more and more ways to invade the privacy of their employees private life and to an extent the methods they use are acceptable but when they start to poke around the private password protected areas of the web they pushing the legal boundaries.
On Wednesday September 12, 2012 Apple announced both the iPhone 5 and the iPod touch 5G. The new iPhone is slightly larger than the 4S but the newest feature is the new power/data connect that both devices will have. The iPhone 5 is 20 percent lighter than the 4S and is just slightly thinner (just enough that you’ll notice it when you hold it in your hand. The new iPhone also sprouts a memory upgrade to 1GB of RAM and an A6 Arm Cortex Processor. It will ship with iOS 6, which has some bugs fixed and some new features tucked away inside of it. Overall you should upgrade to the iPhone 5 if you own an older model of the iPhone otherwise its not really worth the price. If you own an iPhone 4S your not going to miss too much, so I suggest you forgo the upgrade and put that money into something else.
I really like using the post editor, it has a lot of great functionality but every now and then it can behave in some funky ways. But it is by far greater than the WordPress post editor.
Its very easy to style posts and usually the final version comes out looking like it should.
One of the better parts of SquareSpace is the built in analytics, they are fairly in depth and provide a lot of relevant information but I still suggest installing Google Analytics.
Overall I still vote WordPress, its more versatile and doesn’t behave weirdly.
App.Net is one of the newest premium social networks on the block, and by premium I mean you have to pay to get access to the network. They were raising money on KickStarter and now they have been funded and have started to develop their platform more and more. They hope to compete with services such as Twitter and promise not to sell your private data since you paid to join the Network. I was going to pay and try it out but then I realized that all of my friends are on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus so why do I want to try a network that doesn’t have anyone I know on it? This is the issue with many other social sites that have popped up over time, no one wants to leave the big three and I completely understand why.
You can sign up here, now I have a hard time justifying this.
As part of the move to the cloud and Windows 8 Microsoft is starting to rethink the way they sell Office, so they have created a new service called Office365 Home Premium. Office 365 Home Premium gives you 5 licenses for Office (you can install it on 5 machines) as well as access to Streaming full versions of Office applications with Office on Demand. With Home Premium you also get 60 minutes worth of Skype credit. All of this is based on the subscription model which will be priced similarly to the standard version of Office365 although no pricing information is available yet. Currently it does not support OS X the final version of Office365 Home Premium will have full OS X support but the preview is currently Windows only. Signing up for the preview is free and you can immediately download and install office on you machine. The first thing that you will notice about office is the entire interface has been through a Metro overhaul. I think it looks better this way but some people might not like the layout and the way menus appear.
A nice feature of Office 2013 is its ability to seamlessly integrate with SkyDrive. SkyDrive has seen the most improvements from usability to accessibility. On the accessibility front SkyDrive has been brought to the desktop with apps for both Windows and OS X as well as apps for Android, iPhone, and Windows phone. This is Microsoft’s way of competing with DropBox and iCloud. They also improved the web interface and sharing capabilities, but SkyDrive still falls short of DropBox in regards to file size.
Not you can sign up for the preview at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en/office-365-home-premium with you Live.com or HotMail.com account. Personally I vote it two thumbs up.
For a few days I have been testing out two internet music subscription services since Spotify is not on the Roku. The two services are Mog and Rdio. Both services have a music catalog and pricing that is comparable to Spotify, but Rdio also offers a family plan that starts at $17.99 and includes two unlimited listening plans and both services have a free tier.
Mog has a desktop application but Rdio does not, but both services have some awesome web interfaces powered by HTML 5. I have to say that I love the Rdio web interface way more than the dark one that Mog uses. I must admit that I have discovered more new music using Rdio. On the other hand Mog does a way better job organizing its music especially the top played tracks. On the Roku, Rdio has a slightly more responsive app, and is more pleasant to use. Both of these services are very similar, and its very hard to say which one is better. For the audiophile I would have to say go with Mog because they steam at a higher bit rate, for those who love to explore you should go with Rdio because Rdio feels like it was meant to be extremely social.
On Saturday I bought myself a new little gadget called a Roku Box. I bought it because I didn’t want to keep turing on my tower just to watch NetFlix. I purchased the Roku 2 XD for $79 plus tax at Best Buy. As soon as I got home I un-packaged it, it came with a remote, batteries, The actual Roku Box, and analog connections to plug it into your TV (you have to buy an HDMI cable if you want to plug it into your TV). Luckily I had a spare HDMI cable on hand, I quickly plugged it into my TV and the wall outlet. Right of the bat it booted and started to look for my Wireless network, after I logged it on to my network it did a quick software update (about two minutes).
You need to register your Roku Box before you use it and the registration process does require a valid credit card, this step bothered some people. I like to think of it in the same terms as I do the iTunes Store, your credit card is always on file just in case you decide to buy a channel or service.
The default channels are NetFlix, Crackle, Pandora, Amazon Video, FaceBook, Roku News and several others. Its very easy to add more channels I added TWiT, Blip.TV, and Revision5 right away but they don’t have a Spotify Channel so it looks like I will have to reactivate my MOG account. There are plenty of channels with free content to keep you entertained. The remote control has a NetFlix, Crackle, and a Pandora button but they can’t be reprogrammed.
The video quality is very nice although it also depends on the speed of your Internet connection and the type of media that you are viewing. The UI isn’t very pretty but its functional and responsive. Overall I found the Roku Box to be a great investment, and I will get plenty of viewing hours out of it.
So I decided that I am going to use Google+ (plus) as a blog. I made this decision because I see social profiles taking the place of personal blogs (ie. individuals) for instance your Twitter and Google+ (plus) profiles act as blog rolls. So I forwarded my personal domain to my Google+ profile. I feel that it reflects more about me than any other service that I use. Besides that has a bunch of benefits. One of the biggest ones is it comes with a large community but here are some others:
- Powered By Google (awesome up time) and its free
- Picture Hosting
- Video Hosting
- Built in comment system
- Built for engagement
- Vendor Lock In (yes this is now a feature)
When you have a blog sometimes you feel obligated to post content, this method takes the obligation of of the picture and allows you to express your natural self. It also allows you to engage with people on a deeper level. One of the greatest features is the Google+ iPhones app ability to instantly upload photos, this brings the fun back to phone photography. Overall I am happy with the choice that I made and I feel the my personal SEO has also increased.
On Wednesday July 25th I purchased and performed a clean install of Mountain Lion. Overall the process was fairly painless, it took more time to back up my data than it did to do the download and install. Overall I really like the new operating system especially the integration with Twitter (now I can increase my twit mojo) and the snappiness of the OS. It’s a pain to set up all of my mail accounts and to tweak all of my applications back to the way that I had them but I can live with that. All I have to do is finish migrating all of my media over from a portable hard drive. One thing that I have noticed is my battery life seems to be lower than it used to be but I decided that I am going to calibrate my battery and reset my PRAM and that should solve this issue.
The new version of Safari is awesome, its actually pleasant to use. Its quick, responsive, and has a great deal of integration with Twitter. Now my only real issue is not with Safari but with iCloud. My bookmarks were not synched correctly but this can be easily remedied with Xmarks. So far all of my favorite websites seem to work very well, and the user interface is more coherent.
I find the default security settings to be very annoying, by default you can only install applications from the App Store and from Identified Developers. I had to change the setting to allow all applications to be installed because some of the software from my university does not meet either criteria. I never quite liked the way the OS X nags about opening files downloaded from the internet. Yes I know they came from the web and yes I want to open it.
Its easy enough to get iMovie, Garage Band, and other applications from the App Store but one application that I completely despise is iPhoto. Its just a horrid program no matter how you look at it. So I always go with my trusty alternative, Picasa for managing the photos on my hard drive and a small Flickr app for uploading them. Instead of reinstalling Microsoft Office for the Mac, I decided that I should start using the office web apps since I have a Microsoft Live account (I had to create one to test out Windows 8). This is also one less thing that I have to install.
Overall I found the operating system to be quite stable, and fairly snappy during certain tasks. But I have also uncovered some quirks such as when you boot the computer the screen will be at full brightness. Besides all of the little stuff I believe that if your machine meets the requirements you should install Mountain Lion.