Cotinuous Process and Code Improvement

We're constantly recreating our 6D™ project management methodology. It started with combining Clarise's software development and project management experience with my aerospace system engineering and program management experience to adopt strict project controls to modern business needs for responsive software development and system integration processes working through distributed personnel. Well, here's a quick thought... software development and deployment should move away from traditional release cycle concepts to one of continuous process/code improvement within SaaS and virtual appliance environments. No code is alpha nor beta nor production, but a continuum of changes and adaptations responding to fluctuating business needs; done within a well managed environment to prevent security errors, poor performance, "garbage out" and junk code. So as we're assuring that our 6D™ [six dimensions of a project] is in accord with the PMBoK, we'll be keeping this thought in mind as well, and let's think beyond Extreme and Agile programming and continuous process improvement for software quality.

Easter 2007

As I've said in the past, Easter is my favorite holiday for food. As such, we very much follow tradition from year-to-year. This year was no different, but as many food oriented traditions, the amounts eaten and the time taken to eat are both much less than in previous generations. When my grandmothers served an holiday meal, it would start in the morning and proceed into the evening meal. Now, we had a two three course brunch.

The Italian "breakfast" course

Mazzarelles

Mazzarelles are one of my favorite things to eat, but are only made for Easter. Stefano, who owns and rents a villa in Abruzzo, provided me with the correct spelling in a comment [lost apparently when we blacklisted angelfire.com for spamming, rats, fixed it now] in 2005. There are many individual variations of this dish in my family. Dad made them this year, and his have more tomato sauce than mine do, but it's very good. Here's my recipe.

  1. Clean, devein, trim and properly prepare the heart, kidney and liver from an unweaned lamb. Likely you'll need to know a shepherd/ess [I used to know a shepherdess in Mendocino, but long ago, and I've lost touch] to obtain this; if not, use calves' liver.
  2. Slice the organ meat into julienne strips.
  3. Sauté the strips of meat in olive oil with garlic and crushed black pepper until just browned
  4. Remove the meat
  5. Deglaze the pain with white wine and reserve for the sauce
  6. Wrap some [about two ounces or a small handful] strips of each type of meat in two leaves of romaine lettuce, with a trimmed, whole green onion and a sprig of Italian [flat-leaf] parsley [Plus - added 20120407: seeing sprig of marjoram as well, tried it this year & very good], tie each packet with the green stalk of other green onions or chives that have been soaked in room temperature salted water; they'll need to be very flexible or you'll get frustrated [of course, the traditional tie is cleaned lamb intestine, or butcher's twine]
  7. In a large, flat-bottomed, high-sided pan, simmer three glasses of the dry, white wine that you'll be serving with the meal.
  8. Add the lettuce packets of lamb organs, and one roma tomato per packet that have been peeled, halved cross-wise and seeded; the packets should be just covered with liquid
  9. Simmer for an half-hour, then place in a 325°F oven for two hours, checking to assure that the pan doesn't dry out or the packets blacken; add water, baste and cover if needed; salt to taste about half-way through
  10. Remove the packets with a slotted spoon and place in the serving dish
  11. Stir the sauce, and cook down if needed; the sauce can be passed through a food mill if desired, but I prefer to just spoon it over the packets
  12. Serve hot with spiniad and frittata
Parsley, walnut, & garlic frittata
  1. The leaves from about an half bunch of Italian [flat-leaf] parsley, cleaned and left to dry, then chopped fine with a mezzaluna
  2. 10 whole, large eggs, beaten with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream, a teaspoon of very cold water, 3 tablespoons of ricotta, the parsley, salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  3. Crush a clove of garlic and sauté in a tablespoon each of olive oil and unsalted butter [this gives a higher smoking point temperature than either alone] until just starting to brown
  4. Remove the garlic, and pour in the egg mixture
  5. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and check after 10 minutes to assure that the eggs have set; if they are, loosen the frittata from the bottom of the pan by banging and judicious use of a spatula
  6. Place a dish that is a bit larger in diameter than your pan over the top of the pan, placing your hand firmly on the bottom of the dish, lift the pan by the handle and, holding it all tightly together, flip over so that the frittata is on the plate
  7. reheat the pan over medium-high heat, add a bit of butter if needed, and slide the frittata, pale side down, into the pan, to brown that side; repeat this operation several times until the frittata is nicely browned on both sides, but don't overcook; the interior should be moist
  8. This dish is normally served at room temperature, so you can make it right after putting the mazzarelles into the oven

Spiniad [Easter bread]

Spiniad, at least that's what it sounds like my grandparents would say, is an Italian Easter Bread. The paternal side of the family would make it in a coffee can, so that it puffed out the top, much like a Christmas panettone, to look like a chef's hat; the maternal side made it in a ring, with one hard-boiled egg - still in the shell and boiled in holy water - set in place like a jewel decorating one corner. They're both very rich in eggs and slightly sweet, reminiscent of challah. Dad made a variation this year in his bread machine. You can find a more traditional recipe on the web. Unfortunately, I don't have either of my grandmothers' recipes.

Pizza or Torta Rustica

We didn't make this dish this year, but my maternal grandmother would always serve this with Easter brunch. 'Tis like a quiche in that it has a pie crust. The filling is ricotta based, mixed with egg, some chopped parsley, grated parmigiana, salt and pepper, and poured into the pie crust, studded with chunks of fontina, prosciutto, and salami, and baked. Served at room temperature.

The American "lunch" course"

Ham basted with cola and white wine, glazed with fresh pineapple, ginger marmalade, nutmeg, paprika, stone ground mustard and turbinado sugar

Jewell yams with butter, turbinado sugar, allspice and pecans

French green beans almondine

Potato salad

Desert

What? You think that you can't eat any more. Try to resist, just try.

Pastiera

[also known as Neapolitan Easter cake, although ours is with rice not the traditional wheat berries, even though it comes down from my Neapolitan, maternal great-grandmother]

  1. Make a pie crust of 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter, cold and cut into 7 ounces of unbleached flour mixed with 1 tablespoon of turbinado sugar [crushed], knead into the dough 3 large egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of whiskey or dark rum and form into a ball, cool for an half-hour and roll out, line a 10-inch spring-form pan, reserve the remaining dough
  2. Make the filling of

    • 15 ounces of ricotta
    • 3 whole large eggs, beaten
    • 3 drops of pure bourbon vanilla extract
    • zest from one lemon and one orange
    • grind of nutmeg
    • one half cup [dry, pre-cooked measure] of brown arborio rice cooked in sweetened milk or coconut milk
  3. Pour the filling into the crust
  4. roll out the remaining pie-crust dough, and cut into half-inch wide strips, and make a basket weave over the top of the filling
  5. Bake in a pre-heated, 350°F oven, checking after 45 minutes, and then every 15 minutes, until a clean, stainless-steel knife inserted half-way between the edge and the center of the pan, comes out clean; if the crust begins to over-brown, cover with aluminum foil
  6. After removing from the oven, let stand at room temperature for two hours, and remove the spring-form pan
  7. place in the refrigerator, but remove at least an half-hour before serving
  8. serve cool with...
Coffee with Anisette

My grandparents would also serve that at the end of a meal. I do it a bit differently than they did. A good pot of Joseph's blend, brewed for five minutes, in a French Press using filtered water right off the boil, and served laced with warm milk, turbinado sugar and Sambuca Black. Oh, yes, very nice.

I might come back later and update this post with some details, but I started cooking 10 hours ago, and now, I think, 'tis time for a little nap.

Updated on 2007 April 14 with recipes and links.

MuleCon2007 Looking-back

Our main interest in ESB is to supplement ETL, and inject real-time data into dashboards, OLAP, maybe even reports. BPEL/BPM as an offshoot of BI is also of interest. ServiceMix/Tuscany don't seem to be as useful in this regard. My guess is that ServiceMix/Tuscany will, as most Apache projects, be relegated to enhancing web servers, but not extend into other areas of the enterprise. Of course, everything might be pouring out of web servers in the future.

MuleCon was interesting mostly because of the enthusiasm of the customers. The week before we went to the Yahoo! sponsored open source content management system symposium [mostly to learn more about Alfresco, and to see the next generation of Joomla!]. That was pretty much all geek, all the time - very informative, but focused more on the technology, than the uses of the technology. MuleCon was smaller, and evenly distributed between presentations by customers and presentation by Mule core engineers. Not an hour went by without the phrase "use case" being bantered about. It was really very well done, despite some failure in conference organization. [It ended without a conclusion, just sort of petered out, with some folk in an unorganized discussion of the Scripps challenge, and others just milling about, wondering if the conference was over.]

People had come from all over the world, both to present and to participate; just over 100 were there for training on Tuesday, and about 150 were there on Wednesday. There were few Mule experienced people in the audience. Some had EAI or SOA/ESB experience [mostly Tibco] and were interested in Mule as an alternative, both for flexibility of adapting code, and for cost savings . Of course, the folk most willing to talk and to exchange business cards were other consultants. ;-) One interesting point in the side conversations was on the subject of configuration: some wanted wizards, others felt the XML files gave better control and facilitated understanding of the underlying process.

MuleSource seems very focused on their customers, and on providing business solutions through a flexible ESB without underlying infrastructure/technology assumptions. They should consider more such events, in varying locales. Hopefully, they learned as much about their potential users, as the participants learned about Mule.

We're blogged from MuleCon2007 throughout, and very much enjoyed the experience.

Powercast Broadcasting Power

Powercast, which first came out of the closet at CES in January of this year, winning best Emerging Technology for 2007, has been getting some press this weekend [Engadget, CNN Money Business2.0, Ben Metcalfe - no not April's Fool].

While Philips was the first partner announced, the Business2.0 article states that over 100 companies have now signed-up. I'm hoping that one of these will come out with a cigarette lighter Powercast transmitter, filling the company car with energy giving rays of life for our cell phones, Palms and Bluetooth headsets. :>>

Powercast is the first [I think] commercial application of an idea that has been around for a very long time: beaming electrical power over radio waves. While existing in science fiction and comic books for as long as I can remember, the problem of efficiency and loss has prevented a practical product until now. Powercast technology uses a transmitter, small enough to be plugged in just about anywhere, and a very small, relatively inexpensive receiver suitable for wireless sensors, mobile devices, cell phones and computer peripherals, with the result being the transmission of 6 VDC over about 1 meter between transmitter and receiver, automatically "trickle charging" the device whenever it is in range. Using very low power [wattage] making the FCC happy, the receiver regulates the input, providing a constant voltage as required by the device. This would be much more convenient than inductive rechargers, such as from SpashPower or the eCoupled technology, which haven't seen much uptake as yet by the device industry. With the inductive charging technology, also around since before the turn of the century before last, you must place the device to be charged within the magnetic field of the charger - perhaps a few millimeters, essentially touching, hence the SpashPad. With Powercast, you only need to be within one meter, and you can keep using the device whatever device is being charged.

While Powercast isn't the dream of having your smart phone powered by the cell tower, it will

  • help road warriors trim down the number of power converters they need to carry about B)
  • encourage the use of both Bluetooth and may even help bring actual UWB and Zigbee devices to market :idea:
  • make life easier for medical implant users :)
  • help us aging, forgetful types :p
  • eliminate that old excuse "I can't talk right now, my battery is dying" &#59;)

One question that must always be asked is what health risks may be posed by such a device. Powercast has a series of FAQs available as PDFs, including one on health and safety. Be warned though, that after asking the standard identifying questions of name, email, company, phone number, and address, you are not brought to a download site; rather, the PDFs are emailed to you. Somewhat annoying [I hate the practice of forcing email to do file transfer], but it does force one to provide a valid email address if you want to get the information. While I can understand the desire of a company to understand who is gathering information on them, this seems to fly in the face of current open marketing practices. For example, there isn't a link to their corporate blog.

OK, rant over, back to health issues. According to their FAQ, which while somewhat generic, discussing RF hazards as a class, seems reasonable. Powercast uses RF and is no more dangerous than any other RF device, such as TV, radio, Bluetooth, etc. Their range of commercial devices seem to put out 0.5 watts for a USB transmitter, up to 2 watts for an unspecified application. Powercast claims that most devices are well below that 2 watt max, which is half of the 4 watts produced by a CB radio and on par with devices such as cordless phones and walkie-talkies. I guess this means that the tumor I'm [not] likely to get behind my ear from my Bluetooth headset will just a grow a wee bit faster. |-|

While no longer being frustrated by my Bluetooth mouse or cell phone dying at the worst possible moment would be great, I imagine that the real future for this technology will be empowering the ever increasing flow of data from wireless sensor networks, from active RFID and Zigbee to smartDust.

My take is that Powercast will be helping us live the TeleInterActive Lifestyle™ to its fullest, and fueling our data management consultancy as those terabytes become petabytes and the Googolplex of data being generated needs analyzing [no, not Googleplex, but almost].

MuleCon2007 Selection

Scripps [TV] Networks [one of their properties is the Food Network] on SOA and ESB Selection. Starting with a design, going from a top-down approach, they began their selection. The next step was to run a few pilot projects to test a bottoms-up approach using three use cases.

  1. Asset Ingest, assets being videos, closed caption files, and the like
  2. Enterprise Asset Notification System, using a publish and subscribe model
  3. Asset Retrieval

Asset Retrieval use case was detailed, and forms the basis of the design challenge. The design challenge to the audience is to go to the whiteboards and work it out. A true exercise of an open source community. :p

  1. Performance is the primary criteria for success.
  2. Assets are registered with a Handler.
  3. Handlers are Spring configuration beans.
  4. Dynamic Handler Data plus Static URL's equals Asset Retrieval ReSTful URI.

Ross, Andrew, Eugene and Travis will lead the teams.

We're blogging from MuleCon2007 throughout today and tomorrow.

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889

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