August 1st, 2011

food cooking tomato

Trying to recreate Peet's Jasmine Lime Cooler

While it's nice and hot we're having a couple of iced tea pitchers on the go in the fridge most of the time; I brew up the more elderly leaf tea we have on the shelf (Republic of Tea Mango Ceylon that's probably five years old, some first flush darjeeling that got pushed out of sight)... we don't usually have lemon around so I often punch it up with a drizzle of pink ginger cordial or just plain cheat with a splash of Republic of Tea chai concentrate and fruit juice. The most successful has been using the lychee green oolong from the little tea shop on Castro in Mountain View; you want to brew two or three pots from that, according to the nice lady in the store (we got to taste about 10 teas while we chose the lychee, including puers), and it's flavourfull and refreshing.

Recently I've been trying to make something like the refreshing Jasmine Lime Cooler by brewing a big pot of jasmine tea, steeping for an hour or two and keeping that in the fridge to add a splash of lime cordial to (Bottle Green rather than Roses, as it has a lot more lime and a lot less sugar). I'm not sure if it needs fresh lime or a bigger slug of cordial to approximate US limeade - or margarita mix ;-) - as it's not quite as tangy and limy as Peet's.

Usually I wouldn't brew jasmine more than a couple of minutes; for drinking hot, long brewing brings out far too much tannin that overwhelms the jasmine. For drinking cold I think it needs the longer brewing to get strong enough to retain flavour in a cold drink; I often brew a second pot with the leaves after I've put the first pot in a jug and it's too light in flavour to stand up to the lime as much, but very refreshing.

Obligatory nugget of incorrect common knowledge ;-) Brits should be called lemonies rather than limeys as Cook used lemons to avoid scurvy in his crew; limes don't have enough vitamin C to help.

Microsoft's view of the cloud: hybrid, public, private and still a bit on-premise

I've been writing quite a bit on Office 365 since the launch, from this interview with the MD of Microsoft UK and the executive behind Lync about why it's different from free cloud tools, to this (lengthy) comparison to the Enterprise version of Google Apps for IT Pro.

Office 365 is compelling in several ways and it wins hands down in one specific situation; where you're not putting everything into the cloud and you already have Microsoft IT in your business. I've also been thinking about the implications of this hybrid approach.

Lead on cloud - or the business will work around you: my view on why Microsoft's view of the cloud is one of the more pragmatic approaches, written to accompany my interview with Kenon Owens about System Center 2012 where we decide "IT departments can't ignore the cloud. If they fail to deliver systems that are fast and easy to set up, business teams will just sidestep them and sign up for a cloud service — whatever the consequences for security or compliance".

Talking to Microsoft execs about that view of cloud, I got a nugget about the way Microsoft runs the business that I hadn't known before. Microsoft execs: paid by results

Windows 8 is not the only new OS: what we expect in Windows 7 SP2

Microsoft has gone back and forth between treating SPs as feature packs.

With Windows XP, service packs were significant upgrades; XP SP1 added tablet PC functionality, SP2 was practically a new version of Windows.which was fairly major; XP3 had .NET features brought in from Vista as well as various security features (admittedly for business in most cases) rather than simply rollups and hotfixes.

Even Vista SP1 was a major update, improving power management, network speed, search speed and adding hardware support like Blu-ray burning to bring it up to the same performance as XP SP2 (according to Microsoft - it arrived just as Windows 7 was in beta so it never had a chance: I installed it on the way to the airport the day it came out, tested it and went right back to the beta of 7).

But although it included significant updates for business users using remote connections to a work server, for most people Windows 7 Service Pack 1 was little more than a rollup of updates and hotfixes (although it actually adds significant features for businesses using certain kinds of virtualisation from Windows Server). That's what Microsoft has been aiming at for years; service packs that don't add new features and that you already have if you've been accepting automatic updates.

The general popularity of Windows 7 makes that easier to achieve. So what does that mean for Windows 7 SP2 and when will we see it?