Nuts About Nuts

Nuts are something I never gave much thought to until recently. I had been buying premium brands of tree nuts for some time now. I eat tree nuts daily. In one of the stores I shop in, tree nuts for baking and cereal are in the same aisle. When I looked at the ingredients of the ‘Premium’ brand I noticed the oils listed are not the nut oils, but other oils used in frying.

What's in your nut?

What’s in your nut?

I went to the bakery section and looked at the oils contained in a package of baking tree nuts. The only oils listed are the natural oil of the nut itself, no other oils listed as ingredients.

Whose nuts are better?

Whose nuts are better?

Being curious I went to the web to find out about the differences. I was surprised by what I discovered. What I discovered made me change from buying premium tree nuts to the less expensive baking brands.

Most people who make nuts a part of their diet, do so for the oils the nuts contain. Nut oil is thought to be healthier than off the shelf oils and a good healthy source of fat in a diet.

Premium nuts as I understood from what I read are generally deep fried. Premium nuts do not really have to be premium in all respects. They do not need to be fresh, or packed with their own oils. Any nut that meets the processor’s requirements, is not too old or rancid, can be a premium nut.

What I did not find out was if the nut oils are intentionally extracted. If the nut oils are extracted, then premium nuts are not premium at all. These nuts are a by product of the nut oil extraction process.

Whether what I understand is true or not, two things are obvious about nuts. Baking nuts are less expensive than premium nuts. Baking nut oils are the better, natural nut oil, not a lower cost oil used for commercial processing.

Important stuff for people who eat nuts on a daily basis. Depending on which type of tree nut you buy, you may be missing, what you think you are getting from the tree nut. As for taste, well that is an individual choice.

Customer Satisfaction and Cleanliness are not Disparate

Hello,

I dined at…with my wife last week. As usual we had a wonderful meal. My wife had…and I had…. As always, service was superb and the food cooked to perfection. The meal for me however was diminished by my view of the backs of the two booths.

I know with lighting dim, and shift workers in a rush, cleaning flat surfaces is a low priority. I attached a picture as it says more than words. I was facing the cooking area, so the location should be easy to find.

I wanted to bring this to your attention as I know you may wish to do a super clean before booth cleanliness comes to the attention of other customers.

We have been…customers since the eighties, and…has consistently set the standard for…not only in…, but also the state. No reason why…will not continue to lead.

Thank you,

Is cleanliness a lost art for a non fast food business?

Is cleanliness a lost art for a non fast food business?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took this picture as I was not happy looking at smeared food and thought perhaps I should share my view with the restaurant. After a week or so I decided I paid enough for the meal and should not have to see smeared food.

I checked to see if the company had a website. They do and have an email address for leaving comments. As you read above, I left a comment. Notice in my email, I did not ask for anything. I was not looking for a free appetizer or free meal after they clean up the premises – thinking they did act on my email.

This is a quality oriented business and they take their product very seriously. So what’s the beef? At the least I expected some sort of non committal reply, stating they received my email/comment and would look into the situation.

Better yet would have been some sort of apology for having a customer, me in this case, looking at smeared food on the booth backs. Maybe we have been spoiled by chain fast food establishment cleanliness standards?

If this were a hamburger stand, or a family restaurant I would understand, stuff happens, and kids are creative. However, this is an adult oriented upscale dining establishment which charges accordingly. This was not fresh food on the booth backs.

On the other side. If I had sent an email saying what a great meal it was, how good the beer tasted, and the whiskey chaser for desert really hit the spot, would I have received a reply?

If you own or run a business, and take pride in your business, give your customers an avenue to provide you comments, you owe your customers who leave a comment the benefit of a reply. Lack of a reply is a disservice to the customer, and a detractor to the business. Much like having a employee bulletin board of policy that no one reads.

Note Taking Apps For Linux

I have been trying out different tree note and wiki notes software for Linux. Below are several software programs with a blip taken from the home page of each. I included links to their home pages  if you wish to check one or all out. They are all in different forms of refinement and style depending on the authors intent. Some are simply a note dumping ground, others are wiki type, tree storage, and one or two may be all types. Most if not all should be in your Linux repository. If not they can be downloaded and installed.

gJots2 –  gjots2(1) is a simple jotter application for your desktop – an outline processor.

Tomboy – Tomboy is a desktop note-taking application for Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X. Simple and easy to use, but with potential to help you organize the ideas and information you deal with every day. Tomboy has a lot of plugins that may be useful for you.

Gnote – Gnote is a port of Tomboy to C++. It is the same note taking application, including most of the add-ins (more are to come). Synchronization support is being worked on.

Zim – Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a nonexistent page. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control.

Cherrytree – Cherrytree [is] a hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file. If you search on this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on cherrytree.

nvpy – nvpy [is a] Simplenote syncing note-taking application, inspired by Notational Velocity and ResophNotes, but uglier and cross-platformerer. If you search this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on nvpy.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

Treepad – TreePad Lite for Linux is a freeware personal information manager designed specifically to run on Linux (PC and Raspberry Pi). It supports Unicode, is fully portable, and does not need to be installed.

Plume – Plume Creator helps you to write your stories in chapters and scenes, write fullscreen, edit notes and synopses, export in html and odt formats, edit in rich text, and manage characters, places and items.Are you a writer ? Plume Creator will help you with this hard task! This software gives you an outliner, a distraction-free mode, a note manager and much more!

Kabikaboo is a simple tree-branch note organizer. It is meant to be used to help aid in the writing of a novel. Users can plan out their story, plot, and characters. Created with Python, PyGTK, Geany, and Glade, on Ubuntu Linux.

I did not include KDE Basket notes which many people do use and enjoy, due to the additional programs I would need to run Basket Notes with XFCE. If you use KDE and Basket Notes is not installed you may wish to check the program out.

I gave most of these a test and settled on what works for me. I hope if you are in need of a notes program, one of the above work well for you.

More Words than a picture

A picture may be worth a thousand words. Having an on-top of it Manager overseeing your business is worth much more as seen in the following pictures.

The first picture is of a placard at a local Applebee’s. The business of this Applebee’s at least is customer satisfaction through employee perfection. The greeters, wait staff, cooks, and bus staff are true professionals. They work and maybe live the slogan (below) they walk by going to and from the kitchen area. I only stop in for lunch, and while I am there, I think, “Wow, what a great place this must be to work at!”

What every business should strive for - property of Applebee's

What every business should strive for

This store on the other hand is one store of a national chain. In this case office oriented products from paper to printers. One look at the trash can was enough to catch my attention about the state of the business at this particular store.

The outside grounds between the store and parking lot were filthy. The store itself needed better lighting. It looked like saving on the electric bill was more important than the customer experience. Not one person smiled as I was asked if I needed help.

It feels dirty and have not even entered the store yet.

It feels dirty and have not even entered the store yet.

The thing is, people notice. A very few people like me look around from the parking lot to the bathroom. For other people it is just a feeling that the business feels sort of icky and they want to get out as quickly as possible even. Customers in this second dingy looking store spend less time pondering whether they should make a purchase. Customers are quicker to leave and spend their money at a place that feels cleaner and fresher.

If you serve the public, and you want to make the best impression, look at your business as your customer’s do. Starting with the parking lot, is everything clean and tidy? Is the lighting appropriate? Do your employees look as if they want to be there? Do you want to be there?

Having a dirty building front, visible smoking employees, old gum and trash near the entrance, poor lighting are some of the things that turn off repeat business. The biggest hit to the bottom line is your customers spending their money somewhere else. Clean up your business so your customers want to stay and return in the future.

Get Paid to Overcome Your Shyness

If you are shy by nature and want to be more outgoing, an easy way to get there is by working somewhere where you are forced to speak with strangers. Customers come with all types of personalities and temperaments. If you go out and find a job where you are forced to interact with the public, you will become less shy be default.

You will be forced to interact, discuss, persuade, and listen to and resolve complaints. In the interim you will learn how to easily carry on your end of the conversation. Not so obvious you will learn other speaking skills too.

You will learn how and when it is okay to control conversation. How to encourage or discourage conversation with your posture and expression. You will learn confidence because you will learn that some people are just like you, and others are different than you. Generally you will learn that you can hold your own with almost any person, and there is no reason to be shy anymore.

Half of us are shy by nature. You can get paid to learn to not be shy.

Half of us are shy by nature. You can get paid to learn to not be shy.

Once you realize you don’t need to be shy as in quiet, your world can change. You can become more outgoing in your personal life. You can control the ebb and flow of conversation. You will have learned what attracts and what turns off different personality types.

Get a job in fast food perhaps, and you will learn the skills to become the verbal master of your own ship!

Are You Lonely Tonight?

If you ever feel like nobody knows your name, create a resume or apply for a job online. Suddenly, you have more friends than you thought possible. Look at the number of job related emails received jobs in about 24 hours. On a weekend no less. Bots never sleep I suppose. Amazing…

Create a resume or apply for a job online. The email just doesn't stop.

Create a resume or apply for a job online. The email just doesn’t stop.

Microwave Tea trick

Here is a quick tip for microwaved tea using tea bags, if you heat your tea cup in a microwave as I do. I use different teas who’s tea bags have different levels of liking water. Some tea bags absorb water quickly and sink right into my tea mug.

Other tea bags are still floating high and almost dry after the water is heated and the tea mug removed from the microwave. Here is a pretty low tech way to manage these testy tea bags.

Microwave tea can be Problematic when tea bags float

Microwave tea can be Problematic when tea bags float

What I do is simple when I have tea bags who would rather float on top of the water is take a finger and roll my finger against the side of the cup with the tea bag in between the glass and my finger as seen in the picture below.

Roll the Tea Bag against the side of your mug or cup, pushing the air out.

Roll the Tea Bag against the side of your mug or cup, pushing the air out.

What this does is force most of the air out of the tea bag, and forces the ta bag to absorb some water. Then as the heating process starts the tea bag is at least partially submerged and tea creation can begin.

There are a few brands of tea which are very stubborn and even rolling your finger over the tea bag against the wall of the tea mug has little effect. These teas need hotter water than other teas before they will absorb water and start to release their flavors.

Now you can relax and enjoy your tea, instead of becoming frustrated with it.

Write Better in only Three Minutes a Day

Writing is being able to hold a conversation without the other person present. No more, no less. Becoming a better writer is easier than you think. Writing is not some secret art that only a few people can do well and everyone else struggles with.

I doubt anyone will read this post who is a professional writer. Writing as well as a professional writer, for the most part is reserved for professional writers. What you can do however is learn to become comfortable putting your thoughts on paper.

Whether you are putting words on paper or typing text in a simple text editor, writing is a simple process. What separates you from others who write well is not writing or very little writing. Writing takes practice as does almost everything else. The more you do it the better you get.

These simple steps will help you to write better with the least amount of effort. We can’t know what we can’t know. We can’t write if we don’t write. Let’s do some writing.

Open up whatever text editor is on your computer, Notepad, TextEdit, Gedit, Leafpad, Mousepad or another text editor. A word processor is not needed, although if you feel more comfortable using a word processor, use it.

1. Write three sentences about something that happened today. Your three sentences do not have to be about the same topic. For example:

“I woke up hungry today. I took my dog for a walk. The weather is hot and humid today, I am ready for winter”

The important thing is you write something. It doesn’t have to be pretty.

Write better by writing something every day

Write better by writing something every day

2. Each day before you go to sleep, write out three more sentences. Think about what you want to write before you sit down and write. Having an idea of what you want to say makes writing easier.

3. Every five to seven days, review what you have written. Read your sentences out loud. Do your words sound like conversation? If your words do not sound like conversation, what could be the reason? Write as you talk, you are having a conversation when you write.

4. When you find you can write out three sentences with little effort, it is time to start writing three sentences about the same subject.

If your daily three sentences have been about the same subject, try writing five sentences, turning your sentences into a complete paragraph.

This is all there is to improving your writing. A few minutes a day is all it takes. Soon you will be writing like you were a born writer. Your words will fill the page, and they will sound great. All that separates you from someone who seems to write without effort is practice.

Only a few minutes a day over time and you will become a natural writer.

Friendlier Debian Linux Discovered

If you have read any of my Linux posts, you know I am a fan of Debian and XFCE. I found a couple of Debian Distributions and each do better at bringing Debian to the Desktop than Debian itself. Both are based on Debian and use Debian repositories. Both make some modifications to Debian to enhance Debian and make it a more complete desktop experience.

Debian 8 screen shot

Debian 8 screenshot

Debian is not the most user friendly distribution. Nor is Debian recommended as a beginner Distribution. When using Debian, one is pretty much on their own when looking for answers. There excellent resources and references for Debian, but they are scattered and at times difficult to understand. Some of the material of course is outdated which complicates things. There is a Debian newsgroup, but it is stuffy and mostly unfriendly to beginner questions.

Basic Debian is pretty much basic upon install. Debian is boring and like it that way. Depending on your needs Debian is incomplete and will need you to install additional programs. You need to have some idea of what additional programs you want added.

What Debian does do in an outstanding manner is produce a small footprint, very fast OS. The system is not cluttered with junk you do not want or need. The blandness of Debian allows each user to create the system they want. What these two distributions do is take Debian from bland to outstanding.

The first Distribution I stumbled upon is from the Mepis folks, actually a subgroup of Mepis. The Debian modification they are putting out is called MX-15 based on Debian 8. The changes you are most likely to notice is a change in XFCE. They have upgraded XFCE and are using the version in Debian Testing. The next thing you will notice is MX-15 is complete both on the desktop or with the software.

Mepis MX-15 screenshot

Mepis MX-15 screenshot

MX-15 Linux makes other less obvious but enjoyable changes to the main distribution that the average user may not even notice. MX-15 is worth checking out. Of the two distributions in this post MX-15 is more user friendly to install. EFI install is an option during install. You will wish to read the notes during install.

http://www.mepiscommunity.org/mx

The second and flashiest Debian distribution I found is from Voyager Linux which originates in France. The Debian spin Voyager has created is named Voyager X8 and is based also on Debian 8. Voyager Linux is interesting in they take Debian and Xubuntu (Ubuntu XFCE) and give each distribution a colorful change over and dress up, from the desktop to the programs included.

Voyager X8 screenshot

Voyager X8 screenshot

Voyager X8 is less beginner friendly for install, but if you understand how the hard drive should be formatted, install is easy. Not only is Voyager X8 a live CD when you download the ISO, but you have some options to decide on before you start your download. Voyager X8 comes in two live versions, one for EFI installation and one for a normal Grub 2 mbr installation.

Click on X8, select your language on the right.

Between MX-15 and Voyager X8 and MX-15 both distributions go a long way towards making Debian a better Debian. MX-15 created some changes which Voyager X8 does not do. Documentation and help is on the main screen when you log in. MX-15 has a grub repair tool on the live CD. Voyager X8 is the most modified desktop with the Voyager group adding their own special additions to the desktop, with MX-15 not modifying the desktop.

Support for both these systems is very good and the documentation is excellent with the edge going to MX-15. If you are looking for a Debian based Linux, check out these two options. Both have a Live CD ISO, so you can try them first. Try them both, decide which you prefer, install it, and make it yours.

Chess Games and Chess Resources for Linux

I listed below the chess programs and resources I have on my Computer running under Linux. Some of these listed below are also cross platform.

3D Chess – glChess and this manual page were written by Robert Ancell bob27@users.sourceforge.net. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

On Debian systems, the complete text of the GNU General Public License can be found in /usr/share/common-licenses/GPL.

http://linux.die.net/man/6/glchess

Gnome Chess – GNOME Chess is a 2D chess game, where games can be played between a combination of human and computer players. GNOME Chess detects known third party chess engines for computer players.

https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Chess

Brutal Chess – Brutal Chess features full 3D graphics, an advanced particle engine, and several different levels of intelligent AI, inspired by the once popular “Battle Chess” released by Interplay circa 1988.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/brutalchess/

Chessx – A free and open source chess database application for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/chessx/

Chinese Chess – GMChess is an open source Chinese Chess based on XiangQi Wizard. (link is external) Chinese chess (Xiangqi) is one of the most popular chess games to have originated in China.

https://lgdb.org/game/gmchess

One of many configurable from beginner to winner Chess games for Linux

Dream Chess – DreamChess is an open source chess game. Our primary target platforms are Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. DreamChess features 3D OpenGL graphics and provides various chess board sets, ranging from classic wooden to flat figurines.

A moderately strong chess engine is included: Dreamer. However, should this engine be too weak for you, then you can use any other XBoard-compatible chess engine, including the popular Crafty and GNU Chess.

Other features include music, sound effects, on-screen move lists using SAN notation, undo functionality, and savegames in PGN format.

The DreamChess team currently consists of only a handful of people. We could use help in many areas, such as programming, graphics, sound and testing. If you’re interested in helping out, please send an email to feedback at dreamchess.org.

http://dreamchess.org/

EBoard – EBoard is a user-friendly chess interface for ICS (Internet Chess Servers). While it will focus on FICS (www.freechess.org ), should work with any other ICS. It supports playing against local chess engines too.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/eboard/

Knights – Knights aims to be the ultimate chess resource on your computer. Written for the K Desktop Environment, it’s designed to be both friendly to new chess players and functional for Grand Masters. Here’s a quick list of Knights’ key features:

Play against yourself, against computer opponents, or against others over the Internet.

Customize your board and pieces with over 30 different themes, or create your own!
Audio cues help alert you to important events.
Novice players can preview potential moves.
Save your unfinished matches and play them again later.

http://knights.sourceforge.net/news_archive.php and http://www1.knights-chess.com/?kw=chess+pieces

Pychess –  PyChess is a gtk chess client, originally developed for GNOME, but running well under all other linux desktops. (Which we know of, at least). PyChess is 100% python code, from the top of the UI to the bottom of the chess engine, and all code is licensed under the GNU Public License.

The goal of PyChess is to provide an advanced chess client for linux following the GNOME Human Interface Guidelines. The client should be usable to those new to chess, who just want to play a short game and get back to their work, as well as those who wants to use the computer to further enhance their play.

Use Any Chess Engine

With PyChess it is easy to play a game against the computer or use the computer to help you find the best move during a game with the Hint Mode feature.

PyChess comes with its own built-in chess engine and will automatically detect and work with most popular chess engines as long as they’re installed on your computer. This includes engines such as GnuChess, Crafty, Sjeng and Fruit, and even Windows engines like Rybka.

In the case PyChess doesn’t automatically detect an engine you’ve installed, you can manually add and configure it engines menu. See the wiki for additional engines.

http://www.pychess.org/about/

Scid – Scid is a chess database application (cross-platform, for Unix/Linux and Windows) with many search and database maintenance features.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/scid/

XBoard – XBoard is a graphical user interface for chess in all its major forms, including international chess, xiangqi (Chinese chess), shogi (Japanese chess) and Makruk, in addition to many minor variants such as Losers Chess, Crazyhouse, Chess960 and Capablanca Chess. It displays a chessboard on the screen, accepts moves made with the mouse, and loads and saves games in Portable Game Notation (PGN). It serves as a front-end for many different chess services, including:

Chess engines that will run on your machine and play a game against you or help you analyze, such as GNU Chess, Crafty, or many others.

Chess servers on the Internet, where you can connect to play chess with people from all over the world, watch other users play, or just hang out and chat.

Correspondence chess played by electronic mail. The CMail program automates the tasks of parsing email from your opponent, playing his moves out on your board, and mailing your reply move after you’ve chosen it.

XBoard runs on Unix and Unix-like systems that use the X Window System.

https://www.gnu.org/software/xboard/

XShogi – GNU Shogi is a computer program that plays the game of Shogi, also known as Japanese Chess.

https://www.gnu.org/software/gnushogi/