Chinky New Year!

Loittering in Bangsar between work, market research, business networking, RELATIVES, and the ever essential #carnap. Ping for meetups.
After conversations with...

3 industry players
2 some-time customers
1 potential interviewer
1 friend of an ex, and a potential business counterparty
1 ex
2 never-dates
3 cousins and multiple other relatives later

... I'm home, and gearing down for the morning shift. Kaching.

I miss this depth of social activity. Maybe I need to seriously consider a shift into business development roles.


Coffee; Social Media; Technology


You have to understand that in the world of old media, pubs and coffeeshops were the social apps of choice for many people. This is a big B2C (retail, inelastic FMCG) play for firms specialising in new media like GOOG and TWTR. Every concentric sphere of marketing communications and customer relationship management for a traditional coffeeshop stands to be improved by simple tweaks utilising new media.

As for the benefits to coffee - automation in non-specialty coffee doesn't improve non-specialty coffee. But increased qualities of robotics (and machine phenomenology) in specialty coffee brewing will soon accelerate adoption and shred costs (probably not prices) over the next decade (because growth potential is high). That would free up the coffee nerds to do more valuable work, like growing, sourcing, and dialling in.



A lot of loitering with co-workers in the fashion industry after work. Not productive, but a good rest.

Several hours later, following a bit of jiggling the input variables, there was one final decent cup of Mandheling with a lingering sweet hazelnutty aftertaste.

Working with colleagues, I've pretty much figured out that we can brew (1) any dose, (2) at any non-stuck grindsize, (3) for whatever temperature and duration are required to melt all the sugars, oils, etc., (4) without over-extracting into roasty/bitter/shitty territory, (5) just by messing with tamping pressure, (6) possibly at the expense of higher extraction-yields.
Done with daily documentation. Need to crash before interviewing a prospective college student tomorrow. LOL.

The next day:

- took an interview
- gave an interview
- chatted with acquaintances about job hunting
- played itinerant recreational job hunter

Managed to take a nap at the reunion table. Most productive chinky new year evahhh...

Zimbio Results

Makes sense:

- Voldemort: Ego
- R2D2: Super-ego
- Drago: Id

Speedster vs. Hydra

Someone on a forum asked about opinions on the Speedster, a one-group espresso machine. Its sister, the Spirit, has similar features and multiple group-heads, though all group-heads share a single pump. (Correct me if I got anything wrong here...)
TL;DR: looks like the Speedster offers ample flow-control features for fine-tuned shots. But if you are looking for simultaneous service and recalibration, then a 2-group Hydra might serve you better (i.e. it's like having two Speedsters!).

I've never used a Speedster, only a Hydra, and will provide comparison (personal opinion) based on what I read about Speedsters in the following link: http://coffeegeek.tumblr.com/post/939036081/speedster

Speedster is described there using a 7-stage model (which I will refer to by number below).
The Speedster’s pressure delivery system

With the Speedster, I’m able to pull a shot with the following pressures:

1. Neutral (gravity fed, not much else) preinfusion pressure, up to 7 seconds or longer (set time, not adjustable longer, but can be adjusted shorter, see below)
2. Ramp up to line pressure, controlled by flow restrictors (usually less than 1 second, not adjustable)
3. 3bar (or line pressure from your home or office’s normal tap water pressure) for as long as you want
4. Ramp up to pump pressure, controlled by flow restrictors (usually about 1-1.5seconds, not adjustable)
5. Pump pressure, whatever the rotary pump is set for - for as long as you want.
6. Ramp down to line pressure (slower than ramp up, not adjustable)
7. Line pressure finishing at 3bar / whatever your line pressure is (again, for as long as you want)
The Hydra's corresponding features are as follows. Hydra provides: stages 3, 5a(i) and 5b (two discrete pump pressures), then 5a(ii) (switch-down from 5b to 5a(i)). The transitions between the various substages of 5 on the Hydra are instant - since it's not a gradual "ramp" using flow-regulators like the Speedster.

We often use the Hydra's stage-5b analogously to the Speedster's stage-4 (1.5 seconds at a medium-pressure between line-pressure and 9-bar), and we use the Hydra's stage-5a(ii) analogously to the Speedster's stage-7.

A practical example when flow-control does/does-not come in handy: If you're pulling total shot mass of 20-60g over 30 seconds, then the Speedster's stage-7 will come in handy for reducing the flow rate at the final stages of the extraction time - to reduce accidental over-extraction, while giving the oils more time to become soluble. BUT if you're pulling total shot mass of 10-20g over 30 seconds, then your shot is essentially drippy all the way, and you don't really have to worry about over-extraction, as long as your total-extraction-time is actively managed. (Driving slower reduces the chance of mis-driving.)


Strangely Speaking

Too many people that I meet in commerce are looking for friendships. That's really depressing as a reminder that most of commerce is driven by the common man's need for social relationships. It's hard getting things done, being someone who doesn't really prioritise those, but I guess, that life on the other side.


All these cows. Just kill me now.



I was waiting for the laundry to be done. There was a scratching, and a tapping from the glass door of the balcony. I ignored it, but a little later I realised that it was coming from the ceiling. Wondering if it was a mouse, a bat, or some other creature, I let it be. But it continued.

So I tapped the ceiling with the end of a mop. The noises stopped. Then they resumed several minutes later. I tapped here and there on the ceiling, and the noises would stop temporarily. So I unfolded the ladder, and entered the ceiling of my home through the usual loosened ceiling boards that are there for this purpose. With a flashlight, I found a speechless bird in one corner. It was a weak-looking bird, and I considered nursing it before letting it go.

I picked it up, and it did not seem to attack me, but it screeched and squawked in its little bird voice. Unfortunately, in the short time that I had known this bird, I did not invest sufficiently in empathy with its plight. I made my way to the edge of the ceiling, and dropped it outside, through a space under the roof tiles.

Farewell, bird, I wish you well, knowing that your lifespan will probably be shorter than mine, but that mine may be shorter than your own.

Now it is time to finish the laundry.

Neuroscience: Definitely Not Yet

God, I wish I had more time for neuroscience. I can't even find enough time for math yet. Which reminds me. It's time to stop dicking around at the office and go home to get some sleep before tomorrow's shift. Sleep. Friend, or foe? Usually, friend, I find.

(I was reading up old and new articles, and it made me a bit introspective - then again, when am I not introspective?)

I spend most of my time these days working as a barista in a third-wave coffee shop. I spend most of my spare time outside of work, studying math. Some time is spent on recreation of course: random job shopping, and other socio-economic affairs. What seems to surprise many people is hearing this: I'm not even interested in math for math's sake. I'm studying math because I need to understand the outer limits in a certain dimension of the human experience. I'm learning how math works, so that I can figure out exactly how smart an information system has to be so that it can intuit, and rediscover, mathematics - whether or not it is the same mathematics that is currently accepted as 'standard theory'. In other words, I'm motivated to study math due to my interest in machine intelligence.

And I'm not even that interested in machine intelligence. I'm working in machine intelligence because I generally have an intuition that people are simple things - or at least, simpler than most people think. Sometimes I am more capable of demonstrating the simplicity that I intuit, but ultimately a good demonstration would be the machination of a software system with anthropomorphic personality, including subsystems of emotion, intuition, and consciousness, all aspects of human experience which I understand to be computationally delineable. In computing, the Turing Test, and Immortality Test are good nominal targets for that sort of thing. In other words, I'm motivated to study machine intelligence due to my boredom with people.

Well that's me in a nutshell.

Time to Sell?

Maybe I should just focus on sales jobs. That aren't deskbound.
I was reading up on a KL cafe/restaurant before an interview, and basically ploughed through a half-dozen food blogs. I'm not a foodie - I don't usually read food blogs. But, OMFG, are you serious... some of the pictures of food reviewed as, "being of high quality," were dismal. Between those and some googly-eyed comments that people made on social networks about the coffee where I work - I have developed a profound sense of pity for the consumers of Kuala Lumpur. :'(