Channel Knife Comparison
To rapidly and uniformly peel citrus rind, a channel knife is best. Probably, nothing beats old-fashioned paring-knife work. The goal for marmalades is just a little, but not too much zest, the white part.
This is 3 different channel knives, from left to right:
Zyliss, Victorinox, and Messermeister. In terms of ease of use, from easiest to more difficult: Victorinox, Zyliss, then Messermeister. In terms of flavor, from most sweet to bitter: Messermeister, Zyliss, then Victorinox.
If I had to make a large amount of bitter marmalade, Victorinox FTW. For a nice balanced Seville orange marmalade, Zyliss!
Mean doctors punctured Vivi a few times. She was a trooper, as always.
This machine is very, very expensive. It looks into Vivi's eyes. Great News! She has two eyes.
If you guessed the minion packets were for Vivi, you guessed correctly!
I've been coaching a couple talented badminton players in Portland OR. They work hard and try to do what I ask. As a result, they are much stronger than when we started, less than a year ago. If they continue, and avoid injury, they will certainly be state champions soon. One of them, Daniel, is from Iceland.
Recently, Daniel brought back a jar of his father's home-made three-citrus marmalade, from Iceland. Wow! It's, by far, the best I've ever tasted! Think of Dundee Orange marmalade, which is made from Seville oranges, only more complex and lighter. My wife insists we try, so here goes.
We couldn't wait for the correct equipment, or the recipe, so my first batch was, ummm, not successful. Well, if you want to use it as a hockey puck, then it is the most delicious hockey puck you've ever had.
The mistake was to use this fancy, expensive, super-special, 2-part pectin powder. Don't ever buy, or use, Pomona pectin powder. I think it is optimized for low-sugar preserves. This is a bad idea, since sugar acts as a preservative, in canned fruit goods. Unless you really know what you are doing, and you have refractometers and stuff, it's a really bad idea to "wing it" with home-preserved goods.
Long story short, Pomona pectin includes "calcium water", which, in addition to screwing up your recipes, adds opacity to the preserves. Award winning preserves have extra steps just to create a transparent, jewel-like stage for the floating fruits. Pomona pectin creates the opposite of this.
Oh well. At least I used the cheapest citrus from the Asian market...less than $1.00 per pound for juicing oranges. It tastes ok, but the texture is grainy. We put a tiny blob on our cupcakes.
Here is the recipe we will try next. NOTE! This is not a proven safe recipe as-is. For example, there is no (hot-water-bath) processing step! That said, it hasn't killed anybody yet...that we know of. :
Three-fruit marmalade (26 hrs needed)
(measurements are all in volume so it doesn't matter what the unit is - liter, quart, pint, cup)
1 unit chopped citrus fruit pips and rinds (5 oranges, 3 lemons, 1 pink grapefruit - all medium size, adjust as necessary)
1 unit water
1 unit orange juice (with pulp)
Next morning let the mixture simmer for an hour.
In the evening bring to the boil.
Add 3/4 (75%) unit of sugar slowly and stir at the same time.
Simmer gently for about two hours or until ready - not too thick - stir frequently.
Pour into clean hot glass bottles.
The finished marmalade has about the same volume as the raw fruit.
Vivi and the PSU Farmers Market
We have the best farmers markets in the world here. Today was the Portland State University (PSU) farmers market. We got there at 9:30am, and by the time we left, it started raining. We love the rain, but we don't want a soggy Vivi.
I have an iMac 5k Retina with an i7 6700K CPU. This CPU is rated 4.0GHz base, 4.2GHz Turbo. The data sheet is here. This amazing hardware, with a stellar display, and with VMware Fusion, a real productivity booster.
Running 2 x Ubuntu VM's with compile jobs, which saturate all 4 cores (8 Hyperthread CPU's) at 100%, get CPU throttling 3.7GHz. !! Intel and Apple both claim the CPU shouldn't fall below 4.0GHz. What gives?
Core temps should be below 80C, mine is baking at 95C, with fans on maximum. Power consumption is about 60W, well below the TDP of 91W.
My guess has to do with a sneaky feature in 6th gen Intel CPU's, see Section 5.1.4 in the detailed specs here. This allows a vendor, say, Apple, to set the BIOS to a lower/throttled power limit, say, 60W instead of 90W. If the CPU is pushed harder than the reduced limit, then a different kind of CPU throttling kicks in. Sneaky, eh? Section 5.1.7 also shows a variable thermal throttling too, but that would kick in at ~80C? So I think we are seeing 5.1.4 - type limiting. From the test below, the throttling appears to be either around 95C or 60W, it's hard to tell which throttle mode is in effect.
The compile jobs took 51 and 52 minutes in my VM's on the iMac, with 4 (virtual) core CPU's each and 8GB RAM each. The exact same compile took only 44 minutes, on an Amazon AWS c4.xlarge EC2 instance. This is also a 4 (virtual) core CPU system, with 7.5GB RAM. EC2 has better bandwidth than my home, but not by tons. I'm getting 125 Mbits/s down, and these EC2 instances get about 160 Mbits/s in the real-world compile benchmark. Apple throttles their hardware. Amazon doesn't seem to throttle EC2 c4 instances.
iMac cooling is insufficient, so they probably throttled the CPU in BIOS. Also, Intel is not truthful about base frequency. *sigh* At least Amazon has truth in advertising. Amazon EC2 for the win!
The video below shows the baking happening. Also, you can see the graphics load start to wake up as I am recording the video. This slows the CPU from around 3.8GHz to 3.7GHz, or average 3.9GHz to 3.8GHz.
The video has no sound, so you can't hear the fans whirring like crazy!
Vivi's Eyebrow Exercises
Vivi is getting ready for acting classes next?
Hacker Pro Tip
We leverage Amazon AWS a lot, especially EC2. For instance, we are developing a build script which takes 1-2 hours, on a quad CPU, 8GB RAM VM! We think we might be able to get this down to 15 minutes someday. Not everyone has the luxury of a new iMac Retina 5k with VMware Fusion, but all software developers should have access to such tools. This combination easily pays for itself in productivity.
However, you can replicate this for a fraction of the cost, with judicious use of EC2. For example, an on-demand t2.xlarge, c4.xlarge, or m4.xlarge costs roughly 20 cents per hour. You could have a script start the instance, kickoff a nightly build, transfer the results to an S3 web directory, and shut itself down when done. This would cost less than 50 cents per day.
If you have developers around the world, as we do, then sharing access to one of these instances works great. You want to use EBS-backed instances, so that you can snapshot the instance regularly. That way, if the stack gets horribly borked, you can revert to a known last config. You can also clone a VM for someone else very quickly. You only need a powerful, quad CPU instance for big compile jobs. You can take the same EC2 instance, stop it, and increase or decrease its computing power, then start it again. This way, your costs can range from $5/mo to $150/mo, for full time access. Be sure to enable "termination protection"! For sharing VM's with other contractors, consider ylastic.com, a fantastic service which allows point-and-click starting and stopping of instances.
OK, so everything is awesome. What's the catch? Well, there is the usual foolishness where, if you are working remotely, or over VPN, or over WiFi, or your laptop needs to sleep, etc... , then your SSH connection can get terminated. This will terminate all the processes related to that connection. If you kicked off a build and go get a coffee, your build can die.
The cure for this is an amazing free mobile ssh shell called mosh. Below you can see a demo where I have multiple mosh sessions open to multiple EC2 instances, one of which is building a long compile. I sever the network connection, and reconnect. The compile, and everything else, continue as if nothing happened. I close my laptop and reopen it anytime I like. Work continues uninterrupted. Enjoy!
I'm an applied-math-research Ph.D. and serial startup founder. I am a recognized computer security expert, fortunate to join the ranks of many, great CTO's. I've founded and seed-funded multiple, successful, VC-backed companies. I'm still at it!