03.20.07

McKenzie’s Iced Sugar Cookies Recipe (My Replica)

Posted in General at 6:11 pm by matt

So, McKenzie’s no longer exists, but many of us have fond memories of specific items from the New Orleans bakery.  My personal favorite wasn’t as popular as their King Cakes or their turtle cookies — it was their iced sugar cookies.  These were BIG sugar cookies cut to a variety of shapes such as Pac-Man, Clovers, Hearts, etc.  They were always iced colorfully, too.

So, I had a reason to make some sugar cookies, and I tried to get as close as I could to McKenzie’s.  The icing still needs some work, but I think that they used a derivative of royal icing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • Cream the butter and the sugar in a mixer
  • Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  • Mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir to combine
  • On slow, mix the dry goods into the wet goods.  Take the time to scrape the sides of the bowl.
  • Once the dough has formed, chill it in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • Roll the dough out, but keep it pretty thick.  These cookies aren’t going to rise very much.
  • Cut into shapes, place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet.
  • Make sure the dough is still chilled before putting it into the oven.
  • Bake at 375 for about 10-14 minutes, depending on how thick your cookies are.
  • Cool on a rack until room temperature.

Royal Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (approximate)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  • This process isn’t a science — Just look at what you’re doing and pay attention to the product.
  • Beat the egg white and the lemon juice together until frothy
  • Add the vanilla, stir to combine
  • Slowly add the powdered sugar, a little bit at a time.  You may not need all of it,  you might need a little more.
  • Mix the powdered sugar in slowly.
  • Mix until you can see a ribbon of icing fall from the spoon / mixer, land on the mixer, and remain on the surface of the icing for a couple seconds.
  • For a good explanation and details on making this without an uncooked egg white, see Joy of Baking

You need to use royal icing immediately (or keep it very airtight)

You can’t really substitute blended / food processed sugar for powdered sugar in this recipe.  You really notice the large sugar crystals.

Hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do!


03.17.07

Internet Archive sued for breach of contract?

Posted in General at 11:19 am by matt

So, a woman puts a “notice” on her website saying basically that anyone who looks at her site is entering into a contract and cannot copy the content.

The internet archive’s spider hits her site and provides an archived copy of this.

According to Eric Goldman, the court properly did not dismiss the breach of contract claim.

Now, I’m just a law student, but I’m also a former software engineer.  I don’t particularly know which law applies here, but what sticks out to me is that enforcement of a contract in this case would be totally against the common practice / usage of trade.

Every reasonably informed website operator knows 1) that spiders will come to your site and 2) that they’re going to take copies of your pages and provide them to the public in some limited form.  See Google’s cache for the most prominent example.  Also, every reasonably informed webmaster knows about a ‘robots.txt’ file, which is a file that tells search spiders what NOT to access.  There are also a number of HTML META tags for specifying what the search engines can/cannot do.

This is not rocket science, it’s commonly known how to prevent the spiders from crawling your site. Enforcement of a contract here, well, regardless of what text of the site says or how it’s programmed, well, that would just fly in the face of common practice.


02.28.07

Everything he says seems reasonable.

Posted in General at 11:52 pm by matt

Re: http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=4562

I agree, the US has a good system that promotes industry and innovation. Not the best system possible, but a good one.

More examiners. Yep, need that.

More open process, yeah, that too.

I don’t think courts should defer to the examiner, though. There should be at least some scrutiny over their decisions.

I actually think rss feeds of applications and wikis for each application are a GOOD idea, as long as there’s regulation over identity. if you can see who is saying what, it matters. you dont want a company to show lots of evidence for its patent without being identified as having an interest.

Anyway, I have to reserve most of my judgment on this issue as I havent taken IP law yet. we’ll see where i stand after i take he class.


02.25.07

HTML Email with Text Plain Backup. Notes for MIME::Lite and PHP Pear

Posted in Email at 11:21 am by matt

Recently I’ve been working on some code that needed to have HTML email sent along with plain text email.  One application was the “email a photo” option for Resizr.com.  The other option, and the one where it wasn’t working right, was for PostOnce.net, basically a trucking logistics company.  The trucking industry isn’t the most high tech, and there are still people out there using email clients that don’t support HTML.

Anyway, here we go.

With PHP Pear, the code is smart enough to figure things out itself.  However, with MIME::Lite, you have to build the message yourself.

The answer to the problem is to use the “Multipart/Alternative” as your mime type, put the text/plain part first (for AOL support), and don’t attach the HTML as a file (attach it as data).

Example:

my $mime_msg = MIME::Lite->new(
    From => “matt@urbanpug.com”,
    To   => $email,
    Subject => ‘multipart/alternative’,
    Type => $mime_type,
) or die “Error creating MIME body: $!\n”;

$mime_msg->attach(Type => ‘text/plain’,
    Data => qq{ Your Message Body });

$mime_msg->attach(Type => ‘text/html’,
    Data => qq{ Your HTML Message Body });

However, I had a problem.  I was calling various scripts to build a big HTML file, which would then be attached, so i was doing:

$mime_msg->attach(Type => ‘text/html’,
    File => $html_file_path);

Don’t do that.  Instead, read the file into an array, then join the array into a string.  I dont know why, but some mail readers (including gmail) saw that the HTML attached was a file, and treated it as an attachment, rather than an alternative way of presenting the same message.

Hope this helps you!  If you have anything to add, reply!


02.18.07

Is this web 2.0?

Posted in General at 5:12 pm by matt

I thought this was REALLY well done.

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