McDonalds' Ice Coffee Is More Like Coffee-Flavored Cream

by Jon Davis 29. June 2008 02:05

I took a couple pictures of McDonald's iced coffee a few weeks ago when I was reaming mad about the crap they hand out and I wanted to blog about it; only now am I getting around to blogging it.

I am a huge drinker of iced coffee. My sister got me hooked years ago when she bought cans of ice coffee from an Asian grocery store and brought a few home. Canned ice coffee is huge in regions of Asia; I'm not sure why it hasn't picked up here, but I'll bet it has to do with the fact that most ice coffee in America comes with rediculous amounts of sugar. I tried bottled Frappuccino, as well as the cans of Double Shot, but it's all so horribly expensive and sickeningly sugary.

Here's how to make delicious ice coffee:

  1. Brew a 12-cup pot of coffee.
  2. Pour brewed coffee into a closed (sealed) pitcher.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 day.
  4. As needed, pour into a tall glass, 1 cup.
  5. Add 1/4 cup whole milk (not cream).
  6. Add 2 packets of Splenda or 3 tablespoons of sugar.
  7. Add ice.

It's simple, people. The only difference between coffee and good iced coffee is that it is cold with ice, uses 50% to 100% more in quantity of milk, and about 50% more sweetener or sugar than a hot cup of coffee. This is how I order my Starbucks every day: "A Venti iced coffee, unsweetened, with room for cream." I add about one inch of a cup of whole milk and three Splenda packets. Starbucks' unsweetened iced coffee is some strong stuff, it took some getting used to, but it's incredibly effective as a morning caffeine fix.

Now and then I try the iced coffee options at McDonald's. Personally, I don't know what on earth they think they're selling. They tend to sell something that is more like a cup of creamy milk, with a little bit of coffee to give it some flavor, except that the coffee "flavor" is buried in the vanilla or hazelnut flavoring, so really it's just a vanilla-flavored cup of milk. Even when I ask them to "go really light on the cream" it looks like this:

There are two McDonald's near me, one near home and one near work. Both of them give me this crap.

One day I asked--no, I begged, insisted, yelled!!--at the person giving me my order of iced coffee to get rid of some of that sickening cream. "All of our iced coffee has cream," she said. Excuse me?! How hard is it to deal with a custom order? And at a time of the day when there are no other customers to confuse anyone? I said, "I'm not taking that. I'll pay for it because I ordered it, but I don't want that, you can keep it." She asked how much cream I wanted. I held up my hand and showed a "pinching" gesture and said, "Just a little bit!" So she came back with this:

If you ask me, I think it's only just gone from a cup of creamy milk with a touch of coffee in it, to a cup of coffee that's drowning in cream.

The next (and unusual) time McDonald's politely asked me how much cream I want, I said, "Out of five parts, I want two." I said this because I read somewhere on the web that the large iced coffee uses five parts of cream, while the medium uses three parts.

As alternatives to McDonald's, besides Starbucks, I do respect Wendy's ice coffee and their intellectual capacity to limit cream to "a bit too much" when I ask them to "go light on the cream", rather than a cup full of cream.

One more thing: Even hours after drinking it, McDonald's iced coffee makes me sick to my stomach, almost as if I drank a cup of .. well, cream.

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Best T-Shirt Ever

by Jon Davis 28. June 2008 23:59

http://www.shop.com/Childrens_I_Love_Jon_Davis_T_Shirt-91483708-p!.shtml

I promise I didn't make this and had nothing to do with this. But I think everyone should wear it. ;)

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WorldWide Telescope: Technology's Solution To Get Around Smog (To View The Night Sky)

by Jon Davis 28. June 2008 22:41

*sob* I just spent about three hours writing up a detailed blog post about WorldWide Telescope, which is a software invention from Microsoft Research that makes terebytes of photos of the night sky available for free to the Windows-using public, and had the whole thing done except to add one last media element, when one of my hard drives flaked out and the computer locked up for a couple minutes and suddenly rebooted to the BIOS screen.

I'll refrain from trying to reproduce the whole blog post, or at least for now (I'm bummed out), but I wanted to share the URL:

http://www.worldwidetelescope.org/

.. and a few images. The software displays the entire spherical panorama of the night sky, at first looking just like the night sky looks just like when you look up with a naked eye on a clear night. But you can scroll and zoom in on any particular heavenly body.

The zoom-in details from the telescope sources are astounding and spectacular:

I also liked the user interface implementation, and the integration of web-based resources:

  

Besides the images, the key points I wanted to make about this that excites me are .. 

  1. This is free software that is not only commercial quality but is complete enough, I believe, that it would be a dream tool for a serious astronomer reviewing preexisting data
  2. This software can compete with the most immserive experiences at science museums and/or planetariums.
  3. The Guided Tours are awesome, and very similar to getting a tour at a planetarium (but in some ways much more detailed), and the people who host some of them are notewothy contributors ranging from PBS/Nova to major planetariums/museums to Astronomy Magazine to adorable six-year-old Benjamin. 
  4. Sci-fi entertainment software (i.e. EVE Online), meet your match on immersion and detail!!
  5. Google, Force.com, Amazon Web Services, SETI @ Home, et al, meet your match on Internet landmark software demonstrations of how mainframe databases, Internet networking, and personal computers can work together to make insanely useful supercomputing grid applications available on a PC.
  6. Commercial educational astronomy software vendors, start looking for new career paths!! Looks like this free software is so complete, rich, and detailed, that, well, no one will need your software anymore. (Tragic.)

 

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Computers and Internet

I Am Officially An IE Hater

by Jon Davis 27. June 2008 09:41

Over the last 24 hours, I crossed a certain threshhold.

Originally, I was 100% biased in favor of IE (back in the days of IE3 and IE4). When Firefox came around I thought it was good that IE got some competition. But it wasn't long before I realized that IE was not competing anymore, it had dropped out of the race.

Eventually comes CSS 3 proposal drafts and HTML 5 proposal drafts, and the Webkit/Safari and Mozilla teams are on top of them, but IE is pooping along still trying to figure out how to spell "CSS 2.1". So I got angry and frustrated and started suggesting that IE8 had better clean up its act or boycotting of IE may commence on my part.

Now I am officially an IE hater. I applied the following CSS style:

div.ProfileQuestions {
    background-color: white;
}

.., overriding a default light gray color, and suddenly, erratically, about 1/3 of the off-black colored text vanished. Where did it go? I do not know! I fired up the IE Developer Toolbar, used the inspection tool, and as my mouse hovered over the areas where the text belonged, once again, erratically, text showed up while the hover border surrounded it, then disappeared when I moved my mouse away.

Could my computer be out of resources? I closed Internet Explorer, all instances, and then opened up the page again. The text showed up. I hit refresh. Now half the text was missing. I used my mouse to select the page's rendered text, some of the missing text appeared.

Safari 3, Firefox 3, Opera 9.5, all of these showed the page fine.

Surely I have a corrupt IE installation! I sent the URL to a co-worker and asked her to look at it. She, too, was using IE 7. She, too, was finding that there was text that was just plain gone.

I tried forcing the text to be black. I tried variations of background colors. Nothing I did, except to leave the background color defaulting to the body background of light gray, could stop IE from making random lines of text just vanish.

Internet Explorer 7 is used by a MASSIVE portion of the Internet browsing community. I am flabbergasted by this cheap rendering behavior, and that statistic of IE7 usage NEEDS TO CHANGE or else we will have a broken web indefinitely.

Let the boycott commence.

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Opera Competes

by Jon Davis 27. June 2008 09:28

Opera is showing the world how to be fierce competitors but doing it fairly and in a good way.

http://ajaxian.com/archives/opera-gets-proactive-and-helps-you-fix-your-code

In the words of the judges on a TV show I've been watching, So You Think You Can Dance,

"Yeaaaaaahh!!!  YEAAAAHHH!!! WOOOOOO!!! That's competition!! That's what I'm talking about, YEAH!!"

Now if only Microsoft could comprehend the philosophy, they would stop making excuses for their corporate partners and start asking them to simply make their web sites compliant.

Oh, but oops, that would break their sites on IE... *sigh* .. Oh wait .. Ahh, got it .. they did understand it, they've been telling their customers to retain broken code that only works on IE and not to make it standards-compliant so that it keeps working on IE .. maybe they're not so stupid. Improper? Yes. Stupid? No.

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Web Development

openSUSE 11: Sorry, I Gave You A Fair Chance

by Jon Davis 24. June 2008 08:08

I was excited that openSUSE 11 had just been released. I was looking forward to the Next New LinuxTM to come out and convince me that the best non-Windows alternative besides a Mac was usable and exciting. 

For the first time in years, I deployed Linux (openSUSE 11) to physical hardware (not a VM), meaning a quad-core processor, 4GB RAM, a GeForce 8800 GT, and a WD Raptor drive, and gave it a completely fair shot.

The first installation attempt was actually in a VM at the office, and it failed--it got to 90% installed then froze up on an FTP download. A 2nd attempt with out networked repos had it still freeze up at some point, now the VM just boots to a blank black screen.

But now at home installing on physical hardware, it booted to my environment with a striping RAID array configured it warned me that it couldn't "partition the drive using this tool". Oh. Okay. I pushed forward anyway, spending upwards of 15 minutes selecting most of the software package options without selecting conflicting options, and then I went to go forward and install and, sure enough, it failed to partition the drives, and sent me straight to a non-GUI installer view where I pretty much had to just restart the computer, enter the BIOS, break off my two Raptors from RAID, and give it another shot.

An hour or so later, I was looking at my fresh new KDE 4 desktop and thinking, bleah. Okay. So there's not really anything to see here, nothing I haven't seen over the last many years. Sound is gone, I enabled the sound but my 48kHz native sound card could only playback jittery noise that had me laughing and moaning on every reboot. I tried the GNOME desktop as well. Yeehaw *yawn*.

Having two monitors, one monitor was not displaying. I went to nVidia's web site, installed the latest display drivers (executable, but still opening up a terminal and chmod +x 'ing, how retarded!), rebooted, still didn't see two monitors lit, tried to enable the 2nd monitor from the nVidia control panel, couldn't save the xorg.conf (or whatever) file for no obvious reason, rebooted, tried again, still couldn't write the xorg.conf (whatever) file, logged in as root, tried again, worked. *sigh* OK now both the Mac and Windows' UAC have spoiled me on this, why was I just not prompted to enter a password?

Without even considering using MonoDevelop, re-exploring Eclipse, testing Apache and PHP5, dinking around with Ruby, trying out OpenOffice, or tinkering with any of the games, I threw my hands up and said, "I've seen all this crap. It's all crap."

Linux has still not managed to catch up with Windows 95, and instead of fixing these usability issues they just keep slapping on new software and eye candy like Compiz-Fusion effects, and I've had it.

Fortunately I had a full backup of Windows Vista, which I was 95% certain I was going to restore within a day, and, sure enough, I did.

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Computers and Internet | Linux

Quick Method Of Sorting On Multiple Properties

by Jon Davis 24. June 2008 07:37

I’ve started replacing my custom List<T> sorts of

 

ret.Sort(new Comparison(delegate(MyClass o1, MyClass o2) { return o1.City.CompareTo(o2.City); } ) );

 

.., which doesn't seem to support multiple property sorts when I run Sort() multiple times (and I don're care to glean from the many multi-property sort samples on the web that have tens of lines of method execution), with ..

ret = new List<MyClass>(from r in ret orderby r.State, r.City select r);

Works like a charm. I'm slowly learning to dig LINQ-to-Objects ;)

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Software Development | C#

Microsoft: Please! Stop Handing Out Beta Software Like Candy!!

by Jon Davis 19. June 2008 04:48

I'm really getting annoyed by the signal-to-noise ratio coming from MSDN over the last year or two with regard to releases versus CTP's and betas.

Beta releases are really supposed to be hush-hush, "sure you can use it but it's not supported, it's available because we need you to test it and report your findings while planning your future deployments". It's inappropriate, though, to pass out beta software as if it was already ready to go.

I'm a HUGE believer in early previews and betas, don't get me wrong. I don't wish Microsoft would stop releasing them. I just wish they would stop marketing them as though they are production supported. Openly releasing Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 Beta directly on http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vstudio/default.aspx is a really dangerous move because we, the customers, have no guarantee that when the RTM build goes gold the Beta build will uninstall correctly or that the RTM build will successfully overwrite the beta build. Actually, when it comes to development tools and platform SDKs, how many times have you heard the disclaimer, "Installation of this beta software is not recommended on production workstations. We recommend using Virtual PC or a test lab."

Come on, if you're plastering "Download Beta this! and Beta that! today!!" all over your primary tools resources web site, you're just making yourselves look like a company with nothing but beta software. And that's only the second worst thing to vaporware.

I would normally be very excited about beta releases. I just expect them to be packaged and delivered in a way that isn't pre-marketed--I want them documented and detailed, but not shoved in my face in sales pitches in place of examples of how I can use or support what I already have--and then I expect service packs and support for the current released version of a product to be readily available on the product web page. SQL Server's web site has infuriated me time and time again, making my head spin as I scour the Microsoft web site to try to find the latest Service Pack download, when they are throwing at me everything but the kitchen sink to try to gain my interest in stupid success stories, trial versions, and, most prominently, the next version's beta!!

People everywhere, get this through your heads: support for your existing customers is more important to your long-term image than vaporware, sales pitches, and blinking LEDs.

 

On the flip side, I just had a mental flashback of a warm and fuzzy feeling I have towards a beta thing Microsoft engaged in a few years back. It was this wonderful experiment called the ASP.NET Web Matrix, which was basically a beta version of Visual Web Developer Express back in the day. Microsoft had a dedicated site for it--they did not plaster it all over the Visual Studio web site (although they did plaster it all over http://asp.net/), they gave the beta software its own space, isolating it from paying customers of the real Visual Studio. And then, they took feedback. The forum threads were filled with great ideas and wishlist items.

:) Good times.

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BlogEngine.net author blog

by Jon Davis 12. June 2008 10:25

Hey, Mads has a nice blog. It's not just BlogEngine.net updates (my blog uses his blog engine and theme), he has opinions too. :)

http://blog.madskristensen.dk/

 

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Introduction to TortoiseSVN (Viewlet Animation)

by Jon Davis 11. June 2008 18:58

I was asked to learn how to use ViewletBuilder so that I can create in-house tutorials for some of the web applications we're working on.

Meanwhile, I was also asked to find a way for one of the teams to be able to versionize and manage their web files. These teams do not consist of developers, just graphic artists, editors, and multimedia specialists.

This is why I went down the wiki path, but wiki's in turn introduce a number of support and maintenance issues, not to mention web design limitations, that made me realize it was not the best path. I asked these folks to consider just using Subversion, and since they weren't familiar with Subversion I created my first ViewletBuilder viewlet as a way of hitting two birds with one stone--explain Subversion while discovering how to use ViewletBuilder.

Subversion for normal people, imagine that. ;) Once I shared it, I realized it's kind of a nice little thing to share with the world. Maybe you might find this useful.

Intro to Subversion - TortoiseSVN Basic Workflow
http://www.viewletcentral.com/vc/viewlet/464812468/

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Powered by BlogEngine.NET 1.4.5.0
Theme by Mads Kristensen

About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
 
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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