Archive for May 1st, 2007

Diet Recipe: In-Basil

I call this recipe In-Basil, and it has only one requirement: that you like the basil-garlic taste. JBQ doesn’t like it for example, I do though. This version has about 200 calories, depending on the meat or fish used. It is also South Beach Phase-I compliant.

Ingredients (for 1)
* 110 gr of either chicken/turkey breast or white fish (80 to 120 cals)
* 1/2 cup of fat-free vegetable (or chicken) broth (10 cals)
* 60 gr of garbanzo beans (35 cals)
* 10 thin slices of zucchini (5 cals)
* 1 big minced garlic clove (3 cals)
* 1 tspoon minced basil (2 cals)
* 2 button mushrooms (10 cals)
* 6 cherry tomatoes (15 cals)
* 1 shallot (5 cals)
* 0 calorie non-stick spray
* Black pepper

1. Preheat grill-pan to high heat. Grill the meat or fish of your choice until done. Set aside.
2. Cut the shallot is small pieces. Cut the mushrooms in two. In a saucepan, spray twice with the non-stick spray and bring to heat. Saute the shallot and mushrooms for about a minute. Add the basil and garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
3. Add the vegetable broth, zucchini, garbanzo beans and black pepper. Stir and let it cook until few tablespoons of sauce remain.
4. Add the tomatoes and stir again. After about 30 seconds place the contents to your plate, but try to keep most of the sauce still in the saucepan.
5. Return the saucepan to the heat and add the fish/meat. Turn over 2-3 times and cook until most of the sauce has evaporated (usually a minute later). Serve hot next to the vegetables.

Tip: You can substitute the garbanzo beans with some potato gnocchi if you are not dieting (not pictured). Asparagus is not bad in this context either.

Amazing performance

I never liked much Phil Stacey’s performances on American Idol show. Tonight, he rocked the damn show from its grounds (no matter if Simon commented negatively on him). He sang Bon Jovi’s “Blaze of Glory” and he sang it much better than Jon Bon Jovi ever would have the ability to do so. His live performance was way better than Bon Jovi’s 134th take as found on his CD. Amazing!

Blake Lewis’ version of “You give love a bad name” was great too. Check it out. Blake took a risk by completely changing the rock aspect of the song, but he knows well that he doesn’t have the vocal ability to compete with let’s say, Melinda, so EVEN if he gets eliminated, his bravery simply shows that the guy is inventive, intelligent, an artist, and for that reason alone he deserves a contract even if he never becomes American Idol. Blake is clever. His risk simply shouted out “give me f*cking contract, I don’t care about the votes”.

We have connected our HDTV to our Cerwin Vega E715 big speakers & amplified by Yamaha’s AX-592, and so we are listening the songs to their full potential. Cool beans.

h.264 hardware encoder

As I wrote earlier today, I received today the ADSTech Instant Video To-Go (aka RDX-160). In the beginning it didn’t work and so the bundled ArcSoft app encoded videos slower than QuickTime Pro. But after some fiddling and a reboot, the driver actually worked. Some preliminary results, before a full review goes live later this week on

852×480, 30fps, 30 second h.264 source to 320×240 h.264 output (320 kbps, 64kbps AAC, 24 fps)

MediaCoder with x264/ffmpeg, no HW: 55 seconds
QuickTime Pro, no HW: 1.03 seconds
ArcSoft, no HW: 1.38 minutes
ArcSoft with RDX-160 Hardware Acceleration: 14 seconds

So far it seems to be pretty fast! If only ArcSoft’s encoder was actually faster (it was the slowest of all when no acceleration was used) it would go down from 14 seconds to about 10 seconds using the RDX-160. In other words, the hardware seems to do the job, it’s their encoder that they use that needs further optimizations.

On the bright side, ArcSoft’s encoding app respects the aspect ratios of videos and creates letterbox when needed. They got that right!

UPDATE: Review is up!


* Ardour 2.0 was released. It looks pretty damn impressive for a free app!
* Toshiba sells a Core2Duo 17″ laptop with a resolution of 1280×800 (a resolution usually used on 13.3″ screens). How stupid is that? I don’t think they try to target 80-year olds or semi-blind people with this laptop, so why so low res? The fonts will be as big as butter beans in these screens and you would probably be able to count the pixels one by one!
* I weigh 153.6 lbs today. I lost about 4 kgs in 2 weeks. South Beach Phase-I starts today for me and JBQ.
* I just received an ADSTech h.264 hardware encoder dongle. Encode full movies in 5-10 minutes! Review at soon.
* I am getting an OGG-capable mp3 player soon.
* And so “Drive” got canceled, as predicted.
* My dream gadget, a Bluetooth router, arrives soon too.
* And so DELL chose Ubuntu. Wise choice. Hopefully this will make Ubuntu take their distro seriously and recruit engineers to actually add/fix stuff rather than just putting things together for distribution. More money is needed to do that, of course.
* Wirelessly share internet connection, HDTV content, music etc. Cool guide.
* I am approaching my 34th year of age this month. I am getting seriously old. And proof of that is that I find this guy sexy as hell, while if you would have asked me if Gere was sexy back in the ’80s or ’90s I would probably have thrown up on you.