Random thoughts from an unusual company

Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

Gabriella Davis  5 October 2008 21:39:52
It's been an up and down weekend,  but let's start with the high point .... this weekend's very successful cocktail was the Bacardi Cocktail which is a lot more exciting than it sounds and a lovely pinkish colour to boot (don't be scared guys).  We tried 3 different recipes and like Goldilocks, I found one too sweet (used sugar syrup rather than sugar and lime juice), one Tim found too sour (had only a little bit of sugar and lime juice), and finally one from Dale Degroff's bible which was lovely. His recipe was

Image:Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software
2 measures white rum
1 measure lemon juice
1 measure sugar syrup
a little bit (few drops) grenadine
... whole lot in a glass with ice, shake, strain, serve, drink

if you want to try the more bitter one then replace lemon juice with lime juice and only 1/2 measure of sugar syrup with 1/2 measure grenadine

Image:Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software
The cooking, much less successful but to be filed under 'lessons learnt', is my first attempt at home made chicken soup and dumplings - the fire even went on at home on Saturday, it was that kind of weekend.  Sadly, despite using my chicken carcass left over from the roast (euch) and all the veg and stock, including much hated celery and simmering for the required 3 hrs - I blame my mother's voice inside my head for insisting I try and 'stretch' the quantities and making me put extra water in half way through.  The result was very, well, watery but I managed to fix it with some chicken stock I made up and, weirdly enough, some mirin.  The dumplings presented a problem because every dumpling recipe I had called for Baking Powder and although I had something in the cupboard that looked like baking powder, it was missing its label so it could just have easily been bicarbonate of soda or even cream of tartar.  The sell-by date of Feb 2006 was the clincher and so into the bin it went whilst I found a recipe that didn't involve baking powder and worked out very well.

1 cup chicken stock
1/2 teasp thyme
salt and pepper
1 cup white flour
..mix together well then add
2 beaten eggs
drop tablespoons of the dumpling mixture into the finished soup and let it all simmer for 5 minutes then put a lid on it and let it steam for a few minutes more

The dumplings were delicious and very light, just surprisingly HUGE so next time I'll try the same using a teaspoon to drop the mixture into the soup.  Oh and next time I won't add water to the soup until the end.

Image:Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software
Amongst the drinking and the cooking there was also the work.  I had on the schedule an upgrade to a BES server this weekend from 4.1.4 to 4.1.6.  Sadly the upgrade failed midway through using the 4.1.6 upgrade install (the SQL error upgrading the MSDE db which I haven't seen since the 4.1.2 upgrade).  I've already done 5 upgrades to 4.1.6 with no problems but given these problems I wanted to get another server online with 4.1.6 and get the users onto it so that we didn't have downtime whilst we troubleshooted the upgrade.  Unfortunately, my client had only the original 4.1.1 install and various upgrades from there.  I had 4.1.4 but I wanted to go with a clean install of 4.1.6, so what's a girl to do?  Easy, phone O2 and order the £90 / 90-day temp license for BES which comes with a download of the install and which can be used with a full license key.  Unfortunately although the license arrived, the download was Exchange not Domino since O2 had submitted the wrong order to RIM.  After much shouting at O2 and excuses of how they couldn't do anything "until RIM get in around 2pm GMT / 9AM EST on Monday", I found the free 60 day trial of BES on the RIM website, complete with the 4.1.6 download for Domino.

There was something morally uncomfortable about applying for a 'trial' just to get the software I was legally entitled to, though.   It really shouldn't be this hard to find and download the latest version of software. RIM, surely you can do better than this?
Comments

1Bob Balaban  06/10/2008 02:12:25  Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

You CAN use a chicken carcass to make good soup, but it's FAR better to start with a whole chicken (you can still eat the chicken at the end, it's delicious).

If you do it that way, it only takes 1-2 hours. MUST use onion and carrot, celery is good (for me), but optional. Secret ingredient: Parsnips. Really, try it.

When you extract the mushy veg from the soup later, let it cool, and eat it with your fingers, while (whilst) drinking a rum cocktail. Heaven!

2Ray Bilyk  06/10/2008 13:03:01  Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

The cocktail recipe sounds great! What glass did you use for the presentation?

Keeping trying the chicken soup... My wife and I took many trials before coming up with something we truly enjoy! (Oh, and thank you Bob for the suggestion... I will try that!)

Sorry to hear about your upgrade issues. I agree that it's always a hassle to get the software that you need. Maybe someone at RIM will read this and look into it. Hey, it can happen...

3Gab Davis  06/10/2008 14:34:55  Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

@Bob - actually i much prefer the idea of using an entire chicken so i'll give that a go. I love parsnips so i'll definitely try those too.

@Ray.. we used a martini glass and the quantities fit perfectly.

I'll have another go at the chicken soup next weekend.....

4Todd Carpenter  06/10/2008 15:53:45  Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

Gabriella, you have made me nervous about upgrading. I was going to perform a 4.1.3 to 4.1.6 upgrade this week, but now I am hesitant. Did you find the culprit of the issue you experienced?

5Gabriella Davis  06/10/2008 16:15:36  Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

@Todd

I see the BES upgrades fail often enough that now I only install BES in a VM so I can snapshot the VM before upgrade and rollback if it stalls. If it's going to hit a problem it tends to be when it tries to upgrade the local MSDE db to the new version and you get a SQL syntax error - at that point you are halfway through the upgrade and you can't roll either back or forwards. You have to uninstall and reinstall using the same dbs. It used to happen a lot on 4.1.2 but less so in recent versions and like I said this is my first time after 5 successful upgrades that one has failed.

I wouldn't worry too much but I'm a belts and braces girl so if you can I would use the free VMWare Converter tool to take a VM image of your BES before starting or take a Ghost image or similar - then if things do go wrong you can bring up a copy of VMWare workstation for about 60 USD and the VM you took as backup and you're back online. If you do that then make sure you actually disable all the BES services on your live server (set them to disabled under services) before bringing the VM online so you don't risk having 2 license keys appear online at the same time and being deactivated by RIM. Whatever you do, make sure you take a backup of all the MSDE data before you start, if you have that no matter what happens you should be able to rebuild the BES without reactivation.

6Todd Carpenter  06/10/2008 18:33:29  Cocktail of the Week, Chicken Soup Gone Wrong and Finding Blackberry Software

Thanks again, I already had the VM admin create a snapshot, as yes I've been burned before. Just wanted to make sure it wasn't show stopper.