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Guile Brews (Book Review)

Published on November 24th, 2020

Guile Brews book coverAs a big fan of brewing history (because it combines two passions) I’ve naturally acquired a few books in this direction. Brewing history books attract me because I’m interested in what a stout used to be in the 1800s, for example; I’m interested in historic brewing processes and the agricultural inputs that went into the beers of another time. In our era of post-millenium globalisation and the expansion of home brewing as a hobby it’s easy to take for granted the wide availability of highly modified malts, the ever-expanding array of hops and availability of high quality cheap yeast. If these subjects pique your interest then Guile Brews by Peter Symons is a gob-smackingly great read about the beers of Peter’s youth in Cornwall and historic beers from Ireland and England in general. Peter’s ability to track down and gain access to private brewing records and the ability to formulate close approximations of how to make these recipes as a homebrewer today provide a compelling read.

Which is kind of funny, because I lack any nostalgia with the Boags Draught that haunted my younger years in Tasmania. My only criticism is that putting such great information into a low quality Lulu publication is a shame. Seriously, read my lips… “Your research deserves better.” And I’ve worked with designers enough to know that typography is a valuable skillset. But one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know, I guess. Enough said.

Breweries specifically covered in this book include Banks’s, J. A. Devenish, Eldridge Pope, Flower and Sons, J. J. Murphy and Son, Redruth Brewery and St. Austell Brewery. It’s quite the read.

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Newton and the Counterfeiter (Book Review)

Published on November 5th, 2020

Newton and the Counterfeiter book cover

We all know the old Isaac Newton (1643-1727) story about the apple falling from the tree and his epiphany about gravity. Only it was more of a process over years to discover and prove the case for a mathematical explanation of the World, the Universe and all That. Newton, first and foremost, in his early 20s was at the forefront of mathematical thinking in Europe. He was, this book suggests, the greatest mathematician of his time. He authored the PhilosophiƦ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin for Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy). He sought to explain God into the Universe, but never did. A man of thought and philosophy, not of people. In his entire eight decades of existence only one other human being was sought, for a while, for human companionship. That was Isaac Newton. But what about after his mathematical elevation into history?

The Royal Mint. From 1696 Issac Newton became the Warden of the Royal Mint in the Tower of London, becoming Master of the Royal Mint in 1699. This book, Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson, is set in the time of Newton’s position as Warden of the Royal Mint and his quest to solve the clipping problem in England’s currency. Clipping was the practice of snipping small bits off the side of English coins that devalued their worth on a weight-for-value basis. This silver was remelted and made into fake currency. At this point the estimation was that around 10 per cent of England’s currency was fake.

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Small Business, You Probably Don’t Need a Website

Published on October 20th, 2020

As a web professional I was brainwashed into the idea that every business needed a website. For a while that stuck, until I began to realise that most businesses get no return on investment. And, at the same time, most web developers were adamant that their products and services didn’t require a return on investment. Which is madness. In business you pay for something that makes you money and you employ people to make you richer… you don’t buy and employ on the basis of brotherly-fucking-love.

The key phrase when you’re looking to get something done for your business on the World Wide Web is web solution. That means a web solution to your current business problem – marketing, e-commerce, data collection, something that only the web can achieve. If your prospective web developer can’t give you measurable indications of what success and failure look like in that investment then walk away.

Seriously, most small businesses can put a compass onto a map and define their universe. Why, for example, would a tradesman in this small Tasmanian town care if somebody in California accidentally opened his/her web page? Bah. And that’s the trouble, web developers are too busy selling web sites to even consider solving a real and pressing business problem using web technologies. Most developers wouldn’t know a business problem with a web solution if it hit them between the eyes – they sell something else. Internet beach towels.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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