Christopher
Stoll

2009 GLBC Christmas Ale Homage

Tis the season to drink Great Lakes Brewing Company's Christmas Ale, so I thought it would be a good time to summarize the articles that I have written pertaining to it. My homage to the best holiday beer ever made.

Internal Corporate Advertising

It is hard to get the word out at large companies. Even companies who try to disseminate information have a hard time getting the right information into the right employees hands. Some firms have company-wide meetings to disseminate important information that has broad appeal, and then use newsletter, intranets, and mass emails to spread other information. The problem is that people become overwhelmed with information and end up not seeing the small things that they may actually be concerned about in the flood of irrelevant information.

Newsletters are great, but the information is not targeted, and many people quit reading them because they don’t feel there is value in doing so. The same thing happens with intranets, they work great in the beginning, but as the variety of topics increase people find it harder to focus on the content they are interested in. And, mass emails are many time sent directly to the trash bin.

So how can a large company target the dissemination of information? How can a company effectively share the knowledge of its employees?

Read my possible solutions after the jump.


jQuery and FlexBox Cause AJAX Autocomplete Mania

A while ago I converted the select boxes for one of our web applications to use an AJAX driven, autocomplete input that grabs suggestions from the database. I used jQuery and the FlexBox plugin as described in my post comparing the functionality of jQuery and MooTools. Since then I have had requests to change most of the other applications to use this technology; the users absolutely love it.

For our internal web apps, one of the most common fields is the employee select field. We are using single sign-on, so we know who is entering the data, but we need to also present a list of other users as well. Many of these applications are used at multiple facilities, and normally a user will only want to see information relevant to that facility. Which is good since it allows for the presentation of a select list filtered by location. Without this we would have to generate select drop-downs containing all users from all facilities, which is thousands of users. But, since the Great Recesion, more people are working in cross-facility roles and the need for a complete list has grown. The solution to this problem has been the AJAX driven autocomplete inputs.


SAP SmartForms Checklist

We currently have a project underway to implement SAP at one of our facilities in Mexico, and for this project I am responsible for getting all of the shipping labels created using SAP SmartForms. I must create a huge number of labels, so I have many labels moving through various stages of development. In order to keep track of each label and ensure that nothing gets missed I have created a simple checklist.

We use a formal service request (help desk) system in which I must create proper requests. The system only supports plain text, so that is what my checklist is. I simply copy this checklist template into one of the service request fields and then change the “O”s to “X”s when an item is completed. I also fill in certain values after they are defined so that I have a reference. Otherwise the team and I could confuse which message types go to which customer.

If you are interested, you can see the checklist after the jump.


SAP Exit for PA30

I recently had to write a small exit for HR that would set certain default values, and then make sure that each group could only be selected from once. Below is the ABAP code that I used to accomplish this small task (inside tcode CMODE, by drilling down).


New Features in Windows XP

I know that Windows 7 will be available for retail sale in a few days, but my company is still using Window XP. And, unfrotunately, many people are still limiting themseleves to skills that they learned with Windows 95 and NT.

We have countless people who use the Windows desktop as their main storage location. The desktop is where they store documents, links and even small programs. The problem with this is that once the desktop gets full it gets hard to find what find anything. So, to resolve that problem people organize their desktop icons. And, that works great until the user logs in to a PC with a smaller resolution screen, then all the icons get rearranged. To solve this problem our users found a nice little third party application.

Napoleon was the 'Son of the Revolution'

Please don't plagiarize my work, your instructor will know. If you can find it, so can he/she (I can see by looking at the logs for my site). Thanks.

If the life and career of Napoleon Bonaparte is examined in a vacuum, then it would certainly appear that he was a demagogue and dictator who simply imposed his will upon subjected peoples. But, it would be naïve to judge this great leader without considering the world around him, the events that led up to his rule, and the ultimate effects of his decisions. In light of those circumstances it is reasonable to assert that Napoleon was the “son of the Revolution”, and that he liberated Europeans from reactionary and monarchical rule.

Napoleon started at the lowest possible rung on the ladder where his ascension to greatness would still be possible. If he were any lower in the socio-economic system then he would have not been able to obtain the education necessary to achieve greatness. His rise to power is equivalent to what we call the “American Dream”, and his actions show that he understood the importance of this sort of meritocracy. Napoleon is often quoted as saying, “La carrière ouverte aux talents", which roughly means “careers open to the talented.” And, his rule certainly spread this sort of republican ideology that was ingrained in the French revolution.

Imitation Christmas Ale 2009

Almost three months ago I brewed up another batch of my Imitation Christmas Ale, and I forgot to write a post about it. But, since that batch is long gone I am considering brewing up another batch and thought that it would be a good time to write up the revised recipe.

I am definitely getting better at this recipe, and this version is much closer to my target, but I still have some things I would like to improve. I would like to add a little more spice flavor and bitterness, so in the next batch I am considering adding some spices and hops to the secondary. Also, the bottled brew was barely carbonated, but the taste was still good. It could probably use a little more time to age. But, as any brewer knows, it is hard to keep yours hands off of beer in the bottle.

The beer was best served at around 50 degrees, and tasted great at cellar temperatures. It did exhibit chill haze (and loss of flavor) at refrigerator temperatures. This would be a good brew to drink on a cold winter day.

The recipe is after the jump.

OG: 1.088
FG: 1.022
ABV: 8.65 %
IBU's: 30.02
Calories: 288

Volume: 5 Gallons
Color:   10.0 SRM

Primary: 5 days @ 70°F
Secondary: 10 days @ 70°F
Aging: 14 days @ 72°F

Grains & Adjuncts
1.00 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L
1.00 lbs Honey
1.00 lbs Honey Malt
3.00 lbs Extra Light Dry Extract
3.30 lbs Muntons ME Light
2.00 lbs Amber Dry Extract

Hops
0.25 ozs Cascade - 45 mins
0.50 ozs Cascade (leaf) - 45 mins
1.00 ozs Williamette (leaf) - 45 mins
1.00 ozs Williamette (leaf) - 15 mins
0.50 ozs Cascade (leaf) - 15 mins

Yeasts
1.0 pkg American Ale - Wyeast Labs 1056

Additions
0.50 oz Cinnamon Stick - 15 mins / Boil
0.25 oz Clove, whole - 15 mins / Boil

(I used iBrewMaster for the iPhone to record this data)