Over the past weekend, Ryan and I attended an espresso class at a local coffee shop. I had purchased it for Ryan as a Christmas present as we've always been interested in coffee. We've spent a lot of time watching a lot of Morgan Drinks Coffee and Ryan has a soft-spot for cortados.
I was thinking it would be a fun experience as a class of people learn about coffee and make some attempts at latte art. It was a surprise to me when we arrived and the "class" was actually one-on-one with an instructor.
At the beginning the instructor asked us what we wanted to cover; the class did not have a set structure. We explained our skill levels and they suggested we go over the basics, pull some shots changing a few variables, and then at the end do some cupping. This worked out well; we were actually surprised at how much we were able to cover in the time allotted!
It's been a long time since either of us had learned something new and it was so exciting to be picking up new skills and stumbling through executing them. What's the next step? Oh, I did that wrong? Why is that happening? How do I improve that aspect? It's so exciting! You stumble through the process and when you finally get "it" and execute everything perfectly, it's a wonderful feeling. We had so much fun.
To no surprise to anyone, now that we've dipped our toes into pulling shots, we're now looking into purchasing a (starter) espresso machine for our home.
I'm having to go through some support channels for a product and it's a pretty terrible experience.
Find the support page.
Choose "live chat".
Enter your first/last name.
Enter five CAPTCHAs where you must identify the group of dice that add up to the shown number.
Answer seven questions from a bot.
After step five you're either told they're experiencing a "high volume of support requests" and recommend you repeat these steps again later or you're placed in a queue of 300 people.
There's a few aspects to this that make this painful:
"Live chat" – Getting misled into thinking I'm going to talk to a human immediately after spending several minutes on the CAPTCH feels like a switcheroo.
CAPTCHA – This CAPTCHA takes a long time to solve given there's 5 dice for each of the 5 trials that you must add up. If you get a trial wrong, you have to repeat the entire set of trials.
Abandonment due to "high volume" – This hurts after the time you've spent solving the CAPTCHA and providing the requested answers. There's no way to skip the queue later or to provide a method akin to a callback.
At least they have my current position in the queue and by my calculations, I'll be up in about an hour or so.
M+S: Like the topic of this article, a sidewall stamp. This one claims to indicate capability in mud and snow, but is actually obtained through a two-dimensional analysis of the tread pattern indicating a ratio of at least 25 percent void to lug. … It’s easy to see why drivers assume M+S tires are safe to use in snow, but no test of any kind is required to earn the stamp, and it indicates no designed, intended, or incidental capability in winter weather.
As a person who has only driven to Tahoe in the winter once with chains, I had no idea. It's misleading to call it a "mountain and snow" tire when there's no winter testing backing the label at all.
Apparently finding a good snow tire is complicated. Even the three peak mountain snowflake symbol has a backing test, 3MPSF, is imperfect and may not be the best tire for the conditions you're driving in.