Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chocolate Cereal Blocks Etc

The classic Rice Krispies cereal treat has been around for decades. Over time, I’ve noticed these cereal yummies have undergone two noticeable changes:
  • Microwave directions for melting butter and marshmallows, replacing the kettle method
  • Proliferation of pre-made packages
Chocolate Cereal Blocks Etc is my frequent deviation from the classic cereal treat, which I most recently prepared for a picnic. Received several raves, so I said I’d send out the recipe. Wellll, in the midst of writing it up, it started shaping up to be another blog article recipe. This recipe uses (in order) butter, caramel vanilla marshmallows and chocolate rice cereal for the cereal blocks. The ganachy icing has peanut butter meltable candies and chocolate frosting. For more details and ideas about the icing, read A Convenient Ganachey Icing.

The classic Rice Krispie blocks recipe uses 10 ounces of marshmallows, which throws a monkey wrench into cereal bar recipes if using Kraft novelty flavor marshmallows. (Curses! Kraft used to put out the novelty flavors in 10-ounce packages, but they’ve gotten greedy and now put them out as 8-ouncers!)

For convenience of those who want to make the classic blocks, I’ve pasted the very simple recipe (printer-friendly). Deviation info follows.
Printed from COOKS.COM
1/4 c. butter
4 c. miniature marshmallows
6 c. Rice Krispies cereal

Substitute 40 large marshmallows.

Butter microwave bowl big enough to hold all ingredients; microwave marshmallows 2 minutes then stir. Microwave again 1 minute. Stir in and mix well the Rice Krispies. Butter hands and put this mixture in a cake pan, flatten, cool and cut into squares.
My deviations from the recipe:
  • Primary ingredients:
    • 3 tablespoons butter instead of ¼ cup (4 tablespoons)
    • 10 oz. bag of Kraft caramel/vanilla marshmallows
    • 8 cups Cocoa Pebbles. Key concept is chocolate rice cereal.
  • Pan: I lined the pan with wax paper that overlapped two opposite sides. I used spray oil on hands instead of butter.
  • Icing: I microwave-melted 4 ounces of Wilton Peanut Butter meltable candies (available at craft stores), stirred in 4 ounces of spreadable frosting, and microwaved some more, but using lower power. I poured the warm icing over the cereal mixture and squeegeed (using old but clean tool) it into the crevices.
  • Yield: The recipe says to cut the batch into 24 pieces. I cut my batch into 48, although some came out a bit smaller than others. Your sizes might vary also, depending on how well you wield your knife. :-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Crosstalking Aggressors and Victims

A few weeks ago, I encountered "aggressor" and "victim" in a document that I needed to format and refine. I had not heard of them, and the anthropomorphic nature made me cringe. They pertained to crosstalk, a term I AM familiar with.

My curiosity nudged me to find out more about the terms. I did some Google searches and saw "aggressor" and "victim" commonly used in numerous articles.When I used to design printed circuit boards, crosstalk was described, but not in terms of doer and do-ee. (My blog, my prerogative to make up terms.)

I looked at some PCB design books. The Design & Drafting of Printed Circuits (1979, Darryl Lindsey) doesn't even index crosstalk, but I remember my instructor talking about crosstalk and EMI. Design Guidelines for Surface Mount Technology (1990, John E. Traister) does not index crosstalk, doesn't list crosstalk headings in TOC.

Printed Circuits Design Featuring Computer-Aided Technologies (1991, Gerald L. Ginsberg) does index and discuss crosstalk. However, no "aggressor" or "victim". I thought he might not be around to ask, or his knowledge no longer up-to-date. His most recent book was 1994, the earliest was in 1976. I didn't spot his name on LinkedIn.

I sent emails to some LinkedIn connections that I thought might be able to suggest alternative terms. The people who replied had no suggestions of alternatives, and they all stated that the terms were very common. I'd say institutionalized and ingrained.

Another avenue I tried was sending out an inquiry to five LinkedIn groups—Society for Technical Communication, STC Technical Editing SIG, Adobe FrameMaker, Door64: Austin High Tech STEM Events, and IPC - Association Connecting Electronics Industries. I received several pairs of suggestions. (To readers who recognize their contributions, thanks!) It was nice to see that people gave the terms some thought. However, I thought some terms might possibly evoke more confusion or misunderstanding than using "aggressor" and "victim".
  • crosstalk cause, crosstalk reaction
  • crosstalk-initiator, crosstalk-recipient
  • crosstalk source (ref'd as source later), crosstalk sink (ref'd as sink later)
  • exciter, reactor or responder
  • ingress, egress
  • interfering signal, affected signal
  • noise generator or radiator, noise receiver
  • source, target
Someone suggested "conversant" or "intruder". Not sure "conversant" applies for either "aggressor" or "victim", as it's an adjective. I thought "encroacher" might sound a reasonable "aggressor" replacement, but I couldn't think of a good parallel opposite term. Eh, as for "ingress" or "egress", seems weird that entering and exiting might pertain to crosstalk.

Tom Hausherr, long-time PCB designer, and I exchanged emails. Besides discussing board design (interesting and very techy medical equipment company for his workplace), he also recalled the arrival of the accompanying terms.
The first time I heard of the term aggressor and victim was doing PCB layout for AMCC component manufacturer trying to produce chip sets that exceeded 1 GHz and actually we were going for 3 GHz. The aggressor/victim pair of terms is in our everyday conversation today.

The aggressor is the electromagnetic waveform from high-voltage parts (power supply), high speed (clock) or audio/video traces and vias that interfere with other transmission lines. The victim is the weaker, affected neighbor (or more neighbors).
I've concluded that "aggressor" and "victim" are entrenched terms. I think replacement terms are unlikely for the following possible reasons:
  • Many more characters
  • Ambiguity because of more than one meaning
  • Unclear imagery
Any other candidate replacement terms? Anyone? Anyone?