A little over a year and a half ago, Rob Rhinehart wrote his initial post about Soylent. Since then I have followed the development of Soylent and Rosa Labs with some fascination. While I really enjoy cooking and eating good food, the idea holds some appeal to me - certainly I don't always feel like cooking and sometimes I just want something quick and hopefully not too unhealthy. So the idea of having a simple drink I could just mix up and have for these times is certainly appealing. Meal shakes are, of course, not exactly new, but I am not really aware of any healthy individual committing to it quite like Rob did. Pretty quickly I put together my own formulation of a "meal drink" and I have been drinking that off and on for the last year or so - just for a quick meal here and there.

I've never been quite satisfied with my own formulation and have tinkered with it quite a bit; mostly I have been trying to improve on the taste and texture. I've of course wanted to try Rob and co's formulation, and when they began to seriously push forward with commercialization I put the order in for some. Now about 5 months later I've finally received my first shipment of their v1.1 formulation.

The packaging for the powder and the oil bottles certainly look pretty nice; including the pitcher and measuring cup with the first shipment is also a nice touch. I can understand why they went with providing everything in individual containers measured out for a whole day of Soylent, but it does seem a bit wasteful to me. I would rather just get larger containers and measure it out myself.

My first impression from actually drinking the Soylent matches up with what I've read from others. The flavor is a kind of vague vanilla that I can imagine going well with a number of other flavors. The drink is slightly sweet, not overwhelmingly so and not as sweet as my own formulation - just right I think. The texture is definitely better than my own formulation, but still a little gritty; the grittiness is not something I mind, but I know it bothers other people.

It's been a few hours since I had my liquid meal and my stomach seems to be fine with it so far. We'll see if I develop the toxic gas that some people have been hit with. This new v1.1 formulation is supposed to deal with that by including some digestive enzymes in it. I would think part of it is just that a lot of people aren't used to the amount of fiber they would be getting drinking this, but I am usually pretty good about fiber so I don't really expect any problems.

Overall I think my first experience with Soylent is pretty positive. I only ordered a weeks worth of it since I just wanted to try it out, but as I only plan on having it for the occasional individual meal I imagine it will actually last a while. If things continue to go well I think I will probably just switch to using it over my own meal shake I have been making.

Random: Lend a Hand

I overheard someone talking today and they said some stuff indicating that they weren't going to donate anything to the response in Japan because Japan is a wealthy nation that can look after their own. As you might imagine this was more than a little upsetting. While it is true that Japan is better equipped to deal with something like this than say, Haiti, this is still a massive disaster and many people are suffering and could use our help. You don't have to donate much to help make a difference - how much do you spend on espresso or lunch on a given day?

My best wishes to the people in Japan right now.

Random: GDC Day 1

Well, I finished up my first day of GDC and I thought I would post a tiny recap. I spent most of my time in the DX11 talks - though I missed the first half of it since I didn't fly down here until this morning. Still, I enjoyed what I saw - enjoying Johan Andersson's talk in particular, discussing some of the tech in the Frostbite 2 engine and in Battlefield 3. I always enjoy hearing about what sorts of things other games are doing (which makes me sad I missed the previous talks today, but it couldn't be helped) and I definitely found his comments on the multithreading stuff in DX11 maybe not being quite there yet to be interesting since I haven't really looked into that at all yet.

In general I would say the theme of the talks, at least from what I saw, was DirectCompute - really hammering home how cool and useful it is. Using it to simulate rigid bodies; to implement seperable filters; to do tile based deferred shading. Sadly, I don't really have any opportunity to mess around with stuff like DirectCompute in my daily work and I haven't really explored it in my spare time either - but I am thinking now that I'll probably spend some time tomorrow poking around with it. Should be fun.

Random: The "Decision"

By now everyone and their dog knows that LeBron is heading to Miami. I can't say I am terribly surprised. Obviously I can't claim to have known this would be the result, but there were more than enough indicators. Honestly, to a certain degree I would have been a little disappointed had he stayed with Cleveland. When you look at the moves Cleveland has made (or lack thereof) versus what Miami is offering (playing with Wade and Bosh) and if you are committed to winning, then the choice seems obvious.

LeBron's commitment to winning isn't something I have always thought to be solid - I agree with the many others who think that it seemed like he had given up on the Cavs at times during the playoffs. It would have been easy to stay with Cleveland, taking more money and taking in the unending adoration of his hometown; he could have had the spotlight all to himself again. But would he win a championship? If LeBron, Wade and Bosh can commit to playing together and putting their individual needs to the side they will be a very scary team. Of course, equally important will be how they fill out their roster - afterall, the three of them can't play 48 minutes of every single game, no matter how talented they are.

All that said I am glad this whole thing is over. Honestly it made me sick. As I said, I understand why he did it - but did he really have to do it like that? Maybe he really was taking it very seriously, looking at all of these teams and not really sure where he should go. I am not entirely convinced, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt right now. Even if that is the case it doesn't seem to me like there was any need for all of this to be so public or for there to be some ridiculous hour long special just to announce it. What purpose does all of this attention serve other than to feed his ego? The Cavs owner called it a narcissistic spectacle and I am inclined to agree.

The next season of basketball should be an interesting one indeed. They will be a scary team - but I am not yet convinced they will pull it together to win it all. Working together to win in the Olympics is one thing, grinding it out over an 82 game season and then the playoffs is something else. We will see.

Random: Site Design

I have more or less finished fiddling with the look of the site and gotten it to a place I am happy with. I have tested the site out in the latest releases of Chrome, Firefox, Safari as well as Internet Explorer 7. The only one that still seems a little problematic is Internet Explorer, so I will have to get around to fixing that. One of my goals with this site is to learn a little more about various web technologies that I am largely in the dark about and so the process has certainly been educational.

There are a few things I might still want to tweak but for now I am resisting doing so since I know that there will always be that temptation to try and get it "perfect". At some point you have to stop and move on. What will I be moving on to? Well, probably one of the first things I will start doing is messing around with Javascript and the new canvas element - maybe I'll start convert some old school fire or plasma effect that I did when I first started messing around with graphics. At any rate, hopefully I'll start to get some more interesting content on here. :)