Digital Beer

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Digital Beer

From: (Alan Marshall)
Subject: Re: completely irrelevant....!!!

In JC writes:

> Sorry if this seems completely irrelevant to your newsgroup but we are > trying to get the opinions of as many different people as possible. If > you cook, then YOU can help US!!!!!!!!! > > We are two final year product design students at Coventry University and > were wondering whether any of you would be interested in helping us with > our graduation project. The brief we have been given is to design a > cooker of the 21st century and we were wondering whether anyone out there > has any views on what they think might happen to cooking into the future > (we're looking into the year 2030). If you have any opinions we would > appreciate it if you could post them to the newsgroup (if you think it > might make an interesting discussion) or alternatively straight to our > mail box. > > Thanks for your help.... > > Juliette and Chris

Here's my futuristic vision of how beer might be shared around the world. It might give you an Idea for your futuristic kitchen and cooking.

(I retain the copyright. Please ask if you intend to reuse.)


It all started out with the following post:

In article <38jguo$> (Michael J. Zigmont) wrote:

zig96> Anyone out there have any clever ways to get some free zig96> beer? I'm willing to try some suggested 'methods' and let zig96> you know what happens. zig96> -Zig '96

I posted (with apologies to Tom Lane!)


You've come to the right place. Just like there are a gazillion megs of pictures of buck-nekkid men and women on the Internet, there's more beer than you'll ever be able to drink just waiting for you to download it!

Since you're a sophomore, you must obviously have a uudecoder. The beer posted to Usenet has to be uuencoded because Usenet in limited to "normal" typing characters. The beer at FTP sites will usually be in one of two formats: *.bif (bif=Beer Interchange Format) or *.jbg (pronounced JBEG, which stands for Joint Beer Expert Group). Without getting into great detail, *.bifs are only 8-bit beers, and hence only suitable for international and American lagers like Bud, Coors, Heinekin and Becks. Malt liquors (like Colt 45 and Red Bull) can be biffed too. If you want great beers, like any of the Sierra Nevada or Anchor Beers, or any of the Trappist beers, you need to look for them to be jbegged. Biffing a great beer removes so much character that it ends up tasting like Genny Cream Ale, Red Dog or Beck's. JBEG uses 24-bit quantization which preserves all the beer's original quality.

Occasionally, you will find beer posted in its raw form with extensions like *.lgr (lager) *.ale *.ral (real ale) *.ptr (porter) *.stt (stout) *.lmb (lambic) or *.bbc (Boston Beer Company (tm) -- Jim Koch insisted on his own file extension) These will often be zipped to the *.zip format. (I'm also assuming a sophomore like you has a zipper!)

You will also need a BTB (Binary-to-Beer) adapter for your computer. One end plugs into one of the ports on the back of your computer; the other end is a tap. The BTB adapter comes in models for the Mac, Sun, DOS, Amiga and Vic-20. Base price is $299 (including shipping & handling) for the Dos, Amiga and Vic-20 serial models. Add $20 for parallel; Add $50 for Mac, Sun or SCSI. The beer engine version (required for *.ral, real ales) is $100 more. They are available from me. My address is in my sig.

Next, go to the newsgroup and subscribe or register for the group and download 'til you puke! There are some less well-propogated splinter newsgroups:

If you feel like slumming:


One problem with these groups is that Tim Pierce keeps rmgrouping them.

If you're not satisfied with the hectolitres posted there daily, try an FTP site. Now I'm not going to be a schmuck and tell you to find a site without tell you where to find it, am I? Try Coors ( or Sam Adams ( (Don't bother trying to find Pete's Wicked {insert type here}. Pete Slosberg is on the 'Net, but through Compu$erve, so you pay a toll.) If you want those stronger Canadian beers, try Molson ( or Labatt ( Remember though, don't FTP during the day as the 'Net gets flooded. If you want European brews try HofBrau (, Heinekin ( or the ultimate 'Net beer, Bitburger ( The Trappist Monestaries are on the Internet via VaticaNet:


For balance, I should point out the following are also available:
     petes.wicked.compu$ (Toll applies)

If you have any other questions, look for the JBEG FAQ, posted in news.answers. Among other things, it will explain BBG (Beer-by- Gopher), Archie and Veronica (Basically, a rich bitch like her would never settle for him) and surfing for foam on the World Wide Wet (WWW).

Email me for information about how to get beer through your phone on my 1-900-get-pist number (976-beer in Toronto)

|- Alan Marshall           Joint Beer Expert Group (JBEG) |
|  AK200032@SOL.YORKU.CA                                  |
|  York University         "Hop too it!"                  |
|  Toronto, Canada                                        |

To which adds:

I beg to differ. While JBEG will handle most better beers, it falls short of capturing the true character of beers with strong hop flavor or aroma characteristics. While an approximation may be made with multiple JBEG's, the HBEG format is preferred for such beers. Note, however, that the quality of HBEG transmission does drop with the number of sites across which the beer must travel.

My response:

I didn't want to overwhelm Zig with too much. After all, he *is* from Dartmouth! Nonetheless, a brief overview of the leading edge technology:

First, you are in error on transmission loss. Since JBEG quantizes the beer completely into a mathematical representation, there should be no quality loss unless there is data loss in transmission.

Second, there are many posters that use excessively low Q factors when they compress their jbegs. Remember jbeg *is* lossy -- quantization is not simply compression -- and the lower the Q factor, the more character lost. As a guideline, I use Q 90 for **** beers, Q80 for *** beers, Q70 for ** beers and Q50 for * beers.

Second, HBEG has been largely superceded by MBEG which is suitable for multi-media applications. MBEG decoders are even being built into many high-end systems.

There are JBEG cards being release at the end of November 1994. They will be MicroSoft "plug and play" (actually in this case it's "tap and play") compatible.

(JBEG is working on JBEG2, which will take advantage of 64-bit technology. The multi-media MBEG2, suitable for virtual reality applications will follow immediately after JBEG2. JBEG2's will address some of the complaints about loss of character that Hawkins is talking about which was due to the perceived inability to capture some aromatic nuances in a 24-bit scheme. Look for RFC #33 (That's the real reason there's a 33 on the Rolling Rock bottle!) -- JBEG2 Standard for 64-bit beer conversion. The JBEG Group expects the first release of its software, cjbeg64.exe and djbeg64.exe to be released in Febrewary 1995.)

-- Alan Marshall                "That's, as they say, a chunk of
   AK200032@SOL.YORKU.CA        change," Binger in the WSJ
   York University              
   Toronto, Canada              

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