I was reading this article from the Grauniad thinking the usual. Whiny Apple fanboi whinges about his beloved screwing him like a pooch. So far so ordinary. (The flippant 9 year old daughter buying herself an iPod from pocket money and the talk of casually picking up an iPhone 4 on impulse should tell you exactly where in Islington this poor hack calls home.)
It seems Apple's latest wheeze is to force people buying its new hardware (iPhones, iPods etc) to upgrade their Mac OS to even use the new devices. Ideally they'd prefer you to buy a whole, shiny new computer, desktop or laptop, but if you persevere they'll settle for letting you buy an OS upgrade. Windows users, however, don't need to upgrade at all to use their shiny new Apple hardware.
Then it dawned on me. This is a brilliant piece of market segmentation to help them take more money from people willing to pay more. Price discrimination is the idea that you need to set your prices low enough that you capture enough of the people who are only willing to pay a certain amount, but hey there's some people willing to pay more so how do we capture those? Joel Spolksy has a great explanation of pricing and consumer surplus.
Different businesses do this in different ways. Does anyone really think a Lexus costs five times as much to make a Camry just because it's got a slightly spiffier engine, leather seats and a 12 speaker stereo? Microsoft does much the same with their zillion different versions of Windows, with their "Ultimate" edition designed specifically to fleece the fanbois and the more-dollars-than-sense crowd.
Apple's great wheeze is to realise that the true believers, the fanbois, don't taint their world with that awful Windows stuff. Only purity of Apple essence for them! The more price sensitive crowd, however, will have an iPod or iPhone but keep their cheap and cheery Windows desktop. Voila, instant price sensitivity segmentation. Now to just work on mining that rich, rich vein without them complaining too much. Genius!
This dream is what the Pilgrims sought when they landed on Plymouth Rock, why Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, and why the pioneers colonised the lawless West (don't quote me on any of that – our public education system is not so good), so that some day, some British lady with nothing better to do could come to America and pay down her debts by acting bewildered on television for our amusement. If the Ferg doesn't have a drunken paparazzi boob-flash within the year, then the terrorists have truly won.
Mike Quigley is no more responsible for the corruption at Alcatel than John Hartigan was for the corruption at the Melbourne Storm.
A tip in Crikey pointed out this quote from AM this morning with Conroy specifically mentioning the head of News Limited (the Australian arm of News Corp). Is the ALP finally learning that appeasing these nutjobs is never going to work? It's time for the ALP to treat all News Limited media as the enemy they truly are, bent on hounding Labor out of power by any means available to them.
A good starting point would be to amend all the laws that require governments and companies to advertise in national newspapers and replace the whole system with a well-designed online space. There's really only two national newspapers in this country, and one of them is owned by Limited News. I imagine it makes a lot of its revenue from this kind of automatic printing. I bet there's no discounts for legally-mandated advertising space!
This would actually be better for the people who consume things like tender information, insolvencies, interest rate changes and the like. Instead of having to pay someone to trawl the newspapers and look up any names in the insolvency notices, as most big companies do, they could pull down a regular feed of all insolvencies and automatically data match it against their internal systems, only spitting out the potential matches.
Wow, three times in the last few days I've been asked by people whether it's a good idea to run Cat 6 ethernet in their homes. The answer is, emphatically, yes!
Last night we had Matt & Maz around for dinner, a lovely roasted piece of pork shoulder from Urban Food Market, served with roast potatoes, onions and turnips. For a sauce to accompany the pork I'd stumbled upon this recipe which used cinammon and sage to flavour an apple sauce. I've never been a big fan of generic apple sauce with pork. It's normally just a sweet apple mush and never seems to quite go with pork. But this recipe intrigued me.
The sauce I made start out simmering four peeled and cored granny smith apples, a bit of Scott's excellent Tasmanian cider, a cinammon quill and some ripped up sage leaves for about 40 minutes. I then fished out the aromatics and squished it all to a pulp. Next I added a little powdered vegetable stock and a little more cider to loosen it up. Finally, while the roast was resting I deglazed the roasting pan with a bit more cider and poured that in.
The pan juices took it from a generic apple mush to a light brown gravy colour, and pushed the flavour through the roof. An unctuous and slightly sweet but still highly savoury gloop that just shouted porky appleness to your tastebuds.
Our guests, Matt and Maz, asked for bread to mop up the sauce. That's the best compliment you can get for a sauce.
I've got an absolutely amazing rack of pork from the same source sitting in the freezer. I'll try and codify this recipe a bit more when I cook that. Try and get some pictures too.
As promised, here's the ultrasound of baby #2. As of last Friday the baby was about six centimetres long.