Should I run Cat 6?

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!


Us lucky people in Australia are going to have fibre optic connections to teh Interwebs in the near future, so while you can't imagine it now, there are likely to be good uses for it at some point in the future. Already you can't reliably stream high definition, minimally-compressed video over common wireless technologies. That's only going to get worse, especially when you decide you want to do that in two or three rooms in your house.

Now you're cabling, don't go for the marginally cheaper Cat 5 cable. You don't want to have to crawl under that house again, do you? You don't have to terminate the cable with Cat 6 connectors just now, if money's an issue, but keep it future proof!

Photos credit: Fo0bar from Wikimedia CommonsAnd yes, that picture shows Cat 5 not Cat 6.

Pork with apple and cider gravy

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.

Reading Crikey on the Kindle @hmoffatt

A commenter, Hamish Moffatt, on my post about my first impressions with the Kindle has asked if I've solved the reading Crikey problem. The problem is how to read the daily Crikey newsletter on the Kindle. It's a long block of text so it's convenient to be able to read it on the bus, in bed, on the couch at home.

The solution I'm using now isn't perfect, but it's not bad and saves a lot of trees.

Set up an Instapaper account. Instapaper is designed to allow you to read long web pages offline, and I use it all the time. It's mostly used by iPhone and iPad people, but there's some (rather hidden) Kindle features. You'll want to set up the "Read Later" bookmarklet anyway. This gives you a button you press on a long pieces you want to read later, and they'll get pushed to your Kindle the next time you send out a bundle.

Now go to the "Manage your Kindle" page in the settings section of Instapaper's site and enter your Kindle's email address. You'll then need to login to your Amazon account and set up your Kindle to accept emails from the special address shown on the Instapaper Kindle page. Note that the Instapaper Kindle page gives the impression it'll automatically send you a new bundle of articles whenever there's new stuff.  It doesn't, so bookmark the page so you can send it through on demand.

Finally, on the Instapaper Extras page, "Email in links and long messages". Copy that out, then go into your email account and set up a rule that will forward your crikey emails, identified as coming from "postman@crikey.com.au", to this unique address.

Now each afternoon, after the Crikey email arrives, go to the "Manage your Kindle" page and send yourself the latest bundle. You'll want to go into Instapaper and archive stuff from time to time, but otherwise it's pretty painless. The first page with links to the articles will look really messed up, but after that the formatting is mostly okay.

Now if Crikey really wanted to help us out, they'd create a Kindle-specific version of Crikey, with images automatically resized and the formatting less broken, I'd be thrilled. It wouldn't be that hard for them and I'd be happy to help out!

We're having another baby!

I'm very pleased to announce that Holly is about 12 weeks pregnant and we're due to have another baby in late November.  Everything's going well so far and I'll have some ultrasounds to post shortly.

We're both very excited, though now we know what we're in for so there's some trepidation too.

Web analytics blog name change

Wow, that idea for a name of a web analytics blog was truly awful. Agonising analytics. What was I thinking?

So now I have a much better name, which better reflects what it's all about. Here's the blurb.

I decided to create a separate blog specifically dealing with web analytics. I often come up with cool little hacks, or interesting approaches, during the course of my work and they're likely to be of interest to other practitioners.

Most examples of web analytics implementations presented by vendors portray a perfect world where you have everything under your control, changes happen without problems, developers can actually read whole sentences. Here in the real world, things are more complicated...