Saturday, January 30, 2010
If you had to draw up the perfect business model you'd probably start with Apple. What a very clever and successful company. They produce elegant, functional, modern, 'toys', guaranteed to give every Apple fan-boy a stiffy.
They charge two to three times the price for similar functionality (but with a few more bells and whistles) and, like similar manufacturers, produce equipment that soon becomes obsolete because they will produce an updated and 'better' version just down the road. They hook you in brilliantly, tie you in totally so that you can't go anywhere else and then sell you more stuff when they produce a more finished product. Very, very, clever.
The iPad is no different. It's a nice piece of kit but frankly it's nothing more (at present) than a big iPhone, with the notable exception that it can't make phone calls.
Unless you are a complete unblinking Apple lover then this latest product should not be bought. And, when they finally get it up to spec in a few months time, it will be more expensive than the present model and offer similar functionality to existing stuff at two to three times the price. So not much has changed there then.
The iPad would appear to be competing in the net-book market, a market that I suspect is already fairly saturated. I have a net-book, which I use when I travel, and my machine already does more than the iPad. Why would I change?
I walked past the Apple store at Odysseum on the outskirts of Montpelier the other day. It was elegant and very enticing, it was full of young men fondling their dreams, and it reeked 'expensive'. Many of the shops in this new shopping centre will try and sell you goods at inflated prices. Most of them were empty but not the Apple store. The technological equivalent of sports fans. You have to support your favourite team whatever the cost.
Whilst I find it very difficult to be enthusiastic about their stuff, I must admit that I admire their business acumen. I just wish that I could be as enthusiastic as others.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
That's it, I've figured it out. They say that today is the most miserable day of the year. OK, it's the middle of winter and you've got another bloody year to look forward to, but wait.
Over breakfast, your social secretary reminds you that you've got an invitation to a bloody Burns Night. That's the real reason it's the most miserable day of the year.
'Oh no, I'd forgotten,' I say. 'Ring 'em up and say that my chilblains are playing up.'
'But you haven't got chilblains,' she explains, unhelpfully.
'Look, you figure something out,' as the thought of an evening of unintelligible 'poetry', false bonhomie, laced with bagpipes, haggis and whiskey beckons.
'I'm not going. What about a headache? You're always always using a headache as an excuse!' I say.
Friday, January 22, 2010
So we're lying there in bed watching an interesting late night discussion on the the subject of banning the burqa. That's how exciting our lives have become! The discussion wandered around 'the panel' and all gave their view on whether or not it should be made illegal, like they are trying to do here in France.
Anyway, at one point, Jan turned slowly to me, looked me up and down, and said, "I think you should wear one."
See what I've got to put up with.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
For years I pulled my uncle's leg about the fact that I'd never seen buffalo on any of my trips to Italy and that it must be yet another Italian scam. I knew there was something fishy.
Anyway on our last trip to Foggia we actually found a farm, down by the sea, that made and sold buffalo mozzarella. Very good it was too - I think.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
There's been quite a lot written recently in the English press about spaghetti bolognese. There's actually no such Italian dish and the name and the dish is an English invention. That was basically the controversy.
The dish that most closely resembles spag bol' is a meat ragu made in the bolognese style, but with tagliatelle not spaghetti.
Anyway, various Italian chefs have got involved and I asked Jan if she'd make the version as suggested by Antonio Carluccio. She wasn't particularly happy with the finished result, 'not enough meat, tastes too much of carrot, whilst I was very, very happy. Real Italian food.
Jan's version of a minced beef tomato sauce, which was given to her in the late 60s, by someone who had never even been to Italy, is the English version, and very nice it is too (he said quickly).
Monday, January 18, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
He came back with a parcel and said, 'this is addressed to Jan T, at your address but your ID says Janet T.' She smiled sweetly at the imbecile, sighed and said, 'yes, that's me!'
What planet do these people live on?
A woman and her ten-year-old son were riding in a cab in New York City.
It was raining and all the hookers were standing under the awnings.
"Mom," said the boy, "what are all those women doing?"
"They're waiting for their husbands to get off work," she replied.
The cabbie turns around & says, "Geez lady, why don't you tell him the truth? They're hookers, boy! They have sex with men for money"
The little boy's eyes get wide and he says, "Is that true, Mom?"
His mother, glaring hard at the cabbie, answers in the affirmative.
After a few minutes, the kid asks, "Mom, what happens to all the babies those women have?"
"Most of them become cab drivers" she said.
Friday, January 15, 2010
After a frustrating week of intermittent web access and, more worryingly, the inability to update my av programme, it's sorted.
After yesterday's post, a friend who spends a lot of his time at 35,00 feet (friends in high places - geddit), emailed from Singapore (see, you have nowhere to hide) to offer a solution.
The base problem turned out to be an issue with Orange, my ISP. It would appear that they have a problem with capacity. They would, of course, not admit to that. The French never get anything wrong do they?
Ignoring Orange for a second, I could resolve the issue at my end by adjusting my MTU settings (nod wisely and pretend you understand). I eventually found that this setting could be adjusted from within the router (keep nodding) and reduced the pre-set number from 1500 to 1400. Lo and behold everything started working normally again.
Proof, if ever proof were needed, that size does matter. Thanks Steve, you're a star.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I continue to be very frustrated about the inability to look at various web sites. Since the 6th January I haven't been able to update my anti virus or look at half the sites that I normally look at on a daily basis. Under the expert suggestions of computer guru CW I've tried lots of things but the problem remains. I don't think that I've got a virus, I'm a bit anal about keeping all that up-to-date, and have scanned the computer but nothing shows. Sites in France seem to load with no problem but UK sites are are hit and miss at best. The BBC (news.bbc.co.uk) hasn't loaded since 6th. I've swapped out the router, also to no avail. All very strange and very frustrating.
Anyway, is it me, or does anyone else get fed up with the 'tables' that seem to appear regularly in the media. Take this one, the best ten dinner plates. What the hell is all that about. I find it difficult to understand why a so called quality broadsheet like The Independent comes up with such rubbish.
I was once described as a younger version of Victor Meldrew, which surprised me, but I'm beginning to think that it might be true.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Missing a daily fix of The Wire, we recently bought series one of The Sopranos and are working our way through that.
In an episode yesterday, Tony, a Mafia boss, is talking to his shrink about his libido and she suggests that he should have his prostate checked. Tony looked aghast, leant forward menacingly in his chair and said, "Listen lady, I don't even let anyone wave a finger in my face."
We're still giggling.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Friday, January 08, 2010
This morning we woke to a few centimetres of snow and, as we were due in Nimes at 11.00, off we jolly well went. In times gone by, Jan would have been burnt as a witch.
It turned out that the snow in the village was nothing like the depth of snow as we approached Nimes, there it was much deeper, and, for the first time here in France, we followed a snow plough into town. Yes, a snow plough! Goodness knows where they'd been keeping that one. It's not like we get much snow around here, maybe every other year, for a morning, then it's gone. Good effort chaps.
Having said that, the plough hadn't done the return journey so that was a bit trickier. Needless to say your intrepid polar explorers made it back safe and sound. Back to the last of the turkey soup. So that was two good things accomplished this morning.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Whilst it wasn't a regular occurrence, I can remember similar snow in my youth where people made it to work and few if any schools were shut. It seems to me that at the slightest excuse they shut schools and generally behave as if the end of the world is just around the corner.
One guy was complaining that the pavement outside his house hadn't been cleared and this made him slip and fall. Well get your shovel out you bloody numbskull and clear it yourself. More and more, you hear people blaming other people for not doing things. As I understand it, it is your legal obligation to clear the path in front of your house in some countries.
What a bunch of spineless people there are around nowadays. There are a million people in England who have never worked and two million living on benefits. What does this useless government do?
Still, like the rest of Europe, it's none too warm here either. But, instead of whingeing about the cold, I went and got myself a nice cosy electric blanket. Can't wait to get into bed at night! I'd even go to school if I was young enough!
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
We were watching a taped interview with Dominic West last night (he played the lead cop role in The Wire) and during the interview he mentioned that he had performed with De La Guarda at the Roundhouse in London. It brought back memories of this amazing show, which we saw in 1999, and from his description of his role, it turns out that we rubbed shoulders with him. Funny how these things work out!
Having said that, he didn't once mention me.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Whilst getting dressed this morning, getting ready to go to the market, Jan said, 'I don't know what to wear.'
Inside, I stifled a groan, we're going to the bloody market, it's freezing outside and apart from your outer garments what does it matter? It's not as if you'll strip layer by layer seeking approval from the oyster slurping drunken masses.
But did I say this? No, the new 2010 man said zilch. I bit my tongue and left the room. This was an argument ready to happen.
So off I went to the back door, waited until Max had mooched about in the garden, locked up the house, came back down to the bedroom only to find that she still isn't fully dressed. What the hell is going on? She then gets upset because I do say something.
I've never understood this dressing up business. Why do people put on their finery to travel, to sit in an airport or be cooped for hours in an aeroplane. Why do people get all dressed up for the theatre when in practice all they're going to do is sit in the dark for a couple of hours. How stupid is that? I'm not for one second suggesting that everyone walks around dressed like tramps, because I do more than enough for all of us, but purleese let's have a bit of sense.
Anyway, because it was so cold the market was very quiet and after a couple of vin chauds we came home. Home to a lovely email from Keith at A Taste of Garlic who has written nice things about me. Keith is now officially 'a good guy.'