Monthly Archives: July 2010

Apple case programme for iPhone 4..

I was pleasantly surprised today, upon receiving an email from Apple with details of the free App they just released to handle ‘Case Gate’.  I was just expecting to see a few bumpers in there, which I didn’t really want – but naturally would’ve ordered anyway, since it was free.  Actually there’s a choice of eight, including a black bumper – although this is subject to change.

The bumper obviously only protects the sides of the device – and also renders it largely incompatible with docks and mounts, plus it looks a bit naff.  The other offerings seem to offer at least three-side covering, and after a bit of careful research (read: clicking the first very useful link I found upon Googling) I’ve opted for a Speck Pixelskin HD case.

A fairly sizeable drawback is the shipping estimate of 2-3 months – of course, I don’t really need the case, I’ve not had the ‘death grip’ problem and he addition of a Gelaskin to my phone should eliminate most of the risk of that anyway, but imagine if people are suffering from signal loss – 2-3 months to solve it?  that’s really not very clever for them!

“Yeah, sorry your phone doesn’t work properly, we’ll send you something to fix it in 3 months time.”  Hmm. Not good.  That said, I do think the zeal with which the media, non-iPhone owners and owners of old iPhone have jumped upon Jobs & co regarding this is laughable.  There have been a minuscule number of people complaining of issues compared to those of us who are still delighting in the awesomeness of iPhone 4.

Pretty much the same you’d find with any other new device launch.  Microsoft calling it ‘Apple’s Vista’ is overly harsh, then again, I’m writing this post on a laptop sporting Vista too… maybe I just have a soft-spot for maligned devices or operating systems?  Whilst I prefer Windows 7 which we have on our Desktop upstairs, Vista ain’t so bad once you disable all the memory-hogging pointlessness.

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Meaty goodness!

Despite oft being surrounded by vegetarians, I’m very much a carnivore – and one of the obsessions we’ve been developing at work is a real penchant for dried meat products.  It started with Beef Jerky, and now we’re on to Biltong.  A process that originates from Europe but was made widespread in South Africa when the new colonisers needed to be able to preserve food whilst they developed herds for a sustainable food source.

My fledgling Biltong in it's dryer awaiting nature to take its' course!

Anyway, I digress.  It’s yummy – so naturally we started looking at how one would go about making it (as you do), and it’s surprisingly easy – the only tricky we have is our climate is a little strange.  Drying meat doesn’t necessarily need heat, but it does need airflow and also a dry (ie, not humid) atmosphere – so for something effective in our climate I used some instructions I found on the internet to make a very basic ‘biltong box’ in which to hang my meat (wahey!).

Whilst out and about picking up suitable parts for my new toy I also picked up a topside steak from Morrisons to be my first experiment.  My first job was to assemble the loosely planned design I had in my head from a shelving unit that was on sale in B&Q, some bits of wood I had from some doomed project or other, and some electrical bits to add a light bulb to the lower compartment.

It went surprisingly well, so I also had time to prepare the meat this evening and try a number of different marinades – I have eight pieces of meat now hanging in the garage, three with a kind of spiced/salted herby ‘rub’ on them, two with a sweet chilli marinade, two with Reggae Reggae Sauce covering them and finally one small piece with no marinade (beyond the salting and vinegar process recommended in the instructions) just to see what it tastes like unadorned.

Obviously being the first attempt it’s tricky to know when it will be ‘done’ so I think I’ll leave it towards the longer side of the 3-5 days it should take to dry.  It seems weird you can just make raw meat edible by leaving it to dry, but then I suppose technically it’s edible raw anyway.  With a bit of luck it will be suitably dry by Thursday evening so that I can take some in to work on Friday to test out on the my fellow Biltong fans at work!

For those of you who may have had their interest piqued but don’t want to go so far as to making your own Biltong over a period of days – you can apparently use an electric fan-assisted oven set to 40-70 °C (100-160 °F), with the door open a fraction to let out moist air – this can apparently dry the meat in approximately 4 hours.  Failing that, I found (via Jonathan – thanks Jonathan! – this awesome website which sells a variety of Biltong made from different meats, I might just have to place an order irrespective of how mine turns out!

Today I also found a stash of unidentified homebrew in a kitchen cupboard, so a meat and ‘wine and mead we’re not sure specifically what it is made of, or when it was made’ evening might be on the cards!  Amongst that lot was also an Elderflower wine kit so I might get around to making that too, whilst I’m in some kind of foodcraft kind of a mood.  Alcohol and meat – awesome.

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I wanna rock and roll all night!

This is what we got up to at work a little over a week ago – it was fun, and as part of a day raising funds and awareness for the Boots Benevolent Fund, it was also for a great cause.

There’s some pics on my Flickr stream too, for your amusement.  It’s definitely amongst my favourite fancy dress shenanigans for a while, and I do think such things are generally enhanced by them taking place whilst you’re at work at being paid for it!

Woodpecker! What a refreshing change!

In other news we spotted a woodpecker in the garden today feasting on peanuts with the usual woodpigeons, doves, sparrows, starlings and finches.  Quite exciting really, he was pretty brave too – only flying off when we lurked a little too close to the window, hence the shit quality of the picture.

We’ve also turned our bedroom into, literally, a bedroom – we’ve acquired a massive bed courtesy of my folks who didn’t want it any more which is ace.  So Friday evening was spent assembling that, then popping to Rich’s to reassemble our old bed at his place – which means nothing goes to waste!

In technology news Apple have acknowledged there’s an issue with the new iPhone and as such will issue refunds on request, or give people a free case which should negate the issue.  I must say I’ve not had too many problems with mine, that said, I get a poor signal at home anyway on O2 – and holding the phone in the ‘death grip’ does seem to be slightly worse, but well, meh.

I’m no Apple fanboy really, but it seems to me that people and the media seem all the too keen to try to knock the hitherto whiter-than-white company – and Steve Jobs – off the perceived pedestal, and taking great delight in it – rather than actually reporting anything that’s a general problem.  That’s my take on it anyway.

Naturally I’ll still claim a free case, though!

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