* Posts by ChrisMcD

9 posts • joined 27 Jul 2010

New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature


Apple appear to be changing their pricing strategy

I suspect that the poster who commented on "what the market will bear" is correct, but did not look at Apples broader strategy.

Apple are arguably better at pricing than they are at technology. Now they have cleaned up on the top end of the market they are making sure that the entry level products tie users into the "Apple Ecosystem". With Apple getting a lot of profit growth from "services" tied to products, there is a subtle change to encourage early/young adopters to choose Apple products.

Points to consider

1) There is a strong suggestion the "new" iPad is a reaction to the success of Google's Chrome Books in the education market. Traditionally Apple dominated that market and used it to "educate" kids to start with Apple products and then stay with them as adults. Educational buyers are very price sensitive so this looks like a new version of the eMac.

2) Apple watches now start much cheaper than their competitors. The likely result is that Apple will own this specialised market as competitors drop out.

3) Apple's phone range also shows that they are looking at "entry level" products - with the belief that this is for new markets like India.

I use Apple products a lot, but am very well aware that "caveat emptor" applies when choosing one of their products - which is why I am wondering what to buy to replace my iPhone4!

The Internet of Cows is moo-ving fast … no bull!


That looks like too small a market estimate to me!

Cows like to be milked more than twice a day, so automation had been growing steadily for years and is very easy to justify financially (and the farmers get to sleep in!).

So, I suspect that the market is a lot bigger than $1.27 billion already


Each cow had an electronic tag, so a computer can monitor it's arrival at the milking station and "rewarded" it with feed when it turns up, or turn it away of it is trying to get an extra snack!

Cows have to be monitored very closely to make sure that they are healthy, well fed, producing lots of milk etc Again, this has been computerised for years. And the genetics are hugely complicated/profitable since the bull's genetic contribution has a huge effect on milk yield in the daughter cow. Hundreds of daughter cows milk production is monitored over years to establish which bulls produce the most prolific daughters and the money involved is huge.


Apparently very few bulls make the big time but they are worth millions!

Just one thing needs to be sorted now. At that price you need to be very sure your cow is "receptive" -before you get out your long reach latex gloves - and the latest trick is to monitor cows behaviour to spot the "bulling" that indicates she is in the right state.

Much more effective than gluing a paint patch to her bum for her sisters to burst open!


So, plenty of open air opportunities for burnt out sysadmins!

Your squirty insecticides make bumblebees SHRINK, warn boffins


Its the Neonics again, not pyrethroids

If the paper you are referring to is:


Then what they appear to be saying is that synthetic pyrethroids make the damage from the neonicotinoids worse. Nothing new there, it has been know for years that even some fungicide tank mixes potentiated the effects of the neonicotinoids.

Synthetic pyrethroids have been used on flowering crops for some 30 years, so if there were major problems for bees we should have spotted them by now. Apart from anything else we treat honeybees in their hives with slow release pyrethroid strips to kill parasitic varroa mites.

As one of your other respondents pointed out. The synthetic pyrethroids are based on natural insecticides and the bees seem able to avoid them (also they lock into plant waxes as they dry and most farmers treat early to make sure the spray is dry before bees start foraging).

Oilseed rape is the only UK crop where bees and pesticides really come into contact. Bee pollination does increase yield by a useful amount, but the bulk of pollination is by wind borne pollen. Fruit trees are more dependant, but again solitary bees are better than honeybees or bumble bees.

Oh, one last thing. That is one weird bee in the photo! IMHO it is either a bumblebee drone or a fly passing itself as a bee mimic. Anyone else know better?

Apple scrambles to fix buggy Mavericks apps


iBooks was a forced "upgrade"

After relatively hassle free OSX updates a free Mavericks was a temptation I should have resisted.

But then, what could they screw up with simply making iBooks available on the mac?

Well, I can only assume it was so simple the task was given to an intern who never read books and apparently never sorted their music in iTunes! Either that or Apple have taken an unpleasant decision to deny you access to your own possessions.

I have been relative lucky considering the tales of woe on the discussion boards, but:-

1) iBooks fails to sync with iTunes. Whether books are loaded into your iPad is apparently a matter of random chance. If you are really unlucky they never made it to iBooks in the first place.

2) Your books collection, lovingly arranged in iTunes is hidden away in a secret folder.

3) All the titles and arranging built up over years are wiped and your cherished collection is given a series of random number file headings.

Considering that iTunes popularity was based on the opportunities that it offered to personalise collections, this indicates a worrying lack of awareness on the part of Apple that people like to personalise their libraries as well. Do I not have some vague recollection that Steve Jobs was happy to undermine the forcing of mediocre song purchases bundled into "albums"?

Worryingly, it now looks like Apple have decided that since you do not own the books you have purchased you are not entitled to personalise them.

No GPS in the iPad Mini Wi-Fi: People are right to criticise


Sorry about the plug for Navfree - but is is free, on your phone and no 3G charges!

Having gone through this thread I am amazed that nobody has plugged the free map downloads from Navfree


Speaking as a cheapskate, I have a pay-as-you-go iPhone 4 and am very wary of paying for 3G charges in the UK let alone abroad.

Navfree works well in the UK and was a godsend when I was trying to return a rental car to some godforsaken garage in the middle of a French town during their rush hour

OK, you have to download it in advance, and it can get lost in the boonies, but most of the time it is a fantastic bit of free software. Certainly saved my nerves and collision damage excess

Bacteria isolated for four million years beat newest antibiotic


And those bugs get about as well.

As has been pointed out, our use of antibiotics is simply us taking advantage of a long-running chemical arms race.

But also, a lot of "pathogenic" bacteria are perfectly happy out in the wild world and can make a living in soil, on plants or wherever, so it is unwise to assume they are highly limited in their choice of habitats. They are tough little so and so's and can even make a living in caves!

Enterococcus faecalis (which I much preferred as Streptococcus faecalis) seems very happy living on grass - and is a major ingredient of silage innoculants.

And while I am on the subject of name changes, I have my suspicions about some of those prettily named bugs in up-market yoghurt - remember the old Japanese yoghurt slogan - "A pure culture from the gut of an Octogenarian Bulgarian peasant". From the days when they thought that the right gut fauna could make you live for ever. They should have called it "After Many a Summer"

Phages: The powerful new bio-ammo in superbug war


For surface treatment only

As I remember phages do not work well inside bodies.

So, great for washing out wounds for the Wehrmacht and Red Army - and now presumably the Israeli Defence Force - but not for the systemic diseases that require antibiotics.

Which is probably why bacteriophages have been the next great thing every ten years or so for the last 60 years.

And while we are going down memory lane, didn't the Cubans have a great white hope from phages as well?

Ten... colour laser printers


Why not review the low priced ones?

I am very happy with a cheap Samsung laser and the HP's also look good.

This choice of machines to review looks a bit bizarre since they include iffy SoHo and overpriced workgroup ones.

Why not take sales volumes at Amazon into account when choosing machines to review.

Serpent imprisons rattled Yorkshire family


Probably a grass snake

Brown and olive, eats toads. This sounds like the much commoner grass snake - the one with the big 'V'on it's neck for further confusion!

Adders are shy and retiring, your chances of seeing one hunting are not great. Grass snakes love frogs and are not shy about being seen eating them.

So my money is on a hungry grass snake having it's favorite snack


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