I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook or Livejournal. (Although he did succumb to the lure of Google+.) He hates cell-phones.
27 September 2013
8 March 2014
Updates on Fridays
27 September 2013
The problem with the phrase, "The future of computing is mobile," isn't "mobile," it's "computing."
You see, most people don't want a computer. What they want is a web-browser, an email client, a GPS, maybe a few games, a camera, and really, that's about it. (Oh, and maybe a phone.) In a general sense, they don't want to do computing. And there's nothing wrong with that, and I don't mean to imply that there is. There is nothing inherently virtuous in wanting to do computing.
The easiest way to give people the stuff that they want, however, is to take a computer, which is what a smart-phone is, and cripple it.
A computer is a multi-purpose tool. It is a Swiss pocketknife with an infinite number of attachments, even though almost everyone really just wants a knife blade or two, a bottle opener, a screwdriver, and sometimes a toothpick or pair of scissors. Vanishingly few people want that little spiky thing that's used to remove stones from horses' hooves or a flint for starting fires. Just as very few people want to actually run a web-server, or host an email list.
So, metaphorically speaking, the mobile computing companies sell you a Swiss Army Knife with all but a few of the attachments disabled - perhaps they break them off, or maybe they glue them down with a bit of not-particularly-strong glue. They know that it's cheaper to make a single model of Swiss Army Knife, glue down or break off a bunch of bits and charge you less than they would for the unbroken version. Which sounds backwards, at first glance. Until you realize that what they can then do is sell you each attachment individually.
So if I bought the knife, and decided I needed the horse hoof thingie I might be tempted to unglue it. Or if it was broken off, make my own and attach it - after all the basic structure of the knife is there and I paid for it, right?
Which brings us to jailbreaking various mobile devices. If the company has sold me a computer, why shouldn't I be able to use it as much or as little like a computer as I want? The answer, of course, is the EULA. Or rather, the answer is the revenue stream which the EULA is intended to ensure. Because in this day and age, consumables are where the money is. If you don't believe me price out printers - a few years back, we got a nice laser printer with a full load of toner ... for essentially the price of a full load of toner. That's right, the printer was more-or-less free, because they knew, as long as it kept working, I'd be buying toner. And they were always sure to remind me to use Their Genuine Brand. (The same is true of most single serving coffee-makers - the money is in the cartridges. But that's a bit off topic.)
All of which leads us, in turn, to a joke that was au courant in the late '80s in certain circles, which went like this: The Macintosh is proof that you can work on a computer all day, and still know nothing about computers. That's even more true today than it was then. These days you can spend every waking minute glued to some sort of computing device and still know nothing about computers.
Which is why there will always be technicians and engineers.
And all of that is just fine.
© 2013 Jeff Berry
08 March 2014
Chops can be a bit tricky to deal with, I find. Grilling them, which works well, is not always an option, and pan-frying can be problematical. If the chops are thick, it can be difficult to get them cooked all the way through without doing violence to the exterior, and trying to slow the process down can result in toughness. The solution, rather obviously, is not to pan-fry chops unless they are quite thin. Thus opens the wonderful world of the baked chop.
The main thing to be wary of when baking chops is the danger of dryness. If the chops are lean, some way of ameliorating the drying effect of the longer cooking time is called for. I've had success with simply putting a bit of bacon on top to keep the meat lubricated as it cooks, but there are other options, as well. For instance, you can punt to a braise, which is what I've done with the smothered chops below.
I had some lovely goat chops that I wanted to cook, and goat is pretty lean to start with, so this seemed like an excellent treatment for them. (And so it was.) However, the same recipe works perfectly well for pork chops, and would probably work well for many other cuts of meat that don't require the long, slow braising of, say, oxtails.
These chops, by the way and except in the picture at the top, are saddle chops, or what is sometimes called a 'Barnsley chop.' I first ran across these at Keene's Chop House in NYC, where they use it for their mutton chops - or at least they used to. I like the look of them, and if you're dealing with a smallish animal like a lamb or a goat, they're a good size for a single serving, as opposed to a 'regular' chop which is often not quite big enough.
That's it really. We served them with mashed potatoes and either roasted sprouts or steamed broccoli. They were moist and tender, and the character of the chop wasn't overwhelmed by the smothering sauce - delicious.
© 2014 Jeff Berry