Apple’s big wheel

Hmmm… :-)

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Last FM

William Fitzsimmons

Where have I been all these months? With my head in a hole obviously.

My colleague Zef alerted me to the joys of www.last.fm – and what a joyous day it was.

Fleet Foxes performs tomorrow night at the SFBH here in Wellington. I like their music. So, I type their name into last.fm and a plethora of sound-a-like bands and artists present themselves to me. I found The Dodos (who are playing at the SFBH on Friday) and the odd-looking singer-songwriter William Fitzsimmons (pictured).

I’m officially in heaven.

This site is a perfect example of how making music available in it’s entirety can lead to sales for that artist. After hearing the ‘matches’ with the artists I currently like I’m sorely tempted, when finances allow, to purchase the real disks of these artists.

Unlike Warners, who have extracted their artists off YouTube, the artists and distributors on LastFM realise that this is a new way of establishing a following.

Thank goodness for that.

Steve Jobs confirms his illness in letter

Here it is:

January 5, 2009
Letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Dear Apple Community,

For the first time in a decade, I’m getting to spend the holiday season with my family, rather than intensely preparing for a Macworld keynote.

Unfortunately, my decision to have Phil deliver the Macworld keynote set off another flurry of rumors about my health, with some even publishing stories of me on my deathbed.

I’ve decided to share something very personal with the Apple community so that we can all relax and enjoy the show tomorrow.

As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.

Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.

The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment. But, just like I didn’t lose this much weight and body mass in a week or a month, my doctors expect it will take me until late this Spring to regain it. I will continue as Apple’s CEO during my recovery.

I have given more than my all to Apple for the past 11 years now. I will be the first one to step up and tell our Board of Directors if I can no longer continue to fulfill my duties as Apple’s CEO. I hope the Apple community will support me in my recovery and know that I will always put what is best for Apple first.

So now I’ve said more than I wanted to say, and all that I am going to say, about this.

Steve

Cost of healthcare

Last week our house was wracked with ill health – the week before I returned to work. So bad was it that I was tempted to ask the powers that be to change my compulsory leave to ‘sick leave’.

Anyway, as a result of all this illness Sugar dragged herself to the after hours doctor. Because it was a statutory holiday the fee (a consultation which resulted in an antibiotic prescription) was $90 compared to the normal $70. If she had visited our regular doctor the fee would have been $47.

While Sugar was paying, a woman, obviously ill, came in and asked reception how much the fee was. When she was told the fee was higher because of stats she asked when it would be back to the normal rate.

“In two days time” was the response.

The woman turned around and left. She’s probably lying in a diabetic coma somewhere unable to drag herself back to the clinic.

I digress. The beef is this. Our doctor pays (and is subsidised by the government) to have his patients taken care of by this clinic while he is on holiday and in the weekends.

In the old days before After Hours clinics he might have got a locum to cover for him, and the fee would likely have stayed around the same charge ($47). Now however we all need to pay 50% more on a normal after hours day and 100% more if it’s on a public holiday.

Is this extortion? I think so. Restaurants and cafes only charge 15% more on statutory holidays, and that’s optional.

It’s obvious that people are going untreated with this fee structure – evidence provided by the woman who turned on her heels at the thought of paying the $90.

Plastic bags banned in South Australia

Plastic shopping bags

Australia is leading the way again.

The Plastic Shopping Bags (Waste Avoidance) Bill was passed into law in November 2008, and will be phased in between January and May 2009.

This is a landmark decision and one the New Zealand government should introduce.

There are many retailers who are already heading in that direction. The supermarkets are trying to do their bit (perhaps not fast enough) by encouraging the use of recyclable shopping bags. And many small retailers will not offer you a bag after a purchase – On Yer Bike in Wellington is one.

For years we have been treated to American sitcoms where actors visit a supermarket and then load/unload their SUVs with large paper shopping bags. What they saved in plastic waste they doubled in using fossil fuels driving gas-guzzlers to buy the goods – but it always looks good. Groceries carried one bag at a time in a paper bag – perhaps not practical in Wellington where most need to walk up to their houses, but we’ll get over it.

Welcome to 2009

Happy New Year everyone.

As an old fart I was in bed at 11.30pm – flicked on National Radio to listen to a terrible Brendan Duggan interview, only to have them play the worst version of Auld Lang Syne at midnight.

Welcome to 2009.

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