December 30th, 2006

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Cranky hardware

Today, I finally gave up on my old mouse. It's done me well - a 5 button (counting the scroll wheel, which I don't use as a button) USB optical mouse. A Microsoft IntelliMouse™ Optical. But it'd been getting very cranky recently - the mouse pointer kept disappearing, and the LED inside was not staying on. Tesco have mice - even MS ones, but not proper ones with the right number of buttons. I tried the local computer shop, but they'd just sold the last 4-button mouse.

So, Cambridge. No way that I was going anywhere near Newmarket Road while the sales are on, but there's a place in Chesterton that I use on occasion. So, I arrive there, walk in the door, and say "Hi, I want a 4-button optical mouse, USB, preferably not wireless."

And the assistant turns to a bin behind him, and picks out a mouse wrapped in a plastic bag.

Yay! It's the identical model, but it works without the LED giving up, and the left button isn't half broken, and OMG, I'd forgotten how much difference a proper working mouse makes with some things. So, no driver disc (hey, Windows seems to recognise it), no armoured packaging, but it works. And it was a fair bit cheaper than it would have been a few years ago when it came with full packaging.
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Smoked sausage and sprouts

Today, I invented this, inspired somewhat by Nigella's Christmas Cooking programme.

Roughly 300g of Brussels sprouts
A Mattesons smoked pork sausage (though a rough 250g of a frankfurter-style sausage should do fine)
A little oil.
One bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (red, not white)
1 tbsp of redcurrant jelly

Take the Brussels sprouts, and steam them for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, take the sausage and make sure it's cooked. I gave it a minute in the microwave, but it was pre-cooked. Then dice it. Put the oil in a saucepan and heat it till hot. Add the diced sausage and keep cooking over a high heat till it's a little fried. Now the sprouts should have finished steaming, so toss them in too. The moisture from them will deglaze the pan a bit, but add a good slosh of the wine too. When the steam has cleared, dump in the redcurrant jelly as well, and cook till the jelly has dissolved.

Now serve, with the rest of the Chateauneuf to drink. Serves two, total time under 15 minutes.