Conroy’s pot shot at Big Harto. Ministers usually stick to the bland government talking points, which makes this comment from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on AM this morning a real warning shot across the bows: “Mike Quigley is no more responsible for the corruption at Alcatel than John Hartigan was for the corruption at the Melbourne Storm.” Should Hartigan be worried?

Advertiser walks over rate hike. Which publication is about to lose one of its biggest advertisers, one that pumps up revenues to the tune of $350,000 a year with a prominent front-page horizontal strip? The client is fed up: circulation is still spiralling downwards but that hasn’t stopped the ad department demanding a rate hike.

The kids take on subbing. I can report that the average age of the new subs settling into their new area at AAP East Melbourne is about 21. Lots of giggling.

For sale: one missile launcher. I was surprised to get a flyer from a general auctioneer in Queensland today advertising, among other machinery items, a Rapier Missile Launcher. Outside of terrorists, who would want such a thing?

US price gouging: readers respond #1. I have been looking to upgrade my tired Compaq laptop with Windows 7. I checked the price at my local Officeworks and the Home Premium version of Windows 7 was going to cost $289. Feeling that was a little unreasonable I started investigating alternatives and managed to find a brand-new Compaq laptop with three times as much memory and hard drive space as my current beast and including a copy of Windows 7 at US retail giant Fry’s for $US270. Using a freight forwarding service ( I managed to get myself a brand-new laptop delivered to my door in just over a week for just $50 more than what my local Officeworks wanted for the software alone!

US price gouging: readers respond #2. Pacsafe VentureSafe 20-litre backpack: $85 or less at Amazon’s US store; $186.96 at Luggage Professionals.