Saturday, September 30, 2006

Off to Australia Tomorrow

I'm heading off to Australia tomorrow. It's been a really really hectic two days. Finishing up in work on Friday, getting my tasks finished and trying to hand over to others. Then off to the pub at 6pm for a few pints. This morning I was in pretty bad shape, it was a good thing that I didn't have to travel today. I had to get the last couple of items, check the stuff I had packed in my backpack, tidy up at home and then go out tonight with some friends. No alcohol though, I would like to survive the flight.

Got a phone call from a friend of mine as well today. Himself and his fiance are heading to Australia in November so we are hoping to match up schedules and cross paths at some stage, though from what he said to me today they are going to be moving pretty fast to see as much as possible. It will be nice to have a pint with a friend from home half way through the journey and compare notes about Australia.

All I can so now is wait for the trip to start. Chances are I'll be quiet for a few days after this post, I'll be on planes and in airports for the next two days.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Government partners sleeping on it

So, Bertie seems to have survived the night despite earlier rumours. RTE Prime Time is saying he's in serious trouble and the rumour now it that McDowell will resign tomorrow. Would that make him the shortest serving Tanaiste? Bertie today became the longest serving Taoiseach.

I went past Government Buildings and Leinster house tonight and the lack of a journalists showed that nothing major was stirring.

Irish Government to Fall Tonight? is reporting that the Irish Government is about to fall in the wake of Bertie Aherns loan scandal and Manchester scandals. The rumour is a cabinet meeting has been called, Ahern is on his way back to Dublin from Athlone and McDowell will walk out of government bringing the PDs with him tonight.

[via Irish Election]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

EU to introduce cabin luggage rules

Just when the flight restrictions were being relaxed around the world, the European Commission have proposed new laws to restrict hand-luggage on flights from the European Union. Bag sizes will be standardised and liquids will be limited.

Personally I think the rules are a little strict, especially since they have not actually convicted anyone of the alleged plot. Nor for that matter produced any of this liquid explosive that can be detonated with an MP3 player.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The future Boss?

Simon has a post on Irish Election detailing the list of Bertie Ahern mates who gave him a hand out with a few thousand quid on a "sure pay it back when ever you like" basis. I don't know if it'll see an end to Bertie but the bloggers are on the case so lets see who gets to any dirt first, them or the professional media.

I'm not sure if I think it's a good idea to get rid of Bertie. I mean who would replace him?
  • Dermot Ahern? Minister for Foreign Affairs. Probably a finance ministry short of a chance.
  • Séamus Brennan? Minister for Social and Family Affairs. If you kill a Don you cant become a Don and he'll be first in line to plunge the knife in Berties back.
  • Mary Coughlan? Minister for Agriculture and Food. I don't mean to be sexist, but Fianna Fail is, just look at the list of TDs. Too inexperienced anyway.
  • Brian Cowan? Minister for Finance. Probably has the best chance of everyone but will make Gordon Browne in the UK look like James Bond.
  • Martin Cullen? Minister for Transport. Will issue a press release announcing he has already been appointed leader. Everyone will ignore him.
  • Noel Dempsey? Minister for Communications, Marine and natural Resources. Could apply for the job, but the email will get lost.
  • Mary Hanafin? Minister for Education and Science. See Mary Coughlan. Seriously, I keep getting the two of them mixed up.
  • Micheál Martin? Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. One for the future, but not yet.
  • Eamon Ó Cuív? Minister for Community, Rural, and Gaeltacht Affairs. Dev is dead, lets leave him there.
  • Willie O'Dea? Minister for Defence. Even he would laugh at the idea.
  • John O'Donoghue? Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism. Best he can hope for is a place in the quaterfinals.
  • Dick Roche? Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government. On a road to no where called the M3.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Shamrog Island

A new property web site pulled a hoax on the people of Dublin by putting up a web site advertising a new property development in Dublin Bay called Dublin Coastal Development and Shamrog Island.

3 man made islands with a surface area of over 12 square kilometers, constructed by the Wasaki Global Corporation. Connected by a motorway and a new Luas line out in in the bay. There would be space for 42,000 apartments, a commercial district, and a giraffe zoo (yes, a giraffe zoo).

It only takes a couple of seconds to realise it's a hoax. The web site is a little too computer generated and the planned development looks more like a scene from Star Wars than Dublin. But to up the ante they posted planning permission notices around the bay and the nimbys were up in arms saying they would oppose the development.

It must have cost the company a fair chunk of their start-up capital just to get the video made but it got them plenty of free advertising, with coverage in papers and on RTE news. The website url ( didn't get a mention on the news but is shown at the end of the video on the website.

The only downside of all todays publicity for the company involved is that the website currently just says "This website will be launched in the week of 25th September" and asks people to enter their email address. Perhaps it all came to a head a couple of days too early. It's also a shame that it has been outed as a hoax. I would love to see the nimbys bursting blood vessels and organising protests, looking for archeological sites underwater and finding rare sea slugs to stall the development.

American Golfers

Once again America got its ass kicked in the Ryder Cup. This is starting to get to embarrassing for the poor chaps, or at least it would be if they cared. One cant help but suspect they don't care at all despite protests to the contrary, Americans win the majors, Europeans win the Ryder Cup.

On Newstalk tonight it was mentioned that 3 of the American team had to get passports before coming over to play in the Ryder Cup. If that is true then it shows just how much they really care about international competitions, they have never even left the USA.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

iTrips in Ireland

The O2 store in Dundrum is selling iTrips. They are a nifty little gadget that allows the people to broadcast their music from the iPod to a nearby FM radio, perfect for use in cars. They were (are?) technically illegal in Ireland but the Government has said they are going to lift the ban before the end of the year so they are on sale now.

The sales assistant in the shop told me they had been made legal in the last few weeks but I wasn't too sure since the Dail is still off on their summer holidays so couldn't have amended the relevant bills to allow transmitters with a short range.

Then again maybe some regulator had the power to amended a list of banned items themselves. After all if we had to wait for the Dail to not be on holidays in order get anything changed there would still a committee discussing whether to legalise flint tools or keep the old wooden sticks.

One week to go

One week until my holiday. I started packing some stuff into my backpack. It looks awfully small to live out of for 3 months yet awfully big to be carrying around for 3 months. I realise it's probably the right size and I can leave some of the stuff behind so it will be fine. If I need anything I left behind I can just buy it in Australia and it'll probably be alot cheaper there than here.

Last night I had dinner with some friends and one of them recommended a sun lotion, her logic being on their recent holiday her boyfriend used it and didn't burn so it should work for me since we both have that Irish perma-white skin. He was a little embarrassed at the discussion of his skin colouring but I decided it was probably the best recommendation I would get so I bought some today.

So that's pretty much it then. I have to ring the bank and the mobile phone company to get some things changed and then it's just a case of one week in work and then off for the longest holiday since I left college. God, it's going to be a long week :-).

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bin Laden joke

The reports of Osama Bin Ladens death are unconfirmed but the jokes have started already.

Bush at Prayer: "Dear God I'll trade the USA getting hammered in the golf if You just kill Bin Laden before the Midterms"

God: "It's a deal George!"

Gold Bra

Spotted this on Gizmodo, no need to guess what caught my attention. This is a solid gold bra worth 1.89 million US dollars, and the model is probably an optional extra. For the woman who has everything, including, it would appear on close examination of the item in question, a tolerance for pain. Or for the man with a Princess Leia fetish.

[via Gizmodo, photos from]

Friday, September 22, 2006

No Ryder Cup coverage online?

It's crazy that Ireland is hosting the Ryder Cup and I cant get coverage of the event online. I don't want TV coverage, just radio. The BBC is streaming the event but that's UK only. RTE are broadcasting it on medium wave but not FM, and are not allowed to broadcast radio coverage online. That's just nuts, you would think for the sake of availability they could cut some deal with the BBC to allow Ireland to get the UK only feed and the organisers could cut a deal as well, after all as things stand they don't get any money from a non existent Internet stream in Ireland.

Update: DUH, now I feel stupid. After going through the media websites it never occurred to me to go to where they have a free online feed themselves.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Storm Damage

Bloody hell. We are getting the tail end of hurricane Gordon and we are experiencing some storm force winds. As I walked home this evening and entered the estate I live in I noticed a flash and the street lights went out. I didn't think much about it until I got to my door and found half a tree lying 5 feet from my door.

There used to be a big tree outside that had grown in two branches from close to the bottom. Half of it had blown over, knocking out a street light and probably causing the street lights black out. 60 seconds later I would have been walking under it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Three of my photos from Flickr have been added to the Schmap guide for Galway. This morning I got a message from the Schmap people this morning telling me that they had included the photos. They hadn't asked in advance but all of my photographs on Flickr are licensed under Creative Commons and they include plenty of photo credits with the guide so I didn't mind.

Schmap is a freeware application that you download and install on your machine, you then download travel guides for cities around the world. I suppose it's a good idea but the fact that you have to download the application and files is possibly their biggest flaw. I can see their logic, if you are travelling with your laptop it's useful to have the guide offline, but it should be an option as more people are likely to travel without their laptop and an online version would be more useful. I wonder if people will take to the idea. It would also be handy to have a PDA version available but they say it's not possible. I must play around with it and see if I can put it onto a USB keyring, so at least it's somewhat mobile.

Each city guide contains information about the city that covers the things you see in most travel guide books. What to see, where to stay, where to eat, tours, maps of the city and useful links. Included in the information on different locations are thumbnail photographs of the location, which is where Flickr comes in. The thumbnails link to the original Flickr photograph and the photographer is clearly credited.

Downloading more city guides just requires the user to select the city from a list displayed at startup. The application and guides are free. I don't know how they make their money, maybe they plan on inserting adverts or maybe there is some form of sponsorship going on.

If you are travelling and want to read a city guide before you leave (or are bringing a laptop) then it's worth a look, after all it's free. I don't know if Schmap will be the future of travel guides, but this is certainly something companies like the Lonely Planet should consider buying or reproducing. The Lonely Planet guide to Australia is great but it's a hefty size to carry for anyone backpacking.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The camera never lies

"The camera never lies", a statement that was never completely true. From the moment people started posing and photographers entered the darkroom photographs lied. Sure the subject may have had to pose in a misleading way, or the photographer had to alter the photographs exposure but in general the camera itself just took an honest shot, as it saw it. Light in, negative out. What happened before or after was never really the cameras fault.

Now as time went by it became easier to make a photograph lie. Type the name of any famous actress into your favourite search engine and you'll get back a host of images of them in various compromising poses that will clearly demonstrate how convincingly a photograph can be made to lie. Any of us can now be inserted into holiday snaps of the worlds landmarks, or if a family member misses a wedding just slot them in at the back of the shot and in a few years no one will remember who was actually there. 10 minutes in Photoshop and I can be playing golf on the surface of the moon with Tiger Woods and Kate Beckinsale.

I guess it was inevitable but the camera itself has finally given in and can now tell the odd fib or in this particular case a dishonesty for the sake of peace. HPs newest digital camera can now tell the worlds most common lie. "No honey, you bum does not look big in that..." They now come equipped with "slimming effect" to make people in photographs look thinner. I'm sure it will lead to happier holiday memories for many people but it's a sad day to see the camera abandon its morals and join the rest of us. Where will it all end? If my new camera was just a couple of years more advanced maybe I could have had Kate automatically inserted into my Australia photographs to make my friends back home jealous. Soon we'll never know what the truth was.

[via Boing Boing]

Monday, September 18, 2006

Stamp Duty

The Progressive Democrats have proposed changing stamp duty on houses perhaps even abolishing it entirely. Sounds great and should be a real win-win scenario for the PDs.
  • Win: the PDs will get votes for the idea before the election.
  • Win: The governments main supporters, the property developers, will make a fortune after the election.

There is also a loose-loose.
  • Loose: house buyers will pay just as much as before, the property developers will just up the prices to absorb the abolished stamp duty. That's just what happened when the limits were increased in 2005.

Of course stamp duty is an unfair tax, we all know that. It punishes the buyer not the seller and in the modern property boom it has risen to a level that in no way reflects the cost of processing a transfer of ownership. But that does not mean that abolishing it is a good idea. It is purely a money making machine for the government and the Progressive Democrats now want to hand that machine over to property developers.

The government should get those property developers to build the promised affordable housing. They should tax profits on property speculation. They should introduce meaningful renters rights and long term leases to reduce the need for people to own their own houses. They should encourage the construction of high quality yet affordable high density apartments in the city center area instead of pushing the semi-detached commuter belt out further out into Carlow and Wexford. I'm not talking about new Ballymuns, but decent apartment living like you see in most modern cities around the world.

War of Independence veteran dies

Lt Col Sean Clancy died today aged 105. Clancy fought in the Irish War of Independence, served with Michael Collins, was present when Dublin Castle was handed over to Free State forces and attended the funeral of Collins.

Wow. I don't know why, but I had assumed all the veterans of the War of Independence were dead. I missed the Easter parade earlier this year, so I missed the coverage the surviving veterans got. I must go into the Collins Barracks museum and see what they have on display these days.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two weeks to go

This time two weeks the first (shortest) leg of my journey to Australia will be done. Jesus, it's getting close and real now. I know I've forgotten somethings, I hope they are not important. At least I think I have everything I need to just do the trip, after that anything else I can just buy over there.

The travel agent reminded me about travel insurance yesterday. 45 euro for the first month and 10 euro for each subsequent week. Must shop around and see if I can find something better.

Update: Got the insurance, €135 for the 3 months. Up to one month is cheap enough in most places, but it's when you want to add more time that the price goes up or some places wont provide coverage at all. Well, I have it now, hopefully I wont need it.

Popes Apology

The Pope has, rightly, apologised for an ill considered remark that offended Muslims. A long, dull, heavily intellectual, speech to a university audience contained a quotation from an ancient emperor most of us had never heard and it got the Muslim world up in arms and protesting. Pope Benedict XVI has just learned that as a world leader he must be very careful when it comes to public speaking.

But I have to ask, does anyone care that the Muslims have offended the Catholic religion? Two churches in Palestine have been attacked and firebombed, a nun may have been shot as a result in Somalia, effigies of the pope were burned, he was compared to Hitler and Mussolini, Muslim leaders demanded he apologise personally, they called him ignorant and arrogant and accused him of having a Crusader mentality, and some extremists called on Muslims to "hunt down and kill whoever offended the Prophet Mohammed". If Catholics did the same things towards a major Muslim religious leader how do you think the Muslims would react? I'm not saying Catholics should start protesting but in the interest of balance I think it would be nice if some Muslim leaders came out and apologised in return for their behaviour.

In yesterdays Irish Times there was a picture of a protest banner that read "Mr Pope - Be with in your limits". It reminded me of the Harry Enfield sketch "Women - Know your Limits". Both reflect a way of behaving and thinking that are from a by gone era. It's time for everyone from all religions to show respect towards others.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


Picked up the tickets for my trip to Australia today. They are "e-tickets" so it is just a print out of the information. Bit anti-climatic really, I always liked the old style tickets.

Still, just 2 weeks and 1 day or 10 working days to go and my Christmas holidays start. :-)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Taxi Dispute Resolved

The recent taxi dispute has been resolved. Gerry Brennan the SIPTU representative was on Newstalk 106 talking to George Hook and claimed that there had been a major change in the situation. The Department of Transport have recognised the fact that there is no appeals procedure for decisions made by regulators and will work with the taxi unions to address this. As a result there will be no more taxi strikes.

All the new taxi regulations such as the standardisation of fares throughout Ireland, the abolition of luggage charges and the €1.50 hiring charge for pick-ups from Dublin Airport will be introduced as planned on the 25th of September.

Mr Brennan claimed that the whole dispute was about the fact that there was no appeals process. He also denied that the taxi drivers had ever threatened to strike during the Ryder Cup, claiming the strike dates were just a coincidence with the new regulations coming into effect on the same weekend as the Ryder Cup.

Looks to me like the taxi drivers lost and the regulator won. After the unions loosing control of their members on Monday I wonder if those same members will continue their protests under the banner of an unofficial dispute.

Update 19-Sept: O.k., so who ever was on the radio was talking complete nonsense, or the drivers heard the deal and threw a fit. The unions are once again threatening to strike during the Ryder Cup and are threatening to stop serving the airport. Who cares anymore? The taxi strikes are an irritant but basically irrelevant, even for the Ryder Cup.

Irish Government Failing and Proud of it.

The Irish Government is to announce that 3000 new affordable houses will be made available in the "Greater Dublin" area in the "coming years". They seem to be proud of that despite the fact that 3000 in the coming years represents a complete failure on the part of the government to a) support the struggling first time buyers priced out of the market by the governments cozy buddies in the construction industry and b) is actually just a tiny percentage of the affordable houses the governments own legislation was supposed to provide.

Property developers are supposed to designate up to 20% of all developments as affordable housing. A get-out-clause in the legislation allows the local authority to determine the actual percentage, which they can and do set at 0%.

If the 20% rule was applied then with an estimated 90,000 houses being build in Ireland this year that is 18000 houses. There are 1,661,185 of the Irish population of 4,234,925 (OK, shoot me, those are the figures from wikipedia but if you want to go out and count them yourself be my guest ;-) ) living in the Greater Dublin Area that means 39% of the affordable houses should be built in the Dublin area. That comes to 7020 affordable houses this year alone by the governments own rules. Expand that out over the "coming years" and it is clear that the current government is not only failing, it is proud of that failure.

I am a born and bred Fianna Fail supporter, but next time out I'm not voting Fianna Fail. That is for the sake of the party, if by some chance they win the next election another 5 years of this level of incompetence and failure will wreck the party and leave it floundering like the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom did for the last 10 years.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Top 10 Cameras

With flickr becoming more and more photographs from people all around the world it can provide a great resource for information about cameras. For example as I mentioned earlier you can use it to see what your camera is really capable of. Now if you don't already own a camera you can use it to find out the most popular cameras based on the EXIF information stored in the files. The list is put together by flagrantdisregard where it is updated weekly.
  2. NIKON D50 Nikon
  3. Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL Canon
  4. Canon EOS 20D Canon
  5. NIKON D70 Nikon
  6. NIKON D70s Nikon
  7. Canon PowerShot S2 IS Canon
  8. Canon EOS 30D Canon
  10. Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL Canon
Note that the Canon EOS 350D and the EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT are actually the same camera just different labels in Europe and America. So that shows how far ahead in popularity the Canon is.

[via Slashdot and Boing Boing]

New IPods

Apple have updated the IPod nanos. I don't like the new look. They gave them rounded edges, strange colors and a metallic finish, like the old IPod minis. I preferred the old look, like small versions of the big IPods. Still no radio by default so I still wont buy one anyway.

Engadget and Gizmodo have lots of hands on photos

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Dublin Bus Drivers and Taxi Drivers

I went into town last night and was on O'Connell Street around the end of yesterdays taxi protest but this post is not about the behaviour of the taxi drivers, it's about the Dublin Bus drivers. In what can only be described as a sympathy protest many buses drove through O'Connell Street after the protest ended with their signs switched to Out of Service. It was a very wet night and there is nothing more annoying than watching buses drive past stops empty or three quarters empty leaving people standing in the rain.

At first I thought it was a simple case of the bus company trying to catch up on its schedule or to avoid the protest area but many buses were stopping. It seemed that random buses were refusing to stop on O'Connell Street. While most of these buses were empty some had passengers on board. I'm not sure how these passengers got off the buses, but they certainly didn't manage it on O'Connell Street.

I would like to single out for particular disdain the driver of an 11C bus who drove to within 20 yards of the bus stop with the lights on and passengers onboard before switching his sign to Out of Service and continuing non-stop down the street. Behind him he left about 15 passengers including 3 Italian tourists dripping wet and disgusted at the state if Irish public transport.

One of the tourists complained to me. "That was an 11 yes?" she asked. "Why wont they stop. I have been waiting here over 30 minutes and no buses stop. Irish transport is expensive and very bad. I pay 20 euro for a ticket for the week and wait 30 minutes in the rain. It wouldn't happen in Italy." All I could do was agree with her, be sympathetic and wait for the next bus to hopefully stop. That is one tourist who wont be leaving Ireland with happy Tourism Ireland style memories.

Ironically after I was about to go for a taxi when a bus finally stopped. There were loads of taxis around by then.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Big Mc

So despite being one of the most disliked and divisive politicians in the country Michael McDowell today humbly accepted his parties unanimous support as leader. People either hate him or love him. Personally I used to like McDowell. I used to think he was at least determined and tough on crime. No matter what you think about his politics at least you know where he stands on issues. Now I think he has proven to be a failure in justice, too preoccupied with things like tracking down sleeper cell journalists and closing existing prisons in order to build one new one. While McDowell tilts at windmills, sections of every town in Ireland become no-go areas for honest people.

Gun crime has increased to a point where criminals are driving around with bullet proof vests (while the Department of Justice are in the process of buying stab proof vests for Gardai). Drugs are sold openly on the main thoroughfares of Dublin and people can be killed some perceived slight or just for fun when local thugs get bored.

As is standard with the current government failure is not an option, it just never occurs to them. They simply ignore failure and promote the person responsible. Instead of explaining to the public why he has failed to make the streets safer McDowell becomes leader of his party and Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and so will have less time to devote to the justice portfolio. He has set himself a target of doubling the number of Progressive Democrat deputies in the Dail, perhaps a good place to start would be to double the number of prison places and take some criminals off the streets long term.

Taxi Strike, yawn

The taxis are on strike once again today, the third Monday in a row I think. Anyone care? Nope. I haven't even bothered to mention some of the other strikes on my blog they have been so dull.

The media may talk about traffic chaos but my office window looks onto one of the busiest roads into Dublin and it doesn't look any busier than usual. If anything the traffic is flowing well this morning.

Enjoy the dole queues lads, perhaps your union rep can point out the local welfare office to you while he drives to the next company with employment "difficulties".

Update: Well the taxi drivers finally stood up to the unions and went off to do their own thing ignoring the union representatives. They partially blockaded O'Connell Street, causing traffic chaos for several hours and while this pissed off a lot of people it also got a lot of publicity. We'll see if it has any effect. I hope not but at least some one finally told the unions to piss off.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Betting on the PD leader

Paddy Powers have suspended betting on the new PD leader. Seems Michael McDowell is the clear favourite at 1/33 before betting was suspended at 4pm. Yesterday he started at 2/1.
"Needless to say the genius in Paddy Power who came up with those odds is now making the tea." said Ken Robertson of Paddy Power.
I think that it's daft to suspend betting. Anything can happen in politics and Michael McDowells leadership ambitions have been so well publicised that some journalist is bound to be waiting in the long grass with a story that can derail his leadership campaign.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


At lunch time today I got my vaccinations for the trip to Australia. While there are no specific vaccinations needed for Australia there are recommended vaccinations that travellers should get no matter where they go, such as a tetanus booster and a hepatitis A vaccine. Since I'm also going to Singapore for a few nights that increased the risks.

Fortunately there were no foot long needles or shots in the butt as I had feared. Two simple injections, one in each arm and I was covered. My left arm feels bruised right now, as if someone had punched me really hard, but other than that it's fine, so far. I'm told there is a 10% chance that I'll get flu like symptoms.

I got the full talk from the doctor. Use high factor suncream to avoid sunburn. Spray on high deet insect repellent to avoid mosquitos and diseases like malaria. Be careful of food and water due to avoid typhoid and Hepatitis A. Stay away from dogs and cats in Singapore to avoid rabies. Watch out for spiders and snakes on land and check my boots before putting them on. Keep away from box jelly fish, sharks and stingrays. Bummer for the poor stingrays, you kill one guy in 61 years and you get added to the medical worlds shit list.

Mary Harney Resigns

RTE Radio has announced that Mary Harney has resigned as leader of the Progressive Democrats. She remains on in government as Minister for Health at the discretion of the new leader. I don't know if she is staying on as Tanaiste (deputy Prime Minister).

If Michael McDowell is elected leader of the PD's you can bet there are a lot of Fianna Dail TDs who will not tolerate him as Tanaiste. Does the election start here?

There is a press conference coming up in the next few minutes.

Update: It's official.

Update 2: The official statement can be found here.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Questions for Canvassers

Damien Mulley has a list of questions that Irish Bloggers say they would ask politicians that call to their door during the upcoming election campaign. It makes for interesting reading, though you can assume that bloggers by their very nature are more politically aware than the majority of voters

Here are 5 from me:

  1. How do you propose to put an end to the exploitation of taxpayers by contractors and developers working on government projects?
  2. Do you believe in long and meaningful prison sentences for politicians and public servants convicted of corruption or of obstructing investigations into corruption?
  3. Will you resign from any ministry to which you are appointed should projects overseen by your department run over budget or behind schedule due to incompetence on your part or on the part of those reporting to you?
  4. Do you believe those found to have influenced political decisions by bribery should be banned from holding directorships in companies and have the profits of those decisions investigated by the Criminal Assets Bureau?
  5. If you fail to meet your current election promises will remove your name from the ballot paper for the next election?
Though 5 are not enough, I didn't even get to trade unions, property prices, crime, health care, the environment, infrastructure, national competitiveness, the growing influence of the EU......

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What Materazzi said to Zidane

The big question of the World Cup final was what exactly did Materazzi say to Zidane to provoke the headbutt that resulted in Zidane being sent off?

All has now been revealed by Materazzi himself. Materazzi was tugging on Zidanes jersey a challenge which led to the following exchange:
Zidane: If you want, I'll give you the jersey later.
Materazzi: I prefer your sister.
Zidane: -headbutt-
Materazzi: -falls on ground like a man shot-

Bit dull really.

iTrips in Ireland

It has been announced (once again, after all this is the Government of the Press Release and nothing gets done without being announced at least twice) that i-Trips are to be legalised in Ireland. This should happen by the end of the year.

For those people who cannot wait until the Dail deputies wander back to Dublin after their summer holidays, you yourself can just wander into numerous electronics stores and find FM transmitters for MP3 players openly on sale. In fact I've seen them in shop windows down in Cork and i-Trips themselves were on sale in the St Stephens Green Shopping Center on Saturday.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin RIP

As everyone probably knows by now Steve Irwin, better knows as the Crocodile Hunter was killed earlier today by a stingray. He provided many hours of entertainment and brought the idea of environmentalism to an MTV generation whose idea of a snake was a character from the computer game Metal Gear Solid. I had planned on visiting Australia Zoo during my trip to Australia, I still will but with Steve's untimely death I imagine it will be a sadder place.

It seems some how ironic that he spent so much of his life handling deadly snakes and wrestling crocodiles and in the end a stingray killed him, the last recorded death in Australia from a stingray was in 1945. But perhaps, in a way, he would have liked the idea, it was quick, he died doing what he loved and the crocs and snakes never won the struggle.

I hope he is in heaven with a grip on a dinosaurs tail shouting "Crikey, you're a beauty".

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Blog review

I've just finished labelling my posts and I have to say there are some categories that I used to blog about that I haven't in a while. For example I haven't been to the cinema in ages, the last movie I saw was Pirates of the Caribbean 2, which I didn't blog about. I also haven't read much about the space program, I must go find some stories, even if I don't blog about them, about how the private companies are getting on with their spaceships.

The contents of this blog will change a lot anyway in 4 weeks time once I head to Australia for 3 months. I'll still blog, but it will be about my travels more than anything else.

New Blogger Template

I have updated my blogger template. I took the easy option and modified an existing blogger supplied one to match what I wanted. Fortunately the original template, Snapshot: Sable, that I had based my old template on had been ported by the blogger staff to the new format so I was able to start again from the same point. It didn't take too long, but I'll probably tweak it a few times more over the coming days.

I am also trying to relabel my old posts but there are 537 posts so while I have labelled the first 50 I don't have the time this afternoon to label the rest. I might do it in batches of 50.

Update: Now have 100 labelled.

Update: Now up to 300. There has to be an easier way to do this.

Update: Done, though I'll be reviewing some of them later.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bill Bryson Down Under

There are still 4 weeks to go before I go to Australia but I have picked and bought the book I'm going to bring with me at the start of my trip. It's rather a cliche but I got Bill Brysons Down Under.

Several people had asked me if I had read it and told me it is very funny. So that's what I'm going to be reading on the plane and in the airports during the journey. I wonder if I can finish it before I get to Australia, depends on the movies shown during the flight I suppose.

Friday, September 01, 2006

E-Paper Scroll

This is a cool gadget that I really hope it makes it to market in one form or another. If the technology improves in a similar fashion to the way LCDs improved then this could have great potential. Click the picture to see the video.

Called the Philips Readius it is a hand held e-paper device where when the device is closed the screen is rolled up making is small and compact (relatively). When the user opens the device the screen is unrolled making the screen bigger than the device itself.

The Readius is the world’s first prototype of a functional electronic-document reader that can unroll its display to a scale larger than the device itself. With four gray levels, the monochrome, 5-inch QVGA (320 pixels x 240 pixels) display provides paper-like viewing comfort with a high contrast ratio for reading-intensive applications, including text, graphics, and electronic maps. Using a bi-stable electrophoretic display effect from E Ink Corp., the display consumes little power and is easy to read, even in bright daylight. Once the user has finished reading, the display can be rolled back into the pocket-size
(100 mm x 60 mm x 20 mm) device.

Nice idea. Unfortunately despite what the video says it is only a concept device and wont itself make it to market. It is designed to show what e-paper can do and hopefully the design will be used in real devices.

[via Gizmodo]