Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Make Fairytale of New York Number 1 for Christmas

I bought my first song from iTunes today, Fairytale of New York by the Pogues and KirstyMacColl. I already had it on CD but I thought I'd do my bit to make it Number 1 for Christmas 2007.

The once great Christmas Number 1 title has meant nothing since XFactor made a mockery of the process. Now there is a campaign to get Fairytale of New York to the number 1 spot instead of the latest 1 month wonder from Simon Cowell. Who won Xfactor this year? I've already forgotten.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry CO2

Christmas lights at christmas increases the usage of electricity by 2% in Ireland. 2%???? Come on lads, you can do better than that, break out the extra 200M of exterior lights. It is Christmas after all. :-)



Ah, National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, my favourite Christmas movie ever :-)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett has announced that he is suffering from early onset Alzheimer's. I tried to read one of his books once and didn't get into it but several of my friends love his Discworld books. For a man with such an imagination Alzheimer's seems like a truly cruel and harsh disease.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Beg Baby Beg

Why in the Ireland of 2007 are we allowing women to beg on the streets of our capital city with babies in a buggy or in their arms? At lunch time each day I pass a woman who I guess is in her early twenties sitting in exactly the same spot with a baby in a buggy. The last few days have been freezing cold so no responsible mother would have her young baby sitting on the side of the street for hours at end.

Why do we allow this to happen? Why in Celtic tiger Ireland do we not provide enough child welfare that children do not have to be used as begging props? Why do we do we not provide enough places in refuges to, at the very least, shelter every homeless woman with a baby? It's Christmas time and 2000 years ago a mother could find a stable to shelter in instead of sitting under a builders hoardings like today.

Finally if those services are provided and a mother still insists on placing her baby on the side of a busy street in freezing weather simply to guilt passers by into giving more money, why do the Gardai simply not take the baby into care and hand it to social services who can perhaps make sure it survives to see next summer?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fake your own death for £25,000?

John Darwin, dubbed "the missing canoeist" has been charged by police with fraudulently obtained £25,000 from his life insurance when he faked his death 5 years ago. Apparently he lived secretly in his family home for 3 years then moved to Panama on a fake passport. You know, if he'd gone on the dole in the UK he'd probably have made more over the 5 years and at the very least have been able to wander down to the shops or the pub if he was bored. If it's true he's some muppet.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Truffle

What does a truffle taste like? I mean the proper ones that people spend $330,000 for. Must be something special, no sarcasm intended, I'm genuinely curious.

[via Boing Boing]

Turner Prize Bear

A 154-minute video of a man dressed as a bear has won the Turner Prize for Mark Wallinger. They claim he really won it for another work called State Britain, which he probably did, but to most of us in the general public a man dressed as a bear just won one of the biggest prize in art.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Beowulf

I've seen the future of animation and the future is 3D motion capture. Beowulf is a movie you simply have to see in a cinema screen showing it in 3D. Even as a live action or a simple animation this would have been an entertaining night out. I like the way they expand on the Beowulf legend. The idea that the story passed down through history is the public version of the truth and the people involved try to maintain the image is a nice way of taking a well known story and adding to it without destroying the core of the original.

But throw in the 3D animation and it becomes a dead cert for the animated Oscar. I'd even hope they give a nomination to Brendan Gleeson for best supporting actor. That would be a first, an animated character getting an Oscar but the motion capture on his character is nearly perfect especially his last scene which shows just how powerful the technology can be. In a few years they will be able to create animated characters that look more lifelike than some of the current set of A list actors.

Strangely it is the animation of Beowulf and the Queen, two of the main characters, that is lacking sometimes. Their faces tend to be a bit plastic and lifeless, especially the Queens. Also the crowd scenes are a little Shrekish at times, who would have thought Shrek could be used as an example of poor animation. Still this was one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in ages and I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do next with this technology. I'm only sorry the DVD version probably wont be 3D.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toy Show

The Late Late Toy Show is on this Friday :-)

It's the only Late Late I ever watch and have done since I was a kid. Pat Kenny is not a patch on Gay Byrne and spends most of the show looking scared/confused by the children invading his studio so it's always good for a laugh.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Road to Nowhere

Is anyone in a position of authority or power in this country competent? Carlow County Council almost managed to build a 1.5 kilometer road ahead of schedule and on a budget of 5.5 million. However when the builders got to the last 35 meters they discovered that the council did not own the land and the construction had to stop. Now the builders are suing the council, damages could run to 12 million and the new road goes nowhere unless you are walking in which case you should be able to cover the disputed plot of land in about 34 seconds.

Friday, November 23, 2007

HSE Phones

The Health Service Executive are currently contacting 97 women who are being called back for further checks after being given the all clear on breast cancer following ultrasounds. From what I could gather on the radio and TV they had 2 people calling the 97 women today. Meanwhile they have 7 calling the 364 other women who are in the clear. If those numbers are true wouldn't common sense tell them to have the whole 9 ring the 97 women who need to find out today and get the media to announce that everyone else is in the clear and will be contacted over the next few days?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Drama on RTE

Anyone seen the adverts on RTE for its drama programs from the USA?

Prison Break
CSI:NY
CSI:Miami

and

Ugly Betty

Ugly Betty falls under the category of drama?

Is Santa Sexist?

Is Santa a sexist pig? Looks like the friendly old man is really a foul mouthed sexist pig. There he is, all smug and happy with himself, standing on streets or sitting in shopping malls shouting insults at women walking by and everyone lets him. But thankfully a recruitment firm in Sydney is coming to the rescue of the female residents of that lovely city.

Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional 'ho, ho, ho' greeting because it may be offensive to women.

Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say 'ha, ha, ha'.

Turns out 'ho' is too close to 'ho', a US slang term for prostitute. Now all those bonza sheilas can walk the streets of Sydney in safety listening to some fairdinkum downunder Chrissie music on their MP3 players.

Rental Investment

I saw this post on Politics.ie entitled "Landlords subsidising tenants by up to 36-43%: Central Bank". The idea is that rental income is no longer covering the cost of mortgage repayments in the Irish rental market. The state of rental incomes in Ireland seem to go up or down everytime the media changes the ink in their printing presses but that aside I think the idea that landlords are "subsidising" tenants is a ridiculous the glass is half empty view of the rental property market. In reality tenants are subsidising the landlords desire to invest in property and eventually sell that property at a profit.

If a people are really buying property expecting to make all their profit from rental income than they wouldn't object if the government introduced legislation giving tenants ownership rights on the property based on the percentage they have paid of it's value in rent. After all it's all about profits from rents isn't it? Yeah, right.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Daniel and Nicole?

Just saw an advert for The Golden Compass on tv and realised that Daniel Craig is in it with Nicole Kidman. Thats his second movie this year and both with Kidman. They must get on well. I wonder if she'd be interested in being a future Bond girl?

New IPod

On my way back from Canada I dropped my Toshiba Gigabeat down the side of my plane, nothing serious and certainly nothing as bad as dozens of other knocks it got. Unfortunately when I finally retrieved it (have you ever tried to get something from under your seat on a full plane of sleeping people?) the player was stuck on pause. A restart failed to fix it and a full power down resulted in a "Return to Manufacturer" error message. Final straw for a device that could have been really good but had too many little flaws.

In the end I finally buckled and joined the fashionable masses with a purchase of a set of white headphones, oh and their MP3 accessory. The new 160GB IPod classic was very appealing with it's huge storage and my ever growing list of podcasts and movies. I have to say I like it, the interface is so simple and intuitive, even coverflow is not as bad as I thought once I downloaded all the album art I could find. Good battery life to and the ITunes sync is pretty handy running in the background when I plug in. The only thing I'm missing is a radio but I have one on my phone which I'd been using anyway. Maybe Apple are not as superficial as I believed.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dying equally

As the Health Service in Ireland seems to get worse with every passing day and every passing billion I was still surprised today to hear that Mary Harney was warned by a consultant surgeon that cancer services in Portlaoise Hospital were being provided "by people who have no expertise in this area" and that "Women are having unnecessary surgery because of a total lack of decision-making." In response Mary, the Minister for Health, "referred the surgeon's concerns to the HSE".

I wonder, if the Minister for Health was a man would the radio be full of leading female journalists and commentators demanding he resign because of a lack of concern for female cancer patients. It seems clear in this case Mary doesn't discriminate based on gender, everyone will die equally in Irish hospitals.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Life on the Luas

I started a new job and I've been taking the Luas to work each morning and home again in the evening. After just a week I've already come to the conclusion that the service is almost unusable at rush hour. In the mornings by the time it leaves the Dundrum stop it's full to capacity, thats just 5 stops into a 13 stop line. Coming home in the evenings it's worse because EVERYONE gets on at the one stop, St Stephens Green.

Basically the Luas is a pipe from point A to point B. We should have built circle lines around the city center not straight ones into it. That would have to spread the load around several stations. God help us commuters when the line extends out to Cherrywood, no one past Sandyford will be able to use the Luas between 8am to 9am and 5pm to 7pm.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

First Santa of the Season

I was up in Dundrum and saw a sign saying Santa will arrive in the center on Wednesday 7th. Seeing how it's still November I presume that's the first Santa of the season? If kids want to be taken to visit Santa on November 7th then the parents should explain to them that Santa is old and his memory is not what it used to be. He might forget their presents if they ask too soon.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Off to Newfoundland, again

I'm off to Newfoundland again in the morning. I was there in August but my girlfriend is over there for a few months so when I got the opportunity to go over again next week I took it. I promise that this time I'll actually complete my blog post about the St John's and Terra Nova.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Scheduling Justice

The Minister for Justice, Brian Lennihan, has said that gangland figures will be targeted through new policing priorities next year.

So get your gangland crimes in now, cause the cops are busy else where until the new year.

Power Cuts By Friday?

The trade unions in the ESB are warning the public that there may be power cuts by Friday and severe disruption because of they plan to strike. Bastards.

It seems the ESB hired a German company to refurbish the Moneypoint power plant. The German in turn subcontracted the work to a Polish company which then hired 200 Polish workers to do the work in Moneypoint. Now the German company has terminated the contract with the Polish company and the Polish workers haven't been paid in 6 weeks and are being laid off. The unions, who I might add didn't notice their members not getting paid for 6 weeks, now want the ESB to pay again and employee the Polish workers.

It seems to me that this is a dispute between a Polish company and Polish workers. At most it's between a German company and a Polish company. I presume the ESB paid the German company to do the work and as customers of the ESB we, the public, have paid the ESB to provide electricity. If the unions want to picket someone why don't they piss off to Poland and picket the Polish company. Why do the Irish public have to suffer, we paid? Why do the ESB have to suffer, they paid? Why are the German and Polish companies getting off scot-free?

If you bought a computer from ACME Online Computers and they didn't pay their workers how would you feel if those workers showed up on your doorstep demanding you pay them and picketed your gate until you did?

Stans gone

So the end finally came for Steve Staunton early this morning at 1am. The FAI board met late last night and agreed to terminate Steve's contract as Ireland Manager with "mutual" consent. Of course just in case this whole thing didn't already reek of panic, indecision and back stabbing, they made the announcement at 1am. There is nothing quite like acting in the middle of the night, under cover of darkness to add credibility to your cause. Even if the decision had been made there was no reason they could not have told the press they were considering their options over night and they would make an announcement at lunch time today.

On PaddyPower this morning David O'Leary at 5-4 is the favourite to succeed Stan. Graeme Souness is 9-2 and Liam Brady 10-1. Betting on the next Irish manager is probably a good way to loose money, but Paul Jewell at 14-1 and Kevin Keegan at 28-1 seem like reasonable odds to me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Star Trek Cast?

Looks like the main cast for the new Star Trek movie is complete. I know alot of fans will want them to stay true to the original 1960s image but I hope they update the look and feel. Still expect to see photoshopped images of the new casts faces pasted onto 1960s Star Trek cast shots. :-)

Cast

Zachary Quinto
Mr. Spock
Leonard Nimoy
older Mr. Spock
Chris Pine
James T Kirk
Eric Bana
Nero (villain)
Karl Urban
Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy
Simon Pegg
Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
John Cho
Hikaru Sulu
Anton Yelchin
Pavel Chekov
Zoe Saldana
Uhura

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ireland 1 - Cyprus 1

Hard luck to Cyprus they deserved better and you could tell the Cypriot players were gutted to have left in a 92nd minute goal. 15000 fans don't show up. Those that did boo the team off at half time and full time. How can it have gotten this bad? Even Eamon Dunphy, John Giles, and Liam Brady were lost for words just after full time.

Anyone know an international sport we are any good at anymore for me to watch because I'm tired of having my head in my hands in despair.

Buy a German Shopping Centre?

What is with all the investment opportunities for German shopping centres? At the moment there seem to be at least two companies with radio adverts for investment funds that put your money into German shopping centres. Why are shopping centres now major investment opportunities? Where were the Germans shopping for the last 60 years? Did they build millions of apartments and then discover there were no shops, see Clondalkin for an Irish example? It doesn't seem so long ago when off-shore property was taking a caravan to France. Now you can buy a share of a shopping centre.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sanity going up in smoke

The organisation Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has asked the BBC to apologise after Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May lit pipes filled with herbal tobacco on Sunday's show. The three presenters basically took the piss out of pipe smoking for 5 minutes. Richard Hammond didn't even light his pipe since he has given up smoking. Clarkson burned his tongue when he put the pipe into his mouth the wrong way around.

It was quite funny but I don't think there was a flood of children running to the shops to buy Porsche branded pipes on Monday. I may have missed the coverage of the crush and mass panic on Sky News but I'm pretty sure I'd have seen it on my bloglines. I don't smoke, I actually hate being around people smoking but I found the whole piece very funny but some people didn't.

"Smoking in a studio is illegal. We would hope programme-makers make some form of apology," said a spokeswoman for Action on Smoking and Health (Ash).

Hmm, yeah given Top Gears previous record I suspect they will get an apology all right. Then Clarkson is likely to stick the letter in his pipe and smoke it. Some times political correctness can damage a cause more than help it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Old Gill sales tactic


We got a sales cold call tonight. I don't bother answering the land line anymore since it's never for me, everyone has my mobile. My flatmate answered and it was a call from Sprint Telecom trying to sell us broadband. When my flatmate tried to fob him off by saying she would check it out online the sales guy responded with "Don't use the Internet, I wont get my commission then".

Here is a tip, if your selling broadband you probably should avoid telling the customer to NOT use the Internet. Also don't beg, I'm not in the habit of signing up for monthly bills based on sympathy and a sense of guilt.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Astraeus to do Shannon to Heathrow flights. What about St Johns?

Just heard on the radio that the Atlantic Connectivity Alliance is applying for landing slots in Heathrow on behalf of Astraeus Airlines to run a service from Heathrow to Shannon. For those who don't know Aer Lingus pulled out of the Shannon to Heathrow route a few months ago and since then there has been political in-fighting and failed attempts to get airlines to replace Aer Lingus. Now Astraeus appears to has stepped up and may save Shannon but if I was in the ACA I'd be asking Astraeus for some reassurance before pinning all their hopes on them. You see Astraeus did exactly the same thing for St Johns in Newfoundland as they are offering for Shannon and that didn't turn out as successful as was hoped.

Air Canada pulled out of the St Johns to Gatwick route saying there wasn't enough demand. Astraeus stepped in last February and introduced "a year-round service between St. John's and the United Kingdom, filling a void created last fall by Air Canada". Great, same as Shannon, good for Astraeus. Unfortunately just 5 months later they rolled back on that and cancelled their winter service. The demand was not there to support a year round service, just like Air Canada said. The Newfoundlanders that I know were not too impressed as they now have to fly from St John's to Halifax to get a flight to London. It sucks and it does impact me directly since I'm heading over to St Johns again at the end of the month, but you cant really blame Astraeus, they are in business to make money. If you want an airline to serve less profitable routes you probably should have a national airline, like Aer Lingus was before the government sold it. What will happen in 6 months if Astraeus realise the Shannon route really isn't a great money spinner and Aer Lingus didn't walk away from a money printing machine?

Charcoal is the new White

I used some amazon vouchers to buy the new Adobe Elements 6 and installed it last night. I have to say after an initial glance I really like the new interface style. They have switched to the charcoal grey interface used in Lightroom and it has made a huge difference. I never realised how sterile and unfriendly the old one was. Everything seems to be pretty much in the same place as Elements 5 which I had tried out but a change of colour, a few new icons and it makes the whole interface seems friendlier and easier. Hopefully I'll get to use it in anger over the weekend, the monthly Dublin Flickr meet is on so I hope to have lots of photographs. Then I'll be able to decide if I like the photo editing tools themselves but I found myself tagging and tweaking levels and layers on photos at 1:30am last night so that must be a good sign of a useful interface.

Nobel Peace Prize goes to... Al Gore

It's being reported that the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded to.... Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Jaysus, the world would be a different place if Jed Bush hadn't run Florida back in 2000. The man most Americans voted for wins the Nobel Peace Prize, the man who won the election on a legal technicality invades Iraq.

[via Tom Raftery]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oil for who?

A "significant oil accumulation" has been discovered off the coast of Ireland. I wouldn't get too excited about it all, remember we have gas reserves as well but Shell and apparently the Norwegians get the profits from that in exchange for the promise of a few jobs or something equally vague. I wonder what the government will accept for the oil or, in all likelihood, have already sold it for. A weekend on a yacht for a few ministers? Fuel for the government jet? A sack of beads?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Making Christmas Magic in October

I heard an advert on the radio just now. It was for jobs in Dunnes Stores over Christmas. Complete with Christmas music and the tag line. "Dunnes Stores, Making Christmas Magic". That's the thin end of the wedge for Christmas adverts and I have to suspect that it is also a clever way by marketing people in Dunnes to get people thinking about some early shopping. Shudder, here we go and it's only the start of October.

BBC bought the Lonely Planet

I marked this in my bloglines and only got around to reading it last night. The BBC has bought the Lonely Planet travel guide company. Lonely Planet books are great and I always buy one for each holiday destination I go to. I always found them informative and useful. Maybe not the nicest looking travel photos, but when I buy a guide book I'd rather have a longer list of accommodation, restaurants and attractions than pages of stunning photographs.

Sometimes I depend on Lonely Planet guides for a list of things to do during a short stay in a city and even finding good accommodation when stuck. I love the BBC travel and nature shows, they are always beautifully shot and scripted but to me they never seem quite as functional or informative for general travellers. I hope the BBC don't screw around with the Lonely Planet and make it more high brow or aim it at a Michael Palin age/type market of people with lots of disposable income on a trip of a lifetime rather than a city break or annual holiday.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Top Gear is Back :-)

The best show on TV is back, Top Gear. Sunday 8pm BBC Two and repeated on Wednesday at 7pm.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

RTE News


I'm subscribed to the RTE news rss feed and guess what was posted today along side all the news stories. An advert for Ryan Tubridy's interview with Bill Clinton tomorrow morning. They were even kind enough to give the time of the show and a few extracts from the interview. Lets face it, Ryan Tubridy is not going to get a major news scoop from Bill Clinton with his probing and in-dept interview technique. We'll be lucky if he gets much past "Your great Bill, your an honorary Irish man", "Ha ha ha, that was a good one Bill. Now tell us, is life in the White House really like The West Wing?" and "Is there actually a button to launch the bombs and a hot line to the Russians?"

I hope RTE don't make a habit of turning their news into adverts for their TV programs. What would be next?
Welcome to the 9 O'Clock news. Todays headlines:
  • 100 killed in plane crash.
  • Marrian Finnucan discusses the best time to bake christmas cakes on Saturdays show.
  • Peace process stalls in Northern Ireland.
  • Gerry Ryan talks to Brian McFadden about the hard life in the music business at 11:20 on Tuesday morning.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Fianna Fail Feckers

The scandals just keep coming for the government. Now a Minister is admitting he uses cocaine and he's "not the only one". The Minister was not named in the story.
He said: “A Government minister was quoted as saying ’Yes I do take drugs. Just coke on a regular basis and I’m certainly not the only one around here who does.”’
Then a Fianna Fail councillor gets arrested and accused of sexually assulting a 16 year old boy while staying in a hotel in Kerry on public business. He does deny the allegation and also has not been named.

God be with the days when they were just corrupt. I miss Haughey sometimes. He'd have hung both the Minister and the councillor from the gates of Government Buildings as an example to the rest of the party and of course to save his ratings in the polls.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

GSM Blocker

I suppose it was bound to happen that someone would start selling a device that can fit in your pocket that will jam mobile phones in the vicinity. A company called Brando has started selling its Portable Palm Phone Jammer.

Initially it seems like a cool little device, a bit of fun, useful for places like the cinema or a restaurant. But then again from a safety perspective it seems like a criminals dream and should they become popular how many of us could actually live with a mobile phone service that can be jammed by the neighbours kids having a laugh for a few weeks. Course it's illegal, but people always find ways to get these things if they really want them.

[via Engadget]

Virgin 1: New TV channel

NTL have added a new TV channel to their Digital line up. 129 is now Virgin 1, what was it before? I cant remember. Feck all on it yet except old programs and the whole modern franchise of Star Trek, at this stage that is staple space filler for a station that cant get anything else. It does have a couple of new shows most notably for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

But it's a new channel and it's not another Irish channel showing "local programs" that look like they were made by drunk students with hand held video cameras with half dead presenters, so I'm happy. Plus this it Virgin Medias attempt to go head to head with Sky One so expect it to get better and possibly get some new headline shows from the States once it gets settled in.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Port Tunnel Strike

The Dublin Port Tunnel is open less than a year and already unions are threatening to strike over pay and conditions. They could have at least had the common decency to wait a year before demanding more money, doing so after just 10 months looks greedy.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ireland V Argentina

Half time Ireland 10 - Argentina 18. The dream is almost over. Ireland just broke through once with a moment of magic/luck from O'Driscoll. Other than that the tactic of catching the ball, putting the head down and and running straight into the closest Argentinian player doesn't seem to be working, but then again it hasn't worked for months so the chances of it changing in the next 40 minutes are slim. Argentina on the other hand have realised that there are wings on the pitch and have tried running down them.

Update: 58 mins. Ireland 15 - Argentina 21: The commentator on Setanta said O'Gara is not kicking to his usual standard. But in my opinion the problem is he is kicking to his recent standard. O'Sullivan should have taking him out the team weeks ago but doesn't know what to do or who to replace him with.

Update: 70 mins. Ireland 15 - Argentina 27: Well at this stage it would be a travesty of justice if Ireland some how managed to get the extra trys, win the game and finish more than 7 points ahead of Argentina. Though I wouldn't turn it down if it did happen. Still I take some consolation in knowing that this result messes up the French who will now have to play New Zealand in Cardiff instead of Scotland in Paris. Now the home team will have to win a game against the tournament favorites away from home. I'm cruel.

Update: Full Time Ireland 15 - Argentina 30: Better team won, fair play to them. At least we didnt put in one good preformance at the end and give Eddie O'Sullivan a chance to say "We got it right in the end". Now we know things have to change.

Burma Protest


I went into town today to see the Democracy in Burma protest. As part of the protest Burmese nationals now living in Ireland were displaying placards showing photographs of the violence currently taking place in Burma. One photograph in particular was pointed out by a speaker. Though she didn't mention him by name the photograph was of Japanese cameraman Kenji Nagai lying on the ground after being shot while a soldier stands over him. Nagai, though fatally wounded, still had his camera raised, possibly still shooting footage or perhaps trying to clearly identify himself as a journalist. This will be one of the iconic press images of 2007 and maybe for years to come.

Partly inspired by this and partly because it is a book I always intend to buy but never have, I went out and bought the World Press Photo 07 book. This is an annual publication showing the best in professional press photography for the previous year. It is always worth a look, but the reader should always remember the risks taken by some journalists to get the photographs that sometimes speak more than 1000 words.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I’m Not Okay With Injustice


Oxfam Ireland have a new campaign asking people to express the face that they are not ok injustice. If you are looking for a charity to support, have unwanted books or gifts or want to buy some fair trade goods or a present for someone then you should consider their local shops or online store as well.

Friday, September 28, 2007

HSE Satisfaction

90% of in-patients and 85% of out-patients are happy with the treatment they received from the Health Service. Or at least so says a survey commissioned by the Health Service Executive itself. Hmm, "90%"? That's pretty good, is'nt it?

Yes, but surely when you run surveys about yourself you can always do better. Next year they should consider hiring Saddam Hussein's former election managers to see if they can achieve the coveted 100% satisfaction levels.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Stylish Thriller

The Black Dahlia is on tv and the blurb in the guide describes it as a "Stylish Period Thriller". I've now come to the conclusion that when a movie is described as "stylish" what the reviewer really means is "they tried hard but it still sucks".

Mega Lego

Gizmodo has a posting about the biggest lego set ever. A 5000 piece Millennium Falcon for $499. Ok that's alot of money to spend on Lego but 5000 pieces. Wow! I wonder how long it takes to assemble.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ireland V France half time

France 12 Ireland 2 but not a bad performance for a team playing 14 against 16. Ireland have played most of the game without O'Gara, who has only managed to play for a couple of minutes when he blinked back into existance and got a drop goal. The rest of the time he looks like his mind is elsewhere. Meanwhile France have another player in blue and white, the referee Chris White is an experienced referee but is turning out to be a bit of a home town ref. How did he not feel the French player pushing him into the Irish attacker? This is the same guy who screwed over Wales in the 6 nations while they were playing in Rome.

Update: Ah, Jaysus, 30 Irish players couldnt stop this French 15 in the second half. Totally outclassed so far.

Full Time: Gutted.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mourinho leaves Chelsea

The BBC is reporting that "the special one" Jose Mourinho has resigned as Chelsea manager. No big surprise there I suppose, but let me be the first to suggest...

Mourinho for the Ireland Job ;-)

Joking of course, Stauntons not doing *that* bad a job and I dont think the entire Irish media have enough cameras to satisfy that particular ego. I wonder where he'll go now? Out of England I'd guess. Any big jobs available in Europe?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Where is the sea of Green?



I realised this morning that something has gone wrong with Irish Rugby. The national team is in the doldrums, two bad performances and the toughest games yet to come. Written off by everyone, myself included. Castigated, abused, insulted. I was as guilty as everyone else, bitching and complaining about their poor performances. It was this morning as I read the news and blogs from the weekend that I realised what a large part of the problem is. I wouldnt play for this shower of begrudgers either.

What does it take for the Irish team to win? Ronan O'Gara summed it up back in 2006 when Munster won the Heineken Cup.

"Once the screen went to Limerick there was no way we were going to be beaten in our third final. That was an incredible boost to us"


They need to play for the fans but they dont seem to have many fans this morning. I'm wearing my Irish Jersey this morning and everyone is asking me "Are you not embarassed to wear that?". My answer was, "No! This is the jersey from when they played well".

They dont have a flag or an anthem, the cross border nature of the team robbed them of anything real apart from a made up flag and a song only the composer would find inspiring before the match of a lifetime. All they had were the fans back home and we turned our backs on them when they needed another shot of a sea of red on O'Connel Street in Limerick.

They are fighting and they are winning. They may not be playing well but they are still out there getting kicked and punched, bitten and gouged, slammed into the ground and thrown into the air. All to win a ball, win a few yards and win a match. So what if they dont win by a cricket score, we should go support the cricket team if thats what we want to see. This is our national rugby team and we should be proud they are in the World Cup. I'm changing answer to the earlier question to a simple "No!". I'm not embarassed. I'm an Irish supporter. I may have forgotten my way for a while but I'm still a supporter. So I'll wear my old jersey today, my new jersey on Friday for the French match and my Munster Jerseys in between, how many others will join me?

Government Cancer Plans

This caught my attention over the weekend. The governments plan for the development of nationwide radiotherapy treatment for cancer is now up to three years behind schedule.

The thing is the plan was announced in July 2005. After two years of work the plan is now three years behind schedule. So, in theory, if the Department of Health had done nothing we'd actually be a year closer to getting proper cancer treatment in Ireland than we are now. Typical. I bet the contractors and consultants working on the projects are still getting paid their daily rates.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ireland 14 - Georgia 10

Ireland 14 - Georgia 10 and Georgia were unlucky not to win. Jaysis that was awful. Awful. I was in Kielys in Donnybrook the biggest rugby pub in Dublin and people were completely deflated at the result.

Fan 1: "This is a performance that would get any of them onto the Clongowes team!"
Fan 2: "No way! Newbridge, maybe."

At least we now know what we have to do for the rest of the world cup. It's knock out now. We have to win every match, France, Argentina, Quarter Final, Semi Final, Final. Loose one and the team is going home early.


UPDATE: I've come to the conclusion that I should stop complaining about the Irish team and support them. Like the Munster fans did in 2006 when Munster won the Heineken Cup. I'm going to wear my Irish rugby jerseys with pride.

Friday, September 14, 2007

England 0 - 36 South Africa

Jaysis, England 0 - 36 South Africa, and we were proud of beating England in Croke Park last year. Turns out it wasn't much of an achievement. I actually began to feel sorry for the English team by the end, especially when Jason Robinson pulled his hamstring ending his career and spent the rest of the match sitting on the bench looking like a boxer in his corner after getting a beating in a fight. It's looks like the 6 Nations are about to get a wake up call from the Southern Hemisphere.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Harsh punishment for McLaren


McLaren Formula 1 have been found guilty of spying on Ferrari and punished by the FIA. The team has bees stripped of their points in the constructors championship and fined $100 Million. No, that is not a typo. They have been fined $100 MILLION. That's crazy, or should I say Evil. I wonder who gets the money from the fine? It would be a nice little windfall for the smaller teams or any charity but I suspect it will just get added to the coffers of the FIA.

Ferrari will have now effectively been handed the 2007 constructors championship but if they have any self respect they will take the trophy and hide it at the back of their cabinet, behind all the ones won when Ferrari were the best team in the sport.

Update:
This is what the Formula 1 table now looks like
  • 1st Ferrari: 143 points
  • 2nd BMW: 86 pts
  • 3rd Renault: 38 pts
  • (McLaren: deducted 181 pts)

Former Formula 1 boss (and Irish hero) Eddie Jordan was speaking to the BBC and even he doesn't know where the money is going.
"To the outside world this is a ridiculous amount of money, and we also need to know where is this money going to?"

Steve Staunton

Woops, looks like poor Steve is on the way out of the Irish managers job after last nights loss to the Czechs. He just got the dreaded endorsement/vote of confidence from the Football Association of Ireland, but to make it worse it was a "guarded" endorsement. In other words 'We fully support the manager. The locksmith isn't available to change the locks until tomorrow morning...'

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ITunes TV shows in Ireland

My iTunes auto updated yesterday and when I started it up this morning I was brought into the iTunes shop which has a new option, TV Programmes. I knew it had been launched in the UK last week but when it didn't appear in my iTunes at the time I had just assumed Ireland was being negotiated separately.

I didn't purchase anything but the option if there now in iTunes so I presume it must be live in Ireland. Unfortunately prices are in British Pounds so an episode of Lost costs £1.89 which translated to approximately €2.76. Bit expensive but I suppose if I missed an episode of my favourite TV show I could catch up on it, legitimately. :-)

Junior Cert Results

Damn, it's that time of the year again. In my opinion this is the third biggest day of the year for off licence sales after Christmas and Good Friday. The Junior Cert results are out today so town will be packed with kids out celebrating their results. Every year I see 14 and 15 year old kids with beer and spirits walking around the area I live in and I wonder if the staff in my local off-license have any souls left.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Photoshop Express

It wont replace Photoshop CS but Adobe just released a screen shot of a new photo editing tool they are working on, Photoshop Express. The interesting thing about this is that it is an online application, possibly Flash based, that will allow the user to do some simple photo editing tasks. All that is available at the moment is a screenshot that shows Crop & Rotate, Auto Correct and White Balance under a Basics tab. Other tabs include Tuning, Details, Touchup, Fun and Recent. It wont replace Photoshop or even Elements but it's big selling point it it's free, well in so far as it'll probably be ad-supported.

I've been considering buying Photoshop CS3 but at €833.69 there is no way I can justify paying that especially with other tools like Gimp, Elements and Paint Shop Pro free or a fraction of the cost. Even with other options available I've gotten caught up in the photography communities addiction to Photoshop CS and I'd still gladly put up up with some adverts if I could pick up a more affordable copy of CS3.

[via Gizmodo]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Irish Rugby


Ireland 35 Namibia 17. Not only does the new Irish rugby jersey resemble a soccer jersey now the Irish rugby team resembles the Irish soccer team. So much for points difference counting later on to get us out of the group stages. They should have done better, you can bet France and Argentina will when they play Namibia. At one stage I thought Namibia would run the score even closer and a dodgy try at the end at least made the scoreboard look like a comfortable victory. On the up side, no one broke a leg, at least not before Eddie O'Sullivan got them back to the dressing room.

UPDATE: I've come to the conclusion that I should stop complaining about the Irish team and support them. Like the Munster fans did in 2006 when Munster won the Heineken Cup. I'm going to wear my Irish rugby jerseys with pride.

Rugby on the Radio

Is any radio station in Ireland carrying decent coverage of the Rugby World Cup? Newstalk has made much of their exclusive coverage but during the pool stages they are only broadcasting one game a day, apart from Saturday 15th when they have two games on. Please tell me the coverage is not "exclusive" and some other station I haven't found yet is covering the matches Newstalk has overlooked.

I really wanted to listen to the Canada v Wales game this afternoon followed by the South Africa V Samoa game but Newstalk broadcast the All Ireland Camogie Final instead. The same game that was on RTE radio. Before anyone argues that it is only proper for Newstalk to cover the All Ireland we should all be honest and admit that 99% of GAA fans would prefer to listen to Micháel O’Muircheartaigh on RTE than Oisin Langan on Newstalk and they probably did. I feel Newstalk could have been brave today and covered the rugby instead of playing second fiddle to RTE. In the end I listened to the Camogie on RTE, well done Wexford. I'm home now and watching Scotland steamroller Portugal in the rugby.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Irish Jersey

This is not something I never thought I'd ever hear myself say but... I agree with Ross O'Carroll Kelly. I rarely buy the Irish Times but today I saw the tag line "Ross O'Carroll Kelly gets shirty" on the front page and I knew what was coming. Ross has been let loose on the new Irish rugby jersey. His latest adventure sees him almost being refused from Kielys pub in Donnybrook and told to go to Longs next door for trying to get into the infamous rugby/poser pub while wearing a soccer jersey. After some confusion the bouncer realises that Kelly is wearing the new Irish jersey and a plot is hatched to restore the collar to the jersey.

I can see where he is coming from. The new jersey is a darker shade of green going towards the color of the Irish soccer jersey and, more importantly, has lost its collar in favour of some new stubby collar. The material is lighter and tighter, more like normal sports clothing and there are weird shiny patches on the front, sides and shoulders which I can only conclude are meant to be slippy. Someone has obviously concluded that if they took away the collar, made the jersey skin tight and coated the Irish team in Teflon then the All Blacks would just slide off and we'd win the world cup.

Also just in case slippy pads were not enough The Guardian (which I normally read) has an article informing me that the Irish team is getting a 2.7% boost in performance from their new jersey. You see it's one of the new IonX jerseys which uses negative ions to promote blood flow and the supply of oxygen to the muscles thereby boosting performance.

I agree with Ross, God forgive me. The new jersey is a soccer jersey and worse still it's not for the average man or woman on the street. I've never had the body of an athlete and these days I hear actual athletes my age wondering if they will get another year or two at the top level so I guess I never will get a toned body and a six pack, at least not one that doesn't come in a cardboard holder. Therefore a skin tight, All Black repellent, ion generating, jersey was never a runner for me. Fortunately the powers that be have recognised this fact and released a "Classic" jersey which I now own. It's still a little bit tighter than my old one and the color needs a couple of washes but at least it's just a collar short of a rugby jersey.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Port for Dublin

Transport and Marine Minister Noel Dempsey has announced a project to build a new port for Dublin up at Bremore near Balbriggan. This would appear to be a step towards the idea of redeveloping the current port area into the Progressive Democrats "A New Heart for Dublin". Apparently Bremore is actually a good location since it is a deep water facility unlike the current port.

Personally I like the idea of a developing the current port into a new "Manhattan-style approach to Dublin by sea", as the PDs describe it, but I doubt we'll ever see it. The final results of grand plans in Dublin never seem to quite match the artists drawings shown when the projects are announced.

I have to wonder, as does Cian on Irish Election, what happens to the Port Tunnel if the Port moves? Sure, it will be used by commuters coming from and going to the new apartments and offices but it seems like a bit of a waste to have spent so much time and effort building the tunnel and then, a year after it opens, announce a plan to build a new port elsewhere. The money and resources used on the tunnel may have seen the new port open for business already, reducing traffic from the old facility and possibly even seen new development occuring on the old port site already.

The Port Tunnel, aside it does sound like a good idea to build a new port away from the city and allow the old facility to be developed. It would open up a whole new area within the city that the people of Dublin could live in and enjoy. New apartments, shops, offices, parks and waterfront spaces. If done properly it could be something great for the city.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

HSE

I've been distracted with other things for the last week or so and haven't had a chance to blog. I am coming up with a backlog of things I want to post about so I should try to post some of them.

This morning when I loaded up Bloglines I was struck by the symmetry of these news stories being beside each other. Look at the attached photo.


So now it looks like if you get cancer in Ireland you should go back to college, study medicine, become a consultant and then you'll be able to pay for your own treatment.

Oh and in case you were wondering, the cost over runs in the HSE? They were caused by patients claiming back the cost of drugs. Why cant they just be happy with placebos and let the consultants go back to the golf course?

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm back

I'm back from Newfoundland. Well I've been back since yesterday but in all honesty I could barely speak let alone blog. Newfoundland was great, it would be a huge Irish tourism location if someone would throw on some decent flights to the place. I had to fly from St John's to Toronto and then to Dublin yesterday so it only took 19 hours door to door.

The whole island seems to be an Irish colony with Irish accents and traditional music everywhere yet there are no flights and most Irish people I spoke to before going over knew it existed but didn't have a clue where it was. "Canada somewhere" was the usual answer. It's the closest part of North America to us, lets not count Greenland as part of North America (yes some people do). Straight across and down a little on the map.

Anyway I'll blog more about it over the weekend and I've got loads of photos up on flickr to show you what it's like.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Off on holidays

I know I havent been posting here as frequently as I used to, I've been pretty busy the last couple of months and now I'm off on holidays. Hopefully I'll get lots of photos to stick up on flickr and maybe a blog post or two. Normal service will resume in 2 weeks I hope :-)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Balancing Act


The Daily Mail have an article about a 15-story office block in London that is being demolished. Nothing unusual there, but this one is being demolished from the bottom up.

Apparently all the floors are hung off a supporting beam at the top so it makes sense to work from the bottom up and then remove the beam and the central core. This doesn't sound like a usual construction method, there are only 4 buildings like this in London and we don't exactly have a lot of sky scrapers in Dublin, but it does make for a wonderful photograph. It is a shame the photographer isn't credited on the web site. Click the photo to go to the original story in The Daily Mail.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

More trips to the North Pole

The North Pole is getting to be a busy place for all types of transport. Following in the explorer footsteps, or tire tracks, of Jeremy Clarkson the Russians have sent a submarine to the North Pole to plant a flag and announce that the Arctic is theirs. I hope they went to the real pole and not Top Gears best guess.

It's a silly thing but symbolic. I guess it is like a return to the 19th century when nations rushed around claiming territory that didn't belong to them in the belief that the rest of the world would recognize the planting of a stick with a piece of cloth on it as over riding the rights of everyone else.

The future of displays

The future of portable flexible displays has taken a long time to get here but Engadget has a nice article on a new development in the technology. The picture attached to Engadgets story is almost certainly a mock up but it gives an idea of what things could look like.

Even if the switching and refresh rate is too low for to replace your PDA, your mobile phone or even your MP3 player displays but it could have many other uses. Apart from obvious uses like newspapers or books imagine one of those screens build into the base of your DSLR so when you setup a photograph you could unroll a big screen screen and look at the photo on a display the size of a standard photo.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Airline sanity being restored

Some sanity is finally being restored to the airport security standards dropped on us all by the EU. Despite the fact that no one blew up a plane using liquid explosives and all we had was reports of an alleged plot, air passengers in the EU have spent the last year afraid that their bottle of water, their can of deodorant, or their makeup would be confiscated and destroyed. I haven't heard of any trial of the terrorists or seen any evidence on TV of how close we came to some type of airline armageddon caused by bottles of water and rewired MP3 players. Still liquids are banned, but not MP3 players, and passengers have to endure lengthening queues to be searched by security officers who know the bottles of water they confiscate are just bottles of water. The authorities handed the terrorists a victory by disrupting the flow of air traffic around the world without them having to actually blow anything up.

Now the EU is finally starting to ease those restrictions. If you buy a bottle of liquid in a duty free in an airport, with appropriate security, outside the EU and then later have to transit planes in a European airport you wont have to hand over your bottle of whiskey for, ahem, destruction by the security guards. Who knows maybe in a few years we'll be able to bring our own bottles of water and not have to buy them from airlines.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Futurama Movie

Forget The Simpsons Movie, that series stopped being funny years ago. Futurama has it's own movie coming out. It will be released on DVD only but beggars cant be choosers. Now if only they would make a Family Guy movie for the cinema the world would be a better place.

GAA Complaints

Do the GAA counties fans and officials do anything other than complain about how unfair everything is? Time was just getting to Croke Park was an achievement, now counties complain if another team gets a second chance no matter how many they themselves got (Cork who have lost or drawn as many matches as they have won, in what used to be a knock out competition) or if their time slot in the stadium is not prime time (Westmeath who were on Newstalk tonight complaining that their time slot in Croker is too early this weekend).

I hope both teams get their asses kicked on Sunday, might make them appreciate the trip to Dublin a bit more next year. Of course I am a Waterford fan so I suppose my opinion is biased and trips to Croke Park are still novel occasions.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Top Gear Polar

Just watched the Top Gear Polar Special on the BBC for the second time. Jeremy Clarkson and James May drove to North Pole in a Toyota Hilux (seriously modified) while Richard Hammond took the traditional dog sled. Of course they had backup cars and teams or real explorers to keep them on track but still driving in the Arctic to the North Pole is not exactly the safest thing to do. Of course Clarkson and the car won, they always do. It must be written into his contract or something that he always wins, but it's still great fun watching someone drive to the North Pole for the first time.

But then I read that they hadn't actually gone to the North Pole. At the end of the show they show their coordinates as being 78° North. That is 12° and about 800 miles short of the true North Pole. Of course one could argue that they could had gone to Magnetic North, which moves and that is exactly where they did go. Unfortunately they did so 11 years late since they conveniently used the position of Magnetic North from 1996, it is currently around 82° or 83° North. It was a bit disappointing, really all they did was go for a long drive in the snow to an almost random point 400 miles away.

Still that fact doesn't stop it from being a great bit of television. There was stunning scenery, a sense that it was a dangerous place even for experienced explorers, a challenge that most people would never dream of taking and Clarkson with a car nut frozen to his lip. Anyone who likes Top Gear will love it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

I finally finished Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. Don't worry I wont reveal anything of the plot or the ending and I will try to avoid any spoilers but I'm going to discuss the book so if you read this and decide that I spoiled something don't complain to me, I'm warning you now, if you are the type of person who takes any hint of a spoiler seriously, STOP READING NOW and stop searching the internet for information on the book! I just don't want to listen to complaints :-)

While I enjoyed the franchise as a whole and have read the other books and seen the movies. Sure they were kids books, but they are entertaining and easy to read. At least they were. I have to say that for the first 400 pages this book has been more Harry Potter and the Dreary Shallows. Since Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire the storyline has been spinning its wheels to a certain degree, trying to avoid jumping to the final show down that had been set up at the end of the 4th book. Unfortunately JK Rowling had a 7 book deal so we've been left dealing with Harry Potter's impersonation of Kevin the Teenager for 2 1/2 books. Most of the characters from the previous books get sidelined in this one in favor of Harry wandering around aimlessly, followed by his friends whom I began to feel sorry for. The odd few pages of danger repeat themselves every so often just to make the reader think that the story is actually progressing but for most of the book we have to read about Harry clutching his scar and being depressed.

I had pretty much written off this book as a total flop until just after page 400 when the story finally kicked off and the adventure started feeling like an adventure. Several of the scenes over the final 200 pages are great. Large battles, mythical creatures, adventures, tragedy, bravery and sacrifice more make up for the previous 2/3rds of the book.

This is a book that needs to be converted into a film script and trimmed down. When it is it will work really well. I'm already looking forward to the movie which I already think will be the action adventure hit of 2010.

A final complaint, which may seem odd considering my previous complaints, but I would have liked to have seen more pages dedicated to what happened after the main adventure ended. I wanted to see what happened to all the characters not just a select few. To revisit Hogwarths, Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley and see how things change with the outcome of the story. Instead the last 10 pages felt like they were added on at the last minute before the book went to the printers. A real, "oh crap, we need to tell the reader what happened next" addition Maybe JK should have kept the original ending that was reported to have "scar" as the last word.

At the end yes I liked the book, when it finally kicked off as a proper adventure story. I'm glad I bought and read it but I'm also glad it's come to an end as I feel the story was beginning to suffer for being dragged out over so many books.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Half Price Art

I keep hearing an advert on the radio for an art sale by Kevin Sharkey. Now I'll admit I wouldn't know art if someone hit me with a frame, wrapped me up in the canvas and dropped me in a vat of paint, but is it not strange to have a half price sale for an artists work advertised on the radio? I also have to ask when did people start buying gift tokens from an artist?

Sharkey an abstract painter, and apparently a good one, but to me the adverts make him sound like the art version of Harvey Norman. Also, if last month I bought a painting and then heard adverts on the radio telling me there was a half price sale going on I think I'd be a bit pissed off. But hell, I've probably never going to buy art like this, I much prefer photography and all the paintings I like are old, hanging in museums and come with security guards.

Monday, July 23, 2007

EU Citizen Vs Nationality

The problem with the Roma gypsies living on the M50 roundabout outside Dublin airport is beginning to puzzle me but not for the reasons you might think. Sure it's dangerous to them and to traffic to have them living on a busy roundabout and yes it's unsanitary to be have over 50 people living in a temporary camp. Now I do believe that the government should deport them, they are taking the piss and challenging the authorities by setting up camp on the first piece of empty land they came to outside the airport. As a representative of the Romanian community in Ireland said on the radio today this is like a test-case, let 50 people set up a camp on the M50 and prove the government cannot stop them then next month more will arrive, and more after that.

However what puzzles me is the attitude of the Roma gypsies in their attempts to stay. They are appealing the governments attempts to remove them based on their rights as EU citizens as to freedom of movement and making them sign on each day at a Garda station is an "unnecessary and disproportionate interference" with their rights to reside in the State.

Are our rights as EU citizens the same as out rights as national citizens? Do those EU right supersede our own national rights? For example if an Irish citizen accused of a crime was required to sign on at a Garda Station could they appeal that as "unnecessary and disproportionate interference" with their rights to reside in the State? What would happen if I set up a camp on the M50 would I be moved on quicker than someone from outside the state?

Personally I think it's all rubbish. They came here to test the limits of what they could get away with. They aren't trying to integrate or settle down, they are living in a makeshift camp on a roundabout on a motorway. When are we going to stop granting rights but not enforcing responsibilities? We should send them home on the next plane to Romania and if they come back send them home again and keep sending them home until they get the message. In the meantime we can let in others, just take these 50 and never let them back in again. Then maybe the next 50 will be a little more willing to settle and integrate. If the EU objects than I suppose we can just put the 50 of them on the next plane to Brussels with a list of nice roundabouts outside the EU parliament and see how long they stay there.

Then if the EU still insists that we should let people come and go as they please and do what they want because they are EU citizens then maybe we should give up and just move to Romania, I hear it's a beautiful country and the weather has to be better.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tracking photographers

Following on from my last post about the new Harry Potter novel having been made available online when someone took photographs of every page and made them available in a torrent you can understand the publishers are a little annoyed. Having spent so much time taking the photographs I suppose the book owner was quite keen to publish their work so it never dawned on them that they could be tracked down by those very photographs.

By examining the vital information - or 'metadata' - built into each photo, the company's [Canon] technical officers have established the serial number of the camera that was used, which could in turn lead to the identity of the camera's owner.

The information, known as Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) data, has already revealed that the camera used was a Canon Rebel 350. Because the model is three years old, the device would likely have been serviced at least once since it was purchased, in which case the owner's name would be known.

The lawyers are now involved so you can bet they wont let this one go until the trail runs cold or they have the copyright violator roasting on their spits. This is pretty trivial stuff but I'm sure the same technology could be used to track down photographers, both those who committed a crime but also those who just pissed off a government somewhere with their photograph.

[via Boing Boing]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter for crazy people

The last Harry Potter book goes on sale on Friday, as I'm sure everyone who can read and has access to radio and television knows. There is huge security around the book and especially the identities of the characters that die. My money is on Ron, poor guy has seemed the most likely to come to a bad and painful end since the start. I'd also guess Snape has to be on the short list.

Anyway, for those who cant wait and have too much time on their hands, some complete nut job has taken photographs of every page and made it available as a bittorrent. Personally I'd rather wait and get a real copy of a book than go blind staring at pictures of pages but as the article points out the people who download the torrent will probably be in the queue to buy the book at midnight on Friday night.

[via Boing Boing]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rugby players are tough SOBs

Here's a story from the BBC about an Australian rugby league player, Ben Czislowski, who had a clash of heads with Tweed Heads player, Matt Austin. During the clash Austin lost several teeth and had his jaw broken. Czislowski just needed some stitches to a cut above his eye. Nothing serious, happens all the time. Four months later Czislowski suffered an eye infection and shooting pains until doctors discovered the cause. One of Austin teeth was embedded in his head. Czislowski now keeps the tooth on his bedside table as proof of the incident. I bet that gets the ladies all excited.

Now, one might think that was an freak accident until you read down through the BBC story.

In 2004, Widnes hooker Shane Millard also had an opponent's tooth removed from his head.

Two years earlier, Wigan's Jamie Ainscough's arm became so badly infected there were fears it would be amputated before the source - an embedded tooth - was discovered.

Bloody hell. Someone should do a tooth count at the end of each game and if the number coming back doesn't match the number going out it may be worth an quick look into the bloody gashes on the players.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Concert Goers

Lots of people are on the radio today giving out about bad experiences and suffering around the Barbra Streisand concert last Saturday. Fortunately for some of the poor unfortunates they were delayed in traffic or had no seats when they finally arrived so they missed half the concert or the suffering would have been even greater.

Thats what you get for being silly enough to pay 500 euros for a ticket to any bloody concert.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Look who's back

Older, tireder and many more miles on the clock but still able to crack a whip? Check out the movie to see how old Inidiana Jones looks now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Start building an Ark

As I walked to work this morning through the monsoon that hasn't stopped for over a month this "summer" I heard a caller on the Gerry Ryan radio show call for a new election to get a new God. Of course it was meant in jest but it did make me realise the real reason for this awful summer or rain. It's and advertising stunt by Universal Studios for their new movie Evan Almighty, a comedy about Evan (Steve Carell) chosen to build a new Ark by God (Morgan Freeman).

Monday, July 09, 2007

Some O2 balance

I suppose after my last two posts I should post a little balance and praise something O2 is doing. Their O2 broadband package actually sounds pretty good. I would almost be tempted to get it for when I'm out and about with my laptop. From Damien Mulley:
O2 Broadband, through a wireless USB modem, will enable up to 10GB of data to be downloaded as standard per month, with no additional charges for occasional usage in excess of this. O2 is the first mobile provider in Ireland not to automatically charge customers if they exceed the 10GB usage limit, subject to fair usage policy.

The service will initially be available for a three month introductory price of €15 per month for those with an existing O2 post-pay voice connection or for new post-pay customers taking a voice connection*. It will be €20 for all other customers. Following the three month promotional period, the monthly cost is €30 (with voice connection*). For all other customers the cost is €40 per month. The USB modem will be priced from €69 (all prices quoted are inclusive of VAT).
Now national coverage is patchy so dont do outside of town, it is through a laptop and I still want real 3G services on my O2 bought 3G mobile phone, but at least this is a step in the right direction.

Irish Government and Mobile Research

The Irish government is €2.45 million into a research programme for "the development of television, music and other services for Irish mobile phones". Here's an idea, make it cost less to download a music track than it did to purchase that track and we'll all see vastly improved services on Irish mobile phones. Can I have the €2.45 million now?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

IPhone on O2?

The BBC is reporting that O2 in the UK has won the exclusive contract to sell the iPhone. I'd guess that probably means O2 Ireland will get the phone as well. That's a shame really considering the European iPhone is supposed to have 3G but O2 Ireland don't really seem to do 3G for phones at the moment. Oh they have some scripted response around having a 3G network for since August 2005 but that is only if you bought a data card for your laptop or something. 2005 when Vodafone were showing off video downloads and video calls, O2 were introducing iMode, which is basically WAP with more graphics to enhance your billing experience.

When I bought the K800i in January I was told 3G would be available in March, then it was June, then it was sometime before the end of the year. One time the shop assistant blamed local residents for objecting to masts. I felt like pointing out that Vodafone and 3 had managed it, but wasn't in the mood to argue with someone who had absolutely no ability to turn on the desired 3G services. I contacted O2 customer support via email asking when I would be able to access 3G on my phone and after several "I don't understand your question" emails they explained that video telephony was not enabled but was being tested. At this rate it'll be the most "tested" network in the world.

Finally despite all that complaining I don't think I would really want 3G services on O2 at the moment under their current data pricing plans since they would require me to get a bank loan in order to make a video call or download RTE news headlines. Even just browsing WAP sites and RSS feeds, with graphics turned off, adds up quickly every month. I live in the hope that when they introduce 3G they will also introduce a new price plan.

Still as things stand I'm happy with my Sony Ericsson K800i, I'm getting into this device convergence thing and I want the next phone I buy to completely replace my MP3 player so it'll have to have more than the 8GB memory in the iPhone and not use memory cards like the K800i, a radio is a must and it will have to have 3G video and wi-fi and a proper web browser... hmm, it's looking like I'll be buying an iPhone with one of those annoying radio add on things they are bound to release costing another €100.

Update 11 Sept 2007: I went into an O2 store on Saturday and asked if they had any plans to release 3G services for phones. You know, nothing complex, just things other networks have had for ages now, seems like years. The standard things that comparative new comers to the Irish market, 3, can manage. Like video calling and TV downloads. Easy, or so you would think. Unfortunately the answer I got was that they, O2, are trying to strengthen the 3G network before trying anything like that. Strengthen it? It appears to be strong enough for them to pitch it as an alternative to broadband for computers, but it's not strong enough for me to download a low res video or two? Oh and I can sign up for a 10MB download package for €9.99 and €1.00 for each MB after that. Great, so even if they had a 3G service you'd have to be crazy to spend several euros to download the news headlines.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Cork Coke

After Sunday nights boat accident the clean up crews on the Cork beaches are swamped with new volunteers.


[via Rick O'Shea]

Free energy?

An Irish company called Steorn is about to unveil a "free energy" device based on the interaction of magnetic fields and which is reported to defy the laws of physics. Assuming that Scotty has not been reborn in the body of an Irish scientist you may want to look at slightly more conventional sources for free energy, such and this nice wind turbine from Australia. Still I suppose we should wait and see what the 22 top scientists say before putting this in the storage cupboard beside the cold fusion devices.

Update 05 July: Steorn are having a few technical difficulties, it would appear that the device doesn't work when heated up by camera lights.
Important update on the Kinetica demo:
We are experiencing some technical difficulties with the demo unit in London. Our initial assessment indicates that this is probably due to the intense heat from the camera lighting. We have commenced a technical assessment and will provide an update later today. As a consequence, Kinetica will not be open to the public today (5th July). We apologise for this delay and appreciate your patience.
Go here to see the device in all its glory.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Largest drug haul in history of state

A drugs haul of up to €50 million appears to have been made off the coast of Cork when a man swam ashore this morning and raised the alarm for his mates who were adrift with an overturned dinghy. Unfortunately for the men when the rescue services arrived they also found 40 to 50 bales of what appears be cocaine. The estimate is half a ton of cocaine valued at €50 million.

Understatement of the week comes from the Coastguard.
A Coastguard spokesperson said both men were 'extremely shocked' and suffering from hypothermia.
I'd bet their shocked and more than a little worried about what happens when the crime boss realises his €50 million is now floating it's way back to South America. There has to be a movie of the week somewhere in there, the big screen version has already been made complete with Irish actor. At the very least I'm going to tune into that episode of crimecall.

Update: Looks like it's up to at least €105 million, most papers have it at €200 million but some tabloid newspapers have it up to €300 million.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Brown

Gordon Brown has taken over in the UK as Prime Minister. It was strange looking at Blair leaving and getting on a train home while Brown appoints his new cabinet. I cant help but think, we had the election and they got the new government.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Apple sounds like a cool place to work

At a town hall meeting for all Apple Employees Steve Jobs announced that announced that all full-time Apple employees will receive a free 8GB iPhone, while part-time employees who have been with the company for more than a year will also receive a free iPhone. Not a bad little gift and I'm sure it built up a lot of good feeling towards the company with staff.

Irelands First Black Mayor

Ireland just elected it's first black mayor. Rotimi Adebari is originally from Nigeria and now lives Portlaoise. Granted the method of electing mayors is a little strange with county councellors rotating the position between them but its still cool that we have finally elected a black person as mayor. I'm more surprised that it took until 2007.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tallaght has WMDs

Nuclear-weapons laboratory Los Alamos was subject to a security breach when a laptop was stolen from the hotel room of an employee on holidays in Ireland. There were "government documents of a sensitive nature" on the laptop and an encryption card in the laptop whose export is government-controlled. I cant help but think there is a little skanger somewhere in Tallaght now trying to build the bomb so he can break the locks on the securicor van...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ireland is Nevada

Here is an interesting map of the USA with the State names replaced with the name of a country of comparable GDP.



Ireland is mapped to Nevada, in 21st place of the 51 states.

[via Boing Boing]