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. :-)


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

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.