Monday, August 31, 2009

Brendan Grace is Still Alive?

The Irish Road Safety Authority today dusted off the classic old safe cross code in an attempt to educate todays children about road safety. An it would appear that Gay Byrne has decided that the RSA needs to be hip with the cool young kids and rehired the 57 year young comedian Brendan Grace to dress up as a school boy once again and re-record his Safe Cross Code Song.

I understand next few months the RSA will be launching several new campaigns. The first will warn people about the dangers of not checking the shoes on your horse before setting out on a long trip. In October they will highlight danger areas of the country where highway men like Dick Turpin have held up stage coaches. Finally just in time for Christmas a new set of maps will be launched with the "Here Be Dragons" print moved west to reflect the fact that Mr Byrne, now into his third millennium as the number one celebrity in Ireland, remembers hearing news when he was younger that a Spanish explorer called Columbus has claimed to have discovered a new continent across the ocean.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Big Brother is Dead

Channel 4 has announced that they are canceling Big Brother after this season. The world will be a richer place though the British government may now need to find a new employment program for hopeless fame junkies. The job losses in the paparazzi alone may add a couple of percentage to the unemployment numbers in the UK.

The death of the first hit reality TV show may not be the end, but if may be a sign that the plague of "reality" TV may one day come to an end.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Why Apple banned Google

Apple have responded to the FCC's questions explaining the reasons why the Google Voice app has not been approved. The bit I found most interesting was how Apple used Visual Voicemail as one of the many reasons to not approve the Google app.
The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail.
So Apple think Visual Voicemail is something worth challenging other companies on when those companies try to mess with Visual Voicemail and other features. Such a shame they don't apply the same logic to the networks who have exclusive contracts with Apple for the iPhone. Look at O2 Ireland who after launching the iPhone with Visual Voicemail in March 2008 have still not actually enabled Visual Voicemail and have in fact shelved the project. Then when iPhone 3.0 was launched back in June tethering with iPhones was added. O2 Ireland haven't figured out how to enable that either. Tethering works fine if you get the settings but O2 Ireland still do not officially support it. Why should they, they have an exclusive contract for one of the most popular phones on the market so why bother investing supporting the features of that phone. I guess Apple only need to protect the features of the iPhone when it's Google who change those features.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Phil

Today would have been Phil Lynotts 60th Birthday.
Happy birthday Philo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Photos for Peoples Photo

I've selected the photographs I want to display in Peoples Photography 2009. In the end I picked more than 20 but I'll narrow it down on the day and it's always good to have spares in case I sell some and in case I get bored looking at the same set of photos all day. Head on over to my photography site to see the final selection :-)


O2 Ireland have launched a mobile phone TV service, something other networks like 3 had done years ago. Channels include RTE News, BBC World News, Sky Sports, and kids TV with new channels to follow later.

Sounds good but unfortunately the new service does not support the iPhone. Yet another service O2 does not provide for the iPhone same as visual voicemail and tethering. This time the iPhone does not support 3GPP 3GP which is used for streaming TV. I suppose we cant blame O2 for that but I'm looking forward to the day when O2 loose the exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone. The prospect of competition in the market might see them finding solutions to all the problems with the iPhone on their network that up to now have been rotting on the TODO list.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Poolbeg Demolished?

Today's Sunday Business Post is reporting that the ESB is considering demolishing the twin chimneys of the Poolbeg power station which have been a feature of the city skyline for 30 years. While no official decision has been made about the future of the chimneys the station will be decommissioned next year and Dublin City planners have already rejected a proposal to put a preservation order on the chimneys.

Personally I think it would be a shame to demolish the chimneys so long as they are safe and can be maintained. Not everything on the Dublin Skyline has to be designed by an architects competition and built on the continent.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Google Chrome OS Screenshots have "screenshots" of the upcoming Google Chrome OS. It's an early developer beta but it looks... basic, too basic. They might be a very early set of screenshots but they still looks a bit too Windows 95. If fact it looks a little like a college project which makes me think it's a fake. That said a simple OS like that would probably work well on the target market of underpowered netbooks but they will have a long long way to go before Google OS becomes a mainstream OS of choice for most users.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Blasket Island Ferry

My brother and his family went to Dingle and the Blasket Island for short holiday last week. The ferry to the island cost €25 per adult and €15 per child and that didn't include a guided tour or anything. How can we expect to have a tourism industry in the middle of a global recession if we charge such amounts just to get to tourist attractions?


RTE is reporting that Canadian bank CIBC is interested in buying a share in AIB but only if NAMA goes through and the bad debt held by AIB gets transferred to the taxpayer. Personally I think if foreign banks are waiting to jump in and buy Irish banks once NAMA comes into force it indicates that perhaps we the taxpayer are taking on too much bad debt and we are creating private banks that are internationally seen as good deals. After NAMA completes its work we should have Irish banks that can continue to operate in the Irish market and provide funds to people and small businesses but they should still have work to do to undo years of bad management. If the Irish taxpayer takes all the hurt and international banks take all the profit what is the point?

On the up side perhaps if CIBC do buy AIB it will be easier to transfer money between the two banks because right now you seem to have to have studied with Harry Potter in Hogsworth to figure out the magical combination of time, forms and numbers to fill in online in order to get the current system to accept an international transfer.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Your Alibi Sucks

Yesterday CBC Newfoudland had a story about a young moose which was chased to exhaustion by three boys and beaten with sticks. The moose was so exhausted and distressed that wildlife officers had to put it down. The story is pretty disturbing and obviously any kids who would do something like that must have issues.

Strangely today CBC has a follow up story. It seems the kids may not have been guilty of animal abuse after all. One of boys fathers has come forward with an alibi. The boys couldn't have chased the moose, they were busy... "vandalizing a church in Deer Lake". Oh well that's OK then, obviously they are saintly kids. As alibis go thats a pretty awful one. Generally the idea is to explain how the person is innocent by providing an example of them acting legally at the time in question not doing something possibly worse. "Your honour my client couldn't possibly have been shoplifting on Monday afternoon, he was robbing banks on the other side of town".

Pirate Party Ireland

I just heard today that the Pirate Party UK has been officially registered as a political party. Ireland also has a Pirate Party website. I think it would be a good idea to have an official Pirate Party here with a representation in the Dail. Politics needs people with widely disparate views on policies otherwise you end up with what we have in Ireland, a political system where the opposition is the same as the government so no matter what way people vote we still end up with the same vested interests.

Now I don't think it would be a good idea to have copyright laws scrapped or to just allow private people to take whatever copyrighted material they want but I do think we need someone to bring some balance to the current situation. Look at the new three strikes rule from Eircom. The RIAA can tell Eircom who they believe are illegally downloading copyrighted material owned by the companies who make up the RIAA and Eircom have agreed to disconnect the offenders. These would be the same companies who at the same time do everything possible to block and delay legal downloading. It took years for the iTunes Store to come to Ireland and we still cannot purchase movies and TV shows.

We need someone in government to stand up the the RIAA and other companies and tell them you can have your copyright and a crack down on illegal downloaders but you have to provide legal downloads at same prices as other countries. Then give them an ultimatum, bring Ireland up to the same level as the US and other countries within 1 year or a new copyright bill will be put through making the maximum punishment for illegal downloads a fine equal to just the price of a purchase in the shops. I support the right of movie makers and musicians to make money from their work but I'm sick of being forced to buy movies on disc, my shelves are full.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Peoples Photography Slot

The slots for Peoples Photography have been announced and I've moved from 376 last year to 70 this year. Granted my bump up the list was aided by the fact that I've been helping out with the organisation and have been running the new website. Still I'm delighted to be on the North side of the Green where more people will see my photos. If you are around Dublin on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August you should walk around St Stephens Green and see some great photography on display from all the photographers.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Short Haul Long Haul

We spent the weekend down the country with my family and at some stage we were discussing flights to Newfoundland. My girlfriend is from there and we go over at least once a year, she goes twice. The annoying thing about flying from Ireland to Newfoundland is the fact that you need to fly away from your destination to get to it.

For example in the summer we have to fly from Dublin to Toronto, a flight that takes us pretty much over Newfoundland. Worse comes in the winter when we have flown Dublin to London, London to Montreal and Montreal to St John's. On one occasion when the map was put up, close to the end of the flight from London to Montreal, the track showed the plane flying over Dublin and St John's. Basically a flight that could take at a guess 4 hours takes closer to 20 with all the stop overs and waiting in airports.

This led someone over the weekend to ask, what is Ryanairs longest flight and why couldn't they make Shannon and St John's hubs for a service across the Atlantic? Their longest flight is apparently around 3 hours so extending it to 4 hours shouldn't be impossible. Then they might be able to connect into the North American short haul service from St John's and they can already have flights from Shannon which could be extended to the rest of Europe. I'm sure Ryanair would be able to negotiate good terms from Shannon and St John's and these days people might be willing to have a short stop over in St John's or Shannon if they could get their long haul transatlantic flights at short haul prices.