Friday, May 29, 2009

Bank Nationalisation Sucks

The Irish government has announced that is will need to put €4 Billion into Anglo Irish Banks to recapitalise the bank. The bank has lost €4.1Bn for the six months to the end of March and total losses are likely to reach €7.5 bn. The government says it cannot allow the nations third largest bank to fail so they will need to invest the €4Bn to recapitalise. If the government would stop throwing money onto the bonfire of the vanities that is Anglo Irish Bank perhaps it wouldn't be the third biggest bank in Ireland and we could cut loose this dead weight.

Interestingly at the bottom of the story on RTE they say
The results show deposits from businesses in Anglo dropped by almost €9bn after nationalisation.

Now I don't know anything more about banking than the average Irish tax payer but if the bank has lost €9Bn in deposits after we nationalised it and now the Irish tax payer needs to give them €4Bn isn't that proof that if we hadn't nationalised the bank and had found a better way to reassure depositors the bank would have €5Bn more money on its books than it does now?

On a side note the government will be sinking €4 Billion into Anglo while on the other side of the same street as the Anglo HQ they are planning on building a €4 Billion metro tunnel. How often has a government thrown €8 Billion into two bottomless pits within 50 meters of each other?

PlayNow Arena Movies: None for you Ireland!

Another update following on from the Sony Ericsson event on Tuesday. Sony have announced the details of PlayNow Arena Movies. Big, big FAILURE! After all the talk and praise for a cool sounding service it appears Sony have ignored the Irish market, same as in iTunes. The service will launch in June in Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK but no mention of Ireland. Please Sony tell me this is wrong!

Simply put my opinion now is, their phones are cool, their ideas are great but since media and the downloadable content of Play Now is such a fundamental marketing point of their new phones do not buy the new phones when they go on sale in Ireland if Sony have not made the services available here. The same applies for other countries where the phones are available but the service is not. Wait until the complete service already available in other countries is launched in your country then buy the phone, it'll probably be cheaper by then anyway.

Sony own the phones, own the service and own the movies so the rights issues that have plagued Apple and iTunes in Ireland should be easy to sort out for Sony. Instead they are forcing Irish customers to find other ways of obtain digital content for their portable devices. If they see sales of their new phones markedly down in countries without the full PlayNow service they might give in and allow customers to legally download their content.

Sorry Sony Ericsson but no movies, no money.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

iDou now Satio

Following on from my post earlier in the week about the Sony Ericsson idou they have announced the final version and name calling is a Satio, I prefer the name idou but maybe it was too similar to iPhone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Broadband in Ireland according to the BBC

The BBC has a table of advertised broadband speeds in the 30 OECD countries. Ireland comes 26th just above Hungary, Poland, Turkey and Mexico. Not good not good at all, and thats the speed they "advertise" not the speed they achieve.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sony Ericsson Event

I was at the Sony Ericsson Show and Tell event organised by Damien Mulley tonight. It was an interesting event and we had the opportunity to play with some of the newer Sony Ericsson phones as well as one or two unreleased models. The phone highlight had to be the iDou with a touchscreen, 8GB card and a 12 mega pixel camera it looked like a the phone I wish would mate with the iPhone to produce my dream device. Unfortunately I spent too much time playing with an Experia X1 so by the time I got my hands on the iDou the battery was more iDont and all I could do was admire the lifeless case.

The Experia X1 looks nice, I liked the keyboard and the form factor, even windows mobile impressed me when compared to my previous experience on a Dell Axim. However the screen was a little small and web browsing didn't live up to the experience on the iPhone. Plus the touchscreen was controlled by a stylus and again that's a little out of date, it took several minutes of poking and prodding by iPhone users before someone realised there was a stylus. A stylus is so 2007 :-)

The highlight for me was the discussion of PlayNow. The rep described it as Sony Ericssons version of iTunes. It's not quite there yet but hopefully they will improve over time. Packages include an unlimited music subscription service. Another service being worked on is based around movies allowing 45 downloads over a year from a library of legacy movies. This is a step in the right direction but the current version wont compare with Apples iTunes service.

That said where it does beat iTunes Ireland hands down is that movies will be available. ITunes Ireland seems to be locked in an endless right negotiation with the media companies (including Sony I expect) to provide TV and movies in Ireland. Sure I can sign up for iTunes America or download the movies from other "sources" but why should I be forced to break the law just because the same companies who want to disconnect people who illegally download movies refuse to provide a legal download service available in other countries. There was also a mention of a possible slingbox type service for the PS3. Load it up with media and stream to where ever you are in the world.

Thanks to Damien for organising the event and I'm looking forward to future ones.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Dell Studio One 19

Just saw this new PC up on Engadget (where I got the pic, hope they don't mind). Dell have released their Studio One 19 and thankfully are moving away their ugly boxes hidden under desks or stacks of papers. The new PC looks nice and modern and sure why wouldn't it considering it looks like an iPhone.

Seriously look at it. All PC companies can learn lots from Apple designs but making a PC sized iPhone? Hmm, don't know about that one. I imagine we will see lots of these in office receptions and customer meeting areas but I can't see myself handing over my own money for one.

(via Engadget)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Badges? We dont need no stinking badges!

A hard drive containing sensitive information from the Clinton administration in the US has gone missing from the US Nation Archives. Among the information contained on the drive was the social security number of Al Gore's daughter.

The drive was located in an unsecured workspace while Archives employees were in the process of digitizing information from the Clinton administration. About 100 badge-holders had access to the area, which was also available to janitors, visitors, and employees passing through to access the bathroom. It was stolen sometime between October and March.

So apart from the people with official badges the area was open to anyone visiting and people who wanted to go to the toilet? Why bother wasting money on the badges then? It reminds me of a company I worked on contract in years ago, a company long since closed down. An email was once sent around warning staff to stop allowing people follow them in through security doors onto the call center floor. Journalists had gotten access to the floor and had then published some embarrassing stories about the lack of security. Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The recession is over

Ernst & Young have released a report that shows our great Fianna Fail government has successfully led us out of the recession. Shame they led us into a depression instead. I remember the recession, that was nice.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Spire Sunset

Another photograph from my library. I'm trying to find photographs to display in the peoples photography this year. I know it's still months away but I want to have a good selection of photos to pick from this year and I'm thinking of displaying just sepia photos.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Peoples Photography 2009

Peoples Photography in Dublin is on again this year. I was at a meeting on Friday night where the future of the exhibition was discussed and seems to have been secured with many people volunteering to help out. 

Peoples Photography will take place as always on the last weekend of August, Saturday 29th to Sunday 30th. It's a great event for photographers of all levels to display their work and a great free exhibition for Dubliners and tourists. Go up to the website to find out more, it still contains the 2008 information but should be updated soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ireland out of Eurovision

Ireland is out of the Eurovision at the semi final stage once again. But I have to ask, who cares anymore, outside of RTE and Today FM?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Photographs of the Customs House

The new Samuel Beckett Bridge will be floated down through the East Link bridge in the next day or two, weather permitting. It will then span the river just at the docklands side of Customs House quay. I think the bridge looks nice, much more pleasing to the eye than most of the other bridges across the river but I just realised that it will likely change the views of the Customs House and city skyline from the south quays.

I've seen some lovely sunset photos taken from that side of the river and from the docklands pedestrian bridge looking towards the Customs House. The new bridge will probably provide new photo opportunities but it might be worth getting down there and taking some photos today before the bridge is put in place.

Update: Woops, silly me. I got a look at a map and it turns out I thought Customs House Quay was half the size it actually is and the bridge is going in further down the river. The pedestrian bridge is closer too the Customs House than the new one.

Friday, May 08, 2009


Continuing my trawl through my photo library I came across this one and decided to convert it to antique black and white. This is the Poolbeg gas powered electricity generation. I was fortunate enough to get to take part in a photo tour of Poolbeg station in 2007 with the meetDublin flickr group.

Time for change?

Here is an interesting idea inspired by a post from Damien Mulley in turn inspired by a picture from Laura McGonigle. Laura is a Fine Gael councillor on twitter and not the typical twitter contribution of politicians where twitter is used to link to their press releases she actually seems to tweet in a genuine manner.

Anyway, her father took this picture in Tipperary.

Why has no one started selling "No Fianna Fail" posters, bumper stickers, and t-shirts in time for this election. If Fianna Fail canvassers started seeing No Fianna Fail posters outside houses then I'm sure they would be onto Brian Cowen pretty quick to tell him the public have had enough. Anyone out there got the capacity to print, sell and distribute these? Go ahead and I'll buy some.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Chad aint Croker

The Irish army has 400 soldiers deployed in Chad and now wee Willie O'Dea has banned them from playing football because the ground is too hard.

"The reality in Chad is that the ground is extremely hard," Mr O'Dea said.
"Some of the sports are played out on open ground and when people fall, it
tends to have a much greater impact on their bodies than falling in a field in

I wish this was an April Fools joke but we are into May and even the Department of Defence must be able to issue it's jokes within a month and a half. We have an army that cant fire guns because the noise is too loud and now they cant play football because the ground is too hard. Why havent we been invaded yet?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

George Lee off to Fine Gael

So George Lee has been selected to run for Fine Gael in Dublin South next month. A high profile candidate such as Lee will make the by-election much more interesting and he should have a good chance of winning but it will also make things interesting in Fine Gael itself. George Lee is hardly going to give up the job as Economics Editor in RTE to rot on the back benches of the opposition. He must have his eye on the front bench and logically he would want a finance portfolio, but Richard Bruton is Fine Gaels best front bencher in the finance role so Fine Gael would be crazy to demote him. 

Here is my guess, if Fine Gael do well in the up coming local European and by-elections Enda Kenny will stand down as Fine Gael leader within the next year and later announce he wants to run for president in 2 years time. Richard Bruton will then step up to lead Fine Gael and George Lee will become finance spokesperson. That should give Fine Gael a strong finance team to attack the government in the next election.