Monday, December 13, 2010
After the recent thaw we have another big freeze on the way, or so it would appear according to forecasts though in Ireland the only accurate weather forecast is looking out a window before you go outside.
My fiancee is Canadian and she cant understand why we aren't doing some simple things to help reduce the impact. First shops should be selling sacks of salt. The government might not be able to grit paths and drives but if shops could secure a supply of salt they could make a fortune. The government is running out of stocks but lets be honest, if shops are making money they will find a steady supply separate to the governments. Second in St Johns's, where Lauren comes from, every house holder is obliged to clear the paths in front of their houses. People in Ireland are afraid to do it in case they get sued, people over there are afraid to not do it because they will get fined. You have to do it by a certain time as well. Leaving it for a few days just makes it worse and you end up with compacted ice on the paths just like we did last week.
Finally people get fined if they park their cars along the road outside their houses blocking the side of the street. Over there it means snow plows cant go down the road but over here I noticed that people just parked their cars outside their houses where the snow wasn't too bad, which was on the road. One busy road near me was down to one lane in places, sure people need to park their cars but if they cleared their driveway they can park properly. How their cars didnt get damaged with trucks going by I dont know.
Hopefully the big freeze wont turn out to be as bad as forecast or as bad as last week and maybe people will be better prepared this time.
Friday, December 03, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn has said the Government's four-year fiscal plan "strikes a good balance of durable expenditure and revenue measures, with due regard to protecting the least well off".Well I suppose it you are a property developer who owes €100 million to NAMA or a bank that owes €10 billion to bond holders then from a pure mathematical perspective you may be worse off than someone on the dole who only owes €100 to a money lender so they can buy Christmas presents for their kids. Unfortunately the rest of us may have different ways to measure who is the "least well off" and I'm pretty sure its not the people who were protected by Fianna Fails 4 Year Plan.
But it does seem to me that the most protected group were the Green Party who in return for their support over the next 2 months and for not forcing an election this week will get their multi-billion Metro from the Dail to the Airport. We may not have jobs, pensions or hospitals but we'll find the trip to the emigration airplane will be much nicer.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Fianna Fail is hanging on by it's finger nails. Yesterdays leaders debate and statements in the Dail indicated that the government will have trouble passing any serious vote. The opposition benches were packed to see what Kenny and Golmore would say while the only people in the government benches were Fianna Fail Ministers. Even the Greens seemed to be hiding in a corner hoping not to be seen. The government backbench TDs were conspicious by their absense. They have nothing to gain and everything to loose by being caught on camera sitting behind Cowen or Lennihan while the economy collapses.
I now think that the by-election wont matter, the Budget is unlikely to be passed and in fact the IMF/EU will probably be in before then. All thats left is to haggle over the price.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
What most impressed me was that it knew when I moved my hand back to hit the ball. A simple thing but it demonstrated that it is able to register movement forward and back as well as side to side. Microsoft may be onto a winner here, it certainly puts the Wii and Playstation wand controller things into second place though I'd guess the future of gaming lies in a combination of the two but perhaps the technology has a place in ordinary day to day computing.
Steve Jobs said at the recent Back to the Mac event that touch screens need to be horizontal or people's arms feel like they are going to fall off after a few minutes. Perhaps in reality the future of touch screens is not touch at all but gesture. Imagine just lifting your hands up from the keyboard and swiping a combination of finger in the air to replicate the Apple multi-touch gestures. Sure some work would have to go into finding a way to stop the device reacting to accidental movements and most people would never find a real use for the Minority Report interface but maybe there is a happy medium where small hand gestures could become a common part of the computer interface.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
I personally don't agree with this government. I believe we need a change and we should have had the bye-elections months ago. I do wonder where that change will come from because Enda Kenny has the charisma of a wet beer mat and Eamonn Gilmore doesn't seem to have enough firm policies to fill the back of that beer mat. Perhaps a team I would be more willing to vote for is Richard Bruton and Ruairi Quinn, but neither of them will lead their parties this year, if ever.
I, like the rest of the country, want rid of Cowen and Gormley but the time for change is not now. We are in the unfortunate position that the two worst leaders in the history of the state are the ones with their shoulders against the door stopping the IMF coming in. If we change government now we wont be able to pass a budget this year, then we wont get funds from the bond markets in the New Year and the IMF will be sitting in Merrion Square by St Patricks Day. After that it wont really matter who we elect, they will be reduced to the level of the political mail room in the basement of Government Buildings, picking up the press releases from the IMF desks and passing them on to the Irish people. Will we ever regain economic independence? By the time the economy recovers the IMF might not hand back control to us but instead to Brussles.
The time for change in 2010 has passed. We could have had an election even a month ago and a new government would have had time to prepare some kind of budget. Now it's too late, we have to wait until the New Year and we will see how the international markets react to the December budget. They may still reject it and the IMF may still force their way in but there is just a chance that Cowen and Gormley can hold solid and see us through the next few months. Then we will have the time and space for change.
The irony is that by choosing now as the moment to force the bye-elections Sinn Fein may get Pearse Doherty elected but he may be the last TD elected in a truly independent Ireland. Their chant can then change from "Up the IRA" to "Up the IMF".
Monday, November 01, 2010
The bug seems to be with recurring alarms, if you had an alarm set for 7am it wont go off until 8am. DST kicked in over here over the weekend so the clock change seems to have caused the problem. I've played around a bit with the alarms this morning but nothing I tried would work, editing alarms, deleting and creating new alarms, restarting the phone. It seems the phone just does not want to trigger the recurring alarm at the correct time. I changed the date as well and the alarm didnt go off so dont depend on your alarm to go off tomorrow morning either. Non recurring alarms do work properly so perhaps the best solution until Apple issue a fix is to create one of those and just remember to turn it on tonight.
In fairness this was a bug I was pretty much aware of so I was awake anyway. It had hit Australia a few weeks ago and in that time Apple had not issued an update so I suspected my phone was going to have problems. What does dissapoint me is that Apple knew they had a problem and didnt issue what should be a simple enough fix. Now they face the same problem in the USA next weekend so I wonder if they will get a fix out in time for that market. I want a fix but a part of me hopes Apple are not so USA focused that they wouldnt bother to issue a fix for a bug until the USA is about to suffer the same problem.
Update: according to Apple Insider Apple already have a fix and will roll it out in iOS 4.2 due in November which unless they rush it out this week the first week of November will probably be a couple of weeks too late.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
This isn't really news or a recent discovery so why it's making the news today is a bit strange, but I suppose it is an interesting fact that most people don't know. I've seen this photo before and learned lots about the history of photography since it became my hobby/obsession but most of my knowledge comes from listening to Jeff Curtos excellent podcast on the history of photography. Jeff is a lecturer in the College of DuPage in the US and he records and podcasts his lectures. The podcasts include his lecture slides and have to be essential listening/viewing for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of photography.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Congratulations to Moses Kibet who won the mens race in 2.08.58 and Tatiana Aryasova who won the womens race in 2.26.12 both of which were course record times. Paul Hannon was the wheelchair winner in a time of 2:20:38 and of course congratulations to all those who took part in this years race. The results list can be found on the Dublin Marathon site.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
As the presenters pointed out they haven't seen any actual proof of this problem and most of the posts confirming this problem involved the user dropping the phone. I wont disagree with them, but I will say there might be a slight problem with slip on cases since today I took off my case and found two scratches on the back. Inspecting the case I found a bit of grit at the spot where the scratches are. The new iPhone is a thing of beauty but perhaps it is just going to be one of those devices that scratch. Everything scratches so there is no point complaining about it and that is not the intention of this post but if those scratches get deep enough to cause a crack in the glass then there would be a problem.
Now I dont know if I'll keep the case on or not. I want something to protect the phone from drops so perhaps the easiest solution is to take the cover off every so often and clean behind it? A drop is more likely to break the glass than a piece of dirt so some protection is required. Maybe Apple are the smart ones and their bumper cases really are the best ones on the market?
Friday, October 22, 2010
Ecomomic collapse? - No
Mass Unemployment? - No
Bank Bailout? - No
NAMA? - No
Lisbon 2? - No
Political Scandals? - No
By-elections? - No
International derision? - No
Collapse in polls? - No
Dont build Metro North - Unacceptable.
Woops, looks like news sites like Bloomberg are reporting the story, which you could kind of ignore because, lets face it, Ireland has been a popular whipping boy for Bloomberg lately. But then I found the story on Gizmodo the gadget and technology blog. Now I wouldnt exactly say Gizmodo is a world financial policy setter but if they are reporting on the story then it's spreading beyond the confines of the business pages. If it becomes a popular topic in the US media it could be an easy win for the Obama administration in advance of the November primaries. They could revive the pledge to stop American companies using foreign countries to avoid tax in the US and this time do something about it. Things would look much worse in the run up to the December budget if US companies suddenly started making plans to move back home.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
By October next year these trees will have been removed to make room for the new Metro station. Personally in post Celtic Tiger Ireland I don’t see the need for the Metro or how we can afford it both financially and spiritually, The Green is the heart of the city center and no cost benefit analysis can measure that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not someone who could be described as a "tree hugger" or "anti-progress" but I do believe that sometimes you cannot justify destroying something as beautiful as St Stephens Green in the name of progress.
The developers promise to restore the Green to its former condition after the building has finished. I was part of a group that met with the RPA lately and the plans for St Stephens Green were discussed. In fairness to them I believe they do mean well and do intend to preserve as much of the Green as possible. A lot of effort is going into documenting the current layout and structure of the Green so that everything can be put back to the exact spot where it was prior to the construction work but the trees will have to go and there is nothing that can be done about that. New trees will be planted and even semi mature ones could be moved into the Green but no matter how much effort they put into replacing stones and railings it still takes 200 years to fully restore a 200 year old park.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
The tiles are an interesting idea but watching the demos there were animated icons with pictures changing as the presenter discussed the screen. Too many things moving and catching the eye. Also the screen is big yet there seemed to be lots of empty space, why not use smaller tiles and fit more on the screen? Part of the UI design is to cut off headers, so on one screen"games" has half its 's' cut off and as you scroll across the 'g' goes off the screen to the left. Why? Also is the font meant to be that big? It uses up a chunk of screen that could be used for other information. It is highly possible those are default settings that could be changed by the user. I'll have to look at more reviews tonight and see what other people say.
I do like the design of Outlook and other built in apps which look clear, easy to use and nicely integrated but I'm not really keen on the idea that that thirdparty apps use the standard look and feel. I like the fact that on my iPhone my facebook app looks like facebook and my twitter app looks like twitter. If all the apps looked the same it'd get boring. I wonder if that is also something that can be changed? If I install an app would I be allowed to select the theme to use?
Funnily enough they didnt implement copy & paste yet, same as Apple when they first launched the iPhone and Apple got lots of grief for that. I guess that is a difficult enough problem to solve properly.
All that aside it's a great addition to the market. Succeed or fail it's good to see Microsoft at least trying to do something in the market and it's not just another clone of the Apple interface. Choice is good and some people will love it. If nothing else it might push Apple to innovate a bit more on their interface.
Monday, October 11, 2010
I remember when you could escape into your computer and the first person perspective it displayed was only populated by creatures such as zombies and nazis or even zombie nazis if you got the right version of the game. Now it has been infiltrated by the horrors of Irish politicians and bankers.
Update: Well it appears that the new opening has taken off and is now being reported on lots of media outlets so it's not likely that the intro will just be dropped. It is causing a bit of a storm and funnily enough it is the animators that are reported by the BBC to have been most annoyed:
According to the street artist, his storyboard led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department.
It appears to have touched a nerve and the sequence was inspired by a report that the shows animation was being outsourced to South Korea. What it doesnt mention is any other inspiration. I watched it a couple of times to see if there was any reference to Apple and the Foxconn stories I couldnt spot any but maybe someone with lots of time and a large screen will go through the clip in detail looking for a hidden logo or piece of graffiti.
The Irish Times also discussed the intro, claiming that
It ends with the familiar logo of the show's parent company, 20th Century Fox, imprisoned behind a fence with barbed wired and prison spotlights.
To me it looked more like the logo was the prison as opposed to being imprisoned, but maybe the Irish Times is in a "the glass is half full" kinda mood. The idea of the network as a prison is a strange thing for the company to approve. The show might get away with poking fun at Murdoch or FoxNews because everyone does but poking fun at the network itself seems a little Family Guyish. That show has been cancelled and revived on Fox a few times as has Futurama and they have tended to push the networks limits far more than the Simpsons. In fact if the clip hadnt contained Bart Simpson dolls and Lisa Simpshon t-shirts it could be dropped straight into a Futurama episode with Slurm or some other show product being parodied.
Another interesting point is the fact that the BBC and The Guardian both mention a scene in the intro where Bart wears a mask while writing on the blackboard. They both have screen captures showing Bart with the mask yet the mask doesnt appear in the intro on YouTube that is linked to in the Guardian story or here. It would appear that the version online is different from the version the BBC and the Guardian have seen. I cannot play the BBC story here in Ireland so they might mention the change there?
Perhaps someone in the Simpsons is tired of hearing "The Simpsons was a great show but have you seen the new episode of..." and has decided to spice things up? Just a little?
Update 2: As pointed out by Sylvin the video has been taken down. It violated 20th Century Foxes copyright. It must have been getting the Simpsons too much free publicity.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Members of the Oireachtas will probably demand Kildare St be closed off to traffic to protect Leinster House and the constuction of a civil service underground tunnel from the Department of Agriculture to Leinster House will now be called a safety measure. Other than that it'll achieve nothing other than lots of chatter and a 1 minute slot on Reeling in the Years 2010.
I admit in my misspent youth I bought the movies on VHS, then a few years later the remastered versions on VHS, then on DVD and last year I got a gift of the original unremastered versions on DVD. I also went to see the remastered movies in the cinema and, with growing despair, the 3 prequels. Lucas has enough of my money now, 3D is a step too far. I certainly don't want to see Jar-Jars flapping ears flying out of a screen towards me.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Turns out someone had a similar thought and was already kind enough to figure it out. The iPhone 4 is pretty much twice as good as a 10 year old iMac Bondi. So I guess that means it's somewhere around the level of the old Dell but below the Sony. I've no exact measurements for this but that'll do enough to at least enough to satisfy my curiosity. Sure it's comparing apples and oranges, an iPhone is never going to replace a larger screen and keyboard but it's not that far from replacing the processor and storage for many people. Certainly my retired parents would be happy to do their computing on an iMac Bondi if it could connect to the internet properly so a unit built around an iPhone would be perfect for them. Maybe an iPad with keyboard dock could be their next laptop.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Unfortunately they happened to pick a pretty awful wet day in Dublin so traffic was actually heavier this morning. To add to the traffic problems this morning South William St, Drury St and Fade St are closed until 11pm to accommodate Living Streets as part of Car Free Day. The rain is easing off now and there are blue skies on the horizon so if you haven't already taken your car into the city center perhaps you could consider taking public transport instead?
Monday, September 20, 2010
I just read on Twitter that bookings for Open House Dublin 2010 start today. Open House is an annual event (held this year on October 7th-10th) where tours are held of many buildings normally closed to the public. Why would you be interested in this you may ask? Have you ever wondered what the view from the top of Liberty Hall is like, or what the inside of the Leinster House is really like? This is your opportunity to visit these buildings and be taken on a guided tour admire the architecture and see a different view of the Dublin skyline.
While most of the buildings are opened on a first come first served basis some, such as Leinster House, require pre-bookings. Bookings start at 10am this morning so if you want to see what goes on behind the scenes at some of the most iconic buildings in Dublin you should make sure to check out their website this morning and put your name down.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I flew on many Ryanair flights over the last year and felt I was being pushed just to breaking point, with the cramped uncomfortable seats, the scramble/race/fight to get onto the plane and the god awful music telling me that Ryanair had landed on time (as if doing what they were paid to do deserved a round of applause and a song). If O'Leary introduces these saddle seats then he's officially jumped the shark and the era of budget is god in the airline industry will hopefully come to an end.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
|Year||Pass First time||Pass Retest|
|2010||51.9% (483.466)||90.3% (396,130)|
|2009||51.5% (444,935)||90.8% (367,404)|
|2008||51.9% (433,677)||90.8% (349,225)|
|2007||51.8% (355,708)||90.8% (285,556)|
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
I’m almost ready for Peoples Photography 2010. Good thing too considering it’s on this weekend. The last batch of prints arrived back from the printers today and over the weekend I settled on the technique I will use to hang the photos. I decided to go with a hopefully quicker approach, pre-hanging the mounted photos on black “webbing”. Then I can fold up the display the night before and each morning just unfold it, hang it on the railings and secure the bottom tightly. I’ve seen similar work well for other exhibitors on other years so fingers crossed it works for me.
Tonight the mounting process starts and while time consuming is at least achievable with effort. Then I will select the final 20 to display and the backups to keep in the box in case I get bored of what I have on display. Ok, so maybe I’m not as ready as I could have been if I’d started earlier but I’ll get there before Saturday, fingers crossed.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This cross jumps out because someone is making small efforts to maintain the area around it, yet there is very little information about the people whose grave this marks. All it lists is Mrs Fahey & Son Tom. There is no date visible, no ages, not even a first name for Mrs Fahey. The fact that the text is still so clear and the wooden cross has not decayed indicates it’s relatively recent compared to the rest of the graveyard.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
As I mentioned in an earlier post I was recently lucky enough to win an iPhone 3GS. Just in time to replace my old 3G which was dying under the demands of the new iOS 4 I had foolishly upgraded to. One of the things I did not like about the 3G was the camera but the 3GS has a much improved 3 megapixels, auto focus and a touch focus screen.
One day last week while walking to the Luas tram home I spotted this flower head dropped in the tram lines and it seemed like the most interesting thing around to try and photograph with the new iPhone. I didn't put the image on my computer. I downloaded some photo apps on the iPhone and just used those to tweak the picture. It's still hard to judge the image on a small screen but I was pretty pleased with the result and how easy it all was. It's not perfect but it's a camera phone. so what else could I expect.
The unfortunate thing is the camera in the 3GS is so much better than the 3G I now really want the iPhone 4 with its 5 megapixel camera :-)
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
On the other hand the iPhone 3GS with iOS4, after 1 day of use, is a huge leap forward. It was free, which is always a big bonus. It is much faster, I mean MUCH faster than the 3G. Even without iOS4 my 3G didn't run this fast. The extra processor and memory are obviously key. Also apparent now is that apps might be written to run on the iPhone 3G but they are written to run properly on the newest phone. Apps that ran painfully slowly now run smoothly and load quickly. So far no apps have crashed but it's early days. With the iOS4 it's good enough to make me consider waiting a while before using my upgrade to buy an iPhone 4.
The camera is a major improvement. I rarely used the camera on my 3G. It produced poor, low quality out of focus pictures that were just about suitable for twitpic but not much else. The new camera performs much better. I still have to use it in anger but the touch focus and image quality on the screen are greatly improved. I still wont be selling any of the photos from it at Peoples Photography but I can now use it as a camera when I'm out with friends.
However it's not all rosy in the 3GS garden, there are a few issues that would make me pause and glad I didnt have to spend my own money.
First signal strength seems to be reduced. Not by much but in my current office where I can just get Edge it's reduced enough to make the difference between a connection and No Service. In places where I used to get 1 bar most of the time, I now get No Service consistently. Same at home. The 3G used to hold a poor connection on the bedside locker, the 3GS just goes to No Service and stays there until I move it a few feet closer to the door. Maybe that's Apples "reported signal strength" software bug but the 3G running iOS4 seemed to cope better with poor signals so I suspect its a hardware change. It makes be worried that the new iPhone4 with it's more publicised reception issues might not perform at all in my environment.
Second issue is with the build quality. Strange for a device that is using the same body case so it should feel the same but something about it feels more plastic and the edges around the silver surround feel sharper like they almost meet perfectly, but not quite. Maybe I'd broken in my old 3G and smoothed off the edges but I don't remember ever running my finger along the edges of the silver and thinking it was kinda sharp. The edges make it feel more plastic. Perhaps I'm just working on a phone from an end of life batch where Apple were switching focus to the iPhone 4 but somehow this one feels strange. I wont be sending it back or anything daft like that but it's just a surprise from Apple.
Third, not a phone specific problem but an iOS4 problem. I'm not overly keen on the way multitasking works. Apps dont really close, they go into the background and in some case continue to run, in others they just seem to sit there. I got used to closing apps and having them close fully. Now they go into the background and I dont need them there. I realise I'll get used to the new way of closing apps but perhaps all Apple need to do is allow the user to specify which apps are backgrounded and which are just closed. Maybe there is a new setting I'm missing but a switch in the settings page for Apps would do the trick.
But those problems are minor and really I'm just nit picking. The phone with the new iOS4 together are a huge improvement. I'd recommend any 3GS user to upgrade to iOS4 while warning any 3G users not to upgrade without giving it serious consideration. That said I wouldnt advise anyone to buy a 3GS now, certainly not with their own money. The 4 is coming out in Ireland in a few weeks so wait for that. A cheap 3GS may seem like a bargain right now but I can see the same performance issues I had with the 3G hitting the 3GS as developers write new apps to use the improves CPU, memory and camera of the 4. You will still be able to run those applications but you'll definately be a second class citizen in the app world.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Fianna Fail were the big winners last week with the focus switching from Brian Cowens incompetent management of the national finances when he was Finance Minister to Enda Kennys incompetent management of the Fine Gael party. Both survived but Labour leader Eamon Gilmore must think all his dreams have come true as he now eyes a real shot at becoming Taoiseach after the next election.
The big looser is the country. A Labour-Fine Gael government would be strange enough but we'd probably survive but if the last poll is to be believed we now face some insane possibilities like a Labour-Sinn Fein government in 2012. Sinn Fein would give anything to be in power for the 100 anniversary of Easter 1916 in 2016 and Labour would give anything to finally have a shot at the big seats. God help us all if that happens because I don't see there being a single job left in the country outside the civil service after 5 years of that government.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Unfortunately the days of fancy business travel are long gone so I was on the Ryanair cattle truck. Scrambling for seats and hoping on a Friday night to not be sitting close to the stag parties being fed booze by the cabin crew.
On several of the flights we were supposed to have the in-flight phone service. The one that allows you to make calls and send/receive SMS. It is xpensive but the gadget nut in me wanted to try it out and send a message from the plane to tell my fiancee I was on the way home. Unfortunately I never got it to work. The signs were lit up, the announcer would tell us that it was available on this flight but my iPhone never connected or even saw the network.
Now I hear that Ryanair have terminated the contract with their supplier and are seeking tenders from other companies. I'm not surprised. If people cant connect it's just a chunk of useless hardware eating up some of Michael O'Learys jet fuel.
Despite wanting to play with it I hope they never get it fixed. It might be novel and worth trying, just once, but the idea of sitting on a plane for 4 hours with a stag party behind me sending txt messages and some business man beside me shouting down his blackberry over some contract or sale sounds like my idea of the lowest level or Ryanair hell.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Clondalkin Youth Band
Update 2: More photos of the Clondalkin Youth Band can be found here.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
I don't want to bring my family into this -- they are very private -- but, you know, I am entitled to have a family life as well.
"Politically, it's a lot of hoo-haa, a lot of nonsense," he said from the airport in Valetta, where he was stranded most of yesterday.