Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Getting ready for Big Freeze 2

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

Danny Williams Resigns

The Premier of Newfoundland Danny Williams has resigned and in the wonderful Newfoundland relaxed manner he went on a comedy show and they took the piss out of him for resigning. They brought in some famous Newfoundland characters to help say goodbye. Can you imagine doing the same with Cowen? Maybe the waving a gun, tying to a chair and holding hostage part, but I doubt the stars from any Irish crime series would show up to help our Taoiseach. Then again Williams turned Newfoundland into a Canadian Celtic Tiger and leaves it with what looks to be a bright future especially when compared to the bleak economic wasteland left to us by Cowen and Ahern.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Everything was great in 2000

No one saw the downturn coming? The ESRI should be allowed to stand outside government buildings with a megaphone shouting "We told you so"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Protects the Least Well Off?

Ollie Rehn says the 4 year plan protects the least well off:
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

Something to smile at

God but it's been an awful week for the Irish with the two Brians crucifying the country. But lets end this day of 4 year plans with something apt.

The Tigers Dead

When reading the headlines on BBC news this morning I saw one that said "Summit agrees tiger recovery plan". For one brief moment I thought there had been an international summit to help the Irish Celtic Tiger recover. But then I realised the only tigers left alive today are the ones that fall under the heading of Sci & Environment.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hip Bus

Here's something non political after two depressing posts today. A hipstamatic photo from the bus this morning. I love this apps ability to make any scene seem more interesting :-)

Talks? What Talks?

This screen shot from shows everyone is talking except Brian Cowen. He is in his bunker moving fictional piles of money around a map.

By their Fingernails?

A week after I praised the government for standing up to the IMF it looks like the end is drawing close. The IMF and the EU are on their way to consult on what needs to be done. The Irish governments position is now reduced to "we have not asked for a bailout". Our economy turning into a used car sale. People are walking around kicking the tires and offering half the asking price while the seller says how great the car is and he doesnt want to sell it and might actually take it off the market and drive it himself.

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

Something positive

It's been ngative enough in Ireland for the last few weeks, lets start this week with two positive videos.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Salt and Pepper

Had a nice carvery lunch today. It was an impulse decision when I saw the queue in the so I was on my own and became that mad guy in the corner taking photos of stuff on the table with his phone.

Monday, November 08, 2010


While shopping on Saturday for a birthday present for my nephew I went into Hamleys toy store in the Dundrum Shopping center and they have a Microsoft Kinect on display and available for people to use! I tried a game where you bat balls at targets and while it seemed a little sluggish the basics seemed brilliant. I'm sure there must be some way to calibrate the device, after all just before I used it a 10 year old kid had been playing the same game so I'd guess the difference in size shape and standing position is bound to confuse the software. Also a busy shop is not the best place to test a motion sensing game controller.

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

Up the IMF?

Sinn Fein today succeeded in their High Court case against the governments delay in the holding the Donegal South West bye-election. The court ruled that the delay was unreasonable and breached the constitutional rights of Sinn Fein Senator Pearse Doherty. Now putting aside the obvious jokes about a Sinn Fein politician being worried about his constitutional rights I'm afraid the less obvious joke is that by forcing the by-election before the budget Sinn Fein may hand over the economic reigns to the IMF and become the party that delivers the coup-de-grace to Irish sovereignty.

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

Apple iPhone Failure

As a fan of the Apple product line this weekend has really been a let down. First my new Apple TV decided it didnt like my TVs HDMI and then this morning my iPhone 4 decided that I needed an extra hour in bed.

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

100 Best Signs

If the Irish ever get around to protesting at the way our government is mismanaging the ecomony I hope that most of the people involved have a sense of humour like the people at the Rally to Restore Sanity. Here are the "100 best signs". I hate recent Irish protests, it's always the same groups who protest, I doubt they even know what the protest is about half the time, most of them are there because it's a protest and they always protest.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Apple TV Failure

I bought one of the new Apple TVs yesterday. I'm an Apple fan and as a Mac, iPhone and iTunes user it just seemed to make sense. I do have a cable to connect my MacBook Pro to the TV but it's a nuisance dragging it out every time I want to watch something from iTunes on the TV and it meant my laptop had to stay beside the TV. I thought the Apple TV would be the perfect device to link my home entertainment together.

Indeed it does work quite well. It connected without any problems to my Airport Extreme and from there out to iTunes for movie rentals and onto my computer to access my local iTunes library. Everything was perfect, for about an hour or two.

Suddenly the screen went green/magenta. All the blacks were gone. Ok I thought maybe it's just gotten a little overloaded with my playing with all the different features and streaming too much different content to it. I unplugged for a minute and everything returned to normal. Unfortunately a short while later the same problem occurred again. I switched HDMI ports on the TV, things returned to normal, for a few minutes. This time the picture changed to green, but then changed back after a few seconds, then 5 minutes later it changed again and this time stayed green. As the day went on the problem got worse and finally I restored the device back to factory settings. Things were ok for an hour or so and then another green screen. It's basically unusable for movies or anything longer than a YouTube video.

A search on the Apple discussion forums reveals mine is not an isolated incident. It appears that Apple have a bit of a problem with the HDMI handshaking on some TVs. The brands affected are Philips and Sony. Mixed messages seem to be coming out of Apple support, some staff say it's a known issue and a future firmware update might fix it, others say it's a problem with the TVs and refer the customer to Philips. Going out on a limb here I'd guess Philips and Sony might have a better idea of the HDMI spec than Apple and if either of those manufacturers were pumping out HD TVs that didnt work properly with HDMI it would likely have been noticed before Apple released a HDMI device. It seems to me that this is certainly an Apple problem to fix.

Until they do I would advise anyone with a Philips or Sony TV to avoid the Apple TV. It might work or it might not but unless you can get one to test for several hours it wont be worth the trouble if you have a similar problem to mine. I'm in contact with the store I bought mine from and I'll see what they say but at the moment unless I hear there is a firmware update on the way soon I think I'll be returning it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Friday

It's dark, cold and damp in Dublin this morning but the good news is on Sunday the clocks go back an hour so not only do we get an hour extra in bed but the commute to work wont be as dark next week. Unfortunately the commute home in the evenings will be darker but I prefer that to leaving the apartment in the dark for the trip to work. On the other hand I wont be able to get another photograph of the Spire as it is getting bright.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

History of Photography

Twice this morning in my Google Reader feeds I came across stories about the first photograph of a human. The photograph was taken by Louis Daguerre in Paris in 1838. Back then photography was in it's infancy so taking a photograph involved exposures of several minutes. No one could sit still that long so it was by accident that the human subject became visible in this photograph since it appears he had stopped to have his boots cleaned and so stood still while all around him moved.

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

Dublin City Marathon

The route of the Dublin City Marathon takes it close to where I live so on Monday I was able to get out and find a good spot to take photos of the runners as they went by. I'd love to be able to run a marathon but I dont think I'd ever be fit enough to even consider 26 miles of pain.

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


While out taking photos of the Dublin City Marathon yesterday I was listening to my backlog of podcasts and the always informative MacBreak Weekly. One of the episodes discussed the latest problem to hit the iPhone 4, "glassgate". Silly name but the idea is that the glass back of the iPhone 4 is more prone to cracking if you use a slip on case. Dirt and grit gets trapped behind the cover and can scratch the glass. The phone then cracks alone those scratches.

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

So what'll it take to get the Greens to quit?

What will it take to get the Greens to quit the government?

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.

Foreign direct tax avoidance?

While trying to nap on the bus this morning I was listening to talk of Google's tax arrangements and how they used Ireland and Bermuda to reduce their tax bill. I didnt think much about it, just another Irish centric story about how foreign companies use our tax laws to reduce their tax bill elsewhere. The US complains about us taking Google, we complain about U2 moving to Holland and the Dutch probably complain about tulip companies moving to Eastern Europe or somewhere else. It's been going on for years and stopping it was a campaign issue for Obama but nothing ever happens. I always assume that it's just the Irish media hyping up a story that mentions Ireland and major international companies. No one outside of Ireland will even hear about it, right?

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

Who's laughing? Everyone!

I dont know what is sadder, the fact that Alan Johnson mocked Ireland over it's economy, or the fact that EVERYONE in the House of Commons laughed at the mention of Ireland. Is everyone in on the joke?

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Last Autumn



On Saturday I walked through St Stephens Green and it struck me that this is the last Autumn for this part of the Green.

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


Todays word of the day on is smithereens meaning small pieces; bits. A very Irish word I had always assumed it was just a made up piece of Irish slang. Now that I know it is a real work I will now try to get it into a technical document to puzzle my foreign colleagues.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Windows Phone 7

Over lunch I've watched the keynote for Windows Phone 7 and some other review videos. I have to say it looks nice but I dont think it's for me. Now my opinion is flawed because it is formed without actually using a phone so I could be wrong but I have to say the videos make it look a bit busy and I'm not 100% fond of the tiles design.

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

Augmented Reality (is just as bad as standard reality)

From Damien Mulleys Fluffy Links post this morning I came across NAMAland, the augmented reality application which let us see the properties around Dublin that are now owned by NAMA (i.e. us the taxpayers).

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.

Banksy Simpsons

Banksy, the British graffiti artist, has story boarded and directed an opening credits sequence for the Simpsons and it's the best thing I've seen the Simpsons do since before the movie.

Considering how much money the Simpsons must make from merchandising it's a pretty interesting thing for a studio executive to approve. Though who knows, maybe by the time the episode is shown internationally the sequence may have mysteriously vanished or be censored like the EyePhone clip from Futurama.

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

Bertie's New Job

Does Bertie know he still has a job as a TD? If I was living in Dublin Central I'd be a bit pissed off. If he wants to pursue his career as a sports journalist then let him quit and next year we can have 4 by-elections instead of 3.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cement Gate

I have tried to think of something to say about this mornings #cementgate incident with a truck being driven into the gates of Leinster House. All I can say it looks like a stupid protest about the stupid policies of a stupid government. All it did was produce some publicity for a topic that already dominates the media. Everyone is talking about a cement truck while in the background another truck load of cash will be delivered to Anglo Irish Bank tomorrow when the government injects yet another €5 Billion into the doomed institution.

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.

Star Wars 3D

It is being reported that the George Lucas money machine is going to return to the Star Wars fans for yet another round of funding with remastered movies. This time the 6 movies are going to be released in 3D in the cinema starting with Episode 1 in 2012 and then one each year after that. Has the franchise jumped the sarlacc pit? I fear it's fallen head first into it.

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

Why I love my iPhone

I recently wondered where the iPhone 4 fitted in on the scale of computing devices I've owned down through the years. Sure it kicks the ass of my first computer, a Sinclair ZX-Spectrum+ which is still at home in it's original if slightly damaged box. It might not be in 100% working order anymore, it was owned by kids not preserved by collectors, but it's still a lovely piece of childhood history. On the other hand the iPhone certainly falls well below the power of my MacBook Pro, but how about my girlfriends 6 year old Dell laptop or my last Sony laptop (stolen in it's prime 3 years ago).

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.

College Education for Living in Australia?

A story on the internet this morning caught my attention: 50% of Irish college students skipped lectures to stay at home and watch Home and Away, the Australian soap about life in a beach town. When I was a student we didn't need an excuse like Home and Away to skip lectures and if we did we certainly wouldn't have admitted that was why we were dossing. Mostly we hung around the canteen or the Students Union. Still I suppose these days an introduction to life and customs in Australia should be on the curriculum for most courses in Irish colleges so I suppose they can claim extra credit for attending future career training.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Arthurs Day

Yeah really, Happy Arthurs Day. The Arthurs Day 2009 celebrations for the 250th anniversary of the Guinness brewing company are now an annual event with music and events all over the city. Sure it's made up but at least it's our made up celebration and couldn't we use one after the last couple of years.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dreary Day in Dublin

Two headlines in my Google reader this wet dreary morning.

Car Free Day

Today is Car Free Day in Dublin as part of European Mobility Week the goal of which is "an awareness raising campaign aiming at sensibilising citizens to the use of PUBLIC TRANSPORT, CYCLING, WALKING and at encouraging European cities to promote these modes of transport and to invest in the new necessary infrastructures."

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

Open House 2010 Bookings

libertyhall (1 of 6)

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

Riders in the Sky

How far can airlines push passengers before people decide it's better to spent a few more euros extra and be treated like a human being? Here we have a wonderful example of how things have gone too far, the SkyRider. Who in their right mind would contemplate spending a testicle crushing 3 hour flight strapped to a mini horse saddle while some air hostess who spends most of her time selling scratch cards and posing for airline girly calenders attempts to land the plane.

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.

[via Gizmodo]

Friday, September 10, 2010

Beacon Rainbow

I was visiting someone in Beacon Hospital and took a walk over to a nearby shopping market. On the way while I was sheltering from a shower a rainbow in between the apartment blocks so it was a good opportunity to play with hipstamatic on the iPhone4. It's becoming a firm favorite app for me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Newfoundland Nets


It has been a busy few weeks since I got back from Newfoundland but I've finally managed to go through the last of the photos from the vacation and especially the ones from Trinity. I love that little town, have to go back there again next year. This photo of some fishing nets left on the dock of an old abandoned shipyard. Trinity proper is almost a little too perfect, all nicely preserved for the tourism market so it was nice to find this shipyard and take some photos there.

iPhone 4

As I mentioned already I picked up an iPhone 4 and I have to say I'm quite impressed. OK so the OS is identical to the one on my 3Gs but the redesigned case is excellent. Not that I didn't like the old 3Gs case but it was plastic and that did tell after a while. The new glass and metal of the iPhone 4 is nice and sturdy. The few buttons on the device have a more solid click to them and remember my 3GS was only a month old so it's not like its buttons had worn. The only structural problem I had with the original case design was a crack on my older 3G where the USB connector plugs in. The plastic developed a hairline crack about a centimeter long, it never grew or got worse but it was there and it did make the case feel cheaper. The new connector is surrounded by metal so hopefully that wont happen again. The home button on the 3G had started to go as well, it didn't always click properly. I suspect some dirt or fluff was wedged under there but I couldnt get it out. I'll have to wait and see if the 4 develops a similar problem in a year or so but with the home button being so important for multi-tasking I hope Apple took special care with the design this time.

The retina display is, well, it's an iPhone display. Sure, it's nicer and smoother, less pixelated when I hold it up to my eye but it is solving a problem I didn't know I had with a solution I cant really notice. It's nice to see Apple moving the technology along but I wouldn't have bought a new phone just for that.

The camera is a big improvement, especially for video. Pictures and video are cleaner and more usable. It might be the best camera phone around but I wont be taking my SLR out of it's bag, or even my point and click. The point and click might get used less but I still like having the extra controls and shutter button. The iPhone camera flash might make a useful torch when I drop my keys but I have yet to use it with a photo so I don't know how well it performs as a camera flash.

All in all I'm happy but my fiancée is happier because she got the 1 month old 3GS to replace her first gen iPhone.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Peoples Photography

Had a great weekend at Peoples Photography 2010. I sold 16 prints, sold them pretty cheap but I covered all my costs for the event and brought home everything I didn't sell. Photos of Dublin landmarks were the clear favourites and sold to the tourist market.

While there I had some quiet moments and was able to play with the camera on my iPhone 3GS (which has just been replaced with an iPhone 4 but thats another post) and I downloaded the Hipstamatic app. It wouldn't be my preferred way to take photographs but for the price it's a cool way to turn dull iPhone pictures into interesting snaps.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NCT results

Darran over at A Langers Blog put up a graph to show the pass and fail rates of cars taking the National Car Test (NCT) in Ireland. The percentages are freely available online but it was only when I saw them in the graph that I realised something smells funny about the NCT.

The goal of the NCT was to remove unsafe cars from the road and as part of this they have introduced more and more things that cars can fail on and pulled more cars into the NCT net, yet the percentages for pass and fail stay the same.

YearPass First timePass 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)

The level of defects in cars seems to stay stunningly consistent? This leads me to wonder, could the NCT be working off a quota system for passes and fails or is the published data just wrong?

Friday, August 27, 2010

This plane is crashing, no its not

Having recently returned from Newfoundland and the numerous work flights over the last year I can well imagine the panic that would have take place when the automated crash warning played on a British Airways flight from London to Hong Kong.

Mistakes do happen so I dont really blame British Airways but I do wonder why planes need an automated "we are about to crash into the sea" warning. Does it happen so often they decided it would be less work to hire a voice actor put them in a recording studio and then copy the warning onto all the planes. If I'm about to die I'd rather have a member of the crew tell me than some recording. Then again if I'm about to die then they are probably about to die as well so the plane is probably on full auto and they are hitting the drinks trolley. I wonder if Ryanair has a recording and does it try to sell you something?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Peoples Photography 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

Mrs Fahey and Son Tom

This photo is from Marlfield church and graveyard outside Clonmel. It’s my old family graveyard but has become very overgrown lately with only a few families maintaining their plots while the older parts of the graveyard are reclaimed by nature. Thats a shame since lots of effort went into cleaning up and restoring the place 20 years ago.

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

Flower in the Tracks

Flower in the tracks

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

iPhone 3GS

I recently won an iPhone 3GS, pretty lucky because I'd made the mistake of upgrading my iPhone 3G to the new iOS4 and while it worked it was woefully slow and suffered frequent app crashes. I had decided to keep it for a few weeks and then get the iPhone 4 when it's released in Ireland (rumour is 23rd July) . I could have gone through the process to downgrade the phone to the old OS but I liked the features such as folders.

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

Photos for Peoples Photo

I got my first set of prints for Peoples Photography 2010. God I’ve got lots of work to do. I think I selected the incorrect dimensions with the online printer which didnt help the cropping but leaving that aside only one image seemed acceptable straight away. Two or three others are close and the rest are probably beyond any hope of making it into the exhibition.

I've managed to get a nice one of the Ha'Penny Bridge and a couple of Guinness photos, plus one old one from Ballymun that I liked. A couple of ones on the bubble are a canal photo and a photo of a row boat on the Liffey. Ones that made the probably rejected pile are of the Central Bank and one of the Fusilier arch which I kinda like but looks a little too over processed. Maybe I can fix that. I fear however that I'm going to have to reuse photos from last year. I didn't want to do that but with 8 months ruined by business travel I've afraid I'll have no choice.

Monday, June 28, 2010



A couple of weekends ago I went to the annual Street Performance World Championship in Merrion Sq. A weekend of street performers from around the world competing for votes, and of course cash from the audience. One of the stages was in front of Government Buildings and I was there watching Dr Kaboom set off fireballs within sight of the Taoiseachs office. I couldnt help but wonder if Cowen was inside looking out at the fireballs and wondering how long it will be before the smoke and flames are more serious. I bet when Cowen dreams of fireballs outside his office he doesn't picture the Gardai standing by and applauding, at least not yet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Kenny Lives

I cant believe Fine Gael didn't get rid of Enda Kenny. By an apparently slim majority the parliamentary party of Fine Gael passed a vote of confidence leaving some of their brightest stars on the scrap heap in favour of a man who seems doomed to lead them back into opposition or junior partnership after the next election.

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

They Are Killing Kenny

The leader of Fine Gael Enda Kenny looks like he is on the way out with Richard Bruton finally plucking up the courage to stand against the bland one. Kenny's supporters are quick to say that Enda has been a wonderful party leader (arent they all until the end) and has led the party back from the brink of anilation. Sure, in the aftermath of Michael Noonan Fine Gael were in serious trouble but Kennys great feat of leadership was to restore Fine Gael the main party of opposition back to being the main party of opposition. While Fianna Fail were destroying all around them and leading the country into an economic melt down was Kenny really leading or was he a passenger on the Fine Gael boat as the tide turned and lifted all the opposition parties? The latter I suspect.

Fine Gael should have won the last election, Fianna Fail were on the ropes and on the way out until Kenny debated Ahern and the country realised that Kenny was as two dimensional as his Southpark namesake and somehow managed to say fewer meaningful words than that anoraked faceless mumbler, cartoon Kenny I mean, not Ahern. Fianna Fail won the election and in hindsight that saved Fine Gael from being in power during the economic crash that followed. That wasn't leadership either. Enda cant take credit for that as a piece of political strategy, unless his performance in the debates was one worthy of a life time achievement Oscar. He was in it to win it and he lost it. That was the time Bruton should have said, enough is enough lets get some leadership. Instead Enda managed to lead a triumphant return to opposition, the Irish tradition of glorious defeat lifting him to new heights of leadership.

His next big adventure was into celebrity management. George Lee, economic wonder kid of RTE showed up on the Fine Gael ticket and won a by-election. Lee was a man on a trajectory to political stardom so Kenny started Lees political apprenticeship with a stint cleaning boots in the dressing room of the Fine Gael finance team. After less than a year of Kenny management Lee was on his way out of the Dail and back to RTE. Of course that wasnt Kennys fault either, Lee should have stuck it out. Lee was being childish. Lee should have been happy to learn while others led. Maybe, but surely Enda could have put his arm around Georges shoulder on a couple of occassions and said "George my son, one day this will all be yours, but not just yet".

So I believe Kenny instead of providing the great leadership his supporters worship was just tagging along for the ride. Fine Gael should have had the courage to look for a strong innovative risk taking leader instead of one who kept the ship on course for a steady second place. But is Richard Bruton the best person for the job instead? Who knows, but one mark against him is the fact that he has waited this long to fix the biggest problem in Fine Gael. Did he think Kenny would come good, win over the public and smash Fianna Fail leaders one after another until Fine Gael could stroll into Government Buildings? Did he think Kenny would see the light and step aside? Run for President and hand Richard the reigns of power?Either way Bruton also damaged the Fine Gael cause by waiting so perhaps his chance has gone along with Enda.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

iPhone 4

All I can say is I REALLY want one of the new iPhone 4s. I have had an iPhone since they first came out in Ireland, my old original iPhone is still going strong as my fiancees phone. I upgraded to a 3G when they came out in Ireland and loved the 3G data, the GPS and the new black design. When the 3GS came out I didn't bother with that since it was too similar to my 3G for me to justify the upgrade. Now my 3G is over 18 months old and I'm entitled to a gold upgrade with O2, maybe business travel isn't so bad.

Just on schedule Apple have announced the new iPhone 4 and it looks the business. People called the iPad a large iPhone, I think the opposite is true, the iPhone 4 is a small iPad and then some. The A4 chip, better battery, multi-tasking, HD video, video calling, 5 megapixel camera. I am worried about the glass front and back which may be prone to shattering if some reports are correct and I'd have liked a 64GB version but those two complaints aside this looks to be the phone I want. I only hope I can get it before I go on vacation, the camera and HD video would be great.

Business travel sucks

I've been traveling a lot recently with work and while it might seem like a great thing but business travel gets old very fast. It means I haven't had much time for blogging or photography but hopefully now as the summer goes on things will settle down and I'll be able to get back to life in Dublin.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The future of Dublin Bus

It looks like there are big changes coming to the Dublin Bus route network over the next few months.

Dublin Bus plans to "increase efficiency and frequency, with a five-minute waiting time between services". Good, though my bus is scheduled to run every 20 minutes and in the evening waits of an hour to an hour and a half would not be uncommon. There is a big difference between aiming to run a bus every 5 minutes and achieving it in Dublin traffic. I fear that the solution Dublin bus will opt for in some areas is to avoid traffic bottle necks completely which would remove the current bus service from many parts of Dublin. I'd rather have a bus that serves my area every 30 or 40 minutes than a bus every 5 minutes but with the bus stop miles away on the N11.

"The overall number of routes is to be increased, but some existing routes will be straightened out with fewer diversions off quality bus corridors, while others will be combined." Sounds good again in theory but as with my previous point does this mean that many busses will run on main routes only and will not divert into housing estates or down side roads as they do at the moment? That actually reduces the service for many people especially the elderly or those with mobility difficulties.

Finally "A real-time passenger information service will also be rolled-out later this year". Very good and I hope Dublin Bus have the sense to make this freely available online and to open up the API so that developers writing applications for iPhones and other smartphones will be able to write apps to allow consumers to look up the location and timing of different busses at home and on mobile phones without having to go to bus stops.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ryanair in-flight phone service suspended

My new job requires me to travel. The first few months were mostly spent in Italy, back and forth every week. I cant complain, it's a job, many people dont have one, and the travel has reduced a bit lately, less training and more Irish customers.

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

The Reshuffle

Brian Cowen reshuffled his cabinet by well changing noting. Does it matter? Probably not. My initial reaction was "is that all they can do"? Then I thought, if Cowen had scrapped two of the useless departments would that have changed anything? Not likely, after all the civil servants in the scrapped departments would just get moved into the remaining departments and end up doing less work. New ministers? That would just be more ministerial pensions to pay in years to come. In fact the less false change the better in my opinion. Why spend millions for the appearance of change when no real change can happen under the current government?

All we can do is hang in there until the next election and hope for a large scale clear out of the existing and washed up TDs. It's clear now that Fianna Fail have no fresh ideas or talent left so what would be the point of a large reshuffle?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Papal Letter

I went to mass this morning and got a copy of the Papal Letter to the Catholics of Ireland. The priest didn't bother to read it out. He said is was 22 pages long (it's 12 but maybe he was reading the directors commentary version or something) and he would summarize the ideas for us since he had read it once and almost finished reading it a second time. Somehow I got the impression his heart just wasn't in it.

The most interesting thing was the choice of gospel. In either a comic coincidence or cynical timing todays gospel, printed on leaflets well in advance of the papal letter being announced, was "let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I wonder if the idea was let the cleric not linked to abuse or the cover up of abuse throw the first sermon.

St Patricks Day in Dublin

This years St Patricks Day parade in Dublin was a great success with huge crowds in attendance once again.

Paddy Drac
B&W (&Red) Paddy Drac

North Carolina State Band

Flags at the ready.

More of the photos I took on the day can be found here.

Clondalkin Youth Band


Update 2: More photos of the Clondalkin Youth Band can be found here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Bonner the Grand Marshal

This years Grand Marshal for the 2010 St Patricks Parade in Dublin has been announced and it’s Packie Bonner. The former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper is a national hero for his save in the penalty shootout against Romania during Italia 90. I think we can say the parade is in a safe pair of hands this year (oh God did I really just say that?)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Special Effects

Everything, even the simple stuff is computer generated now. Sad...

[via Whoppers Bunker]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Transport Canada

And I thought ryanair was bad...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Noel Dempsey Minister for Holidays

Noel Dempsey the Irish Minister for Transport has just arrived back in the country after more than a week of freezing temperatures and transport chaos in Ireland, all which Minister Dempsey observed from sunny and warm Malta. You see the Minister was on holidays. With the country in a state of emergency he bravely put his sun tan first and decided not to come home. Dempsey is interviewed in the Sunday Independent today saying:
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.

Which is true, but no one said the Minister should bring his whole family home, the country would have been happy if just he himself had managed to put in an appearance in his office. After all, given how much he gets paid it would have been nice if he showed up to help coordinate a response to what is likely to be the biggest transport crisis in his time as Minister for Transport.

My favourite quote from the, I suspect soon to be former, Minister has to be:
"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.

Yeah Minister, secret Fine Gael squads have been driving around the country in the middle of the night throwing fake snow everywhere just to make you look bad.

I think it's time for a cabinet reshuffle. Cowen could appoint Dempsey to a job more suited to his lifestyle. Perhaps Minister for Holidays or maybe Minster for Sun Tans though perhaps we could just appoint him Ambassador to Malta and he can feck off back where he came from and let someone else run the Department of Transport.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy 2010

Happy new year to you all. We had a white Christmas and now a white New Years hopefully it's a sign of an eventful but happy year to come :-)