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.