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.