Monday, September 26, 2011

Fianna Fallen

TV3 finished their documentary on Fianna Fail last week and I unfortunately missed a good chunk of it since I didn't expect much from it after the first two episodes but what I did see looked like a much better summary of the Fall of Fianna Fail and the role played by all the politicians. Rather annoying really since I'd given up on the show so I guess that teaches me and I'll have to keep an eye out for a repeat.


Last week was the now annual Arthurs Day. A day to celebrate Diageo, I can't help but feel that it's here to stay, unfortunately.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Poor Cowen

I watched the second part of the TV3 documentary on The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail. I'm a sucker for punishment. I've ranted enough about the show already and this episode didn't do much to change my opinion that this is just a fluff piece.

This episode focused on the collapse of the economy. While McCreevy and Ahern did get an amount of coverage most of the blame seemed to fall on Cowen. We all know he was out of his depth and couldn't cope with the economic collapse, we didn't need Bertie to tell us that. I would have hoped TV3 would take more than just a purely chronological view of who was to blame. Cowen inherited the job from Bertie who resigned just before the crash but long after the country had been locked on its course.

You can blame Cowen for how the economic collapse was handled but blaming him for the disaster as a whole is a bit like giving most of the blame for the Titanic sinking to the guy lowering the lifeboats. Sure many people died because lifeboats were half empty but they wouldn't have needed the lifeboats if the captain hadn't sent them full speed ahead into an ice flow. Same here. Cowen and Lenihan made the economic collapse worse with their handling of the crisis and their blanket bank guarantee was the death blow to the economy but it was the Ahern governments that let the banks get to a point where they had to go to the Minister on the night of 29th of September 2008 to seek the guarantee. As the show went on and they heaped more blame on him I actually began to feel sorry for Cowen. Blame the man for what he did but don't make him carry all the blame for what those before him did as well.

While TV3 did mention McCreevys give away budgets they tried to absolve him from his sins by saying when he tried to change things he was sent packing to Europe. The majority of the time on Ahern was given over to coverage of his time in tribunals. 2/3rds of the show were then given over to Cowen. Seeing Ahern being interviewed and commenting on how the shambles he created was managed after him left me with a bad taste in my mouth. The man clearly either believes his own fantasy of a country in great shape when he left or he thinks if he repeats it enough time on the media then the public will begin to believe it.

With one episode to go the space is still there for another station such as RTE to do the definitive documentary on Fianna Fail.

Blogger App

Google finally released an iOS app for blogger and despite it being simple but useful it's let down by not having a landscape typing mode. Am I missing a setting somewhere?

Seriously, how hard is it to put a landscape perspective in your app? Actually I should find that out myself soon as I'm learning iOS development in my spare time but I suspect it's not too hard and in an app where people are supposed to spend most of their time typing the landscape keyboard on the iPhone is much easier (when you get the two thumbs thing down) so it's a feature that should have been a priority.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail

I have one of those nice handy UPC PVR boxes that allow me to record TV shows and watch them later. Very handy considering myself and Lauren have somewhat different tastes in TV shows. Monday night was one of those nights however when I played the ultimate PVR card, "I want to watch and tape this show". In an apartment with one TV that is a very valuable card to play, you don't get too many of them, especially when the other person has little or no interest in the show. Unfortunately this time I completely wasted both the card and my time.

My mistake? Expecting a TV3 show entitled "The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail" to provide an interesting history of one of the most powerful organisations in the history of the State. A story of intrigue, backstabbing and the quest for power that runs from 1916 to the current day this could have been one of the great documentaries on Irish history. Unfortunately the actual result was a fast forward through the years 1916 to about 1998 in approximately 20 minutes. TV3 felt no need to cover irrelevant parts of Fianna Fail history like the leaders between Eamon De Valera and Charles Haughey, then skipped Albert Reynolds completely and jumped to Bertie Ahern. The structure of Fianna Fail was just briefly mentioned, apparently TV3's research team concluded Fianna Fail is just a bunch of grassroots members in Cumanns and directly above them is the Cabinet. The actual structure of the party is a little more, well, structured. Comhairle Ceantairs, Comhairle Dail Ceantairs and the Ard Comhairle are all levels above the Cumann but TV3 missed this (googling "Fianna Fail structure" and looking at the party website was clearly too much effort). Bertie and his ex-girlfriend Celia seemed to dominate the show. I can only assume there are 2 reasons for this. 

First TV3 came into existence in 1998, Bertie became Taoiseach in 1997. Why pay the archives of other TV stations for access to their footage of Lemass, Lynch, Haughey or Reynolds when you can just jump into the national archives for a few clips of De Valera and then skip 70 years to your own archives for Bertie. Second, Bertie now out of politics and with very little of a political legacy to protect, was more than happy to give TV3 a long interview explaining how he is 1000% innocent of everything and to walk around the graves in Glasnevin cemetery looking pensive. 

Based on the first episode this show is not "The Rise and Fall of Fianna Fail". It's a three part interview with Bertie Ahern. Possibly a more correct title would be "Bertie Ahern: In his own words". TV3 only threw in some fluff about the history to suck in people who are sick of hearing Bertie proclaim how he saw nothing, heard nothing and knew nothing. 

The first episode has already been deleted from my PVR, I'm never going to watch it again and I might just wait until Tuesday to read the reviews and decide if I want to watch episode 2 on the TV3 catch up page.

Monday, September 05, 2011

New Blogger

I see Google have updated the Blogger interface. I've been on for years now (since 2005) and this is by far the biggest change I can remember. It takes a bit of getting used to where things have moved but I like it. It's more modern and cleaner. It feels like Google has taken some inspiration from Wordpress which I use for other blogs. Thats not a bad thing but I can imagine people who have been die hard exclusive Blogger users will be a bit upset at the change. They'll get over it.

Peoples Photography 2011

I took part in Peoples Photography again this year. It’s always a good weekend to meet other photographers and to see a wide variety of photography. The weather wasn’t the best but sure no one went to the event to get a tan. I was helping to organise the event so I spent quite a bit of time walking around and was walkng past one of the gates when I spotted this shot. All I had was my iPhone but I like the effect.

Friday, September 02, 2011

iPad 2

One of the things about organizing a wedding from a abroad is that you end up with a stack of spreadsheets, emails, PDFs and other scanned documents that have been emailed back and forth over the previous few months. Maybe that's normal for all weddings but in my case I decided that rather than lugging a folder of printouts or a 17" MacBook Pro around from meeting to meeting it'd make more sense to pick up a tablet to carry them on and as an Apple fan it had to be an iPad.

My current pride and joy is a 16GB 3G iPad 2 and you know what, unlike many gadgets that take my fancy, it's actually very useful. People have described the iPad as a large iPhone but perhaps it's more accurate to describe the iPhone as a small iPad. Reading twitter and my RSS feeds on the iPad is so much easier than on the iPhone. Video, internet and reading all benefit from the larger screen. Battery life seems to be better as well. But that may be more down to the fact that I don't check the iPad as ofter as I do the iPhone. Email and SMS type communitation is probably easier on the iPhone simply because I'm used to it and I am still quicker writing those with my thumb. I'm writing most of this post on it.

It feels good and solid. Plus its light, though I do find myself resting it on something when I'm using it for more than a few minutes and holding it above my head while lying back in bed is a good way to wake up with a glass slap to the face (you dont do that twice). Nothing Apple can do about that, if it was any lighter it could feel too flimsy. It's not really a complaint, just an observation.

I find now I'm looking forward to iOS 5 to see how the new iCloud and AirPlay mirroring change how I use the iPad.