Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
The fact that they still have their jobs and aren't searching for food scraps in the bins outside the banks they failed to control is an prime example of what is wrong in the Irish civil service. The fact that they went on strike is crazy, someone should have locked the doors when the fools were out of the office.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
The priest explained to the congregation the advice the parish had received from the HSE on the control of swine flu along with the steps he and the other priests take before and during mass to insure their hands are clean. How they wash their hands with soap and warm water then dry with clean towels. He said that the parish had decided some changes were now needed. The sign of peace would no longer be offered during mass. The holy water fonts would be emptied, washed with soap and left to dry. Finally communion with wine would not be offered as had been traditional during Christmas. The priest hoped these changes would be temporary and that normal routines could be restored soon.
To me this is an over reaction to a situation hyped in the media to sell newspapers. Yes swine flu is a risk but so is the annual flu. People get sick every year, the vast vast majority recover but some may die. Until Sky News and the like displayed the latest in a series of *the world is ending* headlines, swine flu was heading to the annual "there is a bad bug doing the rounds" classification we all talk about every winter. The media would not let that happen. In the last few years we have had CJD, SARS, Avian flu and Bio-terrorism to make us afraid to shake hands. At the same time we had asteroids, ice ages, global warming, and mega tsunamis to stop us going outside at all. The world has been ending for so long that sometimes I just cant remember what is about to destroy us all, at least not until I turn on Sky News and the yellow Breaking News banner informs me as to what will be killing me later that day.
It's called apocalypse fatigue. The media has spent years selling newspapers and pulling in viewers by hyping up some risk or other that has a cool sounding name like SARS or Swine Flu. They want people to be worried and scared because no one buys a newspaper to read about someone from one town away who died from the common cold but thousands will buy a newspaper that tells them 10 people are sick from Bovine Flu at the other side of Europe and how that virus could sweep the planet.
The risk is real but is it any greater than the risk we face every year from normal flu? Is the danger of swine flu worse than the danger of offending a neighbor by not shaking hands with them? The whole parish of Clonskeagh now has to stop offering each other the sign of peace not because of swine flu but because one couple were too worried they would offend others by not shaking hands.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Saturday, October 03, 2009
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Monday, September 07, 2009
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
There were, by 1911, 330 trams operating on lines which ran for 60 miles along the city’s roads, drawing the suburbs tightly to the city.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Google Voice application replaces Apple’s Visual Voicemail by routing calls through a separate Google Voice telephone number that stores any voicemail, preventing voicemail from being stored on the iPhone, i.e., disabling Apple’s Visual Voicemail.So Apple think Visual Voicemail is something worth challenging other companies on when those companies try to mess with Visual Voicemail and other features. Such a shame they don't apply the same logic to the networks who have exclusive contracts with Apple for the iPhone. Look at O2 Ireland who after launching the iPhone with Visual Voicemail in March 2008 have still not actually enabled Visual Voicemail and have in fact shelved the project. Then when iPhone 3.0 was launched back in June tethering with iPhones was added. O2 Ireland haven't figured out how to enable that either. Tethering works fine if you get the settings but O2 Ireland still do not officially support it. Why should they, they have an exclusive contract for one of the most popular phones on the market so why bother investing supporting the features of that phone. I guess Apple only need to protect the features of the iPhone when it's Google who change those features.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Friday, August 14, 2009
On the up side perhaps if CIBC do buy AIB it will be easier to transfer money between the two banks because right now you seem to have to have studied with Harry Potter in Hogsworth to figure out the magical combination of time, forms and numbers to fill in online in order to get the current system to accept an international transfer.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Strangely today CBC has a follow up story. It seems the kids may not have been guilty of animal abuse after all. One of boys fathers has come forward with an alibi. The boys couldn't have chased the moose, they were busy... "vandalizing a church in Deer Lake". Oh well that's OK then, obviously they are saintly kids. As alibis go thats a pretty awful one. Generally the idea is to explain how the person is innocent by providing an example of them acting legally at the time in question not doing something possibly worse. "Your honour my client couldn't possibly have been shoplifting on Monday afternoon, he was robbing banks on the other side of town".
Now I don't think it would be a good idea to have copyright laws scrapped or to just allow private people to take whatever copyrighted material they want but I do think we need someone to bring some balance to the current situation. Look at the new three strikes rule from Eircom. The RIAA can tell Eircom who they believe are illegally downloading copyrighted material owned by the companies who make up the RIAA and Eircom have agreed to disconnect the offenders. These would be the same companies who at the same time do everything possible to block and delay legal downloading. It took years for the iTunes Store to come to Ireland and we still cannot purchase movies and TV shows.
We need someone in government to stand up the the RIAA and other companies and tell them you can have your copyright and a crack down on illegal downloaders but you have to provide legal downloads at same prices as other countries. Then give them an ultimatum, bring Ireland up to the same level as the US and other countries within 1 year or a new copyright bill will be put through making the maximum punishment for illegal downloads a fine equal to just the price of a purchase in the shops. I support the right of movie makers and musicians to make money from their work but I'm sick of being forced to buy movies on disc, my shelves are full.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
(Also posted to the Dublin Community Blog)
(Also posted to the Dublin Community Blog)
First we had the Dublin Docklands Festival. A great sunny weekend packed with food, music and tall ships. Click on the image to see more photos from Flickr.
(Also posted to the Dublin Community Blog)
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
The former Habitat Store and the Dunnes store on Grafton St are both mentioned as possible locations. I think Grafton St is more likely since it would have more footfall and the Habitat Store would probably be too large for the Irish market, unless Apple can get the store lease cheap and don't care about filling all the space. It would be the nicer profile building and Apple like their fancy store frontage.
Now of course all that should be taken with a grain of salt. The Irish market small enough to start with is now in recession/depression so Apple could still decide there is no long term future here. Interestingly the Sunday Tribune article also mentions Abercrombie & Fitch who were looking into setting up an Irish store but decided against it because Grafton St is "run-down". They might have a point, the gloss is leaving Grafton St, too many phone shops, burger joints and closed stores.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Some more photos can be found in my flickr stream,
Friday, May 29, 2009
Interestingly at the bottom of the story on RTE they say
The results show deposits from businesses in Anglo dropped by almost €9bn after nationalisation.
Now I don't know anything more about banking than the average Irish tax payer but if the bank has lost €9Bn in deposits after we nationalised it and now the Irish tax payer needs to give them €4Bn isn't that proof that if we hadn't nationalised the bank and had found a better way to reassure depositors the bank would have €5Bn more money on its books than it does now?
On a side note the government will be sinking €4 Billion into Anglo while on the other side of the same street as the Anglo HQ they are planning on building a €4 Billion metro tunnel. How often has a government thrown €8 Billion into two bottomless pits within 50 meters of each other?
Simply put my opinion now is, their phones are cool, their ideas are great but since media and the downloadable content of Play Now is such a fundamental marketing point of their new phones do not buy the new phones when they go on sale in Ireland if Sony have not made the services available here. The same applies for other countries where the phones are available but the service is not. Wait until the complete service already available in other countries is launched in your country then buy the phone, it'll probably be cheaper by then anyway.
Sony own the phones, own the service and own the movies so the rights issues that have plagued Apple and iTunes in Ireland should be easy to sort out for Sony. Instead they are forcing Irish customers to find other ways of obtain digital content for their portable devices. If they see sales of their new phones markedly down in countries without the full PlayNow service they might give in and allow customers to legally download their content.
Sorry Sony Ericsson but no movies, no money.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
The Experia X1 looks nice, I liked the keyboard and the form factor, even windows mobile impressed me when compared to my previous experience on a Dell Axim. However the screen was a little small and web browsing didn't live up to the experience on the iPhone. Plus the touchscreen was controlled by a stylus and again that's a little out of date, it took several minutes of poking and prodding by iPhone users before someone realised there was a stylus. A stylus is so 2007 :-)
The highlight for me was the discussion of PlayNow. The rep described it as Sony Ericssons version of iTunes. It's not quite there yet but hopefully they will improve over time. Packages include an unlimited music subscription service. Another service being worked on is based around movies allowing 45 downloads over a year from a library of legacy movies. This is a step in the right direction but the current version wont compare with Apples iTunes service.
That said where it does beat iTunes Ireland hands down is that movies will be available. ITunes Ireland seems to be locked in an endless right negotiation with the media companies (including Sony I expect) to provide TV and movies in Ireland. Sure I can sign up for iTunes America or download the movies from other "sources" but why should I be forced to break the law just because the same companies who want to disconnect people who illegally download movies refuse to provide a legal download service available in other countries. There was also a mention of a possible slingbox type service for the PS3. Load it up with media and stream to where ever you are in the world.
Thanks to Damien for organising the event and I'm looking forward to future ones.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Seriously look at it. All PC companies can learn lots from Apple designs but making a PC sized iPhone? Hmm, don't know about that one. I imagine we will see lots of these in office receptions and customer meeting areas but I can't see myself handing over my own money for one.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
The drive was located in an unsecured workspace while Archives employees were in the process of digitizing information from the Clinton administration. About 100 badge-holders had access to the area, which was also available to janitors, visitors, and employees passing through to access the bathroom. It was stolen sometime between October and March.
So apart from the people with official badges the area was open to anyone visiting and people who wanted to go to the toilet? Why bother wasting money on the badges then? It reminds me of a company I worked on contract in years ago, a company long since closed down. An email was once sent around warning staff to stop allowing people follow them in through security doors onto the call center floor. Journalists had gotten access to the floor and had then published some embarrassing stories about the lack of security. Badges? We don't need no stinking badges!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
I've seen some lovely sunset photos taken from that side of the river and from the docklands pedestrian bridge looking towards the Customs House. The new bridge will probably provide new photo opportunities but it might be worth getting down there and taking some photos today before the bridge is put in place.
Update: Woops, silly me. I got a look at a map and it turns out I thought Customs House Quay was half the size it actually is and the bridge is going in further down the river. The pedestrian bridge is closer too the Customs House than the new one.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Anyway, her father took this picture in Tipperary.
Why has no one started selling "No Fianna Fail" posters, bumper stickers, and t-shirts in time for this election. If Fianna Fail canvassers started seeing No Fianna Fail posters outside houses then I'm sure they would be onto Brian Cowen pretty quick to tell him the public have had enough. Anyone out there got the capacity to print, sell and distribute these? Go ahead and I'll buy some.
Thursday, May 07, 2009
"The reality in Chad is that the ground is extremely hard," Mr O'Dea said.
"Some of the sports are played out on open ground and when people fall, it
tends to have a much greater impact on their bodies than falling in a field in
I wish this was an April Fools joke but we are into May and even the Department of Defence must be able to issue it's jokes within a month and a half. We have an army that cant fire guns because the noise is too loud and now they cant play football because the ground is too hard. Why havent we been invaded yet?
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
If and when a pandemic becomes imminent, you will need to stock up on essential medicines, food and other supplies.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
But to coincide with the focus on weight, the Department of Health carried out research showing a regular beer drinker, who downed five pints a week or 250 over the course of a year, packed away the same number of calories as someone eating 221 doughnuts over the space of 12 months.
221 doughnuts! I feel ill.
My question is this, while all new jobs are welcome do we really want the big job announcements of the "smart economy" coming from existing semi-state companies? Work policies and union vetoes in semi-state companies seem to result in every decision, new technology or green idea being delayed and costing more than it should. Why not take the opportunity to spin off new smart economy companies in which the government holds a majority stake but without the dead weight of employment agreements, benchmarking and programs for prosperity from another era. This would allow the companies to quickly respond to changes in the market place, bring new technologies to customers and depend on innovation and quality to win customers instead of government monopolies. If and when those companies become a success the government could then easily sell their stake in those companies and re-coop the taxpayer investment.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
It seems clear the Irish government has no idea how to stimulate the economy and will now just suck as much money as possible out of peoples pockets while hoping a global economic recovery will solve all their problems for them.
Update: It looks pretty official now. Many news papers have the story and apparently it was in one paper on Sunday. The Irish Times has a good article that explains what is likely to happen. Ordinary PAYE payments will not be hit instead it's likely the government will use the backdating to claw money out of people who received lump sum payments since January. In some cases these payments were attempts to evade tax later in the year once it became clear the government was going to increase the levies. However in many cases, including people who took voluntary redundancy payments, ordinary people who were not evading tax will now be hit as well. Many will have used those lump sums to reduce their mortgages or invested in long term bank accounts with penalty clauses for early withdrawal. Many others may now be unemployed and living off those lump sums. Now I personally wont be impacted having not taken redundancy or received a bonus but I still think this sets a dangerous precedence. If later in the year the government is forced to introduce another budget what would stop them backdating those taxes?
Friday, April 10, 2009
Though now that I think about it I do remember a guy I worked with in a large company used to dial into his home network provider on his work laptop so he could download stuff blocked by the firewall. This while also connected to the office network. Basically millions invested in corporate firewalls and cyber-security can be bypassed by one guy who wants to watch YouTube in work.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
- Adjustments to stamp duty to encourage people to buy and kick start the property developers. The government is addicted to the property market and hopes one day in the future to be able to restore it's lost income from stamp duty.
- A tax on second property, but nothing too high. Enough that landlords wont absorb the tax but will be able to pass it on to renters spread over 12 months, see 1 about encouraging people to buy property again. The ideal for the government would be to encourage renters to buy but not force landlords to sell yet. Clear out new property stockpiles before ex-rental properties flood the market.
- A ban on below cost alcohol selling with no real increases in alcohol of cigarette duty, that will help the publicans.
- Some car scrappage scheme to encourage people to buy new cars and dig out the car dealers
- A toxic bank to rescue the bankers. Split everything down the middle, they get the profit and we get the loss. Plus this hands the bad debts of the property developers to the State where it will be managed by a government that has worshiped at the altar of those same property developers for years.
- An increase in DIRT tax to encourage people to spend instead of save.
- Raising or scrapping the PRSI ceiling.
- The recent government levies to double or an extra percentage grade added on for even higher earners.
- The abolishment of tax reliefs large and small including the rental relief, see 1 about encouraging people to buy property.
- A change in the pension levy to remove people from the levy who are not entitled to a public service pension.
- Possibly a drop in VAT possibly to 20%. A small enough drop that shops will be able to get away with not passing it on the the public while not impacting too much on the government.
- A pay cap on some senior grades of the public sector with some changes in government departments and committees to save token amounts.
- Some task force or government body to boost job creation and inward investment.
- Token measures to encourage the knowledge economy, improvements in broadband and IT infrastructure. It will sound good but it'll be vague enough to allow the government to continue to class 3G mobile phones as broadband.
- A couple of woolly green measures, create some "green jobs" and keep the Green Party happy.
I'd also guess that after this budget there wont be the same number of protests that there was after the last one. Everyone is going to be hit but Fianna Fail will have learned their lesson and wont target any one clear group like the elderly again. Either everyone will be out on the streets or just the die hards who wont have much sympathy from the public since we will all be suffering.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Hmm, well here's the thing, I haven't been on a fact finding mission and I know things are pretty desperate in the developing world. How about cutting out the fact finding missions, both by aid agency managers and government ministers, and just use a telephone to ask the people on the ground what they need. Then use the money which had been allocated for the trips to give those people some of what they need.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
- It has been estimated by government experts that 97% of passengers on the Metro will simply wish to travel from the city center area out to the airport and in some cases back again. The extension of the Metro to Swords would not be economical for the remaining 3%. Therefore the length of the Metro will be shortened, running from beneath St Stephens Green directly to the Airport where it will terminate. This should also greatly speed journey times from the city center to the airport with trains able to make the trip in far less time than large groups of people travelling on foot or by car at times when large numbers of people may have gathered in and around the city center especially the Kildare St and Upper Merrion Street areas.
- The number of stations will be cut drastically. The stations, especially underground ones were proving to be a larger than expected burden on the construction costs.
The Department explained that the new locations were chosen after consultation with the current occupants of the buildings who agreed that easy, safe and secure access to the Metro would far out weigh any temporary disruption to their offices during construction. There will be one station on the south side of Dublin under St Stephens Green with additional underground access points added from several locations including 80, 94 and 51 St Stephen's Green, Agriculture House, Leinster House and Number 23 on Kildare St and Government Buildings on Upper Merrion Street.
On the North Side there will be 5 stations, Parnell Square, Store Street, Custom House, Marlborough Street and the airport itself. In the airport costs and disruption to the public will be minimised by moving the new station to beneath a site currently occupied by a private hanger which is already owned by the Government and currently houses the government jet and several helicopters.
- A back to work scheme will be introduced where workers recently laid off will be given work on the construction of the tunnels and stations as part of a retraining and reskilling program. The manual construction of the tunnels is seen as a far cheaper option than using complex tunnel boring machinery such as the large automated drills used in the construction of the Port Tunnel. Costs will be further reduced by classing the workers as third level students. The whole retraining program will be designated as a further education institute and will provide these student workers with invaluable skills which will be in high demand in post recession Europe. Fees and new third level charges will of course be applied where appropriate but a government loan scheme will be introduced and the workers will be allowed to pay these loans back to the government over a period of 10 years at favourable rates of interest.
All people who have applied for unemployment benefit since the start of 2009 will be entered into a draw for the retraining and will have their names randomly selected on a weekly basis as places come available in the institute. The first batch of students will be expected to report to the construction site no later than September of 2009 for orientation and physical assessment. Those living outside the capital will be provided with accommodation in specially constructed government facilities in The Curragh army camp. The retraining programs will run for between 1 and 2 years during which the government expects to go through between 70,000 and 100,000 workers.
Construction of the metro should begin later this year and be complete within 2 years from today April 1st 2009. It is expected that it should be open to the general public shortly after the next election or the resignation of the Government.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Today FM, in fairness to them, stood up to the Garda and asked him to return with a warrant. RTE on the other hand caved and apologized as well as taking the story down from its web site and archives. Unfortunately for the government once something goes on the internet it's hard to stop people from keeping a copy of it.
If the government had shut up and ignored the issue then it would have just gone away. Now it's all over twitter and on blogs all over Ireland. There are even t-shirts and copies of the pictures being put up on lamp posts.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
The Civil and Public Services Union played their trump card by going on strike today and guess what, the Earth did not stop revolving, Brian Cowen didn't explode and Brian Lenihan didn't come crawling to their picket lines covered in ashes and dressed in sackcloth. In fact, it might have just around my area but traffic did seem lighter this morning so I got into work quicker this morning.
Maybe all this strike has done is highlight the fact that there are thousands of civil and public sector workers that aren't vital to running the country on a daily basis? At the very least if we get a few more strike days this year the budget deficit may be solved.
Monday, February 23, 2009
They get their turn to stand out side the Dail and shout at the government next Wednesday marching from Parnell Sq to the Dail. Interestingly the GRA have put forward some suggestions to the government that went beyond the usual "don't make us pay it's not fair" that comes out of most trade unions.
"We asked Government to consider legislation to write down mortgages by 20%. We also asked the Government to consider legislation that would allow people on fixed rate mortgages to be allowed to switch to variable rates without penalty. Their silence is deafening.
I like the 20% write down idea. The government is giving billions in taxpayers money to the banks to cover bad loans from property developers so I like the idea that instead of writing off huge property debts write off 20% of everyones debt and see if that stimulates the economy and restores confidence. Seems very unfair to those of us renting and with no mortgages or to those who spent their whole lives paying off theirs but it does seem better than just paying off the debts of a few millionaires.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
More pictures can be seen here.
Friday, February 20, 2009
There is an existing Luas line from O'Connell Street to Heuston and Connolly train stations so there should be no need to extend the Dart to St Stephens Green. In theory it may cut a couple of minutes off some peoples public transport journey from Sandyford to Cork or the Airport but is that worth the investment? Would it really be such a hardship to expect people to stay on the Luas an extra 2 minutes all the way to O'Connell St and then switch to the other Luas line or onto the Metro?
Given the current economic down turn the cynical part of me thinks the only reason to push ahead with an expensive plan to extend the Metro line under the Liffey and connect it with a new Dart and train extension from Heuston and Connolly is because the new station would be a two minute walk from the Dail. Of course it's all ok because as the sign says they "apologise for any inconvenience".
Save the money, save the Green. Put the money into a decent bus and tram service in Dublin and around the country as a whole.