Wednesday Feb 13, 2013

Regular open source night in Dublin

Many of us Solaris folks have spent many years working in the open source communities of projects that Solaris either includes (like X11 and GNOME) or originated (like dtrace and ZFS, not to mention OpenSolaris itself), so it's nice to see a regular open source evening happening at the TOG hackerspace in Dublin, starting next week.

If you're in the Dublin area and can either lend some experience or just want to find out more, why not pop along… hopefully it'll be a roaring success!

Monday Sep 17, 2012

A New Experience

So a couple of weeks ago, after a fraction over 12 years, I bade farewell to the Solaris Desktop team to join Oracle's Systems Experience Design team, known internally as sxDesign, which has a wider but still largely Solaris-focused usability remit.1

There's been a good deal of overlap and collaboration between the two teams over the years anyway, so it's not exactly a step into the unknown. The elders among you might remember a GNOME 1.4 usability study I presented at GUADEC in 2001, for example, which was primarily the handiwork of a previous incarnation of sxDesign… I pretty much just turned up at the end to steal the glory for the Desktop team. In your face, people I'm going to be working with now!2

1 A move I was first approached about making in about 2003, I think… who says I'm rubbish at making snap decisions?

2 I'm not really. They all left years ago.

Tuesday Apr 03, 2012

It took a while, but...

...the Sun has finally set on Boole House.

Wednesday Mar 17, 2010

It's Paddy.

Not Patty.

Monday Dec 15, 2008


Every day on my drive into work, I arrive at this junction near the office, and sit in the filter lane at the lights, needing to turn right.

The sequence of the lights varies depending on the time of day, but there's generally a cycle where the straight-ahead filter is green, and the right-turn filter is red. (Sometimes, when the right-turn filter is red, the pedestrian light is also green, but only if a pedestrian pressed the button.)

At least once a week, when the straight-ahead filter is green, but the right-turn filter is red, some cretin (usually a lorry driver) will honk his horn at me if there's a gap in the oncoming traffic, until the right-turn filter comes on and I move off. (Today it was a lorry driver and a Nissan Micra full of Dublin's finest.)

If I'm particularly lucky, they'll then follow me down that road to the lights at the Business Park, where I need to make a left turn. At those lights, there's a similar sort of setup with a straight-ahead filter and a left-filter. But there's no dedicated filter lane at this one, so the left lane is for both left-turning and straight ahead traffic. Of course, when the straight-ahead filter is green, and the left-turn filter is red, that gives them another chance to honk their horns, if they were too thick to realise that I was indicating to turn left and they probably ought to have moved out into the right lane as we approached the lights so they wouldn't have to wait.

It does my head in. That is all.

Thursday Jun 12, 2008

Après Match 2008

If there's one thing that always brightens up RTÉ's coverage of the big fitba' tournaments, it's the Après Match team's piss-takes of the Irish TV pundits, which are usually shown at the end of the live coverage or highlights programmes. They remind me a lot of the early Only an Excuse? sketches from back home.

I'd missed most of AM's Euro 2008 efforts so far, so I was happy to find out tonight that they're online here[1]. I presume the site will be updated as they do more throughout the tournament.

Naturally they're much funnier if you're familiar with the Irish TV stations' football coverage, although the targets include the likes of Graeme Souness, Liam Brady and Frank Stapleton who are familiar enough to viewers in the UK and elsewhere. That said, they actually started with a Sky Sports send-up this year—just a pity Gary Cooke's impression of Andy Gray is one of the poorest I've heard any of them do, especially as Risteárd's Richard Keys is right on the money!

[1] RealPlayer plugin required, and doesn't seem to work with Firefox, I'm afraid

Monday Mar 10, 2008

Moon on a stick

In an odd twist of 90's nostalgia fate, I had the opportunity to see (and, indeed, briefly chat to) both Stewart Lee and Richard Herring live in Dublin in the past couple of weeks... older readers on this side of the pond may remember they used to be a double act in the BBC TV shows Fist of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy (some of which are archived on Stewart's website). More recently, Stewart Lee co-wrote Jerry Springer-- The Opera.

Enjoyed both their gigs, but Stewart Lee was probably a bit more to my rib-tickling taste-- then again, he is the 41st Best Stand Up Ever. (Julie was rather pleased to get a kiss off Richard Herring, though!)

Saturday Mar 01, 2008

Bejaysus and begorrah

Only just starting to watch Season 2 of Heroes, and boy are those Irish accents show-spoilingly bad. (Even on the odd occasion they get close, they're certainly not from anywhere near Cork...)

Tuesday Feb 19, 2008

Tech Pro

After completing the Painting With Light photography class last year, I've just started Cheryl's Tech Pro Masterclass. Part of the prep is to choose a theme for the "visual diary" you have to keep, and I've decided to run with "Architecture and Geometry". We'll see how it goes. Here are a couple of shots from my first weekend's snapping (straight from the camera, so as yet uncropped and untweaked.)

Tall ship Jeannie Johnston IFSC apartments Chequered building, Docklands

Wednesday Jul 18, 2007

New toy

Quite liking the 12x optical zoom on my new Canon Powershot S3...

Tuesday Nov 28, 2006

Out and about

Been a reasonably busy couple of weeks on the gig front, here's the potted summary:

  • Colin Murphy: Nor'n Irn comedian, a weel-kent face on the telly over here, but first time we'd seen him do stand-up (as opposed to sitting at his desk on The Panel, of which we've been to a couple of recordings). I remember enjoying it at the time, but I couldn't actually recount any of his routine now... I suppose that means I'm more likely to enjoy it next time we go and see him though :)
  • Deacon Blue: reformed Scottish earnest 80's popsters (half of whom are better known for their television roles on Sportscene and River City these days)... bounced their way through all our favourites (Dignity, Fergus Sings the Blues, Real Gone Kid et al.), although Julie thought the intervening years hadn't been too kind to Ricky Ross!
  • The Feeling: a lively and listenable bunch on stage, even managed to pull off a passable cover of Video Killed the Radio Star... suspect when I get around to listening to the rest of their album, though, it might seem a bit low-key in comparison.

Wednesday Nov 01, 2006

In the bleak mid-Autumn

Is it just me, or does anyone else in the northern hemisphere find it bizarre that here in Ireland, November 1st is considered to be the first day of winter, rather than December 1st? (Likewise, spring is considered to be February-April rather than March-May, etc.) Or is it just in the UK that summer includes August...?

Monday Feb 27, 2006

Busy Few Days

... starting last Wednesday really, when I parted company with my old Fiat barchetta (sic), and exchanged it for a newer and shinier but equally-yellow one. I'm not one to get sentimental about cars, but that one certainly accompanied me on its fair share of interesting trips both here and back in the UK where I originally bought it. I've even completed one entire (and two partial) house moves with it-- only thing that just wouldn't fit was my widescreen TV :)

Saturday afternoon saw Dublin's decision to allow a loyalist parade march down O'Connell Street go predictably wrong, with the place "resembling Bahghdad" afterwards according to Julie, who'd gone shopping in town regardless and somehow managed to avoid the violence and bomb scares.

The evening saw Scotland's rugby union revival continuing, this time beating England at their own game: rock-solid defence and accurate kicking. (Unfortunately Ireland won as well, so they'll have the triple crown up for grabs when we visit Lansdowne Road in the next game, so they'll probably be trying a bit harder.)

After that we wandered round the corner to the local pub for dinner, and who should wander in but an Taoiseach Bertie and his fancy-woman for a quiet pint. Which is just what they should be able to do, of course, but it's hard to imagine Dubya or Tony B being afforded the same privilege.

And finally, this evening I'm off to this Apple Guitar Seminar in Dublin, which sounds kind of cool... I really haven't made much use of GarageBand or Logic Express since I got my PowerBook last year, maybe this will give me some inspiration. If it's successful, it might also inspire Apple to open one of their amazing Apple Stores in Dublin, too... it's kind of sucky that they have no less than six in Britain, but none at all in Ireland (or indeed the rest of Europe, although Paris and Rome at least are scheduled to get one soon).

Monday Feb 20, 2006

Go Go Jo

This weekend we went to see the production of Joseph that's currently touring the UK and Ireland. It was the first time I'd seen it (although we 'studied' some of the songs from the LP in my 1st year/7th grade music class back in the early 80's), so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, although I knew the full West End experience wasn't likely to be on the cards.

Unexpected plusses: the lyrics were cleverer and more irreverent than I remembered, but that's not surprising given that I was only about 12 the last time I listened to them. Singing and acting was as tight as you'd expect from a touring company, and the looked-a-bit-like-Billie-Piper narrator was pretty cute :)

Disappointments: the limited 'orchestra'—more of a five-piece, really—gave everything a wee bit of an underlying air of a school production, with all the string parts (bar the guitars) being played on a bog-standard synth. And it's hard not to feel a bit short-changed by any musical that relies on reprising most of the songs at the end to bring the performance up to two hours.

Definitely well worth the afternoon out, though.

Sunday Jan 22, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Went up to Enniskillen in Norn Irn this weekend, for Julie's belated works Christmas dinner. Nice hotel, great views across Lough Erne (the pic is from our bedroom window), but the event was a bit of let-down... it was all booked months ago, so they could at least have saved us some Christmas crackers, made sure the carvery included a turkey, or hung up a few decorations. Unfortunately, all we got was some local crooner and a drum machine murdering the usual Elvis and Beatles repertoire. Still, the six hour round trip drive was pleasantly traffic-free, and it's always fun crossing the national border on one of the minor roads-- you can only tell you've changed countries when the painted stripe at the side of the road abruptly turns from yellow (Irish side) to white (UK side). Changed times indeed.

On the plus side, got back just in time for the live Motherwell game on Setanta, in which Jim Hamilton crashed in as good a goal as I've ever seen a Motherwell player score (we still lost though), and to find that Eircom's DSL upgrade has gone to plan (now up to 3Mb/384kB... upload speed still a bit crappy, but better than the 128kB we had before).


I am a Principal UX Engineer in the Systems Experience Design team, working at Oracle (via Sun Microsystems) since the turn of the century. I currently work on sysadmin user experience projects for Solaris. Formerly I worked on open source Solaris desktop projects such as GNOME, NWAM and IPS.


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