Monday Dec 19, 2005

Poker power

Julie and I had an excellent lunch at Boccacio's on Dame Street today, which was made all the more entertaining by the otherwise ordinary-looking bloke on the next table receiving a call back from Paddy Power. Apparently he'd phoned to complain about some adverts for their online poker service that he'd seen in a public toilet, and made it perfectly clear that he was appalled and outraged by double entendres such as "Get your hands on a big pair tonight" and "The man next to you is watching your hand". He was equally appalled that they had not been cleared by the ASAI because it was not "compulsive" (sic) to have them reviewed prior to being posted, and that they would remain in place to "disgust" other people over the festive period.

You do have to wonder if some people have too much time on their hands...

Tuesday Dec 13, 2005

What Linus thinks of GNOME usability...

Not a lot:

Wednesday Dec 07, 2005


Some quality car-crash entertainment on the Nolan Show on BBC1 last night, with the Scottish Daily Record's very own Just Joan Burnie defending her Best-bashing article last week to the people of Northern Ireland. Sadly she didn't do as good as job as I was hoping, but I sent in a couple of emails of support to the show anyway :)

Monday Nov 28, 2005

Buttery quandary

What happens if you eat pro-biotic butter while you're on antibiotics?

Wednesday Nov 23, 2005

Kea-no thanks

I do hope Roy Keane doesn't join Celtic. Not because of his ability-- it's always a good laugh when injury-plagued has-beens join the Old Firm and turn out to be rubbish. But if nothing else, it would be bound to encourage even more people to flock over to Glasgow from Dublin Airport every weekend, and there's already more than enough vileness in the air when Rangers and Celtic fans come to town, without high profile Irish signings and a stadium full of tricolours to provide certain elements with even more targets for their sad vitriol.

Yes, Celtic FC was founded by an Irish priest. Ancient history, get over it everyone. Irish sports fans who actually care about football more than history would do well to direct their air fares and gate money towards their local league teams instead for a while, to improve the quality of the grass-roots Irish game instead of glory-hunting in Glasgow. And more importantly, to give the West of Scotland a bit of space to sort out its nasty sectarian problems, rather than (innocently or otherwise) adding to them.

Friday Nov 18, 2005

(Some) Toys for Big Boys

Julie got us tickets for the Toys 4 Big Boys (sic) show last weekend... it was kind of fun to wander round, but didn't really live up to the hype it gets every year. A few too many people selling poker tables and mobile phones (yawn), and not nearly enough freebies or proper gadgets to play with! (And much to Julie's disappointment, no sign of any of the advertised facilities at the Ladies' Pamper Zone... not even the glass of wine...)

Sunday Nov 06, 2005


Busy couple of weekends... last Saturday, since it was a bank holiday, we decided to treat ourselves to a night at the Clarion in town to de-stress from our recent house-moving escapades, making as much use of the facilities as the budget allowed. On Sunday night, we had tickets for a recording of RTÉ's The Panel, which is always good for a a laugh. And this weekend, we went for an international shopping day-trip... well, okay, we took the train up to Belfast. Dunno if it's the slightly-more-Scottish-accents or the City Hall that looks a bit like a squashed version of the City Chambers, but it reminded me of Glasgow even more than last time I was there.

Wednesday Oct 26, 2005

You want it \*what\* way?

First day working in my new home office since we moved house and BT got around to switching on our broadband connection again. Still a lot of unpacking and cable untangling to do, but everything worked pretty smoothly otherwise. (Wasn't brave enough to try getting dual-head working on Ubuntu on my Powerbook, though-- don't know if it's even possible.)

A couple of nights out last weekend... Harry Hill at Vicar Street on Saturday (my choice), and the Backstreet Boys at The Point on Sunday (Julie's choice). Harry had his amusing moments, but I've seen him do better work, and Julie was seriously unimpressed. BSB were, well, five blokes looking younger than they ought to, singing close harmony 90's pop songs amidst dry ice, lasers and indoor fireworks. More memorable for the spectacle than the music from my point of view, but Julie went to bed dreaming about Kevin so I guess she enjoyed herself :)

Monday Oct 03, 2005

Moving House Wrecks Your Head

Packing and unpacking mountains of boxes is bad enough, but it's not helped by the muppets who staff the utility companies.

BT Ireland need the Eircom account number at our new address before they can transfer our broadband connection, which will then take 14 working days (so, at least it's not quite three weeks then). Eircom, though, despite having to log into their phone system with my existing account details, won't tell me my new account number over the phone for "security reasons" (despite having done so every other time I've moved house), but offered to email it to any address I chose instead... which didn't strike me as outstandingly secure either, until now, several hours later, when I've realise that they haven't actually bothered sending it at all. Fair play to them, you can't get much more secure than that, really.

Then there's Bord Gais, whose skills clearly don't quite extend to copying and pasting my name correctly from an email to wherever they have to type it in to open an account, and NTL who seem to be unable to make the cable TV point in our new house live without me taking a morning off work for an "appointment", when they've managed to quite happily just flick a switch somewhere every other time I've moved.

Hopes of a full house are thus pinned squarely on ESB , who I have to phone at the end of this week with a closing meter reading for my old address. One can only imagine what inventive ways they'll find to make that a miserable experience too.

Sunday Aug 21, 2005

You have flown so high and so well

Julie and I did something a bit different yesterday... we took a balloon ride over the self-proclaimed garden of Ireland, County Wicklow. Neither of us had been anywhere near a balloon before, and truth be told we were both a tad nervous, but flying conditions were perfect, and the hour-long, 2000ft ride (and landing) couldn't have been any smoother if we'd taken a lift1. All topped off in true Irish style with a plastic cup of warm champagne served from the back of a Land Rover in the random field where we happened to land, but we were still feeling so buzzed by then that pretty much anything would have gone down well.

Post script: rather stupidly, I lost my credit card wallet at some point during the "help us drag everything off the trailer and get it inflated" stage. Luckily, on phoning the launch site hotel when I got home and discovered my mishap, somebody had found it and handed it in, but that meant another two hour round trip this afternoon to pick them up. Needless to say, Julie wasn't too impressed, but by way of compensation I bought dinner up the road at Hunan's tonight. We'd never been there before, but it turned out to be an excellent choice-- which, with the best will in the world, isn't something you can often say about dining out in Finglas.

1 Or an elevator, depending on where you're reading this.

Wednesday Jul 20, 2005

Another hot weekend

Julie and I spent this weekend in and around Athlone, right in the middle of Ireland. Not a place I'd ever heard very many complimentary things about, but it turned out to be very agreeable... in and around the old town, sitting under a tree by the river, or watching the sunset from the hotel boardwalk by the marina, it could easily have passed for a sleepy French or Italian town of the sort that you read about on the travel pages of the Tory\^H\^H\^H\^HTelegraph.

Despite being diddled out of a tenner at Ireland's oldest pub on the Saturday afternoon, we recaptured the ambience by dining at the naffly-named Pavarotti's, which was pleasantly unfussy and extremely reasonably-priced.

On Sunday we headed down the road to Clonmacnoise, a thousand-year-old Christian settlement-- a bit like the Isle of Iona in Scotland, and with similar examples of intricately carved crosses and buildings. A pleasant And interesting place to spend an afternoon, even for a heathen like myself :)

Tuesday Jul 12, 2005

Noodley doodley dum dum dum

Was a warm old weekend here (and, so far, it's an even warmer week). To celebrate this decidedly un-Irish event, we went along to a decidedly Irish one-- the tenth anniversary performance of Riverdance, at the Gaiety Theatre. Have to say it wasn't entirely my cup of tea... perhaps because dancing has never really been my thing anyway, and perhaps because the fusion of traditional and electrified Celtic music that was so contemporary then (the likes of Capercaillie and Wolfstone are among the better proponents-- I'm sure there are Irish equivalents too) now sounds a bit dated to my ears. Julie certainly enjoyed it, though.

Prior to that we dined at Wagamama's, the Japanese noodle bar across the road from the theatre. I visited the one in London many moons ago (prior to a Del Amitri gig if memory serves)... the food was as good and reasonably-priced as I remembered, although I'd forgotten they wrote your order on the placemats!

Friday Jul 08, 2005

Suicide is Painless \*guffaw screech titter\*

Yeesh. Can't believe that after all those years of watching M\*A\*S\*H on the BBC without canned laughter, the UK Paramount Comedy channel still leave it in.

Sunday Jun 12, 2005

Safari? Sa goody! [1]

We took a spin round Ireland's Eye from Malahide marina with the Sea Safari folks on Saturday. To be honest, there wasn't nearly as much safari as advertised, just a cursory shufti into a cave on the off-chance that there might be some seals dozing there. But other than that, the hour-long trip was a blast, and the weather was glorious.

Today we were at Croker for our first hurling games of the season... Wexford v Laois and Kilkenny v Offaly. Possibly two of the most one-sided games we'll see for a while.

1(c) Christoper Biggins Enterprises, 1982

Tuesday Jun 07, 2005

Fun-sized Snickers

Julie ran (well okay, walked) the women's 10km mini-marathon along with 40,000 others in Dublin yesterday, completing the course in 1 hour 54 minutes-- a pretty impressive effort in the comparative heatwave that swept these parts (and with a niggling ankle injury). More importantly, she raised a good chunk of money for the Mater Foundation's breast cancer campaign.


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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