Category: Business

How To Create A BETTER Irish Bar

Jason Sheehen of Denver Westward tells us how to create a great Irish bar, and doesn’t get it far wrong. But if he wants a real taste of the “old country” as he calls it – I’ve always hated that phrase – he needs a few adjustments:

For a start, he lost credibility when he mentioned Harp. Harp is piss, the Budweiser/Fosters of Ireland. The only good thing Harp ever brought to this world is the “Pinta Harp and a packeta dates there Laurence” ad from the late eighties. Remember that?

Jameson isn’t bad but Black Bush from our friends north of the border is smoother, and Midleton Rare is the finest Irish whiskey on the… well, in Ireland. Personally I don’t think it should be allowed outside the country, but that could simply be naked greed. It’s all I drank at my wedding, but sure everyone else was buying!

Ampersanded pub names are British, not Irish. Ampersanded pub names IN Ireland are there because some British bastard named it, and we haven’t got around to changing it yet. Sure there’s no rush like. (Lenny Henry said it best when he described Ireland as a “cold Jamaica” and gave an example of an Irish fella ejected from the pub, horizontally, pint in hand, saying “ah sure I was leavin’ anyway”.)

Road, cigarette and drink signs are ok as long as they’re genuine. In particular the road sign, which has to be in miles – none of your new-fangled kilometers here please – and stolen and “exported” yourself, wrapped in bin bags. Plus of course they all have to be a bit dirty. As does everything in the bar, particularly the bartop itself. A slight stickiness on the tables adds realism.

“Irish music” needs to be clearer. Boyzone and Westlife are Irish ffs, and no self-respecting Irish man would listen to that twaddle. (Of course Irish women aren’t allowed in proper Irish bars, except perhaps for a half on Sundays after Mass.) U2, Thin Lizzy and Clannad are fine, with a few unknown Irish fellas on their own instruments in the corner on Saturdays night. The langer song is not fine. It’s shite.

On the food front it’s actually King crisps you want, plus a nearly empty card of Bacon Fries and a box of Cadburys Snacks. Purple ones, obviously; or Club bars if you can find them. (They have less chocolate so they’re cheaper. And nastier. ) If you want to draw in real Irish alcoholics, Crúibíns are your only man.

Look, just go into the Spailpín Fánach in Cork and use that as a model. You’ll need to walk up to the Brown Derby for the Crúibíns though.

Palm Pre

[This has been in my drafts since January 9, only noticed it now. It does have a motion sensor and landscape mode btw.]

The wife’ll kill me, I want one of these and I only have my Treo Pro a couple months.

Palm Pre

It seems to settle a major deficiency in the Treo Pro, namely Windows Mobile. It’s not a bad mobile OS per se, but the hardware is a tad underpowered for it, and it has niggles that can’t be addressed because of it’s closed nature. That said, I don’t know if the Pre’s webOS will be open either, but hopefully Palm will have generated Clue from their Windows adventure. And drop it forevermore…

One other apparent deficiency would appear to be a motion sensor and/or landscape mode. You’d think that if it had it, the presenter in these PC Pro videos – well worth watching by the way – would have demoed it; although it has to be said that despite best effort, he’s no Steve Jobs and might have been better off deferring to someone with more charisma.

(Via Slashdot.)

.TEL Coming Soon

New TLD sunrising on December 3, landrushing Feb 3, GA March 24.

Very cool service with no hosting required, everything is done via the DNS. Put your contact details in a few NAPTR records, add your location in a LOC RR and perhaps a few keywords in TXT RRs, and your details will appear neatly formatted on your automatically generated .TEL website. (Tucows is the registrar I use in Beecher Networks.) But of course since that’s just generated from your raw data, it can be used in a multitude of other ways, by your mobile, your GPS unit, etc.

Not cheap though, at least not for sunrise. I haven’t set pricing yet, but I reckon sunrise registrations’ll run at least €300.

LinkedIn Applications

Good to see LinkedIn still developing their product, but they’re still very much playing catch-up.

Makes little difference to me as I don’t spend much time networking online (awfully un-PC for an Internet consultant to say that I know), but some people do invest a serious amount of time, energy and effort into it, and LinkedIn aren’t cutting the mustard for those people imho. They don’t need to lead the field – business communities rarely do – but a new idea here and there might keep people interested.

It remains my favourite network, but only because the only social networking I’m interested in doing is for business. If I was into it in any way, I’d be spending my time on Facebook. And I hate Facebook, because their privacy policies are in the “scumbag” realm.

Press release follows, slightly munged to fit into the post nicely. Click the logo to start adding applications to your account. (more…)

Negative reviews removed from

According to several people on While I can understand the commercial benefits to Menupages, I can’t understand why I’d want to use the site in any way, shape or form now. Pretty much defeats the purpose imho.

Course I don’t use it anyway, so I guess I won’t have much of an impact. Tried it a couple of months ago when I was looking for a nice restaurant to take the lovely wife too, but the usability was frankly embarassing. I reverted to the old reliable, and they trumped Menupages bigtime. Nicest evening out I’ve had in a long time.

Yay Chapter One, boo Menupages.

Avis: [Less of] A Shower of Shits

UPDATE: When I pointed both Avis and J&P to this post and the one on Boards, I finally got a response from someone that appears to have a bit of authority. They contacted me on the 9th and promised a response on the 13th, which duly followed with a promise to refund the entire excess amount because of a lack of documentation on the part of Avis Croatia.

I never actually asked for a full refund however I certainly appreciate the gesture as it does take the sting out of the tail. Thank you to Avis’ Business Support Centre Manager for following through as promised, I only hope they’ll teach the rest of the staff how to handle enquiries like this in future.

If you want to learn how not to do business, Avis and Johnson & Perrott are your men. Here’s an email I sent to them about a rental in Croatia, which still hasn’t been resolved two months later.

The main issue aside, their customer service is simply atrocious: they don’t reply to emails, except when they do and send their replies to someone that was CC’d on the email.

It’s lucky I don’t let people get to me any more or they’d have ruined my otherwise wonderful honeymoon.

This would have been a lot easier to explain in person, however if you insist. Copies of the email confirmation from Avis Ireland and rental agreement from Avis Croatia are attached, together with a photo of the car.

The car suffered some minor damage in Dubrovnik, while unattended overnight in the car park in our hotel; we filled out the incident report in the Avis wallet if you need the details. When we returned the car to the Avis office in the airport we expected to pay an excess, however the operator there decided with a glance that the repair cost was going to be €600, because both doors were damaged. Myself and my wife have both had work done on our cars and knew this to be excessive, however this was the last day of our honeymoon and we had no intention of ruining it by starting a dispute with a man that obviously had no interest in saying more than three words to us. He effectively threw the bill at my wife, and when she asked politely how we should pay – we didn’t even attempt to challenge the bill – he gestured at the Visa terminal and muttered something incomprehensible.

I’m not going to waste my time disputing the ridiculous excess I was charged for the minor repair work, as I’m sure Avis has all the bases covered with terms and conditions. However even that wasn’t enough for the Croatian operator, who added another 250 Kuna to the bill for reasons best known only to himself. I would like that returned for a start, and I would like the bill fact-checked by someone competent to check for further errors, in particular the excess and the taxes charged on both the rental and the excess.

I would also like it noted for the record that this sting in the tail of our honeymoon will prevent us from renting from Avis again, in Ireland or abroad. We feel we’ve been taken advantage of and taken for granted, and we won’t allow a repeat occurence. As the only negative thing that happened on our entire honeymoon, you can be sure it will be mentioned when we’re describing it to our family, friends and colleagues.

Tech Bubble 1.0 Stars: Where Are They Now?

Christ, this brings back some memories…

Silicon Alley Insider: We’re not ready to call the end of the second Internet boom quite yet. But when we do, we’ll be looking for some perspective. For instance, whatever happened to the high-flyers of the last bubble once it deflated?

Good news We tracked down 36 of them — from Turkish romantic Mahir “I KISS YOU” ÇaÄŸrı to a search engine founder-turned-cattle rancher, and found that almost all of them have found interesting second acts.

Many now work as venture capitalists or have founded new startups, while others have gone on to some unexpected fields. Find out who has helped cure more than 15,000 people of blindness, and who went to work for the Gap.

Thanks Justin.

Unemployment numbers not that bad…

…actually they’re worse…

Irish Examiner: The scale of unemployment is far worse than official figures show because another 38,000 people are stuck in a backlog waiting for their dole claims to be processed, the Irish Examiner has learned.

Place Your Bets: Integrated ticketing in Dublin by IBM, over budget by how much?

Times are tough so we can’t be completely screwed to the wall these days, only partially. Traditionally in Ireland we go over budget by multiples, but I don’t think IBM would get away with that with this one.

However, going over budget by less an 100% in Ireland would probably result in IBM being bullied in the playground, so I’m betting on 100% over budget, plus or minus 10%. What’s your estimate?

ENN: IBM is to develop and implement an infrastructure for an Integrated Ticketing System ITS across all public transport in the greater Dublin area. The tech heavyweight was chosen by the Railway Procurement Agency RPA to develop and roll out an e-payment system to enable commuters to use a single pre-paid smart card for travel on all buses, trains, trams and coaches in the city. The integrated IBM back-office system will provide ticket and smart card management, central reconciliation and settlement services to all public transport providers. The system is part of Ireland’s “Transport 21” project. Work on the project will begin immediately and a phased deployment of the system will start in late 2009. Financial details of the contract were not revealed.