Category: Personal

Opera Unite

While I won’t assign it the “reinvention of the web” tag others are giving it quite yet, Opera Unite is something new in a space where we really don’t see truly fresh things very often. In a nutshell, it’s a mashup of “traditional” web services, peer-to-peer, and your browser; in more detail, it’s locally hosted file sharing and communications, with the following services out of the box:

  • Media Sharing / Player
  • File Sharing
  • Web Server
  • Photo Sharing
  • Messaging (“Fridge”)
  • Chat (“Lounge”)

Yes, we can install all those services on our own computers – many of us have done for years – but the social aspect makes them all much more accessible. It’s a bit clunky now, but in time – particularly if they hook up with Facebook Connect or similar – you’ll be able to find people and help people find you, and take complete control of your services.

I like this. I won’t use it right now because I couldn’t possibly move away from the browser I’ve created out of Firefox, but  when it comes out of beta I could well switch over. I like control over my data, and Unite gives it to me.

I’m voting for myself.

Reposted from

I’m lost to be honest. Who can I vote for in this election? I won’t be voting for FF, because they put us where we are today; I won’t be voting for the Greens, because they don’t honour their promises; I won’t vote for Sinn Fein, because they’re populists without credible policies; I won’t vote for Fine Gael, because they’re Fianna Fail by another name; and the party I’m actually a member of gets up to the kind of antics mentioned above, and don’t even respond to my emailed complaint. Independents? Sure they’re all probably Fianna Fail anyway.

Think I’ll write my own name onto the ballot card, stick a tick beside it. I think I can trust myself.

Dear Senator Alan Kelly…

…of the Labour Party. If you send me another piece of campaign literature on Senate headed notepaper or in an Oireachtas prepaid envelope, you’ll be guaranteeing your non-appearance on any ballot card of mine.

I’ve heard all the excuses and had a discussion with Mike Allen about it in 2004, and my opinion remains the same: What you’re doing is theft, right out of my pocket and the pockets of every person in Ireland.

Have a bit of respect for the people and the party you’re supposed to represent, for fuck’s sake.

UPDATE 08/05 11:37: Received another letter in a Dail envelope this morning, with my (renewed) Labour membership card. An incorrect membership card at that. I’ve asked them to send a replacement in an envelope paid for with my membership fee, not my taxes, or a refund.

UPDATE 09/05 15:58: Maman Poulet has received a letter from Green Party candidate David Geary, lobbying for Mr. U-Turn, again in a prepaid Oireachtas envelope. MP takes the time to point out the following section of the Code of Conduct for Office Holders:

Official facilities should be used only for official purposes. Office holders should ensure that their use of officially provided facilities are designed to give the public value for money and to avoid any abuse of the privileges which, undoubtedly, are attached to office.

Lobbying is private party business, not official goverment business. Should we be voting in people who break the rules before the election, never mind after?

UPDATE 13/05 11:37: Phone call from Labour, telling me it’s my fault they didn’t update my constituency when I provided my new address, and that it’s ok to use the Oireachtas envelope because it’s Eamon Gilmore’s. I don’t even understand the logic of that. They also admit that the envelopes are handed over to a private company for the purpose of distributing their membership cards.

I’m still not a blogger…

Although to be fair to Mark from the Sunday Times, he did tell me he’d be doing a piece and quoting me, unlike the thieving hacks in the Star who steal content from on a near-weekly basis. This is in relation to Amazon’s decision to start shipping electronics and the like to Ireland again. I’ll continue down this road.

Adam Beecher, another blogger, is not impressed with the internet retailer’s change of heart. “I’ll continue to buy elsewhere, apart from exceptional circumstances,” he said. “I have no intention of jumping back into bed with them just because they flip a bad decision three years later, and implement the change badly while they’re at it.”

I would like to say though, Mark, that it would be nicer if you asked, rather than informed. I understand you don’t have to for a simple soundbyte, but it’s nice to be nice. But thanks anyway, I appreciate it.

Wine, wine, wine, that’s all he ever does…

I have most of a case of wine plus a few assorted bottles left over from me wedding, if anyone else is getting married or just fond of plonk. Can’t stand the stuff meself and can’t sell it anywhere because of “rules”. Huh!


  • 9x Blossom Hill California Chardonnay
  • Winter Hill Chardonnay 2006
  • Lindemans Chardonnay 2007


  • Winter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
  • 2x Royal 2004


  • Oudinot Brut 2002 75cl
  • Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial 75cl
  • Lanson Blacklabel Brut 375ml

I’m going to the pub.

Probably a bit late for anyone that’s actually mad enough to be reading this now, but sure I said I’d say anyway. Text me if you’re around, my mobile is here (password ‘deleted‘).

Last post of the year I reckon, hope ye had a lovely christmas and will have a great new year, in the face of it. Fingers crossed we’ll all get through it intact.

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.

Response from Sean Sherlock (Lab) on Bailout Bill

Look, a politician with an opinion and something tangible to say in response to my query on the Bailout Bill! Ye gods, will wonders never cease?!


Just a note in response to your email. I am sure that you can appreciate that we received first sight of this legislation at 9pm approximately last night. I am not in favour of the way in which this is being rushed through. Further, the legisaltion as it is framed presently, is a “dire” piece of legislation, in that there is no clarity as to the powers of the Minister. There is no “parliamentary Oversight”. We have proposed amendments. Please see the following press release which sets out our position.

At time of writing we are presently discussing the 1st amendment. We dont know as we speak how all of this will pan out and whether the Minister will take on board our concerns.The Minister’s response to our amendments will determine our ultimate support, or otherwise, for this Bill and I am not in a position to say whether we are supporting it or not because, frankly, we just don’t know until we have voted on the amendments.

But if you read the amendments and look at the Dail transcripts you will see that we have taken a strong position on protecting the taxpayer and I personally could not support a Bill that will see the taxpayer seriously exposed without any quid pro quo for the Banks. On a daily basis I am dealing with people who are laid off from work with costly mortgages who are not given any such sweet deal. There should be no double standards on this.

Please bear with me on this. The next three or four hours will see a further change in the landscape so drop me a line then and I will let you know the position as it unfurls.

All the best


Still nothing from Fianna Failers Michael Ahern and Ned O’Keeffe, surprise surprise.