Saturday, January 17, 2009

So it seems the Final Cylon is

someone who falls broadly under my initial prediction though it would appear I was wrong as the specific instance. Or at least that is what we're lead to believe. Avoid clicking the link above if you don't wish to be in any way spoiled.

That said I think they may play around with us a bit more, indeed I was half expecting to get some straight up visual clue that undermines that this is really Earth. To their credit they're being much more subtle than that.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Judging the Irish Blog Awards

I thought the Irish Blog Awards were based on of what people had done in the previous year. Especially this year when they supposedly limited or focused on activity between July 15th and December 15th 2008. You can be a Johnny come lately but don't do your good work in the early part of the year and then think you can coast through the rest of the year. Yet it would appear there are those who think the judges can be easily influenced by increased activity in January 2009?

Really? Could it be true that the judges are so superficial and lax that if asked to judge a Blog for awards being given in 2009 for activity in 2008 that they will simply work back from the most recent posts in January. Aren't people really being judged on their entire year's output? Personally I'd be more inclined to think that the increased activity has more to do with new year's resolutions and a revitalised desire to give their blogs a renewed effort. There again, I'm not quite so privy to how the judge(s) do their job for the Irish Blog Awards. So I could well be wrong.

The Government Trio

Does anyone else think that the Trio at the top of government are like teenagers left in charge of the house while their parents are abroad? They know that mundane daily tasks like the washing has to be done and they've even seen their parents use that square looking white machine with the nice porthole thing that lives in the utility room but they don't really know what buttons to push or where the magic dust that you feed it lives. So they look at all the rubbish and associated problems as they pile up, shrug their shoulders and tell each other that 'it's so unfair!.'

Even stranger is the fact that they remind me a bit of another Trio. These Trio were by far and away the weakest Big Bad ever that the Slayer had to deal with. Still there is a resemblance, Andrew the whiny one is Mary Coughlan, Jonathon as Brian Lenihan the little one that loads of people thought was going to turn out to be on the side of the angels, while Warren is Brian Cowen.

Above Mary Couglan is on the left, Brian Lenihan in the middle and Brian Cowen on the right.

Bumbling, incompetent, ineffective. Three really ain't the magic number.

As Tony the Hotdog Vendor in Highlander might ask, "What does incompetent mean?"

Obama's Inauguration

The fact is that, unless President-Elect Obama gives a speech that causes all who hear it to experience a moment of transcendence that place them, if only temporarily, in harmony with the universe, before breaking into song that moves them to tears while performing a dance that sends all present to levels of sexual climax unheard of in all human history before finally taking to the air and flying the entire dais filled with the assembled dignitaries back to the White House under his own steam, people are going to be disappointed.

These have to be the conditions for the biggest case of performance anxiety ever. Still, I'm going to be watching in case he can pull it off.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

From Hell's heart, I stab at thee

To many people he was best known as the damper dressed chap in Fantasy Island, but for some of us he will always be Khan!

spam, SPAM, spAM, and Damien

There has been considerable talk about spam in the last week on foot of a mail from the Green Party about a competition they are running or trying to run. What is surprising is the rather superior attitude of some of those commenting, especially Damien Mulley when you consider that he did the same thing himself when it suited him. While much of the comment was quite considered, though some was perhaps a little less so, the commentary of Mr Tubbs stands out as it verges on the hysterical, swerves into the lunatic before careening back up the road into plain rudeness. Indeed such is the virtual rending of hair, that one almost expects talk of personal violation. Below is a self admitted bulk mail I got from Damien. It reads

As you may or may not know I'm organising a training day in UCC
next Saturday (March 24th). The training will cover the basics for an
IT company or IT person that's just setting out in business. Details
are available here:

If you are interested in coming along, please do come along or if you
think someone you know in the Cork/Munster area would benefit from the
training, send the details on to them. All training is provided free.
After Cork it is hoped there'll be on in Dublin around April 28th.
Yes. this has been a mass email but I'm sure you'll forgive me.

-- blog:
Mobile: +353 86 xxx xxxx
LinkedIn: "

At the time (a bit under 2 years back) the only contact I'd had with Damien was via the blog awards for which I had been nominated shortly before receiving the above mail. So harvesting email addresses from the blog awards and then bulk emailing people to advise them of a training event he was running was par for the course for Damien back in the day. Since it would seem that training courses are now a significant earner for Damien it would be reasonable to think of this now as an email was for an event that provided him with a grounding in what is a commercial activity. I can't really say I was especially put out by getting it but it would seem if I was to follow the lead that Damien sets for those who send mai lto him, I should have contacted the Data Protection Commissioner and scweamed and scweamed the blogophere blue with how someone had contacted me about something I wasn't interested in using an address they had garnered purportedly for other purposes.

The rather dull fact is that there is spam and there is SPAM, and if you can't tell the difference then I'm not sure what I can say to help you see it. To top all this for all the talk of the need for the personal there is the notion put forward that you can bulk email people but if you make sure to use the bcc field so that it appears to be just to them as individuals and then use some automated process to include their first name at the top then that's all fine and dandy. That this might signify to anyone with half a brain that the intent was somehow significantly less impersonal than doing the same but without their name shows that for at least some of the offended it's all about the perception not the reality. It's still a bulk email, but you put their name on it - oh - that's so much better. On a scale of one to SPAM this was probably a two.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Job Losses, Pay cuts, or reduction in services

We need to reduce the amount of money that is spent by the state. If the choice in reducing public spending is to be either one of job cuts, a reduction in services or pay cuts across the board then the latter seems the more equitable choice.

What if we were to ensure no cutbacks in pay for those under 30K, but a 3% cut for those between 30 and 50K and 7% for those between 50K and 80K and 10% cut for those over 80K. This would be an across the board pay cut. Overnight everyone in the public service would be taking home less money. See the same thing may well happen but it will involve job losses and as a consequence as loss of services.

People will argue that this will suppress demand, but so too would job cuts. Which is worse for the economy: fewer people working for the same money who are in fear of losing their jobs and so afraid to spend or more people working for less money but who are confident that they will have jobs next year and so can spend on the domestic economy? Not all aspects of living have gone up in the last while, the cost of servicing mortgages has dropped in the last 12 months, so people won't have quite. True there will be those in negative equity but the value of your house doesn't matter in the short term if you don't have to sell and you would be more likely to be selling because you lost your job not because your take home pay went down by 3%.

In combination with this, the state should actually step in to reduce the costs borne by the public by actually delivering the services it is suppose to instead of the public having to source those services privately or even having to contribute cash to themselves. Imagine an education system where parents didn't have to organise money to pay for the upkeep of the school, ho

And we should push hard for reforms in those areas of services where bottlenecks exists and in which costs spiralled out of control over the last decade. Solicitors for example, and isn't it odd that the auctioneering business allows the same person to act for the buyer and the seller? I mean whose interest is the priority there I wonder?

If some of the burden was lifted from the working public then we could all live on a few quid less.