Vintage Shamrock Shake ads →

Three vintage Shamrock Shakes ads to get your Irish eyes a-smilin'

via the always-lovely Coudal

Why you shouldn't use MyBlogLog →

mybloglog.jpg

Tom Raftery unwittingly gives us a perfect demonstration of why you shouldn’t use MyBlogLog.

Sure, MyBlogLog is a great idea and all, but there’s always going to be someone out there who will exploit it as a way to display a pair of tits, or a huge fuckin' dong, or worse on someone else’s blog.

Havok Physics in the new Star Wars game →

Video footage of a Lucasarts presentation of the technology they’re going to be using in the next Indiana Jones and Star Wars games. This includes the latest version of the Havok physics engine.

Besides the killer technology on show, this video is also interesting for the part where they blow up Jar Jar Binks encased in Carbonite.

Jameson Dublin International Film Festival - Update →

Back at the start of February, I was talking about the films I was looking forward to at the Dublin International Film Festival. Talking about the surprise film, I said

A tenner says that this will be Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain

Well, I was wrong. Sorta. Shortly before the festival began, I got an email to say that the showing of Sunshine was cancelled and they would be showing The Fountain in its place.

So instead, the surprise movie was…

300

Yeah, it wasn’t the cleverest movie shown at the festival, but personally, I couldn’t have been happier. I’m a huge fan of the comic, and of Frank Miller in general, and this was the most beautiful adaptation of his work so far.

Forget Barcamp, where's Ireland's SXSW?

BarCamp Dublin will be taking place in a couple of months and, despite the fact that it’s happening on my front door (I work in the Digital Depot), I probably won’t be attending. In short, this is mainly because I don’t think it has that much to offer to me. I have a blog, but I write mainly for my own enjoyment rather than as a means to rack up subscribers (you should see some of the some self-indulgent posts I have lined up for the next couple of weeks - wow). So with its heavy focus on blogging, search engine optimisation and unexciting technology which, frankly, was of no interest to me three years ago and is of even less interest to me now, BarCamp Dublin gives me no compelling reason to attend.

Now I’ve spent the day browsing through the SXSW website and drooling over the list of nerd-focused talks they will be giving, I can’t help but wish that Ireland had something similar. What attracts me to the SXSW stuff is the completely open nature of the festival. Rather than limiting themselves to a few topics, they’ve made sure there’s something for all types of nerd: movies, music, games, design, blogging, programming are all on the agenda. And because of this, it seems to be completely open, no sense of exclusion because of a lack of interest in a particular topic.

Panels that really caught my eye were:

Why hasn’t Ireland seen a similar event? It’s not for lack of talent. We have an abundance of talented, charming and articulate nerds that could give similarly interesting talks on a similarly diverse range of topics (although there’s also an abundance of ‘squeaky wheels’). Perhaps it’s because the geek community is so fragmented that it’s hard to rally them all together. The bloggers converse with other bloggers, the designers converse with other designers and so on. Perhaps rallying them together for a truly welcoming unconference with something for everyone would be too much effort.

But it would be a thing of beauty.

Then again, what do I care? I’m out of here soon.

Stew Station

Finally got around to checking out Stew Station, which opened up next to the Namaste Indian on North King Street, right around the corner from where I live. Like the sign on the door says, they specialise in stews and other soup-based dishes, and the menu seems to change regularly. The restaurant seems to be chasing the Gruel dollar - a very relaxed, homey atmosphere with straightforward, uncomplicated food. But it seems a little out-of-place on North King Street, like it should be closer to the Epicurean Food Hall. But no matter! With development in Smithfield finally starting to bear some fruit (a Thomas Read that has yet to be even half-full, the opening of the Light House Cinema soon), maybe Stew Station is just a little early to the party.

Anyway, since we live so close, I got the food to take away. I got the tomato soup with meatball for myself and a beef and vegetable for H. Reasonable value too: EUR7 for a hearty meal (EUR7.50 if you eat in). The stews were tasty. Comforting, but didn’t feel entirely healthy. But then again, that could have been the massive dollop of carby, starchy, delicious, creamy mash that came with the meal.

Now all they need to do is change their opening times (7pm weekdays, 6pm weekends) to handle the post-pub crowd and serve Coddle, and Zaytoon will be displaced as my favourite drunk meal.

Clearwire: Initial Report

I’ve had a weekend or so to play with Clearwire. Here’s what I’ve noticed:

Speed

According to the Irish ISP speed test, I’m getting 2MB down, and approximately 300kb up. Sharing this among two computers isn’t much of a stretch: my girlfriend was able to comfortably run Software Update on her iBook (which hadn’t been updated in about 5 months) while I was able to maintain a 120kb/s download.

I’m not much of a PC gamer, but I’ve had no problems using Xbox live on Clearwire. Smooth, lagless gaming. Which means there’s no real excuse for me having my ass handed to me in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow except my lack of real skills. Dammit.

Setup

Setup was certainly simple. They just provide you with a little box, about the size of two DVD cases put together, that you just put near a window. It presents you with an RJ45 connection, and that’s it. No messing about with usernames or passwords. Usually my first instinct when you give me a closed black box is to crack it open and see how it works, but after three months of struggling to get broadband in our apartment, I’m really not going to push my luck with this one.

My only concern is at the user end of the RJ45 connection is a public IP, meaning your computer is connected directly to the internet. And I’ll be damned if I’ll ever put have a Windows machine directly on the internet. But no worries, the clearwire works perfectly with my Linksys WRT54G.

Issues?

Nothing too spectacular too far. The only thing I’ve noticed is a couple of DNS oddities - the DNS servers they give you seem to have trouble with a lot of hosts. For example, thefraudcast.com:

Server: cwi004.clearwire.ie

Address: 85.134.255.245#53

Non-authoritative answer:

*** Can’t find www.thefraudcast.com: No answer

versus a working server:

Server: 194.125.2.240

Address: 194.125.2.240#53

Non-authoritative answer:

www.thefraudcast.com canonical name = thefraudcast.com. Name: thefraudcast.com Address: 67.18.209.59

… but this can all be fixed by providing my own DNS server ahead of the ISP-provided ones.

I’m reasonably impressed so far. It’ll be interesting to see how it scales as more people jump on board.

Broadband at last!

Reports are coming in of a working broadband installation in my apartment. Rumour has it that my girlfriend rang up the guys in Clearwire yesterday and they delivered the modem today - she just plugged it in and away she went.

(Incidentally, right now, her IRC conversation consists of “SO HAPPY”, “THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE” and “THIS IS HOW LIFE SHOULD BE! EASY!” repeated again and again.)

Can’t wait to get home and get my hands on it. What will I download first?!!

Technorati Tags: broadband, internet, clearwire

There's a special place in hell for bike thieves →

In the 18-odd hours between coming home from TechCamp and parking my bike in our building’s underground parking area and stepping out again to cycle into town, someone had managed to break into the underground parking area and run off with approximately five bikes (I’m guessing five because there were five mangled locks left where our bikes had been.)

I’m still pretty furious about the whole thing. But I can’t tell if I’m more furious at the guy (or girl!) who stole my bike, or our management company for recognising that there was a huge problem with theft and vandalism in our parking area and yet doing absolutely nothing to remedy the situation.

Technorati Tags: Bike

TechCamp roundup

On Saturday, I jetted across to the Northside Civic Centre for the inaugural TechCamp. I gave a talk on “Getting Things Done” and moderated a discussion about “Using technology to improve our lives.”

So how did it go?

I thought my talk on Getting Things Done went okay, in spite of being time-limited to just giving a really brief introduction to the topic. The discussion didn’t go so well. I’d put this down to the fact that halfway through the thing, my mind started wandering down the more philosophical road of “What actually counts as an improvement, and what’s merely a convenience?” and just wouldn’t get back on-topic. Dammit.

The other talks were good. Tom Raftery’s discussion about blogs and marketing was quite interesting and eye-opening, even if I did come out with less of a clear idea of what “blogging” is all about than when I went in.

What went well?

Well, the casual, laid-back nature was nice. And it was really good to put a face (and a voice!) to many of the blogs I’d been reading. And some of the talks were really very interesting. The venue, in spite of its awkward location, was well-fitted out.

How could it have been better?

Well, one of the things that I thought that made (Foo|Bar)Camp so compelling was the participatory nature of the things. There didn’t seem to be as much of that at this one - although the talks were generally quite open and relaxed, it seemed to be pretty one way. Perhaps a communal project for the next one?

In the end, I think it was definitely worth getting up at 7.30 on a Saturday morning to cycle the 10-odd kilometers to get to. And a rollicking good start to something that I hope will continue for quite a while.

Technorati Tags: TechCamp