Saturday, July 29, 2006


Myself and andrea are heading down to Bellek for a couple of days. I have Monday off. Starting the new job on Tuesday. Desptite the sudden loss of my XDA Exec I'm still contactable on my mobile - I found a 10 year old motorolla in a drawer.

XDA Exec is Dead!

My O2 XDA Exec died suddenly this morning. Emergency resets, hard resets and battery replacement failed to resusitate the PDA. O2 Blackrock are trying to find me a new one. I'm seriously considering giving up on this and going with seperate PDA and mobile for a while longer (until the technology is really there). I'll give the XDA Exec one more chance though, really it was working out great so far.

Moblog me arse!

Originally uploaded by
Actually email to blogger (which I used for the entry below) doesn't support pictures.
The alternative, Blogger mobile doesn't yet support O2 Ireland.
And on Flickr on my mobile (using O2 XDA Exec's to browse the "blog this" button didn't work, also I can't sign in to Blogger itself. The script support on mobile explorer isn't great.

So this isn't a moblog but a regular desktop blog.
Pretty ugly eh?

Anyway, things are going to improve, Mozilla are working on a windows mobile browser, and FlickR and Blogger have APIs which should be easy to call from C#, so maybe I'll find the application I need pretty soon. (Or I could write one - ha ha!)

Friday, July 28, 2006

First Moblog(?)

Is this going to be my first moblog? (moblog = mobile blog - though I'm not sure I spelt it right)

My new XDA Exec took this picture (did the picture get through?), and I done the whole blog with it, in the form of an email. Ideally I' prefer to do an MMS, but I haven't figured it out yet. Later moblogs will get much more sophisticated (though not necessarily interesting or good looking - but you know that already...)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

In Madrid...

Here I am, in Madrid, in a hotel near the airport, waiting for my sister to pick me up for dinner. My last day of work for SITA is tomorrow, then I have a couple of days off for sight seeing, shopping and maybe checking out OpenJaw's Madrid office.

The flight over was a laugh, 90% of the passengers were under 15 I reckon, all Spanish. They applauded, argued, and sang songs for much of the journey, not to mention took lots of pictures and had what appeared to be an award ceremony. At one point they sang what sounded like a Spanish version of "hail to the bus driver".

Monday, July 17, 2006

New Job

Most of you have heard already but I'm leaving SITA, Monday 24th (in Madrid office) is my last day.

Big surprise I know, but I've been in one place too long. This is only the second time in my life I've changed company; Eland and SITA were corporate takeovers. I haven't really moved of my own accord since I left Irish Life to join VTI in 1995.

The company I am going to is OpenJaw Technologies, a Dublin based travel technology company. I start there on 1st of August.

I'm going to miss many people in SITA. The people are the best thing about the company. SITA have some of the most professional, intelligent, knowledgable and helpful people I've met in my entire career. I'll miss them, but the travel technology sector is so small, so I'm sure we'll meet again!

Anyway, that is the real reason for the drinks in the Purty on Friday, my goodbye to the SITA/Eland/VTI people.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Scruffy O'Bear

Some years ago, I think 1998, I had just said goodbye to Andrea after her first visit to Brighton. I was bit lonely on my way back from the train station and got her a stuffed toy to send her in Brazil as a surprise!

On the way home (stuffed toy in hand) I happened to bump into Owen...

"Pint?" he asks.

"I'll drop this home," says I.

"Why not buy him a pint too?" suggested Owen.

Anyway, we figured it would be a laugh to go into a bar, prop the teddy on the counter and order "two and a half pints". The first barman's response was pretty quick - "he's barred", he said pointing at the toy, "starts too many fights!"

Anyway, we went from pub to pub with the toy and some disposable cameras. This went on for about six hours. Well, it seemed funny at the time...

[ See the full set of photos on ]

O2 XDA Exec

Thinking of getting this phone to replace my current Vodafone handset and my Palm Pilot (an old m515) and also act as my MP3 player. Kill three birds with one stone (or "one brick" according to some reviews).

Some more info:
XDA Exec page on
XDA Exec from O2 Ireland catalog

I posted some questions about it on, but since it is literally just out in Ireland I'm not sure I'll get much response:

I'm wondering...
...will it play any MP3s (rips from my CDs) or just ones I buy off O2?
...will it really connect to any Wi-Fi network including my home one?
...will I be able to download and install software from any source?
...will I be able to run Skype? (while connected to my own Wi-Fi of course)
...will it really replace the Palm Pilot?

Just from reading the specs it looks like the answer to all of the above is YES. But will it do all that well enough? If so it is worth the money, but otherwise it is way too expensive. I might be better off upgrading my Palm to a new model and buying a much smaller and simpler phone.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I'm going to Madrid next Sunday (23rd) and staying until Wednesday. I'll be working in the SITA office in Madrid on Monday 24th and then I have a couple of days off for touring around and shopping (olives, olive oil, ham). I hope to spend some time with my sister also.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Eland / VTI / SITA - Reunion

What? Food & Drink

When? Friday, 21st of July, starting at 6pm

Who? Past and present employees of Eland, VTI and SITA

Where? The Purty Kitchen, Monkstown

Food? Food is on me! Ordered: shrimp, sandwiches, sausages, chips, mushrooms.

Drink? I'll buy the first few rounds anyway...

Why? I can't say just yet - big news coming up!

Send me a text or email to let me know if you can make it or not...


Link to the Purty Kitchen -

Affordable Irish Property

The guys in the office spotted this and it was in the paper today... Check out this property for sale as an "ideal holiday home":

Now, is it just me or is clear to everyone else that that is NOT a home in any sense of the word but in actual fact, a garden shed!

For €120,000!
($152 thousand US, £83 thousand British Pounds)

Some highlights:-

  • External chemical toilet
  • Felt roof
  • Mains Water & Electricity Nearby
(My own emphasis.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Results...

I got the results back from the 5 mile race (from a colleage in the office, but they are posted here, see 2006 Results [XLS/900KB]).

As I was starting to expect, my time was 43 minutes, nothing like 38:30! Oh well, it is still my best time in recent years. I came 1003rd. The brother done very well, but it doesn't look like he beat Damien Duff afterall...

Monday, July 10, 2006


I finished the Adidas - Irish Runner - 5 mile challenge, I'm not sure of my time, there was some jostling when I got to the end and I couldn't see the official clock, then I messed up timing it on my watch. So as far as I can work out I either done it in 42:30 or 38:30. Obviously I'd prefer the latter, but the former is more likely! Either way the fastest I've done 5 miles since I was a young fella. We'll wait for the official time...

Speaking of young fellas, the brother done it in "33 something" (his words), which is a fantastic time. Faster than Damien Duff!

What's next? I intend to start running a fixed time, 60 minutes, once or twice a week. Then gradually improve the pace, go further within that time. Can I do 7 miles in an hour? We'll see. I know I should stick to one pace and work on distance but I'm not aiming to run a marathon actually. I just want to burn as many calories as I can in two hours a week.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sponsor Me!

I've mentioned the running before (see February). I am not going much faster or further, I'm doing about 5 miles in 45 an a half minutes now, or 6 miles in 56 minutes, not quite breaking the 9 minute mile. My excuse is that I missed a lot of training in April and May, having done two trips to USA, two to Italy and one to Malaysia.

On Sunday I'll run my best time ever I'm sure, I'm taking part in my first official race, the Adidas - Irish Runner - 5 mile challenge, part of the series of races leading up to the Dublin City Marathon in October. Online entry is still open if you want to participate!

Sponsorship for Aware...

If you are feeling generous I'm collecting sponsorship for Aware, an Irish charity dedicated to assisting people directly effected by depression and increasing public awareness of mood disorders. So if I know you, (and I can see no other reason for you to read this blog), you can sponsor me by adding a comment below, with your name and the amount, I'll collect the money for Aware after I finish the race. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cromartie High School

You probably didn't think I was some kind of manga loving Otaku nut case. (Who would have guessed? It is not like I work at a desk all day, have few friends, communicate primarily over the Internet, obsess over computers and video games... oh wait a sec...)

Anyway, my favorite manga at the moment is Cromartie High School by Eiji Nonaka.

It is very hard to describe Cromartie. First and foremost it is a kind of surreal dry comedy. The humor is based on a mix of surreal characters in normal situations (the robot and the gorilla attending school for example) as well as surreal occurrences on what should otherwise be mundane occasions. At one point the aliens invading the roof are ignored by the characters obsessing over the the social awkwardness of forgetting someone's name. Every character is the "streight man", and every question is treated by them as a matter of life and death: who should break the news to Mechazawa-san that he is a robot? Who has the "hardest" nick-name? Is Freddie really a high-school student and why is he shirt-less? What should we eat for lunch? Where did the gorillas come from?

Nonaka is an expert in gradually adding layers of insanity, with many episodes being a repeating series of the same gag gradually building into a total farce. His portrayal of stupidity is also pretty funny, right up there with Dougal on Fr. Ted, of course an element of tragedy and futility is mixed in. There isn't much narrative structure, you could almost read the episodes in any order, but over time there's a small element of back reference and self reference mixed in. Cromartie High School is a send-up of everything: every high-school story you've ever read or watched, all action manga - itself included, and probably the human race also.

It has been years since I read anything that forced me to stop reading I was laughing so much.