Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


March 6th, 2008
Today is world book day, and while there doesn’t seem to be much on in the city, I know that O’Mahonys at least are doing stuff. Its all children’s stuff of course. Nobody seems to make that much of an effort to encourage adults to read, either in acceptance of or despair over that fact that not a lot of adults seem to read much at all. At least in the US, during 2006. I couldn’t find similar stats for the UK or Ireland.
A quarter of US adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year and, excluding those who had not read any books at all, the usual number of books read was seven.

…The median figure for books read – with half reading more, half fewer – was nine books for women and five for men. The figures also indicated that those with college degrees read the most, and people aged 50 and over read more than those who are younger…

…the Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories.

This year I am using facebook to track what I am reading and so far I have finished ten books and am reading five, one of which I am definitely reading, 3 I am actively reading (a chapter or so a week) and 1 less so. No prizes for which side of the median I am on.

This isn’t probably too much different to previous years, except that this year I have a Sony Book Reader, which allows me to carry around more books than ever before. And which has been filled up with a series of online purchases and free books.

In the meantime, a survey of British Librarians has produce a list of 30 books to read before you die, of which I have read depressingly few. Although I am generally wary of things to do before you die/become 30/get married lists as I don’t them sufficient motivation for stuff.

Take my life! Please

February 27th, 2008
I received a nice letter from the Blood Board informing me that I was one of those whose peronal records were on the laptop stolen in New York recently. While I sympathise with the IBTS and all the people involved, I suddenly find myself dubious about the potential security offered by 256-bit encryption keys. For example, I wonder where the key was stored or how it was accessed.

On behalf of the IBTS, I would like to notify you that a laptop that contained securely encrypted donor records belonging to the IBTS was stolen when a staff member of the New York Blood Centre (NYBC) was mugged in New York recently. Your personal records were on the laptop. These records comprise your name, address, date of birth and donation record. I sincerely apologise for the concern this must cause you.

The data was in New York because we are upgrading the software that we use to analyse our data to provide a better service to donors, patients, and the public service. To do this we have engaged the services of the New York Blood Centre, a public service blood bank in the USA. These records were given to the NYBC to customise their software application which will help the IBTS use all of the information contained in our computer systems in a more efficient way.

We are always aware of the potential for data loss, and took all measures to ensure that state-of-the-art encryption was used. The records were on a CD that was encrypted with a 256 bit encryption key. Those records were transferred to a laptop and re-encrypted with a 256 bit encryption key. This represents the highest level of security available.

I would like to assure you that the possibility of anyone breaking this encryption/security system is extremely remote. When you consider that the normal PIN we all use to access bank machines etc is a four character code the code on this laptop is thirty five characters. To our knowledge there has never been a report of a successful attack against a 256-bit encryption key.

I would also like to assure you that we will continue to take every measure to protect your personal records.

I also received a letter reminding me that there is a clinic in the Kilmurry Lodge on Thurs 28th Feb

Then there were three

February 25th, 2008

Congratulations to Jamie and Hilary who had a baby girl, Norah, on Sunday. Everybody seems to be doing well, even if they are all under medical supervision to a greater or lesser extent.

Here is a picture, head over to Jamie’s blog to see more and to wish them well.

This reads like vomit.

February 15th, 2008
If you read as much as I do then you are probably reading a book or two every week, with the occasional splurge or dry patch. If you buy as money books as I do then you probably need to think about finishing that thesis pretty damn quick and get a real job to fund your habit. If you read as many books as I would like to then you may have some type of neurological disorder and should probably see someone about that. If you buy as many books as I would like to then you are Dolores MacNamara and I claim my 10 dollars, or 2 million euro or whatever is handy.

Anyway. Its hard to be online and have an interest in reading and not come across sites by and about authors, publishers, booksellers and people generally hanging around and interested in the publishing industry. All of which can reveal much goodness about the inner workings of the industry including lots of tips on how to make it, who is trying to stop you and so on and so forth.

At this stage I should point out that I don’t have any unsatisfied itch to scratch on becoming a writer. I get to write a lot in my day job; such that I am not so interested in pursuing it as a hobby or alternative. But as Ronan and I were talking about this morning, knowing something about the writing and editing process can raise the overall standard of a journal. So the more you know about the art, skill and process of writing and the more you practice the less you need to worry that you English skills are letting you down in that conference paper or whatever.

And that seems to be a better alternative than depending on your rock-hard abs, boyish (or girlish) good looks or your cat to get published. The underwear thing may be worth a try…

…like no.other

February 10th, 2008

warning! baby ducks!!!

Big In Japan

February 6th, 2008
From akuaku

JapanToday has an article about an unlikely hit pop song. The song is the official song for a demolition company, composed and performed by one of the workers.

Unlike the stiff, propagandalike nature of regular Japanese corporate anthems, the up-tempo rock tune, written and performed by a Nihon Break Kogyo demolition worker, sounds like the themes from old Japanese animated films featuring superheroes.

But the humorous lyrics reflect the pure corporate anthem spirit of promoting the company — “We will destroy houses! We will destroy bridges! We will destroy buildings! To the east, to the west — Run, Run, Nihon Break Kogyo!”

And of course there is a video…

As usual apologies to the non-youtube people.


February 4th, 2008
Jamie is a bit smashed up and out of sorts at the moment. So I headed down to the wilds of Co. Cork with a bit of navigational aid from Ian and Ronan.

I brought along some reading for the laid-up geek on the go (or not). Halting State by Charles Stross, which I am reading at the moment and should hit all the proper techno-game-futureshock buttons. The Atrocity Archive also by Charles Stross, a very similar book in many ways (except the tech features and the related in-jokes are all 10 years older) and its about cultist nazis in spaaaaccccccceeeeeeee (well alternate universe which is almost the same thing). A copy of the latest Bill Bryson books to fire the travel side of ones imagination. And a copy of wired, mostly because Hilary didn’t have time to go get a copy.

Couldn’t find a lot about butterfly fractures on the web. And then I had to go look up what comminution means.

Hoots Mon!

January 28th, 2008
This weekend in the mire of random conversation, we were able to take time out to acknowledge both Australia day and Auswitchz day.

But we completely forgot to celebrate Burns night. Which is a pity as we are all partial to a wee dram every now and again. Not to mention the pleasures of hunting,and preparing the wily haggis.

It was my dads birthday as well – he was 65, but that probably doesn’t count as he doesn’t get his own internationally recognised day with associated merchandise and heavy drinking.

Nothing is always absolutely so

January 22nd, 2008
John Waters seems to believe that 57% of the Internet is pornography. And he is probably correct, I haven’t done the same extensive research in the topic. Apparently, most of the remaining 43% is equally useless. So John Waters has seemingly independently rediscovered that a huge portions of the Internet is crap. If he had asked, he could easily have been pointed towards Sturgeons Law “that 90% of everything is crud”. Which presumably means that John Waters has been wasting his time trying to find the 57% of the Internet that is pornography when in fact he should have been looking for the 5.7% of the Internet that is non-crud pornography. Itself as thankless task as Sturgeons law, being recursive, tells us that 90% of that is also crud. And so it goes until one goes blind searching for non-crud pornography; or for whatever reason.

Anyway, I have misquoted Sturgeons Law which actually states that “Nothing is always absolutely so”, with the 90% statement merely being a extension. What a fantastic statement “Nothing is always absolutely so” and so it is with John Waters, who seemingly has just discovered that the Internet is a jungle of blogs and pornography and opinions and pornography and crazy people and pornography, and it all seems to have unnerved him somewhat. After all many of these same bloggers can’t even string 3 words together and John has demanded that one or more suitable representative of the biogosphere be produced to prove this. But of course “Nothing is always absolutely so”, and I would imagine that it suits Mr Waters to go off on a rant about the lack of standards or ability on the Internet as it guarantees him air-time and profile, which is ultimately what he makes a living off. So to engage John Waters in public on the radio earns him cash and cachet and allows him to represent himself as defending ordinary decent journalism, while the poor blogger patsy is required to defend the entire rantings and craziness of the blogosphere, if not the Internet and its 57% pornography.

In any case I would recommend that John Waters and his enablers contact Stephen Fry who has a blog and would probably meet most peoples standards of literary quality, erudition, and wit.

busmans holiday

January 8th, 2008

Bus Eireann are putting up bus fares on Limerick buses to €1.45 from tomorrow (wednesday). I wonder if their service frequency or quality will increase as well.

I would put in the obligatory joke about waiting for a bus and then 3 turn up at once, but I have never seen that happen in Limerick.