I need to get this off my mind

As David Allen pushes up to get things out of our head and into a bucket, I feel this has to come out in case it gives me a headache.

I might take a moment here to make a statement, instead of following around every thread on this topic reminding us humans living on a tiny fragile ball in the cosmos together to have some manners.

So, yea, I get it, Ireland is a ball of shite, we have b(w)ankers running blah, and we have homeless and a crippled social care system and ya de ya de ya. Let’s park this away for a moment, file it off as you will as “our problem”. Just for the moment while I get this off my mind.

You know something, being connected to the world using technology and watching this whole crisis unfold, and the terrible way it’s being thrown around in the press, plus my understanding my history of war, all I can say is this. For the last week I have been happy waking up in a country where I have food and some militant assholes are not trying to kill me and my family. I am happy to have a future. A place to go and things to do.

I don’t have to leave Ireland in fear of the Catholic Church and Irish water for what I said about them on social media. I don’t have to hide in a boat and travel across the ocean and hope that I am taken in to a continent that is suspicious of terrorism because some of my race bear terrorist trimmings. There is no drought here forcing millions of us into Dublin looking for food and work. Our country is not becoming a dry, arid, smouldering ruin.

And let it be a stark reminder to us, on 9/11, that war can find you anywhere, and the agents of war never rest. Never. So let us pause and think for a moment. When world war 3 comes here for us, to our door, and we are sitting in our modern homes in Ireland and we, or we and our children/family/friends need to leave, because all that is on the streets now is death, what will be pack into our backpack, and where will we go. And will we be welcomed there with open arms, because we will never be able to go back.

So we are welcoming 4,000 refugees to Ireland, not migrants, refugees, note the use of the correct term. They are fleeing a hell we see on our screens but shudder to try and imagine. I hope they find a place they can call home here, and maybe many of them can help us getting around to fixing that I filed away at the beginning of this little rant as “our problem”.

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For Charity, a 5K walk, in Odd Shoes No Less!

As many of you know, I am not much of a walker, but then again, I probably never had a chance to walk for a good cause.

my feetOn Saturday the 06th of September, I am doing a 5KM walk in Odd Shoes (yep) in aid of Pieta House, the Centre for the Prevention of Self-Harm or Suicide, and St. Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation, the official fundraising arm of St. Patrick’s University Hospital, Ireland’s largest independent mental health service provider.

 

 

This year, my company, Unity Technology Solutions, are aiming to raise €10,000 euro in aid of both charities.

I don’t normally hit people up for donations, or generally anything on the internet, but I am asking you, my friends to Donate what you can to this cause and I will walk my heart out for Yee. If you decide to donate, just tap my name into the message field if you want.

 http://www.mycharity.ie/event/unitys_5k_cork__dublin_walk/

Mental health is a cause close to my heart, and times are hard for everyone, but especially hard on people who suffer from mental problems. We all have hard days where we feel down, and some days are just miserable here in Ireland, but many feel it harder and cannot shake it. It is charities like these that are fighting to raise awareness of mental problems and help those in need. This country’s government is more comfortable dealing with concerts than putting support where it is needed, and it is up to us, the people of this country to help where we can.

OOSN (out of social network) message

This is my out of social network message.from openclipart.org

 
Lent is upon us, and as part of a number of things I do for this time of year I am giving my intent to leave facebook, twitter and google+ for the duration of the season. Its not a religious thing for me, but part of a regime that is good for me and I choose this time of year to do it. 
 
It will be more challenging this year as I have so many things with inter connected accounts, PC’s, Tablets, and Words with Friends. I hope to be blogging about my experiences being out of social and in meatspace so you can catch my rants and updates here. 
 
I will keep using LinkedIn, for what its worth as I often get actual business through it. 
 
I have done this the last 2 years and its been a very worthwhile thing to do. Recently I have put myself on an information diet, killing nonsense feeds that are mostly tech journalist kiddies who think they are writing “news”, but are actually giving the corporations free advertising that they do not deserve. CES was an example of this, and I think that most of this writing just sucks, but actually sucks, but sucks your time. Its like we are living on an information diet of desserts and no main course, so I have culled all that noise back. 
 
As part of this I am leaving the social networks as part of the cull. Facebook is the hardest as I have friends here, but they can still reach me. Recently I feel facebook has the same compelling allure as email, but I am using it the same way, as I cannot see a link that interests me that I cannot impulsively share, and I need to keep checking to see if someone reads it. This needs to change as its self destructive, and so I am making my annual pilgrimage back into meatspace, with all the withdrawal symptoms that it brings. 

facebooks new search engine, change is coming

Friends, lend me your ears. Today Facebook has finally launched their search capability, over a few months it will appear available to you, all my valued friends.

https://www.facebook.com/about/graphsearch

Take a look and familiarise yourself with this concept. This is a great change as it makes it easier to look back into memories, and connect with people.

I work in computer security, and get a lot of questions from friends and family, colleagues and customers, I am part of a generation of people who grew up with the internet when i first went to college in the 90’s, I understand how the internet works, and now I help people secure their digital souls. I was on MySpace, then Bebo, now here. But many grew up being a child of the social network, and you need to take pause and have a think about how connected we are, and how we interact with the technologies around us, and how these technologies present or digital souls to the outside world.

For all of you, especially those younger than me, take a few precautions. Make sure your default share is friends, and not friends of friends. Be aware that when you tag yourself with someone else, that that picture appears to their friends. I had someone on Twitter complain that someone they did not know commented on their photo because they were not aware of this.

Also your profile picture is used when you comment on a competition, a page you liked, make sure its a picture that you are comfortable with, something with just you, or you and someone close, but not others, not your children , because Google trawls those pages as they are not private and keeps the images and names. Try and image search for yourself sometime and see if you can find you.

If you have been “fraped” (check urban dictionary) delete the offending post. Make sure when you leave your computer you lock it, keep a pin lock on your smartphone. The deletion can take a lot of time to be fully taken by Facebook, because in a large computing system this size, a data delete is a massive operation for the developer of the system, no matter how powerful this is.

Please use common sense, learn how the internet works. The best thing to do is to assume that anything you ever post on the internet is public, for all to see, and with the likes of the rise of a proper search technology like this one, that it can be used for good or evil, and it is up to you to present yourself as the best person you can be. Some day this will change, and Zuckberg will leave, his replacement might not be so kind with the essence of your digital soul and want to sell it to insurance companies, your future employer, or someone else entirely.

So take care out there, all of you have given me much fun from your connection with me, and I hope to continue interacting here. I hope this gives you some food for thought and gives you a time to reflect on the impact of technology on our lives, now and into the future.

Remember, Facebook is free, but if something you use is free then you are the product.

Terminator Salvation

Its very easy sum up this film in one word. Terrible-inator. Or something.

First, the place, I paid 20 Euro for the VIP section of Dundrum Cinema. For the extra money I got a bigger chair miles away from the screen, but high enough that no ones head got in my way. I don’t thing the overall experience was that good. I found the staff at the “bar” a bit unpleasant, and the section itself was nothing special, just a bit of spare space they could not figure out what to do with. I had a glass of wine.

Halfway through the film I was wishing for the whole bottle. This is an awful film. it could not be any worse. It was directed by someone who cant even be bothered get a full name. At the intro credits, or whatever you call them they had to show the name of the film twice, just in case I had paid for the wrong ticket. The cyborg dude was the only good actor, barely. Every one in the film delivered the cornball dialogue as if they were reading from a teleprompter and could not wait to get to the bar, or their bed, or back to the batcave. If they cant be bothered act then you cannot be bothered watch. The terminators were the same recycled unconvincing models from the other films. No new additions apart from the ones you see in the trailer. If you have seen the trailer you have seen the whole film really. I personally could not have given 2 shites about the ending, boring , predictable. There is no emotional development of the characters, even in a usual cornball American movie sacrifice scene there was a sense of “whatever, die already so I can continue delivering bad dialogue”.

Robots are cool,but the only cool thing about this film was the trailer I saw for Transformers before it.

SkyNet is nothing more than a stupid advanced toaster and the humans are a whiny bunch of generic angst ridden stereotype 101’s. If the machine was so smart then it would have just nuked the whole planet totally. And then done it again every so often. Not this elaborate crap of fate and cyborgs and things. There is more radiation in this film than you could shake a uranium stick at and it seem radiation poisoning is a thing of the past. Sure, all this would never have made a good film but then again taking that attitude with story would have prevented this piece of shit from ever being made.

By the way, cinemas, I do not like sitting through 20 mins of ads that are on TV. I don’t watch much TV for the same reason. I paid for my ticket. Show me film trailers , entertainment, I paid already to get in the last time I checked , so you can shove your ad’s. I think people should start to go looking for a manager when crap like this happens. I did before a few years back in Galway and got a really snotty retort from some little jacked up shit. I think we should do it en masse.

Please , giant robots smashing stuff, that all I want from Transformers. Roll on release.

Buying a Laptop in PC World

As part of my job , I every so often get sent out in a hurry to check some stuff out , and in my latest excursion I went to PC World to pick up a laptop in an emergency. Needed it ASAP so there was no faffing around on the interweb to get a great deal.

And so , myself and a colleague pre-ambled to the World of PC’s, and lo and behold I was greeted with the usual laziness and incompetence I am accustomed to in what can be best described as a public purchaseorium. Or a flea market, I don’t know which is a more apt description.

After looking at a list of well priced, but terrible lacklustre machines I settled on a Dell, very nice machine , with the specs to match the needs of the buyer. My Colleague then had to actually go and find a sales rep. In an empty store. At 11:00 in the morning. When the rep, who looked terribly inconvenienced at the fact that we might want to actually want to buy something arrived, he then proceeded to read the label and price tag to us. The laptop was rated at “up to 2 hours battery life” , when I asked what size battery was in it , he said “2 hours”. “Sorry” , I said, I mean how many cells in the battery. “9”, he exclaimed.

I then proceeded to explain to him that I had a HP with a  4 cell battery which I upgraded to a 8 cell and a netbook with a 3 cell that I upgraded to 6 in order to get over the battery life problem, and that, indeed if there was a 9 cell battery in this machine, which I doubted there was as it was an extra on the same dell ordered from the internet , that the battery life should be in the order of 5 hours for the same spec machine. I then asked was he sure that it was a 9 cell battery. He then picked up the machine, turned it over to peek into the empty battery bay and proceeded to count the pins on the connector.

Yep, you heard me right, the sign of a fuckin bluffer if I ever seen one. A person who would lie through his teeth and tell the customer it was a HD ready home entertainment device with XBOX integration if it would get the sale, and then deny he said it on returns.  Apathy as well is another way of extorting the general public.

We then asked him about another model at around the same price and was informed that it was a warehouse thing with no battery or power supply. I mean, WTF ? He even went so far as to say it was ok and an attractive offer.

So I went next door to Currys to see what was there. The same load of machines except each one was mis-labelled , some said XP Home when they were running Vista Premium, some said Vista Premium when they were home , 2GB when they were 1 etc. Some had no specs. A lady apologised as they were under staffed when there was 1 person in the store. I finally got another lad who was a lot more up front and polite, and showed me a few great deals fair play to him, but PC world was still the better price.

Back to PC world, decision made the dell. So yet again , in an empty store , we had to go back to the top, inconvenience a chap in the middle of what looked like a great conversation with a co-worker. He sodded off for a bit trying to find a box after the statement “I will see if it is in stock” , like there was a ROARING TRADE going on this morning. And finally got back with a box. He then took my details and forgot to add in the half price internet security as we discovered at the checkout, and the checkout girl had to go sort it out.

So times are hard eh, people need jobs, well I know secondary school students that could do this job better. No wonder the general non tech public fear computers, when the computer stores are staffed by the Muppet show. How can anyone in these places see themselves as trusted advisors on technology to the general public. Another few years ago in PC World in Galway I watched sales man selling a Celeron laptop with integrated graphics as a platform you can play F.E.A.R on , a state of the art game at the time, as he wandered of for the price list I explained exactly was was happening to her, showed her the model that could and watched her leave the store. Got some dirty look off that guy that day I can tell you.

I cant sell a bathroom, or a car, not unless I was qualified, I would feel like a complete shit if I was doing that with no understanding of what the customer wants. I do technology stuff, and I ask friends to come to me before going into a technology shop here, I have helped people out of bad experiences over the years that technology experts in stores only exacerbated. I don’t sell , I deal in zeroes and ones, and let other people fill in the rest of the numbers.

Oh well, got my laptop, anyone else have a funny experience , or should be band together to form an advisory group to make sure that stores are staffed with courteous and knowledgeable people ?