Blackout Ireland

Entries for August 2006

August 2, 2006 at 2:37AM There’s no greater waste than a closed mind

Richard Waghorne writes that the kerfuffle concerning his screed against elements of Irish culture he doesn’t like “is closed”. So be it. He made his pronouncement without engaging any discussion with the more reasonable elements in the Irish blogging community, instead tarring us all as “language zealots”.

He writes, “you lost”, referring to all of us who disagreed with the stance he took no matter how well reasoned or well researched our counter arguments were. But how did “we” lose? Did “we” lose because a bunch of hotheads flamed his email account?

Yes, we did lose in a way; we, Richard included, lost the chance for real debate. Richard caused us all to lose because he didn’t follow up his arguments anywhere, be it on his weblog or in the comments section of any of the posts about his original post.

And I have to ask Richard why this is so? What fear drives you to write your pieces, post them online, and then hide away when others attempt to engage with you about them? Since you turned off comments on your weblog, you’ve steadily disengaged from debate with your fellow bloggers. Why? Back in February, you endorsed Damien’s suggestion for a bloggers’ debate: what’s changed since then? Really, all I’m looking for is a response. You can email me or comment on this entry.

Addendum: there’s reaction elsewhere from Bernie Goldbach and EWI at FreeStater.

Second Addenum (August 3rd): Richard has popped his head up on GUBU. Play nice now, kids! I’ve left three comments: let’s see what response they get.

Third Addendum (August 3rd): I got an email from Richard! And guess what: neither smoke nor sulphur billowed from my computer.

August 3, 2006 at 12:32AM And doesn’t everybody know that ninjas are all Jewish?

I have to hand it to Twenty Major: Every one of his pieces is an instant classic. I just had to quote from his current one though:

“Hmmm, interesting. On the other hand it could just mean that Jews, as well as being excellent for balancing your chequebook and dispensing other financial advice, are really fucking good at fighting. I mean, if you were no good at it why would you make your country right in the middle of a load of other countries who hate you?”

“That is a good point. Like if you went to a bar and you sat at a table surrounded by all your enemies. Only a double-hard bastard would attempt anything so crazy. Jews are like Bruce Willis from the Die Hard movies. Totally outnumbered by people who want to kill him but are so crap at shooting their guns in his face he always manages to fight them off and save the day.”

August 3, 2006 at 3:39PM Progress?

Possibly! I was giving my referrer logs a quick look over to see if there was anything interesting, when I came across this:

I hope so anyway!

August 8, 2006 at 11:41PM And... we’re back!

That was a bit of a long hiatus alright! It’s only right that I post up some kind of an explaination, and I’ll do it in reverse chronological order.

The website was down because it was being transferred to a newer, better server (cheers, Pete!), and it took a while for the DNS records to propagate. The whole thing is now hosted on CFMX and has a faster version of MySQL running behind it, so everything should be a lot snappier. There’ll probably be some bugs due to incompatibilities between CF5 (which the old server ran) and CFMX, and I’ll iron those out as I find them.

This was a rather busy weekend. A grandaunt of mine died, and in typically Irish fashion, our house was taken over for the weekend and Monday with family for duration of the wake and funeral. As you can imagine, the the computer was off.

The rest of the week, I was getting very familiar with the colour of my own bile: I had a nasty dose of stomach ‘flu. The less said about that the better. Suffice it to say that I’m prone to getting it occasionally, but this was one of the worst yet.

For those who use the ping proxy, sorry it’s not working: this server doesn’t run PHP (which the proxy requires to run), but now that the site’s on a server running CFMX, it’s possible for me to rewrite it in ColdFusion. Thanks for your patience.

And finally, my sister Niamh bought a shiny new Sony Ericsson V600i, and very, very nice it is too! Or at least it is once some of the Vodafone crap is scraped from its memory. One thing that annoyed me no end about it, and this is more something about Vodafone than the phone itself, is that the games supplied were demos rather that full games. FFS! I’d prefer not to have the stuff bundled at all rather than just have crippled versions of them.

August 27, 2006 at 10:05AM Half-formed thoughts: MMDS for broadband provision

Liberty Global (in the guise of NTL/Chorus/UPC) own most if not all of the country’s MMDS spectrum and network. Clearwire are rolling wireless internet (Wi-Fi rather than WiMAX, unfortunately) using unlicenced spectrum.

Now consider the amount of competition that Digital MMDS is going to get from Digital Terrestrial Television. My guess is that DTT is going to come out on top. That’d leave NTL/Chorus with an awful lot of rather tasty spectrum just waiting to be used for something else...

...like WiMAX.

The question, however, is whether NTL/Chorus would have the courage to take the chance and provide decent (roughly 10Mb), reasonably-priced (similar to those in the UK for similar packages) broadband using WiMAX on that newly freed-up spectrum. I have my doubts.

What I do think will happen is that NTL/Chorus will start selling their franchises off bit by bit. If somebody (Clearwire, I’m looking at you...) out there was smart enough to buy up the franchises and reuse the cheap spectrum they picked up to provide WiMAX (not Wi-Fi! We need reach!), they’d have a licence to print money.

Alternatively, somebody could set up WiMAX equipment in or near eircom’s existing exchanges. Of course, there’s still the problem of LLU, but at least this way you’ve direct access to eircom’s fibre network, which, unlike the local loop itself, isn’t a godawful mess.

And never mind the spectrum currently used by MMDS: surely there’s other parts of the spectrum the government could licence out to groups and companies willing to provide broadband using WiMAX? WiMAX equipment is relatively inexpensive. The only real problem I can see is getting your hands on a sufficient amount of spectrum to run the service, which is why MMDS popped into my head.


August 29, 2006 at 5:37PM Electric Picnic 2006 Timetable

Update on August 29th, 2007: I’m not going this year, and here’s why.

I’ve cogged the data from Niall, and ordered everything so as it’s obvious what’s clashing. You can download the timetable as a PDF to print off.

And in lineup news, Russian Futurists is not playing. I am now officially grumpy.

Note to future self: if you want to export a PDF from AbiWord, don’t save it: that’ll screw up the orientation. Print it instead.

Updatorised: The final lineup and timetable came out today. I updated my timetable to take as much as I could into account, though if you want the lineup for Lost Vagueness and the Bacardi B-Bar, I recommend scooting over to Sinead’s and taking down the relevant details. I will definitely be rocking out to the Warlords.

Hurray that Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow of Lamb will be there! Boo that they’re not actually doing a set as Lamb.

Yet more updatorising: Argh! It appears the timetables have finally appeared on the Electric Picnic site, and they did everything more or less (more, actually) like the way I’d intended, but prettier. Go look there now. Oh, the time wasted...