26 July, 2007

Epic Journeys

When I started this blog thingy, I noticed the link at the top of the page which said next blob. I followed it a couple of times, in the interest of knowing the neighbours. One of the first I came across, and I've been following it since, is Annie's European Bike Adventure. To summarise, she's cycling from London to Istanbul. As if that isn't enough of a challenge, south eastern Europe is currently in the grips of a massive heatwave with temperatures of 40C+. Seems to be an interesting (and exhausting way) to see the vast differences in countries and people across Europe.

Last weekend I met a guy with a somewhat similar journey in mind. He's planning on driving from Dublin to Bangkok. He said that some years ago he bought an old Mercedes for £100 (€127 in new money) and just recently he's started doing it up. The logistics of such a journey are quite large. From visa restrictions, customs (some countries don't want people bringing in cars), to security. He still doesn't know to go through Pakistan or to go via the middle east - if he can get permission to drive through Saudi.

It's a huge journey, but he's got a lot of advice from some guys that drove from Dublin to Sydney, in an old BMW. The car started first time, every time in temperatures from -40C to +40C. Something the owner afterwards advertised for BMW.

He's considered taking the easy way out, and taking the bus. Yes. The bus. There's a bus that goes from London to Sydney. (If you want to go check this out.)

In the sense of adventure and exploration, I'd love to do any of these trips, but I don't think I'd manage the return journey.

24 July, 2007


I over heard a group discussion in the canteen today. One of the guys (lets call him John) was mentioning he was buying something which was Lord of the Rings related. John mentioned that another guy we know was also buying it (lets call him Sam), and that that guy, Sam, had an advantage since he was teaching himself elvish.

Yes, elvish. (No, not a strange dialect of English as spoken by Elvis.)

I think it was a master stroke of tactical speaking where John, having realised that all his creditability was quickly disappearing having just mentioned that he was buying LOTR merchandise, had to cover himself. The best way to do that was to hang someone else out to dry, so Sam got it.

I did a quick google on elvish, and it's a scary world out there. Not only do some people have time to learn elvish, but people have time to put up vast detailed web sites on the language. I think that you'd struggle to find such detailed information on any other language (except probably Klingon - which I think Sam may also be learning).

Anyway, the jaws dropped in the canteen, accompanied with a chorus of whats, whys, and huhs. Immediately one of the women got up to leave (probably too much geek in the conversation) when she asked a more pertinent question...

Who will he talk to?

18 July, 2007


Apparently this image has caused offence to some people

I guess they wanted to see Homer without the underwear...

Buyer Beware

Last weekend saw the first offical HD television broadcast in Ireland. It was limited to the trial recipients (and people in the transmission area with the hardware capable of receiving it). According to the reports it looked fantastic. One thing that it did highlight, however, was peoples lack off understanding surrounding digital TV, HD TV and HD Ready.

According to someone on 2FM, all that was needed to watch it was a HD TV. They thought that the idea of being able to watch the game in HD was so great, they were going to go and buy a new TV. They were wrong, and worse, they may have encouraged others to go out and part with their hard earned cash.

Technology is great. There's tons of cool gadgets and toys these days. The marketing people are finding it hard to keep up. I guess that's why they get together to come up with standard labels for things. It makes it easier on the customer to spend their money, while making an ill-informed purchase. Such as spending €1000+ on a TV which has a HD Ready sticker on it, without ever checking if it is capable of receiving and/or displaying HD television.

I've heard of people buying HD DVD players, not realising that there was a difference between a DVD and a HD DVD.

Lots of people have queued up at Lidl and Aldi for their large HD televisions - many without doing much research, apart from that's a good price for 40".

Have consumers become victims of their own success? Do they have too much money? Why do they gladly part with large chunks of cash, without understanding what they are buying?

Most people wouldn't go and buy a sandwich without looking to see what was in it. Why don't they do the same with modern consumer electronics? If you don't know what something can do then find out. Google is your friend!

If you want to buy something, know what you want it to do. Have some basic criteria that it has to fulfil. If it doesn't meet them don't buy it. If it does more, do you need the extra features? Will you use them? If not, look for a more basic model. Have a budget and stick with it. It's exciting buying new toys, and it's easy to get caught up in the moment. Hold yourself back, the next band wagon is right behind - and it's got better features.

15 July, 2007

Dish Network

For the last few months I've been reading up on satellite dishes, television aerials and the likes, with a view towards finally getting things set up the way I want them.
During the course of my reading I've come across an interesting thread on boards.ie which has photos of crazy dish and aerial installations. Dishes mounted using baling twine, swallow spit and bit of bluetack. That sort of thing.

The Better Half came home the other night from a neighbours house. She could barely keep herself from laughing while she recounted the story to me. The Polish guys renting the house next to our friends had got a satellite dish and had attached it to the small wall bordering the two houses. I gather it was more balanced on it than mounted, and it was almost in our friends sitting room. So they asked them to move it - they obliged. Sadly I hadn't heard of the initial installation in time so that I could get a photo, and contribute to the thread.

However, in relocating the dish, they guys presented another photo op, which was the cause of The Better Half's merriment. The description recounted to me was akin to A satellite dish on a broom handle.

Personally, I think it's more like an ultra modern for sale sign. Maybe they should sell advertising space on (to replace the large sticker which is on it).

By the way, for anyone that may be interested, the cable from the dish runs along the lawn and straight in the sitting room window.

The guys renting the house a couple of doors away have a mini, camping style, satellite dish mounted to the drain pipe. I bet they feel embarrassed!

While I'm talking about dishes.... the next morning I travelled to work, parked the car and as I got out I spotted something on the floor of car next to me. I found it quite humorous. So much so that I had to take a photo, and tell everyone I could about it. Please excuse the quality of the photo, but it was raining.

That is a dish (or a bowl) with a spoon, and if the photo was of better quality, you'd also see some milk in the spoon and dish.
This raises so many questions!

What sort of traffic would you have to be in to cause you to eat breakfast cereal?
What type of cereal is best suited for eating while driving?
When do you pour the milk? Before you leave the house or while seated in the car?

In defence of the owner of the car, while it was messy, I didn't notice any stray rice krispes, coco-pops, or any other cereal stuck to the rear-view mirror or else where.

12 July, 2007

One Size Wii Fits All

As someone who's into gadgets, games, technology and the likes, I was interested to try out the Nintendo Wii. I borrowed one for a few days some months back. The games that came with it were pretty basic, but fun. And in some cases tiring. I was working up a sweat after boxing for about 20-30 minutes on it. I think the controllers are a great bit of innovation and a great step in the right direction. While the others are concentrating on the graphics, Nintendo have concentrated on the interaction.

Now they have released a video of the latest controller for the Wii, called the Wii Fit. It looks like a cross between a step for aerobics and an electronic weighing scales. Seems that after some initial calibration for the user, it can figure out the body position according to how their body weight shift on the scales. (See the video here on I4U)

On it's own it looks cool. It can help to teach the user the correct method for performing exercises, and work up to learning yoga. The video shows some basic dance mat style game, which will probably be the initial run of games released for it, but if they combine it with the nunchuck controllers what will be next?!

How about using them together for a first person shooter. Having to actually crouch/prone/jump while playing with a gun in each hand would definitely immerse a player in a game. What about a version of Tomb Raider or Prince of Persia which would use them! If that doesn't get you fit, there's no hope.

Of course it could also lead to scores of people showing up at A&E who have twisted their ankles, or tripped and fallen head first into their large screen plasmas! Still, it's all about the game play experience.

It might be so good that I might be tempted to buy one.


11 July, 2007

What's In a Name

So there I was, yesterday, after making the life changing decision to start a blog, and immediately I was presented with the million dollar question (didn't that use to be $64,000?! - inflation I guess)
I had to come up with a name for the blog!

That's not fair. I couldn't come up with a decent subject, how the hell should I be expected to come up with a name?!! That's not on!

So I narrow the subject matter to inane ramblings about nothing in particular, so I went with the title of "Inane Ramblings". I then have to come up with the name for the URL - Xxxxx.blogger.com
I tried "inane" - it was gone
I tried "ramblings" - gone

Blogger suggested that I go with "inanerambings" so I listened and went with it, and entered the seedy underworld of blogging and proceeded to experience the joys of posting a blog (as mentioned elsewhere).

I was happily playing around with various settings, adding bits and bobs, tweaking here and there - all the time oblivious to the fact that there was a typo desired URL - I'm missing an L!

What's blogger to do? (Not that I'd consider myself a blogger - since I only started this thing yesterday. Unlike the veterans of the bloggesphere which rule the name space that I attempted to inhabit. Check them out... I'll even put the links in at the bottom to save your calloused fingers from hitting even more keys or risking a typo)

So do I up sticks and find a new URL - one without a typo in it? (just as I was getting comfie around here) or stay put (I don't want to risk loosing my audience - after all it was she that pointed out the typo to me in the first place). So while entertaining the notion of moving site, I decided to explore the waters and try a few different URLs, just to see what's available. Much to my surprise - not much. I tried quite a few and most were occupied - or at least taken. To add to my disappointment most resemble the blogs of my originally desired namespace.

http://postnoblogs.blogspot.com/ - a nugget - a blog that's (almost) up to date - it has more than one post

I found one or two names (with a little help (thanks!)) which I might consider changing to at sometime - if I keep doing this. But for now, with that if in mind, and combined with the frustration of trying to find a name that wasn't taken, I'll stay put. Since it might just be the name that a serious blogger wants. I wouldn't want to add to the misery.

10 July, 2007

Inane Ramblings

Pronunciation: i-'nAn
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): inan·er; -est
Etymology: Latin inanis
2 : lacking significance, meaning, or point : SILLY

Pronunciation: 'ram-b&l
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): ram·bled; ram·bling /-b(&-)li[ng]/
Etymology: Middle English, probably alteration of romblen, frequentative of romen to roam
intransitive verb
1 a : to move aimlessly from place to place b : to explore idly
2 : to talk or write in a desultory or long-winded wandering fashion
3 : to grow or extend irregularly
transitive verb : to wander over : ROAM
synonym see WANDER
- ram·bling·ly /-b(&-)li[ng]-lE/ adverb

Get the idea?


There I was - first go at this lark, and as they say first impressions last. Well it's not been a good one. Typing away, happy with what I'd put down, I figured what the hell - I'll click on save and then publish my first post to my new blog! I go for it and then get told that
Could not contact Blogger.com.
Isn't that just dandy! Doesn't it inspire one to pour their heart out is reams and reams of bits and bytes, happy in the knowledge that nothing can go wrong - the assurance is there with the little highlighted message
Now Blogger saves your drafts automatically!
Go! Write! Create! Express yourself! Nah forget about 'cos we can't save it.

Computers. The internet. Blogs. All just a fad I tell you! They'll never catch on.

Who Writes This Crap

I always wondered who'd bother their arse writing a blog. I mean what's the point? Having an online diary?! Why?

Worse than that, who'd be bothered reading it?!

I still don't know the answer to these questions, but I figured I'd get on the bandwagon (except I'm so late at this stage, that I reckon the band have left) and see if I can't find out the answer to one or two of the questions.

The few blogs that I can say I've read, or taken a peak at now and again, are interesting to me, 'cos the have subject matter that interests me. This is the key to a successful blog; an interesting subject. This blog doesn't have one.

Maybe it does. I don't know. I guess I'll have to have a look back at some stage and see if that question is answered as well.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. I think that I'll get a cuppa before I set out!