You want it *what* way?

First day working in my new home office since we moved house and BT got around to switching on our broadband connection again. Still a lot of unpacking and cable untangling to do, but everything worked pretty smoothly otherwise. (Wasn’t brave enough to try getting dual-head working on Ubuntu on my Powerbook, though– don’t know if it’s even possible.)

A couple of nights out last weekend… Harry Hill at Vicar Street on Saturday (my choice), and the Backstreet Boys at The Point on Sunday (Julie’s choice). Harry had his amusing moments, but I’ve seen him do better work, and Julie was seriously unimpressed. BSB were, well, five blokes looking younger than they ought to, singing close harmony 90’s pop songs amidst dry ice, lasers and indoor fireworks. More memorable for the spectacle than the music from my point of view, but Julie went to bed dreaming about Kevin so I guess she enjoyed herself 🙂

Moving House Wrecks Your Head

Packing and unpacking mountains of boxes is bad enough, but it’s not helped by the muppets who staff the utility companies.

BT Ireland need the Eircom account number at our new address before they can transfer our broadband connection, which will then take 14 working days (so, at least it’s not quite three weeks then). Eircom, though, despite having to log into their phone system with my existing account details, won’t tell me my new account number over the phone for “security reasons” (despite having done so every other time I’ve moved house), but offered to email it to any address I chose instead… which didn’t strike me as outstandingly secure either, until now, several hours later, when I’ve realise that they haven’t actually bothered sending it at all. Fair play to them, you can’t get much more secure than that, really.

Then there’s Bord Gais, whose skills clearly don’t quite extend to copying and pasting my name correctly from an email to wherever they have to type it in to open an account, and NTL who seem to be unable to make the cable TV point in our new house live without me taking a morning off work for an “appointment”, when they’ve managed to quite happily just flick a switch somewhere every other time I’ve moved.

Hopes of a full house are thus pinned squarely on ESB , who I have to phone at the end of this week with a closing meter reading for my old address. One can only imagine what inventive ways they’ll find to make that a miserable experience too.

You have flown so high and so well

(I apologise for how suckily this gets laid out if you’re reading on Planet GNOME, but it’s 1am and I’m too tired to do anything about it… visit my blog if you want to see how it’s supposed to look.)

Julie and I did something a bit different yesterday… we took a balloon ride over the self-proclaimed garden of Ireland, County Wicklow. Neither of us had been anywhere near a balloon before, and truth be told we were both a tad nervous, but flying conditions were perfect, and the hour-long, 2000ft ride (and landing) couldn’t have been any smoother if we’d taken a lift1. All topped off in true Irish style with a plastic cup of warm champagne served from the back of a Land Rover in the random field where we happened to land, but we were still feeling so buzzed by then that pretty much anything would have gone down well.

Post script: rather stupidly, I lost my credit card wallet at some point during the “help us drag everything off the trailer and get it inflated” stage. Luckily, on phoning the launch site hotel when I got home and discovered my mishap, somebody had found it and handed it in, but that meant another two hour round trip this afternoon to pick them up. Needless to say, Julie wasn’t too impressed, but by way of compensation I bought dinner up the road at Hunan‘s tonight. We’d never been there before, but it turned out to be an excellent choice– which, with the best will in the world, isn’t something you can often say about dining out in Finglas.

1 Or an elevator, depending on where you’re reading this.

Calling Jeff

Woah, Jeff dude… I know the Irish have a sense of humour, but this really isn’t the sort of comment I’d expect to see in print from a prominent member of our community– particularly one that has a strong Irish developer base. I hope the horror of the situation just temporarily clouded your judgement…

(FWIW, I wasn’t planning to write anything at all about yesterday’s events, because publicity is part of what they’re after… but since we’re on the topic, I’m glad to say that having worked in London during the threat of terrorism, the people are more than resilient enough just to mourn their losses and move right along with their lives.)

Safari? Sa goody! [1]

We took a spin round Ireland’s Eye from Malahide marina with the Sea Safari folks on Saturday. To be honest, there wasn’t nearly as much safari as advertised, just a cursory shufti into a cave on the off-chance that there might be some seals dozing there. But other than that, the hour-long trip was a blast, and the weather was glorious.

Today we were at Croker for our first hurling games of the season… Wexford v Laois and Kilkenny v Offaly. Possibly two of the most one-sided games we’ll see for a while.

1(c) Christoper Biggins Enterprises, 1982

Pretend football

Had Julie’s parents over visiting for the weekend. For something a little different, we took them along to the first round All-Ireland football championship games at Croke Park, not least because Julie knows one of the Wicklow players (although we’ve yet so see him do anything other than sit on the subs bench, and occasionally warm up). For the record, Kildare edged out Wicklow in the more exciting game by 1-17 (20) to 2-12 (18), and Dublin strolled past Longford by 2-23 (29) to 0-10 (10). I’ve no idea if the future-in-laws had any idea what was going on, but at least they had a pleasant sit out on the warmest day of the year so far.

On Monday, I was back at work, so Julie left to them wander down to the botanic gardens to play with their recently-acquired Nikon Coolpix 3200. Apparently it was raining though, so they only took a couple of photos in the glass houses inside in case it got wet… and then they got lost on the way home taking a “shortcut” 🙂

May Day

Pretty quiet holiday weekend here. Had lunch out and a wander round the Botanic Gardens earlier today… bit drizzly, though, so we didn’t hang around too long.

Caught a fair bit of the world snooker final on TV, and waited with bated breath (as I do at this time every year) to see if BBC2 would stick on anything instead of the scheduled film whose cancellation the final’s over-run had caused. Only an old episode of Grumpy Old Men so far, though… Ceefax hasn’t caught up yet so I don’t know what’s on next to fill the rest of the gap before we’re back on track.

Also started to pull together a presentation I’m supposed to be giving to Netsoc at Trinity College on Thursday evening. It’s shaping up to be about the application of usability methods in commercial and open source environments, and what they might learn from each other (with a few shining examples of GUI Bloopers along the way for light relief)… but it’s all a tad, er… ‘fluid’ at the moment.

Galway coast

A few mini-photos from our Easter weekend in Galway (most of which are actually of places in Co. Clare):

We stayed at the Ardilaun House Hotel, which was very pleasant indeed… not the cheapest, but their Easter weekend deal included dinner on one of the two nights and full use of the leisure facilities, so I took the opportunity to have my first-ever jacuzzi 🙂