Not A Dry Eye In The Building

Flying the Irish flag at this year’s Britain’s Got Talent, Ryan O’Shaughnessy sung his heart out in a heart-melting song “No Name” about a mystery girl as he wowed the BGT Judges with his song-writing and singing skills. Expect big things of this lad in the future. Reminds me of my very own love forlorn song, co-written by my good friend Deccy Harbinson many year back entitled “Geneva Girl”.

Go get ’em Ryan!!

NY East Village Studio – Gawjus!!

Having stumbled across this earlier, I am simply flabbergasted at how somewhere so small can look so big and yet so cosy at the same time! Photos of this East Village studio – which are notorious for being house with poor college students in pretty cramped conditions – show the genius and creativity that went into this beautiful studio designed by Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture. It makes efficient use of every square inch of space in the apartment, creating the illusion of even more space.

The natural woods used throughout, combined with the clean white walls really opens up the room, and its unbelievable that you can fit a full kitchen, a sofa, and a workspace in there, along with the bed loftspace. I think my personal favourite cubby hole has to be the stairs drawers…talk about “out of the box” 🙂

This last schematic design rendering with all the red boxes indicates all the integrated storage that has been inconspicuously tucked into the apartment. Like I said….ingenious.

Blackberry Phones. Utter Pieces Of Crap

I have two phones…..one personal and one for work. And the day I got my work phone I groaned. I knew from the very beginning that the new work phone was a piece of crap, and as the months have marched on, my initial seeds of suspicion have grown into great big bushes of discontent and hatred towards a device I would not hesitate to throw into an Amsterdam canal, given half a chance.

I’m not one of these “Apple Whore” fanboys either who thinks Steve Jobs was a living God, and to be quite honest, I’m not really enamoured by the way Apple treats its customers telling them what they can and cannot do with their mobile phones and the software apps made available to them for downloading. But what Apple does, and does quite well, is invent a phone that works without any quirks or idiosyncrasies or stupid menus and 50 fucking steps that need to be followed to do the most simplest of tasks, like change a friends contact details!

The first thing that annoys me is the 10 whole minutes (yes count them!!) I have to wait for this stupid fucking Blackberry to boot up! Yes folks….if I make the silly error of letting my battery drain completely, it takes 10 minutes for it to boot up before I can use it again.

Actually, that’s a lie, because it takes 20 minutes! If you plug the phone into the power outlet, sure enough after a few seconds of juice, it comes alive and boots up. It’ll then ask you for the phone’s unlock code (not to be confused with the SIM unlock code which you need to actually make and receive a call). So the phone is on, but you cannot call anyone. What do you need to do? Ah, simple….you need to switch the bloody thing off again and wait another 10 minutes for it to reboot, after which THIS time it asks now for the SIM unlock code. Yay….That only took far too fucking long!

And then there’s the menu system. Try changing a friends email address or phone number, and you’ll find yourself going through an entire rigmarole of menu’s and lists. In fact, if I get a call from somebody who already exists in my address book, but rang from a new number, I cannot simply add this to an already existing contact. No….I first have to “COPY” the number (if I am in the phone dial section) and then go into the address book, find the person and paste the number. It gets even more convoluted if I got an SMS from them. In that section, I can ONLY choose “ADD TO CONTACTS”, then scroll down and “COPY” the number, then go all the way out to the address book and follow the last few steps of pasting into the address book as previously described.

And this carries on throughout the rest of the simplest uses of the phone. For example, I took a view videos with the thing. Now, it does not have any thumbnails for any of the video’s. And when you want to find the video you’re after, you have to scroll through a fucking stupid archival system that has no logic whatsoever. Sure, you can SORT BY DATE for photo’s, so what the fuck can’t you do that with video’s?

And then there is the GPS…..I just hope that you never need your GPS function to work when you’re in a hurry. Honestly, it took the thing 18 minutes the other day to find out where I was. And it had me starting off in Moscow, when I was actually in Amsterdam!!! EVENTUALLY it figured out where I was, but by way of triangulation from the repeater stations, not from the GPS. Eventually the GPS came to life just as I arrived at my friends front door….phew….life saver!

The internet browser is equally clunky and slow, with the need for speed and information never making it to the list of “must haves” or core functionality when RIM’s software designers dreamed up this piece of shit! You want to Google something? Trust me, you’d be better off walking to a library and looking it up in an Encyclopaedia Britannica than waiting for your Blackberry to open up the relevant webpage.

With such stupid user interfaces and slow functionality, it’s no wonder that RIM’s star is waning and that the core users of most Blackberry’s either technology inept middle-aged middle management or kids who live on Twitter and Facebook and IM each other using enormously enlarged thumbs. I can really only think of two useful things for the Blackberry….writing emails to Blackberry much faster than I can on my iPhone about how much their phone sucks….and maybe as a door jam to keep the back door open so my dog can let himself in and out!

Another One Bites The Dust

The Russian equivilent to the UK’s AAIB or the U.S. NTSB have had a pretty quiet time over winter with Russian airlines managing NOT to crash their planes during what is undoubtedly the most difficult time of the year in which to fly. But it seems that they’ve made up for lost time and started the year’s statistics off with a bang already with the latest accident to hit the headlines occuring today in the Siberian town of Tyumen, en-route to Surgut.

The aircraft in question this time is not one of those dinosaur relics of the Soviet era, but rather a western built ATR aircraft. However it did involve the airline UTAir, who have form when it comes to killing its passengers by way of aviation accidents. Their previous accidents involved a TU-134 in 2007 which killed 7 and injured 26, a Boeing 737 which overran the runway when landing, and two helicopter accidents that killed 10 people between them.

The cause of the accident is still as yet unknown. One can only speculate if it was to do with poor weather or icing that brought the ATR down, mechanical problems with the airframe or engine(s) or if it was pilot error by way of spacial disorientation, poor handling or something else entirely. It’s not unheard of for Russian pilots to arrive and settle themselves into the cockpit reeking of alcohol, especially in the remote wilderness areas of Siberia. Nor is it uncommon for Russian pilots to take unnecessary risks and choosing to fly, when their Western trained pilots would delay or simply scrub the flight altogether. The latter decision to fly when one shouldn’t is invariably the result of pressure exerted on Russian crews by management, who simply view profits before peoples lives as being more important. And, afterall, life is cheap in Russia.

With 15 planes crashing all across Russia last year, killing over 120 passengers, it’s no wonder that Russia has earned herself the reputation as the most dangerous place to fly a commercial airplane. Given a choice, I will avoid EVER flying a Russian airline. That being said, if needs must, then I limit my flying to one of Aeroflot’s leased fleet of Airbus aircraft. Since those aircraft are leased from an Irish lessor who maintains the airplane. So I only have to worry about how much vodka the captain had to drink the night before.

Guinness. Home Of The White Stuff?

We Irish are known worldwide for our sense of humour, so it is no wonder that we got in on the April Fool’s Day action on Sunday. Here is one of my favorite pranks and jokes for the day that was.

Guinness had stout lovers shocked with a ‘one day only’ special pint which turned the classic pint of plain on its head. The image above was posted to the Guinness Storehouse Facebook page.