Lunch at the Blue Haven Hotel, Kinsale

Shih Tzu with ball on beach We’ve been busy calling to relatives and making our home baby proof over the last week, so we went down to Kinsale and Garrettstown this afternoon to get away from it all. Even though there was a strong cold wind blowing in off the sea Garrettstown Beach wasn’t deserted. People were out and about walking their dogs, some with kids, others with tiny babies. Oscar, our Shih Tzu, had lots of fun chasing after a tennis ball that seemingly had a mind of it’s own as it arced through the air!

Back in Kinsale we met a friend for lunch in the Blue Haven Hotel. The hotel has been there for years but recently underwent a facelift and is beautiful and luxurious inside. Despite the crush of post-Christmas punters looking for food and/or a drink staff were great and found us room for Adam and a baby seat. I ordered an open steak sandwich while Jacinta had fish and chips and Niamh ordered salmon linguini.

Service was a little slow but as the staff were run off their feet it’s understandable. Adam was fed and watered by the time we were served our food, and we made short work of it. My steak sandwich was nice, if a little on the small side. Chips were salty but tasty. The Christmas pudding I had for dessert filled me up nicely though!

So, I definitely recommend the Blue Haven Hotel for a meal. This was our second time there in the last month. The last time I had their burger. It’s a beautiful hotel, food is good, and it’s very baby friendly!

Blue Haven Kinsale Open steak sandwich

Blue Haven Receipt

Blue Haven Hotel Burger

Do any real charities collect clothes?

Those with a long memory may recall my do not delay post from November 2006. In it I exposed a fake charity that collected clothes at people’s homes and then sold them for profit, without a penny going to a legitimate charity. Because they’ve pissed me off so much, I’ve set up a new site to expose the rest of the fake charity crooks.

Dochas Nasamu So, are there any real charities collecting clothes? Yes, there are two. Dochas Nasamu in Galway run an orphanage in Kenya. A quick search reveals lots of positive reports about them. Their last collection in this part of the world was on December 18th 2007. They don’t call to houses to collect clothes. Instead, they wait in a public area and identify themselves to would-be charity givers.
05 C 11628That’s how it worked the first time we gave them clothes, but this time all we saw was an anonymous Mercedes van, it’s back doors open and not a soul in sight. We dumped the clothes in the St. Vincent de Paul bin instead. Sorry guys! I kept meaning to ring them but I never got around to it at the time.

The Irish Cancer Society (who have an annual charity collection on Daffodil Day, but also an odd linking policy for their website) dropped in a plastic bag to the house a few weeks back. Unfortunately they never called back because we did leave out clothes!

It’s bugged me for a long time that the fake charities get away with selling second hand clothing for profit while masquerading as charities. Only last week my next door neighbour left a bag out for one of them, even though I told them they were crooks!

Finally tonight I set aside a few hours to launch a new site at ClothingCollection.org highlighting the fake charity crooks. Each post contains a snapshot of a leaflet handed in to my home along with identifying details from the leaflet/flyer/sticker. I’ll update the site as I get new flyers, and I need to fill out the posts a bit more. Those images have been sitting in my photo folder for the past 3 months so it was about time I uploaded them somewhere!

So, if you hate seeing crooks make money, and especially if you recognise one or more of the flyers, please link to ClothingCollection.org in a blog post or your sidebar. Thanks!

Bertie's yellow hair and pierced nose

Bertie Ahern
The Irish Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, Sunday Times, Dec. 23 2007

I really would love to know how the Minister for Finance survived so many years without a bank account.

Linkies ..

The 8 bit Philosophy is a documentary coming in 2008 about some of the musicians that made the C64 a great sounding machine. The trailer has sound bites from such famous names as Reyn Ouwehand and Thomas Detert. There’s a 78MB high quality trailer too but it’s the same thing that’s on Youtube.

Long term review: Sony Ericsson W810i phone

Sony Ericsson W810i

A year ago I pondered buying a Sony Ericsson K750i but eventually bought it’s big brother, the Sony Ericsson W810i instead. At the time I was impressed, especially with the panorama function of the camera, but I’ve grown to loath this piece of technology in the year since I bought it. Here’s why.

  • “Message waiting, Too many messages. Delete some from any folder. Delete now? Despite the fact there’s a 512MB memory stick plugged into the side, the phone can only store about 130 text messages. My old Nokia 7650 spoiled me. I rarely deleted any text messages but this phone is always on the brink of being full. That’s a problem I can accept, except it’s buggy. For some reason the phone checks the sim card memory and asks me to delete messages from there too, even though messages are delivered to phone memory. That is very annoying.
  • Keyboard Lock – during a call the Menu button becomes the End Call button. After finishing a call, if the other party hangs up first and I don’t hit “End Call” fast enough it reverts back to the Menu function. Hitting that brings up the main menu of course. On a Sony Ericsson, the keyboard lock sequence is “*” “Menu”. See where I’m going? To lock the phone I need to exit the menu and then hit that sequence of keys. Why couldn’t you just copy what Nokia do with their “Menu” “*” sequence? It just works better.
  • Walkman – I have no use for the Walkman function. That’s my own fault for picking the wrong phone, but it had a good camera, integrated radio and the price was right. What I can complain about is the too-prominent position of the Walkman button. It’s way too easy to click.
  • Durability – the phone seems to be quite delicate. For the most part it sits on my desk, but about a month ago while out, it slipped from my hand. Since then the phone hasn’t been itself. At random, it will reset and a message appears on screen about an inactive sim card. I need to remove the battery to restore it.
  • Meteor, my phone company, decided in their wisdom that the first two items on the phone menu would cause the phone to go online. The first link went to their homepage before I changed it to my own blog and the second is a generic “Meteor WAP” icon. To prevent the phone accidentally going online I dug through the preferences and now clicking those icons brings up a username/password form. Much better than potentially expensive GPRS bills.

On the plus side, sound quality is good, battery life is ok. Camera is excellent for what it is. Images are noisy, but it’s packed full of features. I love the panorama function. The included memory stick makes it easy to copy files to and from my PC or Mac.

Would I buy a Sony Ericsson phone again? If they had a sensible keyboard locking sequence, then maybe. As it is, I’m going back to Nokia. For my next phone I would like a bog-standard device that makes calls, can store hundreds of texts, has at least a 2MP camera and a memory card.
Any suggestions?

Need backlinks?

Need Backlinks?
Build High PR Backlinks On Demand
Free PDF Reveals All. Download Now!
Google Adsense Advert spotted on iwebtool.com

We dated on Facebook

The Facebook “Friend Confirmation” page always unsettles me. I have never met some of the people who send me a friend request. Sometimes I don’t recall those I have met or bumped into at a conference. I knew a small minority before the whole “Internet” thing took off. Of the rest, I read their blogs and meet a couple of times during the year.

And Facebook keeps asking if we dated?

We dated on Facebook

How many of your Facebook friends have you gone out drinking with or socialized with or sent baby photos to or talked with about “ordinary things” besides Web 2.0?

Says me who’s getting really bad at keeping in touch with friends ..

20f1aeb7819d7858684c898d1e98c1bb

What is the significance of “20f1aeb7819d7858684c898d1e98c1bb”? It’s the MD5 hash of the name “Anthony” and was the password used by someone who broke into lightbluetouchpaper.org. Searching for the md5 hash was clever, but it won’t work for long because Ryan is working on securing the WordPress cookies and passwords.
In case you’re wondering, the hacker got in because the blog was running an outdated version of WordPress.

Tips to help keep your blog safe:

  • Keep all your software updated, not just WordPress. Make sure your plugins are updated.
  • Use a strong password. Don’t use words or sequences of characters like “12345” as your password. Make it a mix of characters and numbers.
  • Don’t ever store your database dump online in a place Google will index it. It is very easy to use a Google search to find it.
  • If you use public WiFi or a net cafe regularly, use SSL to secure the communication with your blog. Use the secure admin plugin for just this purpose.
  • If you use Firefox, install PwdHash. It’s simple to use and works really well.

WordPress MU admins – Fire up phpmyadmin and look at wp_users. Try these sql queries to find weak passwords in your database:

SELECT count(*) FROM `wp_users` WHERE user_pass = md5(‘wordpress’);
SELECT count(*) FROM `wp_users` WHERE user_pass = md5(‘12345′);
SELECT count(*) FROM `wp_users` WHERE user_pass = md5(‘qwerty’);
SELECT count(*) FROM `wp_users` WHERE user_pass = md5(‘anthony’);
SELECT count(*) FROM `wp_users` WHERE user_pass = md5(‘Anthony’);
and because of the season:
SELECT count(*) FROM `wp_users` WHERE user_pass = md5(‘christmas’);

Scary isn’t it how many people still use simple passwords? I must release that “Strong password” plugin we use on WordPress.com soon. That will certainly help avoid account hijacking.

Spy on your visitors with Blog Voyeur

Do you ever wonder what pages your regular visitors look at? Do they dig deep into your blog exploring old posts or do they sit in their feed reader and only read your latest posts?

By using my Blog Voyeur plugin you can find out.

This is the first release of the plugin. It appears to work well on the couple of blogs I tried but your mileage may vary. Download link is on the Blog Voyeur homepage above.

blogvoyeur screenshot

Two million Blogs

2m blogs on WordPress.com

The number of blogs on WordPress.com passed 2 million late last night. I think that’s just amazing and wonderful!

Links …

  • Frank asks for the facts behind the cocaine deaths in Ireland recently. I wondered what the odds of dying from cocaine are. Is it really as low as between 0.1% and 1%? How does that compare to road deaths?
  • Can you heat a room with a 100w bulb? Sounds too good to be true …
  • Dickie Rock looks scary!
  • Red Mum found a Far Too Much Bertie sticker. Haven’t seen any myself but I haven’t been in town in ages.
  • 2 million blogs. That’s quite a community. The next social network could be WordPress. Looks like I’m not the only one who’d rather be blogging!
    In contrast to social networking, blogging offers a person-centric way for individuals to come online. A social network like Facebook gives you your own place online, but it’s not really your own place. As Copyblogger Brian Clark recently said in a blog post, “For me, there’s really no appeal in spending a lot of time creating ‘user-generated’ content via a social networking application. That’s like remodeling the kitchen in a house you rent.”

    Clark was responding to an ongoing conversation launched by blogger and cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, who proposed that blogging is far more important to him than social networking. Bloggers including Stowe Boyd and Darren Rowse seconded the idea. This growing disenchantment with social networking and return to blogging suggests that in the future we could see a migration, at least among tech bloggers, towards more distributed social networking — along the lines of what Messina envisions.

  • Gavin complained that he couldn’t copy/paste the Mahon Tribunal transcripts. I was able to do just that using Gnome app Evince. Here’s day 328. Anyone want to help copy them into a DRM free format? Our tax payers money paid for them after all.

Zardoz – Sean Connery in red speedos

Did I forget the knee high boots? Offthemeatrack resurrects this unusual 1974 film. I think I saw a few minutes of it on tv a few years ago. Just goes to show what an impression it made.
Warning, don’t click the link unless you want the Sean Connery as James Bond image to be ruined for you ..

  • How to price prints? Paul Butzi considers this question, and again. I’ve been asked by two people about prints from Inphotos.org as Christmas presents so this is on my mind. Must get back to them this evening ..
  • Gordon took a great self portrait of himself.
  • 88mileshome says nice things about one of my photos. Thanks!
  • Funny Islam via referrers.
  • Thank you Richard Best of InsideoutLegal who kindly donated his WordPress.com blog for a project I’m working on!
view_from_the_top.jpg

(via)