Friday, December 29, 2006

Fedex me arse...

Let me quote from Fedex's corporate website:

Employees: More than 140,000 worldwide
Service Area: More than 220 countries and territories worldwide
Airports Served: More than 375 airports served worldwide
Aircraft Fleet:

674 aircrafts worldwide, including:

* 53 Airbus A300-600s
* 65 Airbus A310-200/300s
* 11 ATR 72s
* 29 ATR 42s
* 13 Boeing 727-100s
* 94 Boeing 727-200s
* 25 Boeing DC10-10s
* 17 Boeing DC 30-10s
* 41 Boeing MD10-10s
* 6 Boeing MD10-30s
* 58 Boeing MD11s
* 10 Cessna 208As
* 243 Cessna 208Bs
* 9 Fokker F-27s

Vehicle Fleet: More than 42,000 motorized vehicles worldwide

With all that might you would think that they could collect a shipment in rural Tipperary, right?
They have so far failed on three occasions in the last 7 days to collect a shipment. I booked all the collections by phone and got confirmation via email.
It has even been "escalated" to their "service focus team" where I was repeatedly assured that they would sort out the problem. They even went as far as stating that they would ship for free. Which is no f*cking good if they can't collect the damned shipment in the first place...

The first two times they failed to collect because the depot didn't instruct the driver to collect the shipment. If that's not the stupidest excuse ever I do not know what is...
Today was going to be their third attempt. Considering their first two cock-ups I was expecting a Fedex chopper to land in the garden.
But nothing, nada, niente, niks, nichts....
I called the "service focus team" again to see what the hell was happening.
I couldn't believe it when I was told that it was not collected today because the drivers were "too busy" and did not have time to collect my shipment.
The next collection date was next Tuesday (as in next year).
I am dumbfounded......

The shipment is for a new customer in Israel who needed it urgently.
I could have walked to Israel faster...

It seems that eof the major couriers in Ireland handle any domestic collections or deliveries themselves. It all outsourced to two-bit operators who have only been selected on low cost rather than speed, efficiency & quality.
This affects Fedex, UPS, DHL as well as An Post. The result is a crappy, overpriced service. And quite honestly I am sick and tired of it...


If anyone in Fedex reads this I would really like an explanation for this failure to perform but also for their decision to outsource the domestic service in Ireland.

kick it on

I'm loving it!

On our way back from a visit to the East coast yesterday I decided to feed the herd in on of the few McDonalds restaurants in this country. This one was located beside a round-about outside of Roscrea.
Now, I had visited this one before and it was one of those 2nd rate locations for a McDonald restaurant. It's located on a small plot behind a filling station with very little parking. However I pass by their and that makes it convenient...

Last night I was tired and hungry, a recipe for disaster. On top of that the place was packed out.
Trying to feed a herd of tired, hungry kids in a busy McD's can be a daunting task.
Well, I was in for a great surprise.
Apparently the restaurant had a new manager. I rattled of my order and was not meet with the usual: "euh, wasda again?".
He took my order, repeated it without any mistakes and I had my order and was on my way back to the table within 2 minutes. No only that, he helped me carry all the stuff (2 trays) to the table.
On top of that he remined my wife that her latte came with unlimited refills (something that nobody in any of the other McD's restaurants had ever told us). The guy obviously believed in the McDonalds formula and followed it to the letter.
Having managed one of these restaurants many moons ago I could recognise the "rulebook" down the letter..

I started chatting to him and apparently he had done this job yonks ago in the US, married an Irishwoman, moved to Ireland and worked for a large pharmaceutical, got laid of and went straight for this job.
It was great to see his innitiative, professionalism and enthousiasm for the job.
This is a concept that is sadly missing in a lot of people working in customer "facing" jobs in this country.

I give this guy a 10 out of 10 and can only recommend people to visit this McD's.
Oh yes, before I forget, they have free wifi internet accces too.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Lets all come together this Christmas.

Apparently today is "Global Orgasm Day".
The organisers want us all to reach a state of trans-global climax at exactly 4 pm CET.
I'll just quote from their website:

WHO? All Men and Women, you and everyone
you know.

WHERE? Everywhere in the world, but especially in countries with weapons of mass destruction.

Winter Solstice Day - Friday, December 22nd,
at the time of your choosing, in the place of your choosing and with as much privacy as you choose.

WHY? To effect positive change in the energy field of the Earth through input of the largest possible surge of human energy a Synchronized Global Orgasm. There are two more US fleets heading for the Persian Gulf with anti-submarine equipment that can only be for use against Iran, so the time to change Earth’s energy is NOW!

Get out the Cleenex and jars of vaseline!


Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fog knocks out North Tipperary telephone network..

I have been experiencing continuing problems with our home-phone lines.
For the last 4 months both lines would go completely dead somewhere between 4:00 & 4:30 in the afternoon. No incomming or outgoing calls, no dailtone, nothing...
Then two weeks ago both lines died on Friday and it took Eircon 4 days to repair the fault. Less than a week later it happened again. This time the fault was repaired within a day. Only to re-occur less than 24 hours later....
All in all both lines have been out of action for most of the last two weeks. To be honest Eircom have been very pro-active by sending people to my house and by calling me to ask if everything was OK. However they have not been able to pinpoint the cause of the problem.
Today I got the best call off all: an engineer called to explain that the backhaul from the local exchange was through a radiolink and that the recent fog might have been causing the problem.
So there you go: fog can knock out the Irish telephone network.
It's back to two cans and a piece of string I guess....


Monday, December 04, 2006

No Broadband, just Bullshit.

I live in North Tipperary.
It's rural but not exactly the arsehole of Ireland either.
Property is expensive and we even have a "continental stylee" cafe within driving distance.
However we're f*cked when it comes to broadband.
It took Eircom 6 months to re-activate the phoneline in my house after I moved in. Any form of broadband is not availble through this phoneline bar ISDN which is just one step up from two cans and a piece of string broadband.
I got satellite through Aramiska and Aramiska promptly went bankrupt.
I tried other satellite broadband providers (at €200-plus a month) but now the few trees in my garden are in the way.
I didn't want to wait any more so I called Clearwire. They told me that I would probably have to wait until I am an OAP before they will supply me with broadband.
At that point I will probably suffer from alzheimers and will have forgotten what the Internet is.
I am doomed...

To top it all last weekends storm has knocked out both phonelines so now even dailup is not available.
Eircoms automated service tells me that the engineers are working on it and will probably be resolved in 4 days. It has been telling me that for two days...
I am now typing this sitting in my car, piggybacking on someone wireless network.
No wonder Ireland suffers from a high level of binge drinking....


kick it on

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Latest Linksys firmware upgrade...

I've always referred to Linkys wifi gear as crap. However the latest firmware upgrade seems to solve all problems.
Click on the link for instructions.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not as easy as "1,2,3"....

I haven't posted for a while due to lack of time (work mostly).
However I am abliged to update the ongoing "3" story.
I dd eventually receive my replacement (refurb) phone. It arrived two weeks after the date I was originally promissed that it would arrive on.
Did this resolve my problems?
Like hell it did!
Different phone, same provider, same problems.
I have notified 3 in writing that I am not paying my subscription fee anymore untill this gets sorted and that the contract is nul and void as they have failed to perform as outlined in their service description.
Did they reply or contact me to resolve this situation?
Of course not...


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Irish Broadband keeps expanding...

IrishDev reports that Irish Broadband has spent €13 million so far this year on expansion of their network. It goes on to report that IBB is also upgrading it business packages by halving the contention rate and dropping the prices.
Will this proof all the nay-sayers wrong?


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pissing against a "3"...

Last week I posted about my experiences with "3".
The last contact I had with them was when a very friendly customer services lady promissed that they would send me a replacement phone. That way we could see if the problems were handset related. I had already made clear that they obviously weren't but if this would shut them up it was worth the wait.
She promissed me that the phone would be courier delivered to me no later than Tuesday (yesterday).
Did I receive the phone? NO...
Did I receive a call? NO...
Have my problems been resolved? NO...

It's really unbelievable at this stage and I presume that they just hope that i will just "go away". With my hectic schedule this sounds like an attractive option as I have better ways to spend my time than to chase "3".
However there is the issue of my €99 p/m subscription fee and I will be buggered if I am just going to pay that without complaining...

More to follow...


Friday, September 08, 2006

Broadband the American way....

Clearwire's recent advertising campaign really gets up my nose.
For anyone who has not been exposed to it let me summarize it;
It features this bloke with a feckin' irritatingly smarmy American accent ranting on about how great Clearwire is and that they can supply you with broadband without wires, cables, dishes, software etc..
Basically without anything.
I expect that if you sign up a broadband fairy will magically appear in your home and will "leave" your home broadband enabled.
This is complete nonsense.
Let me give you some facts:

  • Clearwire only provides a service in parts of the following areas: Dublin, Kildare (Maynooth, Naas & Newbridge), Galway (city), Louth, Waterford (city), Bray and Carlow town. So basically they cannot provide me with broadband within 48 hours. The fact that DSL is already available in (most of) those areas makes their claim even less spectecular.
  • On their website they offer Clearplugs. These devices are simple powerline/ethernet adapters that will route your date traffic via your electrical wiring to any location in your building that does not receive Clearwire's signal. What the hell happened to no wires etc? Also these type of devices are notoriously un-reliable and combined with the quality of the wiring in the average Irish home are a recipy for disaster.
  • Clearwire also applies (but does not advertise this); port blocking & speed throttling thereby making it impossible to use a whole range of services and applications. See here for more info...
  • And what's this about "broadband the American way"?! Does this mean that if you do not sign up that a CIA hitsquad will kidnap you in the middle of the street, whisk you of to a prison in the Ukraine and tickle your footsoles with chickenfeathers untill you sign up?
  • Apparently their tech & customer support stinks.
Really guys it's not that hard. Here's a few pointers;

  • Do NOT advertise a service that you cannot provide. This pisses people off and news spreads fast.
  • Customer service is just that: service for your customer. If a customer calls provide a service. Fobbing people of, lying, not following up on appointments etc. does not do you any favours.
  • Do understand the technology that you are using. A network based on radiowaves is to a large extend un-reliable. You cannot sell a service up to the maximum range of your "radio-towers". This range fluctuates creating downtime for clients at the edge of your network. Micro-cells are the way to go.
This proves again that receiving $900 million in funding does not guarantee that you will gt it right. ...
Correction: make that $1.1 billion...

Three; phone yes, email no....

I posted earlier this week about the problems I've been having with 3's service ever since I signed up with them.
The blog posting has been getting a lot of hits and (obviously) I am not the only one with problems.
As I preferred to have problems solved rather than bitch about them I decided to bring the whole matter to 3's attention and suggested that this was a good opportunity to create some goodwill. "solve my problems with your service and I will post this on my blog", hence showing that 3 did care about their customers.
Did I get a reply?
Did I hell.....

Continued here..


Now you CIA them, now you don't...

I am truly surprised about the lack of uproar in reply to Dubya's statement a few days ago that; "yes, the CIA operates a number of "secret" prisons".
Did he not deny this some months ago together with the whole issue of rendition flights and people being nabbed by CIA hit-team form foreign countries?
Does this mean that if he lies about it first he can then admit it a few months later without any negative effects?
What really annoys me about the US's so-called war on terror is not what they are doing but the way they are doing it. This is a conflict on a huge scale and the outcome is of such vital importance to the worlds population that sometimes certain "un-civilized" measures have to be taken. The use of interrogation methods that might be seen as torture ae one of those measures. If it known that a certain person holds information that could save the lives of 10's, hundreds or even thousands of "your" people what are you going to do about it?
Ask him nicely?
Or use whatever methods availabe to get access to the information?
I have no problem with the latter...
What I do have a problem with is hypocricy, the US has played this game from day one.
They apply methods that they consider neccesary and acceptable but because they think that the public might not accept them they do not admit their actions. Even when it's blatantly obvious what is going on.
By doing so they lose face & credibility in my opinion and put a negative spin on their whole effort to combat terrorism...


Friday, September 01, 2006

To "3" or not to "3".....

After returning to Ireland last year I hobbled along on an O2 pre-pay account for a while but earlier this year I decided it was time to get a "real" mobile phone account.
I checked out a few of the different offers online and in some of the local mobile phone shops (did anyone ever notice that 2 out of three of these are smelly, grotty little establishments?).
I eventually ended up in a shiny 3G store where is was assisted in my selection by a friendly member of staff. I had a look at the different phones on offer and being a bit of a techie decided not to go for the blingy skanger phones and to opt for the Nokia 6680 instead. The best subscription offer at the time seemed to be by "3" who were relatively new on the Irish market but seeing that they already operated in several other countries it seemed like a thrustworthy enough company.
I use my mobile phone a lot so I opted for one of their top-end business packages giving me 500 inclusive minutes and 500 SMS messages. I was also lookig forward to using the 3G capabilities of the phone using it to access website and email "on the go" at a reasonable speed. the fact that it had dual cameras potentially making video-calls possible also seemed like a big plus...

Since then 3's service has been nothing but a big dissapointment. Let me list the problems that I have encountered so far:
  • First problem that I encountered was that some people while trying to call me from non-Irish networks (i.e. abroad) could not get through to me. They just got a recorded message stating that the person they were trying to call was not available. Not even the option to leave a voicemail. The message was clearly coming form 3's network as it was the same one people would get when I switched my handset of. 3's customer support puts it down to a coverage issue even though it happened in a wide variety of locations with excellent coverage. All "evidence" points at a roaming agreement problem.
  • Sometimes when I tried to make a call I would get no ringtone after dailing the number. I presumed that I was not making a connection and blamed it on either a network or coverage problem. Until I discovered that the call was actually being made and that the recipients phone would ring and that they could hear me clearly when answering the call. I on the other hand could not hear anything. Someone tipped me to switch the phone to "offline" and back to "general" when this was happening thereby forcing the phone to re-associate with the network. This indeed solved the problem and clearly indicated a network problem. 3's technical support put it down to either a handset or a coverage problem...
  • When sending an SMS message to anyone outside Ireland they would receive this message over and over again sometimes for days on end. When I spoke to three they stated that this was a fault with the receipients network and that there was nothing they could do. The fact that this problem has appeared on various forums as a typical 3 problem clearly indicates otherwise and I strongly suspect that 3's crappy roaming agreements are to blame.
  • Another issue is 3's credit management policy. Apparently it is their policy that "new" customers are only allowed to run up a bill to a certain amount before they are blocked from making calls that are not covered by their free minutes. They seem to start with the limit set at €50 or some ridiculously low amount. The fact that I have always promptly paid my bills and that each bill comes to something between €200 -€300 making me a substiantial customer still doesn't make any difference. I recently was stopped from making any calls while on holidyas because my bill had exceeded €125. The fact that I was not informed of this when I signed up pisses me off even more..
  • Their dismall 3G access. Now this one really puzzles me; why do I not get unlimited access to any website or web based resource that I want? Or why can I not access my own email addresses and am limited ot the stupid moronic "3-mail"? I do not want to have my 3G access limited to options to download ringtones, wallpapers or watch re-runs of some crappy soccer footage. What I want is full mobile Internet access. I do not mind paying for the time spent accessing this but I resent having my access limited to moronic content. Why do 3 go through all the trouble of providing 3rd rate content when there already is a huge amount of high quality content availabe. Save yourself the costs of providing and managing this content and just provide unlimited access. Please...
  • I also discovered that 3G access only works while in Ireland. Even on one of 3's other networks abroad. I was in the UK connected to 3's network there but could not access their 3G service (I was hoping that it would be better than the Irish 3G network). No luck. Up popped a message stating that "packet data services were not available. When I called support I was told that for the Irish subscribers their 3G service only works while on the Irish network.
All this has made my time with 3 the worst mobile phone service I have ever experienced. the fact that their support staff seem to be distinctly in-competent and consistently blame every problem on anything but 3's network does nothing to aleviate this experience.

As you might guess; I am talking a walk down to my local 3G store soon to have a look at some of the other providers. Suggestions are welcome...

05/09/06 **UPDATE**
Yesterday I decided to give "3" one last chance to solve all the problems that I am experiencing. I emailed their customer support department explaining about my problems and provided a link to this blogpost with a estimate of the number of hits it is getting. I put it to them that this would be a good opportunity to create some goodwill as I would post about their efforts to solve my problems.
What happened?
No response to my email but two hours later my phone goes completely on the blink and I can't make or receive anymore calls.
Coincedence? You tell me....

08/09/06 **UPDATE**
I've just received a call from a 3 customer service representative. Apparently it "had been brought to their attention that I was experiencing some problems with their service"....
I had to list all the problems I have had so far again. In response I got the usual pass-the-buck story. It was probably due to either my handset, the coverage or both. When I explained to them that this was not the case and that this had been discusses over an over again the customer service "body" couldn't come up with any other suggestions...
All she could do was to increase my credit limit (again). I was also told that the credit limit was in place to protect customers from themselves and that they would always operate a credit limit system no matter how long someone had been a customer. This contradicts what I have been told before.
I was also told that I SHOULD have been able to use the 3G network while abroad and that my problems connecting to it were probably due to a coverage issue. Yeah right...

When I suggested that, in order to get rid of the handset issue, they send me out a new handset I was told that they could not do this. I could only upgrade to a new handset if I extended my contract by 12 months and if this would not solve the problems I would have to pay a very large cancellation fine to terminate my contract!

Instead they offered to send me a refurbished Nokia 6680 to replace my current one.... So if this doesn't solve the problem I will be stuck with a refurbished phone while I paid for a new one....

Continued here..


Saturday, August 05, 2006

Irish eyes are smilling...

Take a smattering of London based Irish travellers, stir in a shovel, sledgehammer, crowbar and a safe containing £2 million worth of valuables. Add a Russian millionaire, expensive cars and a bloke called "Fat Ron".
Let all this simmer for a while and you get this!
Can anyone say "lock, stock & two smoking barrels" part II?!


Friday, August 04, 2006

Anyone missing a bridge?

Just came across this add on
This is classic and is one of those things that you really only see in Ireland.
No explanation, no nothing. Bridge for sale, stone, period!
And get this: "Entrance at both sides"!
Of course there is only one way to find out more; I have to call PJ....
And by god I will call PJ right after my first cup of coffee tomorrow morning.
More to follow...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Is the Internet steam-powered?

I am sooooo fed up with being on dialup!
When I first moved back to Ireland last year I thought that it would not be such a pain in the behind to get broadband.
OK, so I do not live in the center of Dublin. So what! If the North of this island can have 99% broadband coverage why is it so hard?
I initially settled on satellite broadband because it was the only short term solution. I choose Aramiska as provider because I had dealt with them before and they had been around for years making it a safe bet in my opinion. Even though it took a few weeks before they installed the big feck of disk on the side of the house and another week or so of tweaking before the system worked correctly I was happy as Larry.
The connection fluctuated around a respectable 2Mbps down and half a meg up.
Then after a few months I suddenly receive an email notifying me that Aramiska is seizing operations and the network would be shut down in 2 hours from the time this email was sent.
And that was it. Not a bit was coming down the pipe. I put my ear to the disk and there was absolute silence.....
Over the coming weeks I resorted to not using Internet access at home and just availing of the DSL line in the office. I was inundated with calls from ISP's that had somehow gotten their grubby hands on Aramiska's customer database and that all wanted to sell me a broadband connection. None of them where of course able to supply it where I lived.
Then, good news!
Aramiska's assets and network were bought by a new owner and revived under the brilliantly chosen name "OURANUS".
The new owners where French of course!
So I was back on the broadband wagon and the bits & bytes where flowing freely again. I was only slightly worried about the fact that these ouranus lads had not contacted me or requested me to sign a new subscription agreement.
So I was happily surfing away for another few months when suddenly my connection went completely dead again. Obviously I was straight on the phone to the your-anus people only to be informed that I had been disconnected because I hadn't paid my invoice. I explained to them that this might have been due tot he fact that they hadn't sent me an invoice. The friendly lady explained that that was OK (?) but that I still had to pay it before they could reconnect me.
I then asked her to send me:

  1. a contract
  2. an invoice
  3. bank details for payment

I think that she mis-understood me when she said "yes, thank you and goodbye" and hung up...
And that's it, in spite of several phone calls and emails I have not received any of the above so I do not know how much I should pay, where to send the money or what I am paying for.
Ooh yes, and in case I forgot to mention; i'm back on fecking dailup!
It's fecking despicable, the government is spending €500k on a "broadband awareness campaign" and I (and I am sure I am not the only one) can't even get decent affordable broadband. Bunch of fecking kettle-heads!


Penis extensions...

I got a few more spams emails offering me "all natural" penis extensions today.
A few more and my knob-end will have reached the shores of Wexford!
I just wonder why they emphasise the "all-natural" element of it. How else would one extend ones penis?
Plastic? Stainless steel? Or maybe one of those new-fangled, lightweight composite materials that all them bicycles in the tour de France seemed to be made off.
And then they say that a man's car is his penis extensions. It's bicycles I tell you! Bicycles!


Monday, July 31, 2006

Sometimes big means little...

Today I was reminded the hard way what it means to "be diplomatic" and not to kick someone in the teeth when they seriously piss you off.
I had recently terminated the contract of someone who was working for me. Somehow the twerp did not agree and kept insisting that his contact wasn't terminated and that I should still be paying him. I behaved in the "correct" manner and sent him a letter via registered mail outlining the reason for the termination. Surprisingly he refused to accept this letter. Being a lawyer he should have known that this does not make a lick of difference and that notice is considered served within 48 hours of said letter having been sent via registed mail.
By this point I was seriously questioning my judgement in hiring him (he was recommended by a good contact....) as I have better things to do than getting involved in yet another dick-wagging contest.
Now, he kept sending me deadlines via emails even after I had notified him that I would only correspond via registered mail. He consequently threatened with legal action. I duly ignored these deadlines and threats because I new that he would not have a leg to stand on in court.
Now, today I got a call through Skype from our previous CEO who is also our largest shareholder. The gobshite had gone ahead and called him to whinge that I was not giving him the TLC he so deeply craved. I gave a short outline of the way this had a gone and was advised that he was threatening to put a lien on the company. Now being an SEC registered company we have to report any litigation to the SEC. This information then becomes publicly available and might influence investor confidence.
I was adviced just to pay him off to avoid litigation, even though he DID NOT HAVE A LEG TO STAND ON!
Oooh man, this sucks in a major way!
Had ours been a private company I would have invited the twerp to step outside, rolled up my sleeves and given him a long overdue whooping.
But being a publicly trading company I have now got to be nice and pay him off. As CEO I have a lot of freedom but I also have to account to our shareholders and keep the "best interest of the company" into consideration. That leaves me with no choice but to give the two-bit hustler enough to make him go away.
Sometimes it's just not funny anymore....


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Which way for wireless broadband?

There's an interesting article on's "Radioactive" about the possible ways forward for wireless broadband and wimax in particular. It touches upon such issues as licensing, the difference between the uS and Europe, the huge investment in Clearwire and also covers a few competing technologies.
It's a good article that for once doesn't jump on the Wimax bandwagon.
More here...

I'll be back...

Or at least that is what I thought when I started this blog.
Then it took me nearly 4 months before I found the time and energy to put up another post. Pretty damn lazy if you ask my but then my life has been mad busy for the last few months. Between developing my business, the kids being home on holidays and the social pressure of outdoor BBQ's I have had not time to come up with a posting of interest.

So, whats on my mind......
Lots of stuff really. About a month ago I bought my 2nd iPod. Nice 'n cheap 40Gb jobbie. It was a refurb jobbie but in very good nick and at a good price. I also bought a rake of accesoires; Itrip, 2 docks, cover etc..
Now the iPod has gone the same way as the first one I bought: it's at the bottom of a drawer soemwhere.... Why? Several reasons really, I did not buy the iPod to serve as a "personal music player" as I hate plugging in and switching off. I did it when I was young(er) but nowadays I like to be aware of what's going on around me. Blocking of my auditory senses is not part of that game.
I bought the iPod to function as a way to play my collection of MP3's while driving. Pretty simple really; upload the music to the iPod, plug in the iTrip, tune in the radio and Bob's yer uncle. All pretty straightforward...NOT!!
First uploading my MP3's to the iPod took ages for some reason. Then it turned out that the iTrip that I bought (the latest model) plugs into the bottom of the iPod and not into the top like the old ones did. This made it impossible to use and charge my iPod at the same time which made me fall foul of the iPod's ridiculously short battery life. On top of that the iPod is so feckin' hard to use in the car that it is not funny any more. 40 Gig's hold a huge amount of music so in order to put any structure in my listening experience I had to do the following:
  1. Create playlists: I'm too busy to do this. Technology is supposed to make life easier and not create more work for me.
  2. Keep navigating between songs & albums: with the iPod's fiddly controls and little bitty screen I might have well been driving blind..
So that was that, iPod relegated to a drawer. I might resurect it one day as a portable harddrive but that's about it.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

un-health care...

While driving back from dropping the devil's offspring into school I found myself listening to a feature on the radio highlighting the extremely long wait that women in Ireland have to go through when awaiting the results of their smear test or mamograms. Now while I know of a lot of nicer ways to discuss a woman's genitals and mammaries I must admit that this discussion was "fascinating".
Can you believe that some women have to wait up to 6 months for an appointment to have a lump in their breasts checked out?! Or that once a test is carried out that it could take up to 4 months before one receives the results?
It is just plain f*cking ridiculous that in a country that has seen such a enormous economic growth in the last ten years (from the third world of Europe to the fastest growing economy) has a health care system that fails to perform on every front.
Don't get me wrong, it is not due to the people that work in the health service, the medical staff quite obviously try to do the best with the limited resources that are at their disposal.
The fault clearly lies with the government. The health services infrastructure and resources are seriously under-funded. And still the government fails to inject some of the budget surplus (4 billion euro or something in that region) into the health service.
Personally I put the blame 100% with Mary Harney. She is the minister of health so she is ultimately responsible for the lack of proper health care.
Just look at the Irish Health care system's latest track record:
  • The PPARS system: a payroll system for the health service. Estimated costs: 8.8 million euro. Ultimate costs: 231 million euro. And still the system doesn't work!!
  • Recently the HSE (Health Service Executive) admitted that something in the region of 40 million euro that was allocated for capital expenditure (i.e. long term investment) was used for operational expenditure (i.e. day to day running costs). The knock on effect of this will have a long term impact.

Those two examples would be enough to get someone in senior management in the private sector fired and possible prosecuted. What does "our" Mary do? She talks at length about the need to get to the bottom of this and to find out who is responsible.

What?! "who is responsible"?! YOU ARE! You are the person in charge of the health service and if you cannot prevent people in the health service to make major f*ck ups like this you should either resign or get fired.

Another great example of Mary's incompetence; because the governement has created a highly in-efficient public health care system they had the brilliant idea some years back to create a private health care system. Don't try to fix it, just create a parallel (and better) system for people with money. But instead of leaving the provision of these services to the private sector the government's set up VHI as a government owned private health care provider. Private sector but government owned and run; sounds logical to you?

Anyway, the VHI soon got competition in the form of BUPA, a wholely privately owned health care provider. Swiftly move on a few years and Bupa is the major player in the private health care system with better services and more profits. Everybody happy, right? WRONG. Along comes good old Mary. Not happy that the government gets to mis-spend our tax money on an in-efficient public health care system she is miffed that a lot of the private health care system's premiums do not end up in the government's coffers, she introduces something called "risk equalization". This basically would force Bupa the pay something in the region of 60 million euro a year to VHI because VHI has a less profitable membership base. So the profitable company is forced to prop up the badly run one. Make sense to you? If so please explain it to me because the logic escapes me...


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The beginning....

And here it is, my first attempt at a blog.
Why do I do it?
I don't really know, like everyone else, who hasn't been hiding under a rock for the last few years, I've read about blogs in the various media.
I always thought that they were a bit of a self indulgence for people with to much free time on their hands.
Most of them (except some of the Milblogs) didn't have anything useful to contribute.
So is mine going to be different?
Am I special? Will my blog be different? Will it put an extra bit of sunshine in your day, add some more kick to your coffee, make your pillow fluffier and maybe stop your toenails from ingrowing?
Being a conceited bastard I should stay true to character and say YES, but you know what; I don't know and frankly I couldn't give an aeronautical intercourse.
Being at a stage in my life were, due to family commitments and the "pressure" of running my own company, I do not get out enough I will see if this blog can serve as some form of outlet.
Maybe it will stop me from ranting and raving on to my long suffering (but extremely gorgeous) wife and make her life more bearable.

So what will I "blog" about?
Anything and everything basically, being an opinionated and contrary bastard I find plenty of issues in my day-to-day life that piss me off, annoy me or make my blood pressure reach dangerously high levels.
I will most likely vent about such wide ranging issues such as; politics, PC dumbasses, smoking bans, stoopid little cars, hypocrites, lack of broadband, lawyers, people with no sense of right & wrong, bad TV and the complete and utter futility of decaf...
On the other hand, in an attempt to not seems to much of a "grumpy old man", I will regularly sign the praises of; tall redheads (of the female persuasion), strong coffee, big cars (think Humvee, Landrover 110 & Suburban...), family life, the great outdoors and last but certainly not least my wife & kids.
Being in the IT/Telcoms business I might also feel obliged to spout my views and comments on issues related to this industry. Do not take my word for gospel but I have been right more times that I have been wrong (dotcom boom? Yup, saw that one coming).

So are you scared, fascinated or just curious?
Well check back here regularly and you might just spend a few minutes of your day in a more enjoyable way that you used to do previously..