03 March 2003
SFO (San Francisco International Airport) finally gets wireless...
11:08:38 PM  #   your two cents []
The number three. Today is a very special day for the second smallest prime number. [Guardian Unlimited]
11:02:33 PM  #   your two cents []

Harumph! Turns out Michael O'Leary, abrasive boss of budget airline Ryanair, bought a 6,300 taxi licence from Westmeath County Council for his Mercedes -- so he can bypass Dublin's horrendous traffic jams by driving in the restricted-traffic bus lines. The radio and press are having a bit of a field day with this:

Owners of taxi plates can beat the gridlock by flying through restricted access bus lanes, along with police officers, ambulances and government ministers. Since the deregulation of the taxi industry there has been nothing to stop the practice.

The only catch is that if the vehicle is hailed and is not carrying a passenger the driver is legally obliged to pick them up.

"There are quite a number of people who have availed of this loophole," said Mr Vinnie Kearns, vice-president of the National Taxi Drivers' Union.

"We have had it down to small operators, we've had a washing machine repair man arrive at a house driving a taxi. I am sure quite a number of tradesmen also use this loophole."

So if you see Michael motoring past, whistle him over for a lift.

10:16:59 PM  #   your two cents []

ImageI took the plunge. Ordered the new 12-inch G4 Mac laptop last week, with Airport and the 10G iPod as back-up hard-drive/MP3 player. Eeeeek; there went my bank account! Today I got the shipping notice and it will probably arrive Wednesday -- just when I have left to go talk to the researchers at the University of Limerick for two days. Oh No! I am hoping it will come by Wednesday morning, so that I can take it with me.

I spent a lot of time thinking about this decision and researching options. I wanted a small and light laptop -- I stopped taking my old laptop with me ages ago entirely due to weight and bulk issues. I also needed the largest keyboard possible, as I have mild RSI.  And I wanted a CD-RW drive as part of the machine, not as a separate external drive. And I didn't want to spend a huge amount.

The only PC machine that compared to the Mac along price, size and features lines was the Fujitsu S-series. I briefly considered a tablet PC but feel I want to wait to see better handwriting recognition, plus they are a bit chunky in shape. Really, what decided it for me in the end was 1) I haven't used a Mac in several years and I have no familiarity with OS X; I don't feel comfortable writing (as I used to quite regularly) about Apple without knowing the products and OS, and 2) how smart and beautiful the laptop is (and I went for  DVD-RW drive as well. Cool). Oh, and some helpful responses from blog readers on living a multi-OS lifestyle [grin].

Updates to come as I start to put together my wireless system and check out the G4. Oh yeah: I also have a nice box o' Linux to put on my old laptop, while XP runs on my Dell desktop. I think I need to take a week off to fiddle with all this stuff (seriously!).

10:10:43 AM  #   your two cents []
The Guardian take on the Google/Blogger deal: Google takes the plunge. [Guardian Unlimited]
9:47:25 AM  #   your two cents []

Here's a letter sent to the Irish Times from University College Dublin law professor Robert Clark, regarding the piece I wrote Friday on the Irish Justice Department's proposed three-year data retention bill:

Departmental officials who claim that phone companies have been keeping traffic data for 6 years are seriously misleading the Public. Traffic data has been kept for this time and used by the companies for legitimate purposes such as answering customer queries on old accounts and cancelled subscriber matters, their own direct marketing and interconnector payments, but most data was taken off the system after some months or anonymised. But until the April 2002 Order by then Minister O'Rourke - a secret, legally enforceable obligation on the Telcos - third party access was governed by data protection law and privacy rules. To say otherwise is to flag this vague proposal as being pro- privacy, which it is not. The simple fact is that the O'Rourke Order has no checks and balances in it so to the extent that any new Bill will contain improvements in the present situation I will personally welcome them.

However, the signs are not good. The new law will give effect to the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention and this requires compliance if data recovery is technically feasible- and damn the expense to the service provider. There are a few platitudes to human rights laws being observed but the Convention is much less precise on these matters. Will the new Act have appeal mechanisms for both business and citizens? Will there be transparent and meaningful procedures involving judicial scrutiny of applications before orders are granted or the need to show probable cause? We have already seen this week that even where the technology works people will foul up; just ask poor 72 year old Mr.Bond who was entertained for 17 days in a south African police cell when the FBI sought to extradite the wrong man.

Professor Robert Clark, Faculty of Law, UCD

9:40:33 AM  #   your two cents []
R. Buckminster Fuller. "Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons." [Quotes of the Day]
9:36:05 AM  #   your two cents []
At last! A version of Quake I'd really enjoy...: Take That, Monica! Kapow, Chandler!. Carnage and comedy unite in "Quake/Friends," where gladiators from "Quake," the ultraviolent computer game, meet the cast of the television show.  [New York Times: Technology]
9:35:32 AM  #   your two cents []
Pondering Value of Copyright vs. Innovation. Could a mismatch between two different technologies and the legal policies that govern them inhibit free expression and innovation?  [New York Times: Technology]
9:34:46 AM  #   your two cents []