Ok, to cut a long story short, I recently overslept for a customer meeting despite setting my blackberry alarm and scheduling a wake up call with the hotel reception desk. My blackberry died ( yes died - even wiped my emails ) and the wake up call never happened. As a result I work to a nice blue sky when in fact it should have been dark and soon after that terrible sinking feeling hit me ... I've overslept !!! I won't bore you with the details but suffice it to say the rest of the morning was a bit of a blur - no breakfast, 10s shower & shave, painful fall as I sprinted out of the shower and no breakfast. I made the meeting but never, never again !
So, as I made my way back to Ireland, determined to never sleep in again I wondered if I should sign up for a reliable wake up service, get an alarm clock ( but I trusted my blackberry - how could it have failed !) or just never sleep again.
Luckily nothing so drastic is required. The Skype command line allows me to automate a wake up call with the following command and the Windows XP scheduler allows me to specify when that call happens.
I spotted the following interesting commentary ( albeit from 2006 ) on Open Source and how effective it can be as a sales model.
Open source gets downloaded by those who already have an interest in the product. It grows up, sheltered from initial budget, personnel, etc. restraints. People evaluate it on their own schedule, and subject to their own agenda. If it works, the IT group is able to show a growing (or fully grown, in some cases) "plant," rather than a packaged seed ("Guys, the vendor promised me this would work. No, he wouldn't show me any samples, and no, we can't touch it until we buy it, but he's such a nice sales guy....").
That's the beauty (or one beauty) of open source.
As a techie who is often one of those "interested evaluators" the pointy side of this model is that if you go this route then you had better make sure that your product is easy to understand, easy to install and provides a "wow" factor almost immediately out of the box. Unlike a lot of enterprise sales where PowerPoint does creates miracles - the guys evaluating your software know exactly what it's needs to do and will punch holes in it if not up to scratch :-)
Thanks to Kathy Siera at Passionate - I remember a similar curve being described, albeit in an IT Conversations podcast, by Clayton Christenson on capturing the upside where he discusses how smaller, more nimble companies can overtake established ones through disruptive innovation and delivering just what the market wants. It's all too easy for a company to fall into the "we need feature to add X, Y and Z to capture more market share" mind set when in fact they need to step back and ask what market they're in, whether it's still the same one they were in when they had the "Cool!" reaction and if not - are they still addressing that market.
It took a while but it looks like Skype have added Ireland to their list of countries with SkypeIn enabled. For those of you unfamiliar with the feature it allows you to purchase a local land line number that your friends can use from any phone and have the call directed to your Skype account. Great if you spend time abroad and want your mum/wife/husband/friends to call you cheaply - and even better for people who don't have Skype set up or prefer to use their mobile or land lines for calls.
Sample screenshots from the subscription process:
Spotted on the indo on August 20th and commented on by Antoin. So much for progress. For a country so small and a self proclaimed "knowledge economy" it's amazing we haven't managed to even put this in place. I wonder how we could approach this if the Irish geodirectory was opened up ... as a collaborative registry ?
"Plans to introduce a system of postcodes across the country have reportedly been postponed indefinitely by new Communications Minister Eamon Ryan.
Mr Ryan's predecessor, Noel Dempsey, had indicated that the ?15m scheme would be up and running by the start of next year.
Two reports have already been compiled and an extensive public consultation process has been carried out.
Ok, ok so I'm not really a fan of Microsoft software but I suspect I may just have found something to change my mind - Windows Live Writer, an offline blog editor that suspiciously seems to tick all the right boxes for me. Before changing the habit of a lifetime I'll spend a week putting it through it's paces but so far so good. Connecting to peerside using the Movable type API was seamless and it even picked up my sites theme ... watch this space.
Ok, so it's tabloid like headings but it's what I had to do. In order to try out a Visio driven app I needed to get my hands on Visio so off I went to the MS Office Trial site and to my delight they offer MS Office Visio 2007 ( amongst other office apps ) for trial download.
Great, but there's a catch. You have to select your region so the site can work out what language, code pages and address formats you should use. Nothing to strange there until I go and look for Ireland ... in the drop down list.
Nope, no Ireland under "i" - no worries, they've probably gone all PC and called it the "Republic of Ireland"
Update: Before I even had the chance to report the issue below Brian from Eventful.com was on the the issue and Tramore is now rightfully back where it beloings, in Waterford. Now that's what I call proactive customer service - nice one Brian!
Only a few hours from spotting a Google maps data quality blooper I stumbled across a similar location related issue while investigating the use of microformats. From the Technorati microformat search I found a single hCalendar reference for Tramore ( near where I grew up ) that had been published by Eventful.com here. Spot the blooper ? Tramore is actually in Waterford and not in Cork as Eventful.com claims in the "Where" field.
I'm not sure if this is a mistake by the person who entered the event ( doubtful, Ireland is too small to get that wrong ) or did the event address get "enhanced" along the way to become "Tramore, Co. Cork" instead of "Tramore, Co. Waterford" ? Who knows ... and that's the point - without realizing it Eventful.com or the event organizers have removed a portion of their audience who might travel to Waterford but not to Cork.
My 9-5 job is for a Data Quality company so it amused me to spot an obvious blooper on google maps recently, searching for "Bettystown, Meath, Ireland" returned the correct map but a corrected address for "Bettystown, Louth, Co. Louth, Ireland". Now I'm not a native Meath person but I'm sure pub brawls have broken out over less in and around the Louth/Meath border.
For the offending search results check out here.
As far as I know the data used by Google for Ireland is provided by Tele Atlas and highlights the lack of simple consistency checks. A quick scan of the suggested address should show that Bettystown is a town within Meath, not Louth, something they should be able to accomplish even without using the An Post geodirectory.
Nothing earth shattering but recently I noticed that when I used the command line in Windows XP I couldn't run system commands like cmd and notepad without explicitly providing the .exe extension. Not such a big deal until today when I started slicing and dicing some 2Gb data files from the command line and found that the same disease applied to commands like ls.exe, wc.exe etc. supplied by cygwin.
Much googling (is that a word ? ) later I found this post by Mike Henley that solved the issue.
I installed ActiveState TCL recently and apparently it has the nasty habit of adding a PATHEXT to your environments user variables which conflicts with the PATHEXT already set in the system variables. Simple workaround, delete the entry in the user variables and add .tcl to the PATHEXT entry in the system variables.
Considering Mike posted the resolution to this issue in 2002 it's concerning to see that ActiveState's release still triggers this behavior. Posting it here to persist the solution so others don't have to pull out their hair as much as I did.