Gavan Reilly

thinking out loud

Archive for the ‘The Internet’ Category

Public Transport and Broadband

with one comment

Do Ministers actually ever talk to each other? You have to wonder. Maybe Fine Gael are doing such sniping these days that the cabinet have to divert their attention to fending off the opposition rather than managing to attend meetings, or lob each other the odd text message.

Last week, trying to capitalise on the empty news cycles, the Government launched their Sustainable Travel and Transport Action Plan, basically encouraging people to use public transport in getting to work – or better yet, get them to try and work from home as much as practicable. Not a bad idea – anything to get cars off the road surely helps the country out, and saving the inevitably arduous task of having to build another lane onto the M50 in, oh, about three weeks.

But then, as quietly as they could manage it, we had the subtle news – ironically, while people weren’t supposed to be reading the papers – that Luas ticket prices are going up by 5c, Dublin Bus are raising their fares by 10c a pop, Bus Éireann and Iarnród Éireann are hiking them by 10% – even the already ludicrously overpriced taxis are getting another 50c put on the initial fare.

Now, it doesn’t take the TK Whitakers of this world to realise that this, rather than stimulating their use, will put them off. What’s particularly irking, though, is that such moves come at a time when it’s becoming gradually cheaper to drive. Granted, cars aren’t getting cheaper, but insurance – the thing that usually stops 22-year-old males from The Pale like myself from taking to the roads – has become more realistically priced, and petrol is constantly coming down. The Esso across the road from my student gaff sold diesel for 119.5c a litre when we moved in last May – now it’s down to 93.5c, and it’s not going to get any higher for a while, no matter what swindles OPEC might try to unleash on the rest of the world.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Gav

January 4th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Wikipedia’s Secret Weapon

with 2 comments

Watching the opening night of Celebrity Big Brother tonight, I kept an eye on the relevant Wikipedia entry, and specifically the Contestants section.

When Wikipedia first became famous, and the battles raged over whether it would ever succeed Encyclopedia Brittanica – or god forbid, Encarta! – in terms of moral standing and infallability, one of things that led me to argue for Wikipedia was its far superior grasp of pop culture, niche interests, and modern media. Quite simply, you’re not likely to find an article like this in Britannica anytime soon – and if you’re looking for details of the next Futurama movie, you’re basically going to be gutted.

What becomes even more unique is when you watch a major international event on Wikipedia. Tom Raftery tells a story about how he was surfing Wikipedia while listening to RTE Radio 1 when the appointment of the new Pope was announced in 2005. Hearing the name ‘Ratzinger’ live from the Vatican, and recognising the name, he went to the Wikipedia entry for Joseph Ratzinger, and saw it changed already – as quickly as an RTE hack could translate it – to that of Pope Benedict XVI.

Well, mix the pop culture abilities, and the live nature, and you a potently hilarious mixture. I won’t try to commentate on them, but while the contestants were entering the house, all of the following were visible on live updates of the show’s Wikipedia entry:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Gav

January 2nd, 2009 at 10:51 pm