May 032015

A friend of mine would stop and talk to homeless around her area. Many of these homeless people were alcoholics or drug addicts. When I asked her why she spent so much time on these people her response was that life is a roller-coaster. You’re up one day and the next your down. There’s a half an inch of water and you think you’re going to drown. That’s just the way the world goes round. She said that you really never know when that could be you some day. The least you would want people to do is treat you like any other person. Dignity, respect and understanding don’t cost anything.

So when I heard of a friend of a friend who had recently become homeless these words rang like alarm bells.

I offered to let the person stay in our house because I know from previous encounters that they are a fantastic musician and it would only take the right contacts to get them back in the gigging scene again. Within no time I know the person would have a stable income and be able to properly afford a home again.

I have also made the mistake before of trying to help too much. I came across as being too forceful and possibly even patronizing. From that experience I also know that peoples pride can never be under estimated so basically, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. With this in mind, when this person came to our house during the week I gave a couple of suggestions but I didn’t push or over state anything.

I freely gave the use of two 16.5 inch RCF speakers or a small boes digital speaker and amp along with a mixer and as many mikes, stands and cables as needed. With this person’s talent and equipment like this at their disposal it would only take a few days to start building up some really nice solo gigs.

I then gave a few numbers of some brilliant friends of mine who would jump at the opportunity to be introduced to such a good musician.

Finally, I have quite a few contacts in the social housing industry so I offered some information.

Without pushing or favouring any solution, I was basically handing this person the means to get out of this homeless situation without asking for anything in return. Within a week the person would have built up a contacts list that would have resulted in a flood of performances and enough money to put a deposit down on an apartment rental.

I was kind of shocked when not only did the person not jump at any of these opportunities, they didn’t even get up to wash a cup or put away their bed clothes the next morning. As we don’t have a spare room at the moment our living room was the only option. Fortunately, our living room has a very comfortable couch that has been used as a bed many a time by visitors. Yes. By visitors in case any of you get ideas.

24 hours after the person came, I decided that they really didn’t want any help to get out of this situation. They were quite content to live off the generosity of others. My generosity has a limit and I have absolutely no intention of helping someone who won’t help themselves so I put an end to my offer.

It’s frustrating. I would have gladly given more time if the person had even bothered to help out around the house. I would assume that someone who finds themselves homeless would do absolutely everything possible to get a home again. But in the meantime, when depending on people to shelter you from the elements at night, the least you can do is use the opportunities given to you and contribute as much as you can to the people who are giving you somewhere to sleep.

Feb 012015

I don’t write about my daughter Méabh all that much on any social media including Twitter, Facebook and even this website. Primarily because I respect any need she may have in the future for privacy. I don’t know if I would want to read tweets or Facebook updates written by my parents when I was young. Sure, they might be interesting for me from time to time but would I want others to read them? What about current or perspective employers. Imagine if you searched for Darragh Ó Héiligh and you found a post written by my mother on Facebook thirty years ago. That is a frightening thought.

Anyway, that’s beside the point of today’s post.

I don’t write about Méabh very often but tonight while at the end of a great weekend, I really wanted to write something because it marks the continuation of a journey that I hope to have only started with her. That is the journey of music and performances.

This weekend was the seventh annual Temple bar music festival. I don’t think it was a very good festival this year overall but one part I really enjoyed were the free performances from under 18 groups that were hosted in Dublin’s city hall. These were advertised as family friendly events so I of course bought Méabh. I listen to a lot of music at home therefore Méabh does as well but music is very different when played live so when I have the opportunity to attend a live performance I jump at it. Now that I have Méabh as well, I love bringing her with me. I love being there for her reactions. She is fifteen months young at the moment so possibly too early for some of the strict performances where you can’t make any noise while the musician is playing however, if this weekend was anything to go by she wouldn’t be any bother at all. She absolutely loved the performances. She clapped at the end of most tunes, songs, slow airs and poems and she danced happily along to faster tunes. During a slow air today she even turned toward me and gave me a huge hug for the duration of the tune. There was a collective Aw from the audience around me at that point. I thought that during the poem at the very least she’d get bored but not at all. She stood in the isle looking around.

I love having the opportunity to introduce something that means so much to me to Méabh but the reason that I’m writing tonight is I’m incredibly proud of her for not just sitting quietly during hours of performances but actually enjoying the entire performances from beginning to end. Today we were in the one seat for an hour and a half and not once did she complain that she couldn’t run around on her own or make noise.

By far, for me, the most rewarding part of being a parent is introducing Méabh to something and being there as she gets just as much joy from it as I do.

Jan 082015

I wrote a short blog post last night when I felt that I couldn’t get any further independently with searching within a Mongo database for data between a date and time range.

I was highlighting a question that I had posed on Stack overflow.

Fortunately today when I got home from work very late I found there were two very short and very useful responses.
Turns out that I was over complicating my approach. The date is actually represented in the Mongo shell as an ISo date but it’s actually a BSON date type.

So by converting it to a string I was causing the problem in the first place.

Here’s what I was trying:

date1 = datetime.datetime.utcnow()-datetime.timedelta(minutes=15)
date1 = date1.strftime(“%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S.000Z”)
for cursor in sensors.find({‘Date':{“$gte”:’ISODate(“‘date1′)”‘}}):

First line is defining the date and time minus 15 minutes.
Second line is converting it into the right format.
Third line is creating the cursor and adding the ISODate(“”) component.

However, here’s what I should have been doing.

date1 = datetime.datetime.utcnow()-datetime.timedelta(minutes=15)
for cursor in sensors.find({‘Date':{“$gte”: date1}}):

That simple!

However, on my travels I found that you can profile a Mongo database.
Learn about profiling MOngo here
This turns on profiling:

db.setProfilingLevel(2) This turns off profiling:


This shows you the entries written to the profile table:


This is the kind of output you can expect from profiling:

“query”, “ns” : “DatabaseName.CollectionName”, “query” : { “Date” : { “$gte” : “ISODate(\”2014-12-31T12:30:09.000Z\”)” } }, “ntoreturn” : 0, “ntoskip” : 0, “nscanned” : 0, “keyUpdates” : 0, “nreturned” : 0, “responseLength” : 20, “millis” : 1, “client” : “”, “user” : “” }

My huge thanks to the people on Stack overflow who helped out.

Jan 082015

Here we go again. I blogged about this before but now I’m trying to do it using Python. I don’t know why this is so difficult!

I had to ask the question on Stack overflow because I’m no closer to solving it.

When I eventually find the answer or if someone helps, I’ll of course post the solution here. It’s funny, when researching this, I kept finding the blog post I wrote before. Funny but ever so slightly irritating as well because I really don’t need to read wheat I’ve written!

Updated on 8th January 2015 at 11PM: I have written a second blog post with the answer to this question here.

Jan 022015

I post to Audioboom an dsound cloud when ideas come into my head so I’ve decided that to revive this site a little, I’d link the other services I post to so that when I record a podcast in Audioboom for example you see it as a new blog post here.

Any thought’s? The first podcast is here: By the way, you can also subscribe through the iTunes podcast service if you like.


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Dec 242014

2014 is almost finished and I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see the end of a year.

Usually, I’ll try to see the good in things but this year the bad took over the good.

On the 23rd of May my granny died. Coming to terms with this hasn’t been easy. I’m probably not through grieving yet either. There’s rarely a day when I don’t think of her.

I’ve also been handed way more than I can handle in work. I’m managing the support team, implementing new solutions like the SMS gateway and the new backup solution, managing a few contractors, implementing and monitoring security and maintaining the entire production, test and office environments. As well as this, I’m also the escalation point for support so just as I’m about to really focus on a problem, someone will stand at my desk expecting an immediate answer. Managing people is very difficult. Managing people and also doing another full time job is next to impossible. The balls that I’m juggling regularly fall so when I’m focused on managerial, something in the environment goes pear shaped. When I’m focused on the environment or a new system, work doesn’t get done and I have to go back to management again.

This year has been great in other ways. We rented an apartment in Spain for a month in June. That was a fantastic experience. Living in a completely different climate was refreshing and relaxing. I worked over there for a few weeks and then took a few weeks off at the end.

I also travelled to Canada with Comhaltas for the Echoes of Erin tour. I blogged about it at the time so take a look if you’re interested. That was an absolutely incredible two weeks. I loved Canada and the Canadian people. The people I travelled with were lovely and great musicians as well so all round I couldn’t have been happier with the experience.

This is also our second year of marriage. Without Emma I wouldn’t have handled my granny’s passing and all the stresses of work. She has both picked me up and given me a kick in the ass when I’ve needed it. One of the best things I ever did was propose to Emma. I continue to admire and appreciate her determination, kindness, patients, humour and thoughtfulness. She is also the reason why Méabh our daughter continues to thrive. I just hope Méabh doesn’t talk as much…

Speaking of Méabh she is just brilliant. A month ago she progressed from trying to walk to actually getting up and going where ever she wanted. It was in the most unlikely place as well. We were visiting Mick O’Brian and his daughter Aoife when they finished a performance in Drogheda. We let Méabh down for a second and she just got onto her feet and walked away. It was really that quick. She saw something she wanted and she walked to it. Actually, I think it was another person but she decided it was more convenient to walk over. Apart from walking Méabh is getting on really well. She’s forming a lot of different sounds and occasionally she correctly replicates something that we’ve said. For example, on Sunday Emma said Ouch. Méabh thought this was hilarious so said outzz. It wasn’t completely accurate but it was a great first try. I also get called Daddy first thing in the morning or when she gets excited. Any other time I get called Dada. She’s trying to say Nama’s name too but that usually comes out as Nana or Nananananana. I don’t expect any real words from her for a good six months or so and even then they will be very simple but it’s really interesting to hear her start to explore the different sounds.

Again, moving on, I mentioned Nama my guide dog in the last paragraph. I have him two years now. He’s been better than I could have anticipated. I’m convinced he’s bullet proof. No situation seems to put him off. When I need him he’s an absolute rock and when it’s time to unwind he’s a big pup.

So there you have it. 2014 has been very good but unfortunately because of two bad things the good has been over shadowed. Bring on 2015.

I would like to finish by wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a rewarding, fulfilling and prosperous new year. My sincerest thanks for continuing to visit this website. My special thanks to those who have left comments and who have contacted me through the site. It has been a pleasure to contine the website for an eleventh year.