• Bodhran Solo by Darragh Ó Héiligh. Italy 2008

    Darragh Ó Héiligh sets down the pipes for a minute to pick up the Bodhran during this highly energised gig at Lake Garda in Italy. this gig is the anual beach party that celebrates the pending end of the successful summer season.
    Darragh Traveled for three gigs with the group the Willin Fools, a highly tallented group of musicians from all over the north east.


  • Úilléann pipes solo by Darragh Ó Héiligh. Italy 08

    Darragh Ó Héiligh plays a slow air into the bucks reel. Touring around Italy with the Willin Fools, a energetic, entertaining and funn loving group, this gig takes place in a small and idilic village high in the mountains around Lake Garda in the north of Italy.
    Excuse the tuning. These were all open air gigs. The difference in tempriture does terrible things to the pipes.


  • Úilléann pipes solo by Darragh Ó Héiligh. Italy 08

    Darragh Ó Héiligh plays a slow air into the bucks reel. Touring around Italy with the Willin Fools, a energetic, entertaining and funn loving group, this gig takes place in a small and idilic village high in the mountains around Lake Garda in the north of Italy.
    Excuse the tuning. These were all open air gigs. The difference in tempriture does terrible things to the pipes.


  • I’m not dead.

    I’ve not written in ages!  I don’t really know why.  I’ve just not really bothered.  A few things have happened recently though that deserved a bit of a mention so…. here goes.

    The first, not so nice am I hurt my knee.  Did I tell you all I’m back at Judo?  Yes. I am and it’s great but it’s taking a long time to get back into it properly.  The last time i was there was about three weeks ago.  I badly hurt my knee so have had to stop it for a while.  It’s kind of a funny story though.  At the end of the night, I was paired with this young girl who was training with us.  She can’t have been any more than 47KG’s.  So, like the gentleman I am, hahaha, I promised to take it easy on her.  That was a huge mistake.  She was vicious!  To make a long story short, I went in for a throw but she reversed it.  What ever way I turned when she countered the throw, caused me to twist my knee and sprain a ligament. To make things worse then, two weeks later, I went back to Judo again but after 15 minutes, I was back to square one again, unable to move and in a lot of pain.
    Last Thursday, I saw a Fizeo therapist to try to get it sorted.  For €50 Euro per session I expected miracles!  No. Instead, I got more pain.  She squeezed and moved and prodded muscles and tendants around replacing and straining things at the back of my knee until at the end I really couldn’t handle any more.  The result is that I’m actually now in more pain than I was when I started that session. So, I’ve another appointment this Friday except with another woman.  Hopefully she’ll be a bit better.  
    It’s actually very painful.  It makes walking or going up and down stairs very difficult.

    More news?  Oh yeah, I had an interview last Tuesday in digiweb.  Their Internet Service Provider in Ireland providing wireless and wired broadband.  Their young company but they have done very well in the last few years with even more growth forecasted in the future.  Unfortunately though, the role they met me about was not at all technical enough so although I asked them to keep me in mind for other roles within the company, I doubt I’ll hear from them again.  I’m not bothered though as the company is very far away from busses or trains which would make commuting very difficult.

    Today, I have another interview in a company called Phorest.  It looks like they do a bit of everything.  I’m looking forward to talking with them.  Sounds like they will have some interesting prospects in the future.  I just hope that they aren’t hoping to get me for some basic role again.

    Oh, we’re looking for a house.  The favorite at the moment is a 4 bedroom house in a place called Marian park in Drogheda.  Prices are fortunately coming down so let’s hope we make the right decision.

    Nothing else really at the moment.  I’ll try to keep this updated though.  A few funny things happened today but I’ll keep you wondering for a while before I write them down.


  • Diversity in the work place my ass!

    Here’s something I’ve found on the Stream website.  Look at the highlighted parts in bold.  They say near the end that they encourage diversity.  They have equal oppertunities for gays, forign people, people from Dundalk, people with disabilities etc.  They harp on about how they want to be an outsourcer that is admired in the industry but yet I want a few very minor alterations to their I-T policy and it’s completely impossible.  Nothing that I’ve asked for will put the company at risk in terms of security, it won’t cost a penny and it will improve my productivity.  

    When I-T give us a very old PC, they argue that it is all we’re going to get because as it’s minimum spec as defined in the clients contract it will therefore do the job.  However, These Minimum specs were probably a guess from some sales fella ten years ago.  They are so old and worn out that even windows 98 would have a hard time keeping things moving.  And they want us to use them for every day work?  I wish people could understand that if you want to get the best from employees then you need to give them more than minimum spec.  Minimum spec = Minimum productivity.

    Anyway, look at this extract.  I want your comments on this by the way.

    Life at Stream

    Taken from http://www.stream.com/careers/life.asp

    Top 10 Reasons Stream is a Great Place to Work

    Passion for creating exceptional experiences

    Commitment to company-wide values, vision, mission, and goals

    Extensive training as part of a learning organization

    Relentless pursuit of excellence through aggressive goals and progress measurements

    Recognized value of a healthy work/life balance

    Global presence, with support around the world in many languages

    Challenging and fun work environment

    Comprehensive benefits plan

    Opportunities for personal growth, development, and promotion

    Team environment valuing all opinions and recognizing excellence

    Our Culture

    We distinguish ourselves from other companies through our values, vision, mission, and goals.

    Values

    Our actions will demonstrate a steadfast commitment to our clients and their customers, as well as to each other

    Our clients will experience our commitment through the service they receive from the best people, operations, processes and tools, and global capabilities

    We will work as a team instilled with integrity and respect, valuing all opinions and recognizing excellence

    Vision

    Deliver an exceptional customer experience

    Strive to be the place people want to work

    Grow to be the most admired global outsourcing company in our industry

    Mission

    Deliver an exceptional customer experience

    Goals

    Create satisfied, loyal customers

    Develop fulfilled associates

    Optimize operations and processes

    Deliver financial results

    Diversity

    Stream strives to attract, retain, and motivate individuals who reflect the diversity of their communities. Through these efforts, we provide equal opportunity for all employees and all qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, veteran, or citizenship status.

    Stream believes in the dignity of the individual. All Stream team members must work together toward a common goal. All employees must therefore be respected for their individual contributions, and be granted the right to personal dignity in the pursuit of their work.

    We believe that a diverse environment, where people share their experiences, individual perspective and personal style, makes our customer relationships the best in the business.

    Benefits at a Glance

    Employees are our most valuable resource. In appreciation for the work they do, Stream offers its employees a full benefits package. We offer an array of programs designed to be flexible, innovative, and valuable for employees and their families.

    Due to our company’s presence in a number of widespread geographies, the full details of our benefits programs are too diverse to list here; however, benefits information will be readily available during the interview process


  • HOLD ME BACK OR I’M GOING TO KILL SOMEONE!

    Good Jesus, if I get any more annoyed I am! I sware! I’m going to pull off someone’s head and shove my fist down their neck.  I’m sorry for being so graphic but really, I’m just so pissed off!  This place will drive me nuts at times!  For fuck sake!  I’m stuck!

    My problem is simple.  well, it’s not really. It’s very complicated I think.  You tell me what I should do.

    Ok, I’m now working with the Novell technical support team providing support to consumers and hobbyist users of SUSE Linux.  I’m actually the technical lead on the team which means that I am suppose to be seen as the mentor or more technically able amung the team.  That’s great.  I’m finally out of Sybase 365.  What’s not so great is that SUSE Linux is possibly one of the most inaccessible distributions of Linux I’ve ever worked with.  

    Sorry, this next bit gets a bit technical but I’m sorry. just read on.

    Background:
    I access a computer via a screen reader.  A screen reader is used by people who are blind to access a computer.  It speaks or brailles relevant components of the user interface.  for example, if Arrowing around the start menu, the screen reader would likely speak: Internet explorer. when you press the down arrow for the first time.  

    In Windows, Screen readers have been around since the early introduction of Windows 95 in early 1996.  Since this time, they have grown and evolved to be very powerful and versatile.  They have a number of draw backs and unfortunately areas of the windows operating system and applications are still yet to be made accessible.  However, on a whole, Windows Screen readers have gone past the stage of making programs accessible to making them even more usable to the extent that many Blind people can interact with the Windows environment just as fast if not faster than their sighted counterparts.  

    In Linux however, the story gets more complicated.  In terms of screen reader and accessibility, Linux is broken into sections.  The console, has been accessible for years.  This console environment is very similar to Dos and it’s accessibility possibly has existed since the time of Dos 5 and 6.  
    The Graphical environments again can be divided into the final two sections within the context of accessibility.  Gnome and KDE.  These are the two most popular window managers within Linux.  For anyone to independantly use the Linux graphical desktop without sight, they must use Gnome.  This is primarily due to the Gnome projects uptake of accessibility in their core system.  The Gnome project has supported an effert by Sun Micro Systems to develop a screen reader that will enable people who are Blind to use Gnome and most applications built on it’s supported framework (GTK).  Unlike screen readers for windows who depend on tweeks and hacks, The Gnome screen reader takes full advantage of the ATSPI model which in essence is an underlying API that makes all applications written for Gnome with the GTK framework behave in a standardized fassion that exposes their controls, state and properties.  

    KDE on the otherhand, although more popular in certain distributions is built on the QT framework.  The KDE eveloper network have committed to accessibility in order to help distributions comply with accessibility legislation however although their accessibility project has been ongoing for aproximitly four years, it is still very under developed and not yet usable.  

    So… My problem:
    SUSE Linux prefers KDE as their window manager and therefore spends a lot of time writing enhancements, fixes and modifications for this window manager.  They even write their system tools in the QT framework so they integrate seemlessly with it.  Of course, they do provide the option of Gnome but their version of Gnome is always behind the pack slightly.  For example, In SUSE 10.2, Gnome 2.16 was instaled.  This implementation of Gnome however was riddled with bugs and therefore wasn’t very usable once accessibility support was enabled.  Gnome panel frequently crashed and system performance frequently cralled at speeds slower than the oldest 4-8-6’s.  

    To get around this problem, I have decided that my work pc in Novell will contain Ubuntu 7.4 or later and my test machine will contain SUSE 10.2 or later.  This will give me the best of both worlds.  Ubuntu’s window manager of choice is Gnome therefore they spend more time ironing out the kinds in this software.  Ubuntu is also the distribution of choice for the magority of developers of the Orca screen reader therefore more documentation is available specific to Ubuntu users.  It is therefore much easier to use the applications with accessibility support in Ubuntu than any other distribution in my experience.  As I have my test machine using SUSE 10.2, I have all of the tools that are necessary to troubleshoot SUSE related issues.  

    That doesn’t sound very complicated does it?

    The problem is, I’m stuck between two jobs at the moment.  I’m slowly but surely being moved out of the Sybase 365 team over to Novell but the problem is that it’s not fast enough and I’m already starting to get work from the other team to do.  

    I-T in Stream did me a favour.  They gave me a machine to use until I get over to the Novell team permanantly.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am very thankful for that.  It’s been a great asset.  The problem is though, it’s not even a pentium 3,  it has about 5 gigs of hard disk space and 128 meg of RAM.  This thing gets stuck when just viewing the contents of a directory!  therefore, in the graphical environment, it trips over completely.  It finds it very hard to work well at all!  So, when I try to run a screen reader in a version of Gnome that is very buggy, it really has trouble.  Orca and this version of Gnome have hundreds of memory leaks.  fortunately, the problems with the main application, "gnome-panel" were logged at a very early stage and it looks like they’ve been fixed for the next version of SUSE 10.3 however in this version, it’s so slow it’s painful!
    So, what did I do to get around this?  I plugged my nice fast laptop running Ubuntu 7.4 into the test network.  Now, just note that this test network isn’t connected to the main corprit network in any way.  I was then able to get everything I needed to do done.  I wasn’t hambered in any way by accessibility or speed issues and in fact, I was very impressed that I could access so much so eaily.  
    That was all well and good until this morning.  A short time ago, I received an email from I-T saying that I have continually taken advantage of their generosity and good will by breaking I-T policies.  I was instructed that under no uncertain terms was I ever to connect my laptop into any Stream network again and I was to disconnect it straight away.  
    Now, Ok, I put my hands up.  Yes.  I broke I-T policies.  Yes.  I ask them for a lot but come on!  Why cant they see that Absolutely everything I have asked for is work related.  There was not one personal message or window open on that laptops screen.  In fact, they should be thanking me for reaching my full potential by utilizing my own equipment!  There’s a frien of mine working in another office run by the government.  He gets things there that he probably doesn’t need half as much but to help him out, they make things as easy for him as possible without giving him an unfair advantage!  
    That’s all I’m asking.  I want to have the same oppertunities as everyone else in Stream.  I’m not looking for any unfair advantages.  I just want to have the access I need to do my job.  

    I know this probably isn’t getting my point across but I really hope you understand after reading this the position I am in.  

    The wosrt thing is, I am so annoyed, I want to leave.  I want to get up and leave right now.  But I know I cant find another job.  I’m really stuck between a rock and a hard place!

    Sometimes I feel like giving up completely!  Why bother with all this shit!

    I should just play on the disability card all the time and let the government worry about it!  Why bother getting stressed over a company who probably doesn’t give a flying shit about me anyway.

    Fuck it.  I’m pissed off.

    In saying that though, Writing this rant has helped.

    Thanks for reading.

    Write back.  Tell me what you think.


  • oh it’s nearly there.

    I don’t know how long I’ve been working on getting this server up and running for now but it must be at least twenty or more hours in total.  

    I’ve gone from using ispconfig to set it all up automatically to actually manually configuring each application.  So far, I’ve set up:
    Postfix  to handle sending mail.  It also seems to contact fetchmail as well but I’m not sure how or why.
    Fetchmail for receiving mail.
    Procmail for handling putting it into maildir format as aposed to MBox.
    Courier for handling the IMAP server.
    Squirrelmail for showing the mail in a web based interface.

    So far, mail is being received and at least half of it has been converted to MailDir format.  All I have to do is find out why the other accounts aren’t doing that.  
    courier is working and I have a connection to the IMap server.
    Squirrelmail is set up but it’s not letting me log in.

    It’s getting there.  

    It’s interesting but very difficult.  I’m looking forward to actually using it as it should make the organization of my mail much easier.  


  • oh to be as easily amused as a dog.

    I’m trying to figure out why Freddie, my guide dog  absolutely loves running or more accurately bounding through bushes.  Well, he mainly likes the low ones but any bush will do.  
    There are bushes that reach just above his belly in the business park that are very well kept.  The entire business park has very well kept grass and plants all over the place and you’d be pressed to find one bush that hasn’t been cut so all the tops and edges are flat.  They must spend thousands every year on gardening.  

    I bring Freddie out every day at lunch for a bit of a run around.  There’s a few banks that he runs up and down, trees that he can have a good sniff at and plenty of hidden places where he can relieve him self.

    His main activity though is running around inside a lot of interconnecting bushes that are cut very low. He bounds around inside them only to come out, have a shake, say hello before jumping back in!  I cant understand it!  There’s definitly nothing wrong with him doing it because he doesn’t leave much of a trace after him I hear but I’d just like to know why he gets so much enjoyment out of it.  

    I came back today and had to dry him.  It was like he had just been caught out in the rain for an hour.  I’m not particularly bothered though as I probably get as much enjoyment listening to him jump around the place as he does doing it.