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  • A weekend in Buncrana.

    Emma and I spent the weekend in Buncrana in Donegal with two good friends Jenny and Nicky. It was something that we had hoped to do for ages so it was fantastic to finally get the chance.

    Nicky had been talking to be about how great Buncrana is for months and I’m glad to say it certainly didn’t disappoint. Nicky might be biest of course but I don’t think his description did it justice. Jenny’s house is like a palace. I asked her if she’d swap but she refused. It’s a pity really. There’s a lovely walk around that area that I’d love to do every day on the way to work. Seriously. It’s one of the quietest environments in the country!

    If you’re ever in Buncrana you absolutely have to go to a restaurant called the Railway tavern and Firebox grill. Technically it’s about four miles outside Buncrana but regardless. It’s a fantastic place. They easily do one of the nicest stakes in the country. Nicky didn’t stop talking about the place last week and I can certainly see the attraction now. After eating a band set up in the corner. Emma noticed that the bodhran player had a guitar strap attached to the rim so we went over to have a closer look. As always happens in these situations, I was instructed to play a few tunes with them so I got up on stage a few times.

    After dinner we went to a small quiet pub called the cottage in the town of Buncrana. It wasn’t very busy at the time but we didn’t get there until well after 11. I just had to mention it because the Guinness there was just lovely.

    I went for a walk on my own on Sunday afternoon at around 1 O’clock down by the beach and through a park area. I needed to talk about it here because it was by far one of the nicest walks I have had in years. The sun was shining so that was nice enough but the smells as I walked through were just amazing. At one stage I could smell the beach and hear the water lapping against the shore and a minute later all I could hear were birds in the trees and the sound of my dog’s paws tapping on the path. At the same time, a strong floral cent filled my senses and it was like sticking my head into a flower pot. A few minutes later I was on gravel with the satisfying crunch under my feet and then we hit a downward slope toward the smell of freshly cut grass. I remembered the advice given to me by one of the guide dog instructors to take opportunities like this to play with the dog so during the entire walk I was playing with Nama’s tail, running or skipping or just grabbing his nose. We must have looked crazy at times skipping around a path but he enjoyed every minute of it. The walk was around very winding paths that dipped and rose with no regularity so we both had great fun. For that little walk alone, I would recommend anyone to visit Buncrana. For the stake and the nice Guinness, I’d recommend that you just move up permanently. It’s wile good. 🙂

    A huge thanks to Jenny and Nicky. We both had a brilliant weekend.


  • Abortion in Ireland

    I just wanted to write on the topic of abortion for a moment.  No. Don’t close the page yet. I really want to put a few points forward to you and I’d like you to write back with your own thoughts.

    Firstly, I am neither for or against abortion. I don’t believe it is something that can be denied or approved across the board because every case seems to be different.

    I know three people who have had an abortion. The first had an abortion sixteen years ago. She regrets it to this day.  She wakes at night thinking that she can see her child at the end of her bed crying. She thinks it was going to be a son.  She has come to the realization that it was the right thing to do but it took her a long time to get to that point.  At the time, her mother and sister dragged her to a hospital in England without giving her a choice.  She thanks them now because she didn’t understand at the time but at the same time, she can’t really forgive them either.  It is something that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

    The second person had an abortion four years ago.  Her mother and father found out that she was pregnant and they bet her so badly that she lost the child.  It wasn’t an abortion in the strictest sense of course.  However, the life of the unborn child was snuffed out none the less. The woman in this case actually forgives her mother as she recognises that she was in no state at the time to raise a child.  Without the burden of a child she has gone on to finish a degree and she is working in a career that will suit her for life.  She is terrified that if she gets pregnant again that the child will not develop properly as a result of the injuries she sustained at the hands of her parents.

    Finally, the most recent story was about a year ago. I won’t say much about this because I’d be afraid it would hit a nerve and the person might read this post. However, she is why I am writing today.  The legislators in Ireland are trying to save women that have suicidal tendencies as a result of being pregnant.  I completely understand this.  If a woman has been sexually assaulted and the result of that is an unwanted child then that woman should in my opinion have the right to choose what happens to her body and her life in this instance.  However, I need you to understand something that’s much more important. All three women that I know felt like ending their own lives after aborting the lives of their unborn children. I have sat there while women fall to pieces after returning from an abortion. It is one of the most difficult things that I have experienced. Imagine what it is like for them! One particular friend is still suffering.  I am constantly worried about her because although she seems strong, she is tearing herself up over the same questions that I think everyone who has an abortion asks.  “Is there anything I could have done?” “Could I have kept it?” “Have I made the right choice?”  These are questions that never leave them. The best that they can hope for is another chance at it in years to come.

    It makes me feel very sick but even angrier to hear such a sad, personal and difficult topic thrown around the political circles like any other political issue.  I wish that TD’s, senators and ministers would remember that Abortion is rarely a solution. It is actually what causes the wound. It might help in the short term but women need to live with the decision for the rest of their lives.

    To finish, I will say that behind an abortion is a man. Instead of the spotlight shining on abortions, I’d rather see it shining on the useless scabs in society who father children and don’t stand up to their responsibilities. If it was up to me, any man who walked away from a child would have their fruits cut off.  No. I’m not messing.

    As I said, I’m no expert. I don’t think any man can really have the right to have an opinion on this.


  • A small DNS experiment.

    I was board for a minute and I thought to myself; wouldn’t it be cool to have DNS records that were required for administrators hidden from the rest of the company? OF course, it is an add on to the not so useful security through obscurity policy that a lot of companies develop but it would be an interesting exercise none the less. So, I thought to myself, hey active directory is integrated with DNS so maybe if I set permissions on a test zone to limit access I’d be able to verify my theory that DNS addresses could be hidden to users based on their group membership.

    So this is what I tried:

    1. Create a zone in DNS.
    2. Create a record in that zone.
    3. Set permissions on that zone and the record so that a test user didn’t have access to it.
    4. block inheritance so that permissions provided to the parent zone wouldn’t be propagated to my new test zone.
    5. Open up a command prompt with the credentials of the test user so that only the authorizations provided to that test user is provided.
    6. Run nslookup
    7. Use the server you want to query. Type

      server 123.123.123.56

      replacing the IP with the IP of your DNS server.

    8. Look up the address to your new A record located within your test zone.

      blah.blah.local

    That’s about it. I proved to myself that when your client looks up an address from DNS it doesn’t pass any security credentials. Or more accurately, the server side doesn’t respect any credentials that may or may not be passed to it. The permissions are set on the records to delegate permissions on an administrative level.


  • Life like dominos.

    It has really struck me lately how much the timeline of events has a profound impact on life.  I know. That sounds absolutely stupid so let me explain.

    For example: Do I go left or right today.  I’ll go left.  Two hours later you hear that there’s been a crash on the road to the right and you would have been in the middle of it.

    I know these things are absolutely obvious but for some reason over the past four days my life has been like a line of dominos.  Things falling in or out of place like there was a real master plan behind them. If things that happened in the past day or two had happened about two months ago, my life would have profoundly changed direction.  Maybe for the better, maybe not! Who knows!

    I’m currently on a cliff facing the wrong direction with my head covered in a big thick hood. Things will happen very soon that are going to plunge me off that cliff backward.

    I can’t say what they are. Their both personal and professional.  There’s no point speculating, your guesses will be wrong.

    If it was not for the very specific sequence of events and the time they took place that led me to this situation today I would be overwhelmingly afraid.  It is the strange way that fate has conspired to bring me to this moment that has assured me without any shadow of a doubt that although I’m falling without a safety net, the landing will be as smooth as it can be.

    I’m not a religious person.  I have major reservations when it comes to the belief in a god however; it really brings the old saying to mind “God moves in mysterious ways”.

    I’m not in a particularly contemplative mood and I could hardly say that I’ve had any kind of sudden realization. It just seems strange that the cards fell in this order.  At certain times, I didn’t think that I wanted this order, but I’m more than happy with it now.


  • Wedding website

    New Year’s Eve and our wedding day is fast approaching. The hen night is over, the stag is looming and all the preparations are almost finished.

    To those of you who have yet to RSVP to invitations you may do this via our wedding website at www.droghedawedding.com. You can also find information about what’s happening on the day, what has gone on during the hen party and the stag and if you need help getting to the church or the reception hotel there are plenty of maps and directions as well.


  • The stages of life.

    This was up on the bedroom wall of my grannys granny. Her name was Margaret Cooney. On the death of Margaret Cooney, my great great granny, the picture was disposed of or destroyed unfortunately but my granny, Maeve Healy still remembers it now.

    She recalled that the words were very ornate. The writing was very nicely styled and the color of the first letter of the first word on each line was different.

    When she told me of this I thought it would be nice to put it up here.

    The Stages of Life

    Ten years of age,
    This happy boy,
    His days are bright,
    And full of joy.

    At Twenty years,
    A lover fair,
    Without a tear,
    Without a care.

    At Thirty years,
    He is said to be,
    A man of happy family.

    At Forty years
    His laurels won,
    He fears no man
    But says well done.

    At Fifty,
    He stands still at last,
    And views the future
    And the past.

    At sixty years
    The sages say
    He starts to go
    The downward way.

    At Seventy years
    With cane in hand,
    A grey-haired man
    He walks the land

    At Eighty,
    Feeble, bent and lame,
    Life soon will leave his crumbling frame

    At Ninety years
    All racked with pain
    Life soon will leave
    His crumbling frame.

    And when a Hundred
    Years have passed,
    He prays to God
    And breath’s his last,


  • Sexy hardware.

    People think I’m funny saying that a computer or something technical is sexy but I really don’t care. Look at the Mac book air! It’s sleek, smooth, light and strong. There’s nothing about the physical design of this tiny laptop I don’t like. I’ve been a fan of the Apple keyboards for years so it goes without saying that for me, this was one of the major selling points of this but I wasn’t expecting to find the entire package this appealing.

    I have a good grasp of the basics of using OSX but equally as using a Mac as my primary non-work system I am forced to learn a lot more. Navigation around applications seems slow to me at the moment but this is very likely because I’m not using all the power of the Voiceover screen reader yet. Text editing is definitely the hardest thing to do at the moment. I am finding it hard to become comfortable with the way the cursor moves and it’s placement in relation to words and characters in comparison to the PC. Still, it’s an interesting and enjoyable learning process.

    I’m still in the honeymoon stage but I plan to document my successes and failures as I come to grips with this new system.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I can’t promise that I’ll be much help but I’ll certainly try.


  • So. what’s new?

    So, what’s new about this wonderful new version of digitaldarragh.com?

    I’ve moved away from Drupal for this site.  Who knows, when version 7 finally comes out I might consider returning in a year or so however I’ve been waiting for it to arrive for ages now and even if it is released in the next month or two it wouldn’t be a great idea to upgrade right away as there are bound to be problems with the core without even considering the problems that will be likely to emerge with contributed modules considering the major changes in this new version.

    I also just really like the way wordpress works. It started out as a blogging platform so Blogging is simply what it does best. With version 3, wordpress really took on other CMS platforms such as joomla and Drupal in my view. I certainly cant say that it’s better than Drupal in particular however I think Drupal 7 has learned from WordPress 3.  That says a lot for WordPresses development.

    So, enough of my opinions. What’s different!

    • There’s a bright new theme. Now the background of each page is a picture from one of the most fantastic places in the world. It’s of the mountains and the lake in Torbole in the lake Garda region of Italy. The design has been described as relaxing and easy to look at by a number of people. Although it’s bright, I was concious that a number of visitors spend a lot of time reading computer screens during the day so glare can be a problem.
    • Sticking with the design side of things, I’ve also included more logical and consistent navigation. ON every page of the site you will be able to jump to blog entries by month or by category. This is perfect for visitors who are only interested in certain topics that I right about.
    • Twitter and facebook integration.  I love it when you share content that you’ve read on this website with social networks.  I’m now making it very easy.  At the bottom of every blog post there are share with facebook and twitter links. These will open a new browser window that bring you to the respective social networks.  If you are logged in to these websites already the link to the blog post will already be in the tweet / share field.
    • Audio play back has been available on this website for over a year now.  In the latest version, audio playback has been enhanced yet again.  Simply click one of the audio links in the blog or the music room and the audio will play right away. The file is also available to download and you will be able to very easily see the length of the track.
    • The new site is fully accessible to users of mobile phone technology. When a visitor arrives using a mobile phone they will be presented with a customized site layout and color scheme.  Of course, following usability standards is very important to me so when you visit the site from an iPhone for example, the interface follows conventions you would expect on that platform.

    These changes should significantly improve the browsing experience of visitors to DigitalDarragh.com.

    I look forward to the next year!