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Ireland

Voice Over LTE is on now

My wife and I both noticed a new “VO LTE1” icon next to the 4G symbol on our phones this morning.

Apparently that’s Voice Over LTE.

Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) is an LTE high-speed wireless communication standard for mobile phones and data terminals, including Internet of things (IoT) devices and wearables. VoLTE has up to three times more voice and data capacity than older 3GUMTS and up to six times more than 2GGSM. It uses less bandwidth because VoLTE’s packet headers are smaller than those of unoptimized VoIP/LTE.[1] VoLTE calls are usually charged at the same rate as other calls.

Wikipedia

So now you know if you see this icon too. Let’s hope Eir/Gomo aren’t planning on removing 3G support any time soon like Verizon in the US is. Reception can be patchy in many parts of the country.

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Ireland

The devastating effects of Storm Eunice

The west coast of Ireland woke up to severe winds this morning as Storm Eunice hit the country. After a lull at 7am wind speeds picked up again and the trees behind my home were swaying alarmingly. Three roads out of Blarney have been blocked by falling trees already. Some who believe the storm isn’t that serious have commented that many of those trees were old trees with pre-existing conditions and they were going to fall anyway.

Cork has been devastated by the storm. In the photo above you can see a poor cow that has been blown into a tree in Emmett Place near the Opera House. Emergency services will shortly be on the scene.

How will we survive at all?!

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Ireland

Storm Barra is upon us

Gusts of 130km/h were predicted and a gust of 156km/h was recorded off Fastnet Lighthouse but it’s not been too bad in Blarney yet. Fences are still standing and the wheelie bins are tucked away safe!

Cork Beo have live updates on their website as the City has all but shut down and the river has started to flood surrounding areas. It’s a good day to stay inside if you can!

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Ireland

Murphy’s, first of the year.

Outside dining FTW.

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Ireland

Excited to see the solar eclipse

You can only see a partial solar eclipse from here but I was excited to see it.

Looks amazing.

Categories
Ireland

New EU VAT Rules in July

If you live in the EU and bought cheap goods from China or anywhere outside the EU you may have been surprised when you didn’t have to pay customs duties or VAT on the product.

To be honest, the extra payment required by An Post/a third party carrier to pay for more expensive goods is probably what surprised most people buying from outside the European Union. That can be €10 to €15 or more.

Well, from July 1st you may have to pay that fee regardless of how much the goods you bought are. If you’re looking for a cheap phone case, or book or whatever from the UK you better do it ASAP because if it’s delivered here (Ireland or elsewhere in the EU) after July 1st you’ll end up paying extra.

The Irish Revenue website has a page explaining how it works and it’s not pretty.

From 1 July 2021, import VAT will be payable on all goods entering the EU, irrespective of their value. VAT will always be collected, irrespective of the amount due. If you order goods valued at €22 or less before 1 July 2021, that arrive after that date, you may have to pay VAT.

A pair of socks costing €17 may end up costing you €30. Must be a hell of a pair of socks!

Here’s an RTÉ article on the change.

The revenue.ie page does not mention that non-EU sellers can charge VAT at point-of-sale. A paragraph on this page explains how this works:

The EU has therefore agreed to scrap the import VAT exempt threshold. Instead, it will require EU and non-EU sellers to charge VAT at the point of sale for consignments of €150 or below. This will create a more efficient ‘Green Channel’, with quick and easy customs clearance. Note – the delivery agent may still act as the import VAT collector (see below).

Sellers will charge VAT at the rate of their customer’s EU country of residence at the point-of-sale on the website. Sellers can use the delivery address of the customer to determine the country VAT rate. No VAT is due at the point of import in this case.

This already happens for digital sales, such as those for games and software.

I suspect this change to the VAT rate will also apply to UK magazine subscriptions since periodicals are charged(PDF) 9% VAT in Ireland while they are 0% in the UK. If that’s the case it’s not worth it (An Post will charge €10 to deliver a magazine worth let’s say €6.) unless the seller is registered in the EU and charges VAT on the subscription.

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Ireland

I would have liked to meet Ted Baldwin

The gravestone of Edward (Ted) Baldwin in Durrus, Co Cork.
“I told you I was sick”

This is a gravestone in the graveyard of St. James’s Church in Durrus, Sheep’s Head as pictured in 2014. Ted died well before his time at a young age and I have no idea who he was but to judge by his final message he must have been an interesting character.

I came across this after posting today’s photo of this church in Durrus on my photoblog.

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Ireland

Customs declaration

I’ll say it now before I get used to it.

Seeing a customs declaration on a package from the UK is really weird, and disappointing. #brexit

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Ireland

50% of our energy came from renewables

50.42% of Ireland’s electricity came from renewables in the last 24 hours

In the last 24 hours just over 50% of the electricity generated in Ireland came from renewables. We even exported 4% of our electricity.

Of course the wind isn’t blowing this hard every day, or it’s blowing too hard, and over the course of the last month the portion of renewable energy drops to 39%.

All this information is available on the Eirgrid Smart Grid Dashboard. Lots of information there including a log of wind speeds you can download, interconnection graphs showing our imports and exports of electricity from the UK and CO2 intensity & emissions data too. You can compare CO2 intensity against other parameters such as wind generation. The last few days have been very windy.

For more energy statistics take a look at the transport page on the SEAI website.

The amount of petrol consumed in Ireland reduced by more than half between 2007 and 2018 as a result of the shift to diesel cars. The increase in diesel use for private cars was offset by lower diesel use in freight. Diesel use was 12% higher in 2018 than 2007.

Renewable transport fuels have grown from a low base to over 3% of transport final energy use in 2018. This is almost all from biofuels blended with petrol and diesel. Electricity remained at just 0.1% of transport final energy demand in 2018. Most of this was from Luas and DART, but electric vehicles are growing strongly from a low base.

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Ireland

Putting Accents on Characters on Mac

Accents, everyone has one but some characters have more than one, and writing them on a Mac can be hard unless you know how.

I really only need one type of accent, the “sine fada” in Irish that goes over the vowels. They look like this: á, é, ó, ú and í.

For a long time I used Option-key using an Irish keyboard map I got off Justin Mason years ago. I haven’t used it for some time now and every now and again I wonder if there’s a better way of doing it using the standard keyboard maps on a Mac.

Turns out there is.

This page explains how to use the accent menu, but you can also use “dead keys” to type accents.

The accent menu is dead simple. Press the key down for a little longer than usual and a menu will appear with the accents required. Press the corresponding number and your accented character appears!

The dead key approach is probably faster however. Use the keyboard viewer to see your keyboard layout. I have a large split Microsoft keyboard and I’m using the British PC layout now so when I hit the Option key the accents are highlighted.

If I want to type “I like to eat cake” in Irish, and not “I like to eat shit”, I must use “Option-e” followed by “a” to get “á” in one word:

“Is maith liom cáca a ithe.”

I’m sure by now you’ve realised just how important accents are in daily life. It’s the difference between delicious chocolate and something that looks similar but tastes quite different. Yeah, you really needed that mental image didn’t you? Sorry. 🙂