Spain takes on the world!

Russell spotted this special report in Time magazine on Spain. His time in Spain makes for interesting reading. Bah, I love Spanish culture (except for the smoking!) but perhaps Ireland isn’t such a bad place to live after all!


AerRianta – Cork Airport

Great! You can book flights from Cork Airport here!
I don’t know if they can access Ryanair’s schedule but it would have been useful when I went to Madrid a few weeks ago.


Back from Madrid

Ya know that feeling after a really great holiday? Yup, depression! Despite that, my stay in Madrid was just the tonic I needed for the ill effects of my life and I’m feeling much better.
I had a blast while I was over there. I got really good news from home (Get well soon Sharon!), and we celebrated ’till closing in an Irish pub on the last night. My head was a bit sore the next morning unfortunately. hehe.
The trip back was mostly uneventful. My shoes set off the security alarm in Madrid again, but at Stansted where they seem to be a lot more serious about security (or maybe it’s because I understood the security announcements..) I took them off and walked through without a hitch.
The fun started on the Ryanair flight home. The captain informed us that the weather in Cork was bad, that visibility was at about 500m, where 1500m is required, that equipment had failed in Cork Airport and we might have to go onwards to Shannon. This raised a chorus of groans and questions from my fellow passengers but there was nothing we could do. Shortly afterwards however the “Fasten Seatbelts” sign came on in preperation for landing in Cork. You should re-read the first line of this paragraph – those are the things that were going through my head as we descended. Clouds flashed by my window, the plane was buffeted by strong winds and everyone went quiet. Suddenly a “beep beep, beep beep” came from the back of the plane! Someone left their phone on! FFS! The steward came on the speaker system asking that all phones be turned off. I was thinking, “ok, the pilot has to do a difficult instrument landing, and some idiot has a phone on.. argh!”
We came lower, and lower. The fog disappated, and I spotted a few house lights from my window seat. The plane was still being rocked by winds however. I kept a lookout, and watched below for any sign when I spotted the blue lights of the runway. We were home! Yyyeeeesssss! Only a few more feet to go!
Suddenly the engines roared as the pilot piled on the power, the nose of the plane lifted again and the welcoming blue lights disappeared far behind. Everyone was silent for several moments until the captain informed us that the tail winds were too strong and were “outside operating parameters”. Because of the equipment failure at the airport they couldn’t make a landing in the other direction. We were headed toward Shannon Airport.
3 hours later I got home, after a trip in a bus with alcohol soaked seats and a bus driver who took his time driving..

Madrid’s a great city. There’s lots to see and do there. The nightlife is great! I visited El Prado on my last day and was awe-struck by some of the paintings. I’ve a “couple” of photos I want to put online here. Hopefully at the weekend, so make sure you come back next week!
Thank you Cachu, Meme, Alex, Andrea, Kristina, Sascha, My and everyone else – truelly an international group for a short while!


It's a little cold…

I’m out taking night shots of sights close to the appartment. It’s not quite as cold as it is at home, but standing around in one place looking into the camera takes it’s toll.
I had coffee in the most amazing cafe this afternoon with Cachu – the place is called “The Secret Garden” and it oozes atmosphere! Prices were closer to those at home though, but it was jammed 5 minutes after opening!
Good news! I learned some Spanish last night! I can now order a “whiskey and coca cola” although I usually mumble my way through “and” because it´s probably “y” or something. heh.

So, when you come to Spain, forget the over priced Irish bars (pint of Heineken will cost you in the region of €4!) and make friends with some of the locals. You’ll have a ball!


Heeellllloooooo from Madrid!

Believe it or not, it´s a wet Madrid I´m writing this from! It´s been mostly overcast the last few days and this morning the heavens opened up. “Ah, just like home!” hehe.
Night life is, well, bloody good here! I´ve been out the last few nights, twice getting back to the appartment at 5am! I blame Andrea. He´s an Italian guy in Cachu´s Japanese class with the most amazing English accent! The first night we talked on a bench for 2 hours after we were kicked out of the pub, then we went wandering, looking for some of his friends! Madrid is very, very busy at 4am in the morning!
No idea what´s happening tonight, but I hope it revolves around food and drink!
I´ll be back in Ireland on Wednesday, I checked my spam count, and there´s twice as much spam as regular mail, already hitting 7MB of email in my spam folder! Spammers – you´re losing!
So, until Thursday, adios!


I'm off to Spain!

I booked my flights last night and I’m off next month for a week. Can’t wait to get back to Madrid!


Back in Cork – again

Here I am, back in Cork. Still suffering slightly from jet lag but at work and sorting through a lot of mail. In the past 10 days or so I received 183MB of mail. That’s over 5300 emails. Over 1400 of them were email viruses (mostly Sobig) which is the largest number I’ve ever captured coming through our mail server. wow!
Just like the last time I returned, a hardrive died on me. This time I was prepared a little better. I had already backed up my photos onto several CDs (as I mentioned previously), so all I lost was 2 days of photos (about 30-40 pictures) which I still might get back if MS undelete works on a USB device. (I used ‘mv’ to move the files from the memory stick. The fs on the stick is fat16, so I’ll try it tomorrow – I forgot to bring my camera to work today!)
I’ll post some photos over the next few days. There’s lots there as you can imagine!

On another note Mark’s getting strange comments on his weblog. I know he likes to talk about the broadcast media, politics, and rant a bit, but did he ever say he was connected with CBS? *boggle*


Leaving today..

We’re heading back to Chicago today. Mark – you’ll be glad to hear that I have a few snaps of the Apple Store. I didn’t take photos inside this time but it looks the same as the one in Chicago (I wasn’t about to repeat the same ‘Sir, you’re not allowed take photographs in the store’ mistake I made in Chicago!)
My cousin has a beautiful Sony Vaio desktop machine. Built-in memory stick, dvd-rw, big 100GB HD alongside the smaller 14GB one, and a very nice LCD monitor. It runs so quietly the overhead fan makes more noise! *sigh*
While burning 3 copies of my photos (667MB – 469 pics) I took a look around the ‘net.

  1. PHP Neural Networks on has some interesting links. We have lots of stock market data at work. I wonder if I can apply some code to it?
  2. phpcomplete looks really good. I probably linked there before but you know how it is, if it’s not in the favourites it’s forgotten!
  3. John Coggeshall is doing interesting work at a low level with the Zend engine, including a PHP to ASM converter!

I may post from Chicago, but it’s not likely. Otherwise, see you all on Monday or Tuesday!


Posting from New York… again!

This time from the Apple Store here! I prefer the store in Chicago, but this one is in the middle of SOHO which is a bit cool.
I’m just after a chicken salad in a local store – Irish prices (ie. expensive) but probably the healthiest meal I’ve had all summer!


New York, New York..

We’re here in New York, on the final days of our trip to the USA. We’ll be heading back to Chicago tomorrow, and then back to Ireland on Friday. It’s been great here and I’ll be a little sad leaving!
See you all back home soon!