Categories
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.

Categories
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?!

Categories
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!

Categories
Cork

Great Parking

I was back and forth to the car a few times while we were in town. Each time there was someone trying to reverse into that space before realising they wouldn’t make it.

Until an old Nissan Micra pulled up and reversed in like a champ. I hope they had room to get their car door open.

Categories
Ireland

Murphy’s, first of the year.

Outside dining FTW.

Categories
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.

Categories
Books

RIP RBDigital. Boo to the Libby App

Libraries Ireland recently switched from the RBDigital app that my wife loved to an app called Libby. She reads magazines on a very old iPad so she made the reluctant switch to Libby.

It was a nightmare. By accident she selected the county library rather than the city library and we couldn’t see where to change library. I reinstalled it as that seemed to be the easiest way of fixing that issue.

Once into the app she entered her details and attempted to read a magazine. Unfortunately it was so slow it was frustrating. I realise this iPad is old, but the RBDigital app was quick and responsive on the device. The Libby app is not. Pages load slowly, the whole device lags when Libby is running. Downloading magazines is very slow.

We had the same experience on a Kindle Fire Android tablet, but it was marginally faster. From snail’s pace to sloth’s pace. What the hell is the app written in? Some high level framework that needs the latest hardware to run it?

Then I saw you can use their website, libbyapp.com instead. Firefox on the Android tablet, and Chrome on the iPad were a lot more responsive. While it was still slow to load magazines it was usable. Libby even makes it easy to add a new device.

Their website works just fine in Chrome on my ageing iPad, and the immersive view of Firefox on the Android tablet looks even better so I must see about putting Firefox on the iPad too.

Categories
C64

Yes, it is at home

My Commodore 64 is in my home office. How did they know?

Categories
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.