Dear Tim of Apple

This iPad charging cable was the one I got with my new iPad in 2012. The new iPad. So in about three months, general wear and tear produced this.



This is not the first time. And I’m sure I can find hundreds more people out there who feel the same. And £15 for a replacement cable is utterly ridiculous.


UK City of Culture Transport Woes

A little while ago, I suggested that every bus and train with the word “Derry” on it should be free during the 2013 UK City of Culture. It was in order to help people get there. To open up the City of Culture to people who might be socially or economically excluded.

So far, the government has responded that even doing a “study” to determine whether this would be a good thing would be too much money. And, besides, they intend to close the railway line between *everywhere* and Derry during the 2013 calendar.

“The project will require the complete closure of the railway line between Coleraine and Derry~Londonderry from July 29 until spring next year. All work is planned to take place during sociable hours… – Source: Derry Journal

I mean, if you were going to close the line at any time of the year or day, you would think that during the City of Culture year would be the worst possible time.

from the banks, to the politicians’ expenses, to the phone hacking, to the banks (and possibly the politicians) again

The title, taken from this Guardian piece: Britain gets the bankers, press and politicians it deserves tells you everything you need to know about British society. And, if you’re interested, scratches only the surface of what goes on in Northern Ireland society.

So why do we give these people this sort of power over us. We rely on journalists to tell us the news (if not the exact truth). We give our money to bankers (and in a 21st Century society, only a very few can survive without doing this). We put our trust in elected representatives that they will, in their positions of responsibility, do the right thing.

While I may not have voted in a few years (a lot of years), I believe wholeheartedly in democracy. The people absolutely get what they deserve.

TEDxBelfast 2012: Fear; the Enemy of Creativity

For me, the highlight of TEDxBelfast was this talk from Colin Williams – the man behind Sixteen South – Northern Ireland’s biggest and best children’s TV producer. There were other great talks, from a doctor self-diagnosing hypoxia while climbing Everest to a local teacher, originally from Nigeria, who highlighted the effects of poor choices.

They’re all worthwhile. But this one, for me, is special.

So, is there Creationism at the Causeway?


An exhibit in the new Giants’ Causeway Visitors’ Centre acknowledges the creationist view of how the world-famous stones were formed.

The National Trust worked alongside the Caleb Foundation, which represents mainstream evangelical Christians in Northern Ireland, during the development of the centre.

“We have worked closely with the National Trust over many months with a view to ensuring that the new Causeway Visitor Centre includes an acknowledgement both of the legitimacy of the creationist position on the origins of the unique Causeway stones and of the ongoing debate around this,” Mr Thompson said.

I think it’s appropriate to investigate what has been presented rather than going off half-cocked without viewing the evidence. Because the latter is what a Creationist would do.

And, if it is found to be promoting mythology over science, then we can begin the laborious task of making sure that the National Trust and DCMS are informed that opinion does not trump science. Ever.

Nexus 7, $200

You don’t need me to wax on about the Nexus 7. The Internet is on fire with reviews on how this one tablet will kill the Kindle Fire and cause schools across the globe to abscond from their iPad deployments.

I have a single concern. While the device seems lovely, Andy Rubin is quoted as saying the device as zero margins. It’s my guess this is a $300 device being sold for $200. That’s a problem for two reasons:

  1. Devices which do not make money give the maker no incentive to continue.
  2. It really sticks a knife in the back of other hardware manufacturers

Google is eating the development cost on the device and they’re swallowing the marketing costs. And what happens in a year? It ships with Jelly Bean (remember that the previous OS, Ice Cream Sandwich managed a 7% market share of Android handsets) which will receive what level of support. I just see an ever reducing market share for devices. It just seems the whole market is anti-consumer. Is it enough to aim for the alpha geeks and hope they’ll act as unpaid support personnel for the device?

Will Google make a Nexus 7 v2? Will it continue to support the device in the next OS revision? And the next?

22nd Century Citizen

From GreaterGreaterWashington:

DC has grown its private sector by investing in urban amenities that attract a 21st century workforce. Other states simply give companies direct subsidies to attract them instead, providing little external benefit.

[A location subsidy] means they don’t have to grow, they just have to stay here. DC could use this money to invest in more development that attracts “creative class” workers like better retail, arts, transportation, and the actual growth of tech companies.

I said as much to Belfast City Council recently. You have to make Belfast the best place to do the stuff you want people to do in a city. If you want to entertain them, you have to have the best venues. If you want to feed them, you need to encourage the best cuisine. If you want them to cycle or walk to work then you need amazing public transport and safe cycle lanes. If you want them to cop a squat in city parks during their lunch hour, then you have to make beautiful spaces.

You shouldn’t need to pay a company to locate in your city. They should want to locate there because the people love it there, because it’s renowned as a great city.

I love it here. But no city in Northern Ireland compares to Paris or Florence, Bruges or Venice, Barcelona or Talinn. And we need to think about how to better them as an entire city strategy and not how to build a new building that would not look out of place in these beautiful cities.

These developments have to be considered now because we are going to be building for a 22nd Century Citizen. Buildings we erect now may stand the test of time and still be in use in 88 years at the turn of the century. We already have a lot of buildings that are over 100 years old, it’s not crazy to consider these landmarks when they celebrate their second centenary.