The Debate

September 27, 2008 in links

So the first debate came and went last night. I tried to write a quick little post after watching it and some of the analysis but at 6am (and after a few beers) coherent sentences were a little hard to come by! I’m sure the web is already flooded with much more detailed and smarter analysis, so I’ll spare you anything more than a few sentences of my own. As a Barack fan, I was a bit disappointed, but maybe that was just because my expextations were high after such a shambles of the week for the McCain campaign. To be fair to McCain, I didn’t think he had it in him to argue his points as well, even if I didn’t agree with him he was able to articulate his policies quite well. I didn’t see a “winner” but, as many people having been saying, this foreign policy debate was supposed to be McCains ‘home turf’, so anything less than a big win for him is a good debate in the Obama books.

Here’s my favourite clip of the night

For those that can’t view the video, a rough transcript:
Obama: “John you like to pretend the war started in 2007 when you talk about the surge… the war started in 2003! At the time when the war started you said it was going to be quick and easy, you said we knew where the weapons of mass destruction were, you were wrong. You said that we were going to be greeted as liberators, you were wrong. You said that there was no history of violence between Shi’ia and Suni, you were wrong….. If the question is ‘who is the best equipped to make good decisions about how we use our military and how we make sure we are prepared and ready for the next confilct’, then I think we can take a look at our judgement”

ZuluNotes Shortlisted for a Web Award!

September 24, 2008 in Projects/Work, Technology & Science

My website,, has been short listed for and Irish Web Award! The website is the first (and only!) proper website I’ve created. I built it when I was in final year of college, trying to do anything to get out of study. I decided to clean out all my old leaving cert notes, but felt it might be useful to put them on the web for others to make use of. I created a wiki-website so that others could do the same, and so zulunotes was born! I’m delighted that it’s been nominated (in the category of Best Education Website); if only for the fact that it’s a great confidence booster. I may have to try my hand at making another website or two…

The New Bond Theme Song

September 24, 2008 in Music

The theme song to the next Bond movie (Quantum of Solace) has been released. “Another Way to Die” is a duet, written and recorded by Alicia Keys and Jack White (of the White Stripes) and is incidentally the first ever duet in the history of Bond theme songs. I heard it this morning for the first time, and it’s not half bad! Check it out and leave a comment, let me know what you think.

How To Put A Comment Button On Your Blogspot Blog

September 11, 2008 in Blogging

I read another great post by Darragh Doyle today about adding nicer looking comment buttons to your post. It was pretty helpful, but I didn’t feel I needed to have comment buttons mid way through my posts so I decided I would take inspiration from him but tackle it in a slightly different way.

As you can see at the end of all my posts I now have a nice shiny new comment button. I did this with a once off edit and I thought it might be useful to explain how I did it here for others who want to do the same.

Before we start, there is two main differences to note between this and Darragh’s method
This is a lot quicker and easier, but that comes at a price:
The button is at the end of every post automatically, so you can’t have it mid way through a post. If you wanted to do that you could use Darragh’s method for an individual post
Because it’s the same button on every post automatically, that means you can’t have different colours/styles for different posts

So here’s what you need to do…

Go into your blogger dashboard. Click layout. Then click edit HTML

You then need to click the “Expand Widget Templates” box like so.

You then need to find “data:post body” like this (this is internet explorer, other browsers will look different)

Clear a bit of space below it to put in your new code (hit enter a few times)

Copy this code here:


<span class='post-comment-link'>

<a class='comment-link' expr:href='data:post.addCommentUrl' expr:onclick='data:post.addCommentOnclick'>

<img src='http://xxxxxxxxxxxxx'/>



Paste it into the space in your template after “data:post.body”:

You’ll notice that the image location (img src) is just a load of Xs. You’ll need to replace this with the image location of your comment button. For my blog, I just copied Darragh’s! This is how I did it.

Open a new tab/window. Find the image you want to use. In internet explorer, right click on the image and press properties

Highlight and copy the image address. Then paste it into the template in place of the http://xxxxxxxx.

You should now have something like this (click to enlarge):
Click save template et voila!

Apple’s Big “Let’s Rock” Announcement

September 9, 2008 in Technology & Science

Here’s the main info from the press conference that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) held today (info from the live updates here here here and here). This is a summary of the main announcements with my thoughts on a few.

Itunes 8 is being launched. This new version comes with a few new features:
Browse the store in cover flow – You’ll be able to browse the Itunes store in coverflow look, i.e. browse music by album cover, just like being down in HMV flicking through the records on the shelves!
HD TV shows. You can buy them for $1.99 in SD, HD will be $2.99
NBC is coming back, with all it’s best shows (the office, 30 rock etc), but that doesn’t really matter to us in Ireland!

An interesting concept that has been done before quite successfully by websites such as last fm. What it does is us a social algorithm for recommendations. What this means is that iTunes collects data (anonymously) from all it’s users and pools it together on their servers (in the cloud). They can then gain insights into different music tastes and patterns. For example, they can see that most people who like to listen to Green Day, also like to listen to U2. This allows them to do some pretty neat things:
Generate smart playlists based on “songs that go together”. So if I have a playlist with a few Jack Johnson songs, and I hit the Genius button, iTunes would automatically fill it out some Damien Rice, Fionn Regan etc., because it “knows” that they go well together. This could be great for iTunes picking up on the mood i’m in. So i pick a certain song or artist off the top of my head because that’s the kind of music I want to listen to now, and iTunes keeps playing more like it.
The use demoed was for finding music in the iTunes store to go with a song you have. Nothing new or groundbreaking here., pandora, imeem and many others have been doing this for years, but I guess not on the scale of iTunes. This may give them better accuracy if they have a larger pool of data to draw insights from. This was predicted/the case was made for it in a great readwriteweb post a few weeks back. Well worth a read and very applicable to today’s events.

A new iPod nano was announced. Looks very nice – a very thin, curved look. You can use Genius on it too (and all the other ipods) to create a clever recommended playlist “on the go”.
It has an accelerometer like the touch and iphone, with the cooles feature being “Shake to shuffle.” Everything else is pretty standard; some slick new colours, 8GB and 16GB models, environmentally friendly – “highly recyclable.”

An updated ipod touch with some welcome new features. Volume control (+/-) on the side like most modern phones. Built in speakers – great for parties! Genius playlist creation just like the nano. Built in support for nike+ – I don’t ever see myself using this, but it got a pretty good reception from the crowd and media in general. €369.99 for a 32GB Touch, not bad at all.

This was one of the first things that I thought when I got my iPod Touch and played a few of the games in the app store, that it has the potential to be a neat little gaming device. Steve Jobs seems to have some pretty big hopes for it, saying “It’s the best portable device for playing games…” Wow, I guess Nintendo better be ready for the next round. It beat off Gamegear, PSP and now this. Although I have to admit, I do enjoy playing the odd game on my iPod touch, it combines the brilliance of the DS touch and the wii motion sensing that immerses you in a game. And it has that added advantage of always being in my pocket, unlike my DS.
At the conference they demoed a football game and spore. I’ll let this pic do the talking, looks pretty sweet, and is a great example of how the touch screen lends itself so well to gaming, as the DS has clearly shown:

That’s about it for today. If you’d like to keep up to date with all the newest commentary and reviews like this, you can subscribe to this blog so you don’t have to keep coming back to check for updates!

Irish Blogger Adds to the List of Palin Scandal

September 3, 2008 in Blogging

Of all the Palin stories coming to light as people start finding out who she is (something the McCain campaign decided not to do it would seem ) this story just takes the biscuit!

Congratulations to Suzy Byrne who (I read at the huffington post no less!) pointed out that Sarah Palin’s claim to have travelled abroad to visit “Germany, Kuwait and Ireland” was a bit of half-truth, as it was just a Shannon stop over!

Even if we can’t vote, we can still make a difference… I love the internet.

Ahhh! No Chrome for Mac!

September 3, 2008 in Technology & Science

So I ran straight over to to get some of that sweet Google Browsery goodness, only to find that it’s a windows release only (for now). I’ve signed myself up for updates on the mac version but no word as of yet.

For those of you who haven’t heard about Chrome, it’s google’s new browser. RRW have a good introduction to it here and a good review of it here. The news of Google chrome was first revealed by Philipp Lessen on his blog. He scanned and uploaded a comic book style introduction to Chrome that Google sent him in the mail. It’s worth a look in if you’re interested, but here’s one of the parts that I found most interesting:

The Omnibox

Besides the fact that I can’t decide whether it will be very useful or very annoying (I’m still not sure about the search style suggestions in Firefox 3), it’s important to note that this will put whole new layer of importance on Google Pagerank. If your site/blog/application is popular or ranked well, not only will it come up on the first page of search results, but it may also be suggested to users straight from their browser’s url bar! Think of the traffic!!