Archive for the ‘incompetent’ Category.

Fás annual leave

This is regarding Fás employees who are given SEVENTY DAYS ANNUAL LEAVE for the last two years before they retire!

Bearing in mind that those who are entitled to this must have been in office during those heady days of spending a 1 Billion euro budget when unemployment was close to zero is to say the least a piss-take.

The report,by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) says that those who are assisted by the State while on the dole were less likely to return to work than the average welfare recipient.

They found that participation in programmes run by FAS  increased the probability of subsequent employment by between 10 and 14 per cent.

However, Fás “activation interviews” with jobseekers resulted in the  chances of entering employment being about 17 per cent lower for those who went through the interview process.
Overall – the effect of FAS  was either zero, or at best weakly positive. http://www.esri.ie/news_events/latest_press_releases/activation_in_ireland_an_/index.xml

There seems to be very little information about actual remuneration for Fás employees but if we take the average wage to be €60.000 (conservative estimate), then the annual leave would cost the taxpayer €16,153 per employee.

We all know that this benefit will probably be removed and replaced by a nice fat payoff for those employees affected.

A little ‘rich’ in my view.

 

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Great Deals from Falcon Travel and Silverarm Solutions? Who Knows!

Normally I get a bit irate at spamming bastards from hell, but this one made me laugh. In my INBOX from Silverarm Solutions on behalf of Falcon Travel:

Email from silverarm solutions and falcon travel

So not only are you niaive enough to think that spamming me will work, you are actually stupid enough to think I’ll click through to read more spam!?

Now I send email campaigns out and when I do I send them from my own domain. I don’t hide behind a .info domain in case someone blacklists me. However I am a tad more responsible than these stupid fuckers, so perhaps I shouldn’t comment.

By the way, check out what Silverarm Solutions are charging Falcon Travel for this “service”!!!

To Falcon Travel: If you would like to put a comment on this post and let us know what great deals you actually have we will give you the advertising for free. Just please don’t give my email address away to snake oil merchants!

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Minister Eamonn Ryan’s Web Strategy

This really says it all. From the Minister with responsibility for IT:

broadband.gov.ie screenshot

broadband.gov.ie screenshot

MinisterRyanPhoto

Minister Eamonn Ryan TD

That is the official website of the Irish government for disseminating information about broadband to members of the public. As Minister Eamonn Ryan proudly states (in his welcome message on the old site courtesy of archive.org):

Broadband is an important tool for everybody in the 21st century

Couldn’t agree more Eamonn – glad you’re on the case!

According to figures released to Fine Gael Senator Paschal Donohoe in response to a parliamentary question, the broadband.gov.ie website received 67,694 unique visitors last year. It is a shame negligent incompetent to allow that amount of traffic to just die – as any web dude or even SEO snake-oil vendor knows you do not allow links to disappear, let alone a complete site!

So how much does this crock of shite cost you? Well Paschal Donohoe has it all (bear in mind that these are only running and maintenance costs):

Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
Websites Unique Visits 2009 Maintenance (not development) Cost (EUR) Notes (03/02/2010)
www.dcenr.gov.ie

116,286

79,914

Main website for Eamonn Ryans department
www.egovernance.ie

1,022

Mostly links back to the main department web site. The site itself is broken (try doing a search, see what happens when you click for help) or it has no content.
www.minex.ie

4,558

Dead – web site not found (DNS error)
www.broadband.gov.ie

67,694

“Web site under construction”. No content at all.
www.digitaltelevision.ie

23,082

Abandoned? Last press release was 24 July 2008 – 18 months ago!
www.explorationandmining.com

91

a “website (is) designed to provide an overview of the regulatory regimes governing the exploration and extraction of minerals in Ireland and Northern Ireland”.
According to their site map there are 6 (six!) pages of content plus a further 5 (“All Rights Reserved”, “Contact Us”, “Disclaimer”, “Privacy & Security” and “Sitemap”).
www.makeitsecure.ie

27,889

According to Eamonn Ryans welcome note and archive.org the last update was June 28, 2008. It also seems that much (all?) of this website was funded by commercial sponsorship too.
www.gsi.ie

44,538

The Geological Survey of Ireland. The copyright notice at the bottom says 2007, but archive.org says there was an update in February 2008.
www.gsishop.ie

5,530

A storefront for GSI publications. Links to the main site at http://www.gsi.ie/gsishop/, therefore was last updated in February 2008.
www.gsiseabed.ie

4,415

There’s a web site there, but no content (apart from the helpful word ‘index’). According to the latest archive.org snapshot I was able to get the site was last updated in August 2006.
www.planetearth.ie

7,817

Geological Survey of Ireland: “2008 was the International Year of Planet Earth. This website remains live in 2009 … to promote the role of earth science in society”. Given that statement I didn’t bother checking for the last update.
www.jetstream.gsi.ie

409

15,600

There’s a site there, but no content. According to Google, there were up to 180 pages there at one time or another – all of which seem to be still available. There are lots of pretty pictures and PDF maps there for your enjoyment. In the past year (the subject of the table) Google found just 26 pages.

So who is visiting these broken sites? And how should it cost so much to maintain sites that nobody visits? And why are so many of them unmaintained or broken?

Maybe you should go back and ask, Paschal – the only question I have is:

How do I get on this IT gravy train?

Update 12/02/2010:

Damian Mulley has a story of a €4 million government website on his blog – I’m too stunned to comment.

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Microsoft wins 2009 “Most God-awful Cringeworthy Vomit-inspiring Video” Award

Words just can’t do justice to the nauseating, cloying, fake cameraderie in this series of “Windows 7 Party Tips” videos.

Yes, Microsoft are quite seriously expecting you to throw “Windows 7 Launch Parties” with your real friends in your real home, and have even released a set of videos to show you how.  Now I must bend and puke under my desk  before going drinking heavily to get the taste out of my mouth.

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IRMA slanders Blacknight (or do they?)

Soooooooo stupid (and verging on slanderous) they are that they have taken to writing to Irish ISP’s (not just those that provide Internet access, but also hosting companies like Blacknight).

The generally understated and considered Michele Nealon of Blacknight.ie must have been a bit pissed off with this – as he has posted it for you all to have a look at. Let’s have a look at it shall we (legal interpretation is free of charge):

Re: Illegal filesharing on the Blacknight network

Is this slanderous? Me thinks yes, but let’s read on…

Pursuant to the Copyright and Related Rights Acts…

A paragraph telling you what the Act is. I am a bit confused because you can get a copy of the act on Irish Statute in it’s entirety without some wannabee ambulance chaser paraphrasing it. Basically they are saying “…if you have been notified that you are facilitating copyright infringement and do nothing about it, you can be prosecuted under the act…”. My question: is this a notice that Michele is facilitating copyright infringement? Is there smoke without fire?!

Irish and European Law…

More of the bleedin’ obvious: Irish and EU law allows the courts to injunct people found guilty of breaking the law. NO SHIT HELEN! (Of course the message in the letter is specific to copyright infringement, but that is the gist of it.)

The Supreme Court…

When implementing an EU Directive, member states should interpret their national laws in such a way as to achieve the goal of the directive. (Will Helen Sheehy, of Sheehy Donnelly Solicitors, ever get to a point? No wonder Michele was so pissed!)

In this context…

“We think we can get the courts to inject ISP’s to remove and/or restrict access to copyrighted material.” You can think what you want, but the courts will decide pal!

In attempting to protect its rights…

“We tried to go to court and get an order directing ISPs to give us the names and addresses of people illegally sharing copyrighted material, but it was fuck all use and a complete waste of court time and resources.” Perhaps you should consider what is a waste of time and money – i.e. this piece of correspondence.

You will be aware…

“Eircom agreed to take it up the ass from us.”

The settlement agreement provides…

(You all know about this, but I wonder what the relevance of a third party agreement is to Blacknight… perhaps I should finish reading…)

It is the position of our clients that by this agreement eircom (sic) have agreed…

Surely you should ask Eircom that…? (P.S. Helen – Eircom is a proper noun – Capitalise It!)

Please confirm that Blacknight will also work with the record industry … (and) operate a similar graduated response and that it will disconnect the subscriber in default of compliance.

Comply with a private out-of-court agreement between two companies that have nothing to do with Blacknight? Why?

We should add by way of elaboration that it is not intended that there be any disclosure to our clients of the identity of the persons(s) denoted by the IP addresses at the time in question

Of course not – that would be illegal under privacy laws and it is illegal to encourage someone to break the law. Apart from that a person is not denoted by an IP address any more than they are denoted by their telephone number or by the name tag on their underpants.

In the event of a positive response to this letter…

Good luck with that!

In the event of a negative response to this letter, section 40(4) of the Act will be invoked against Blacknight and proceedings instituted.

We are writing to other ISPs in similar terms.

While we……..

Yours (blah, blah, blah…)

Let’s see – section 40(4) of the Act:

…where a person who provides facilities referred to in that subsection is notified by the owner of the copyright in the work concerned that those facilities are being used to infringe the copyright in that work and that person fails to remove that infringing material as soon as practicable thereafter that person shall also be liable for the infringement.

Am I missing something here? At no stage in this letter did Helen Sheehy say that Blacknights facilities were being used to infringe copyright… or did she? In fairness the heading of the letter (“Re: Illegal filesharing on the Blacknight network”) could be construed as such, in which case the letter is clearly slanderous. If this letter is not a notice under section 40(4) of the Act, then what proceedings can be instituted.

I would imaging the courts might take the view that sending out a form letter to every ISP in Ireland and claiming it conforms to section 40(4) of the Act is a waste of time and a simple ambulance chasers trawl. In any event, the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000, is part of criminal law and as such, the normal rules of evidence, reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence apply…

…or were you missing that day Helen?

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“Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves”

“Lunatic bloggers can have the blog sphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel”.

A classic quote from ryanair staff (confirmed that blog came from their offices ip address) after someone found a bug on their online booking form.

Read on…

http://www.jason-roe.com/blog/free-ryanair-free-flight-bug/#comment-9479

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FAST Redress Act of 2009 – birth of the “Fly List”

Liquids on a Plane by Cory Doctorow This almost writes itself!

We all know of the utter stupidity of the TSA’s Terrorist ‘watchlist’ (and I won’t rehash the arguments here). People caught on it include:

… and many more…

Of course in “Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious 101″ any eedgit learns that a name based watchlist is about as useful as a mans tit… and as a real insult to our intellegence they add (in their hilariuosly titled blog page “Myth Buster“):

TSA doesn’t have a watch list

and

TSA is a customer of the Terrorist Screening Center, a component of the FBI (…) responsible for (the) list

But call a spade a spade – if you’re turfing me off a flight on the basis of a list I don’t give a bollix who’s list you’re using.

So what happens if you find out your on a list? Well up to now not very much. Apparently it takes about 1 to 11/2 months and that is only because the ACLU sued for citizens to have the right to do so. But enter The FAST Redress Act of 2009 which obliges the Homeland Security secretary to 

  1. establish a “timely and fair” process of appeal and redress,
  2. (create) an Office of Appeals and Redress, and
  3. maintain a “comprehensive cleared list” of people who have been inappropriately included on terror watch lists or databases

Ladies and gentlemen – THE FLY LIST!!!

Now I wonder who will be charged with maintaining yet another list for the Department of Homeland Security? Let’s hope the responsibility isn’t given to the fuckwits who create the necessity for the Fly List in the first place!

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JC Decaux and Dublin City Council – where’s our bleedin’ bikes?

JCDecaux Metropole at St. Stephens Green

JCDecaux "Metropanel" at St. Stephens Green

Just in case anyone is letting this one slip, your intrepid correspondent is here to remind you:

It’s been about one year since JCDecaux applied for permission for around 120 advertising structures in return for 450 bikes. About 70 of the applications received planning permission. Similar deals have been done in Paris, Lyon under the JCDecaux brand Cyclocity.

Since the scheme was announced for Dublin, there has been a lot of debate and controversy. It became clear pretty quickly that Dublin is to get a fraction of the bikes that other cities in the scheme had received.

A discreet JCDecaux Metropole

A discreet JCDecaux "Metropole"

Next was the revelation that Dublin City Council were not going to release details of the deal with JCDeceaux citing issues of “commercial sensitivity”. At the same time it was revealed that the deal is tied in to an agreement to remove 48 poster signs, of which an unspecified number are illegally erected – without planning permission. (Just to be clear – the Dublin City Council Development Plan states that “as a general principle, outdoor advertising will only be permitted in commercial zones. It will not be permitted within residential zones, historic or conservation areas, or amenity areas”.) There have also been serious questions raised about the value for money of the deal and about the way in which Dublin City Counsel dealt with their obvious conflict of interest in adjudicating on planning applications in which they had a vested interest.

Since then the advertising signs have been erected (under the brand “Metropoles” and “Metropanels”) and JCDecaux has been selling space on them. For anyone who has an interest – here is the “Metropole/Metropanel rate card.

Notwithstanding the above criticism, the signs have since been critised for dangerously impeding the visibility of motorists and pedestrians and by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland for not taking the needs of blind pedestrians into account.

I can’t help thinking however that perhaps JCDeveaux and Dublin City Council might have averted some of this criticism by erecting the bicycle stands and bicycles before or at the same time as their advertising boards. After all how difficult can it be:

Just buy us our bleedin’ bikes!

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Land of a Hundred Thousand Welcomes…

Much Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform policy influenced by the great Adolf.… as long as you’re not black, yellow, from Bradford or anything remotely non-white…

Nothing we didn’t already know about our racist immigration controls, but the word deserves to be spread:

TOURISM OFFICIALS expressed concern to the Department of Arts and Tourism earlier this year about the behaviour of immigration officers at ports of entry after an Indian man who won a trip to Ireland in a State-sponsored competition reported suffering harassment and racial discrimination at Dublin airport.

He won the trip at an event organised by Tourism Ireland in Mumbai to promote Ireland as an attractive holiday destination.

Newly released documents show the prizewinner wrote to Tourism Ireland on March 2nd to complain of his treatment at Dublin airport. He outlined how, despite his having the required tourist visa and carrying a letter from Tourism Ireland, immigration officers insisted they did not believe the letter was authentic.

“[An officer] then asked us who had booked our hotel. We told him it was done by Thomas Cook in Bombay. He said that can’t be possible as why would Ireland Tourism [sic] book through Thomas Cook as they were a British company. We didn’t know what to say.”

He alleged many other Indian passengers were treated unfairly. “It was only the Indians who were being photographed at the immigration counter. It was clear-cut racial discrimination. Whole thing was very embarrassing.”

According to correspondence released to The Irish Times under Freedom of Information rules, Tourism Ireland responded to convey its “deep regret” to the prizewinner over his experience. “We are all very upset and embarrassed about the incident and will be taking it up at the highest levels with the Government department concerned . . .” the agency said.

The following day, an official from Tourism Ireland sent an e-mail to a counterpart in the Department of Arts and Tourism. “Another shock story about immigration,” he wrote. “We really need to do something about it. The friendliest destination in the world???”

This was followed by a letter from Tourism Ireland chief executive Paul O’Toole to secretary general of the department Con Haugh. He pointed out that, in line with Government policy, the organisation was seeking to develop new markets in the Asia-Pacific region and warned of the need to be competitive.

“A number of our partners and contacts have reported unfortunate instances when they or their clients have sought entry to Ireland, notwithstanding their belief that they had secured the necessary documentation,” he wrote.

Tourism Ireland regards India as one of the most promising developing markets and opened an office in Mumbai three years ago.

Two months after the incident, in response to a parliamentary question by Fine Gael’s Olivia Mitchell, then newly appointed Minister for Arts and Tourism Martin Cullen said he was “not aware of immigration policy being a significant concern to the tourism industry”.

Immigrant groups and representatives of the English-language education sector have regularly complained of the harsh treatment experienced by lawful foreign visitors at ports of entry.

Earlier this month, a Nigerian Catholic priest who travelled to Ireland on a tourist visa was arrested at Dublin airport before being strip-searched and placed in a prison cell on suspicion of trying to enter the country illegally.

© 2008 The Irish Times

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Catching terrorists…

A sobering thought… today is 10 years since the Omagh bombing, a savage attack where 29 people were killed by terrorists. It also happens to be the month that the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) estimates that there are now 1,000,000 people on the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) watch list. What’s been learnt? Well in Ireland and the UK quite a lot – and to be fair the Brits are not total eedgits when it came to noting the bleedin’ obvious. I’ll not rehash the ongoing debate on good vs. stupid security – Bruce Schneier does a better job of this than I ever could – but here are two links that just look at some numbers:

The UK terrorism arrest statistics (excluding Northern Ireland) from 11 September 2001 – 31 March 2007 show 1228 arrests were made and 427 charged over the 5.5 year period. With a population 59 million in Great Britain, that gives us an arrest rate of about 1.3 people per million of population.

Now for a back-of-the-envelope calculation on the US numbers (population 299 million). Do check out Bob’s numbers – they are guestimates, but they tie up with the stats above. If we extrapolate (and I think that we are being generous to the US by allowing them the same success rates as the Brits), at 1.3 per million we could expect about 390 people to be arrested and charged with terrorism related offences.

So my thought, if the US are chasing 390 arrests per year (I wonder do we include people randomly picked up and dumped on rendition flights?) then why are there 1,000,000 names on TAS’s watch list? Just to drive the point home: 25 million Americans will travel in 2008, including duplicates there are perhaps 400,000 people on the TSA watch list. That’s 2.5% of all travellers or 625,000 people.

So, the mission, pick the 390 people you want to nab from 625,000 travellers flagged by the TSA list. I can’t help thinking that they would be better off sticking to Where’s Waldo.

Feeling safer?!

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