Friday, February 27, 2009

Minimum charge on debit/credit card usage

Well well well, I don't usually eat in O'Briens anymore but I was hungry for a snack so I had a poke in the door to see what they had but immediately saw the massive sign they had up "MINIMUM CHARGE €10 ON DEBIT/CREDIT CARD".

Now I do not understand this policy. Why, oh why, would anyone refuse business just because it is on a card? It makes people like me walk away and it loses them income. It does not help the economy in any way.

In Holland, they have a system called Chipknip where your chip acts as cash, you can put money onto the chip part of the card and spend it in stores, any amount whatsoever.

I asked in one shop, a Spar in Glasnevin, why they wouldn't accept cards for transactions under €10 and the shop assistant was bewildered. He said he wasn't sure but that he thought it was because it meant more work for them at the end of the day so they tried to minimise transactions on card to save them work.

Hopefully, Ireland, the Ireland of the Celtic Tiger, will realise that we have not only to be at the same level as other countries around the world in how we embrace technology but we should try to be ahead of them. Let's take the lead in embracing technology that accelerates our economic wellbeing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

iPhone 2.5G - Pros & Cons

  • It allows you to surf the internet easily
  • The camera is high quality and works well
  • The clock functionality is good (although it would be nice to be able to set a song as the alarm)
  • Youtube works well
  • The map and direction functionality is great (although limited if you don't have data as part of your deal)
  • The Notes function is very handy
  • No MMS, it lets you take photos but you can't then send them to someone via MMS
  • Can't forward text messages
  • Can't delete one text message, only a whole conversation
  • It lets you enter contacts company details but doesn't let you list the contacts by company
  • Vodafone doesn't support it
  • The phone freezes (after owning it less than 12 months!) quite often and sometimes it seems out of coverage but indicates otherwise
  • You can't set songs on the iPod as ring tones
  • There is no video phone capability
Overall I would recommend that you look at the other products available out there and see whether they have the missing functionality. It seems that Apple didn't make any attempt to solve these with the move to the 3G iPhone which is a pity. I would be ditching mine and probably moving to a new Nokia or the Blackberry Storm except that I am not in the economic position to do so.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New York Post Cartoon Apology Unnecessary

The New York Post today issued an apology for the controversial cartoon that has sparked much anger among some people.

Those commentators who have overreacted to a cartoon that is clearly innocent and meant to mock those politicians and lawmakers who wrote the much flawed stimulus bill in the United States. Their overreaction has in fact heightened racial tension and highlighted racial stereotypes. For them to assume that a chimp represents Barack Obama is to have racial sentiment themselves and instead of ignoring it and seeing it for what it is, it only gives ammunition to those who wish to further propagate those stereotypes.

The cartoon was topical and recent, taking influence from a recent news story about police officers shooting dead a chimp that had attacked a poor unfortunate lady. The cartoon was also relevant to the political debate about the strength of the stimulus bill, yes championed by Barack Obama, but not written by him. Does anyone really think he sits in the Oval Office typing out a huge document like this? Absolutely not.

The stimulus bill is flawed. It has provisions which were inserted to satisfy certain politicians who would not support it otherwise. It also brings into question the strength of the economics upon which it is based, that of spending money just for the sake of it to put more liquidity into the economy and hence stimulate it.

The good news is that Barack Obama is a black politician who has moved on from the reactionary angry politics of Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and is more conciliatory and is a politician and not a black politician. This is the process by which racism will be removed from society and that is why he is a natural leader. Anyone still looking for further apology or clarification from the Post needs to get over themselves and move on. History is history, lets get on with the future and help restart the economy.