Saturday, 27 June 2009

Want to Connect?

Well I am going to give this a try and see what you guys think or if you are interested in taking part! On the right hand side you should see a new widget called 'Followers'. It is a new google attempt to get people more involved in the content that bloggers talk about.

Facebook readers may be reading this blog as a 'note'...scroll down to the bottom and hit the option that says "view original post" just above where you would normally leave a comment. Then you will be transported to my blog and get to see this (and my other notes) as originally intended.

I think it is an interesting idea and will give it a try for a while to see how the feedback works out or if anyone is even interested in playing. Below is an official Google developers movie introducing this new idea and their blurb on it!



Awaken and strengthen your community

Google Friend Connect instantly awakens and strengthens the community that visits your site by enriching it with social features. Watch the video below to learn more.

Build your community
Anyone can join your site and discover other members by using information from a variety of services, including Google, Yahoo, Twitter, AOL, orkut, and Plaxo, strengthening your community as visitors become members.

Increase engagement
Choose social features from a catalog of gadgets created by Google and the OpenSocial developer community to keep your visitors more deeply engaged with your site and with each other.


So what do you reckon? Want to connect with me?

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Thursday, 25 June 2009

Enfield Goes to War

Royal Enfield - Bullet Classic (01)Image by victor9098 via Flickr

I am a long time fan of Royal Enfield motorcycles and determined to get one in my garage eventually! The new EFI model represents a major step in the right direction with added reliability, relatively straight forward owner maintenance and an engine capable of up to 136kph (85mph). Though more realistically the cruising speed would be 96kph - 112kph (60mph - 70mph). Not bad for a 500cc single which is basically an update of a 50 year old engine! Oh and to give you more of an incentive the EFI averages 28km/l (80mpg).

For more specific information have a look at the Royal Enfield UK or the Royal Enfield USA websites!
Also some reviews can be found at;
RealClassic.co.uk - Royal Enfield Electra EFI
Motorcycle Classics - 2009 Royal Enfield Bullet EFI
MCN - Royal Enfield Electra EFI (2008-current)

So what got me blogging about the Royal Enfield's again is a very sweet version of the new EFI being offered by the USA Royal Enfield distributors... a new version of the old military model. It is called the Bullet G5 Military across the pond and I like it...LOTS! I could only hope that they make a similar version of available on this side of the ocean. With the UK being the largest market outside of India I am surprised this has not already been offered, but I understand they are busy getting out the more popular versions of the Enfield range, so a good reason! Guess alternatively I will just have to move to the USA...actually there is a thought!



ANYWAY, from the Royal Enfield USA website;

Description

The iconic Bullet Military model has seen extended duty on several fronts throughout the world for many years and is now a prize for military enthusiasts and collectors the world over. Now available exclusively in the United States, the G5 Military features the ruggedness that has made Royal Enfield famous, plus the reliability of fuel injection and a virtually maintenance-free unit construction engine design.

This highly sought after motorcycle is painted olive drab and comes standard with the new Unit Construction Engine and digital electronic fuel injection, plus a unique look that harkens back to World War II.

Unique Features

* All-new, fully-integrated unit construction engine with fuel injection for rugged reliability
* A complete military look harkening back to WWII
* NEW! - Available accessory packages to customize to your taste
* Improved suspension, higher cruising speeds, and better handling
* Pagani turn signals, 19" Avon Speedmaster Mk. II tires
* Incredible 85 mpg fuel economy*
* Built to meet Euro III and other modern emissions standards
* Industry-leading 2 year, unlimited-milage manufacturer warranty

* Estimate based on initial mileage reports


Guess I better start finding some cents to hide in the mattress for when these eventually (I hope) become available on this side of the pond. I would certainly do my best to park one up in the garage, maybe add a screen though and maybe add some...oh damn, now I really want one!

As always, keep the rubber side down



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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Bringing Paddy to the Mountain

I am currently putting together a holiday to the USA from Ireland and have come across websites and newspaper articles saying how companies are out there to make the process nice and easy for you for a fee...

Well guess what, the process is nice and easy, it just happens to involve a little bit of running around, metaphorically speaking, in reality it is just a few clicks of your mouse to sort out. So where to begin?

First ensure you have an up-to-date 'chipped', machine readable passport. Any Irish passport issued after 2006 should be to this standard. More information on passports can be found by CLICKING HERE

The cover of Irish electronic Passports as of ...Image via Wikipedia



Second, once you are happy that you have the right passport and you qualify for the Visa Waiver Programme (as an Irish passport holder you should) then you must face the US Department of Homeland Security! Scary? Nope. All you do is CLICK HERE and supply them with some basic details about you (do not even need flight details) then within 72 hours they tell you if you are allowed to enter the USA. When I did it the response was instantaneous.

Third, the authorisation number you get at the end of the above process is VERY important. You must bring with you to the airport to get on the plane! So keep it with your passport.

Fourth, get online and book your holiday to the states! The rest now is up to you. The above few steps have had people talking and friends confused, but it is very easy and quick to sort.

Fifth, get yourself some travel insurance! Very important with the states. 123.ie & Chill.ie are two good places to start.

Sixth, let 'the man' know you are in the states. Register your details with Department of Foreign Affairs. It is free and takes two mins (well, your taxes have paid for the service). Just CLICK HERE.

Right now I am in the process of booking trains and shows, so slowly building my dream holiday (within my budget). Look forward to me blogging about my experiences with all of the above. It will be my first time entering the USA by plane since all these extra security measures came into place so it shall be an experience I am sure. Hopefully a positive one!

More to come!



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Monday, 22 June 2009

The High End of Low

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something you do not? No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me.

- Morpheus, The Matrix Reloaded


It has been just over two months since I graced these pages with a blog post. Which is shocking considering that I gave this site a makeover this year after 2 years of kicking out thoughts and observations. So what happened?

A lot!

Everything has changed to some degree this year and all of it has been deeply personal. It has forced me to re-evaluate almost every aspect of my life, which has also turned into a 'fight or flight' response in some cases. The illness of a very close relative for instance has challenged my perceptions regarding relationships and what I should be valuing. I have never believed that people have the capacity to really change, instead I think I may simply be choosing a different path, one that is not so clear. One that may ultimately lead to me failing on an epic scale. Though it is the happiness that I have found lately that has reinvigorated this old man and redrawn the maps of what is possible. Now I navigate by a sky with a new sun, a new night of stars.

'The Dead Poet' has been extremely busy after a long break. There are currently several other works in the process of being polished before they are released onto the unsuspecting. He has been torn between a setting moon and rising sun. Standing between both and not knowing if he should be weeping or shouting for joy. This is his current torment. Victor seems to be sitting on the sidelines waiting to play with whatever is left this time, content to step through and around without actually having to be there. Though he would like to remind readers that his "On Remembering Father" and "Death of a Poet" both won awards and were published this year! Do not worry, that was not a smile you saw him make, just a crack in his soul...

Facebook has really sucked up too much of my time of late, it has become my primary source of sharing news and discussing emerging events. Hence my lack of blogging. This is both good and bad. Good because I get to share with friends what is on my mind or what I have found of interest. Bad because it is just a snapshot and rarely a discussion. So if I apply a little discipline I should be gracing these pages much more often once again with updates of interest to me and hopefully you.

Motorcycling wise my Buell Ulysses XB12XT is still going through some updates and a few problems! These will be covered in future posts with pictures and reports of what went on. Nothing life threatening, though one could have been if left unnoticed. Not to worry, all safe now.

Ubuntu! Well needless to say I have updated all my machines to the latest release, 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope and keeping a very close eye on the developments regarding Octobers forthcoming release of 9.10 Karmic Koala. I am using the desktop and netbook remix versions of Jaunty and loving them. Extremely stable and no problems worth mentioning. Though there are some issues regarding the use of Skype and Ubuntu's now default sound manager Pulse Audio. Though 9.10 should certainly fix that...more news to come!

This years big trip will be coming from the US of A, with trips to Washington DC, New York City and Boston all planned. Other destinations are likely to be added but they will be decided once there. Very excited about this and my Flickr page will probably be crammed with photos from the trip come the end of the summer. So watch this space...

Of course I have the Annual Across Ireland to take part in on the weekend of August 29th/30th. It is the runs 10th Anniversary and an especially big party is being planned for all those taking part on the evening we are in Galway. So if you are interested, follow the link to their website and help make a difference by raising money for the Make A Wish foundation. Every cent helps!

On top of all that I am busy with university work over the next few weeks too. A 10,000 word project to write and polish effectively over the next 4 weeks. The joy and fun of it! Well, actually, I do really enjoy it. Next year will be my final year of my degree in International Relations. After that? After events this year I have broadened my horizons. A career over the pond or the opportunity to continue study there would be most welcome. I have a busy academic year ahead trying to figure that one out.

There has been some sadness of late too. Hopefully this will be something I will be able to fix or at least apply some karma to. I was supposed to be a dreamcatcher, I know...

So with all that is before me I must go and start living it so that I may return to these pages and write words once again.

What's my name?

Peace, B Wild & keep the rubber side down