Monday, 27 December 2010

Some Pictures of The Cr-48

Finally a chance to post some pictures of the Cr-48, as you can see these are a few shots of the outside but  there is also a less then great picture of the browser itself, will get better ones up in the future. You can get more views over on my Flickr page.

Cr-48 - Open
The Cr-48 notebook

Cr-48 - Right Side View
The Right Side: From left to right you can see a cooling vent, covered SD card slot (springs open), earphone port, USB port and power cable port

Cr-48 - Left Side View
The Left Side: Here you can see some cooling vents and a serial port

Cr-48 - Chrome OS
Google Chrome OS

Cr-48 - Keyboard
The keyboard of the Cr-48, note the tweaks to complement Google Chrome OS

Since the USB and SD card slots are not yet enabled as standard, they can be turned on, but functionality is limited thus far, I do need to upload the images via a non-Chrome OS machine. This is still beta software so this is to be expected. It makes sense for Google to be concentrating on getting the OS working perfect before dealing with peripherals. Chrome OS has been working very well, no crashes to report but start up can be a little slow depending on if you have 'pinned tabs' or what apps/extensions are trying to load.

What is impressing me is how quick the notebook turns on and wakes up from sleep, you really are straight onto the web quicker then anything else out there, as noted this may be more sluggish depending on the apps/exts installed. I am sure that Google are far from rolling out all the features of Chrome OS and with a very healthy developer community via the Chrome Web Store there will be little this will not be able to do.

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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Cr-48 My First Impressions

So on the 10th December a big brown box is sitting on the doorstep out on the porch, having no idea what was in it since I was expecting nothing, the box is slowly opened up and soon it dawns on me what I have before me, one of Google's Cr-48 notebooks which they have sent out to various 'test-pilots' to give the new Google Chrome OS a test drive.

What is Google Chrome OS?

Since the notebook arrived during my last two weeks of semester I had to tell myself not to get too distracted, hence my lack of posting, though I have been trying out the Alpha 1 of Natty Narwhal, it is time to dig into Chrome OS in a significant way. The laptop itself is unbranded, but well made and feels high quality. Opening up the lid gives you the Chrome OS splash screen and before you know it you are logging on. The whole process is fast and slick.

Next you log yourself in, initially I did have some problems connecting to the home wifi network but that has since sorted itself out. You also have the option of taking a picture via the integrated webcam (but you can skip), then there you are logged into your Chrome OS. Even though I use Ubuntu on my other systems Chromium is my primary browser and Chrome OS immdiately syncs all my applications and extensions so that it feels just like home.

What you now have is what looks like Google's Chrome browser in full screen and this is your Operating System. The only real difference is that in the top right you have a battery monitor, WiFi status, selected language and the time. That's it. You really can not get anymore stripped down then this. Remember there is nothing stored on the notebook, your storage is entirely online and this is what takes getting used to and I will talk about more of this in future posts.

Right now all my initial reactions are positive, I have been hitting a few wrong keys as I use the keyboard as there are a few new additions to the keyboard, the coolest and most useful is a dedicated search button. I am guessing that will have a Google symbol on it in the official releases as this machine is completely unbranded. Also there is no need to be holding a Fn button to alter the sound or screen brightness as there are dedicated buttons. From what I understand Chrome OS will be available pre-installed on notebooks and not available as an installable OS to existing systems so getting the whole package right is important.

How to remain calm, despite what's about to happen to your Chrome notebook

And I have to say, so far they have. A few settings could be a bit more intuitive, but these are minor niggles and so far this is exactly what it is supposed to be, an extremely easy and efficient to access your on-line world. Personally this laptop would be an excellent second laptop, or for a student it would make huge sense to have a laptop like this...or for anybody's first real computer for that matter. I do not have the time, patience or want to spend the money transferring almost a TB of personal data to on-line services. BUT you have to see the sense in having all your data kept in the cloud, or on-line, the idea that you may never lose any data again is a huge plus. There will always be the argument of what if you can not access the internet? Google has offered local off-line storage with their 'gears' software, while the new internet standard of html5 should allow every modern browser to provide limited local storage.

Is the future here? I do not know that, but I am very impressed with the technology sitting in my lap right now which I am typing up this blog on. Thanks to Google for giving me the opportunity to help develop this next step.

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Monday, 20 December 2010

Why do YOU believe...?

A great seasonal piece by the comedian Ricky Gervais on why he does not believe in a god and how it all began. He throws in some interesting little nuggets and well worth reading in full!


Amplify’d from

Why don’t I believe in God? No, no no, why do YOU believe in God? Surely the burden of proof is on the believer. You started all this. If I came up to you and said, “Why don’t you believe I can fly?” You’d say, “Why would I?” I’d reply, “Because it’s a matter of faith”. If I then said, “Prove I can’t fly. Prove I can’t fly see, see, you can’t prove it can you?” You’d probably either walk away, call security or throw me out of the window and shout, ‘’F—ing fly then you lunatic.”

So next time someone tells me they believe in God, I’ll say “Oh which one? Zeus? Hades? Jupiter? Mars? Odin? Thor? Krishna? Vishnu? Ra?…” If they say “Just God. I only believe in the one God”, I’ll point out that they are nearly as atheistic as me. I don’t believe in 2,870 gods, and they don’t believe in 2,869.

So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-­‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-­‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists.

But living an honest life – for that you need the truth. That’s the other thing I learned that day, that the truth, however shocking or uncomfortable, in the end leads to liberation and dignity.

“Do unto others…” is a good rule of thumb. I live by that. Forgiveness is probably the greatest virtue there is. Buts that’s exactly what it is -­‐ a virtue. Not just a Christian virtue. No one owns being good. I’m good. I just don’t believe I’ll be rewarded for it in heaven. My reward is here and now. It’s knowing that I try to do the right thing. That I lived a good life. And that’s where spirituality really lost its way. When it became a stick to beat people with. “Do this or you’ll burn in hell.”

You won’t burn in hell. But be nice anyway.


Monday, 6 December 2010

Pick The Motorcycle That Fits You

Below are some clips from a fantastic website,, that lets you set you height, inseam length and even 'preferred arm straightness'. After that you just choose your preferred make and model of motorcycle which then overlays a model of you on the chosen motorcycle. I am loving this, all those motorcycles you have wondered about or are considering this site offers a great starting point to see just how well of a fit the motorcycle could be.

Of course the list is not exhaustive with brands and models missing but they do have an impressive amount up already and hopefully it will be further expanded on in the future. Yes, for some you can also get lower seats, change out the suspension, maybe try different tyre sizes and so on to get that perfect height and fit. For those of us who would rather those things be luxuries then necessities, this is certainly a must visit site to go through your motorcycle wishlist.

So what are you waiting for? Head over and start trying out motorcycles for size!

Peace and keep the rubber side down.

Amplify’d from
To adjust measurements, click the + and - buttons next to the field.

To compare motorcycles, first click "Compare with a 2nd Motorcycle"
to add a second motorcycle. Move the mouse over the image on the right and
use the scroll wheel to scroll between the two motorcycles, or alternatively
you can just click the Motorcycle #1 or Motorcycle #2 headers.

You can compare any number of motorcycles simultaneously.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wikileaks Cablegate List

Here is the tip of the iceberg with regards to the latest release by Wikileaks of the US diplomatic cables. There are already some headline grabbing stories (as seen below) but the real story will emerge as we study the discourse in greater depth with all the threats and deals becoming clear. This presents a great opportunity of discourse analysis, while the fall-out is only just beginning with politicians in the USA calling for Wikileaks to be listed as a terrorist organisation! This has only just begun.


Amplify’d from
WikiLeaks Latest Release

WikiLeaks Documents: Selected Dispatches - New York Times

U.S. Embassy Cables: Browse the Database - The Guardian

What Do the Diplomatic Cables Really Tell Us? - Der Spiegel

Cables Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels - New York Times

A Superpower's View of the World - Der Spiegel

Leaked Cables Reveal True U.S. Worldview - Der Spiegel

U.S. Embassy Cables Leak Sparks Global Diplomacy Crisis - The Guardian

Directives Blur Lines Between Diplomacy and Spying - New York Times

WikiLeaks Diplomatic Cables Offer Inside Look at U.S. Policies - Boston Globe

Wikileaks Documents Reveal Sensitive U.S. Cables - Reuters

U.S. Diplomats Spied on U.N. Leadership - The Guardian

U.S. Diplomats Told to Spy on Other Countries at United Nations - Der Spiegel

Around the World, Distress Over Iran - New York Times

Fear of 'Different World' if Iran Gets Nuclear Weapons - The Guardian

U.S. Referred to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as 'Hitler' - Daily Telegraph

Arab States Scorn 'Evil' Iran - The Guardian

Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea - New York Times

Israel Primed to Attack a Nuclear Iran - The Guardian

Iranian Spies 'Used Red Crescent to Enter War Zones' - The Guardian

Cables Reveal U.S. Doubts about Turkey's Government - Der Spiegel

Internal Source Kept U.S. Informed of Merkel Coalition Negotiations - Der Spiegel

Siprnet: Where America Stores its Secret Cables - The Guardian

Updates on the Reaction to U.S. Diplomatic Cables Release - New York Times

White House Condemns Wikileaks Disclosures - BBC News

U.S. Makes Last-Ditch Push to Prevent WikiLeaks Release - Wall Street Journal

WikiLeaks Gets Warning from State Department - Washington Post

Wikileaks 'Hacked Ahead of Secret U.S. Document Release' - BBC News

Thursday, 4 November 2010

What Can Obama Do?

With the US mid-term elections behind him President Obama has to carefully consider what to do next, while he hopes for a 1996 style comeback George Friedman suggests that Obama would be better served by looking at how Reagan bounced back after his mid-term defeat in 1982. Of course the threat of a double dip recession is real and might easily prove his downfall, but after 2 years of little change in foreign policy and increasingly confusing or even non-existent messages coming from the US this might indeed be the time for some fresh agenda setting and Obama finally taking up a leadership position on issues that may no longer wait, especially as they can smell blood in the water.


Amplify’d from

U.S. President Barack Obama hopes that the Republicans prove rigidly ideological. In 1994, after the Republicans won a similar victory over Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich attempted to use the speakership to craft national policy. Clinton ran for re-election in 1996 against Gingrich rather than the actual Republican candidate, Bob Dole; Clinton made Gingrich the issue, and he won. Obama hopes for the same opportunity to recoup. The new speaker, John Boehner, already has indicated that he does not intend to play Gingrich but rather is prepared to find compromises. Since Tea Party members are not close to forming a majority of the Republican Party in the House, Boehner is likely to get his way.

Another way to look at this is that the United States remains a predominantly right-of-center country. Obama won a substantial victory in 2008, but he did not change the architecture of American politics. Almost 48 percent of voters voted against him.

Foreign Policy and Obama’s Campaign Position

The most important thing about his campaign was the difference between what he said he would do and what his supporters heard him saying he would do.
Obama wanted to change global perceptions of the United States as a unilateral global power to one that would participate as an equal partner with the rest of the world.
The Europeans were particularly jubilant at his election.
The Europeans saw Bush as bullying, unsophisticated and dangerous. Bush in turn saw allies’ unwillingness to share the burdens of a war as meaning they were not in fact allies. He considered so-called “Old Europe” as uncooperative and unwilling to repay past debts.
Though they thought Obama would allow them a greater say in U.S. policy — and, above all, ask them for less — Obama in fact argued that the Europeans would be more likely to provide assistance to the United States if Washington was more collaborative with the Europeans.
Europeans discovered that Obama was simply another U.S. president.
Campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, Obama’s position on Iraq consisted of slightly changing Bush’s withdrawal timetable. In Afghanistan, his strategy was to increase troop levels beyond what Bush would consider. Toward Iran, his policy has been the same as Bush’s: sanctions with a hint of something later.

Why Obama Believed in a Reset Button

Why did Obama believe that he was changing relations when in fact his policies were not significantly different from Bush’s policies?
The answer is that Obama seemed to believe the essential U.S. problem with the world was rhetorical. The United States had not carefully explained itself, and in not explaining itself, the United States appeared arrogant.
Obama seemed to believe that the policies did not matter as much as the sensibility that surrounded the policies.
The idea that nations weren’t designed to trust or like one another, but rather pursued their interests with impersonal force, was alien to him. And so he thought he could explain the United States to the Muslims without changing U.S. policy and win the day.
U.S. policies in the Middle East remain intact, Guantanamo is still open, and most of the policies Obama opposed in his campaign are still there, offending the world much as they did under Bush. Moreover, the U.S. relationship with China has worsened, and while the U.S. relationship with Russia has appeared to improve, this is mostly atmospherics.

Global Expectations and Obama’s Challenge

the global perception of Obama today is as a leader given to rhetoric that doesn’t live up to its promise.
In that sense, he is seen as naive and, worse, as indecisive and unimaginative.
Obama doesn’t seem to be there. By that he meant that Obama does not seem to occupy the American presidency and that the United States he governs does not seem like a force to be reckoned with. Decisions that other leaders wait for the United States to make don’t get made, the authority of U.S. emissaries is uncertain, the U.S. defense and state departments say different things, and serious issues are left unaddressed.
Obama has spent two years on the trajectory in place when he was elected, having made few if any significant shifts. Inertia is not a bad thing in policy, as change for its own sake is dangerous.
Obama comes out of this election severely weakened domestically. If he continues his trajectory, the rest of the world will perceive him as a crippled president, something he needn’t be in foreign policy matters. Obama can no longer control Congress, but he still controls foreign policy. He could emerge from this defeat as a powerful foreign policy president, acting decisively in Afghanistan and beyond.
If he doesn’t, global events will begin unfolding without recourse to the United States, and issues held in check will no longer remain quiet.
"The World Looks at Obama After the U.S. Midterm Election is republished with permission of STRATFOR."Read more at

Friday, 22 October 2010

EU Blues as Motorcyclists Face Mandatory ABS and No More Mods

You have got to hand it to those boys and gals in the European Commission just take every chance they get to show how disconnected they are from us little people. Motorcycles are due to be hit with the most restrictive regulations in the world. While the rest of the planet debate about wearing helmets and gear, we find ourselves having mandatory ABS on all motorcycles with no 'off switch' option. The reasoning by the European Commission?

"The Commission acknowledges that fact but considers the number of citizens living in areas with a high percentage of unpaved roads as negligible compared to the broader riding population. Indeed, the Commission fears that too many riders would switch off the ABS also when riding on common roads, due to “unjustified lack of faith in new technologies"

I am happy to admit that I support the idea of having technological aids on motorcycles, or any road going vehicle to assist the operator, but we must look at them as just aids. Putting such blind faith in the technology just shows how little they understand it or their limited knowledge of motorcycles. The EU in one breath is telling us that there are so few unpaved roads as not to warrant an 'off switch', while at the same time within the last month they recommend that road limits in Ireland by cut by 30% due to their quality, unless it is a road with a dividing barrier.

As long as responsibility of the vehicle lands at the feet of the operator, then they should have the final decision in what is best for the given circumstances, which should include turning off equipment not suited to the given conditions or is distracting. Maybe we should appeal part of this on the grounds that like a mobile phone, GPS or other technology it can actually lead to an operator to crash rather then help.

They have not stopped there though, as for now on motorcycle engines should just come encased in plastic with a 'do not touch' as modifications will now be very tightly controlled. In practice, this will mean unless you are buying your engine modifications from your vehicle manufacturer then you probably will not be able to fit it and pass an inspection. The same goes for after-market exhausts, unless they are fully approved then you will  also fail an inspection on that.

I am hoping that somebody is calculating the impact this will have on motorcycle accessory suppliers. Dealers who catalogues are basically 75% of engine tweaks are going to be hit hard. And think about all those 'off-road' schools that the likes of BMW run... how will they keep going if all their customers new motorcycles are effectively no longer suitable to use as the ABS is permanently on. How motorcycling loving states across the EU allowed this to happen baffles me, and why would they? Also where are the motorcycle manufactures in all this? Their production costs just jumped up as not only are they having to tweak motorcycles for 27 EU states (language and so on) they now have to make sure everything over 125cc has ABS.

Motorcycling has just gotten more expensive to get into, the licensing process from next year onwards with be much more complicated and the riders ability to make decisions in their best interests has just been taken away. If we could list motorcycling as a religion then I would be heading to another state for asylum due to the persecution we face here in Europe.

FEMA is trying to do its best to fight for our rights on this issue and if you want to help push back and get involved in a meaningful way then join you local MAG group as these upcoming changes that WILL effect all motorcyclists. Below are some links that should fill you in on all the details.
Peace and keep the rubber side down.

“Anger is easy. Anger at the right person, at the right time, for the right reason, is difficult.”
Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, book IV, chapter 5 (lightly paraphrased)

Telemachus, now is the time to be angry.”
Odysseus, when the time came to deal with the Suitors. From the movie The Odyssey (1997)

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

This Is The World We Live In

"...It's not too late for that
This is the world that we live in
And no, we can't go back..."

~The Killers, The World We Live In

So just one question, would you rather live in this world,

Or this one?

Answers on a postcard.

If you like the look of the Electromagnate project you can help fund their documentary over on Kickstarter by CLICKING HERE.


(Thanks to Global Guerillas for bringing to my attention)

Sunday, 10 October 2010

10.10.10 - The Rise of the Maverick Meerkat

Today marks the release of the latest evolution of the Ubuntu operating system, 10.10 The Maverick Meerkat. Over the summer I have given the Meerkat a few test drives as it developed through the alpha, beta and release candidate stages. Usually I would have jumped in during the beta testing and stuck with it until the final release, but circumstances this year meant I was not in front of a computer much this year, so I only got a few samplings. However I am back on the block and have been running the release candidates of both the desktop and netbook versions for over a week now and can say they are stable and worth considering upgrading to if you are running the 10.04LTS.

Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop Ubuntu 10.10 

Cautious Beginnings 

Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition 10.10 UNE Desktop - other then the background not a whole lot more you can do 

Be warned though, the netbook edition has seen some major revisions compared to the last version. Overall I would say that it is a positive step forward, but there are a few things that are not sitting well with me. The first is that it feels much more sluggish compared to previous versions of the netbook edition. The second is that the new left hand side bar (the non-dock) is not very intuitive to use. There is a steep learning curve as it does not really compare to anything else out there. At times this make it frustrating to use, but stick with it, figure out how to get the applications you like stuck on it and then you will start to see that it is not so bad. 

Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition The 'non-dock' can be the home for various apps but not links to folders/files other then a link to your 'home folder'

However it is a permanent feature with no way to hide it, so you end up losing about 10% of your screens horizontal space to this. In use this means you have to scroll left and right in applications and websites you normally would not have to. Also there is virtually no customisation in the netbook edition, what you see is what you get. In 10.04 there were ways to tweak the code to allow you to have a more personal experience. This is gone. Even changing the default themes yields little changes, which is disappointing for me. I do not think such a 'dark' look is the best look, I might spend several hours in lectures looking at this and I much prefer the lighter radiance theme at a minimum as it is softer on the eyes, but changing to this has no effect on the left 'non-dock' and top panel. So far I am unaware of any tweaks to get around this. 

Its Not All Bad 

Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop The 10.10 Desktop, the flames are from the 'burn' effect in compiz

Okay, I have been focusing on what I do not like, but that is it. Everything else is pretty good with some very nice refinements. The desktop edition looks largely the same at first glance with most of the updates being behind the scenes. What you will notice is the sound menu has some cool new features which I really like. For instance, clicking on it will now show your music player and allow you to control your tracks. This is an effort to clean up the system tray area, again something I approve of. Once we see apps like Skype incorporated into the sound menu, then maybe the network indicator next? There is an excellent mockup here showing the possibilities with networks, update manager and your web browser all merged into this area. 

Ubuntu 10.10 Sound Menu 
The new sound menu 

Bringing it to Life 

The installation process has also been streamlined, now as you input your details and set your preferences the install process is working away in the background. Once you are finished you are met with a new slideshow with all the highlights of Meerkat. As now the norm I do a fresh install and highly recommend this as the best way to go. Also as per usual I partition my HDD using the Ubuntu install tool along the following lines: 

Root partition - with at least 10GB (format)
Swap partition - approx 10% of RAM
Home partition - the rest of my HDD (I do not format)

Now some users will keep going with partitions for backups, media and so on. Personally, I keep all my music on an external HDD and my backups on another separate HDD. While keeping your 'home' as a separate partition ensures that if (when?) something goes wrong there is a very good chance your files are safe and when doing a fresh install, simply going through the process above and making sure you DO NOT format the 'home' means you are virtually back to your original desktop. The above are just my recommendations and what I always do. 

Some Final Thoughts 

Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition UNE 10.10, A glimpse at the future?

While the desktop version of 10.10 seems low in the number of obvious improvements it would seem the ground is being laid for bigger things ahead. The is just the start of the next evolutionary cycle, with the Long Term Release only coming out in April this year, and the next not due until approx April 2012, we have a long way to go with testing out and introducing new features. Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is due for release next April and it will not be until the next Ubuntu developers summit until we get a real clear indication of what that is going to throw up at us. However, I have a feeling that the new features on the Netbook Edition might be our first glimpse of a possible tablet version of Ubuntu, there have been conflicting reports officially, but it would not take a huge leap to take us to that next stage. A Ubuntu Tablet Edition (UTE) maybe? We were only shown the new Unity interface for the netbook after the release of 10.04, so you never know what those guys and gals in Canonical are thinking up. 

But I could be, and probably am, completely wrong...but we can hope.

So if you are brave enough to live on the cutting (bleeding?) edge of technology then give bring home a Maverick Meerkat today, its different, but you will learn to love it. 


Ubuntu 10.10 Desktop
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Friday, 1 October 2010

Motorcycle GPS Cases: Givi versus Arkon

Givi GPS CaseImage by Victor9098 via FlickrI planned to do some touring around Ireland this summer and managed to squeeze in 3 weeks of travels over May/June this year. You can check out photos of those trips on my Flikr page in the Ireland Stream (Ladies View onwards). Any other time planning such a journey would usually requires some time on Google Maps, printing off directions and packing a road atlas for when you would get lost after deciding to explore a little. This time though I decided to bite the bullet and bought myself a GPS, though my budget would never allow me to splurge on a purpose built motorcycle GPS unit! A little bit of research later and I decided to purchase a Mio Navman M400, it gave me everything I needed for a reasonable price. After that I needed something to mount it to the Buell with, so this led me to purchase the Givi S850 GPS case, though after using it for a few weeks I decided to purchase an alternative, the Arkon GPS032 GPS case.

Arkon GPS Case

The Givi S850

Givi GPS Case

First impressions of the Givi was similar to all Givi products I have owned, this is well made and should last, it also had plenty of compartments for cameras/phones/etc. and a rain cover. However once it came to fitting it to the Buell it soon became obvious this was not going to be as straight forward as I had wanted. The primary means of attaching it to the bike is via two long velcro straps which means you try to locate a position on your handlebars and then strap it on as tight as you can. No matter how I strapped it on there was always some movement as you rode along as it slowly kept angling itself down to the tank. After 2 hours of riding you physically have to lift the case up so you can view it and then let it flop back down. For long rides plugging in the power cable is usually a must, the Givi has lots of space inside to allow you to do this without affecting your use of the unit.

Givi GPS Case

The other con of this method of attachment is when you pull in anywhere you naturally want all this to be still on the bike when you come back. Taking the case off is quick enough, easily done in under a minute, but it is the putting back on which can take several minutes. I have no complaints over the quality of the product and I really like it, but for the average motorcycle I think it is less then ideal. Another problem was that no matter how I strapped in the GPS or padded the space behind it, I just could not use the touchscreen functions through the screen, I always ended up pressing several spots on the screen at the same time. Of course, you should not be playing with the GPS on the move but having to pull in, take off gloves and then take it out of the case in order to do any route adjustments was less then ideal. Which led to me looking around for an alternative.

Arkon GPS032

Arkon GPS Case

This is what led me to the Arkon case and mount. I have seen all the RAM units on the market, but I just did not want to spend that much money on something that might only be used on a few occasions over the year. The Arkon I thought was a bargain when I found it online and soon had it in the post to me.

Fitting this is a little bit more involved then the Givi, but all you do is fit the clamp to the handlebars and all the parts you need are included with case...well everything except a screwdriver. I found a suitable place on the handlebars to fit the handlebar mount, I had wanted to locate it on the crossbar on my handlebars but the mount does not tighten enough, though I am sure some padding could fix that which is something I might look into in the future. Having found a free space on the left hand side I fitted the mount, all of 5 mins, then soon was sliding on the case then making adjustments until I was happy and of course followed by the mandatory brew. Plugging in the power cable causes some problems as it is a very snug fit, and leaved the cases looking a little 'warped' but still fully usable.

Arkon GPS Case

Now the case does not look as waterproof as the Givi, but it is water 'resistant' and should give you amble time to pull off the bike if needed. Which is the other big plus with this case, in a petrol station or arriving at your destination you just slide the case off the mount and away you go. No fuss. No messing. Just 2 secs to slip off and then slip back on when you get on. The advantage with the position of the Givi case was that it always remained dry even when riding all day in rain as there is a nice cocoon behind the screen where the rain just would not get to it. The Arkon out on the handlebar might be be more open to the elements, so finding a way to mount on the crossbar will be on my to-do list before my next long trip.

Arkon GPS Case

Everybody's Free (To 'Make' Suncreens)

A common complaint of both units is that they both suffer from glare, if you know you are on a route for sometime this is not so much of a problem, but once you are in an unfamiliar town centre then quick glimpses at the GPS can be difficult and usually leaving you hoping for a red traffic light so you can use your hand to shade the screen and have a good look. I have already started to think about how to make some sort of sunscreen just to give some shade, but it would be nice to see makers start tweaking their offerings to make the end-users life that little bit easier, that is the whole point of purchasing these devices anyway.

Famous Last Words

My overall impression is that these make huge sense when you compare to the high-end motorcycle GPS units. A cheap GPS and a case similar to the ones above will cost a fraction of the price, which is especially important at the moment and due to the nature of this technology they will soon be out of date. If it was not for the GPS there are so many places I would not have ended up on my travels this year, I feel much more confident in 'going down that little road' and once I have done my exploring I just tell it to bring my home or to the nearest petrol station. No, you do not get the benefit of hearing the directions but I have always enjoyed reading a map so looking down at a screen now and then is no big deal and so what if you miss a turn, the GPS will get you to where you are going that is the point of it afterall.

I have posted various images of me fitting the units here so feel free to check them out. Also Givi have recently just released the Givi S950 case which seems to be more like what motorcyclists need though I note the lack of suncscreen... maybe next time.

As always, peace and keep the rubber side down.

Arkon GPS Case
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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Irish Motorcycle Road Racing Exhibition (Oct 23/24)

12 Ryan Farquhar - Superbike TT Race 05/06/2010Image by Aled Beswick via Flickr
Over the weekend of October 23rd/24th there will be an exhibition in Kells, County Meath, showcasing all aspects of road racing here in Ireland. So if you enjoy watching the thrill of the racing this will be an unique opportunity to get to see everything else that is going on surrounding the actual racing, while also meet some of the faces behind the helmets. Below is the official press release and all the details of the event. Hope to see you there.
Saturday October 23rd 1100 - 1800
Sunday October 24th 1000 - 1700
Admission is €10
Also note that all funds raised " will be donated to the Stephen Larkin Fund with a donation given to the Myles Byrne Fund( Kells Club Member)".
Peace and keep the rubber side down.
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PURE ROAD RACE EXHIBITION - The first ever PURE ROAD RACE EXHIBITION will be held in the Enterprise Centre
The first ever PURE ROAD RACE EXHIBITION will be held in the Enterprise Centre, Cavan Road, Kells, Co. Meath on Saturday 23rd & Sunday 24th October.  Doors will open from  11am -  6pm on Sat and  10am – 5pm on Sunday.
The Exhibition is to showcase our sport of Road Racing and give the public an opportunity to meet the Clubs, Riders, Teams & Sponsors, Marshalls, Medical Personnel etc and to get an insight into how a road race is organised.
It is an opportunity for Clubs, Riders, Teams to promote themselves and their merchandise. 
Tables will be provided for any clubs who wish to avail of them.
On display will be genuine Race Bikes from the following riders and teams:
TAS Suzuki, Keith Amor, Guy MartinRyan FarquharMichael Dunlop, John Walsh, Wayne Kirwan, Michael Sweeney, David Lumsden, Adrian Archibald, Davy Morgan, Derek Sheils, James Redpath, Craig Gibson, John Burrows, Michael Pearson, Keith &, Derek Costello,
Herbie Ronan with # 32  Myles Byrnes bike, Michael Larkin, Gerry Daniel, Damien Mulleady, And many more……………..
# 8  Richard Britton
Classic Bike Display.
Motorcycling Ireland
Kells MCRC
Cookstown (Dungannon)
Southern 100
Manx  GP
Dunboyne Motor Club
Dunshaughlin RRSC
MCI Medical Team
Marshalls Association
Road Racing Ireland
Clinton Enterprises -  Official Race Merchandise.
JDs  -  Amelia  - 
Two Stroke Supporters Club
Photographic Display -  See your heroes in action.
Talk & Book Signing by Stephen Davison.
Any other interested parties please contact us.
The MCI Medical Team will put on displays over the duration of the show.
George McCann will interview guest Riders.
Proceeds from the exhibition will be donated to the Stephen Larkin Fund with a donation given to the Myles Byrne Fund( Kells Club Member)
On  Saturday (23rd)  there will be a Benefit Night in the Kactus Nightclub (Arches Bar) Farrell Street, Kells, 9pm til late in aid of the Stephen Larkin Fund and Myles Byrne, Admission 10 euros,  music by  THE KING & I.
The Kells Club would like to thank all who have supported the idea of the Exhibition . 
This has been a very sad year for the Road Racing Family – we would ask all Road Race Fans to please come and support this Exhibition -  it is being organised for a very worthy cause.
For further details contact:
Aileen Ferguson,  00353 46 92 40972,  00353 87 2289958
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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

ACLU vrs U.S. Gov over the lives of citizens

The debate around the targeted killing of US citizens abroad by the U.S. government is still on going, but the article below by Robert Haddick is probably one of the better discussions I have read or heard on the topic. Could this be considered a new battlefield space to be exploited by the military or other organisations until legislation is passed to reign them in? Right now the U.S. government is taking full advantage of this legal limbo, and other than the efforts by the ACLU there is no hurry to more fully debate the very slippery slope that they are going down.


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Aulaqi lawfare case is an example of military adaptation

The Aulaqi case is the latest, but certainly not the last, move on the adaptation chess board. The 9/11 attacks and others in Madrid, London, and elsewhere were maneuvers that bypassed Western conventional military power. The United States and some of its allies responded by attempting to bring governance to ungoverned territories where terror groups found sanctuary. Terror groups have in turn defended their sanctuaries by making deals with the locals and by displacing to new areas that the U.S., for either political or intelligence reasons, finds difficulty attacking.

the U.S. government has also adapted its tactics. In the future it will strive mightily to avoid interventions involving the large-scale use of general purpose ground forces. Covert action, raids, and proxy battles will be preferred. Here “lawfare” has left its mark. In recent years the U.S. government has acquired few new terrorism prisoners. After the U.S. Supreme Court’s interventions into Guantanamo, targeted killing or custody by foreign governments are now the only options the U.S. government employs (prisoners the U.S. holds at Bagram or elsewhere in Afghanistan will surely go over to the Afghan government).

Having found a sanctuary where he is nearly impossible to apprehend, the Obama administration appears content to simply kill Aulaqi with a missile. The ACLU and the CCR fear the bottom of a steep slippery slope where a U.S. president is ordering Predator hits against any U.S. citizen anywhere for any reason without legal restraint. These groups want a court to define the “recognized war zone” (Afghanistan in, Yemen not in) and to apply judicial process to the president’s war powers outside that zone. Adversaries like Aulaqi are not limited to the ACLU's view of the war zone; these adversaries would obviously take advantage of such a definitional system to establish new sanctuaries.

With techniques such as major combat operations and large ground force counterinsurgency campaigns in decline, covert action, counterterrorism raiding, and proxy wars will be in ascendance.
But as we have seen many times before in history, covert action, counterterrorism raiding, and proxy wars are vulnerable to legal and political attack, resulting in new opportunities for adversary adaptation. The adaptation chess match goes on.Read more at

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Terrorist Tactics and Blackberry Battles

Very interesting piece looking at how slow intelligence agencies can be at adapting to new and emerging technologies. Here they highlight how the LeT terrorists, which undertook the Mumbai attacks in 2008, built a global battlefield communication system from a few mobile phones and some commercial software. Yet the knee-jerk reaction of simply demanding access to these systems means that they are discarded by terrorists for something else long before monitoring can even begin. The author offer suggestions that deal with the legal and ethical issues around the monitoring of suspected terrorists and that it can be done with some thought, while also not giving the game away to the terrorists. This seems to be the better direction to go in and may even be the path of least resistance, but I would worry that budgetary constraints will have the final say.


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The war on terror came closer to home this month, when the Indian government pressured Canadian company Research in Motion to hand over encryption keys for its popular Blackberry device. New Delhi claims terrorists are using the company's secure networks for covert communications. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia—all of which face significant terror threats—have also expressed concern. But such moves may do more harm than good.
According to the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center's Worldwide Incident Tracking System, Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), perpetrator of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks, is responsible for over 700 fatalities in India during the last five years.
But publicly browbeating RIM into providing its encryption keys is a Pyrrhic victory. Terrorist organizations can only survive if they study the capabilities of their adversaries and adapt. Terrorist organizations backed by intelligence agencies tend to be even more sophisticated. If terrorists know that Blackberries are monitored, terrorists will not employ them—or will do so only in combination with other channels of communication in order to evade intelligence agencies. The much-publicized nature of India's threat to Blackberry thus may well have compromised potential operational gains.
According to the publicly released portion of an Indian intelligence dossier, the LeT terrorists were in continuous communication with their Pakistani handlers using a mix of mobile phones and an obscure Voice over Internet Protocol provider called Callphonex. Handlers based in Pakistan were able to monitor Indian security efforts, providing real-time intelligence to the terrorists that prolonged the attack for three days and provided the terrorists with the media exposure they craved. In other words, using readily available commercial technology, the Mumbai terrorists created an effective battlefield communication system.
Intelligence agencies, on the other hand, are often slow to develop the monitoring mechanisms needed for new communications media.
The technical and analytical requirements of monitoring Voice over Internet Protocol, for example, are very different from those needed to monitor photo-sharing sites. Monitoring mechanisms must be grounded in systematic research about how people actually use communications media and how new forms of communication can be monitored.
The development of monitoring mechanisms is a technical issue, distinct from the legal and ethical question of when a nation should monitor electronic communications. However, well-designed monitoring mechanisms can help intelligence agencies operate ethically and within the laws and discern appropriate targets for surveillance from legitimate, legal online activity.
While there are legitimate security needs that require communications companies to provide access to their systems, simply obtaining more data without developing both a process and technology to monitor emerging communications media is a losing proposition even for the most capable intelligence agencies. As new communications technologies proliferate, smarter intelligence strategies are needed to get ahead of terrorists and prevent rather then react to the next attack.
Mr. Subrahmanian is the director and Mr. Mannes is a researcher at the University of Maryland's Laboratory for Computational Cultural Dynamics.Read more at

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Is Obama Muslim? Increasing numbers of Americans think so

Since 2008 there has been a noticeable increase in the number of Americans who say that Obama is Muslim. I note that this is what people are 'saying', especially from the Republican side. Part of me suspects that they probably know what religion Obama is but it is more 'PC' to call him Muslim then black. While I suspect others have been convinced otherwise as this issue is simply not going away and of course by those determined to sway opinion against Obama. All this comes at an interesting time with Obama's remarks regarding the 9/11 mosque site in NYC over the weekend, which in turn may further taint opinion against him of the issue of his religious beliefs. Note also those that would like to see the church keep out of politics, but members of congress should be religious. I would have liked to have seen a poll of what religious beliefs are acceptable for those members to have, but maybe that is being saved for later.


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A substantial and growing number of Americans say that Barack Obama is a Muslim, while the proportion saying he is a Christian has declined. More than a year and a half into his presidency, a plurality of the public says they do not know what religion Obama follows.

The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers.

The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans (up 14 points since 2009), especially conservative Republicans (up 16 points). But the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly (up eight points). There has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, but fewer Democrats today say he is a Christian (down nine points since 2009).

he survey also finds about half of the public (52%) says that churches should keep out of politics, while 43% say churches and other houses of worship should express their views on social and political questions.
Despite the growing opposition to political involvement on the part of churches, most people continue to say they want political leaders who are religious. About six-in-ten (61%) agree that it is important that members of Congress have strong religious beliefs.Read more at