NOTHING UPSETS ME MORE on a Sunday than to discover I've been shortchanged by the crews who deliver newspapers throughout Ireland on the weekend. Their trans-shipment policies are slipshod because when they are pressurised by time or weather, they often fail to provide the centre sections of the newspapers to the local shops. So once again, I'm paying more than €2 for several papers but I'm not getting a fair deal. It's not just a regional thing. This cut-and-run standard of newspaper delivery afflicted me in Dublin when I tried to buy the papers before the cover dates. For those who live more than 30 miles from the main shipment points, it's a crapshoot whether you can get everything you paid to read. I'm tired of giving out to my local newsagent. (I'm headed down to see him in the photo.) I'm going after the main supplier on the grounds of defrauding the public with a service that epitomises Rip Off Ireland. Now, for some of what I spotted in the Sunday newspapers in Ireland today.
Michael Lowry Brings Home the Bacon. Local TD Michael Lowry, an independent politician who has pledged his support for the current government, has translated his loyalty into €30m worth of government grants and upgraded services for his local constituency.  The latest is a €1.2m grant for a childcare facility down the street from his home in Holycross, County Tipperary. This is not an area you would associate with affordable social housing. It's quiet and home to several high-rolling barristers whose five-litre British and German family cars purr around the Holy Cross Abbey on the way to pick up milk and eggs from the corner shop. "Holycross community childcare centre was one of only seven facilities that received the highest level of financial support nationwide when 216 capital grants totalling €39m were announced two weeks ago. The average amount awarded nationally was €180,000." Holycross gets nearly 10 times that amount. But, hey! It's giving me a prime location for my childcare needs so I'm not complaining about the new paint on the parish pump up in Holycross.
Pod-friendly Music Copier. There's a remarkably easy way of sharing music, photos and videos now between friends who have Apple iPods. Your the miShare Music Copier (a Linux device costing €70) and you can swap tracks without a computer. "You simply plug an iPod into either side of the miShare (no leads required), press its one and only button, and the last song or video to have been played will be copied from one device to the other. A more prolonged press of the button selects multiple files, or you can set up an entire folder of photos to be swapped with one brief push. Each song should be transferred between iPods within 10 seconds, while video clips take a minute or longer, depending on their length."  The tracks move with their digital copy protection intact. When you sync your iPod with iTunes, you are prompted to unlock any songs and videos that are protected by Apple’s anticopying system by entering the original purchaser’s user name and password.
Satnav works on foot. Satellite navigations devices are now being made for pedestrians. And as Alex Pell documents (and we have discovered for ourselves), they do work. 
Satnav works in my ride. That would be Morgan Freeman's ride, in his Cessna 414, an aircraft I enjoyed flying 20 years ago when based in Oklahoma. Freeman likes some of the same things I also enjoy. On his CD player you can find the blues (John Lee Hooker and Duke Ellington) so I wonder what I'll hear when I try to find more like his playlists on Last.fm this week. Freeman has "The Outlaw Josey Wales" on his DVD player (We do too!) and his heroes while growing up were Gary Cooper, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and William Powell.  These guys played regularly on my television set while I was growing up too. All this explains why I like Morgan Freeman on the screen.
This is an election about Bush. RTE, the national Irish broadcaster, could recall all its correspondents from the USA and simply take a newsfeed from Andrew Sullivan who cogently explains how the US election campaign is shaping up. It's an election about George Bush and the people are going to savage the Republican party by hitting the polls in greater numbers than any time this century. Americans are disgusted with what Bush has wrought and payback is on the cards for November. 
Polite Advice for Monica Leech. The uber-savvy Monica Leech is one of the many voices championing the rise of the Waterford Institute of Technology to the status of "University of the Southeast" so she should carefully consider the sage advice of Edward Walsh, founding president of the University of Limerick. He explains how Intsitutes of Technology should function at a lower level than universities in order to provide a balance workforce. "We need to balance education and training, taking into account skill needs and different abilities. To have all colleges operating at the same level would be a very bad national policy." Walsh's learned opinion is also the conclusion of a consultant's report for the government, expected to be made public before the end of February. Because the Irish government pay and follow consultants employed for sage advice, there will be no University of the Southeast this decade. 
Premier League in Croke Park. The Premier League has revealed that Dublin is one of the cities it will coonsider to host an overseas league match in the 2011-11 season. But the FAI and the GAA have given the proposal a cool reception, thinking English football will distract support from the domestic league. 
Paul McGuinness Needs a Chill Pill. "Paul McGuinness, the so-called fifth member of U2, is taking his campaign against music piracy to Europe. He needs to cop onto the shift that has occurred in the distribution of music today and to better optimise the digital download experience for fans. The rock manager is to propose that the European Union adopts a 'three strikes and you're out' approach to illegal downloading at a meeting of EU commissioners at the end of the month." McGuinness wants my ISP to become a policeman. And he wants me to pay for that policing service. I would be more interested in McGuinness putting his efforts into making U2's music more easily available through paid downloading services like the Nokia Music Store instead of alienating me and my friends, all who slavishly buy artefacts sold by U2. 
23 and Me. There's been some chatter about giving away your saliva for a DNA sample but I'm among the sample of high probability of getting prostrate cancer so I'd like to know if I've more than 20 years left. Karl Stefansson, chief executive of deCODE Genetics, an Icelandic firm, explained a useful screening test for this nasty form of cancer, the strain that killed my dad. 
Me and Broadband. I live in Cashel, County Tipperary, Ireland. Outside my front door, I can see the patch in the road where a fibre optic cable sits dormant. It is not connected to a backhaul network which means it remains dark cable. The logical interconnection is eircom, the dominant telco but eircom want much more than fair market value to light the cable. If the cable was lighted, my home broadband speed would be at least 10 times faster than the 1.7 megabits a second I get at the moment. I pay for 3 Mbps but that's the max I should expect and speed tests prove I get a fraction of what I pay to enjoy. Many voices propose how to light the MAN. Let me add mine. I believe the South Tipperary County Council could provide backhaul right now by activating the node at the council offices in the town. It's relatively straightforward sorting out a billing arrangement for the MAN's users. The Irish government could increase its funding to the network services section of the council and watch the same process repeat itself in Clonmel and Tipperary town. But I'm no expert and I'm sure there are many reasons why Ireland will continue to slip down the table of broadband performance this decade. This slippage will degrade Ireland's global competitiveness. 
1. Richard Oakley -- "Ahern's €30m bill for Lowry" on the front page of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
2a. Francesco Guidicini -- "Fair Share" in Technology News, a supplement of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
2b. Danielle Belopotopsky -- "With This Bridge Device, Songs Can March Directly From One iPod to Another"
3a. Alex Pell -- "Putting you right up your street" in "Gizmo", a section of InGear, a supplement of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
3b. Inside View, 22 July 2007 -- "Review of Garmin Nuvi 360"
4. Gill Pringle -- "I'm flying you today, Miss Daisy" in "On the Move", a section of InGear, a supplement of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
5. Andrew Sullivan -- "Dead hand of Bush is shaping this election" in The Sunday Times News Review, 10 February 2008.
6a. Sarah O'Sullivan -- "The rush for university status" in The Sunday Times "Education" section, 10 February 2008.
6b. Niamh Connolly -- "Ministers clash over institute of technology" in The Sunday Business Post, 10 February 2008.
7. Colin Coyle -- "Premier League to target Dublin" on the front page of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
8. Colin Coyle -- "U2 wants Euro war on 'music thieves'" in the "News" section of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
9a. Jonathan Leake -- "DNA test to predict prostrate cancer" in the "News" section of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
9b. Tom Raftery 7 February 2008 -- "23 and Me? I don't think so."
10a. Sarah Carey -- "Fixing our broadband fiasco" in the "Comment" section of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
10b. Richard Oakley -- "Ryan says no to broadband investment" in the "News" section of The Sunday Times, 10 February 2008.
10c. Damien Mulley 14 May 2007 -- "Fine Gael's Broadband Manifesto: Talk About Clueless"
Last Week: Snowy and Sunday News, 3 Feburary 2008.
Most-Viewed Tech Image Last Week: Nokia 95 Maps
Most-Read Page Last Week: "Mermaid Sightings" (645 views in seven days.)
Last Fortnight: "Sunday News Under Clear Blue in Ireland" 27 January 2008.
A Year Ago: "When Your Breath Crackles", 10 February 2007.
Bonus Link: "Two thoughts about short landings". Updated on the crash of BA 038.