Porterhouse, probably the best pub in Dublin
May 13th, 2005
I know many Dubliners will disagree since the Porterhouse is not a classic Irish pub and is located in the touristy Temple Bar area, but it is one of the few places I keep going back to over and over again (the Mezz and Mulligans being my other two all-time Dublin favourites).
Porterhouse is actually a pub-micorbrewery (they brew their own beer) and is one of the very rare pubs in Ireland that doesn’t serve Guinness drought. They compensate this with their excellent brewed-in-house stout called simply “Plain Porter”, a “classic modern stout” as they describe it. For ale lovers there’s the “Red Porter” which is somewhat similar to London Pride, but much better . For the more courageous there’s the “Brain Blasta”, a strong beer with a magnificent taste (needless to say, it’s my favourite). For the adventureous there’s the “Oyster Stout”, brewed with fresh oysters, and for the common beer drinker there’s the “Temple Brau”, a pilsner. The Porterhouse is also one of the rare Irish pubs with a considerable selection of bottled foreign beers - Belgian, German, Czech, English, even Ukrainian, Indian and Kenyan. Once they get the “Nik” they will be perfect! Although I have to admit, they do have an empty bottle on one of the shelves on their walls.
Apart from having the best selection of beer in town, the pub features an eclectic combination of international cuisine. The restaurant sports a full menu of tasty food with a Caribbean, South American and African flavour. During late hours, after you’ve drank more than you should have, there’s a good fast food Persian restaurant just across the street (the famous Zaytoon) to absorb the excess alcohol. There is live music seven nights a week in the Porterhouse, usually blues or rock, and there are traditional Irish music sessions on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Even though the pub stretches over 4 floors, it gets very packed on weekend nights. The crowd is mostly composed of foreigners, with Spanish people being dominant, or at least the loudest (”Te digo, Españoles son los mejores!”). However, the afternoons are very relaxing and it is a great spot to have a nice chat with your buddies while enjoying a few quality pints.
So, the next time you’re in Dublin don’t miss it. Slàinte!
Tags: Porterhouse, Dublin, Pubs
What does your blood type mean?
May 10th, 2005
To many Japanese, the key to their personality lies not in their stars but in their blood type. Speaking broadly, it is said that people with Type A Blood are calm, composed, and very level-headed and serious. People with Type B Blood are curious about and interested in everything. Type O Blood people are said to set the mood for a group and to take on the role of creating harmony among its members. People with Type AB Blood are said to have a delicate sensitivity. They are considerate of other people’s feelings and deal with them with care and caution.
In Japan, blood type has influenced peoples lives in unexpected ways. For instance, some Japanese companies have planned departments around the blood types of their workforce. This is why this myth is nowadays under attack.
Check out more on the personality classification by blood type in these articles:
The Search Engine Relevancy Challenge
May 9th, 2005
The guys at RustyBrick are performing a search engine relevancy challenge. RustyBrick decided to build a white-labeled search engine that pulled results randomly from one of the major four search engines. Everyone is invited to rate the search results and on June 1st they will publish the results of the study. You decide which search engine is best!
Oh, and here you can see some very early results. Quite a close race…
May 8th, 2005
As strange as it may sound nowadays, my email experience is almost spam free. I have to thank Fastmail.FM for implementing Sieve filtering and SpamAssassin in their excellent email service, which made this possible.
However, as another level of protection I’ve been using SpamGourmet. This is a fantastic, transparent system that just loves spam. It “eats” it. Once you create an account, whenever you face one of those “Please enter your email address” in places where there’s no need for it, or the site looks suspicious, just enter an address of type email@example.com, where someword is a word of your choice, x is the number of email messages you want to receive at this address (for example 3) and user is your username. The first 3 messages sent to this address will be forwarded to your account, all subsequent messages will be “eaten” by spamgourmet. The whole process is transparent, which means you never ever have to visit spamgourmet again (no-brainer mode). Very elegant! Of course, you can use the advanced mode if needed which provides more flexibility, but does require some maintenance.
So, before you submit your real email to a suspicious site again, open an account with SpamGourmet and let it eat the spam before the spam eats you.
Tags: SpamGourmet, Spam
WURFL - The Wireless Universal Resource File
May 8th, 2005
Almost everyone who has ever developed applications for wireless devices was faced with the problem of the different device capabilities. Some devices support WAP 1.0 only, some do XHTML, some support MMS, some don’t, etc. A serious wireless application should be able to recognize the capabilities of the device which is accessing the service and tailor the service accordingly. But how do you achieve this?
WURFL is a wonderful open source project which provides an XML configuration file which contains information about capabilities and features of most of the wireless devices that are in use today. The information it provides is supplied by many wireless developers from around the world and is more accurate than the UAProf database which is mainly based on information provided by the manufacturers.
There are also ready to use open source libraries for mainstream languages such as Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, Perl and .Net, that parse the WURFL file and provide an easy-to-use interface for checking device capabilities.
WURFL is used by many operators around the world and has became a de-facto standard in its field. It is great to see an open source project make such a huge impact in an area packed with proprietary issues.
May 7th, 2005
Yankee Clipper III (aka YC3) is a powerful and elegant clipboard manager tool. It stores everything you’ve placed on the clipboard and allows you to quickly access those snippets again. There are a bunch of clipboard managers around, but YC3 beats them all. It is completely unobtrusive (apart from the icon in the taskbar), easily accessible when needed and has a good search capability. The one thing I love about it is that, unless I want to perform a search, there is no need to open the YC3 main window at all. When you have to paste an item from the clipboard while doing your work in any application, invoke CTRL+ALT+V and select any of your previously clipped items. Simple + Effective = Powerful.
Another thing that amazes me about this app is that version 22.214.171.124 was around for 4 years, without any updates! It had all the features it needed, it was extremely stable (never ever crashed on me). It is just recently that the author started adding new features to it and, apart from the basic free version, released a commercial version too. The basic version still covers all of your day-to-day clipping needs.
Mates - A location-based social networking system
May 2nd, 2005
Mates is a very interesting, yet-to-debut social networking engine based on proximity that can be tied into a cell phone, IM, GPS or other personal tracking systems.
Imagine what it would be like if..
- Your instant messaging program could automatically create and populate buddy lists based on the people in your classroom, your office building, or even your neighborhood.
- Your mobile phone could receive a text message when old friends you rarely see happen to be nearby.
- Your laptop computer or handheld device connected you to a live feed of information about nearby people and events.
Well, with Mates this doesn’t seem to be too far away.
Read more at the Mates site
Compare Google and Yahoo searches
May 1st, 2005
Having been converted from Yahoo to Google for searches in the late 90’s, I’m finding myself using Yahoo more and more again. Is Yahoo search really that good and comparable with Google? Well, check out for yourself with this cool graphical tool.
Yahoo Furlized, launches “My Web”
April 27th, 2005
Yahoo has launched a new beta service called My Web. The service represents a mix of Furl, Googles My Search History and an online bookmark service. This is how it works: you search through Yahoo and all your searches get saved (if you turn the My Search History feature on), then when you find something interesting you click the “Save” button which saves the copy of the page in your “personal web” and, optionally, your bookmarks get updated too. Oh, and it allows all sorts of public sharing, including RSS. Really nice one, Yahoo!
Here’s some info directly from “My Web”:
My Web Beta is a free service from Yahoo! Search. It enables you to save a live link and a personal cached copy of any web page from the Yahoo! Toolbar or directly from search results, and instantly retrieve it online from any computer.
With My Web you can:
Build your own personal, password-protected collection of favorite web pages.
Instantly search all My Web saved pages using the power of Yahoo! Search.
Organize your saved pages into folders.
Personalize site titles and add notes to help you remember pages.
Email and share your favorite saved pages with friends and colleagues.
My Web is better than bookmarks:
It saves a cached copy and a link of the page.
It’s searchable. You don’t need to organize your collection –although you can if you want to.
It’s accessible online anywhere, not just from your computer.
My Web lets you rest-assured that the pages you want to see will be there ––whenever you want to revisit them.
Read more from the Yahoo Search Blog.
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MX Backup (or how to backup your own domain email for free)
April 23rd, 2005
OK, so you’ve become a proud owner of an internet domain. You’ve built your website and also setup the email service so that you can send and receive messages from/to [you]@[yourdomain]. You’re all excited and everything seems to be perfect. That is, until people start telling you the email they sent you bounced back, or even worse, start asking why haven’t you replied to that important message they’ve sent. Well, you never recieved it. So you start scratching your head…
This post will explain what is happening in the background and how to fix the problem (for free). Don’t be discouraged by the length of the post, the process is quite simple.
When you setup your domain email you generally either forward it to another email address (FastMail, GMail, Yahoo, your ISP, etc), or you decide to take full control and go for the more advanced solution - host your own email, either at your webhost or on your own home machine. I’ll leave the forwarding case for another post and discuss the hosting solution here. So, the main question is, what happens when your mail server (or webhost) is down?
Very simplified, when someone sends an email to [you]@[yourdomain], the sending server checks the MX (Mail Exchange) DNS records for [yourdomain]. This record tells the sender where the email for [yourdomain] should be sent to. It gets the first one, resolves its IP address and tries to send the email to that server. All is fine if the server is up. Sometimes however, your server will be down for maintenance or other reasons and the sending server will either store the message and try again later or just discard the message completely. Huh, not exactly what you wanted!. So, how do you prevent this?