There was an interesting article in the Irish Times today about health insurance in Ireland by Fiona Reddan. It was interesting, in that it addressed some questions and queries about health insurance, but not that helpful in that it didn’t provide any answer to the question of how to get the best value for your health expenditure. It also stepped around the obvious conclusion: private health insurance is good value, if you can afford it. So, here is my short guide to buying health insurance. Read the rest of this entry »
In 2012, MOOCs promised, in a roundabout way, to change the way education delivered. In mythical MOOCland, education would no longer be tied to place or constrained by numbers. It didn’t quite work out that way, but like any trip to a far off land, the MOOC experience teaches us some ’home truths’ about education. The educational system isn’t really about delivering educational excellence and a lot of the time, it isn’t even about delivering education. Rather, the education system is actually focused on delivering adequate outcomes and protecting social cohesion. Read the rest of this entry »
The Department of Finance loses mail. When you are responsible for cash flows amounting to billions of euros per year. I used to lose mail too. Really, I was very disorganised. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday we got some information about how open the Irish postcode system will be funded. Essentially the idea is to pay for its setup and operating costs out of a charge to end-users for the database – charging for access to the ‘facility’, if you like. This ‘licence fee’ is a rather humdrum traditional idea about charging for things to do with computers and information.
This new electric car chassis concept, the Tabby caught my attention. Worth also checking this coverage from Bloomberg. Now, this isn’t really meant to be a finished car; it’s supposed to be an open-source platform for building a finished vehicle, electric or otherwise. But they are talking about being able to build a car for ten thousand euros with this kit. Read the rest of this entry »
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Microsoft Word is a software program with serious issues. But is the issue really with the program, or is the issue with the whole idea of a print-oriented word processor? Read the rest of this entry »
The Seanad debate trundles on with discussion of power grabs, costs, referendum powers and so on. What is getting lost is the issue we should all be obsessed with – the consistently bad quality of decisionmaking at the highest levels in Ireland -.
As a nation, we make too many bad decisions. Our political machinery makes these decisions apparently without being fully informed of the full range of options available, or indeed of the consequences of the options chosen. And sometimes we just seem to sleepwalk into these mistakes. The job of a well-formed Seanad should be to awaken us and our politicians from our stupor.
As a nation, we are mad for opening up media outlets. We have over 20 daily or weekly newspapers of national scope (see lists for Ireland and Northern Ireland) and countless local and specialist publications. The Internet is a facilitator for new publications and there are plenty there too. This continued expansion seems like the future.
Some optimists in the industry believe new revenue streams will open up as web users get used to paying for their content. (see this report about the Irish Times’ plans and this one in relation to the Independent.)
I think that on the whole, the opposite will happen to Irish media on both scores. Read the rest of this entry »
The Irish Times reports this morning that an ambulance was sent to a wrong address and that as a result receipt of medical attention was delayed. The child subsequently died. This is a great tragedy, most of all for that child’s parents, but also for us all. We can cure cancer, but we can’t get an ambulance out to a dying child.
[updated with new information 22 June, see below] Read the rest of this entry »
Late last year, the ECB issued a press release and this document about the cost of making a payment (like handing over cash, writing a cheque or sending a payment by direct debit). The question it prompts is ‘why does it cost so much to do something as simple as making a small payment?’ More worryingly it makes you wonder, ‘Why is cash still the cheapest way to do payments, despite all the problems of security, handling and so on that go into a cash payment’? The document is as as infuriating to digest and understand as it is interesting in its subject matter and approach.