It’s cheap but look at the breakdown!

Ryanair_winglets_2  I really like Ryanair   Which is odd because I always tend towards luxurious and expensive items, products and services that I can’t afford.

I think I like them because they are honest with their product.  You know what you are going to get and you get it.  In fact, you actually get some things which you don’t think you are going to get – like one of the most punctual airlines in Europe and the airline that is the best (if not number one, then close) at not losing your luggage.  They also stop the seats going back on short flights which I love because it stops me getting urges to kill the person in front of me who puts their seat back without even a cursory glance and reduces my legroom from 2 inches to -6 inches.

And I like them too because the fly from Eindhoven (where I am on business now and again) and London where my family and friends are and Dublin where my Mum lives.

I just booked a flight from Eindhoven to London for next Month.  The flight was 0.01 GBP!  But as us frequent users of Ryanair and other budget (low cost?) carriers know, that’s not the whole story.  We all know we’re going to pay the airport tax.  But…and here are the ones I’m still getting used to – 6.00 GBP for my bag because I am checking it in – I’ve had that one before but also: "3.00 GBP Passenger Fee: Airport Check In" and another "3.00 GBP Passenger Fee" for something else which I can’t remember.

The whole thing remains cheap and I’m glad for it, environmental considerations aside which I am conveniently ignoring for now.  But it’s a model I still have to get used to.  But I do get to see my Mom.

Here’s the breakdown: 
What’s the difference between ‘Total Fare’ and ‘Total Paid’ (apart from a factor of 2,200)?



*********0.01 GBP    Total Fare    

*********9.99 GBP    Taxes, Fees & Charges      

*********6.00 GBP    Passenger Fee: BAG      

*********3.00 GBP    Passenger Fee: Airport Check in      

*********3.00 GBP    Passenger Fee: CC      

********22.00 GBP    Total Paid


Barack and Hillary’s mashed up funds

FundraceFor someone like me who (let’s face it) is quite up on 2.0 stuff generally and loves a good tag and remote application and the odd opportuninty to co-create, collaborate and share, the area of Mashups is not something I have had much experience with or exposure to.

I attended a conference last week and we talked a bit about it and, as far as I can tell, a lot of Mashups (essentially combining and meshing different apps and data sources to produce ‘new’ views and insights) overlay data onto Google Maps to give geographical views of data. 

The one that was mentioned at the conference last week involved overlaying data about property sales (the actual price the property had sold for) onto Google Maps allowing those interested to get a very up to date and very real view on the cost of living in a particular area.  I’m wondering whether actually having this information will itself impact on the process.  A few years ago a house buyer would, of course. have made some cursory checks before buying a house.  But now we have the opportunity to see data in ways that only serious players in the business used to have access to.  How seeing this data – how getting a view into people’s buying behavior and patterns will in turn effect subsequent behavior is, I think, quite fascinating.

Anyway, I write this because I stumbled on a topical example of a Mashup this morning.  If you check it out let your mind wonder and see what weird and crazy ideas for a mashup you can come up with!

Why have I only just realised…

Why have I only just realized that Gmail is so so much better than Hotmail?  I have had a Hotmail account for years – many years, and have had this stubborn attachment to it based on the (not technically insolvable)fact that lots of people going back many years know my email address and, because I was one of the first to get a hotmail address, it resembles my name quite nicely and doesn’t have to be added to numbers which may or may not be by birthday or year of birth – you know what I mean.

Well, it was just a few weeks ago I decided to ‘migrate’ myself to Gmail properly.  I’m struggling to think why I came to this quite sudden decision, it may have been simply that one is Google and the other is Microsoft.  Reason enough right?  So, because my hotmail address was (is) so well established and I need to keep it, I quickly added a ‘forward all’ option in hotmail meaning everything that would have gone to my hotmail inbox now gets forwarded directly to my Gmail account.  In fact it’s never really in the hotmail inbox as far as I can tell. I still need to occasionally check the junk mail box in hotmail (does not get forwarded) but the reality is I now rarely need to visit  that, what I have come to aquickly ppreciate, is a really horrible and unfriendly email interface.

The Gmail interface and functionality is wonderful.  I’m sure many people who may be reading this are like..’errr…duh..yeah’ but for me, although I objectively knew it would almost certainly be the case, I just needed to feel it – to live it.  Well I have and I love it.  And I bask in Labels and an Archive and simple interface design that does what I want in a superb way.

I’ve learned that one needs to get out of routines (I’m good at getting into them) and to try new things.  Especially when you just know that it’s going to be so much better.

By the way, about a year ago I bought my first Mac. Can you guess the rest?

There will be a 100,000-fold shrinking of computer technology over the next 25 years


Check out what futurologist Ray Kurzweil is saying about computer processing power, its size and what this will mean for our learning environments.  Powerful stuff.  I was speaking on Virtual Reality yesterday and talked about how we (and companies and organizations) need to learn to play with people in these environments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Fully emergent games is really where we want to go. We
will do most of our learning through these massively parallel
interactions is how we principally learn and principally create,"  he said.

I want this – NOW


I love gadgets.  It’s true.  And I am sufficienly aware – let’s say self-aware – enough to realize that my gadget craving is very often based not on any real need at all but simply driven by an appetite for technology, for it’s unpacking and the holding and using of a new toy.

This means that many gadgets and some quite sensible pieces of technology too become the focus of my near-obsessive fascination only to be cast aside after much analysis on my part around whether I would actually use it and if I can identify a real need or desire for it blah blah.  Of course most things drop off at this point.  Recent casualties are the Nikon D300 (way too advanced for me), Apple’s Time Capsule (it’s rumored that my current external drive will get wireless Time Machine support from my Airport Extreme sometime soon) and a Lexus 250 / VW Golf GTi (simply ludicrously way too expensive here in Singapore).

But then I saw this – The Chumby.  For sometime now I have wanted wi-fi internet radio and I have thought about a photoframe by my bed too.  And my alarm clock is desperately analogue.  This is just awesome and very reasonably priced too.

No amount of soul searching and needs analysis is going to put pay to this craving.  I want it.  Now.