Category Archives: People

Senna

is a movie about the life of Ayrton Senna De Silva, The greatest F1 driver of his generation and arguably of all time. His name became legend as he raced in far away and exotic locations all over the world and it’s all captured in this Movie.

Jeremy Clarkson did a piece on Top Gear in his honour which I think is one of the best tribute pieces I’ve seen.

But if we’re to believe the hype this Movie leaves it in the dust and brings the legend that is Senna to an entirely new generation.

I wonder if this clip from Ireland’s own Mondello Park was used, I’ll let you know once I see the movie.

Senna opens Friday 3rd of June in the IFI in Temple Bar and I will be there, will you?

Review: XMI X-mini II Mini Speaker

So a while back Elly and I were planning a holiday. Once we had decided on destination and timing and some activities etc, Elly’s thoughts turn to packing (so she can decide how many bags we’re going to need to check in) Part of this process included, what electronics would we be bringing.

Of course our mobile phones would be required so chargers and socket adapters would be required as well, Elly’s Kindle cause it’s so much easier than carrying the amount of books she will read in a week and of course my netbook so we can connect to the free wi-fi in our hotels and not have to pay for an internet café, plus it would mean we can watch some of our TV shows while relaxing before or after a hard days touristing.

This of course lead to the usual discussion over how pathetic the speakers are on the netbook. It’s not so much that their bad speakers, more that they are pathetically quiet. So, I said I’d have a look for some sort of portable speakers to help.

Mini speaker and as egg

Oh look it's only a bit bigger than a hen egg!


After a bit of digging about online, reading some reviews and so on I decided to grab one of the XMI X-mini II Mini Speakers from Amazon.

Included with the speaker is the USB charging cable and a small pouch to carry both the speaker and cable in, which is a nice touch. The speaker itself has a short cable, about 3 inches, attached which plugs into any headphone socket and wraps away into the bottom of the speaker for storage.

The next thing that I noticed is that the unit shipped fully charged, another nice touch. Immediately it was connected to my mobile phone and tested, the sound was pretty good and the volume level was more than respectable if a little tinny sounding.

Just as I was starting to feel a teeny bit disappointed with it I remembered that the speaker had a neat trick, a quick twist of the base and the bellows style middle of the speaker was expanded. this really surprised me with how much it improved both the over all sound quality and increased the volume.

Mini Speaker expanded

Expanded Mini Speaker


Now let’s be clear about this the sound quality is never gonna match a decent Hi-Fi, for a start, this is a mono speaker, add to that it’s tiny (see photo’s) and anyone with even the most basic knowledge of sound will know that. Here’s the trick though, you can’t stick a Hi-Fi in you pocket, this you can and the sound is definitely better than any laptop, mobile phone or mp3 player speaker that I’ve heard.

The battery life is surprisingly good, I get about 2 days out of it between charges. I used it constantly while studying for my recent exams just to give it a decent test you understand ;) And charging couldn’t be easier, just connect it to a USB port and it will charge in about 3-4 hours, I’ve even charged it from the USB ports on my X-Box 360 while it was off.

There’s also a neat little trick it can do, if you have more than one you can daisy chain them together to give more volume although if volume is what you are after this is not the best solution.

Now think about the cost, we paid £20.00 sterling for ours. Since then Amazon have reduced the price again, it is superb value. My biggest concern about it is that those annoying teenagers that play music from their phones on the bus will get hold of these and become even more annoying. As a small device to make using your laptop in a hotel or even a small presentation a little less painful I couldn’t recommend this mini speaker more.

Stopping Smoking

Back at the start of May 2010, I stopped smoking. About a week later, on her birthday, Elly did as well. We’re both off them a year now and I’m still so amazed and proud of Elly for stopping on her birthday of all days, a great gift to give yourself sweetie ;)

We were both surprised at how easy we found it, after all its a really hard thing to do, isn’t it? All the cravings for the drug you’re no longer giving your system, all the habit times, when you had one no matter what and in less than a week we both just stopped. No patches, no gum, no magic pill, just stopped and haven’t really thought of them since.

Having been an addict for more than 17 years and tried and failed on numerous occasions to quit, I’m so grateful to a man who wrote a book and fought a crusade against the tobacco industry and even after his death from lung cancer he is still helping people like me to stop.

Allen Carr

Allen Carr

That man was Allen Carr and the book he wrote was called “the easy way to stop smoking”. I listened to the audio book version and Elly read the dead tree version and we both stopped.

We weren’t able to quit but now we have stopped and that’s the secret to this. Don’t think about quitting, just stop. The book goes to great lengths to explain the difference and outline how to keep your mindset right so do read it.

Allen Carr’s easy way workshops are also an option and offer a far better success rate of 90% versus the 10% of nicotine replacement therapy (an ironic name for patches, gum, inhalers etc which actually contain nicotine and are every bit as addictive) for roughly the same cost.

Now my only question is why does our government spend so much on quit smoking campaigns and even helps with the cost of NRT yet there is no financial support if you choose to take the Allen Carr seminars or read his book. Wouldn’t it make more sense to support the method with the highest success rate?

In Ireland we spend ridiculous amounts of money every year on quit smoking campaigns that simply don’t work. That could be used to give people who want to stop a spot on an Alan Carr workshop! That’s a workshop with a 90% success rate and a money back guarantee, shame our government isn’t progressive enough to think beyond the publicity stunt that was the smoking ban and see the benefits this would have not only to the people and business of this country but also to the health service.