Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

The bikes are here!

When my friend J told me over coffee one day, a gazillion years ago (well it feels like it), that JCDecaux was in talks with the Dublin City Council to bring the free bike system similar to that of Vélib’ in Paris, I was quite excited with at the prospect of this initiative. Little did I know that it would take a good couple of years before we even start seeing the installation of the bike stations all over the city.

Now, after months of looking at empty bike stations, the bikes are finally in place!

The Dublin Bikes was launched earlier today, signalling the start of availability of some 450 blue and grey bikes at 40 stations all over the city centre area.

dublinbikemap

Today couldn’t have been more perfect to inaugurate this scheme, given we’re getting a lovely Indian summer which looks set to continue well into later this week. Woohoo!

Darragh over at Culch.ie has written a detailed blog post over the usage of this scheme, so head over and have a read on what are fitted on the bikes, how to use it, and what the charges are like for the subscription fees (available as either annual long term or 3-days short term subscriptions). A €150 guarantee/deposit is required, in event of non-returning of the bikes.

Do note, particularly if you’re planning to take up a 3-days short term subscriptions, that NOT all bike stations are equipped with credit card terminals to take payment. For now, only 14 stations are good for taking out a 3-days hiring card. (Consult the station list)

For long term subscription, please apply online using this form and it will take about 2 weeks for your application to be processed and the card sent to you by post.

Fingers crossed that the bikes will be well used by the locals and the tourists alike, with minimal incidents of theft/vandalism (which unfortunately is inevitable). It is a brilliant scheme to improve mobility in the city, while staying green in the process of it. Happy biking!

Say what you want…

Illustration by Jessica Hagy @ Indexed

Illustration by Jessica Hagy @ Indexed (http://thisisindexed.com/)

Open comment (registration system has been scrapped) is back on Metblogs! Along with Twitter widget, sidebar of blogrolls and categories, less ads, better loading time etc, as reported.

Urban Circus Skill Workshops

urbancircusskill

How quickly time passes and it’s already mid-August. The Leaving Certificate results were out, the students are now getting college offers and soon will be embarking the journey of their third level education. As for the young ones, school will be starting soon enough but before that, they should have a little more time for summer fun.

Roll in the Urban Circus Skill Workshops.

Organised by Dublin City Business Improvement District (BID), 2 weekends of free workshops will be taking place at Wolfe Tone Park (next to Jervis Shopping Centre). More precisely, 22-23 August and 29-30 August, from 2pm to 5pm.

The workshops will be conducted on a walk-in basis (so no tickets, no reservations) and they include juggling, Diablo, tightrope walking and stilt walking. There will be a couple of face painters around too to splash some colours on the faces of the young and merry. :-)

Dining by DART Week 2009

Foodies of Dublin who use the DART – here is one promotional week that you must not miss! If you’re a foodie and you don’t normally use the DART, perhaps it’s time to hop on one of the suburban trains. ;-)

Between Wednesday 19 August and Wednesday 26 August, if you’ve been commuting by DART, bring along your DART ticket to a participating restaurant and you’ll find yourself sitting down to 3-course meal for either €25 or €30 (depending on where you go). That’s a bargain, considering these are probably usually the prices on offer at lunch and not during dinner hours.

Diningy by DART 2009

Diningy by DART 2009

There are 43 participating restaurants, of which some of my favourites include One Pico, Fallon & Byrne, Koh and Saba. For more information of participating restaurants, please check this link.

For the undecided, between 4pm and 7pm, travel through the following stations : Connolly, Tara St and Pearse. There will be sample nibbles distributed to help nudge you along decision making. If you like it, then what are you waiting for? It’s time to check that restaurant out!

Back to school for the unemployed

books

A couple of months ago, the Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe announced an initiative for the currently unemployed to return to education in order to retrain and upskill the labour force in this country. In the last few weeks, the details were announced. In total, 2500 places are open under the Labour Market Activation scheme, of which 1000 of them are at postgraduate level and 1500 at undergraduate level.

In Dublin, the following universities and institutions have places on offer:

  • University College Dublin
  • Trinity College Dublin
  • Dublin City University
  • Dublin Institute of Technology
  • Institute of Technology Blanchardstown
  • Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
  • Institute of Technology Tallaght Dublin
  • National College of Ireland

For more information, please have a look at this page on the Higher Education Authority website of which there are links to FAQs related to both the postgraduate and undergraduate level free places (the files are PDF files).

For a list of postgraduate courses, click here.
For a list of undergraduate courses, click here.

Please note that some institutions are running information evening (e.g. National College of Ireland on Wednesday 19 August) while some require applicants to contact the relevant departments directly. As the majority of the courses will begin in September, it is prudent that anyone who’s interested start looking into this scheme as soon as possible. Moreover, some courses are allocated on a first come, first serve basis and places are limited. Good luck!

Ps: if you are on Twitter, you should follow Education Ireland.

TEDxDublin – June 12, 2009

Image Courtesy: TED.com

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is probably one of the best sources of great, innovative, entertaining, inpiring talks by well respected, talented, thinkers, n individuals covering various themes, held every year in California, US (and also local chapters in UK n Africa) and am sure most of you have seen one or more of these talks, all available for free online at TEDtalks. Recently they also started, something called TEDx (independently organized TED event), where individuals or groups can organize their own local TED like events at home, work etc..

And, for the first time (n probably lot more in future), we have a TEDxDublin event being organized in Dublin on June 12, 2009 at the Science Gallery. It all started with conversations and exchanges between people on twitter and took shape very quickly that I didn’t even had time to inform about it earlier for the tickets. And its already been sold out :|. Thou’ the videos of the event will be available online.

It’s being organized by Dr. Aaron Quigley from CASL, University College Dublin and hosted by the Science Gallery. The 2 confirmed speakers are: 1) Blaise Aguera y Arcas – Microsoft Live Lab’s Photosynth technology and 2) Dr. Scott Rikard from UCD (founder of Roborugby and Sciencewithme); with more to be confirmed soon. You can get more update to date information on their facebook page or you also follow twitter feeds at DUBMetblogs [Dublin Metblogs] or ScienceGallery [The Science Gallery] for more up-2-date information for the event.

According to TEDx events page, there is one going to be in Galway also on 12/9/09. For more information, check TEDxEvents.

No more free zippy bag

liquidhandluggage

If you’re travelling this summer and you’ll be travelling light with hand luggage only (in order to avoid the pesky checked luggage charges) chances are you will also have liquids in some miniature sizes in your hand luggage. Well, don’t forget to bring them in your own zippy/resealable bag.

You will no longer get them for free at the airport.

From now on, these nifty little bags will set you back by €1 for 2 bags, which if you buy your own Ziploc bag at the supermarket will cost a whole lot less. Or in terms of the big picture, why not even splurge a little at the pharmacy like Boots for a more durable small transparent resealable toiletries bag, which will hold all your miniature liquids for trips to come? I have one of those and it’s very convenient, ready to go whenever I travel, since I stock the contents in the bag and keep it handy to slip into my hand luggage. No more fumbling during packing, hunting high and low for resealable plastic bag or miniature shampoos and the likes.

You know, for a country that rolled out plastic bag levy all the way back in 2002 in order to curb excessive plastic bag usage and to help protect the environment, I am a tad surprised that the airport has been giving out free resealable bags for such a long time. Approximately 2 1/2 years, since the introduction of the liquid regulation back in November 2006. Many travellers take this facility for granted, never preserving the bags for further use beyond that one trip.

Anyway, all this is changing now. So pack accordingly and don’t get caught out by the new charges. Keep the resealable bag to the size of approximately 20cm x 20cm in dimension, or about 1L in capacity. Bon voyage!

A great leap (or drive) forward

Trip.Mi

A new website has just gone online, offering a secure and sensible way to arrange car-pooling in Ireland. It’s well designed and well thought out, and aside from the obvious benefits of sharing expenses and reducing carbon footprints, any initiative that promotes community-minded solutions like this has to be a good thing.

So go- pool, share, and enjoy!

BeThrifty dot IE

In many countries, charge/credit card providers face strong competitions that they often offer incentives such as redeemable points or cashback or special retailer discounts. Somehow, this idea never quite arrive in Ireland. Bar from American Express (which is not the most widely accepted payment card) I am not aware of any other banks/card providers in Ireland that give any sort of members awards.

There are a couple of non-bank based credit card providers that give some form of incentives to their users. Ryanair’s comes in the form of free flights but according to a friend, in order to redeem these free flights, the booking has to be done via the premium call centre number, so it really isn’t an incentive per se. Tesco credit card users earns Club Card points. Be aware though that the interest rates of these providers tend to be relatively high – which wouldn’t bother anyone who’s savvy with their finances and therefore paying off their bills immediately, but for those who use credit cards as cashflow solutions, this could wind them up deeper and deeper in debt.

bethrifty

Well, a new Irish online shopping aggregator site called BeThrifty has just been launched, promising cashback on purchases made through the site, linked to the different online sites that BeThrifty is affiliated with. Apple Store, Tesco Online, CD Wow, Pixmania, Miss Selfridge, Skype and eBookers are among those affiliated. Not Amazon though, bummer.

The amount of cashback varied from site to site. And you need to be signed up with BeThrifty in order to use this service. According to the FAQ, you will be paid either directly to your bank account or via PayPal. If you’re worried about database security that we’ve heard so much of nowadays, it’ll be prudent to use PayPal instead of providing your bank account details in order to get your cashback.

Ps: since this site is very new, it would appear it is not very stable as yet…

Bollywood comes to Dublin

I never imagined I would be posting about Bollywood dancing on Metblogs Dublin :) but here I am, get your dancing shoes on Dubliners for some Bollywood style dancing.

If you read The Sunday Times today, you would already know what I am talking about, on third page, there is a call for people to star in a small budget bollywood style movie to be shot by David O’Sullivan (of Nun More Deadly) and for the final (or not) scene (remember like in Slumdog Millionaire), Dubliner’s have been invited to star in the dance scene.

Bollywood (producing more than 1000 movies per year) shoots most (or many) of their dance numbers in foreign locations like London, Switzerland, Paris, NY etc etc. And Ireland is hoping to get a share of the pie (in 2006, the Taoiseach sent a high profile delegation to get some of that business but not very successful in attracting yet). And now, David has taken the task and to show that Ireland IS suited for Bollywood (with beautiful locations on west, wicklow, etc..), by shooting a short movie with singing n dancing and final dance scene number, written by Deco and Brez from Republic of Loose band.

If you want to be part of it, have a look at this video and rehearse the dance routine and send your details (name, phone no., playing age, dance ability) to dublinbollywood@gmail.com. Sounds lotsa fun and the dance routine seems quite interesting and not that tough. Get your bollywood shows on :) and see you there.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcRn-WX7rCI[/youtube]

Rough Song translation: “Look by Look, I gave you my heart, Dhak Dhak ‘heart beats’, and I am in love now, ..” repeats n repeats.

And finally I just wanted to share the video of the dance routine of the picture above from the movie Devdas (first bollywood movie to premiered at Festival de Cannes) (the photo on Sunday Times is from same movie).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPeou4UrGHI[/youtube]

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