Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Michael McDowell - the leader to make the PDs grow.

I'm gonna stick my neck out an make a prediction. I've a feeling that the PDs are going to become a bigger and more successful party under McDowell. I'm not saying that McDowell is brilliant in every way, he has flaws, but I do think he is good leadership material. He has plenty of fresh ideas and energy and is not afraid to go for it. There's always risks with an enfant terrible but I think he has enough skills and intelligence to pull off success. Winning ugly at times no doubt!

The PDs should always have been destined to make a big impact. They made a promising start in the mid 1980s. I know they were a reactionary to the Dessie versus Charlie fallout which filled a gap but they then lost their momentum eventually. I think Mary Harney was and is a great worker who gets things done. Excellent in Environment (smog free Dublin!) and Industry, doing her best in Health (tough job). Also a great people person. I'm not convinced she was an expansion type leader for the PDs. But the good thing is that the PDs under Harney did manage to punch way above their weight. Considering their size they are doing very well.

McDowell has the potential to bring the PDs to another level. The neat thing about a small party is flexibility and freshness. McDowell is the leader who can make or break them. I'm betting on the former.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

High Definition TV - Wow!

I'm known by family and friends to get fun from latest technical breakthroughs in gadgets etc.

One of the reasons my blog has been quiet in the last few weeks is because I got our TV and Sky upgraded to include High Definition content. The Wow factor is huge.

For those who haven't heard of it or not seen a demo, High Definition TV (HDTV) shows four times finer detail than standard TV. Resolution, colour and contrast are all excellent on big plasma or LCD screens. I've been watching so many National Geographic and Discovery channel documentaries - landscape filming in Africa, underwater coral reef stuff etc would take you breath away. Movies and sport are all amazing also in HD. It has to be the biggest breakthrough in TV since colour.

Even though Sky is expensive enough, I have to give them credit for launching HDTV broadcasts. It is superb. Also the Sky+ facility of recording programmes onto the satellite box hard disk is fantastic - easy to use, can record two channels at once, is a perfect digital recording like the original broadcast and it has a huge storage capacity - we must have at least 20 movies and documentaries stored on the disk -many in high definition.

One word of advise if any of you are considering HDTV. With normal TV it is advised that you view from no more than 5 times the screen diagonal size - e.g. is you are viewing from 10 feet away then a 24 inch screen is about right. In the case of HDTV in order to see the extra fine detail you need to be a bit less than 3 times the diagonal size from the TV. Hence you tend to need a somewhat larger screen that you might realise. So if you are trying to justify the huge TV to your spouse - ya need to throw plenty of physics like this at them - it's vital! If that doesn't work then you (reluctantly!) sit much nearer to a smaller TV. The latter sucks!