No Canvassers Sign

Are you like me and don’t want politicians wasting your time knocking on your door? Get your ‘No Canvassers’ sign today, print it out and keep them from your door. I’ve personally heard enough from politicians over the last few years through the media and now they want my vote they’ll be knocking on the door in their droves. Well I couldn’t be bothered talking to them. I know who to vote for and they won’t change my mind, so I’m going to give them a fair opportunity to avoid me or face my wrath if they decide to ignore the warning. I’m putting this ‘no canvassers’ sign on my door and you can too. Download the PDF here.

Builder in Dublin

I’m currently renovating a house in Dublin. One of the hardest parts of the project has been identifying building contractors and suppliers that offered the services I needed, good value for money and were easy to work with and trustworthy. Anybody building a house will understand this and those that set out on similar projects will soon find it out! I’m writing this post to help those working on similar projects in Dublin or anywhere else in Ireland. I wanted to give people embarking on similar projects the benefit of a lot of research I’ve done into builders and other suppliers. The following are the contractors that I’ve come to work with and that I’ve been happy with. There are others that I won’t mention here that didn’t turn out so good for different reasons!
Builder in Dublin

Dublin Builder
Firstly there’s my main contractor, Pro Build. These guys have done work for me in the past when they built a sunroom for me on my former home (see the first picture in that link you just read past). They did an excellent job on the sunroom project so they were the first people I called for this bigger renovation project. These guys can do it all – window and door supplies, conservatories, sunrooms, conservatory roof conversions, complete house builds, public sector work and extensions and renovations like mine. They’ve really been great to work with and I would highly recommend them for any construction work you are considering – large or small.

Dublin Plumber
Because I’ve decided to go with quite a specialised heating system (an air to water heat pump and underfloor heating) I went with a specialised subcontractor rather than my main contractor. NI Solar are based in Northern Ireland (but do a lot of work in Dublin) and cover a range of renewable systems as well as standard heating systems and all domestic plumbing. In my case the are providing my air to water heat pump, solar panels, gas boiler, and underfloor heating in an integrated system. They are also doing all my domestic plumbing. I can’t recommend these guys enough. They’ve really been great to work with, really flexible, responsive to my design requirements and my deadlines and also very competitive on price.

Kitchen design and supply
Mark, Kealan and Mike at Kitchen and Home Solutions have been working with us on the design, supply and fitting of our fitted kitchen, wardrobes, storage presses, utility room, tv cabinet, my home office fit-out and anything else we decide to come up with. They’ve even been able to supply all our kitchen appliances. They offer a really personable bespoke service and can work to deliver the best quality product your budget will allow. Couldn’t recommend them more.

Bathroom design and supply
Bathroom design, fixtures, tiling and wood flooring was supplied by Devine Midwest Tiles in Ennis, Co. Clare. I came across these guys purely by chance – Nora who’s the boss here is a friend of a relative of mine and that’s how the connection was made. I called her looking for help with flooring and she impressed me so much I ended up giving her all my bathroom design, sanitary ware supplies, tile and wood flooring supply, and tiling. She really can do it all and the advice, guidance and support she’s given have really taken a lot of pressure off me. She’s done a tonne of research for me. She’s worked directly with my builder and with my plumber, and I haven’t had to get involved. Another highly recommended supplier – can’t say good enough things about her.

Chandeliers and antiques
Our house is quite an old one as far as houses in the suburbs of Dublin go – around 1920, so we decided to put some chandeliers in. We came across Martin Fennelly totally by chance one day when driving down Francis Street in Dublin when looking for fireplaces. My wife had had her eye on a particular chandelier from one of the countless home renovations magazines we had stacked up at home, and she spotted the exact one in Martins window when driving through Dublin. We popped in and discovered a treasure trove of beautiful chandeliers and antiques. Martin is a gentleman and provides a very personal service. He’s extremely flexible and if you like chandeliers and antiques I highly recommend you pay him a visit.

Financial Services
David O’Neill from Liffey Financial Services has to get a mention here. David has helped me with everything from my mortgage to my life assurance to my house insurance. He’s a very knowledgable, helpful and overall nice guy. He offers lots of other financial services also such as pensions and investments, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him – you’lll be glad you contacted him.

There’s probably more people I could mention here and I may well add to this post over time, but for the moment they’re the big ones. Hope this proves useful to someone…

Snow in Ireland

It snowed quite a bit here in Ireland over the last two weeks – not much compared to the levels of snow in the UK and the rest of Europe, but a lot compared to recent years in Ireland. We took the opportunity to have some fun – involving sliding (slowly at first, then faster) down a hill on a piece of softboard. Just wish the slide was longer, but it was fun nonetheless and the kids had a great time (the kids, including me that is!) Check out the videos below.

Apple iPod Touch banner on Wired.com

Apple are renowned for their product innovation and design prowess with their Mac computers and iPods, but when it comes to marketing they are also a very innovative company. Their brand is one of the strongest in the consumer electronics world, their print advertising is young, fresh and consistent with their products, and their website is one of the best I can think of in the consumer world. I recently came across one of their banner advertisements on the wired.com website promoting their iPod Touch line of portable music players. It’s probably the most eye catching and innovative banner ad I’ve ever seen – so good that it was worth me taking a minute to capture it and share it. See below. I think you’ll agree that Apple simply have it nailed when it comes to their marketing both online and offline. Top notch stuff.

Delay system lock in Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard

One thing that really started to annoy me in the new Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard was how quickly my computer would lock after the screensaver kicked in. There appeared to be no delay as there had been in Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard. The experience was consistent across my two work computers – a Macbook Pro and a Mac Pro, and my Mac Pro at home. In my previous world running 10.5 I had been able to move my mouse really quickly once I noticed the screensaver kicking in and the process of the OS locking would stop. Under the new OS 10.6 this didn’t seem to be the case – the very second the screensaver was enabled, the OS would lock and I would have to enter my password to unlock it.

Thankfully it turns out that this is configurable. Under System Preferences -> Security, there is a setting which allows you to cause a delay before the password lock happens. Watch this very short video below to see how you can configure this delay and hopefully improve your Snow Leopard experience even more. This video was recorded using the new Quicktime Player screen recording function, and cut, cropped and uploaded to YouTube using iMove ’09.

Massive Attack – Olympia Theatre Dublin Oct 6th ’09

I had the great pleasure of seeing Massive Attack live in Dublin’s Olympia Theatre last night – October 6th 2009. Below is a video of the song ‘Angel’ that I shot on my Flip camera. It was a superb gig – top quality performance, amazing set and light show. Being in the pit and only feet away from the stage was the icing on the cake! Massive Attack are a band I’ve been listening to for years. The diversity of their music is incredible and they manage somehow to reproduce it all live. Their music is timeless. I can’t wait to hear the new album and see them again soon!

** UPDATE *** I’ve also now added the video below of the intro track Massive Attack played at the gig in Dublin. Not sure what it’s called. But I like it!

New website live

Well as you can see, ragorder.com has been redesigned and relaunched. I’ve moved the blog infrastructure to the fantabulous WordPress after a lot of nagging by some fanboi’s I know. I’ve also simplified the design and layout. This is the first step in what will prove to be a more active ragorder.com. I intend to start blogging more on topics such as photography and Irish current affairs (ie: I’m going to rant!). I hope you like the new design. Please check out my photography, get in touch and come back soon for more.

lifetime ago


lifetime ago
Originally uploaded by Mark Stanley

Here’s a picture of the kids I took last year. I was trawling through photos yesterday looking for something to get my Lightroom teeth around since I haven’t taken anything lately. Came across this one which struck me for two reasons: 1) the relative serenity of two otherwise pretty active kids and 2) the shorts which seem so alien now in this cold wintery snowy weather. Anyway, here it is – my latest little photo upload. From now on I’m making a conscious decision to move away from the ‘vignette look’, which has become part of my comfort zone, and to push my bounderies again. It’s a new year – it’ll be interesting to see what I’ve achieved with my photography by the time it’s out.

Online Photography Exhibition

Normally you would find my photography on flickr, or thanks to the magic web-monkeys I have beavering away 24/7, under the photography section of my website. However today I launched my first online photography exhibition on NewChemicalHistory.com – the dedicated exhibition space for photographers and artists. Check out my exhibition, but also spend some time looking at some of other amazing work on NewChemicalHistory.com. Enjoy!

I shot a robin


Robin
Originally uploaded by Mark Stanley

I chased this little fella around for about 15mins with the cumbersome Canon 70-200mm f/2.8. Finally got this shot which I’m pretty happy with. Taken in Belvedere House & Gardens in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, Ireland using the aforementioned lens on a Canon 400d (Digital Rebel Xti). Basic contrast and saturation processing in Adobe Lightroom 2.0 for Mac.