I’m selling my mum’s Nissan Leaf, she has bought a new EV.
Very low mileage and still has all 12/12 battery health bars. Indicated range 140km, dependent on driving style and temperature. I own a Leaf myself and I’m happy to advise if the range is suitable for the type of trips you make.
It’s a great car, ridiculously cheap to run and utterly reliable, so good I bought Leaf of my own a year after my mum bought hers!
Main dealer serviced 03/23
Consumption meter shows average electricity consumption of 14.1 kWh/100km – that’s €3.04 per 100km on Electric Ireland’s current night electricity plan if you charge it overnight
Cruise control/speed limiter
CHAdeMO DC fast charging port
Type 2 cable for use with public chargers
‘Granny’ cable for plugging into the mains for slow charging
Handbrake can rub for the first few km if it hasn’t been driven in a while
Outer plastic on driver’s door handle can become loose (doesn’t affect ability to open door)
Some news: I started a new job this week. Digging through some of my old emails to prepare for the new role, I found this nugget from 2012:
I’ve said to you before that I think you’d be a fantastic candidate. You’re young, articulate, personable, and most importantly I think you have the integrity and vision to help sort out politics in this city.
I also want to have a candidate (hopefully you!) ready to win a Dáil seat at the General Election after next, which is where I think there’s going to be a real breakthrough for the Greens again nationally.
That email was sent eight years ago to one Brian Leddin. At the time it was implausibly optimistic; the Green Party were polling at 2% nationally, we had never even won a council seat in Limerick, at that point I had one local election and one national campaign under my belt as a Green Party member, and I didn’t exactly have a winning mindset. I was also on the Party’s National Executive. With only a single part-time member of staff it was up to volunteers like me to help keep the party running, and I have memories of composing the national members’ newsletter from my kitchen table to try and keep our members motivated during that time.
Eight years later, I was proud to manage Brian’s election campaign where he won a historic victory by becoming Limerick’s first Green Party TD.
What motivated us through those eight years? I think it was partly seeing so many of our peers leave Limerick, either for Dublin or further afield, both before the economic crisis and after it. Our local perspective was that a different kind of regional development was possible, one that placed the development of compact regional cities, teeming with life and prosperity, at its core. A city that could hold on to its young people and offer a modern, sustainable, and European quality of life. A city that could play its part in responding to the great global justice issue of our time: climate change.
Which brings me back to the new job. When Brian asked me to leave my job as a software engineer and take a hefty pay cut to come and work as his parliamentary assistant, I didn’t hesitate for a second. We have spent so much time over the last eight years, debating the future of our city and our country, and working to make it better. It’s time to take the next step forward.
I’ll be working both in Limerick and in Leinster House, trying to support Brian as best as I can with his legislative duties and his responsibilities as a public representative. Irish voters (rightly!) demand a lot of their TDs. A number one preference vote is a serious vote of trust, and we will have to work hard to repay that trust.
I’m about to lose touch with a lot of people. Tomorrow I will ‘unfriend’ all my contacts on Facebook, delete all my content, and finally remove my account. Not that Facebook will actually remove my account, they’ll keep all my data in case I have a change of heart, and they will continue to monitor my online movements in the service of their creepy advertising system, even though I’ve asked them not to. I’m not the first to do this, and indeed many before me have written posts like this one. As such there’s nothing new in this post. But I still think it’s important to outline the reasons why I feel Facebook has become such a negative thing in my life.
The dopamine hit
Facebook’s service is obsessively engineered by some of the best software engineers and designers in the world to be addictive. The algorithm used to order items on your timeline, the notifications you get, the specific animation you see when you ‘like’ something – it’s all designed to keep you on the site and looking at ads. What I’ve noticed is that this addictiveness often makes me feel tremendously unhappy after an hour or two on the service and I’m not the only one – I’ve had many conversations with friends that centred around the fact that Facebook was making them unhappy.
All those ‘like’ buttons on almost all websites I visit these days are not there primarily to allow me to share content on Facebook (that’s just an added bonus) – they’re present so that Facebook can track what I’m looking at even when I’m not logged in to Facebook. The company is proud of its ability to collect information on its users allowing advertisers to ‘target’ their ads to my interests and behaviour.
Facebook has become a force for bad in the world
Even if I was happy to trade the creepiness and the addictiveness of Facebook for the ability to keep in touch with lots of wonderful people – there’s still the undeniable fact that Facebook is enabling poisonous ideologies and repressive regimes to spread. Dark ads, fake news and other things that I don’t want to be a part of anymore.
Thankfully the internet is still (just about) designed to be open. I’ve had my phone number, email address and location of my house online for the past 15 years. I publish articles like this one on my own site that I control. Recently I set up a ‘microblog’ that I also control. I’m still on Twitter for the moment (although that platform’s role as a harassment vehicle is giving me second thoughts) but now I publish all my status updates on my own site first. There is a new service, micro.blog, that I joined recently which simply shows me a list of updates from people that I follow, in time order, with no ads. They even charge for the service so I can be more confident that I’m a customer of the service, not a product of it. Hopefully I’ll still get to be ‘social’ on the internet, but without the downsides.
When I was at college, I had a night job in a call centre, providing tech support to AOL’s UK customers. It was the late nineties, and although AOL was never as popular in Europe as it was in North America, the company’s vision of a proprietary walled garden giving an ‘internet-like’ experience was still a compelling option for many.
Of course AOL’s influence waned over the years, causing many of us to think that “the internet wants to be free” and that any attempts by a large corporation to supplant the internet was doomed to failure, confirmed by the quick rise and fall of services like Bebo and MySpace.
Now I’m not so sure.
The 2010s have seen the aggressive expansion of social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. When you sign up to these services, you feel like you’re a new customer but of course you’re not, you’re a product. Sophisticated algorithms suck you in to spend more time on these sites, ‘engaging’ more so that you will provide more information to be targeted by ever-more tailored (and profitable) ads.
And the effects have become even more chilling as the algorithms that social networks use spill over into society and politics, encouraging us all to become more polarised, more aggressive and more needy.
There is an alternative, and thankfully there are some very smart people working on it. A return to the open web, where we share for the simple joy of sharing, without profit-maximising algorithms getting in the way.
Host your own content
The basic idea of hosting your own content is not that you pretend that social networks don’t exist, but rather that you take control of your own content, under a domain name that you control, and choose what you share with other services.
I’ve hosted my own content on this site for the past twelve years but for shorter ‘status updates’ I have occasionally used social networks for this purpose.
I’ve created my own ‘microblog’ at https://t.bibby.ie that I will use for short pieces of content, originating from my own site. I will use a new service called micro.blog to share my posts to twitter and (maybe) facebook, but the content will always originate from my own site. If you don’t want to create your own site, micro.blog can do it for you – yes it costs money ($5/month) but if we are to take back control of the web, we need to start thinking like customers, not products. The micro.blog service is still invite-only at the moment, but I have a few invite codes if anyone would like to check it out.
I’m grateful that there are people working on products that can help us liberate ourselves from the walled garden, and I’m hopeful there will always be a place for independence on the web, away from the toxic profit-maximising behaviour of commercial social networks.
For nearly five years I’ve been running my startup Reg Point of Sale. Last week I sent an email round to all my customers to tell them that I’m shutting the business down.
Fortunately, due to the architecture of the system we developed, our customers will still be able to use their systems for the foreseeable future.
It was a tough decision to make. We didn’t take any outside investment, and we don’t owe money to anyone, but it’s still tough to shut down what really was a labour of love.
At some stage I’d like to write up a more detailed retrospective about what went right, and what went wrong. But for now, if you’re interested in more background, I did talk a bit more in detail about this on the latest episode of the Worst Case Scenario podcast that I host with David Sims and Baz Taylor. The relevant section starts about 33’40” in.
It’s 2016. One hundred years ago a bunch of lads took over a post office and announced to the world our nation’s great destiny. It is your patriotic duty to commemorate these great men and women and what better way to do it than drive around in a green post office van. As Pearse wrote “there are many things more horrible than bloodshed, and not owning a van is one of them”. Commemorate the historic anniversary of the minor disruption to our postal services with the Renault Kangoo Tiocfaidh Ár Lá Centenary Edition today, together with its unique 2016 numberplate. Never forget the sacrifice of our forefathers.
2. Profit from the great gay conspiracy to destroy Irish family values
Remember last year when the gays got together and mounted a well-funded campaign to undermine traditional Irish Family Values? This is your chance to benefit from some of the trillions of euro that were pumped into this country to destroy marriage, which would have remained secret but for the courageous work of Breda O’Brien. Obviously I can’t detail the secret investments that were made into this van as part of The Great Liberal Conspiracy To Force Sodomy On The Good Irish People but trust me, the gays don’t do things by halves.
3. A bold fashion statement
Pre-distressed clothes are so in right now. Why should your van be any different? To ensure you retain that edgy look as you drive, and to echo the edgy tones of Greg Lauren’s Spring 2016 ready-to-wear collection as breathlessly described by Vogue Magazine, I have performed some scratch detailing on left hand side of the van so you can convey a contemporary aura to the world. Sneer at the rest of the drones with their boringly unblemished means of transport as you cruise around in this fabulous example of hand-crafted pret à porter.
4. You’re not buying a van, you’re buying freedom
In the great tradition of car marketing, here’s a photo of the van in the wilds of Kerry. Don’t you feel wild and dangerous after looking at that photo? Don’t you agree that owning this van will make you more attractive to whichever gender(s) you fancy? You’re special, you’re unique, you need this van.
5. Apparently I need an odd number of paragraphs if this is to go viral
155,000km, full Renault service history, taxed till December, tested till January. Selling because we need a 3-seater van now Sheila’s dad lives with us. I’m spectacularly bad at negotiating so you can probably buy it for a lot less than it’s worth. Live the dream, buy my van.
Given I’ve been doing so much mucking around with WordPress for other peoples’ sites, I thought it was probably timely that I migrate my own little site-ette to WordPress. I’ve also migrated the page on SailRail between Dublin and London, and the faintly narcissistic About me page. I’m not sure if I have what it takes to become a blogging addict though.