How to fix Dublin Airport – and save the Irish Taxpayer Billions

Recently had to pop over to London to do some work for a ‘well known’ UK client. More details (maybe) later.

Dublin Airport is a mess. It’s more like Ellis Island, even at 5am in the morning – a seething mass of humanity trying to leave Ireland. At least it was better than the last time, with 100’s of school kids going out on ski trips. Did I smell that bad when I was a teenager?

DAA Logo
It’s going to get worse before it gets better, as the Terminal (‘due 2009’) is bound to get delivered late, overbudget , if it ever gets delivered at all. Here’s how to fix the mess in the meantime, and save billions.

  • The Aer Lingus Web Check In is excellent, and free. It means you get to the Airport , and walk straight into the (one) security queue, no messing about. Suggestion: Make everybody check in online for free. We know you can use the web – it’s how you bought your tickets.
  • Now that the half the check in desks are no longer needed, clear the floor space so that you no longer have to fight your way to the security queue.
  • Share check in desks. Other airports do it. It means that all Desks have a short queue, rather than the Ryanair queue snaking around the building.
  • Move all the Restaurants to airside (i.e. after security). Nobody goes to the airport as a ‘day out’ anymore. Change the restaurants so that they can be used only be people that have gone through security. This is half done already – all it would mean is moving the glass partition wall on the top floor of the aiport.
  • Get rid of a few shops and make more space for Security. Security is slow, as you often have to wait for people to put on their shoes, belts , coats etc on. If there was more space, these could move aside and let more passengers be screened by the same number of security personnel. If I want shopping , I’ll go to Dundrum.
  • Let people pay for FastTrack Security. No, its not fair, but neither is life. Let people with more money than time ‘buy’ a fast track security pass (e.g. as part of buying your ticket online). Use this money to open a new ‘priority’ security gate. The profits could go to having more security people on the existing gates.
  • Stop fast-tracking Z-List celebrities. I know of one family (who child was about to explode with a full nappy) only get taken to the head of the security queue because they were behind a minor actor who was (once) on Coronation Street. How does this help the Irish Economy?

A lot of these things are simple. Even the more complicated things could be sorted out with a couple of meetings and a couple of million thrown to whoever complains. Far cheaper than the cost (and delay to the Economy) of a new Terminal.

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Red Hat Developer Studio – Office for Java People

I’m not going to cross post my O’Reilly Blog entry on Red Hat Developer Studio.

I’ll just give the 2 minute summary. An IDE (integrated Development Environment) is like Microsoft Office for Developers – you could use notepad instead, but an IDE makes the overall writing experience easier. Microsoft Visual Studio is the main non-Java IDE. For Java , you have the choice of Eclipse (and other tools built on it such as JBoss IDE, JBuilder ,Websphere and Weblogic studio), IntelliJ or Sun’s Netbeans. Very much a personal preference as to which is best of the three of these.

For me, I tend to use Eclipse (1) because I can install it on any client site (2) If an IDE preference is stated on a project, it tends to be Eclipse and (3) There are plugins available for almost anything – including non-Java languages such as Ruby.

Or rather , I download a version of Eclipse with all the plugins pre-packaged – which is what Red Hat Developer Studio does.

Full Install Notes on / Getting started with Red Hat Dev Studio are here.
Red hat Splash Screen

Microsoft Silverlight – Web 2 IDE – Event

Fergal Breen asked to blog about the Dublin Silverlight event, but Stephen Downey beat me to it. (Update: Ken McGuire is also writing about the event)
Microsoft silverlight logo

Microsoft Silverlight is a flash competitor; It looks good and is well worth checking out, but I’ve got my reservations if it is truely as portable as Flash (see comments on Tom Raftery’s Silverlight launch post). All the same, Silverlight is going to be big (it’s backed by Microsoft), and the IDE / Editor is setting a good standard.
Not sure? Go to the Event and make your own mind up.

Hibernate Event – JBoss Speaker – Westin Hotel Dublin – 15th October

Lead developer from JBoss, coming to Dublin to talk about Hibernate on 15th October. What else could you be doing that evening? Full details on Developers.ie.
Hibernate Logo

What is Hibernate? Java programs are like Lego blocks – very 3D with bumps on them to connect together. Database tables to store data are like flat sheets of paper. Hibernate is a bridge between these two very different worlds. In technical terms, it’s called Object-Relational-Mapping (ORM).

Why is it important? Hibernate is the defacto standard in the Java World, and has had huge influence on the most recent version of the EJB spec. There’s a .Net version and even competitors (such as Toplink from Oracle) are moving to the Hibernate way of doing things.

No Dublin Office but need a Dublin Number? Skype In will do nicely

We’ve got two problems.

  1. We’re Drogheda based and so have an 041 instead of an 01 number. People still have a hangup about calling out of their area code (maybe goes back to the old Dept of Posts and Telegraph Days, if you’re old enough to remember the old Orange Renault 4 Vans).
  2. We’re often out of the office (doing important consultant-y things on client sites).

Skype Logo

We could use a Virtual Office, but that would be overkill most of the time. Instead we use SkypeIn, which has given us a London number for over a year now (+44 2081 23 2081) for just over 30 Euro. Conor reported today that SkypeIn finally has Dublin numbers available. So after signing up, our new Dublin office is (+353) 01 44 33 123.

We’re fairly open about who we are and what we do (hence this blog post) ; but a lot of people find it reassuring / convenient to be able to use these numbers instead of a mobile.

Update: John Ward makes an important point about the geographic restrictions on the users of these Dublin numbers, and probably (re) started a discussion on ‘what is a Dub?’ (See comments)

Sugar CRM lands in Dublin (Irish Times Jobs)

We’re big fans of Sugar CRM, and have recommended it to clients in the past. It does Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – basically the numbers you have in your mobile, but at a corporate rather than an individual level. We proposed integrating it with a (Java Based) billing system – we didn’t want to have to build (yet another) contact management system, as the value add was integration. Getting PHP (the web scripting language that Sugar is written in) to work with Java is getting easier but not straightforward. But hey, that’s what we do.

Sugar CRM Logo

So it in Friday’s Irish Times Business section (main part), I was surprised to see Sugar advertising for people for their Dublin European HQ (I obviously missed this press release back in March announcing the opening). The ad in the main part says ‘look at page 19 of the jobs section’. Page 19 exists, but no Sugar CRM ad. Strange.

Michele (him of Blacknight) talks a lot about Sugar CRM, from the hosting point of view.

Update: Link to the Sugar CRM Careers page (includes CRM Jobs in Dublin)