Tag Archives: cork

We are outta here!

The Giralda minart in Sevilla, Spain.

Image via Wikipedia

I mentioned previously that we are emigrating to Spain.

I booked the one-way tickets for our flight to Spain yesterday.

We are leaving Cork on the 21st of June, flying via Dublin, to Malaga on Sunday 22nd and driving from there to Seville.

It has taken a while to get things organised (and there is still loads to organise – broadband connection in Spain for example!) but now the move is very much a reality. Scary!

I’m going to miss Cork immensely but am looking forward to this new adventure.

UPDATE: Conor O’Neill of LouderVoice has very kindly taken it on himself to organise a going away Hasta Luego Blogger’s dinner on the 17th. Thanks Conor and I look forward to seeing as many there as possible.

Zemanta Pixie

Web 2.0 Toolset presentation

I gave a talk yesterday for the members of it@cork titled “The Web 2.0 Toolset – a business focussed overview

There were around 70 people in attendance and feedback afterwards was very positive.

Here is a copy of the presentation I gave. I hope to have a video of the presentation live by tomorrow.

I'm joining RedMonk!

I have been working as a Social Media consultant in Ireland for around four years now and director of the Cork Internet eXchange data center for the last two years.

However with my imminent move to Spain in July, I will lose 90% of the revenue from these streams. I can’t reproduce those streams in the Spanish market because my spoken Spanish is nowhere the level which would be required.

With that in mind I have been actively looking for a job for the last 6-8 months now. I have had some fantastic job offers from some extremely interesting companies.

Recently I have been more and more interested in the Green IT space, writing on my LowerFootprint.com blog and the GreenMonk blog for industry analyst company RedMonk. And giving talks about Green IT at various international conferences.

The other night I watched Al Gore’s latest talk at the TED conference. It is a real call to action and clarified to me that I need to do something.

http://static.videoegg.com/ted2/flash/loader.swf

I have long admired the RedMonk model of open sourcing their (our) analysis and so, when James Governor of RedMonk offered me the opportunity to work professionally for RedMonk doing Green tech and sustainability research I nearly bit his hand off!

So effective immediately I am an Industry Analyst specialising in the Green tech area. Rock on!

Psst! You wanna buy a data center?

Well, ok not an entire data center but my share of the CIX data center.

As I have mentioned before, I am moving to Spain in July. When I move, I will no longer be able to make a meaningful contribution to the further development of CIX and in that scenario it would not be helpful of me to hold onto my shareholding.

This is an opportunity for someone with a passion for data centers/hosting to purchase an interest in Ireland’s newest and Greenest data center at a very early stage in its business life. The buy in price now will be cheap compared to how much the shares should be worth in a couple of years.

Because of its strong focus on energy efficiency from the outset, and the open approach we took in the build, CIX has received a lot of very positive publicity. This has obviously translated into goodwill, business enquiries and servers in racks.

Whoever buys the shares will need to be able to commit serious time to further growing CIX’s business (and therefore their investment).

For the right candidate with the correct technical skills my business partners would be willing to be very innovative around how the funding is set up so don’t think big money to buy into this.

If you are interested in this opportunity, drop me a mail or give me a call to discuss.

Enterprise wikis reviewed

Long story short, PBWiki is yer only man.

Why?
I was chair of the it@cork Conference organising committee last year. The committee is made up of volunteers who are all busy with their day-to-day jobs so getting times to meet which suit everyone is always challenging.

To help with the organisation I rolled out a private wiki where we posted meeting minutes, kept track of action items, posted to-do lists and updates on (potential) speaker status’. The wiki was a hosted PBWiki and it was a great success.

It was then decided to rollout a wiki to facilitate the organisation and running of all it@cork committees and subcommittees. The wiki software needed to be able to:

  • handle multiple wikis (one per committee/subcommittee)
  • handle user and group permissions
  • give stats around wiki usage and
  • be cheap or free (it@cork is a not-for-profit)!

I searched around and discovered that Atlassian’s Confluence enterprise wiki product has a free community license specifically for not-for-profits. PBWiki, and SocialText didn’t have any mention of a free Enterprise class offering on their sites so I didn’t really pursue them.

Boy was that a mistake! The setup of the Confluence wiki was far from straightforward. It took two of us the best part of a day to simply install it. Remember that as I was doing this for it@cork, this was not billable time. I was installing it on my own server and because Confluence requires TomCat as its webserver it had to run on a separate port to Apache. This meant several people couldn’t view it in their organisations.

Worse though was that once it was successfully installed, it was a disaster. Uptake and use of the wiki was minimal because the UI was appalling.
A couple of quick examples:
- a simple task which requires many steps, adding (or removing) users to/from groups goes like this:

  • Go to Administration
  • Scroll to bottom of page and click on Manage Users (why not dynamically have the most used menus at the top or failing that use general stats to move most used features to the top, or have two (or more) columns of options so no scrolling is required)
  • Click Show All Users (why? why aren’t they all listed by default?)
  • Click on the user
  • Click on Edit Groups
  • Select Groups and click Join (or Leave) – there is no feedback to tell an admin that this action has been saved

Editing groups doesn’t appear to be possible at all i.e if I want to remove 7 people from a group containing 25 people, I have to go into each user profile (using all the steps above) and remove them individually. It should be possible to do it in one simple step from within a Group Admin page.

Confluence backend

Other problems with Confluence included the fact that there are almost no stats around use of the wiki available and there is a bug in the users and groups which meant that the permissions applied to the groups were not percolating down to the members of those groups. A pretty serious bug I’m sure you will agree.

I Twittered recently that I was looking to get off Confluence and onto another Enterprise wiki platform and within minutes Ross Mayfield, Chairman of SocialText had contacted me (despite being on vacation!) offering me a SocialText wiki for it@cork. Yes please I said (poor guy, I nearly bit his hand off!).

The backend of SocialText is far cleaner, simpler and more intuitive than Confluence.
SocialText wiki backend

However, for completeness sake I also contacted PBWiki and when they heard this was for it@cork, they immediately offered business edition wikis at no cost. This was spectacular news as it@cork were already familiar and happy with PBWiki.

The PBWiki backend is the cleanest and simplest of the three (it is also the only one which fits vertically on a 1024×768 screen).
PBWiki backend

Not only that but when you compare the edit screens of both SocialText and PBWiki, PBWiki definitely comes out ahead in usability.

So we have a winner – PBWiki.

What surprised me in this is that when I Twittered looking for an alternative to Confluence, not one person suggested PBWiki. I have no idea why this is. PBWiki has both Enterprise class functionality and a UI which is completely non-intimidatory. I predict no issues with uptake by users this time round.

By the way, I did also try out DekiWiki and Twiki but I ruled them out quite early on.

UPDATE: Zoli Erdos posted a response to this post where he highlighted a couple of points I didn’t make clearly enough here:
1. I compared a non-hosted version of Confluence to hosted apps like PBWiki and SocialText. However, hosted Confluence is NOT available under the community license. As this was for a not-for-profit a community license was all we could go for. PBWiki and SocialText had no such restrictions.
2. I tried out DekiWiki but the lack of an ability to create Groups ruled it out quickly.

Live Maps Bird's Eye now includes (some) Irish towns

Via Clare Dillon the Virtual Earth blog and Martha Rotter on Twitter I spotted that Microsoft’s Live Maps now includes images of Cork, Galway, Carlow, Limerick, Navan & Wexford – cool!

The Bird’s Eye button becomes active when you are over an area that Microsoft has detailed aerial imagery of.

The image below is of Cork City Hall. You can rotate and zoom to see it from other angles and sizes! Way cool.

Live Maps Bird's Eye view of Cork City Hall

According to Clare’s blog post, Dublin will be up soon as well.

Reducing your Costs and your Carbon Footprint – presentation

I gave a talk at the it@cork Green IT event yesterday entitled “Reducing your Costs and your Carbon Footprint”.

The talk goes into some detail on how Cork Internet eXchange, the cork-based data centre I am a director of, achieves hyper energy efficiency.

It is also worth noting that tomorrow’s OpenCoffee session is in CIX. Hope to see you there.

Reducing your Costs and your Carbon Footprint – A Case Study

I am speaking at the it@cork Green IT breakfast event tomorrow morning (5th March ’08). My presentation is “Reducing your Costs and your Carbon Footprint – A Case Study” and I will be using CIX as a case study on how innovative thinking can lower your carbon footprint and your costs.

The event kicks off at 07:45 in the Cork International Hotel, at Cork Airport and the other speakers are James Governor of RedMonk, whose talk is titled “The Sustainability Imperative: Towards Greener Software” and Mike Hughes of Microsoft Ireland who is going to talk about Windows Vista energy conservation features.

Should be a good event (and you get breakfast!).

Twitter vs. FaceBook

While everyone talks about the power of FaceBook as a cool means of getting a message out, you hear very little about the power of Twitter as a communications tool.

I inadvertantly compared the two in recent months and found that Twitter was by far the more potent communications tool (in my unscientific test, at least).

What happened was, last November and December I changed the status on my Facebook profile to reflect the fact that I was looking for a job. My profile displayed that info for several weeks. In all that time I had one person approach me offering me some possible contract work. No more.

However, two or possibly three times since Christmas I have mentioned on Twitter that I am looking for a job and from that I have received 6-7 strong expressions of interest some of which are at the stage of swapping proposals.

The very first time Will Knott asked me why Twitter was so powerful was at the first Cork Open Coffee meeting back in March 07 and I remember telling him that the power of Twitter is in the network. Twitter continues to prove me right.