Tag Archives: Technology

Had a ball at BarCamp Galway

I went to BarCamp Galway over the weekend.

I arrived a bit late because I drove up from Cork on Saturday morning and then spent around 30 minutes wandering around NUIG looking for the DERI institute before I realised it is off-campus!

I eventually made it at 11 – just in time for coffee and muffins. Just as well, I was starving and needed to satisfy my muffin cravings.

I didn’t make it along to many talks because, although I originally only signed up to give one talk, a mis-communication had me down for two talks and a panel discussion! My first talk was about reducing ITs carbon footprint. I uploaded the slide deck to SlideShare. The second talk was more of a conversation around video blogging so no slides.

I did get to hear Ina‘s great talk on Social Networks and Alastair‘s also excellent talk on Internet Marketing.

I also met loads of interesting people there including Martha Rotter, Microsoft’s replacement for Rob Burke. I’m sure Martha is sick of hearing how great Rob was but, in fairness to Microsoft, it looks like they picked another winner with Martha (and if she allowed people to leave comments on her blog without having to register, I’d tell her that!).

The talks, the wifi, the food all worked perfectly – well done John, Aidan and Conor. Guys, you set the bar high.

The New York Times discovers how free pays!

I was listening to George Hook, Karlin Lillington and Simon McGarr on The Right Hook yesterday discussing newspapers’ online business models.

They referred to the New York Times and how it charged for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives (what it perceived as premium content).

Overnight the New York Times abandoned this model in favour of free access to all its content.

Mark Evans has looked at the numbers and shows how free could make financial sense:

TimesSelect was an pretty interesting experiment that attracted about 227,000 subscribers and $10-million in annual revenue. But the growth clearly wasn’t there to justify the status quo…

Let’s assume, about 20% of the NYT’s content was behind the walled garden. Now that it’s free, the NYT could added another 2.6 million unique visitors. Let’s assume, the average online NYT reader consumes a healthy 20 pages/month. This would give us 52 million more page views a month.

If you can generate $20/CPM per Web page from these additional page views, that’s $1-million of revenue per month or about $12-million a year

Anyone want to put a bet on how long before the Irish Times changes its model to entirely free? This lifetime? The next lifetime? Not in a million years?

Irish Times subscription page

First iPhone photo editor app?

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Pixenate on the iPhone, originally uploaded by pxn8.

Having recently successfully deployed their Pixenate FaceBook app (a photo editor for Facebook), it looks like Sxoop Technologies are now out to be the first company to deploy a photo editor for the iPhone!

How cool is that? There is a beautiful fit between the iPhone, which people will be using to take pictures, and photo editing software.

Go Walter – woo hoo!

Backup software for Vista?

I want to install a copy of Ubuntu on my laptop.

However, when Vista was installed on it, a single partition was made of the hard drive so if I try to install Ubuntu now, it will overwrite the Vista partition (I assume, anyone knowing better, feel free to jump in!).

I presume that what I need to do is backup my Vista install, partition the drive into one partition for Vista and one for Ubuntu, restore the Vista into its partition and install Ubuntu into its partition.

Can anyone recommend software to allow me to backup my Vista install (including all my installed apps and settings), so that I can restore it again later.

In case it is relevant, I don’t have a floppy drive for the laptop.

Update – since posting this I came across Wubi – an Ubuntu installer which installs Ubuntu into a Windows partition. This could be an easier solution. I’ll try that and see how I get on.

New battery technology imminent?

I was reading a report on Ars Technica today about an emerging battery technology which could totally change how we use batteries today.

The breakthrough comes from using capacitors as batteries. Up until now this has not been feasible because there hasn’t been a strong enough insulator to make this approach compelling. However, EEstor, the company who have made the breakthrough have applied for a patent for a highly insulated capacitor.

In their patent application, it suggests that:

the charge storage is much higher than anything achieved in an academic lab: 52 kilowatt-hours in a 2,000 cubic inch capacitor array. A rough conversion calculation suggests that this is over 10 times the power density of standard lead-acid batteries.

The Ars Technica article goes on to note that:

the Associated Press is reporting that the ZENN Motor Company, which makes compact electric cars, plans to start using the capacitors before the year is out. The company has invested in EEStar in return for production goals being met and so is in a position to know how realistic its claims are

If this has any basis in fact, it could have incredible consequences for the reduction of carbon emissions from transport and from the environment in general with the reduction in the use of the particularly nasty chemicals which currently go to make up batteries.

David Boschmans RIP

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Microsoft David2, originally uploaded by PeterForret.

I heard this morning that my friend David Boschmans died suddenly and unexpectedly last week.

David was the Developer Evangelist for Microsoft Belgium. He was 32.

I met David first in Switzerland last year and he invited me to come to Brussels to talk to the Microsoft team there.

The last time I saw David was earlier this year at ReMix07.

David was very bright, engaging and passionate about his job. He is a big loss to all who knew him

My deepest condolences to his wife Veerle, his 2 year old daughter Fien and everyone else who knew him.

You wait for ages then along come three!

iPhone

I have read a lot about how great the iPhone is but I hadn’t seen any until last Friday; and then I saw three!

I was at a lunch in Cork with Britt Blaser and Sean O’Mahoney (amongst others). Both had iPhones.

I had a chance to try the phone out for myself and see just why people rave about it. It is spectacular.

Later that day I met Patrick Collison. Patrick also had an iPhone.

He was meeting Damien and myself. During the meeting he had to leave us briefly to collect someone. He left his iPhone for us to play with. It really is an incredible phone (although Patrick, after about 25 minutes the sound deteriorates on calls to the speaking clock in Hong Kong ;-) ).

There is no question but that Apple have re-defined the mobile phone.

Summer book recommendations II

Back at the end of June I posted about three books I had bought to read on my holidays. The three books were:

  1. David Weinberger’s Everything Is Miscellaneous
  2. Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur and
  3. Don Tapscott’s Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything

In my naivety I brought another couple of books along as well, just in case I managed to finish the three above! I’d obviously forgotten what it is like to be on a beach holiday with young kids. You have to be watching them the whole time, if not playing with them, and after the beach you are wrecked. Bottom line, I didn’t get nearly as much reading done as I had hoped.

In fact of the three books above, I only managed to read Wikinomics. I have started Everything is Miscellaneous (and it looks to be really good too) but having briefly skimmed Andrew Keen’s Cult of the Amateur, I decided it wasn’t worthwhile reading. On the upside, the Cult of the Amateur proved to be a fantastic book for killing mosquitoes – the weight of a hardback and the flexibility of a softback.

As for Wikinomics, I can’t recommend it highly enough. For me, it is the business book of 2007. It is a fascinating walk through incredible changes which are happening as a result of the new openness in the web today. Some examples from the book include:

  • MIT’s OpenCourseWare project, whereby anyone can access the university’s entire curriculum online, free
  • how Procter and Gamble CEO AG Lafley has stated that Proctor and Gamble aims to source 50% of its innovations externally by 2010 and
  • how IBM spends about $100m annually on Linux development but that it gets about $500m worth of development from that investment

If you haven’t read it, go out and get it now. Seriously. Do.