Tag: Personal

Eamon O’Brien – great to meet you again!

Eamon O’Brien was a neighbour of mine as a kid. Eamon is a couple of years older than me but we knew each other well. Before yesterday, I hadn’t seen Eamon in around 15 years but his mother and mine were very close so I was always kept up-to-speed on Eamon’s goings on.

In the way that these things happen in a country as small as Ireland, Eamon O’Brien was at the Events Day Conference I was speaking at yesterday and we managed to have a chat, catch up and swap contact info so it won’t be another 15 years before we meet again.

Now, can I get Eamon to blog or join Twitter, or Second Life or some other Social Network so we can stay in closer touch from now on? That’s what this medium is all about, building and fostering relationships.

My desk

Pat tagged me to put up a photo of my desk.

I had to do a lot of tidying up before taking this photo (just out of sight is a large mound of papers/cables/etc which had to be swept off the desk :-)  ) – here it is in all its glory!

My Desk

Airport security has become a joke

I was reading a post of Dennis’ recently about the stupidity of airport security regulations and their inconsistent implementation recently and I got to thinking.

First you couldn’t bring guns on a plane, so the terrorists innovated,
Then you couldn’t bring box cutters, nail clippers, scissors on planes, so the terrorists innovated
Then you had to take off your belt and have your shoes scanned, so the terrorists innovated again
Now you can’t bring liquids on a plane.

I really can’t wait to see what airport security does when the terrorists start using boarding cards as weapons!

Irish government fails to invest in education

I visited a primary school today and spent over an hour talking to the principal about the school’s IT requirements. God I’m depressed after it.

The school has a few computers with Internet access and the principal is enthusiastic about ICT (he has the children writing html in Notepad from as young as 8 years old) so this school is much better off than many I know.

Even so, it was soul destroying to see such an enthusiastic educator being held up at every step by the bureaucratic nightmare that is the Department of Education.

He recently had s problem with his broadband connection (satellite, supplied by the Department via DigiWeb). When he called the Department’s helpline, the response he got was “Well, it is fine from here.” End of conversation. This is his only line of support. He got the kids to test downloading a file via the broadband connection and via Eircom dialup – the dialup was faster!

The Irish government invested €25m in ICT for schools in 2001/2 and nothing since. Schools are left up to their own devices. Many schools are operating on machines with Windows 98 or worse.

Teachers who want to teach ICT in schools are given no training, no resources, no curriculum and no support. There is currently NO strategy in place around ICT in schools in Ireland.

Good God, computers should be taught in every school in the country from primary through to third level. All the schools should be networked so they can share information amongst themselves using social media.

Schools should have Intranets so that students can submit homework from home and parents can log in and monitor progress. Every student’s desk should have an Internet connected PC. This is just basic stuff.

What hope has Ireland in the coming years when we won’t even invest in ICT in our education system?

Irish Blog Awards nominations

I’m both deeply honoured and humbled to have been nominated for several Irish Blog Awards.

The competition is stiff and I am up against many more deserving blogs/podcasts than my own.

Judge for yourself – listed below are the categories in which I have been nominated (twice in the best podcast category). I have italicised my listings in the categories so you can identify them more easily.

Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere:

Best Technology Blog/Blogger:

Best Podcaster:

Best Podcast :

Jason has a complete list of all the award categories and nominees here.

The voting form is online here. If you haven’t done so already, I urge you to head on over and vote (you don’t have to be Irish to vote in the awards).

March 3rd (the night of the awards) promises to be a great night. Well done Damien, once more.

Climate change

Not really tech-related I know, but I was appalled over the weekend when I read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s (IPCC) summary report (pdf) on climate change.

The summary report is a 21 page document summarising a four volume report yet to be released. It is the work of over 1200 scientific authors and over 2500 scientific reviewers from over 130 countries.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1988 to

assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. It bases its assessment mainly on peer reviewed and published scientific/technical literature.

The numbers and data in the report are horrifying.

Eleven of the last twelve years (1995 -2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature

Observations since 1961 show that the average temperature of the global ocean has increased to depths of at least 3000 m and that the ocean has been absorbing more than 80% of the heat added to the climate system. Such warming causes seawater to expand, contributing to sea level rise

Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003, about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year.

For the next two decades a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.

Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.

Some of the graphs say it all:
Greenhouse gases


Temp, sea level and snow cover changes

What scared me even more was hearing one of the report’s lead authors, Dr Andrew Weaver on NewsTalk 106 on Friday afternoon and he said that the report was conservative in many of its estimates and findings. Not good.

UPDATE: – Expect to see more stories like the floodings in Jakarta as the effects of climate change become more and more pronounced.

Cork's Bodega Bar sold – to be closed!

Bodega Bar Cork

This is the inside of a Cork institution, Cork’s Bodega Bar on Corn Market Street. The Bodega is a superbly appointed bar, with good food, a fantastic, multi-cultural atmosphere, and it is incredibly child-friendly.

I’m sitting here in the bar, in shock, as the staff have just informed me that the bar (and the associated Savoy Centre) have been sold, all the staff given notice that they will be made redundant effective on Friday week (9th?) and the bar is to be closed.

Seemingly the new owners don’t intend to re-open the Bodega as a bar but no-one knows what their plans are yet.

I’m very disappointed as the Bodega is one of my favourite bars and is a great place to being the kids for lunch on a Saturday.