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August 2003

Surviving Ireland

Holly eats stones and shoesKILKENNY -- During my past eight and a half years in Ireland, I have watched the country survive seismic events including the demise of Aer Lingus, Y2K, the advent of the euro, the abolition of duty free, the ascent of Jackie Healy Rae, and the plastic bag tax. Now Ireland is holding its breath for a radical "no smoking" ban. Somehow I think it's just as significant as the other seismic events I've survived with the country. In fact, surviving a no smoking ban is much less stressful than losing your runners to Holly, the Samoyed-Spaniel with a shoe fetish.


Sent mail2blog with Nokia 9210i O2 TypePad services from McCourt's Bar and Restaurant.
Photo of Holly in Upper Garringreen taken with Fuji 602Z camera.
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Squeezing Irish Old Boys

KILKENNY -- One of the worst things about Ireland is its blatant Old Boys' Networks and the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) is an example. All of the Sunday papers carry stories about a leak about a possible EUR 600,000 pay deal for Fran Rooney, an astute businessman brought in by the FAI to improve the running of Irish football. Rooney would get the money only if he achieved targets related to commercial sponsorship. But some old boys in the FAI, notably Kevin Fahy and Milo Corcoran, are a little miffed by Rooney's hands-on approach. So they're leaking confidential information even before discussion occurs. I hope the FAI defers to Rooney's inquisitorial manner and gives Irish football the kind of professional foundation it deserves.


Sent mail2blog over Nokia 9210i O2 Typepad services from the Kilkenny RIvercourt Hotel.
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Round round ringtones

KILKENNY -- I heard the Sugarbabes coming round round down the tower of St Canice's Cathedral before I saw the pop group--but I knew it would be the Sugarbabes in a mobile phone, not the girls themselves. And as the distinctively continental fashion confirmed, a visitor from Italy was carrying the Sugarbabes ringtone in her mobile.

My grandfather told me that the first family phone was a one-way communications device. It seems that the earliest manufacturers didn't think it would be more than an extension for the town crier. Similarly, the Irish phone companies were slow to cop on to two-way text messaging and they spent years getting two major networks to be interoperative. Now the same technological barrier exists between networks for the sending of picture messaging.

Being able to send directly from my phone straight out to the Internet is a very useful feature. I know that if the 16 Italian students sprawled below the Canice Tower had the capability, they would snap a few photos and send them to friends in Milano. They're writing postcards instead.


Sent mail2blog from Canice's Round Tower with Nokia 9210i O2 Typepad services.
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Huge abstract Irish Art

KILKENNY -- A huge abstract work by Francis Tansey hangs over half the atrium in the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel and attracts visitors to Kilkenny just to see this work. Tansey's work looks much more vivid than it appears on a computer perhaps because a computer screen simply does not have the frequency range to represent the bright hues and kaleidscopic filters in the paintings. Tansey brings an artist's vision to the boxes and arrows used by many technicians when representing bands of activity across space. While much of Tansey's work create an ambience that relaxes me, the magic he makes with primary colours creates a sense of activity, as though the objects in his paintings were moving and spinning as he put them to canvas.


Sent mail2blog by Nokia O2 TypePad service from the lobby of the Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel.
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Planning permission for Irish Typepad

KILKENNY -- In Ireland, you have to ask for planning permission before making major architectural changes. From reader feedback, I can see revisions are needed in some elements of the information architecture on Irish Typepad. I will borrow the John Porcaro left hand photo gutter look, inserting photo albums thumbnails down the left hand side. And I will use the "extended post" format favoured by Michael Cunningham in the text body of my blog as well as Mick's narrower columns and uncluttered spaces.


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Irish Navel Gazing

BLOGNATION -- Mick Cunningham has a metablog offering reflections about Irish blogs. But can he really hope to find all the Irish weblogs, journals, and daily collections once the school term starts and the incessant dribbling starts all over again? And will he have the will to try to harvest an entire cross-section of the Irish blogosphere? His first cuts follow his trademark incisive style but the community would be served by an under-the-bonnet descriptor of who is running what so readers can see ways of making their blogs totally part of the two-way Web.


Mick Cunningham -- "What is it?"
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Continue reading "Irish Navel Gazing" »


Come see our Open Wi-Fi

GARRINGREEN HOTSPOT -- It's a wide-open Wi-Fi day in Garringreen, so if you're a wardriver with the RIAA and you're looking for file sharing, wander over to the west side of Kilkenny and try to figure out who to serve with the summons. Anybody and their granny could be on this Wi-Fi node, sharing and swapping, without the homeowner knowing they're in the neighbourhood. And it's much the same for lots of Dublin, New York and Los Angeles.


Xeni Jardin -- "Giving sharers ears without faces"
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Text in the streets

KILKENNY -- I have to mention that I have been using a Nokia 9210 for more than two years and that it consistently provides me a quick way to moblog thoughts directly from the street to the Internet. The results certainly look better than John Porcaro's sent from a Pocket PC.When combined with TypePad's two-way comment and trackback features, this form of communication is more resilient than standard e-mail with a much greater reach due to the syndication features on the Web side of the 9210's text. The phone itself has been dropped twice and soaked once in Guinness spilled in a pub. Serious mobloggers should explore this technology because there's none better. Today's tech-dependent activists on the street should look seriously at the 9210i as part of the online arsenal for real-time reportage.


Amit Asaravala -- "Today's tech-dependent activists"
John Porcaro-- "From my Pocket PC"
Sent from The Hibernian Hotel by Nokia 9210i O2 TypePad services.
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With summer sun comes visitors

KILKENNY -- It's the warmest summer in Ireland since I first landed here in 1994. With these Mediterranean conditions comes visitors who often buy take-away food when strolling and rats who come out for the droppings. I spotted three rats when walking from the Kilkenny Golf Club to St Mary's Hall this morning. They are scurring out of breaks in walls and circling around bin bags prior to the Friday collection. I don't remember seeing this many rats since the days of Foot and Mouth Disease, when rat colonies operated fearlessly in Dublin's Phoenix Park.


John McGuinness -- "Rat plague fuelled by fast food" in The Kilkenny People, 1 August 2003
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