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October 2003

Mike Fagan resigns from IEDR

ENN -- The suspended chief executive of the Irish Internet domain registry, Mike Fagan, resigned from the company yesterday after reaching a legal settlement. Fagan had presided over the most derisive period of Irish Internet histrionics. He was suspended in October 2002 pending the financial management of the financial affairs of the company.

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Mobile phone menace

Fun travelers on Irish RailCLONMEL HOTSPOT -- Mobile phone users think they have to talk louder and occupy more quiet space than people with books. That's the conclusion I draw after watching the traveling public in Ireland acquire anti-social behaviours while using mobile phones. They're not like the friendly families in this photo who share their space. A single mobile phone user will trample on more communal space while traveling aboard commercial transport than any other breed of person. It's not uncommon to see men in suits conducting two non-stop hours of business conversations while traveling aboard Irish Rail. That's rude. The rising pattern has led Irish Rail to put mobile phone decals on the windows of the first class carriages. I sit there when bothered by the mobile louts in the back.

Jakob Nielsen -- "Why mobile phones are annoying"
Another Fuji S602Z picture taken while underway in Ireland.
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Kilkenny People drive to shop

KILKENNY -- People around the city of Kilkenny are more likely to drive to shopping destinations in neighbouring Carlow, Clonmel and Waterford than they are to shop locally. It's all down to value for money and availability of parts. I have DIY things to do on weekends, when most hardware shops in the local area close by 1PM on Saturday. Twice in October, I drove to Dublin to get the things I needed. That also meant buying food, petrol and magazines outside of Kilkenny as well. Kilkenny city has lost its prominence as a major retail destination. "There is better value and more choice elsewhere," points out Deputy John McGuinness in a front page news item. McGuinness believes the Chamber of Commerce and Industry must facilitate developers in placing new sales outlets in Kilkenny. That's not happening now because developers are often rebuffed by government planners.

Sean Keane -- "Shoppers shun Kilkenny for cheaper rivals" in The Kilkenny People, 31 Oct 03

Kilkenny Person of Year to the dogs

INISTIOGE -- Brenda Stone, the indefatigable soul behind the Inistioge Puppy Rescue, earns community nomination as one of the eight finalists in the Kilkenny Person of the Year Awards. Brenda started Inistioge Puppy Rescue in 1990. I met her in December 2002 when I donated EUR 20 and took playful Holly, the Samoyed-Spaniel wall climber. Brenda never puts down a dog and she has about 40 dogs in her rescue centre at any given time. She finds new homes for dogs through advertisements in the Kilkenny People and the radio. Veterinary costs, kennels and food come from donations.

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Late Internet adopters

ISC -- A number of sectors of society are late adopters to the Internet, including

  • 78% of all women with home duties
  • 90% of all retired people
  • 85% of all workers in agriculture, forestry or fishing
  • 73% of unemployed.

Information Society Commission -- "e-Inclusion: Expanding the Information Society in Ireland"

You can never leave high school

WILMA DAVIDSON and Jack Dougherty have divided employees into easily recognisable archtypes from your teenage years, such as:

  • the A student
  • the Jock
  • the Class President
  • the Cheerleader
  • the Rebel.
The authors postulate that by pigeonholing your peers, you can figure out how to work your way to the head of the class. Churstine Chen caught up with the authors and learnt how they got the idea for the book.
We were intrigued by who gets ahead and who doesn't. Look at your typical Monday-morning meeting. The A Student's eyes roll when the Brown-Noser starts sucking up. People pass notes. The more you look around, the more you realise that it's high school for grown-ups.
Davidson and Dougherty think that once you're typecast in high school, you're stuck with that label for life. "This is a message that some people find distasteful, but being popular in high school was more important than being smart. And for good or ill, in the workplace being popular is as important as being effective. We all know someone in a senior post where we scratch our heads and wonder how he got to where he is. And we also see the class know-it-all who's smart but can't get along with others."
Christine Chen -- "You can never leave high school" in Fortune, 27 October 2003

Continued interest in wireless gerontechnology

TWO YEARS AGO, I wrote a column in the Irish Examiner about using wireless networks instead of Eircom's Home Alert system. It seems that many pensioners down the country get outside the 60 foot range of their paging devices when they slip on the frozen ground while hauling turf into the house. They can die of exposure within two hours if someone doesn't check up on them. Why not a nonintrusive system that harnesses wireless gerontechnology? That's what Sharon O'Brien is trying to figure out as well.

Brian Corbett -- "Web Based Home Automation System" 232 kb PowerPoint and 1.6 MB Doc

Plants in motion

ISN'T TIME-LAPSE photography totally excellent?

Plant on side Plant growing on side

As Roger Hangarter explains, "plants grow and change on a time scale that is too slow for us to observe in real time. Time-lapse photography is a simple technique that allows us to see the movements of plants and clearly demonstrates that plants are living and capable of some extraordinary things." For example, you can watch the negative gravitropic response of a Coleus shoot after being placed on its side. The images here show what happens after about an hour.

Roger Hangarter -- "Plants-in-Motion"
Christoper Bahn --"Incoming signals"
John Walkenbach -- "Plants in motion"