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May 2005

RateMyTeachers League Table

CLONMEL -- Now that the Irish Supreme Court has prohibited the publication of primary school inspectors' reports, the time is ripe for Rate My Teachers to step up and publish summaries of its own. For starters, let's tell all the names of the schools that blacklist the site since they are possibly the ones with the most to fear from information transparency. Then let's see the ones at the top of the list--those schools with the most cross-talk about quality of education.


  1. St Benildus (4,905 comments)
  2. Terenure College (3624 comments)
  3. Catholic University School (3459 comments)
  4. Castleknock Community College (2928 comments which is remarkable since the college blocks access to RateMyTeachers from campus)
  5. Portmarnock Community School (2911 comments)

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Reading list for holiday hackers

TIPPINST -- We run a Media Writing course that requires first year students to compile listings of useful URLs. Some students are into DIY weaponry (not required by the course) and others are into e-books (as distinguished from e-learning). A few of their recommended links suggests some intriguing conclusions, like they've been reading over madfrog's shoulder. Some of the IRC listings like 6667 #ebooks have thousands of files updating regularly and the range runs from hacking to programming fundamentals to website design to security essentials. The range of information far surpasses that available on the shelf of a college library and it exceeds what would fit on my O'Reilly Safari Bookshelf.

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Dark Side of Knowledge Working

CLONMEL -- I have fresh memories of friends in California on my mind, including some of the survival tactics used by middle managers I know. Their tactics make them more competitive on a global stage. Now safely back in Ireland, I wonder whether it's possible for Europeans to take on Americans in the competitiveness game.  Several recent research papers and books from both sides of the Atlantic suggest America's continuing economic advantage extends from an ability for business and political leaders to accept the need for workplace change. Mention "work practises" to an Irish audience and you'll go head-to-head with the union organiser before you can lay out your points of discussion. One of my brothers willingly took a reduction in responsibility (reduced pay) in exchange for keeping his job. Many Europeans would neither accept a pay cut nor accept rising income inequality. In fact, some people associate pay cuts with the roll-out of IT packages and that's why they resist the implementation of new technology.

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Sunday Tribune blogging extracts

TRIBUNE -- The Sunday Tribune has a weekly column that pulls around 800 words from blog items and lately it's been looking at what think about current events. In one small slice of a broadsheet, you could conceivably get a recap of significant items from the previous week. The selections this week include reflections on the Meath bus crash, Conor Lenihan as a kebab chef, a Star Wars horoscope, cyberstalking, and deranged art. The short piece in the Sunday Tribune is incisive. Too bad it's buried behind a cost wall.

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100th most viewed

Best coffee in Temple BarFLICKR -- One of the metrics batted around at Flickr Central is "your 100th most viewed" and the discussion leads to some sobering statistics. With more than 600,000 Flickr accounts online--some from people with Irishblogs--it's easy to find yourself slinking away from the discussions since so many people have many more compelling photos--compelling because thousands of people have seen their "100th most viewed" while no more than 80 have seen my "100th most viewed". (Note to self: do more portraits, erotic content or saturated colours in the images.) But I jumped into the fray, offering evidence of the image from my collection that hovers around #100 in the "most viewed" category. I wonder what happens once I have 1000 images uploaded to Flickr? That's likely to occur before the end of the summer.

"Rock of Cashel" is the "most favorited" photo I have on Flickr.
"Clonmel sunset" has attracted the most comments.


Crysler Bldg 75

NEW YORK -- I have a favourite sight when standing on the observation deck of the Empire State Building at night--it's the Chrysler Building and it turns 75 this week. For a brief period--less than one year-- it was the world's tallest building. It looks like an eccentric Roman Candle and it's a set piece for movies and couples meandering around the top of the New York skyline. The New York Times thinks it's "perfectly imperfect", explaining "there is something unsettling about the Chrysler Building, something poignant, almost elegiac. That, too, is deeply resonant on this ever-unsettled island".

David Dunlap -- "Juke Joint in the Sky"

Inside Lusk Post Office

LUSK -- Brian Greene offers a viewpoint from inside the post office where two robbers were killed this week. His perspective, and thoughtful links to other related (or not related) blog items, presents a more complete picture than most national journalists.

Brian Greene -- "Two robbers shot dead during raid in Lusk"
Bonus Link: Planet Potato -- "Black Refugee Attacks Irishman"