AT MIDNIGHT the Bank of England transfers $83m, the final payment of a loan the United States made to Britain in 1946. This closes a chapter in the story of Britain's alliance with America in the Second World War and makes military operations in the UK more expensive for the US.
LOW HOLIDAY READERSHIP of mainstream media means few people will notice Irish blogs being mentioned in Sunday broadsheets this weekend. Adrian Weckler says, "Blogging came as close as it will ever do to taking off among ordinary people in 2006." Not impressed by the raft of waffling he sees in the blogosphere, Weckler surmises, "Ireland appears to be one of the last western countries without any quality, readable blogs, though there is a tiny amount of them (e.g., mulley.net) occasionally worth looking at."
And in the Sunday Tribune, Una Mullally spins a few paragraphs for Blogorrah, while suggesting "other Irish bloggers of note to watch out for in 2007 are Slugger O'Toole, Twenty Major, In Fact Ah and Blather." Right so, let's see who's standing up front at the Irish Blog Awards.
OH WELL. Even though I clicked in and out of my email account and I skimmed, read and marked a wide swath of my newsfeeds, I haven't really dented either virtual space. I must have too many geeks in my feeds or a good percentage of them don't observe the Christmas break for whatever reason because they keep writing. So I'm facing up to the fact that I simply failed to catch up with my reading over the holiday break. And I'm getting a real thrill mass-marking and deleting the unread stuff. Bring on the new year!
VIA TWITTER, my mobile phone tells me that Robert Scoble uses a technology that affects campaigns--political campaigns like the one he's following and marketing campaigns like ones spotlighted by Irish bloggers. Scoble's first-hand experience, while seated beside a seasoned journalist, spotlights two facets that also affect Irish journos. First, journalists can no longer assume they write just for paper. Updates port to breaking news sites as they hit the subeditor's desk. And all the talking heads end up interviewing journalists. That's especially true in Ireland where I sometimes wonder why I'm listening to something I read already.
WHILE THUMBING through 20 A5 copybooks that contain my sum total of takeaway learning for 2006, I read Shel Israel's prediction for blogging as it relates to the field of education. Israel thinks "we will see increased numbers of teachers using social media, including blogs, to teach and communicate with students". That's happening without any formal direction in my third level realm and is reflected in my website statistics. A day out of academic session cuts a mimimum of 100 visitors, 20 of those returning visitors. In a sense, this blog has become part of the supplemental reading materials of the four college courses that I teach.
ONE REASON Yahoo! Answers kicked Google out of the Q&A game lies in the sheer volume of users registered on the Y! Answers site. MIT Technology Reviewexamined six Q&A sites, citing Yahoo! Answers as the clear winner. LeeAnn Prescott created a custom category of the six sites mentioned by MIT and found that for the week ending 23 Dec 06, the market share of visits to Yahoo! Answers was 47X greater than the share of visits to its nearest competitor, Answerbag.
As the Boards.ie community already knows, you can get better answers when cranking up the volume of site visitors.
Wade Rousch -- "What's the best Q&A site?"
TOO MANY IRISH tourism agencies build silos and cultivate link farms. Both of those business practises can return results but sophisticated tourists--the ones most likely to have the budget to visit Ireland's most expensive holiday destinations--use community maps and gain information directly from travel advice sites. While not taking away from anything Ireland's main tourism agencies offer, I hope Failte Ireland and Tipperary Tourism start sprinkling social networks with their content. It takes some foresight. It also involves mustering support from internet-savvy partners (e.g., photobloggers and geotaggers).
RESPONDING TO DEMAND from friendly neighbours--the ones who graciously powered our home for 11 months during 2005--our broadband now emanates from our garage. That's an easy way of giving our home, our back garden, and the neighbour's kitchen effective wireless internet coverage. We need to boost the signal strength and I'm certain some helpful Google Adword campaign will start displaying vendors with antenna arrays to help me extend 802.11b/g coverage.
ONE OF THE most useful pieces of technology I have in my office is a set of phone chargers. Peple ask to use them more than anything else I have in my gadget drawer. We have speculated that the day is near when you won't need a cable to recharge things and at CES 2007 eCoupled technology offers a new ecosystem of personal power that recharges without wires. Fulton Innovation, Visteon, Motorola, Herman Miller and Mobility Electronics are working jointly to commercialize solutions in the portable consumer electronics arena.