WITH IRELAND'S Building Energy Rating system now in operation, neighbours are getting surveys completed for cavity block insulation, interior fittings and external wall insulation systems such as the one shown at right. Even though I work with Amergin instructors who can recite the absolute effectiveness of all sorts of systems, I am a novice at external wall insulation--but I know it is more expensive than most other options. We may not have a choice in the matter because we have a kitchen extension with no insulation in its ceiling and a leaky windowsill all around. An external wall system gets my attention beause a thicker outside wall under our kitchen window could be used to support a long window bench someday. In addition, putting the insulation on the outside wall helps preserve all the internal space and that's a good idea. While we finalise our energy strategy, we're also draught-proofing our letterbox, insulating our primary pipework and finishing our loft space to eliminate excessive blow-through.
WHEN LOOKING AT THE dark cloud of unemployment descending on Limerick--a cloud that will push unemployment over 10% in the biggest city closest to my front door--I wonder if anyone in the government employment agency actually steps back and tries to approach things in a way that will dig out Ireland by building a stronger base for the future.
SOME OF THE MOST productive people I know want to remain off the internet. They will oblige Google Scholar when it comes to a published work and they don't mind being found next to a description of a technical paper, but they don't want rich media published about them. That means no images or video and normally that means no audio artefacts either. Their work is league-leading. Their contributions often stimulate the group around them. But when it comes to blogging their ideas, linking to professionals on social networks or participating in live virtual event, they will go only as far as sharing a desktop or showing a Powerpoint presentation. A lot of their hesitation extends from the Facebook virus--an imaginary social networking effect that they fear. They don't want to be easily linked to someone else's collection. They don't want to have a random photo tagged with their name that doesn't present a proper image. Perhaps it's an over-reaction to the stories about people spotted pissed out of their skin on Facebook and Bebo that stains the whole of the social networking universe. The immediate effect is the stifling of articulate voices who might otherwise be sharing ideas through personal blog.
Sent mail2blog usibg O2-EDGE Typepad service in Castlebar, County Mayo, Ireland.
WHILE OUT WEST in Ireland, I'm reading front page Mayo News coverage that cites why Ireland's National Broadband Scheme will not deliver for the primary audience it should serve. Neither of the devices at left will get me a sustained 3G signal when I sit a few miles from the centre of Castlebar and the gear I'm using is essentially the technology used in the NBS. A €223m investment will see the Irish mobile phone network 3 extend its network throughout broadband black spots.  Some salient points from the article deserve mention.
The Wrong Maps Were Used. Instead of using maps that showed where wired broadband could not be provided, the ill-informed Minister for Communications opted to base his decisions on the notional coverage areas advertised by the wireless mobile telecos. This fallacious reasoning--one that suggests tens of thousands in Ireland have broadband because a commercial company says it's in the air just over the hill--now places parts of County Mayo into a limbo where the populace cannot get a wired signal, cannot receive a three-bar 3G signal and cannot avail of State aid to get fixed wireless. The Minister has been fooled by his own delusionary maps, thinking there's coverage where none exists. Consequently, parts of Louisburgh, Foxford, Kiltimaugh and part of Achill Island are left dangling their dongles in hope of a passing signal.
EASY TO SET UP and addictive to use, the beta version of IGO People deserves a serious look by anyone involved in taking the first steps of cultivating an online community.. Like Twitter, IGO People is simple. You just register and start commenting or being threads of discussion of your own. If you desire, you can get updates sent to your email account every day by IGO People. It's easier to find people who might fit into your style because you can search on IGO people, discovering individuals (the I in the name), groups (G for groups) and organisations (you can spell it with a z but the big O is for proper organisations). I work with several planning groups concerned with bringing people closer to gainful employment. Linking the unemployed to like-minded colleagues and businesses just got simpler with IGOpeople.com and only by checking out the site yourself can you see what I mean. My immediate circle of friends is very heavily populated from Ireland but that's the point--to connect with local by thinking globally. As the year unfolds, I'll write about how we're leveraging IGOpeople to increase college enrollments, to assist in a major jobs initiative and to bring quality creative multimedia work to the public.
Search for "goldbach" on IGOpeople and see what I've been doing there. The information updates for me as an RSS feed. Excellent!
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL JUST got easier with Dopplr and Maxroam announcing a travel SIM. This little piece of plastic (the grey lines show its size in the image) snaps off and slips right into you mobile phone. When roaming outside your normal mobile phone's billing area, the Dopplr SIM acts like a local SIM. This means you won't get stuck paying while using your phone on trips in other countries. It also means you can top up the SIM online and know exactly the amount of money you're spending while away. I've used Maxroam SIMs to good effect before. Because of their proven effectiveness, I will never face a month where my mobile phone bill exceeds EUR 1000. That kind of painful expense can take years of recovery. My hands-on experience and unreserved recommendation for the product deserves a proper five-star recommendation on LouderVoice.
Pat Phelan -- "Maxroam partners with Dopplr" on the telecom disruptor's blog.
Fergus Burns -- "Maxroam partners with Dopplr" on the Web 2.0 Ireland blog.
Jason Kincaid -- "Dopplr and MAXroam are now travel buddies" in the Technology section of the Washington Post, January 26, 2009.
Bernie Goldbach -- "Avoid Mobile Phone Roaming Shock" in the Irish Examiner, 29 February 2008.
Bonus Link: See where I am in the world by checking Dopplr.
Published to InsideView using the Flickr easy-posting link.
EVERY SUNDAY, I try to record a few thoughts, via a short video, related to the Sunday papers in Ireland. Since the middle of December, it's been challenging to upstream those video clips because I live in a weak signal area and I have no broadband in my home. It sometimes takes 30 minutes to upload a 10-minute video clip. The clips are stored at Qik.com/topgold and would download via iTunes if desired. This week, I sliced my Sunday report in two because several items from the Sunday Business Post deserve special attention, such as David McWilliams insinuating either leaving the euro or wildly violating government debt spending limits , Realex increasing revenues by 32% and OpenJaw Technologies apparently flying strong on three of four engines.
WHEN MY AUNT was 10, some French radio listeners could press an electric switch to express approval of a current radio program. "Holding down a small switch attached to the base of a small lamp placed near the radio, the increased current drain is shown at the local power plant or substation.
Now being used in France, the idea was first tried out by an American power company working with an eastern broadcasting chain." As John Walkenbach notes, "This method is being used worldwide."
Modern Mechanix -- "Listeners Applaud Program"
AS THE TODDLER sleeps in the middle of the sitting room floor, I remember the electronics we had as a kid. Two pieces of tech saw me through high school graduation: a record player and a black and white television. Things have changed since the 20th century and we need more stuff for the youngster because there's a much more exciting range of media to enjoy. We need a bigger pipe, a smarter video player, a clever DVD burner, and more storage space. The panda bear at left insists.
UNDER THE PRESIDENTIAL Records Act, those in the service of President Obama have no social networking at work, no instant messaging, no IRC, no logging into office email accounts at home. Most of these restrictions are in place to ensure the Executive Branch leaves a trail of accountability that can be harvested at known archival points. It also means there are other places that could provide colour and context of the Obama Era. The First Lady's menu selections and her diary will be revealing. More than that, the digital camera files and diaries of Sasha and Malia Obama would be a joyous find for anyone eager to document the most significant first family in a half century.