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January 2011

The Day Android Moved Ahead

Nokia E7THE ANRDOID PHONE in my bag now represents the biggest slice of the mobile smartphone market. In today's Canalys report, final Q4 2010 global country-level smart phone market data shows Google’s Android has become the leading platform. Shipments of Android-based smart phones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. Apple had a 16% market share, down a fraction from a year ago. Nokia still makes the strongest-built phones and the ones with the best keyboards (like the E7 at right), helping Nokia retain its position as the leading global smart phone vendor, with a share of 28%. Canalys data reveals a soaring worldwide smart phone market, with shipments of 101.2 million units representing year-on-year growth of 89%. The final quarter took shipments for the year to fractionally below 300 million units, with an annual growth rate of 80% over 2009. 

Canalys -- "Google’s Android becomes the world’s leading smart phone" on the Canalys blog, January 31, 2011.

Kevin J. O'Brien -- "Android System overtakes Symbian" in the NYT, January 31, 2011.

Why does everyone hate Nokia? asked by All About Symbian and Ultimate 111, January 30, 2011.

Vlad Savov -- "Nokia smartphone market share shrinks" on Engadget, January 27, 2011.

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Sunday News Before the Irish Election


THERE'S A GENERAL ELECTION dead ahead in Ireland and today's Sunday broadsheets document the results of a Sunday Business Post Red C poll [1] that suggests if an Irish citizen votes for Labour, it helps ensure Fine Gael occupies the seat of Taoiseach. More than anything else, the front page coverage of the poll's results points to how the current Irish general election system is broken. It reduces Irish national politics to a victim of the party whips and it serves to offer a career path to local councillors who finish their working days as well-pensioned national politicians. In a related front page item, Cliff Taylor unveils details from the Irish Department of Finance that clearly warned about "pro-cyclical fiscal action" that contributed to the meltdown of the Irish economy. [2]

Sunday News from Ireland

Continue reading "Sunday News Before the Irish Election" »

Meeting Mr Fifty Cal in Egypt

Flight to Egypt

ONE MORE NIGHT was pumping through my Aiwa earbuds in late 1985 in the middle of an Egyptian operating location. I was sitting in my office, up front in a Lockheed Starlifter, with a very nervous team of Israelis in the back of the aircraft along with some anonymised cargo. Israelis normally don't walk the Egyptian desert but as long as they were inside my aircraft, they were notionally enjoying sovereign protection of a US-flagged aircraft. But all those things meant little when just outside the thin metal fuselage sat a .50 calibre gun mounted on an armored-plated transport. I could tell from the high frequency (HF) radio chatter that this was going to be an interesting interlude. And what followed might explain why the Egyptian military are currently willing to abandon the official government position in that turbulent State.

One More Night

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Over Georgia during major malfunction

I WAS OVER the State of Georgia in a C-141 25 years ago en route to Charleston, South Carolina. On a common VHF frequency, I heard other aircraft chatting about the "major malfunction" represented by a distinct curling contrail in the sky several hundred miles southeast. Atlanta Center asked us whether we had anything to report from our position. We were free of cirrus cloud cover and saw nothing other than a curling wisp of white cloud and smoke. As a pilot, it was the kind of airborne pattern that looked well out of place.

CNN -- "Challenger Disaster Live" on January 28, 1986.

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Play.fmI HANDED MY iPod Touch over to my resident mixmaster, Mark Fitzsimons, because for two days I was caught in a 90 minute loop with Paul Kalkbrenner, one of the most popular DJs currently rotating in the ecosystem. brings more than 30,000 artists into my pocket and with my Mifi dongle, that means I can be anywhere along my normal Clonmel-Dublin pathway and enjoy top class streaming mixtapes for free. There is no premium plan. This isn't hobbyist material. These tracks are from DJs who I've seen in places I could not get into when visiting Paris or Berlin. I'm looking for Irish talent at the moment and will update this post as I stumble upon them. For the moment, I'm letting a 2009 mix from the Rex Club in Paris continue looping as I bash off another hour's work. Before you leave, please listen to the audio review Mark left for this post.


Continue reading "Liking" »

Road Runner in 3D Animation


Road Runner - Coyote Falls 2010 from Animation-HD on Vimeo.

WE START TRAINING animators in Tipperary Institute next August and that means rolling out the best shorts I've in my collection. I have fond memories of the roadrunner from Thursday evening meals in the Air Force Academy. The coyote and the roadrunner would play on gigantic screens as 1500 men ate dinner underneath. That scene will never be repeated.

Warner Brothers -- "Coyote Falls" with credit to Matthew O'Callaghan (Director), Tom Sheppard (writing), Greg Lyons (producer) and Christopher Lennertz (Music).

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When Graduates Can't Perform

Creative SkillsetsI LISTEN TO HELEN SHAW, especially when she offers an opinion on the quality of creative multimedia graduates. At the moment, Helen is frustrated by "the often poor skills being taught to those following academic courses in digital media and broadcasting." She draws on personal experience. "Many of the graduates we are seeing are, despite their own best efforts, extremely poorly equipped for a digital media production market." She puts the blame on the desks of college lecturers. That would be me and my colleagues in Tipperary Institute and Limerick Institute of Technology.

Continue reading "When Graduates Can't Perform" »

Prepping for Interviews

Typing ContestRECENT GRADUATES FROM Tipperary Institute occasionally return to the college to pass along tactics that worked for them in landing jobs. Some recurring themes about honesty, attitude and work flow are worth noting here. We tell students that they need to be upfront about their own technical skills. Two recent graduates who were hired had lower technical skills than others being interviewed. Part of the reason they got their jobs is they were honest and upfront about where they were technically. The interviews extended longer than planned as the CTOs probed their abilities to learn on the job and to adapt to changing situations. The interviews uncovered previous experience, lending weight to always having two or three stories ready to illustrate your flexibility on the job. But the most interesting tactic arises during code writing exercises.

Continue reading "Prepping for Interviews" »

Quality in Irish Higher Education

An Idea from PCollisonADRIAN WECKLER ASKS a thoughtful question, "Why can't Irish education produce a Nobel laureate?" It's something I thought about when watching Patrick (at right) and John Collison jet off to the States for their university experience. Adrian brings the focus closer to home by articulating several key questions that I believe should be discussed by anyone charged with implementing the Hunt Report. I've some ideas below the break, after I clearly disclose that my opinions should not be taken as those of LIT, my current employer.

Continue reading "Quality in Irish Higher Education" »

Irish Sunday Papers through an American's Eyes

THE FRONT PAGES of the Sunday papers in Ireland show the faces of Brian Cowen and Micheal Martin. Cowen is stepping down from the leadership of Fianna Fail, the political party that has controlled Ireland for the lifespan of every Irishman I met in the States. Martin, often mistaken for a ditherer, is stepping into the seat of party leader at a time when the entire government might collapse. If that happens the general election of 2011 could occur before the 11th of March. Several thoughtful essays on the legacy of Cowen fill both the Sunday Times and the Sunday Business Post, the newspapers of record that I trust in Ireland. A recurring theme of bailing out Ireland also continues to fill column inches, along with some clever examples of innovation in Ireland. I'm interested in how relatively well-funded tourism initiatives will deliver their results because I know what kinds of hot buttons work for the 16 American couples in my family circle. They're getting panoramic green images of Eire now and they need to get a feeling of Wanderlust as well. Some of those couples have never held a passport. I'd like to see them visit while Ireland is in the deepest depths of recession because value-for-money is better now than I've seen it since 1995. I've made a short (5-minute audio) clip of my take of the Sunday papers and there's a short video on YouTube as well. I hope the recent emigrants enjoy the news.

Sunday News

Listen on Audioboo.

Bonus Link: The Sodcast episode 24.

Last Week: "Innovation in the Sunday papers", January 16, 2011.

One Month Ago: "Irish Sunday News as Seen by a Blow-in", December 19, 2010.

One Year Ago: Couldn't get the iPad to run online meetings, January 20, 2010.

Five Years Ago: Fergus Cassidy logged out, January 23, 2006.

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