Entries categorized "Columns" Feed

Still Getting Sunday News from the Papers

Newsround for Palm Sunday
Real newsprint snapped by @topgold with Lumia.

I SPEND SEVERAL Sundays every month combing through the Sunday Times and Sunday Business Post for news related to interesting items. Then I insert half of those papers inside the complimentary copies of the Sunday Independent that I find at my local McDonalds.

But before I do that, I make an audio clip about the most interesting snippets. The clip is below this post.

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Those Jobs Won't Be Coming Back

One Day DigI SUSPECT IRELAND will do like Germany and start shaving anybody over 50 from the unemployment records because personnel officers know most of the older jobless people who pass through their books won't get a second look.

I lived in the old West Germany when the old East merged. To the delight of the statisticians there, the unemployment rate was throttled. That happened because one fat pencil lined out tens of thousands of Germans whose factories laid idle in the 90s. The same thing has happened in Ireland as large factories shut down and former factory workers sit on their hands, going from course to interview to course for years on end. By age 50, that has to stop because the factories aren't coming back. And neither are the construction jobs reappearing.

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Friends Falling for Scams

SOME OF MY BEST friends fall for scams. They know about how to squeeze money from investments. Some live alone. It turns out that they are susceptible to fake lotteries, bogus holidays and other scams. Despite the fact that one in 15 people lose an average of EUR 1500 each year, the psychology of scamming has been neglected as a subject of psychological study. But now, the University of Exeter is releasing in-depth psychological interviews with victims, including some surprising conclusions.

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Getting Social in Ireland

Irish Social MediaONE OF THE most significant shifts of online behaviour is happening among Irish internet users. Dozens of early adopters are starting to spend more time using social media instead of browsing websites or watching online video clips. The largest clusters of Irish internet users appear in social sites like Bebo, boards.ie, Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. Recently, analysts began referring to them as social media sites.

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On Newstalk with my Take on Music Lifestyles Online

Pirates on Last.fmI JOIN ORLA BARRY around noon on Monday 10 March 2008 to discuss issues around digital downloads of music and some subtle issues surrounding the shift of listening patterns today. It's a topic driven by the countersuit of Tanya Andersen, the 41-year-old single mother who has filed a countersuit against the RIAA. While the lawsuit has an interesting dimension, the most important consideration in my mind relates to the state of play in the way many of us get, store, listen and sometimes share our music. As a third level lecturer in Mass Communications and Culture, the Newstalk segment provides my students with an easy answer to a final examination question. It just happens to be a telephone conversation that directly overlaps a class session too. How convenient for students who may just tune in instead of coming into the classroom. They can also follow the stream of conversation in Jaiku's college channel. If my technology holds up, I will also listen to Twitter for people who want to inject a comment to Orla Barry's discussion. I'm topgold on Twitter.

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Avoid Mobile Phone Roaming Shock

WITHOUT A DOUBT, the most helpful piece of technology I can recommend when visiting Ireland is a MAXroam SIM. This little sliver of plastic will keep your mobile phone bills well within budget. In my own experience, the shock from mobile phone roaming charges hurts more than lost luggage. I bought my MAXroam SIM from Maplins in Limerick for €41. I purchased the little SIM even though no one in the shop really knew what it did. I knew because I had seen the Cork-based Cubic Telecom profiled during a special conference in Paris. Dozens of technical reports followed that technical demonstration and gave me the confidence to buy a new SIM for one of my older mobile phones. You need an unlocked mobile phone to make the SIM work.

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Sushi and Broadband

ON MY SEARCH to find high-quality broadband connectivity in Ireland, I have reached an astonishing conclusion. Getting broadband in Ireland is often as simple as finding fresh sushi. Try it for yourself. Pick a place on the map of Ireland that has fresh sushi and you’re very likely to visit a place serving broadband to people living nearby. If you find a venue offering free sushi, it normally offers free internet connectivity as well. When I discovered this, I realised I might have solved Ireland’s broadband malaise. Providing high-quality, low-cost broadband access in Ireland might be as simple as establishing a chain of sushi takeaways.

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Creative Camp in Kilkenny Just Ahead

The ParadeONE OF IRELAND'S most interesting gatherings of artists, technologists, writers, musicians, and designers will kick off on Saturday morning, 8 March, in Kilkenny Castle. Called Creative Camp, it borrows the very successful un-conference model from similar events held throughout Ireland. That means admission is free and the day includes more several strands of presentations running in parallel time slots. As its schedule online shows, Creative Camp Kilkenny blends ideas and products at the intersection of art, design, culture and technology. Its website sits on the barcamp.ie domain and appears at the top of the list when searching Google for a map to the destination (Kilkenny Castle) and public transport routes. It kicks off in the historic Parade Tower (the round part in the photo at left), a venue that seats 120 comfortably and includes its own bar area. Several breakout rooms inside the tower will ensure the day includes a lively set of spirited discussions.

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Mini Reviews on Twitter

THERE ARE TIMES I am so upset about poor quality service or about buying an inferior product that I just want to scream. Now I focus my frustrations by sending my comments directly to LouderVoice, an Irish website that is “all about reviews but with a big difference.” Perched at LouderVoice.com, this simple little site lets you review things online, by text, or while you write at Twitter, Jaiku or Pownce.

Many readers may find some of these terms rather foreign but most people are familiar with feedback forms at restaurants, car dealerships, and hotels. The LouderVoice format is much the same. You write the word “review” then a rating from one to five and then the name of the thing you’re reviewing, followed by a colon. A few words about what you feel and that’s it. Once you send the review, it appears on the LouderVoice website for comments by others.

People have reviewed websites, podcasts, Irish roads, restaurants, wines, computer technology, jeans, ice cream, baby formula, movies—anything in life. Flicking through the review pages online sometimes leads to major rants on other sites, to photos on Flickr or to podcast segments where you can hear the ranting about a bad meal taken to yet another level.

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