WE HAVE USED the Garmin Nuvi 360 for six weeks now and because it always delivers something interesting when traveling poorly-marked Irish roads, it's now always with us when underway in Ireland. It's accurate, reliable and fun to follow.
WHILE DAMIEN MULLEY stokes a shit storm over his lost bag, some passengers departing Shannon Airport in Ireland encountered much worse. Continental Airlines Flight 1970 encountered a problem with the toilets when leaving Amsterdam and the problem recurred when leaving Shannon. Shortly after leaving Shannon, passengers noticed "a tidal wave of sewage" spilling from under the toilet doors. With carpets damp and the air a bit musty, cabin crew continued with meal service, warning 200 nauseated passengers facing six hours with just one partially functioning toilet between them "not to eat or drink too much."
IT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH to run an agenda of leading lights at a conference. Most people expect more than a shower of shills on stage. Tony Karrer built a poll that asks respondents to name the things they want at conferences. Leading the list: dependable wifi. Second item that would provide greatest value: unconference within a conference.
I THINK THERE is a relationship between MySpace and Facebook. One is sliding down and the other is rising quickly in terms of membership. In short conversations during breaks between sessions at DIT's e-learning week, I was surprised to encounter people in the hallway who had joined Facebook on the heels of a presentation I gave to 45 university educators attending my blogging workshop. They probably pushed Facebook's community above the 30m mark. It's fair to say that the third level lecturers who stopped to compare notes with me about Facebook were not joiners. They wouldn't normally rush out to subscribe to the next big thing so when they signed up to Facebook and connected to me, it meant that they were novice swimmers in a big pond of electronic social networking. While holding onto the side of the pool (grasping their cups of tea), they wanted to know what's next. I recommend they scroll down through the "What's New" section. On first look, they did not view Facebook as another college social network. They wanted to know what to expect with Facebook's network effect. I told them to explore the network in search of people they would trust and the rest would take care of itself. And who to trust? That's all a matter for the visitor to discern from profiles, newsfeeds and rich media attached to people they discover inside Facebook.
YOU HAVE TO allow for diversions when traveling in Ireland during the summer because if you drive more than 50 miles from point to point, you should plan to encounter a detour. Mine came in Tipperary town en route to Limerick OpenCoffee. Because of a poorly marked alternate route, I ended up traversing a boreen leading to a slurry pit. Fortunately, help was at hand. I stopped the car, asked the Garmin Nuvi 360 for ideas and it suggested I take time out at Viewpoint 14 (in photo). Actually, it constructed a route for me back to the main road and pointed to a scenic point along the way. And so I discovered a lay-by that offered a nice photo opportunity. From practical use of the Garmin in the car, I can say that its recommendations for scenic overlooks is normally very accurate. For example, the Garmin offers the best suggestion for snapping a shot of the Rock of Cashel, the historic monument closest to my house. You can see the result of that shot in my photostream.
THE QUIETEST people attending Limerick OpenCoffee have the greyest hairs. Because they have asked me to respect their status, I won't name them, quote them, record them or show their faces. Without them telling me first, I knew they had first-name status with angel investors. This is good for Irish start-ups who are using the OpenCoffee sessions throughout Ireland to connect ideas, technologies and vision. Now they can know that just behind the potted plants might be a gray hair with the time and connections to plumb their plans with a little start-up cash. Some of the grey brigade are reading these words. I expect one of them will probably return to Limerick in July to check up on a few pieces of technology demonstrated on laptops today in The Clarion. The grey hairs know that it's safe when lingering in the lobby at OpenCoffee sessions in Limerick's Clarion Hotel. No one will accost them or pitch them with a concept. But having met with some of the OpenCoffee crew, I think they will return monthly for casual conversation. In between OpenCoffee sessions, the real talking begins. I'm hoping there's some traction in the space that counts--the angel investment community.
LET'S GET SOMETHING straight: a real part of life is the bullying one endures as a function of living. My home bullies me into cleaning it. My dog bullies me into walking him. My cat bullies me when he bites my shoe laces and occasionally draws blood from my fingers when they get in the way. Down the street, teenagers carrying backpacks verbally bully special needs boys inside a playground. Around the corner, drunk louts bully Polish migrant workers on their way to the shops. A blonde Romanian who served me a glass of beer bullied me by curtly telling me that table service was not provided outside under the smoking umbrella. At the table next to me, a Kerryman bullied me with unwelcome smoke from his pipe. On my FreeNews Reader, Damien Mulley bullied me by talking about the cunts who lost his luggage (his language used to illustrate my alarm). So when people try to use my hard-earned tax money to construct a virtual space totally free of bullying, I shake my head and wonder why. Because in the real world, you always have bullying and it is good to know that you have to assert yourself, speak your mind, defend your corner and stand up for your rights. Sometimes your rights must be subordinated to the common good. You only realise this after you feel intimidated, bullied or harassed. You don't get this life lesson in a sterile online space cultivated by politically correct dweebs and pruned to be devoid of real world social influences.
WALT MOSSBERG has fingered his iPhone for several days and if his comments to the President's Forum are any indication, there are some things media phone users should expect the iPhone to do as well as SonyEricsson (SE) phones. Mossberg offered no indication that the iPhone delivers on these little points that have affected me during the past three years of using media phones with large screens. First, the screen should not give the side of your face a hot sensation when you hold the phone next to your ear. The early generation SE phones were prone to that effect, primarily because the flip cover could create a sweat dam between your ear and your cheek. Second, the phone should work well as an output device. You need to be able to listen to music, watch videos, read e-mails and look up directions. I think it's hard to trump the Walkman phone's music controls. I use them in my pocket with tactile responses only. Third, the battery must last as long as a bus ride across Ireland or a return train journey from Dublin to Cork. Most first generation media devices suck on battery power.
TWENTY FIVE YEARS AGO, while pulling up at 190 mph over the plains of Oklahoma, a small metal part in a hydraulic pump failed and sent shrapnel into the right engine of my T-38 Northrup Talon (at left). I saw red lights and felt sluggish controls. On a hot day with a single engine, the T-38 turns into a pig so that meant planning for an extended straight-in approach for an emergency landing. All went as planned but the after-action report uncovered a chain of suspicious procurement policies. In my case, it meant the hydraulic pump on my aircraft was actually a used part, not a refurbished component. Selling the US military boot sale parts is a tried-and-tested scam, one that extends from the Shannon Free Zone to Oklahoma, according to Ian Kehoe in the Sunday Business Post.