ALTHOUGH I AM IN THE MIDDLE of a self-imposed broadband cap, I decided to make a Qik video of my take on Sunday tech news in Ireland. Part of the video includes important pointage to LouderVoice review items, such as the truly excellent Omega 3 Cranberry-filled flax seed biscuits. I immediately renewed my pledge to keep these clips as short as four-minute music videos--something I failed to do this week. One of the facts that might go unnoticed by readers is that it took me more than 25 minutes to upload this 8-minute video. That's because my O2-Ireland 3G SIM enjoys only 28.8 speeds where I live under the Rock of Cashel's shadow. Nonetheless, I think it's important to test drive my life at over-the-air broadband speeds and today's Qik video is proof that without true broadband, you really have a slowpoke existence. In a tech part of the modern world, it might as well be a print-only existence.
Speaking of that print world, here are some items I spotted that caught my attention this week in the Sunday newspaper print editions.
Changes at Ebay. "Radical changes at Ebay" made the front page of the Sunday Times Business section along with an explanation that Ebay customers can no longer make negative criticisms about sellers on the site. Lorrie Norrington, president of Ebay marketplace operations, is listening to a storm of protest over "radical changes to fees and the way items are listed and paid for on Ebay." Some of these changes are meant to parry the new arrival of Amazon.com into the online marketplace. 
Online Music Sales. "The value of Irish music sales fell 5.9% last year, partly due to the rising sale of cheaper digital music, according to figures from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry." As Niall Brady explains, "The value of CD sales was down a sharp 8% last year." In a graphic accompanying my Qik video, 67% of all music buyers were aged from 15-64 years while 21% of all buyers were young teens. We buy several tracks a week from iTunes and every month download teasers from eMusic. 
Education at Change of Mind Time. In a rewarmed
article about distance education that is timely at the moment since third level candidates are free to change their minds about further education, Sarah O'Sullivan offers some good
points about distance learning, blended learning and free courses
scattered across the internet. Anything to break the mode of lemmings
herding into classrooms is a good thing, I believe. 
Charge My Car. "Britain will soon have its first national network of charging bays for electric cars as growing numbers of motorists opt for alternative forms of transport," according to the Sunday Times. Electric cars will be more popular sooner than many people think, with the cost of oil expected to double in value over the next 18 months. 
Convergence of Crises. "Western countries have upgraded the food and fuel crisis into a national security concern as they fear record high energy and agricultural costs are destabilising key developing regions of the world. The concerns come as the world suffers for the first time since 1973 from the confluence of record oil and food prices. Corn, soyabean, and meat prices jumped this week to all-time highs, while oil prices hit a record of almost $140 a barrel." 
This international issue affects Ireland on the ground. Ken Griffin points to "a growing wave of militancy in the Irish haulage industry is likely to bring about massive fuel protests and cripple the economy." 
Continuing in this theme, the Sunday Tribune News section gives Mark Hilliard a full page to offer a laundry list of energy initiatives, including new thinking on biofuels, passengers paying by their own weight for airline tickets, and electric sockets at public carparks. 
Paddy Tax Lumbers On. Taking a page from the Pat Phelan playbook, but without referring to the Paddy Tax, Una Mullally points out that a new iPhone "will cost up to 50 times more in Ireland." A related news piece below bequeaths greater value on the phone. 
Digital Creativity. In an article with photos of Frederic Herrera and the Media Cube at Dun Laoghaire, Darragh Brennan explains that "Create is a government-funded digital media business training and mentoring programme which is managed by the Institute of Art Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire. It is a 12-month programme open to 10 entrepreneurs, or employees of small businesses." The year-long programme requires a commitment of only 1.5 days per month with training staff at Dun Laoghaire. 
Wireless hotspot provider Bitbuzz expects to exceed the EUR 1m
turnover mark this year after signing a deal with O2 which will see
users of Apple's iPhone provided with free access to Bitbuzz's network
of hotspots. According to Dick O'Brien, "the company has approached
all of the major public transport providers, but MD Shane Deasy said
the process had been incredibly slow to date." I'm interested in that finding, especially in light of what Evert Bopp is trying to do with Irish Rail. On a related note, those with Stateside iPhones should not use their phones for data services in Ireland. The shocking costs of international downloads. 
Wanted: Cabin Altitude Detector.Stephen Geary has designed an apparatus to predict and detect the differences in air pressure around an aircraft's wing, allowing a self-stabilising technology to prevent the unnerving friction and turbulence that commonly occurs on passenger flights. 
Snooping into your Pay Packets.Adrian Weckler advises, "The next time you see a peculiarly judgemental expression on the face of your company's IT person, consider that they may have just been portiong over your salary, discilinary and HR records." 
DERI and TouristR.
Margaret O'Brien writes about the Digital Enterprise Research
Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway and its "thoroughly multinational group
of 130 researchers ... the largest semantic web research institute in
the world." She also mentions the work of Jan Blanchard ant
Touristr.com, a destination review site. 
Social Networking on your Mobile Phone. Chris Handley, head of mobile internet and media content for Vodafone Ireland, thinks "voice and text have become commodities." He sees a whole new proposition that would revolve around price for "social networking services." 
Compelling Video Connections. John Crowley, director of Diacom, says video helps facilitate more meaningful communications because face-to-face "is more personal, builds higher trust, reduces confusion." 
Get a Personal Fuel Strategy.Why are you willing to use a vehicle that will soon cost you more than two euro a litre to fill up its tank? James Mills wonders as well. He points to "the all-electric Smart car" that you can buy from a traditional Mercedes dealership, getting you "50 miles for every one euro of electricity you put in the battery." That works out to around 300 mpg. 
Cool Gizmos. In the Gizmo section of the Sunday Times InGear supplement today , you can find deatils on the active denial system (causes no permanent damage), the Nevo SL Universal Remote, the Tributary Tomcat Tandem Inflatable Kayak and the JBL Control NOW outdoor speakers.
1. Dominic Rushe -- "Boos Greet Radical Changes at Ebay" in a Special
Report for the Sunday Times Business Section, 22 June 2008.
2. Niall Brady - "Downloads on the up" in Business News, The Sunday Times, 22 June 2008.
3. Sarah O'Sullivan -- "Enrol at kitchen table university" in the education section of the Sunday Times, 22 June 2008.
4. Abul Taher -- "The charge is on: Britain gears up for electric cars" in the News section of the Sunday Times, 22 June 2008.
5. Carola Hoyos and Javier Blass -- "Global security fees over food and fuel crisis" on the front page of the Financial Times, 22 June 2008.
6. Ken Griffin -- "Fuel Row a Juggernaut Heading for Economy" in the Sunday Tribune, 22 June 2008.
7. Mark Hilliard -- "Looking down the barrel" in The Sunday Tribune, 22 June 2008.
8. Una Mullally -- "New iPhones will Cost Up to 50 Times More in Ireland" in the Sunday Tribune, 22 June 2008.
9. Darragh Brennan -- "Create: Combining Creativity, Technology and Business Nous" in the Sunday Tribune Recruitment pages, 22 June 2008.
10. Dick O'Brien -- "Bitbuzz to pass €1m mark after O2 deal" in the Sunday BUsiness Post, 22 June 2008.
11. Adrian Weckler -- "DIT Student pulls plug on air turbulence" in the Sunday Business Post, 22 June 2008.
12. Adrian Weckler -- "Data Security Falls Foul of IT Snoops" in The Sunday Business Post, 22 June 2008.
13. Margaret O'Brien -- "Web Solution with a Difference" in the Sunday Business Post, 22 June 2008.
14. Chris Hawe -- "Making the most of the mobile" in The Sunday Business Post, 22 June 2008.
15. Dermot Corrigan -- "Video killed the conference call" in The Sunday Business Post, 22 June 2008.
16. James Mills -- "Our Friends Electric" in the Sunday Times InGear supplement, 22 June 2008.
17. Mark Harris -- "Stop -- or I'll use the Pain Ray" in the Sunday Times InGear supplement, 22 June 2008.