Archive for January, 2008

Hanging out in a virtual art gallery

January 31, 2008

Keith and Damien have mentioned that Cork based journalist and entrepreneur Haydn Shaughnessy is launching his virtual art gallery Ten Cubed in Second Life today (and tomorrow depending on your time zone). Why a virtual gallery? Because

“Media-art is beginning to find an audience in Ireland but its real audience is urban anywhere. I can connect to some of that audience through a website . But what I can’t do through a website is join people in appreciating the art not when they could be anywhere from New York to Naples. Nor could many of the audience really appreciate the artwork they’d simply be viewing a 2D image. Nor can I easily introduce the artists to people who might love their work. With Ten Cubed I can do these things.”

Depo Consulting is the name of the company who developed Haydn’s virtual gallery and he liked their work so much that he bought joined the company as head of new media and social media. Congratulations Haydn and best of luck with today’s launch – I’ll be there!

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TechLudd’s no dud, hotspots are hot, Cork is streaming, Limerick’s a lady

January 26, 2008

— I’ve got to take my hat off to the people behind TechLudd and toast what was, by all accounts, a huge success. Jessica Roy says “It was the most successful most attended event, barring a conference, that the Irish tech community has ever seen”. See what you missed by browsing some of the great photo albums on Pix.ie. I’m certainly looking forward to the next event in Limerick. P.S. fair play to Microsoft for jumping in, yet again, as sponsor of a grassroots tech event in Ireland.

— Even though the Collaborative Map of Irish Wifi hotspots has been around since July of last year it has really only taken off in the last few days – thanks primarily to coverage by a number of Irish blogs, even the Irish Times.

And boy has it taken off! Over 11,000 views in the last 48 hours and now heading for 100 hotspots. There’s an interesting discussion going on in the comments section where Conor O’Neill explains how he was able to export all Access Point locations to his Nokia N95 (GPS enabled mobile phone). Conor says it’s a “killer app for me”. Will King of GeoData Solutions explains how to keep that mobile view live. And I’ve posted instructions for subscribing to an RSS feed with notifications of new points added.

Cork OpenCoffee is growing stronger than ever. And the coverage is excellent. As well as a full rundown on the blog Conor streamed live video from yesterday’s session including a talk from Brian McAuliffe of Something.ie.

Blogger Coffee in Limerick went off very well and I’m definitely not missing the next one.

Map of Irish wifi hotspots (you can help)

January 23, 2008

Our collaborative map of Irish wifi hotspots is starting to look busy and you can help maintain/update it simply by logging in to your gmail account to edit it.
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=112855554048460880778.0004358aea20ba94cba25&ll=52.634204,-7.846131&spn=1.636029,3.485058&om=0&iwloc=000439a76f120f541c6b6&output=embed&s=AARTsJqnrRGtsUNGxkeANtNT_NTCTkRvjw
View Larger Map

Bytes ‘n Pieces

January 18, 2008

Anton Mannering, organizer of TechLudd, suggests forging connections with the Israeli Web tour who are following in the footsteps of PaddysValley“Building links with these guys might not be too difficult,… extending the hand of friendship would cost little and could achieve much”.

Did you know that the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) in Galway is the largest Semantic Web research group in the world? If not, you might be interested in finding out what they do there in this interview where John Breslin talks with SemanticWeb.com about SIOC, the Semantically Interlinked Online Communities project.

Niall Larkin reworks the Emperor’s New Clothes to explain what’s wrong with Facebook. And Niall should know, his startup is developing solutions to social network privacy issues.

Alan O’Rourke says Toddle (simple email newsletters) is making money in its 6th week of launch. Sorry Alan, then it just can’t be a Web 2.0 app! 😉

Margaret Durand asked some bloggers if we could put out a LAST CALL for applicants to the Female Entrepreneurship in Ireland and Wales (FEIW) project. “Its a new year and many women will be looking at their business wondering how to take it to the next level in 2008. With our intensive tailored 6 month programme women in business in the South East can achieve their growth goals! There are VERY limited places left so if anyone is interested they should contact us URGENTLY at mdurand@wit.ie or visit the website www.whysofeiw.com

How to share what you graze

January 14, 2008

Paul Walsh thinks “some people make up jargon in order to put their stake in the ground. In fact, it winds me up when it ends up confusing those who aren’t in the same circle.” It appears he’s not even fond of applying the word ‘subscribe’ to RSS feeds! Yikes, I dare not tell him that the terms ‘feed grazing‘ and ‘OPML grazing‘ are catching on. Truth be told I coined ‘grazing’ only out of frustration that it was fundamentally different to ‘subscribing’ so maybe Paul will forgive me 😉

This past week Gabe Rivera wrote about using Grazr with his Techmeme Leaderboard OPML file – “Last fall, Ross Mayfield embedded a grazing widget powered by Grazr in this post which similarly uses the Techmeme Leaderboard’s OPML as a starting point. You can customize your own Grazr Leaderboard widget starting at this page. They also offer iPhone-optimized grazing. Several RSS aggregators have similar capabilities built-in.”

Adam likes it so much that he built a custom widget for it –

But that’s not all the team have been doing. We’ve also added automatic subscription in major feed readers, which means you can quickly add any feed you find in a Grazr page or widget to your own online feed reader (Bloglines, Google Reader, myAOL, My Yahoo!, Netvibes, NewsGator, Pageflakes). As Adam says, this feature turns the Grazr widget into a great vehicle for promoting feeds on your own site. By posting a widget on your pages, you can make it easy for visitors to preview a feed’s content, and then subscribe to it with a single click.

And that’s not all, we’ve also added the capabilities to post Reading Lists to major blog tools and to post directly to Twitter.

Bytes ‘n pieces

January 12, 2008

Anton says TechLudd is going ahead on Thursday 24 January in Dublin and registration is now open. "… so if you’re interested in start-ups ad what they do, and chatting about what you do, come along and have a cool evening with cool people." I’ll wait for the next one, in Limerick.

Reviews aggregator LouderVoice is running a Hairy Baby competition. Kinda.

An interesting bunch of keynote speakers have been lined up for Blogtalk Cork 2008 but I’m not sure I can justify the cost. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by (free) Barcamps. Speaking of which, the next BarCamp (in Ireland) has been themed CreativeCamp. I wonder if we should follow up with MobileCamp and GreenCamp?

Congratulations to Emer Jones, winner of the BT Young Scientist of the Year in Dublin yesterday.

Robin Blandford laments
the lack of emotive tactility in the sharing of digital bits.

Which is worse – twitterheoa or blogstipation?

January 11, 2008

I wrote about the ‘Lazysphere‘ the other day without blinking an eyelid at yet another neologism. Probably because (a) I’ve become so used to tech jargon that I don’t even notice it anymore, and (b) because I think neologisms are, in moderation, a bit of harmless fun.

So in one way I agree with Alexia when she gives us techie (micro)bloggers a collective slap on the wrist –

"While many of the terms are used to describe well-known situations in short busts of effort, I find that more and more of the terms creeping in usage are simply cynical stakes in the ground. They are invented by mavens to be as a way to notch up tracking trends or movements happening just below the surface of connected communities and pull some eyeball time from readers."

Hugh MacLeod is one such blogger who immediately spring to mind in that regard. I love Hugh’s work but he’s a sucker for creating neologisms like "Armchair Militia" and "Techmeme Slaves". Alexia’s criticisms are squarely aimed there.  But on the other hand she goes way too far in condemning the usage of an age-old term like ‘subscribe’

"Many of these labels are also meant to separate techies from non-techies through a literary digital divide. For example, even using the word ’subscribe’ when describing that one reads another’s blog in an RSS reader is misleading. People don’t subscribe. RSS readers subscribe. We just read."

Ah now c’mon there Alexia. There’s co comparison between the actions of subscribing to a feed and reading one. Two totally different verbs. Just like there’s a difference between subscribing to a newsletter and reading one.

Personally I’ll make a fresh effort to Keep It Simple, as Alexia says, in my future tech writings. But I’m not joining her in the grammar police force. Titterheoa isn’t a good thing but neither is blogstipation.

Blogger Coffee in Limerick January 19th

January 10, 2008

Microsoftie, Tweetup organizer, and Limerick woman in exile (in Dublin) Alexia Golez is organizing an informal Blogger Coffee morning in Limerick on Saturday January 19th. Venue not yet decided but you can make your suggestions here.

Let’s not be part of the lazysphere

January 9, 2008

I’m such a lazy blogger that I hardly blogged at all in December. But that’s only one kind of lazy blogging. Steve Rubel is more concerned about another –

"The Lazysphere – a working definition – is a group of bloggers who I won’t name by name, but you can spot them a mile away. Rather than create new ideas or pen thoughtful essays, they simply glom on to the latest news with another "me too" blog post. Their goal is largely to land on Techmeme and sometimes digg – perhaps Google in an archival/Long Tail perspective. These sites – and Twitter too – have perpetuated a lot of lackadaisical writing"

Ironically, by linking to and quoting Rubel’s post, which is likely zooming up the Techmeme charts as I type, I’m being an archetypal lazyblogger. Forgive me, I’m mending my ways slowly.

While Steve’s thesis may appear a tad elitist there’s no doubt that he makes an important point. I took a step back from blogging in December mostly because I needed a break but also because I ran out of ideas. That is, ideas with a modicum of original thought and not just ‘me too’ commentary on the meme of the day.

The Irish blogosphere isn’t actually too bad in this respect. A number of our high profile bloggers generate lots of thought provoking original material. But I still wish we had more Hadyn Shaughnessys around. Original thinkers and excellent writers who comment mainly on ideas from outside of the big Digg Tech-o-chamber.

In 2008 I’m going to resist Techmeme pile-ons by Twittering my thoughts on that category of development. I’ll reserve my blog for more thoughtful pieces…. if I come up with any!

Irish hackers get super happy

January 8, 2008

Paul Campbell writes, "Something great happened today" and elaborates –

"Using Twitter , Ana Nelson organised what she interchangeably named ‘Sunday hacking’ ‘Coding brunch’ ‘Ruby hacking’. After a cosy lunch in one of the booths [at the New York Grind in Dublin], the gang of us traipsed over to the window and laptops came out. To be honest, I’ve not seen anything like it since I was inspired at Super Happy Dev House — an entire row of tables and back to back laptops and a gang of people, brought together, spontaneously, voluntarily and all for love and passion for what we were doing.

Between blogging, working on plugins and hacks, chatting about social networking and Twitter, the buzz was that truly undefinable magic that comes out of a bunch of familiar strangers getting together, by choice, to share their space and attention with each other, for fun, for community and most definitely not for any financial gain."

Don’t read the rest of Paul’s writeup unless you want to be infected by entrepreneurial passion. One of my new year’s resolutions is to pop in to a few of these sessions and catch up with the Dublin gang. I’d also like to spin a few small ideas by them that I’ve had for a number of years but lacked the web design/development skills and resources to pursue.

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Photo borrowed from Paul and Ana.