Archive for February, 2009

Bytes ‘n Pieces

February 13, 2009

– I missed the Tuesday Push this week but I've covered the precocious pixel prestidigitators of Pixenate before and no doubt will again as they continue to push out fun hacks like Twixenate and Twitter Mosaic - the cool new way of printing a photo montage of your Twitter clan on to mugs, t-shirts, mouse mats and other, you know, physical objects.

– Bizcamp Dublin is looking increasingly like being the biggest and best Barcamp yet (that is of course until Bizcamp Limerick comes along :-). Amazing line-up for the panel discussion on fundraising. And 161 people registered to attend.

– It looks like Twestival Dublin in aid of charity:water was a lot of fun.

Ireland's Silicon Valley plans 1,000 jobs in the next 5 years. But can Dublin/Ireland prove itselt to be a Digital Media Leader?

– It looks like the National Centre for Technology in Education aren't even aware of the large price drops in Interactive Whiteboards in recent years and so won't cover them in the latest €2.2 million scheme for primary schools.

– OpenCoffee is great but I think we should also have more speed networking events.

– Jason Roe is setting up a coworking office in Dublin city centre and may also provide a hotdesking space. Let him know if you're interested.

– Bernie Goldbach links to the Newshour segment on the economic situations in Ireland and Poland, part of which was filmed at OpenCoffee Limerick recently.

– Frank Fullard talks about home based business in Ireland and links to a corresponding survey.

– Congratulations to Pat Phelan and team at Cubic Telecom for winning the Cork Emerging Company of the Year award.

– Alan O'Rourke gives the elevator pitch on Toddle –

The purpose of technology in education

February 11, 2009

As brilliantly explained by Daithí O'Murchú, principal of Gaelscoil O'Doghair in Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick [Video by Bernie Goldbach]-

Part 1

Part 2

OpenChooChoo – all aboard that’s going aboard

February 6, 2009

I'm still on a high after yesterday's OpenCoffee Club Limerick – not just because of the record turnout but because of the uplifting buzz of positivity, the perfect antidote to all the negative news on the economic front lately.

Now Evert Bopp is proposing to host an OpenCoffee of a different kind – on a train travelling between Limerick and Dublin! That's thanks to the generous offer from Irish Rail to provide the use of a carriage free of charge for the day. With 345 members of the OpenCoffee Ireland group online and 18 new signees per week it would be great to gather some of that momentum and connect it offline…. along the rail-line

EirePreneurZ: Guest post by Senior Care founders

February 5, 2009

During the course of doing some research for Vizitant recently I came across the Senior Care directory and connected with the founders through Twitter. It's been a long time since I ran an EirePreneurZ article and I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about their business model by asking Senior Care Marketing Manager Conor Ebbs to guest post here. Follows below —

"The inspiration for the development of was derived from personal family experience. Frustrated
by the lack of online information on support and care services available
to older people in Ireland, we began planning in the summer of 2006
and launched our website in April 2007. We have been growing strongly

Our original goal was to set up a comprehensive
directory of support services. Although that still remains our priority,
we have several new features in development which should encourage greater
interaction among our visitors and provide more essential information:

  • The SeniorCare Jobs Board
    is currently in development. It will be targeted to jobs in the area
    of senior care (Home Care, Nursing Homes etc.) in Ireland
  • The SeniorCare Discussion
    is also being developed. This will allow our visitors to interact,
    ask questions, find answers and connect with one another
  • Resource
    with a variety of pertinent information on Home Care Packages,
    Nursing Home Subvention and other relevant information regarding entitlements
    for older people


We provide relevant Articles, Events
and News Features to keep our visitors updated on developments in the
area of elderly care in Ireland. Our monthly E-Newsletter launched in
November 2008 and has been very well received. You can sign up for this
on our homepage.

Our marketing efforts are primarily focused
on Online Marketing. This includes Google Adwords campaigns, Search
Engine Optimisation and several other non-interruptive forms of advertising.
So far, this approach has paid off. We rank in the Top 10 on
for all of our categories and receive between 2,500 and 3,000 highly
targeted visitors per month.

We are looking forward to our busiest
year yet in 2009. Feedback on our website is very important to us, so
please don’t hesitate to get in touch. The needs of older people in
Ireland are growing year on year, and we will grow with them.

Please visit us at 

– Conor and Sheila, Partners"

Call for applications – Social Entrepreneurs Ireland 2009

February 3, 2009

On Sunday I wrote a little about the fantastic year I've been having as a level 1 awardee of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, and about the amazing people I've been meeting through the network. The organization has been supporting my project – Vizitant – since last June and the advice I've been given and contacts I've made have been nothing short of priceless.

And now it's your chance to join the network (and receive some funding) as the 2009 call for applications is now open and will remain so until March 20th. So, if you're a budding social entrepreneur put on that thinking hat and make your application here. This year there will be 20 Level 1 Awards and 8 Level 2 Awards. If you need any advice in the submission of your application drop a comment below and I'll try my best to help.

Disclosure: There's a bounty scheme in operation this year where I can earn €250 for a successful network referral, but I'd be promoting the hell out of the program regardless. So here's what I'll do with any referrals I might earn – I'll use them to buy video-calling terminals (probably the Asus AiGuru SV1) for deserving elderly clients of Vizitant.

Bizcamp Dublin and Limerick in March – great FREE business networking events

February 2, 2009

I’ve been involved in the Barcamp ‘scene’ for three years now in Ireland and can honestly say each one has been among the best conferences I’ve ever attended. ‘Barcamp’ has nothing to do with bars, rather it’s a phenomenon which begun in California and is defined as “an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants.”

What makes Barcamps special is the way in which they differ from ‘normal’ conferences – there are are no paid speaking slots, attendees are actively encouraged to participate, ask questions and propose talks and everything is kept very informal and friendly.

Barcamps have tradionally had a ‘techie’ focus but recent events like Barcamp Cork3Dcamp Limerick,CreativeCamp Kilkenny and Podcamp Ireland have all diversified into having a broader appeal.

And now Bizcamp is coming to Dublin on March 7th, billing itself as the event for everyone interested in entrepreneruship and business startups. This is a terrific opportunity to network with and learn from like-minded individual and, who knows, potential future business partners. So what are you waiting for –register to attend here (it’s FREE!)

Bizcamp Limerick is also in the planning stages and takes place at UL on March 21st.

[Bizcamp Dublin organizer Keith Bohanna explains it better than I ever could]

F**k you and f**k your icecream – Release Speech Therapy

February 1, 2009

The people I've met through the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland network over the last 8 months are among the most determined and inspiring I've ever had the honour to converse with. But Tara Cunningham of Release is simply in a league of her own, truly a force of nature. Take 5 minutes out of your day to watch a short documentary about her and her project in the video below  and I'll think you'll be inspired for life (and you'll understand the meaning behind the title of this post).

Release is a not for profit therapy model, incorporating speech and language therapy with occupational exercises, early Intervention, social communication and oral motor therapy helping children combat
communication difficulties.
Release intervention methods teach caregivers,
teachers, special needs assistants and children techniques from speech
and language therapy and occupational exercises, to early intervention
and oral motor therapy.