Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Google service: Streetview!

Well its not so much a new service altogether, but a huge addition to the existing Google Map service. On selected Cities throughout the US you can now navigate through cities and get a photographic view of what the area looks like, and you can even turn a full 360 degrees! You simply navigate around the maps with the little guy i have circled in red, and up pops a photo of the area.

I really think this is an amazing new feature that brings the maps to life and gives real entertainment, another notch on the belt for the the serial innovators up in Mountain View CA.
Hats off to you fine sirs!
The pic I have there is of the Apple shop I visited while in New York not too long ago, on the left of the photo is the entrance to Central Park.... oh the memories.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Internet killed the TV star

I must say that the amount of time i spend on the internet has grown hugely in the last few weeks due to the revelation that i can watch tv through the internet. My personal favorite is tv links which can be found here where you can watch almost any episode of any reasonably popular programme, cartoon (even earth worm Jim) or movie which really is cool.

Also worth a mention is "alluc" found here which accompishes much the same thing, but at times has a greater selection of episodes etc.

If you are after Irish made television shows you can find them on this rte page.

I would imagine that when broadband penetration increases and word gets around about these sites, internet televsion may just begin to replace the aul tube, that said I expect that devices like the Appletv, which transmit media on your computer to your tv box might reverse this shift somewhat.

I've seen it all?

As I walked down my road the other day, I looked into the distance and realised how impressive the view I have right outside my door is. At the end of my street, in the distance you can see the Killiney hill, its quarry and the castle atop it, and I realised how once you see something enough times you really do forget how good/great/impressive it really is.

The following day when I was on the DART going into town, and as Dublin bay came into view a group of tourists got all excited about it and started taking pictures etc, again it dawned on me that because I see this site almost daily I forgot how great the view really is. Over exposure leads to a situation where you take it for granted and forget the beauty of it all.

One of the career paths I would like to pursue is in consultancy, and I once heard the phrase that “consultants take your watch off you and tell you the time” at first this sounds kind of offensive, but I think in some aspects of the job this is somewhat true, and that a lot of the time you need an impartial party to come and remind you what is good/great about what you do/are and what isn’t.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sue first ask questions later

The culture of sue first ask questions later gets on my nerves, as I wrote before here, and yesterday I read of a case that left me in disbelief

Michael Wade of Execupundit points us to the recent lawsuit filed by the father of the late Josh Hancock (of St Louis Cardinals MLB fame) in the wake of the 29 year olds suicide. The Cardinals pitcher decided the way he wanted to leave this mortal coil was to... drink drive, well over the speed limit, while on a mobile phone AND without wearing a seatbelt (tut tut) and plow into a tow truck parked at the roadside.

His father has now filed a lawsuit in St. Louis against:

  1. the restaurant where Hancock was drinking,

  2. the manager of said restaurant, the tow truck driver,

  3. the towing company,

  4. and the driver of the stalled vehicle that the tow truck was assisting.

St Louis has the full story here

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Time is on our side

Travelling between countries and the time changes that coincide with them have always troubled my brain, I was watching a Michael Palin documentary last night on TV – Links (incidentally the best website ever) and it showed us the odd situation present in the Diomede islands in the Pacific between Alaska and Russia. On the Left is little Diomede owned by the United States, and on the right is big Diomede, a Russian owned territory. Within the narrow body of water between two of the islands, lies the International Date Line. If one were to swim, boat or fly across this completely imaginary line, they would then be in…tomorrow.

I suppose I can understand this, because there is a rational reasoning behind it and supposedly I am an educated person, but, spare a thought for the explorers of days gone by who really had no idea of what was happening. Pigafetta a sailor on a Magellan voyage noted

"On Wednesday, the ninth of July [1522], we arrived at one these islands named
Santiago, where we immediately sent the boat ashore to obtain provisions. [...]
And we charged our men in the boat that, when they were ashore, they should ask
what day it was. They were answered that to the Portuguese it was Thursday, at
which they were much amazed, for to us it was Wednesday, and we knew not how we had fallen into error. For every day I, being always in health, had written down
each day without any intermission"

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Speed Issues

Driving in Dublin has become a rather unattractive pursuit, and this is in part due to the speed restrictions on certain roads that some would consider too slow. A visit to Bermuda would no doubt give them a rude awakening as to what slow really was.

The highest speed allowed anywhere on the island is a whoppingly slow 35km and hr, now considering that our speed limit goes up to 120km/hr on the motorways, I think people should reconsider their attitudes towards Irelands speed limits.

The one redeeming feature of Bermudas somewhat insane speed restrictions, is that I would imagine that road deaths are incredibly low, seeing as most fatal accidents happen at faster speeds, a way to counter that is to just make everyone go at a snails pace…problem solved!

Also can anyone tell my why the speed limit here goes UP to 100km on windy country roads?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Election posters v2.0

I mentioned before here about how I thought the election posters were a wasted opportunity to inform people, and also commented that they were targeting the wrong people all together. Being a newbie to all “this sort of thing” I had not really taken into account the fact that I, and every other registered voter in my house, would be receiving a small forests worth of pamphlets, leaflets and all sorts of other stuff too (Yes even the green party saw it fit to send me a lot of paper pamhlets tut tut).
So my claims at that parties were not informing the general public were slightly wrong, however I stand by the fact I think most posters up a month ago, were completely useless in terms of informing people. (With the exception of some Fine Gael posters I saw)

As it stands today I think they do their job brilliantly, having read the pamphlets and seen the candidates door to door, this will jog people’s memory on the way to the polling station as to who is who.

Other observations

  1. One aspect I have found funny about the election has been the canvassing process where loyal supporters of different parties sometimes end up engaging in trench warfare with those that get in “their area” as seen in a battle between a diehard Richard Boyd Barrett canvasser and a certain friends dad, canvassing for Labour.
  2. Also at times defacing of posters can come up with some humorous moments for all (monobrows with permanent markers, toothless smiles etc…oh the humour)
  3. The poster below

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Man United 1999

this german kid is an angry young man, he doesnt like Sheringham...

Amazon - Early Edition

One of my favourite television programmes back in the day was “Early Edition” which followed the adventures of a young man, who, through some sort of mysterious magic, received tomorrow’s news…TODAY. It was then up to him to save the day etc based on this information.
Predicting the future is always a bit of fun, and you can potentially make a fair bit of money out of it too.

On the morning of April 3rd of this year the online retailer, sent an email entitled “UCLA Wins” to all the customers that bought a sports related item, to give them a heads up on this special offer. This cap would act as a great reminder for Bruins fans of a great victory in the NCAA finals

The problem was…the game had not yet taken place, and the Florida Gators the other finalists were not going to let a novelty cap determine their fate. As it turned out, later that night Florida gave UCLA a complete spanking in the final, cruising to a 73-57 victory.
“Clearly it was a mistake” announced a spokesman for Amazon

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Jonathan Ive, Apples forgotten saviour

Most people if asked, would put Apples success in recent years down to one man, Steve Jobs. I whole heartedly agree that Steve Jobs has been the driving force behind the computer company’s resurgence from its darker days, however, it would not be fair to over look the contribution of a certain Mr. Jonathan Ive, the chief designer behind so many of Apple’s products.

The London born designer and co founder “Tangerine” a design consultancy, was head hunted by Apple back in 1992 and went about designing computers that he thought would complete the user experience of using an Apple computer. Ive was responsible for the design of the iPod, iMac, Powerbook and the upcoming iPhone, and says that the projects have been developed with the intention of keeping in mind “ease and simplicity”.

A modest man, Ive rarely boasts of his exploits and remains relatively unknown to the general public, however his achievements have been recognised by
Industrial designers society of America – industrial design excellence

  1. Design Museum – designer of the year 2002 and 2003

  2. The Sunday times - one of Britain's most influential expatriates

  3. Macworld – Joining company voted 6th most significant event in Apple history

So next time you use ur iPod or an admire the design of an Apple computer, keep in mind the man behind its design, Jonathan Ive.

Friday, May 18, 2007


Sometimes people will present you with data and information, sometimes very accurate data, but the fact they get very detailed...does not mean that they are correct.

James Ussher a graduate of Trinity College (where else), was a gentleman who liked to be as accurate as possible. In 1654 Ussher finalised his finest and most famous of academic papers entitled "Annals of the Old Testament, deduced from the first origins of the world", in this paper he claimed that through his extensive research he could now reveal that the world was created at nightfall preceding the 23rd of October 4004 B.C.

So sometimes you have to take supposedly accurate information with a pinch or five of salt.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Vegetarian? Mars don't care

Masterfoods the owner of the famous “Mars” brand of chocolate this week made an announcement what has caused uproar among the vegetarian community. As of May 1st many of the bars under the mars label will be switching from synthetic rennet that is currently used in production to…Calf rennet. In case you don’t know, rennet is an enzyme that comes from a calf stomach and is harvested from the calf, after SLAUGHTER.

I’m not a vegetarian, and I know that animal by-products are used in many of the foods I eat, but I think Mars are really going to regret this move, something about the inclusion of dead animal really take the fun out of a milky way. Yes they will make slight saving by using the cheaper animal rennet, but the amount of negative publicity they are going to receive will, in my opinion far outweigh this cost cutting initiative.

So as of October when these new products hit the shelves Mars, Minstrels, Milky Way and all mars brand ice creams. A representative for the firm added "If the customer is an extremely strict vegetarian, then we are sorry the products are no longer suitable, but a less strict vegetarian should enjoy our chocolate,"

The UK vegetarian society have spoken of a boycott of the brand, stating “Masterfoods' decision to use non-vegetarian whey is a backward step”

Monday, May 14, 2007

Romania thanks Bill Gates for pirated software

Sometimes it can be pretty important to choose your words carefully, especially when in the company of influential people. Last February Bill Gates made a visit to Romania to open the new regional technical support centre, and to coincide with the event he was to be presented with the Star of Romania Order, Commander Rank, due to his company's help in developing his countries technological capabilities.

The prime minister then decided to go further into HOW Microsoft had helped them over the past two decades explaining that it was in fact piracy of the Microsoft software that had led to this development.

Realising that perhaps he had stood in a bit of a Romanian cow pat, he decided to try and remedy the situation by adding "piracy, became in the end an investment in friendship toward Microsoft and Bill Gates, an investment in educating the young generation in Romania which created the Romanians' friendship with the computer"

Gates did not comment.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Why are manholes round?

Microsoft's Tony Martinez started asking job candidates this question during interviews to see how they approach the issue, try thinking of why and sending your answers to me on a postcard/comment.

(its more fun if you don't cheat by looking online)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eds New Blog!

I have started up a new blog here, where I'm going to put various quotations that have impressed me in one way or another. If you have any interesting quotations you think would be good, throw them my way. Thanks

Worms or Cheese?

I think I was quite young when I first heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm” and when you examine the statement, I guess you can imagine that it does make a fair bit of sense. In terms of a new innovation, product or idea, some people would be of the school of thought that the best option is to get it to market first and get “the worm” with your first movers advantage.

A few years ago I heard an addition to the phrase about the bird and his worms, “the early bird gets the worm BUT the second mouse gets the cheese” and again this phrase made a lot of sense to me. The problem is, by being the first to stick you head out there and releasing your product; it means you are acting as the guinea pig for a whole industry and a host of would-be competitors.

In terms of business, the determining factor in the long term success of a product is its competitive advantage, something that its other competitors cannot imitate. For example Apple did not create the original mp3 player, they didn’t have to put R&D dollars into the development of a new music format, they didn’t have to test the market and see if there was any demand (companies like Rio were the early pioneers), however they did have a competitive advantage, they made mp3 players “cool”, a fashion statement and innovated with great interface and design and cleaned up the market riding on the hard work of others.

Other examples are

  1. Sony did not invent the portable cd player
  2. Ryanair did not invent the concept of low fare airlines
  3. Microsoft didn’t invent the operating system
  4. Google did not invent the search engine

To lead or to follow? That is the question

Friday, May 11, 2007

Steve Jobs - "stay hungry, stay foolish"

I really admire Steve Jobs, if you don't know him, he is the CEO and founder of both Apple computer and Pixar and has been recognised worldwide as a truly great innovator (Apple recently voted worlds most innovative company for the 3rd year running by Fortune magazine) and marketer. However his path to success wasn't always so clear, and in his speech to graduating Stanford students in 2005, he tells the story of how he got to where he is now.
If you have some spare time I really would recommend you watch this video, a great speech and a great life message to take away from it.

Car Wars

A Tesco...Divorce?...

Call me old-fashioned but I consider this product to overstep the boundry of what a regular grocery retailer should offer. Tesco have recently diversified themselves into both financial and legal services, and have released a "Do-It-Yourself" Divorce and seperation, boasting

"Our DIY kits provide all the background information, help guides and blank forms you'll need to handle important legal issues confidently".
The kit itself is packed with the forms and advice you need to conduct your divorce, where appropriate without the expense of a solicitor. Plus, a free CD-Rom containing essential divorce forms. I personally don't see the idea of a Tesco brand divorce taking off, there just seems to be a bit of conflict between the brand image of a supermarket and the seriousness of a Marraige breakdown.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Worlds Best Presentation recently hosted a presentation competition in which one could submit their slides on a topic of their choice, and it would be put to a panel of judges and the general public. The panel of Judges was seriously experienced and included writers from two of my favorite blogs Guy Kawasaki and Garr Reynolds of presentation zen.

The presentation below is the winning entry as chosen by the judges entitled "shift happens", the content was originally compiled by Bill Fisch and this is a more graphical representation of the facts in question.... well worth a look, and a near perfect example of how to create an engaging presentation

Lecturers: Good vs Bad

Bad Lecturers

  1. Can't use powerpoint - most lecturers see it fit slides that are poorly animated, poorly constructed and packed full of text to the point of illedgibilty. If you're going to use it, use it well.
  2. Cannot communicate - I'm sure that in their college days they were the best and brightest of whatever academic field thet just so happens they are not very good at explaining in language us students can understand (esp economics, accounting, finance)
  3. Are solely responsible for low attendance numbers - "lying in bed is a better use of my time than listening to you"
  4. Engage in "one way traffic" - of the attitude "I will be speaking for the duration, questions shall not be tolerated"
  5. Class is over when its over - Once my 1hr slot is up class is over and I dont want to talk about it.

Good Lecturers (few and far between)

  1. Add Value to the subject - They don't merely read out their slides to you verbatim, they bring their relevant life/work experience and add a human aspect to the factual content
  2. Create Good Presentations - Understand what material overload is and avoid it...they might even use pictures/audio/videos to back up their information in multiple formats
  3. Make you want to go to class - There is no better feeling than getting out of bed and actively want to get to the bus and into class asap, creates a great class atmosphere too.
  4. Make it a two way process - they ask questions, and invite questions to be asked, interactivity>"listen here YOU"
  5. Are your teachers in and out of class - the class may be over, but if you ever need to ask them questions or just want to talk to them about the subject...they are there and want to do so
  6. Leave a lasting impression

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Tumbleweed = $

Picture the scene...the "good guy" is walking through the ranch looking to kill that damn baddie, but its quiet...TOO quiet *tumble weed rolls by*, how many times have we seen a situation like that, well a few anyway.
Tumble weeds make any average movie BRILLIANT, and enjoy a reputation all around the world as the most photogenic of all weeds, surely there could be some way to make money out of these rotund delights?

Uncommon business points us to just such a venture. Linda Katz of Kansas has throught her site, created a living out of selling tumble weeds, "it all started as a joke" she remarks, but the site has turned into an online business that earns her in the region of $40k per annum. Katz and some of her family members search for tumbleweeds trapped along fences etc on the roadside and post them off from the local post office.

The site has been so popular in Japan , she has released a separate Japanese edition of the site, and the largest order to date has been a $1000 order from the Barney&friends TV show.

The tumbleweed entrepreneur added “Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?”

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Employee Safety

Employee safety is always an important issue with any organisation, but as Reuters reported last week, sometimes concerns over safety can come from the oddest of sources. The Canadian national postal service have recently refused to deliver letter to the house of a Mr. Samborski, claiming that his cat, shadow, is “unsafe”.

"We have quite a history with this cat," claimed a spokeswoman for the postal service. "It has attacked letter carriers three times, two different letter carriers." The developments mean That Mr Samborski will have to travel over 4km to his local depot to collect all his mail until a solution has been reached.

The cats owner is adamant that his cat is not the violent creature its been made out to be, stating the cat “likes to eat and sleep and cuddle. You could drop a bomb and he'd just open one eye, take a look, then close them and go back to sleep,”

It seems that its not just Shadow who is up to these acts of “violence” Canada Post claims that up to 15 postmen are bitten by cats, dogs and even raccoons in Manitoba every year.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Interview skills

Office space is a really, really great movie, here is a quick clip from it, and a great example of how NOT to conduct yourself in an interview
"What the hell is wrong with you people" - bravo

Friday, May 4, 2007

Promotions gone wrong: KDND 107.9 - "hold your wee for a wii"

In January the Sacramento based radio station KDND 107.9 decided it would hold a contest for a much desired Nintendo Wii, a contest where all the contests drank bottles of water every 15 minutes and the contest that could fight his /her bladder for the longest period would be declared the winner.

Jennifer Strange a 28 yr old mother of 3 children was one of the contestants determined to get her hands on the fantastic prize, which had recently sold out in most shops around the world. She was not successful in her bid for the console but after the competition ended it became very apparent that Ms Strange was not feeling well, one of her friends commented:
"She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting her real bad."
A day later Ms Strange was dead, having suffered from water intoxication.
The stations managing Director fired ten staff in connection to the competition and took the show who had organised it "the morning rave" off the air indefinitely

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Ed: the video

After getting inspiration from Sir Rowan of Manahan, and noticing my friend's attempt at this, I have decided to make a video of my own that is basically a short slideshow of places, things, experiences and people that have influenced my life, some in small ways others in more significant.

Election posters

I was getting the 46a into college today and it struck me that there was a truly incredible amount of Election posters up everywhere that my eyes cared to wander, seemingly any street light pole is fair game for pre election advertising, and the political parties have them fairly comprehensively covered in an incredibly short amount of time.

I’m not sure who designs these posters on behalf of the candidates, but I think that they are fundamentally flawed and very ineffective. I think the people in question haven’t asked themselves some pretty simple questions, seeing as this is an advertisement (of a type)

  • Who am I selling this idea to?
  • How will I convince them to choose my idea over someone Else's?

As far as I can see, the people who know the political scene in any meaningful way, on the most part, know who they are going to vote for and why, and (I acknowledge they can also act as a reminder) they are not going to be swung by the amount of times they see Joe Bloggs smiley face on a poster stuck up on a pole on the way to work. So therefore the people who might be swayed by these posters are the uninformed or undecided voters.

Once that is established you need to decide what method would be best to swing these people to choose your candidate/idea over anyone elses. The current approach seems to be to get the candidates face to fill the poster and put his/her name beside it…great.
I think that a much more effective approach would be to state what that person/party is offering to you the voter, that the others aren’t. Even a few simple sentences “introduce mandatory duck washing” or whatever it may be…just something….anything…Information.

Comparing this to an everyday product that is advertised to perfection is Dell computers, Dell know who they are trying to advertise to (on tv: the “average home user”) and try to convince you by telling you exactly what they offer for your purchase(vote). This is a much more effective way of swinging uninformed/undecided buyers than simply putting an ad on the TV that says “BUY(vote) DELL”

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Google madness

I get a fair few hits from everyday through various searches that end up being somewhat related to my articles. However when looking though the links to my blog, I noticed that I feature…extremely high for some pretty general searches. Below are some examples of where Cube rates.

  1. Bebo addiction problem - 4th out of 110,000
  2. Randy couture ufc - 9th out of 334,000
  3. Guinness Ad Africa - 4th out of 611,000
  4. (my personal fave) Wrong place wrong time - 7th out of 116,000,000