“Bloom”, and high technology meets gardening

Bloom in the Phoenix Park has become a regular part of Dublin’s annual calendar.  With 30 show gardens,  numerous trade stalls and exhibits,  and many food stands,  it takes at least a day to see everything.   A modest gardener myself,  I thought it would be interesting to muse on the extent to which smart technology has made an impact – or not – on the gardening market….   This article was published on May 30th last.

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‘Heartbleed’ post-mortem

I wrote this article on what happened leading up to the ‘Heartbleed’ bug,  and the consequences,  for the Irish Times for May 12th last.

Just before midnight on New Years Eve 2011, one of four software developers at OpenSSL Software Foundation (OSF) instructed his computer to accept a suggested new feature which had been voluntarily submitted by a PhD student, and so to merge it into the core code base of his company’s software. Three months later, on March 14th 2012, a new version of the code base, including the PhD student’s new feature, was made freely available to the global software community.

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Irish Times & InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards 2014

I chaired the final judging panel for these national awards again this year.  Here’s what I wrote about them for the Irish Times for April 7th last..

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“Hands-free” smart phones – and cars also

I wrote this piece for the 10th March edition of the Irish Times.   My editor,  Michael McAleer, is both innovation and motoring editor,  and had just returned from the Geneva Motor Show,  which got me thinking :-)

Smart phone apps abound for the car driver. On a quick browse of my app store, I found apps for route planning and traffic jam avoidance; car sharing; finding free parking spaces; finding the nearest and cheapest petrol stations; warning of speed traps; trip analysis, including CO2 emissions; on board diagnosis of engine performance; and even g-force indicators of acceleration and cornering. Some of these apps are applicable before and after a trip. But many are targeted for in-vehicle use, and so raise safety concerns.

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Perception at Microsoft

Published by the Irish Times on February 17th last,  I wrote this piece musing on what Satya Nadella may be strategising about now he is in his new role…

One of the first observations made by Microsoft’s new 46 year old CEO Satya Nadella was that “our industry does not respect tradition – it only respects innovation”. Quite so, but Microsoft does have a well-deserved tradition of industry preeminence and influence. However, the industry is also all about perception. And today, whatever about its past triumphs, the widespread perception is that Microsoft has lost its way.

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New Zealand and Ireland – innovation economies

This little piece went in the Irish Times on Monday 27th January last. I had just been over to Hamilton, New Zealand for my elder son’s wedding (which was just fantastic!). In reading the newspapers over breakfast in the hotel over several mornings, I got to musing on some of the similarities and differences between New Zealand’s and Ireland’s innovation economies.

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Smiley’s People, and the future of the internet

This article,  in the light of the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden,  appeared in the Irish Times on 18th December 2013.

The news this week that the US intelligence agencies and the UK’s Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) have being stalking around as avatars inside the online virtual worlds of Second Life, World of Warcraft and the Xbox Live gaming network brings me a wry smile as I write this. Just imagine the scene: a team of young 25 year old Edward Snowden-like geeks petitioning their senior 60 year old George Smiley-like boss to be allowed to spend their entire work time wandering around these virtual playparks – “you do understand Mr Smiley sir, it is purely just in case..” Apparently so many spooks are now doing so, that the spy agencies have actually had to put in place a “deconfliction” process so that secret avatars from different agencies do not accidentally virtually spy on each other!

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