Cortana, Siri, and Google Now

This piece appeared in the Irish Times today.  As an aside,  I always find it interesting how a sub-editor subtly changes some of the text from my submitted original.   The sub-editor also choses a headline for the piece,  which I sometimes find is at slightly at odds with the main point of an article :-)

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Kevin Melia: a great mentor

I wrote this following the sad passing of Kevin in June.   It was published by the Irish Times on 5th July.

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“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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