Wearables – and the Tudor Queen

Published in the Irish Times on July 6th last – just after the Fitbit IPO..

The Tudor Queen, Elizabeth 1st, was reputedly amongst the first in the world to wear a clock on her body, an ‘armlet’ received as a New Year gift in 1571 from the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley. Some believe they were lovers, despite her reputation as the Virgin Queen. The device itself was a richly jewelled armlet “in the closing thearof a clocke, and in the forepart of the same a faire lozengie djamond without a foyle, hanging thearat a rounde juell fully garnished with dyamondes and a perle pendaunt.” It sounds more spectacular than even today’s US$18,000 Apple Watch Edition but unfortunately the device itself, or even a sketch of it from the time, has not survived.

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Advertising, Art and Technology

Published in the Irish Times on 8th June last

Ad vertere: to turn towards something. Advertising has been with us since the early Egyptians used papyrus to promote sales messages. Marketing strategists organise campaigns with almost military-like efficiency to evangelise and crusade for their brand clients. Continue reading

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Self-driving heavy lorries

This piece on Daimler-Benz’s self driving truck technology was published on May 18th last..

“My first customer was a lunatic. My second had a death wish”. It seems that Karl Benz did not have high confidence in the safety of his new product, the 3 wheeled patented ‘motorwagen’ powered by his internal combustion engine, also patented. He sold just 25 of them between 1888 and 1893, when he then launched a 4 wheel version. In 1895 Benz built the first truck powered by an internal combustion engine, followed later that year by the first bus. Continue reading

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Drones

I published this piece in the Irish Times on April 27th last

Norma Jean Dougherty worked in a factory near Van Nuys airport in Los Angeles, which manufactured the first mass-produced radio controlled aircraft models for use by the US Army and Navy. About 15,000 were produced during the second World War, primarily for target practice. Ms Dougherty was picked out by an army photographer sent to collect pictures to show the commitment of women in the war effort. She was subsequently invited to a screen test, and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. Continue reading

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Using personised video clips for sales and customer support

This was written after I had an interesting presentation from Hyundai Ireland on their use of video-clips to give personalised sales and after-sales customer support.  It was published on 6th April 2015.  BTW,  in my view the sub-editor didn’t do a great job choosing a title for the published piece in the Irish Times,  but hey thats life :-)

Three years ago this month,   Google publicly announced its “Glass” project.  It was the company’s first foray into wearable consumer devices,  and offered a futuristic eyeglasses that looked like a “Star Trek” prop.  As light as a pair of sunglasses,  these overlaid the normal field of view through the glasses with computer generated text and graphics,  visible only to the wearer.   Military uses of similar “head up displays” are common,  particularly in military aviation:  Glass was the first time that such capabilities had been offered widespread to consumers. Continue reading

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Innovation – what are the missing gaps in Ireland ?

This piece was written after I had chaired the recent Irish Times/InterTrade Ireland Innovation Awards.  It was published on March 2nd 2015.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”   This quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein although there is some doubt that he actually distilled the observation so succintly. Rather – less simply – when discussing the methods of theoretical physics in 1933,  he asserted:  It can scarcely be denied that the supreme goal of all theory is to make the irreducible basic elements as simple and as few as possible without having to surrender the adequate representation of a single datum of experience.” Continue reading

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The likely impact of the European QE programme on the Irish tech sector

I wrote this piece on European’s Quantative Easing Programme for the Irish Times Business Section on 9th February last.

What happens to the tech sector when central banks print vast sums of money ?

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