Monday, August 30, 2010

Free Fees - This is a No Brainer!

Here's something of a No Brainer if you are unemployed for at least three months and are thinking of taking a course. The National College of Ireland is offering Free Fees for a number of courses:
  • Certificate in Business Studies
  • Certificate in Entrepreneurship
  • Certificate in Web Technologies
  • Higher Diploma in Web Technologies
The Web Technologies courses can be done full-time (day) or part-time (evening). See the NCI website for more details on each course, or contact the excellent Admissions Office on 1850 221 721.With the exception of the Certificate in Business Studies, you will need to have a degree to be eligible to register for the course. If you don't have a degree, note that NCI operates a Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) scheme meaning applicants who do not meet the normal academic requirements may be considered based on relevant work and other experience.

The Web Technologies courses are brand new, and have generated a lot of interest and indeed some excitement. You don't have to have a technical qualification to be able to go on these courses, so if you think you would like to learn more about about the Web - this course could be for you.

Please pass this message along to anyone that you think might be interested.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Silver surfers promise golden years for ICT industry

Silicon Republic (Ireland's Technology News Service) reports that "Silver surfers promise golden years for ICT industry". The report states that...

"computer use amongst older people was increasing on a yearly basis, and that huge opportunities exist for the ICT industry to connect with older customers

...and that...

"According to CSO data, about one third of those aged between 50 and 64 use computers and the internet regularly". (Glad I am in this third!).

ICT companies need to make their products more attractive to older people - avoiding things like "sectoral abbreviations and acronyms" and instead using plain English. Older people want to be able to do things like buy books/tickets/music just like everybody else. They also want to "surf" the web, and in my experience, love looking up things like census returns and being able to email family. There is a large market going untapped, and in 20 years time, a quarter of the world's population will be over 65 (this will of course include me).

So the message to budding entrepreneurs and start-ups - why not look at the "silver surfer" as an opportunity to do business. The on-line world is still very youth-centred - Facebook just doesn't cut it with older people. Initiatives such as Age Action's "Getting Started with Computers" for the over 55's are getting more and more seniors to use computers - and they love it.

We (us 50 to 65 year olds) are waiting!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Great-Grandfather - James Burns

I stopped by the Public Library in Pearse Street at lunch time today today in order to investigate my great-grandfather James Burns. My Mum's Dad was Patrick (Paddy) Byrne, and a son of James Burns. We are unsure of when the name changed from "Burns" to "Byrne" - I have previously written about finding the Burns family in the 1911 census returns. Pearse Street Library has a micro-fiche catalog of all deaths and burials in Mount Jerome cemetery in Harold's Cross, South Dublin.

I had to get a Researcher's card in order to access the archives, but this did not take too long and in a few minutes I was studying the Mount Jerome records for deaths and burials for 1925 - the year I was sure my great-grandfather died. It did not take too long to find a record of James Burns who died on 7th March, 1925 and was buried on the 10th March. The following image is created from a  printout taken of the record (click to see a bigger version):

The cause of death is given as "Heart failure" and he died in the old Adelaide Hospital. His age at death is given as "69" which must surely be a mistake - my records show he was born in 1874 which would have made him 51 years old at his death in 1925. He fought in the First World War, so he must have been younger. The 1911 census shows his age as 37. It's curious that he is listed as 69 - the notice is signed by his wife (Margaret) who died in 1965. The 1911 Census shows that she is listed as "Cannot read", so this may have been signed for her. James Burns is buried in Grave 33, Section A, Sub-section 414. I will endeavor to find this grave in Mount Jerome at the earliest opportunity.

My great-grandmother Margaret (Coburn) Burns is shown as living in 29 Rathmines Terrace - we know she had eight children, it must have been a struggle for her. The address might be a lodgings as the family moved to Dublin in the 1930's from Lorrha, Co. Tipperary. Strange to see this after all this time - he has been dead for 85 years.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Greed is the knife & THE SCARS RUN DEEP

Here's an interesting piece of graffiti on Dublin's East Wall Road (just before the start of the M1) - I took this photo while out for a walk at lunch time:

Apparently this is a line from a Damien Dempsey song and is part of a Maser/Damo project of graffiti "art" around Dublin. This one is a bit more serious than some of the others - it has a message for us all (and I mean everybody). Greed was rampant in this country up to 2007 - you might argue with f*^kers like Ivor Callely that it is still rampant. Unfortunately the scars will run deep for a long time.

I watched a Reeling in the Years programme on RTÉ last evening - the year was 1980. This was the year that John Lennon was shot, and when Charlie Haughey told us with a very sincere voice on TV that we were all "living beyond our means" (another f*^ker). In years to come, RTÉ will no doubt be showing news from 2007-2010 - I'm certain that many Irish people will look back in shame on what has happened to our magnificent little country in so short a time. Greed played a big part - we (including me) all thought we could could get rich quick. We can all now see the scars.

BTW: when watching Reeling in the Years - did Kerry (football) and Kilkenny (hurling) win every All-Ireland final?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Typo vigilantes go on spelling spree

Here's an interesting article from today's Irish Times - Typo vigilantes go on spelling spree. Two Americans, Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson, have crossed America correcting spelling and grammar errors on signs as they went along. The even got arrested and fined! The fruits of their efforts are published in a new book - The Great Typo Hunt (this link is to the Amazon page where the "Look Inside" feature allows you to see some more examples). 

I am one of those people who has a thing about typing errors. All modern word processing software has in-built spell checking. I am typing this post in a Google Chrome browser, which shows up errors as I go along. There is really no excuse for spelling errors - every email I send is checked for spelling before it is sent. It is rare that one of my emails does not have a typing error - thanks goodness for spell checking. I don't want people to think I can't spell. Checking spelling is quick and easy to do - why doesn't everybody do this?

If I see spelling errors in a document, I am certainly already on my guard - if there are typos, what other careless errors are there in the document? As part of my job, I read a lot of student essays, projects, and dissertations - and it is a bad start for the student if I detect typos on the first page (this happens a lot). Even my own College is not immune - we were exposed in June 2008 by the Irish Independent for having "its" instead of "it's" on a huge sign. We made the news two days running over this - culminating in a tongue in cheek article by John Walshe "Found: Good home for stray apostrophe"!

I have read over this post several times to ensure that there are no typos! (I hope I got them all).

Monday, August 23, 2010

Google boss Eric Schmidt warns on social use of media

Somewhere in the USA right now is a teenager who in about 25-35 years time will be President of the United States of America. No doubt this kid will have a Facebook page, watch YouTube, play games on-line, look up naughty websites - i.e. he/she is being a teenager right now! There might even be people monitoring their activities right now (think sons/daughters of existing politicians, or school class representatives).

BBC News on-line reports that "Google boss Eric Schmidt warns on social use of media". He predicts that many young people of today will change their names "in order to escape their previous online activity". He further states that Google already knows "roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are". There are even Internet companies who can clean up your profile for you! Social media consultant Suw Charman-Anderson states in the same report that "As a society, we are just going have to become a bit more forgiving of the follies of youth".

I think we all have some things that we might like to airbrush out of our past. I have very few photos of myself as a child, and only a handful of when I was a teenager. My photo album has exactly 26 printed photos of me between the ages of 0 to 19 years old. Here's one of the 26 taken in 1978 showing me (18 - who's that hairy hippie?) with my sister Kayo (16) and my brother Joe (17) in our FCJ Bunclody school uniforms. No videos or film of exists of me that I know of, and certainly there are no social networking sites with silly posts and pictures of the latest party I was at. I'm satisfied that there is no incriminating photographic evidence from my past. Certainly, we partied hard when I was young, but I hardly ever saw a camera of any type - unlike today when there can be hundreds of photos and videos taken at even a modest party.

It's a sobering thought that something you write today as a youth could be used against you in years to come. Certainly in the USA there is a track record of digging up something from the past on a candidate's rival as part of negative campaigning. So a warning to American teenagers (and all others for that matter) - if you want to stand for election in 2040, make sure that you delete the flag burning and pot smoking photos right now. Somebody might be watching you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fail Funnies – Epic Failures And Unbelievable Stupidness

For a good laugh - check out Fail Funnies. I came across this site while Googling for images with the search word "fail". The site contains a lot of stupid stuff, but there are also plenty of funny photos and videos that will at least make you giggle - here's one of my early favourites:

an ice wagon's cooling system has failed & is leaking pure water out into the streets because the ice has melted

There is of course only one thing funnier than laughing at yourself, and that is laughing at other people making fools of themselves. Much humour is very juvenile, sex and toilet jokes always get a laugh. We know it is silly, but laugh none-the-less. Fail Funnies is as silly a web site that you can get, but I will be checking back for more laughs. They also allow you to copy and paste their Funnies into your own blog (as I've done above).

A message to the guys at Fail Funnies - keep it up!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Follow up to "The System made a mistake" post

Last week I posted about my daughter Kate's effort to get her new iPhone 4 connected, when I ended up apologizing to a Shop Assistant for inferring that he had made a mistake, when I told him that "Computers don't make mistakes, people do - rubbish in, rubbish out". This was in response to his comment that the reason her phone could not be connected was that "The System made a mistake".

Well guess what? He did make a mistake! Kate's phone was finally connected last Wednesday (a week after buying it) by a savvy O2 Tech Support Rep who spotted in seconds that the SIM card and the SIM number that was entered into "The System" did not match. 

I take no pleasure in this (I try not to do smugness), but I do feel a little vindicated.

So the moral is: When some "expert" tells you that the "system made a mistake"? Challenge this, and do not accept he/she is always right and that you are an idiot.

Managing Change - Blackboard 8 to Blackboard 9

Laurence Technical University in Southfield Michigan, have come up with a novel way to promote a big change in their organization - an upgrade of their Blackboard system from version 8 to version 9. They are using a YouTube campaign to promote this change - the videos are based on the fantastic Old Spice ad campaign. They are funny, but also have a serious message to get people interested and excited about the change - watch...


Large upgrades to on-line systems in most institution are often met with resistance - we've all heard comments like "not again", "remember what happened the last time?", "why do we need to change - the old version works fine", and so on. Change must be managed no matter how big or small it is. Many Colleges, like NCI, go through major system upgrades during the summer - much unseen back-office stuff that often is not noticed by the end user. However - this summer we are switching from Lotus Notes to Outlook 2010, and from Office 2003 to Office 2010. I'm looking forward to these changes - I've been through a Notes to Outlook change before (in SmartForce/SkillSoft) and in general it was a smooth transition. It's a bit like getting a new postman! The change from Office 2003 to 2010 will be huge for most people - the difference between versions is a major one. Happily, we are practicing what we preach (Change Management is a module on a lot of our courses) - with tips, advice, instructions and much training being organized. We not using YouTube though - maybe next time.

I first read about the LTU videos above at Karl Kapp's Blog - Kapp Notes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Academic Bankruptcy - a warning from the United States

I read (via @gsiemens) an article by Marc C. Taylor in the New York Times On-line, a warning on academic bankruptcy in the United States. Taylor writes...

Government support [for third level education] is being slashed, endowments and charitable giving are down, debts are piling up, expenses are rising and some schools are selling their product for two-thirds of what it costs to produce it. You don’t need an M.B.A. to know this situation is unsustainable.

There are clear warnings here for the US, and anyone from Ireland reading this will be familiar with the points that Taylor makes. The Leaving Certificate results are out today - most of the students who have got their results will be waiting nervously to see if they have done well enough to go on to College. More want to go to College than ever - yet there is less money to pay for their education. Our Colleges (including NCI) are working with lower budgets, and are expected to provide more education with less resources. Now we all have to do "our bit" in Recession, and there is certainly room for cost savings to be made across the third level sector in Ireland. Taylor makes the points (that are certain to become topics for discussion here in Ireland), that Colleges are now competing (sometimes aggressively) against one another for a shrinking pool of revenue, that there is a lot of duplication of course offerings (In today’s world, it no longer makes sense for every school to cover every subject), and that students (and no doubt their parent's) debt is exploding. Taylor states that Universities [and Colleges] should be looking for new ways to provide high-quality education to more students at a lower price, but other that proposing partnerships, does not explore in depth how they should do this.

The future is dark, but it is up to us all - academics, students, parents, and government, to make it bright. How to do this? - I don't know. We (Ireland) don't have enough money to do "everything", and I think we are gradually been weaned off the idea that we can continue to provide top class education (plus health service and social welfare) without making cuts - You don’t need an M.B.A. to know this situation is unsustainable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The iClassroom - Book Chapter

Today, a copy of Critical Design and Effective Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education: Theory into Practice, edited by Dr Roisin Donnelly, Dr Jen Harvey, and Dr Kevin O'Rourke of the Dublin Institute of Technology (published by IGI Global), arrived in the post. I excitedly opened the book to look up the table of contents to see my own chapter iClassroom – Opportunities for Touch Screen Hand-held Technologies in Learning and Teaching. It is the first time I have had a chapter in a book - mine is one of 21 chapters and is in Section 2 which is about Effective Tools: Web 2.0 and beyond.

Other chapters cover a variety of subjects from Learning Design, to Virtual Worlds, Wikis, Games, ePortfolios, Web 2.0, Pedagogy 2.0, and Screencasting. Many familiar faces, whom I am glad to call friends as well as colleagues, feature in the book with chapters on the above subjects. It's almost a "Usual Suspects" roll of honour of Learning Technologists in Irish Academia - I will have great fun reading the chapters over the next few weeks. I have also got the book added to some module reading lists in the College.

My chapter is on what I called the "iClasssroom", and is about iPhones, iPods, and iTouchs in the classroom. This is not my term - Google it and you'll see that others beat me to it, though as I write this - a link to my chapter is the 10th item on the Google search. It is also an example of how quickly the literature can get out of date in today's classroom technology. Arguably the iPad will have a greater impact - it is not mentioned at all in my chapter as I did the final document submission in December 2009 when it was no more than a rumour of things to come.

The chapter can be purchased on its own for $30.00 - I don't get any of this. But I did get a free personal copy of the book worth $180.00 which was nice (that's it in the photo above). 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Roma jumps for Niall Mellon Trust

Yesterday - my wife Roma jumped out of a plane at 10,000 feet to raise money for the Niall Mellon Trust! Roma is planning to go to South Africa in November with the Trust to help built some houses in the townships, and is raising money for this very worthy cause.

The jump took place at the Irish Parachute Club in Clonbullogue (about 5 miles south of Edenderry in Co Offaly). Yesterday was a very clear and warm day - probably the best day of the summer. Perfect conditions for the parachutists, and for us viewing from the safe position of having our feet firmly planted on the ground. Roma's companion in both fund-raising and making the jump was Gary Walker of Clonmel Healthcare who is very kindly contributing any funds he raises to Roma and the NM Trust (and he is a very good fund-raiser!).
We were kept waiting for about an hour - Roma and Gary's group were about the fourth to take off. This was good in the sense that they could see other parachutists doing the same jump that they were about to do, and landing safely. I had my camera and got just a few photos (it was difficult trying to focus on tiny dots in the sky - I got some nice ones of the wrong person). The first photo above was very close to landing - hence Roma's (elegant) preparation for landing with her feet up! From take-off to landing was almost exactly 20 minutes - the second photo above was of a jubilant Roma with John to whom she was harnessed to for the jump. Gary is in the background - equally jubilant after his jump. Both Roma and Gary were very much on an adrenalin high!

Afterwords they relived every second over a well earned beer and sandwich in the Athgarvan Inn near The Curragh. Next fund-raising event for Roma is a more sedate Coffee Morning - if any of my readers would like to contribute to her fund (all small, medium, or even large donations welcome), she can be contacted at Monkstown Pharmacy (01-2805693), or via email: "monkstownpharmacy att gmail fullstop com" (you can figure it out).

Way to go Roma!

Friday, August 13, 2010

"The System made a mistake..."

Don't you just hate it when someone blames a computer system for an error? I was in a phone shop in Blackrock today with my daughter Kate. Yesterday she purchased an iPhone 4 - moving from a pre-pay iPhone 3G to bill-pay. As usual, the guy in the shop told her it could take a couple of hours for the new SIM card to be activated - in the mean time her old SIM was deactivated. Easy change-over? No.

30 hours later, and several phone calls to both O2 and Apple, the new iPhone 4 is still not connected. Tech Support in O2 told her they would work on a fix to connect the phone, but that it could be next Wednesday before they would have a fix. Imagine the terror of a 19-year old facing the weekend without a phone?

I was having none of this, so both Kate and I went down to the shop (I wanted beer in Superquinn anyway) to see what could be done, or at the very least get her old phone re-connected. 

There's not much that a guy working on his own in a phone shop can do - to be fair he tried and looked up his system to check on the status of the connection ("in progress"). He then informed me in a very knowledgeable voice that the "system" had "made a mistake" - something to do with a "port". What a load of garbage, I was having none of this!

At this point I couldn't keep my mouth shut, and the Lecturer in Computing in me came out when I spouted (which I regret now) - "Computers don't make mistakes, people do - rubbish in, rubbish out". He immediately defended himself by assuring me that he had not made any mistakes and that he had entered everything correctly. I of course apologized that my comment was not directed at him. To his credit he gave Kate a free SIM to put in her old phone with a new number (it was not possible to reconnect her old SIM - the "system" doesn't allow this!).

Blaming a computer system is a convenient excuse for everything that goes wrong, and it is over-used. Most people don't know how they work (and I don't know much either I admit) - so it is easy to use as an excuse because most people will accept it unconditionally. We're supposed to just accept this and go away. There is obviously an error, bug, or no procedure in the software for connecting an iPhone 4 in a certain situation - it doesn't work because it is not programmed correctly. Programmers are people.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back-to-School Gadget Guide

There was a time when "Back-to-School" simply meant perhaps getting a new set of pencils, a ruler, some copybooks, and of course a trip to the book shop with a list of books for the new year. For primary school in the 60's my Mum would almost always get us new shoes (brown and plain which we hated), some new clothes (plus older ones patched up), and a hair cut. Secondary school in the 70's needed a bit more planning as I was sent to a boarding school - each year we were loaded down with new pens, maths sets, plenty of copybooks, and enough "tuck" to last several weeks. For College in the 80's I needed little more that a pen, a notebook, a calculator - all I ever wore were jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, and a green combat jacket. 

Apart from a calculator, I did not need (or get) any gadgets - it was only during my postgraduate studies in 1986 and 1987 that I first used a computer (DEC 20 Mainframe, and later a Mac Classic). Things are different nowadays!

ABC News reports today about what gadgets modern students are recommended to get in a "Back-to-School" Gadget Guide (there's a 30 second ad first):

Today's students are nobodies without a printer, iPad, a Barnes & Noble "nook" (an eReader), a smartphone (a Samsung Galaxy in video), a "Zohm" (unsure of spelling) key fob to track your iPhone, a Microsoft Arc wireless keyboard, and lots of accessories to personalize your gadgets. Apart from a printer (recommended for school dormitories), all of the above will fit into a small school bag. It also seems to me that an iPad will do almost everything that the other gadgets mentioned in the report will do. Interestingly, the presenter also notes that many schools in the US now allow students to rent digital books rather than buying paper versions.

Only a couple of weeks ago my Dad showed me his old school in Shillelagh, Co. Wicklow which he attended in the late1930's. Definitely no gadgets then! He told me that many of his schoolmates did not wear shoes and he recalls taking off his own shoes just to be like the other boys. In 70 years we have gone from going to school in bare feet, to having an accessorized iPad. What gadgets will the students of 2080 be using for school? And what will they think of the gadgets that were used in 2010?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Credit where it is due - hurray for Philips!

We all love it when something we buy lasts a long time, or way longer than expected. My Mum and Dad had a Bosch fridge in their kitchen for almost 40 years - they bought it around 1960. It seems to me that electronic gadgets today are designed deliberately to last only a few years before they need to be replaced. Many now have chips that need updating and that eventually will no longer be supported by the manufacturers. You can be sure that a 1960 Bosch fridge did not have a micro-chip.

Yesterday my beard trimmer, purchased around 1995, finally packed it in. It still works, but a broken screw casing means that the blades could not work properly - so sadly, my Philips Trimmer Type HP 2525/A (so old that Google can't find it!) will soon be on its way to the small electronic section in Ballyogan Recycling Facility. After 15 years this gadget owes me nothing - I can safely say it is the oldest gadget in my house. Why can't everything last this long? We have been through several microwaves, TVs, washing machines, dishwashers, fridges (we should have bought a Bosch), and loads of other gadgets that often only last a short time - since 1995. Why can't manufacturers put on the label how long they expect a gadget to last - eg "Average lifespan of this device is XX years". What are they afraid of? 

For the record, I went straight to Arnotts at lunch today and only had one brand on my mind - I purchased a Philips QG3040 4 in 1 Grooming Kit with which I hope to keep my beard neat and tidy every week for the next 15 years. Wouldn't it be a good advertisement for their gadgets if they could show how long they last? You never see this.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Back to work (and blogging)

After a six week break (God it is great being a Lecturer), I went back to work today. A long break is great as there is almost always no hangover from when I was last in the office - I feel completely refreshed, though not quite delighted to be back at work.

Since I have been on holiday I cut back on blogging. Last year I had my laptop with me at all times (as I was writing my book) - this year I just had the iPhone, and decided to take a (almost complete) break from blogging. This year I have been averaging almost 20 posts/month, but in July there were just six - I'm back and ready for more posts.

I had thought that I would blog more about what I was doing during my holiday - but that would be boring (thanks for the tip Brian). However, I cannot let the occasion pass without a photo from the hundreds that I and my family took during the summer. The photo to the right was taken by my daughter Vicki in Chania, which is the largest town in western Crete. For me, the moment that I feel that I am on holiday always occurs when I have a beer in the middle of the day - something I almost never do. On this day we went to Chania and visited the many cute shops, and had lunch in the harbour where I had a delicious plate of deep fried squids right after this beer. Bliss!

I'm back to work now and wonder what the academic year ahead will bring. It is the 60th anniversary of the founding of the National College of Ireland, so there should be some cool events to look forward to. Just before the summer break I was elected by my academic colleagues to the Governing Body of the College - a role I am honoured and very much look forward to taking on for the next three years.

I also hit Twitter today, and decided to add about 10 Twitterers (is that a word?) to my list of people that I am following. I am still undecided about Twitter - it does take from working time, but there is also some useful and informative stuff available. Having said that, as of today I am now following Barack Obama, David McWilliams, my daughter Claire, Matt Cooper, and Stephen Fry - all who have absolutely nothing to do with my job. 

It's good to be back on Blogger!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Book review: The Pacific (by Hugh Ambrose)

I have just completed reading Hugh Ambrose’s new book The Pacific, based on the lives of five men and their experiences in the Second World War fighting the Japanese in the Pacific. The Pacific is also an HBO 10-part miniseries which I watched on Sky before the summer. On TV this was a Saving Private Ryan type of experience with a lot of action and graphic detail of death and destruction during the fighting. The TV programme is based on the lives of marines Eugene Sledge, Robert Leckie, and John Basilone. The book is slightly different in that while it features Sledge and Basilone – it almost totally omits Leckie (for which Ambrose both justifies and apologises for), but also concentrates on Austin Shofner, Vernon Micheel, and Sidney Phillips. This works quite well in that Ambrose states that it was not just the Marines who won the war in the Pacific, but other parts of the US armed forces as well.

Ambrose’s accounts of Sledge and Basilone in the war are very similar to the way they were portrayed in the TV programme – these were two extraordinary men, and Ambrose paints a picture of bravery and devotion to duty that is both horrible and astonishing. Their experiences were horrific, Basilone (awarded the Medal of Honour) dies on Iwo Jima, but Sledge survives, having participated in some of the most vicious fighting of the war. It’s hard to imagine that Japan and the USA fought such savage battles only a generation ago.

While Sidney Phillips is a minor character in the TV programme, he features more in the book. Phillips, Micheel, and Shofner are perhaps more interesting to read about as their story is not covered on TV. All five men are fascinating and brave characters – they are almost hero worshipped by Ambrose who is clearly in awe of the marines and their fight in the Pacific. There is no sympathy for the “japs”, who were in a different way just as brave as the marines.

The book has a “thrown together” feel – it is very “bitty” and jumps around between the different characters far too much. I would have preferred a longer run for each character (as in the TV series), rather than the constant switching back and forth. One thing is clear though – this is an incredibly well researched book. For a book of a modest 449 pages of script, there is an astonishing 1,072 references. There are also quite a number of footnotes, many not needed in my view, and also some annoying repetitions throughout. Apart from these minor aberrations, the book is a worthwhile read. If you have not seen the TV series, make sure you do so as it will give an even better idea of what the men of The Pacific endured.