Friday, December 31, 2010

Ten Moments from 2010

It's New Year's Eve 2010 and I can barely move due to back pain. So what better to do than sit at my computer and write some thoughts on 2010. I've decided not to do a "Top Ten" or a formal review of the year (I saw a tweet from someone who was complaining about being fed up of reviews). So here, in reverse order, are some of the things that I will remember from 2010:

#10 - My Blog
Eugene's Blog Stats,
Click image to enlarge.
This post will be my 216th of the year which is exactly 90 more than in my previous highest total in 2009. I certainly have had a lot to say! I have written about education, politics, sport, concert and book reviews, technology, and family matters. On 8th September last I added a Statcounter to the blog - the image to the right is a weekly summary of page loads an visits to the blog. The peak views were in October which were mostly for my post about my late brother-in-law, Jim Kelleher. I did not set out at the start of 2010 to make so many posts - but having my blog nominated (by my NCI colleagues) for the Irish Blog Awards in February certainly gave me the impulse to post some more. Here's to more posts in 2011!

#9 - YouTube
Eugene's YouTube Channel,
Click image to enlarge.
One of the more satisfying things for me in 2010 was the modest success (at least to me) of my YouTube Channel. As I write there have been 207,708 views altogether - 163,515 of these were in 2010. Some more stats are available from YouTube's Insight feature - see image to the right for some details.

I have not been slow to boast write about this channel throughout the year (see January, February, April, June, September, and December). The channel contains only educational videos, so it is gratifying to me that so many people (far more than I could ever teach in a classroom) are viewing my videos. I intend to add many more videos throughout the year, and I hope to exceed the 163,515 total in 2011.

#8 - My First Election
Last June I stood as a candidate for the staff representative on the National College of Ireland Governing Body. It was the first time ever that I had stood for election for anything. I was nominated for the Chair of the Dublin University Zoological Society in 1981, but as I was the only candidate - no election took place. I had never realized just how nerve wracking an election can be, but the count was even worse! So I am delighted to have won (a split vote in the opposition helped) and to represent my academic colleagues on the Governing Body. I think that I can safely say that this election will also be my last - I don't want to go through all that nervousness again.

#7 - Broadband
Throughout the year I have had many broadband woes. As I write I am awaiting a response from eircom to my official complaint about their "service". They are obliged to respond within 10 days, but I'll hang on until after the Christmas holiday to go to Comreg. A quick speed test just now shows my supposed 8mb connection running at 1.4mb.

I also had the brilliant (at least I thought so) idea to give my Mum a computer for Christmas - a mobile broadband connection would also overcome the difficulties with fixed line BB in her area. I signed her up for Vodafone BB, but cancelled after getting a max speed of 0.3mbps (yes - that is a zero). I then signed up for the National Broadband Scheme provided by 3, only to find that this was even worse with speed averaging 0.1mbps to 0.2mbps (yes - they are zeros again).

I predict that my eircom broadband woes will continue into 2011. One things I did learn recently is that if you tweet about this someone in eircom will spot the tweet and offer to help - hurray for Twitter!

#6 - The Weather
Weather for Ireland
by MET.IE.
What a year for Ireland's favourite topic of conversation - the weather. For a change we had a reasonably good summer - I spent part (12 days) of the summer holidays in Greece, and the rest in Wexford. For me, Ireland in the summer (when the sun shines) is the best - not too hot, and not too cold. My only regret is that I did not get to ride my bike as much as I had hoped - I am planning a trip to Spain on it for next summer.

Snow, snow, and more snow were the order of the day from 27th November to 29th December (with a one week break in the middle). So many people have said they "had never seen anything like it" before - with older folks comparing it to the winter of 1963. For the next 50 years people will be comparing bad winters with 2010! At its worst we had a foot of snow here in Blackrock. I did not ride my bike at all during the snow, and only ventured out in the car a couple of times. I got used to taking the DART to and from work, and also got a lot of exercise walking. Thankfully we have not had the water troubles that are now widespread in the country.

#5 - Horslips
On December 4th last I fulfilled a long held dream to see Celtic Rock band Horslips live - I have been a big fan since the 1970s (I'm listening to their new album Treasury as I write this post). Horslips played the O2, and despite the snow and ice I had a brilliant evening listening to songs from my teenage years (see my review of the concert here). It was my concert/event of the year.

In 2010 I also went to see Gilbert O'Sullivan in the new Grand Canal Theatre - more 1970s nostalgia (of a very different sort). Next up, Christy Moore - also at the Grand Canal Theatre, next Tuesday.

#4 - Roma in South Africa
Roma with Nozibusiso Zuma, daughter of
the South African President Jacob Zuma.
Roma took part in the Niall Mellon Township Trust building blitz in Capetown back in November - something she found very fulfilling and is considering doing again in 2011. During the year we had several highlights as part of her fund-raising efforts, culminating with her parachute jump on the 16th August. Roma raised over €5,000, with money still trickling in. People have been very generous towards her efforts.

At first I did not really believe that she would go through with this, but as the year went on her determination to succeed got stronger and stronger. Her idea to do this was to achieve something like this before she was 50. We missed her while she was gone, but we managed on a combination of pizzas, Chinese take-aways, and microwave food. However, Roma's participation in the building blitz was the biggest thing that happened in our family this year - Claire, Kate, Vicki, and I were right behind her on this.

cartoon from
Cartoon by Dave Walker.
#3 - The Recession
Ireland's economic difficulties got worse in 2010 - it seemed that every time one turned on the News things just got worser and worser. Finally in November Ireland had no choice but to accept an IMF and EU bailout of billions of euro. I'm not sure anyone in Ireland knows exactly how much we need or are getting - politicians, bankers, economists, and accountants have got everything wrong so far IMHO. I believe none of the bollixes, nor do I believe any of the opposition politicians who can't wait to get their grubby hands on power.

Like most people I am expecting a change in government at the next election - most predict this will take place before next March. I have written that despite being a life-long Fianna Fáil supporter - I support the call for a change. Despite the fact that 858,565 people gave Fianna Fáil their first preference vote (41.6% of total) in the last election, there is an overwhelming desire to get rid of this party from government. I have seen many vicious and over-the-top comments - Fianna Fáil supporters have even been called "traitors". As I have written as recently 19th December last, I don't think that they will do as badly as people predict - mainly because the alternatives aren't any better.

In the midst of all the bad news, there was some good news. The Irish Times asked Twitter users to name the things they love about Ireland and published a list of 50 - my favourite was at #48 by @xfirefishx "The fact that people 10 miles down the road laugh at your “funny” accent vice versa". 

#2 - My sister Kayo
Jim and Kayo
(January 2009).
On October 2nd last, Jim Kelleher died after a long fight with cancer. Jim was my sister Kathleen's "lovely husband", and is dearly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues. During Jim's illness, and after he died, I saw a side of my sister I had never seen before. Her strength at a difficult time, her love for Jim, dedication to his care, and how at the age of 48 she is coping with this life-changing tragedy - is an inspiration to me (and I know to many others - see the many comments by people who loved him on my post about him here). I walked arm-in-arm with her behind Jim's last journey from Danesfort Church to the adjoining cemetery - her broken heart and tears were mixed with bravery and fond memories of their life together.

Rest in Peace Jim, and love you Kayo.

#1- My book launch
Paul Mooney, me, and Mark Ryan.
Finally, perhaps the biggest event of 2010 for me was the launch of my book "An Introduction to Business Systems Analysis" on 3rd February last. The book was formally launched by Mark Ryan of Accenture, and the former President of NCI, Dr Paul Mooney. This is my first book, and while sales have been poor - it was recently made a compulsory text for an undergraduate module in the Quinn School of Business in UCD in a class of 80+ students. It's now on three reading lists in UCD, and several in NCI. I followed this in June with a chapter (iClassroom – Opportunities for Touch Screen Hand-held Technologies in Learning and Teaching) in another book (Critical Design and Effective Tools for E-Learning in Higher Education: Theory into Practice), which was launched in DIT last June.

I have not written anything since June, and have no immediate plans to write another book or chapter in 2011 - I will be concentrating on the launch of a new web site instead.

1 comment:

  1. Great Year Eugene! Ups and downs well documented in your blog. Best wishes for 2011!