Saturday, April 30, 2011

The "World Cup for Girls"!

I didn't get to see the Royal Wedding yesterday - my excuse, I had an all day Business Systems Analysis class. However, during the 11.00 morning break I did go to the Staff Room for tea where the wedding was being watched and managed to see the moment when Kate stepped out of the car. Lots of "Oooohs" and "Aaaahs" from all the many ladies (and just two men) who were watching in the Staff Room.

Photo from Philipine News.
My daughter and her friends watched the whole thing, and my Mum today told me she spent the day watching all the goings-on. They loved the ceremony and pageantry of it all. I did see some of the highlights on the News and there's now doubt that the British know how to put on a show. I'm sure many people think back to their own wedding day on occasions such as this. The big difference of course is that William and Kate have to share their big day with the whole world, while the rest of us make do with family and friends. They seem like a sensible couple who have not rushed into things and I wish them well - they'd be welcomed by me if they ever came to Ireland.

Over dinner last night with my daughter Claire when not surprisingly the wedding was the main topic of discussion, she referred to the wedding as the "World Cup for Girls" - now I know how important it was to her and all the "Girls" of the world!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

New YouTube Video - How To... Save a PowerPoint 2010 Presentation as a Web Page

This week I discovered that you can no longer save a PowerPoint Presentation as a web page in the 2010 version - earlier versions of PowerPoint allowed you to save your presentation in HTML so that it could be viewed in a browser. This was handy if you were worried about being able to have the latest version of PowerPoint to display your presentation in (say) another location. It was also useful for e-Learning developers who could use PowerPoint to create some content and then use the Save as a Web Page option to create a version that would work on a web site. So when this option was removed - an old tool was removed from PowerPoint for some users. Microsoft now provide a "Broadcast" facility, you will need a Windows ID - this is the way of the future. However, Microsoft do mention a workaround using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

So - for those of us oldies who like to be able save a presentation as a web page, I have created a YouTube video showing you how to do this - here it is:

In the video I refer to some code that you need - here it is in case you would like to copy and paste this to do it yourself:

ActivePresentation.SaveAs "C:\MyPages\test.htm", ppSaveAsHTML, msoFalse

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mr Kenny - Do not appoint anyone to the Senate!

The counts continue today for the Seanad Éireann elections to elect 49 of the 60 Senators that will occupy a part of Leinster House for the duration of the next government. Apart from the Trinity "constituency" - I'm not really interested in who gets elected and who doesn't. Much discussion is about whether this is the last Senate election and if it is to be abolished. With a few exceptions (notably the likes of Shane Ross, David Norris, Eoghan Harris, Joe O'Toole, and many other Independent/University Senators) - I can't see what major contribution to Irish society has been made by the Senate.

Seanad Chamber, Leinster House.
Photo from
After this most undemocratic of elections (eg - I have a vote courtesy of graduating from Trinity, while many other graduates do not), the Taoiseach Mr Kenny can nominate 11 senators of his own. Thus ensuring a government majority in the "upper house". Occasionally we get a token senator who is not a member of the Government party - eg Gordon Wilson, Eoghan Harris, and Seámus Mallon. Otherwise it is usually a mix of cronies, general election losers, and those who are "owed".

I (in my small squeaky voice) now call on Mr Kenny NOT to appoint anyone to the Senate. This will save 11 salaries (surely at least a million euro per year saving to the Exchequer - a lot more when expenses are taken into account?). Not to mention it would enhance Mr Kenny's reputation with his reformatory zeal to abolish the Senate entirely. If you mean it - NO appointments.

But you won't do this. First - you have favours to repay, losers to appease, rewards to be made. This will perhaps be the last chance to make such nominations, and my guess is that despite your zeal - you will not pass up this opportunity to look after your cronies. 

No excuses - eg, don't hide behind some Constitutional requirement. Who is going to sue? Even if you have to do it because of some "constitutional requirement" - why not appoint people who will do the job for nothing? I would gladly do it - pick me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter in Skuna Bay

We spent the Easter weekend in Wexford - I traveled down on Thursday evening after work and returned on Monday afternoon. With the good weather we had an excellent time.

I went to Good Friday Prayers in Askamore Church where my Mum and Dad are regular Mass-goers. I was a few minutes late and felt a bit conscious of being a stranger as I had to walk up to the front row to sit beside Mum where her "place" is. Dad was singing in the choir and it was lovely to hear his clear voice singing out from the back of the Church.

On Sunday we had Easter lunch with Mum and Dad, my sister Kayo and her grandson Daniel, my brother Joe and his wife Miriam sons David and Niall, and daughter Maeve. Vicki had her friends Maria and Joanna (whose parents Joe and Siobhán also joined us). A great afternoon was had by all with as usual Roma excelling herself with a fantastic lunch. We had hurling and basketball too!

Some photos from Sunday below from YouTube:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preston North End are Relegated (#pne)

It's a sad say for Preston North End fans as the 0-1 defeat today at Deepdale to Cardiff City confirms what has being coming for a long time - relegation to League 1. It's PNE's first relegation since 1993, and it ends an 11-year stay in the Championship during which they made the play-offs four times, including two finals. Only two seasons ago they lost in the play-offs to Sheffield United who will also now accompany PNE into League 1.

Image from Blog Preston.
It's been a tough season almost right from the start. There was the incredible 6-4 win away over Leeds, and a gritty 1-0 win over Ipswich - a game Brian and I attended. Little did we know that this win would be the last for several months, and that Darren Ferguson would be sacked. Ferguson's appointment after the premature sacking of Alan Irvine was the start of the rot for me - he tore the team apart, perhaps believing that he could build a successful Championship outfit with Man Utd reserves and his own famous name. I only wish he had been sacked earlier to give Phil Brown more time. At least PNE went down fighting - recent form has been of promotion standard.

I look forward to heading over to Deepdale again next year - as always I will look at the fixture list and plan a day out with Brian. In recent years we have been to games against Wolves, Ipswich, Charlton, Reading, and Ipswich again. Deepdale is a very friendly place and we have been well treated at the ground, as well as the bars and restaurants of downtown Preston. 

Not such a proud day for Preston. Phil Brown - please stay and takes us back up to the Championship next year!

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The long weekend has started and it is time to get out of Dublin for a few days. I am going down to Wexford for the weekend, and will take a break from blogging. This is partly to shut myself up for a while, but also partly because I will have no Internet connection down in Wexford.

Image from
It is of course the Easter Weekend - I will be attending some religious services, Good Friday Prayers and Mass on Sunday. I'm not a particularly religious person, but I do like going to packed churches in the country. Its a lot more enjoyable that going to the almost empty churches in the city.

It will be our first weekend of the year at our house in Wexford. We are having an O'Loughlin family get-together for Sunday lunch, so I hopefully will have some photos to show when I return to blogging.

Happy Easter to all, and enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The lecturer as performer - Ferdinand von Prondzynski

Following on from my (almost confessional) blog post earlier this week on Classroom Behavior, I read with interest Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski's thoughts on The lecturer as (a) performer. My own frustrations in my own class are put into perspective by von Prondzynski's views that we need to be more than just a stand-up lecturer.

Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski.
Photo from
I agree 100% with his view that "if you want to see students in your lectures you need to give them a reason for being there". In some of my classes I have very poor attendance rates - in others excellent (I'm glad to say). BTW - the taxpayer is paying the fees of the students who do not attend classes, there should be some accountability for this. I feel a sense of failure every time I enter the classroom and the majority choose to stay away. In one class where I have 150+ students - attendance is regularly in the region of 30-50 students. Last year this class was smaller - but 43 out of 70 students failed the summer exam. This year's students just don't seem to care.

von Prondzynski goes on to describe what a Lecturer should be - someone with "personal flair, wit, some little eccentricity, cleverly applied sarcasm, a passing knowledge of popular culture, and some flair for acting". Wow - no pressure! He goes on to say that the "lecturer ideally should be a performer, able to hold the attention of a particularly difficult audience". Wow - no pressure! 

Most of my time as a Lecturer has been with small classes. But I have always wanted the experience of lecturing in front of large (150+) students. But the large classes have not been a good experience for me, nor can they be a good experience for my students.

I fear that failure rates will be high in the summer exams again because most of my large class chose to stay away, and many of those that chose to come to class were disruptive and inattentive. This means lots of work marking repeat exams in August, and sadly (for the students) a summer spent studying for the repeats instead of doing what they should be doing - travelling, having fun, working, learning.

It's hard to live up to the ideal lecturer model that von Prondzynski describes. But nevertheless - he does make valid points, and reading between his lines I see that there is a lot more that I can do to make my classes more interesting. Here's to the next semester!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Colm Doherty - Traitor

The Irish Times reports today that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is "appalled" at former AIB fat-cat Colm Doherty getting a €3,000,000 "remuneration package" after being sacked by the Minister for Finance. Along with almost everybody in Ireland, I too am appalled at this blatant "fuck you" attitude from Doherty and his banking cronies whose whole ethos seem to be that they should line their own pockets at everyone else's expense. Not for one moment did this bollix, and his banker buddies think of our country when they signed up to this "package". For Fuck Sake - can you for one moment think of your country before your own wallet? The rest of us have to - why not you?

The face of a traitor?
(from Business & Leadership web site).
My voice is tiny - but I shout from my own roof-top that this man is a traitor. He, and his ilk, have betrayed Ireland - he should be ashamed of himself. Colm Doherty is about my age (I believe he is 52). I never met him and don't know him. But he is retired now with the cushion of "loads a money" - he can look forward to many years of financial comfort for his few days as AIB CEO. The rest of us have to work for a living.

Colm Doherty should not accept this outrageous payment. If he has any sense of honour, he would go on the record as having rejected this payment - therefore restoring his honour and placating the vast majority of Irish people who are rightly outraged at this "remuneration package". Such an honourable stance may even get him another job.

The choice is: be a pariah with €3,000,000 in your pocket, or be an honourable citizen with the respect of you compatriots. You choose - over to you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Classroom Behavior

I firmly believe that students are responsible for their own learning - especially at third-level. Bad behavior in the classroom is something that educators at all levels struggle to deal with. Normally I do not discuss NCI business on this blog - this is a personal blog which does not reflect any views of NCI. In the past I have been accused (only once!) of using the blog as a commercial outlet for NCI - this is not true.

From CartoonStock.
Today I had my last lecture with a large class of students - for the next two weeks both Mondays are bank holidays, so the "lucky" students do not have me for the final two weeks of the semester. I have to admit that I have had a lot of difficulty with bad behaviour (mostly talking) in class - never have I experienced it so bad, and never have I been so helpless to do anything about it. I know some of my students read this blog, but hey - you ignored my appeals for quiet in class, so you'll probably ignore this too. I have never been so pissed off with such a small minority of people - only a fraction of those who attend class.

Bad behaviour in class is dumb for a variety of reasons:
  • Talking in class means that you are not listening to your lecturer
  • Talking in class means that you are preventing other students from  listening to the lecturer
  • Talking in class means that your lecturer spends a lot of time trying to control the class, instead of doing what they are there for - teaching
  • Talking in class means that you are rude and do not understand the basics of manners
  • Talking in class means that your energies are focussed on chat and gossip, instead of your studies
  • Talking in class means that you miss vital information on how to pass your exams
  • Talking in class means that you annoy other students in the class - today I experienced something I had never come across before, students standing up and shouting "Shut Up" to classmates
  • Talking in class means that you revoke the right to criticize your lecturer
  • Talking in class means that you annoy the lecturer big time - you forget that this person sets exams and marks your exam scripts (NB - this is NOT a threat)
I am at a loss as to what to do - this has been my worst experience working in education for 22 years. 

Ever since Fr Patrick threw me out of Latin class in 1973 I have vowed not to do the same to any students of mine - it just does not make sense from an educational point of view. I remember feeling so stupid (and terrified the Principal would walk by) - you don't learn anything out in the hall  when a class is going on inside. I will have to change this approach - this last class has forced me to abandon my passive approach that students are responsible for their own learning. I have a learning and teaching responsibility for every single student in my class - including those who can't stay quite for one minute.

Each class has a group who actually want to learn - in the above class there are exceptional students who behave appropriately, and have come to my class to learn. I thank these students with all my heart for their perseverance through a difficult semester. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Road Trip - 2,628km!

Summer must be coming - it's time to plan for the holidays. This year Roma and I have decided to go to our new little piece of Spain in Murcia for a couple of weeks. Vicki and her friends, Joanna and Maria, will also be with us. Even though the location still has a lot of building work to do, the golf course is open and I'm sure there will be a lot more activity about in late June when we arrive.

This year I will once again ride my Harley-Davidson to our holiday destination - the distance is 2,628km (1,633 miles):

Roma and the girls will fly San Javier airport which is about 20 mins away from our apartment. I leave on 20th June, and arrive on 23rd June. The girls fly out on the 22nd June.

The plan so far is to ride as far as Andorra with my old CCR classmate Pat C - he is continuing on to France and Croatia on his Harley-Davidson Road King. We will ride first to Rosslare and take the overnight ferry to Cherbourg. We plan stopover near Niort - about half-way between Cherbourg and Andorra. Pat has been to Andorra skiing and is keen to see the place without all the snow. I'll stay there just the one night, and continue on the next day to Murcia. I'm already getting excited about the trip - lots more planning to do, and of course I'll be sure to document my experiences on this blog. One thing that I am anxious to do is to avoid all the mechanical issues I had on the last rip in 2008 to Sigean in France, so I'll be sure to get everything checked out fully by the excellent mechanics in Motorcycle City before I go.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Jennifer Burke Award

I had a very interesting and enjoyable afternoon yesterday at The Helix in DCU where I was one of five finalists for The Jennifer Burke Award for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, which is jointly presented by the Irish Learning Technologies Association and DCU. My entry was based on my YouTube Channel and my use of "How To..." and "Problem-Solving Techniques" videos. I had quite a job trying to convince the judges that this is innovative - but I hope that I did get my points across. The other entries were from RCSI, two from IT Tralee, and one from DIT. The winner was Dr Michael Seery from DIT for his work on creating pre-lecture resources for his first year chemistry students. Congratulations to Mike - who was also on his way to picking up a copy his new book on the History of Enniskerry from the printers last evening!

Though of course disappointed not to win, the feedback I and the other finalists got, inspires me to continue creating videos for my YouTube channel. The channel passed the 300,000 views milestone yesterday (I probably made a bit too much out of figures like this to the Award judges), and at the current rate of increase could hit half a million by the end of 2011. Thursday (14th April) last was the highest ever number of daily views when 1,400 people viewed my videos. While these numbers are very modest in the context of YouTube, I continue to be astonished that so many people from all over the world are viewing my videos and that (most importantly of all) they are learning something from them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

More on YouTube University

As far back as September 27th, 2006, John Mayer wrote about the potential of a "YouTube University" in the CALIopolis blog. Remember that YouTube had been founded just over a year earlier in February 2005. One of the first questions Mayer asks is "What if the students did the recording themselves and posted them to YouTube?". The article is an interesting discussion on how students stay ahead of Faculty and IT Departments because they have their own equipment. 

Image from
Mayer predicted that in five years (from 2006) "video recording equipment will be in every cell phone" - how right he was! I have created video with my iPhone and uploaded it straight to YouTube - it would be easy for students to do the same. 

Mayer has given me the idea that a student could use screen capturing software to create a video of themselves completing a task - eg, writing a programme or doing a calculation in Excel. While it might not be an assessment method of choice for some educators (it would take too long to view videos for a large class), creation of short videos - say with a 10 minute limit, could be useful to show better understanding. Imagine checking how a student writes a piece of code, compiles it, examines error messages, debugs, and compiles again. This would be far better than examining the final version of the written code only handed up at the end of a test. Already I have seen some excellent student projects featuring their own video - this is especially popular in group projects. The day can't be far away when video and YouTube dominates education. It's already making inroads way beyond what John Mayer predicted back in 2006.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The University of YouTube

YouTube for learning is in the news again this week as Edel Morgan of the Irish Times writes about The university of YouTube, and asks the question is "teaching yourself on the web as effective as interacting in a classroom"? 

Image from the CALIopolis Blog.
Morgan sets three challenges to learn: (1) how to blow dry hair, (2) sign language, and (3) a dance sequence - all on YouTube, with varying degrees of success. As she points out - you can now learn almost anything on YouTube. Just search for what you need to know, and someone will have put up a video showing you how to do it. Below is a video from the Irish Yo-Yo Guy showing you how to do some tricks with a Yo-Yo. There is so much of this type of stuff on the web that in effect we are all becoming educators as well as learners.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to Get a Real Education at College

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) writes The Saturday Essay in the Wall Street Journal on 9th April last about How to Get a Real Education at College. What about this for an opening paragraph?

Cartoon by Scott Adams and
linked to from (not stolen!)
"I understand why the top students in America study physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature. The kids in this brainy group are the future professors, scientists, thinkers and engineers who will propel civilization forward. But why do we make B students sit through these same classes? That's like trying to train your cat to do your taxes—a waste of time and money. Wouldn't it make more sense to teach B students something useful, like entrepreneurship?"

It makes perfect sense! We march students into classes and try to teach them all the same subject - regardless of ability or even their application to their studies. We assess them, and then grade them according to a grading rubric. Only a fraction of most classes will get a Grade A/First/Distinction, some will score respectable mid-grades, while some may barely pass or even fail. Yet they all get the same lecture, notes, resources, labs, tutorials, continuous assessment, and exams. Is there any point in teaching students who don't get a top grade in " physics, chemistry, calculus and classic literature"?

Cartoon by Scott Adams and
linked to from  (not stolen!).
Adams' article goes on to talk about entrepreneurship - but that is not the subject of my post here. The answer to my own question is an emphatic "Yes - we should teach all grades in our classes". Classes would be very small indeed if only the top students could attend. I know that some day I will be lying in a hospital and hoping that the surgeon who is about to operate on me had straight A's all the way through School and College. But would a B or C grade surgeon be any better/worse?

But we should also consider if we are teaching the right things and if students are suited to the class they are attending. It would be impractical to teach each student in a class different things, yet we do not consider it impractical that a student learns different things in a class. For example, I need to remind myself that not all the students (100+) in my Project Management class will end up as Project Managers - so it is important that those who choose something different as a career still get something from my class.

Adams signs off his article with the following: "Remember, children are our future, and the majority of them are B students. If that doesn't scare you, it probably should". Makes you think!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Good Enough" Video for Learning

I love it when a plan comes together! Elliott Masie writing in Learning TRENDS yesterday suggests that “Good Enough” Video for Learning May Be Better. This makes me feel a lot better about publishing "good enough" videos to my YouTube channel - when Masie speaks, others (including me) listen. No need for professional studios to make expensive recordings, when a "good enough" video will do the job just as good.  He describes "good enough" videos as "often short, to the point and almost in home video mode" and that our acceptance of such videos "has risen dramatically".

iPhone / iPod touch YouTube Icon
Image of YouTube iPhone
logo from Josh Joseph Flickr
Here are some of the points Masie makes about "good enough" video:
  • These videos "are fresh and often reflect very recent changes"
  • They often have "a sense of authenticity, reflecting the voice of the field vs. HQ"
  • The videos tend to be "to the point and are more likely 3 to 7 minutes long"
  • They are resulting in "a wide range of video to choose from" as a result of  lower costs
In summary they are fresh, authentic, to the point, and varied. Masie warns us to make sure that some basics such as audio, focus, and lighting are is still "key". But the message is that with the upsurge in the likes of How To videos on YouTube and the ease at which almost anyone can make a "good enough" video with some basic skills - our expectations of video quality have changed.

This is fantastic encouragement for me, and I'm sure many others, who create (what we hope are) "good enough" videos. When I set up my YouTube channel I had no expectations of the (modest) success that it is enjoying - 300,000 views hopefully by the end of this week! It's nice to think that videos created with basic (mostly free) software with a laptop in my office fall into the "good enough" video category, and that the quality is acceptable to the majority of viewers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Odd Socks - How does this happen?

I'm the only guy in my house. My size 12 feet are six sizes bigger that the girls in my house. Nobody steals my socks. The girls don't wear my socks - ever. When I take my socks off they go straight to the laundry basket. But somehow from there they get lost, separate, disappear, morph into something else, baffle science, and become a mystery which I cannot resolve. Where do my socks go? I've even tried to fold my socks into one after I take them off - but that doesn't work. The drawer where I keep my socks is like a speed-dating convention - full of singles looking for "the one"!

Today I counted 16 single socks. I searched my drawers and the hot press to find partners - but no luck. I was so impressed with my array of odd socks that I took a photo. This has to be one of the mysteries of life - where are the other 16 socks?

My selection of 16 odd socks!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Puttin' on the Ritz

I'm feeling just a little bit posh after having spent last evening and night at the Ritz Carlton in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow. The occasion was a conference for pharmacy customers of Cahill May Roberts to which partners were also invited. I got to play golf in Powerscourt - enjoyable, though I did not score well. All in glorious sunshine too!

The Ritz Carlton is easily the poshest place I have ever stayed in  - luxury everywhere. Breakfast this morning was normal rashers and sausages - but served with silver and fine china. €29 a head for the full Irish was extremely bad value (though CMR paid for this). Clearly - no expense was spared in building this hotel, you can almost smell the money that it took to create this piece of luxury.

I have to say that I feel out of place in fine surroundings such as the Ritz. It's far too posh for this Wicklow man, and it was far from this that I was reared. It's nice to experience this occasionally, but I always feel more comfortable when I am leaving - almost relieved to be heading home.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Every Classroom will be a Computer Laboratory, in an article by Chloe Albanesius, reports a big surprise - Teenagers Want an iPhone, iPad. Though is it 32 years since I was a teenager, I guess I'm not alone in wanting the latest gadget (as I posted earlier this week about wanting an iPad 2). In a poll of  4,500 high school students, Albanesius writes that the "level of interest in the iPhone is at an all-time high of 37 percent" - what are the other 63% thinking? According to the report, 17% of teenagers already own an iPhone, while 22% own a tablet.

Image from
Apple must be licking their lips at these figures. The iPad and iPhone is taking market share from PC sales which are reported to be slower than expected for the first quarter of this year (see this article for more on this - also by Chloe Albanesius). Apple also dominates in the music market, with 86% of the teen market. While all the above figures are based on a survey in the USA - I'm sure that Irish and European teenagers cannot be too far behind. 

I haven't seen an iPad yet in any of my classes (lots of iPhones) - though the number of students bringing in laptops and using them in class is increasing every year. In many colleges like NCI - there is pressure on computer laboratory time. For some subjects, like Project Management that I teach, there is not enough free lab time for all classes. For this module I have a two hour lecture in a standard lecture theatre, while the 1-hour tutorials are in a computer lab. This subject should be taught in a lab all the time. However, when the day comes that every student has a laptop or tablet in class - every classroom will be a computer laboratory. I hope this is sooner rather than later.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Let's own up to our part in the burst bubble - Vincent Browne (#vinb)

Vincent Browne is one of those people whom I, and many others, have a love/hate relationship with. Seldom do I agree with what he says, but in an Irish Times article - Let's own up to our part in the burst bubble, he takes so many aspects of Irish society to task that at last he is talking sense. We all need to accept some blame for what has happened to our country. The blame is not equal - some arseholes like Seán Fitzpatrick and his fellow bankers need to take a really serious look at themselves as they are responsible for bring our beloved nation to its knees. But - asks Vincent Browne, who else is to blame?

Photo of Vincent Browne from Wikipedia.
Browne rounds on the "plethoras of distinguished business and professional people on the boards" of the banks who fiddled as Ireland burned. He also takes to task the accountancy profession, solicitors, the health service, the political class, the regulators, the media, and finally the "schools, the universities, the homes of Ireland and the media again all created that culture of atavistic greed that drove us to and over the precipice". Just about everyone - no one is spared.

I remember an interview with the wonderful Wexford man Liam Griffin on the radio some time ago who was also espousing the same idea - we are all to blame. Griffin talked about people putting stained-glass windows in their bathrooms during the boom - were we all mad?

This would be hard for most people to accept - what part did I (you) play in the demise of our economy? I honestly don't think I personally did anything to reduce Ireland to where it is - but according to Browne and Griffin, we (I) all bear some responsibility.

Some people claim that they have not benefited from the boom. But take a look at the new roads, new hospital equipment, new buses, the airport, the Dublin Port tunnel, all the by-passes, high social welfare rates, all the teachers/nurses/guards that we have, the education system, the Luas, and many more benefits - can any of us say for certain that we did not benefit to some extent? 

The blame game is over - we should move on. This does not excuse the arseholes and others who fecked Ireland. It might make us feel better to throw tomatoes at the holes of the arses - but it will not achieve anything. 

As Vincent Browne finally states: "Yes, it’s time we owned up".

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

2 iPad 2 or not 2 iPad 2

I am beginning to think that I cannot live the rest of my life without an iPad, and I am thinking strongly of getting the new iPad2. I am still asking myself "Do I really need an iPad?", or is it simply "Do I only want an iPad?". Also - "Should I wait for an iPad 3?". I need some advice. I don't carry around a laptop - I have one for work, but it never leaves my desk. I use my iPhone quite a lot, but find the size of the iPhone to be an issue as my eyesight gets worse while I make my way through middle-age.

Steve Wozniak photo
Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, is quoted in yesterday's TECHWORLD website as saying at a convention that "The tablet is not necessarily for the people in this room.....It's for the normal people in the world". Since I consider myself as a "normal" person, I do believe he is talking to me! Wozniak is also quoted as saying that the iPad is a "culmination of what Steve Jobs wanted to create at Apple from the beginning". Clearly he thinks that the ideal computer device that everyone can use has been created.

Image from
The ESB is running a competition on - the prize is an iPad 2. This got me thinking as to what I would do with it if I actually won (there are almost 1,000 entries as I write this - so the chances of winning are small).Yes - it would be convenient to have email and Internet access in my hand, but this would not be a key reason to buy an extra device to do this when I already have an iPhone, laptop at work, and a desktop at home. Since I would have to buy it myself, there is the consideration should I use it at work? 

Recently I have had reason to access some of my eBooks a bit more than usual while preparing lecture notes. Some are on my laptop at work, while others are at home - the iPhone is too small to bother with trying to read them. An iPad device would be ideal in that I could have all my eBooks (academic as well as non-academic) in one place. I could have solutions to problems set in tutorials on-hand, and of course copies of my lecture notes as well. I recently saw a student in one of my classes using an Amazon Kindle eBook reader to read my PowerPoint lecture notes.

I think I am trying to talk myself into getting one - but they are soooooo expensive! What am I to do?

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Photos from my Dad's 80th Birthday Celebrations

I know quite a few of my extended family view this blog from time to time - many came to celebrate Dad's 80th Birthday last Sunday when we had a birthday party for him at my house. It was great to see so many of my O'Loughlin-related Aunts, Uncles, and cousins come to mark this fantastic occasion. Below are some photos from the party. The first few were taken at Dad's beloved Ballingate outside his house on his actual birthday (31st March), the remainder are from the party the following Sunday (3rd April).

Dad was in great form and is a wonderful advertisement for an active, healthy, and alert 80 year old man. He enjoyed the occasion very much, though he will have a tough job getting through all the whiskey he received as a present! I may need to give him a hand with this whiskey lake!

Happy Birthday Dad - long life and happiness to you.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Dublin 2-10 Down 0-13

Once again I attended (with Kate) a Dublin GAA match in Croke Park - the hurlers faced the mighty Kilkenny, while the footballers were up against last year's All-Ireland finalists Down. A crowd of just over 35,000 watched Dublin sensationally draw with Kilkenny, while the footballers grabbed an injury-time win over Down. In the middle of it all was Jedward - the novelty is wearing off.

The "warm-up" match saw Dublin's hurler's - out-played for a lot of the match keep their outside chances of a League final alive. Kilkenny missed the majestic Henry Sheflin, as Richie Hogan missed free after free - and should have been out of sight early on. But Dublin were just about deserving of the draw in what was a poor game.

In the football - the quality was also poor at times. Lots of mistakes and some dreadful shooting and passing from both sides - the likes of Kerry and Cork will be already be looking forward to a long summer in the Championship! A late goal from Alan Brogan came from the script as there was a minute's silence at the start of the match for his Grand Dad Jim who died yesterday. Despite the awful football on show at times, there was some quality - especially from Marty Clarke of Down in the second half. For Dublin. Both Bernard and Alan Brogan (not to forget Paul) were the best of the Dublin team.

I did not see potential All-Ireland winners in either team tonight - but the signs are that Dublin will be expected to at least win the Leinster Championship and get to another All-Ireland semi-final at least. Who knows after that. For now - there is a National League final to look forward to.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Pastor Terry Jones - What a Fool

A fool is someone who lacks good judgement, and this week we have an example of a fool in the form of the so-called Pastor Terry Jones who is described in today's Telegraph newspaper as a "59-year-old runs the Dove World Outreach Centre in Gainsville, Florida, whose congregation numbers just a few dozen" and as a "homophobic used furniture salesman who has become famous solely through the use of controversy". Presumably he claims to be a Christian and preaches Christian values in his church.

Jones burned copies of the Muslim Koran to
mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks
on New York Photo: AP (from The Telegraph).
As a Christian myself, today I am ashamed that this fool calls himself a fellow Christian - though Christ himself asked us to forgive sinners. 

This fool has surely sinned and he is directly responsible for the deaths of eight yesterday in Afghanistan - perhaps there will be more as this outrage is rightly condemned by every Muslim. He has made matters worse by denying any responsibility for these deaths.

Freedom of Speech is a precious thing - something I and most right-thinking people in the world value, we must stand up for it. But it must not be abused as an incitement to hatred as this man has surely done. How would he feel if Muslims burned the Holy Bible in front of his church?

Paster Terry Jones - get down on your knees and beg forgiveness for the wrong you have done. God/Allah is merciful.

Any comments are welcome, but hate mail, incitement to hatred, or any disrespectful comments about the Bible, Koran, Muslim, or Christian religions will not be published.