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Author Archive: Eamonn Fitzgerald

Ex-pat Irishman keeping an eye on the world from the Bavarian side of the Alps.

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Dude’s feast day

Wednesday, 22 October, 2014 0 Comments

He’s got that hipster look. The hair, the beard, the shades, the watch. The paddle thing is hip, too. But the photo was not shot by The Sartorialist or any other fashion blogger. It dates from 1955 and it’s of this man, once an avid outdoors person, whose feast day is being celebrated for the first time today.

Dude saint

Dune day

Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 0 Comments

What could be nicer on a dull, drizzly day than to wander through the dunes around the Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi with the help of Google Maps? Very little, actually.

Marc Andreessen, with footnotes

Monday, 20 October, 2014 0 Comments

There’s a nice bit of footnote CSS behind this New York interview with Marc Andreessen, “The tall, bald, spring-loaded venture capitalist, who invented the first mainstream internet browser, co-founded Netscape, then made a fortune as an early investor in Twitter and Facebook…”

Mouse over “Foxconn 15” and out at the side pops “In January, Foxconn was reportedly in talks with several states about building a plant in the United States.” Behind the scenes, the magic is created by the following:

CSS NY

And the result is:

CSS

Andreessen comes across as a hard-headed libertarian, very much in synch with the Valley ethos, but critical enough and informed enough to know how the world works. Typical of the Q&A exchanges with Kevin Roose:

And yet we have more internal inequality in San Francisco than we do in Rwanda.

So then move to Rwanda and see how that works out for you. I think you just answered your own question.

Flowers in the summer, Fires in the fall!

Sunday, 19 October, 2014 0 Comments

In his 44 years on this earth, Robert Louis Stevenson poured out novels, essays and poems. His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It has been said that Stevenson’s is a poetry of sentiment. It tends to be about the commonplace and it is marked by simplicity, directness, and clarity of language. He asks us to listen carefully and experience the moment.

Autumn Fires

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The gray smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 — 1894)

Autumn fire

Adams: Ryan and Bryan

Saturday, 18 October, 2014 0 Comments

One was born in Kingston, Ontario; the other in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Both share the name Adams, but the Canadian is Bryan and the American is Ryan. Each is a rock musician, but their styles are very different, as their fans/critics keep pointing out. In fact, Ryan Adams famously ejected a customer from a concert more than a decade ago for jokingly requesting Summer of ’69. And that was not just then. Ryan played Milwaukee’s Riverside Theater on Tuesday night and, according to the Journal Sentinel, “when some clown made a Bryan Adams reference — inside which was a callback to a 2002 incident that saw Adams giving money and marching orders to another clown making another such reference — he took several minutes to shrug it off verbally.” Here, however, Ryan embraces Bryan, musically, that is.

Getting ready for the next billion

Friday, 17 October, 2014 0 Comments

Between 2015 and 2020, one billion new people are expected to come online for the first time, mainly through mobile-based internet connections. Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg talks with Michal Lev-Ram of Fortune about the next billion, his company’s innovation labs and the future of mobile data in a digital-dependent economy. “By 2019,” says Vestberg, “90 percent of the Earth’s population above six years will have a mobile phone.”

Ericsson, meanwhile, is talking up 5G, which it claims “will make completely new applications possible and bring even greater benefits to society. For example, near-zero latency enables machinery to be remotely operated in hazardous environments as well as driverless cars.”

Dave Winer went first

Thursday, 16 October, 2014 0 Comments

“I am a programmer and a blogger. In both these roles, I like to go first. If there’s a juicy idea out there to explore, I’m on it! That’s the role I played in the birth of blogging, starting on October 7, 1994.” So writes Dave Winer in Medium. He continues: “Because the power of the press belongs to people who have one, I realized how huge a change this was. Now publishing costs were zero. The only thing that stood in the way were basic practices for writers and programmers.”

After all these years and all that writing, Winer remains indefatigable. Over at Scripting News, he keeps pumping it out. Posts range in title from “Why I generally don’t tag” to “Are Twitter and Facebook silos?” How does he do it? On 28 September, he published “My manifesto for web writing.”

The power of WordPress

Wednesday, 15 October, 2014 0 Comments

WordPress “We like to say that WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time,” say the creators of the open-source software that powers the likes of Rainy Day and some 60 million other sites. What began as a basic blogging tool back in 2003 has since matured into a full-featured content management system and now it’s transforming the digital look and feel of the venerable New Yorker.

“With the relaunch, NewYorker.com runs on WordPress, a more robust, user-friendly CMS,” writes John Brownlee in Fast Company. The article is titled “How The New Yorker Finally Figured Out The Internet: 3 Lessons From Its Web Redesign.” Quote: “Because the tools are no longer getting in the way of producers doing their job, NewYorker.com is now able to publish a greater volume of stories every day. The site used to top out at 10 or 12 stories each day: now, it publishes around 20 per day.”

By the way, Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, says the future of the system is in social, mobile, and as an application platform.

You can have Ebola.com for $150,000

Tuesday, 14 October, 2014 0 Comments

“We are an Internet real estate investment, development, and brand assistance firm,” claims Blue String Ventures, Inc, which numbers Fukushima.com and Soursoup.com among its notable “successes”. The same Blue String Ventures, Inc. is also sitting on the Ebola.com domain and is looking for $150,000 to transfer ownership of the site.

“Ebola.com would be a great domain for a pharmaceutical company working on a vaccine or cure, a company selling pandemic or disaster-preparedness supplies, or a medical company wishing to provide information and advertise services,” Jon Schultz, Blue String’s president, told CNBC. “There could be many other applications as well. With so many people concerned about the disease, any advertisement referring people to Ebola.com should get an excellent response.”

When you type Ebola.com into a browser and hit Enter, “Welcome to Ebolavirus.org” is what pops up at the URL. There’s a mish-mash of Ebola-related links and right at the bottom in the smallest of print is the message: “Copyright 2014 Ebolavirus.org Ebola.com Is For Sale All Rights Reserved.”

Today in Parasitic Capitalism: Ebola.com Squatter Wants $150K for Domain,” writes Slias Groll in Foreign Policy. It should not be surprising that who saw profit from Fukushima, could imagine making a killing with Ebola.

#Ebola

Monday, 13 October, 2014 0 Comments

In a time of hysteria and rumour, much of which is being spread by the the 24/7 news biz, it is comforting to know that sober and alternative sources of information about the Ebola virus exist. For instance, there’s the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Ebola page and its equivalent from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Google News has a dedicated site, and the Ebola Resource Centre at The Lancet has made all of the publication’s relevant articles freely accessible. The Pathogen Perspectives is a new Ebola-oriented blog that’s very well-informed and documented.

Meanwhile, under the hashtags #Ebola and #EbolaOutbreak, one can listen to the voices of real people and concerned organizations. Sure, there are trolls out there, but they go with the social media territory.

Begin the hours of this day slow

Sunday, 12 October, 2014 0 Comments

It’s a lovely October morning, filled with birdsong and yellowing leaves. A perfect morning, then, for a poem by Robert Frost. In his work, Frost steered clear of politics and religion. Nature was his mysticism and sensuality. The earth’s fertility and our relationship to the soil were central to his verse. In assessing his pastoral quality, critic M. L. Rosenthal wrote that Frost’s “lyrical and realistic repossession of the rural and ‘natural'” is the cornerstone of his enduring reputation.

October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Robert Frost (1874 — 1963)

October leaves