Videos From Paddy Valley

Jan Blanchard is busy with the video camera (Damien’s camera, he did say he was packing one?) and now, for those of you interested in what’s happening on the Paddy Valley trip to Silicon Valley.

Last night was due to see Tourist Republic, Putplace, Nubiq, Spoiltchild and all pitching in front of some VC panelists after a panel discussion on raising cash for Irish Web 2.0 companies hitting Silicon Valley. The videos though, available here, are giving a little insight as to what is happening the far side of the world for the week the Irish invade.

If you’re a Jaiku user, I would suggest tracking Damien Mulley for the week to catch his updates direct on the tour.

Young Irish Film Makers Go YouTube

I’ve been distracting myself with other blogs, client launches, giving talks in Wicklow, a chest infection, an ingrown toenail (which got sorted yesterday) and so many other things that I’ve missed a few posts here over the last few days. Today too is the first time my laptop has been switched on since Sunday.

That much aside though I should say that one of the things I was working on towards the end of last week was getting Young Irish Film Makers on YouTube and sorting out some kind of online direction for them for 2008.

While some of the members have been posting to Google Video or YouTube under their individual accounts, there was nothing centralised to view the works produced by members, those involved in outreach activities and more. At present they’ve posted the second trailer for upcoming 2008 feature release ‘Suckers’ along with a clip from 2006 release ‘Stealaway’.

I’ve been assured there will be several clips added to the YIFM YouTube channel a week so if you’re interested in following the works produced by members (aged 10 upwards) then keep an eye on it.

Related link:

Headcolds And Podcasts Don’t Go Hand-In-Hand

Ever since I got back from the weekend I’ve been struggling with a headcold / chest cold / general coldness. I went through this last year only to wind up with near pneumonia. I had taken Monday off work, agreeing to myself to record the 11th Playlist Mix podcast on Tuesday night. Little did I figure that come Tuesday night I’d barely be able to breathe let alone speak.

But, the show must go on, right?

If you’re struggling with a headcold but need to record a podcast at the same time, I did find the following things helpful.

  • Wrap up warm – body heat induces comfort, comfort suggests less movement and relaxation.
  • Halls Mentho-Lyptus Honey & Lemon – not the soothers variety. While they’re doing a less-than-par job for me this morning, they worked wonders last night in opening up my nose and removing that ‘bunged up’ feel.
  • Record, pause, breathe, record, pause, breathe – You’re not broadcasting live so you’ve got time on your side. Have your speak, take a deep breath (let the halls kick in), you can cut out the white space / dead air afterwards.
  • Tea. The body’s best friend. Make sure it’s in a big a mug as possible and that you’re sipping Lyon’s gold blend (shop around and you’ll be able to get 33% extra free).

The end result, 31 minutes of music and notes from myself with six more independant acts from around the globe. While the 10th podcast was a bit more on the mellow side there’s certainly more of an edge to number 11. Listen below and be the judge for yourself, subscribe to the podcast, or drop by to listen to past shows.

Tip of the hat also to Bernie for what I reckon is the first review of the podcast. Podcast #11 (Download 29mb)

Off For The Weekend

It’s been a while since I actually took a day or two off work with the intention of doing nothing (I took a week off in August to produce / direct / act in a theatre production which lasted from the crack of dawn to well into the night). This morning, says he with one foot out the door, I’m off to Sligo for a few days. No email access, no wifi, no mobile broadband, no TV. I’ve the Jaiku mobile packed and that’s about it.

I’m aiming to be at the house (family home) before 12, allowing for a stop in breakfast in Athlone around the 10 mark. Gotta love that Kilmartin roundabout. What I do plan on doing is

  • Trying out my new wetsuit by kayaking on the lake this evening followed by some kayak surfing over the weekend.
  • Following up the kayaking by trying my hand at sailing on Saturday / Sunday.
  • Finishing the Vernon God Little script.
  • Polishing off a blog theme I’ve been working on for another new venture.
  • Taking in some of the WRC stages – the D70 and hiking boots are packed, along with the earplugs.
  • Getting stuck into a few pints of the black stuff at a the Saturday night trad session.

Above all else I just need to get away for the few days so I’m outta here until Monday night. 8am is the “hit the road time” so to all, have a good weekend!

The N95 Is The Next Gadget I’ll Buy

I missed yesterday’s Science Week blog post but couldn’t Thursday’s one as it’s an easy one for me. The question is asked, “What’s the next gadget that you want to buy?”. My answer, the 8GB Nokia N95.

As mobile devices to it’s a massive step forward and one towards the ideal mobile device. Connectivity-wise you’ve got everything you need if you’re working in an online environment – bluetooth, 3G and WiFi. The recent opening up of some Eircom wifi hotspots if you’re already an Eircom BB customer makes public internet access that bit easier. I won’t always have my laptop with me but need a solid mobile device that will allow me to

  • Make and take calls (a given).
  • Have a good quality camera. The N95 shoots at 5mp and I would miss the 3.2mp on my Sony Ericsson K800i.
  • Access the internet over WiFi thus allowing easier access to emails, connections to the office, grabbing music and last minute details around gig weekends, upload photos on the go to my Flickr account and more.
  • Keep up with Jaiku via the S60 client (thus reducing my SMS bill).
  • Allow me to grab and store podcasts on the go (to feed my habit).
  • These points are just for starters…

Again, in a non-laptop situation there’s always the possibility of mobile blogging, VOIP calls, mapping and more. I’ve written about the N95 being my Christmas present to myself this year, though admittedly it looks like I’ll be waiting until the New Year or whenever O2 sort out getting the N95 8GB model so I can make use of my contract upgrade. You can discover the N95 yourself here.

When it comes to phones I’m not a gaming person and in the 13 months I’ve had the K800i I can recall just the trip to Toronto last year that lead me to play games on the phone. I’m more about getting things done and having a device that will assist me in day to day activities.

Having used the first N95 briefly (briefly as in for a few minutes) and working alongside an N95 owner I can see the benefits of the device immediately. The use of IM before / after a client meeting, the ability to hop online and pull messages from MySpace or grab last minute mails before a gig (when you’re dealing with bands that communicate primarily through social networks as opposed to your actual phone then this is a must), passing spreadsheets or PDFs or word documents, plotting a trip on a map before you head away somewhere – and keeping that map in your pocket – that and the abundance of S60 applications that are available to run on the Nokia N95 to enhance your working experience.

Plus, it fits nicely in your hand or pocket and the call quality and speakerphone quality is also good (somewhere the K800i lacks.)

It’s been decided and I’ll wait patiently for my upgrade I think.

Favourite Invention From My Childhood

The Irish blogging community was asked to offer up their thoughts on various elements of the science world this week as part of Science Week (see Jaiku channel here also). That said, I must oblige.

My favourite invention from my childhood or something that at least stands out to me as a fond memory has to be the “blank tape”. I could be guaranteed a set of five tapes at Christmas or on a birthday and I was more than happy to oblige in making recordings for myself. It started off with the news, which I thought was hilarious. It started off with the old radio (which now resides in Sligo and has served many a builder and carpenter over the years), recording the news. I thought it was funny to hear it coming back to me, but it gradually moved on to recording songs off the radio – as everyone did.

I was the master of mix tapes and continued the tradition right up to college (before making mix MP3 playlists, CDs and minidiscs).

I took to a blank tape like a painter to a blank canvas. Every little second of room on the tape would be filled, thought having the end of your song cut off was a pain in the neck but it didn’t matter – flip the tape over and it was game on all over again. I’m sure I’ve still got a 1997 Radiohead recording from a 2FM Live set (possibly Glastonbury), some cheesy dance mixes from 1995, some worse dance mixes from 1992 (I was all of 9 years old) and it goes back further.

It set me on the road to ruin and a fascination with audio so I’ll happily claim the blank tape as one of my favourite inventions (or my favourite) from my childhood. All that BASF and TDK or Memorex chromey goodness.


GoDaddy Phone Support

I’m a patient person, but there’s only so long I can spend on hold. Part of my Friday was spent on hold. About three years ago I changed job, spent 21 minutes on hold ringing the tax office trying to get a new certificate and I nearly lost my mind. I used to work broadband support for AOL and hated putting people on hold for any length of time (and rarely did).

That’s why I’m giving the GoDaddy phone support a thumbs up.

I’ve had occasion to ring them in the past, perhaps a year ago or more, when average waiting time could be 10-15 minutes, everything was call > email > call > email > call at an unusual hour (like your mobile ringing after 9pm, given the time difference).

I’ve no idea where the call terminated today but I popped their US sales support number into Skype for a phone call around 11am or so. My reason being that a .eu domain I had registered had slipped by me a week ago and had gone into ‘Quarantine’, according to the EURid whois.

So I dial out, punch through the menu, select sales support, punch in my existing customer number and I’m immediately speaking to an operator. The chap in question, Nick, was quite helpful. I explained the domain had lapsed, was in the redemption period and had disappeared out of my customer account. No problem he says, only been a few days so we’ll charge you the original price for the domain and you’re all set.

Is this now the normal for GoDaddy, that their phone support be so prompt? Or did I just happen to catch them opening the doors? Lord knows in working for AOL there’d be a string of people on hold at 8am in the morning when the phone lines opened.

Some Weekend Playlist Listening

In case you missed it during the week or you’re on the look out for some new music, see what you think of the ninth podcast. The sounds of The Modern Hypocrites, Gum and Cedar Falls might just be what you’re looking for for the weekend. You can also subscribe to the podcast, which I’m putting out weekly, by clicking here.

Speaking of podcasts, thanks to Tom for taking my questions to David Berlind on this podcast, don’t think I mentioned it before.

Listen To Playlist Mix #9 (Download 26mb)
[audio:] – Getting There

Being involved in the direct running of a theatre company has it’s benefits when it comes to research, testing, getting opinions and feedback from people when it comes to developing a project to assist those in the industry.

Of course, when you do so many other things, time and resources that you can dedicate to a solo project can become a problem. That said, I’m getting ready to push out the first phase of, primarily as a blog / news resource / community forum for those involved in professional and amateur theare (be it drama / opera / dance) in Ireland. Having declared myself out of bounds from next Friday to the following Monday (just so happens to coincide with the WRC stage in Sligo) I reckon I’ll be in a good position to get the final few bits done to open the blog up.

While a theatre news resource might sound uninteresting to some, it is phase two and three of the overall project that will take development over the early part of 2008 that will be fun to toy around with.

Too many ideas… not enough time.

No Sir, I Won’t Be Presenting This Weekend

Just as I opened my mouth yesterday about the proposed ‘Getting Ahead In The Music Industry‘ day to be held in Kilkenny, the plug has been pulled by ArtLinks.

It will be going ahead in Wicklow on November 24th, some of the speakers (including myself) remaining the same but for the moment it won’t be happening in Kilkenny and should be rescheduled for a date in early 2008. So, no sir, I won’t be presenting this weekend. Pity, as we were looking forward to trying out the brand new KKM powerpoint template – or at least I was anyway.

What I will be doing instead on Saturday (as opposed to as well on Saturday) is hosting Vesta Varro and Frantic State in Cleere’s Theatre, if you’re interested, drop down – only a fiver.