On rediscovering a love of blogging, writing

Missing for so long, my love of writing, blogging and ultimately content creation is driving me to kickstart kenmc.com after a lengthy absence.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve added a blog post to kenmc.com.

What was once my sole outlet from a writing point of view has gathered layers of dust in the past few years as other avenues expanded. Design, radio, food, music, theatre and more all came in to play. Continue reading “On rediscovering a love of blogging, writing”

KenMcGuire.ie

Currently enjoying an upswing in blogging across various blogs from late 2011, I’ve finally settled on using kenmcguire.ie as a personal blog. Yes, the food, arts, and music are still getting attention, along with the events but as the content spin on kenmc.com weighs far more heavily on technology side than anything else (outside of 2011), I’m using kenmcguire.ie as a personal outlet for photos and projects I’m working on in 2012 so you might start seeing that one pop up a bit more on Twitter and Facebook.

After spending so long deliberating what direction to take kenmc.com in, I figure a complete change is as good as the rest.

Happy New Year to all.

Turning Attentions To Arts & Culture

Love Arts Culture

THE ARTS, with theatre in particular, is quite close to my heart. One of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in years finished recently when I wrapped up a six month artist residency at 76 John Street, Kilkennny with The Devious Theatre Company. The purpose of the residency was to allow the company time to develop, plan, plot, grow professionaly and stage some new work. Three new productions, two festivals and a partridge in a pear tree later, I find myself having kick-started a new blog, Love Arts Culture. This due largely in part to reading anything and everything the arts office has had to offer over the past six months and using the residency as a catalyst to get a focus for a new blog.

Love Arts Culture gives me a home for arts related musings, photographs and theatre coverage, with a spillover of content from DTC and other arts-related projects I’m involved in.

The idea of kenmc.com as a technology blog, for the past 12-18 months, has certainly faded with more of my attention heading towards the arts and groups that I’m involved with both personall and professionally, so parking it all under the one banner makes a lot more sense.

It’s in the infancy stages for the moment but I’ll be giving it some good development time over the next few weeks and we’ll see what comes of it. Whoever says blogging is dead must be having a laugh. As for the content here on kenmc.com, it has certainly changed direction over the past six years or so (or it must be close to six years anyway). This blog itself will be subject to some revision in the coming weeks but for now, you’ll find more of my ramblings over at LoveArtsCulture.com, AnyGivenFood.com and with some photos in the mix, documenting the 29th year, over at 365.kenmc.com.

Do stop by and check out the blog. You’ll also find @LoveArtsCulture on Twitter and Facebook here.

KLCK Bloggers Network In Kildare

KLCK Bloggers Network in Kilkenny
KLCK gathering in Kilkenny, pic via Amanda Webb

The second Monday of the month is almost upon us which means the next KLCK Bloggers Network meeting is just around the corner as well. I was invited along as a guest speaker for last month’s gathering which took place in Kilkenny. 18 or so people made the night, the good numbers sparking some interesting conversation about blog promotion, mailing lists, WordPress plugins and the like.

The November gathering takes place this coming Monday at the Johnstown Business Centre in Johnstown, Co. Kildare.

We have an excellent speaker lined up for the night. John O’Connor from Red Oak Tax Refunds will be talking about measuring the success of our blog and we are introducing a round table discussion on how to find inspiration for our blogs. We are hoping that this round table discussion will encourage more knowledge sharing amongst the group and enable novice bloggers to get more from our meetups.

It’s shaping up to be a great meeting and as always …

The network is aimed at connecting bloggers new and experienced in counties Kildare, Laois, Carlow and Kilkenny with the meetups rotating between every month.

It’s a 7pm kick off, there’s no charge to go along and if you’re new to blogging, looking to build your blog or just get out and about for tea and chat,then Johnstown Business Centre is the place to be on Monday evening. You can follow the group’s activities on Facebook.

Blogging About Food

I had been thinking about it long enough, taking photos long enough, tweeting about it long enough and getting in the neck from friends long enough.

The “it” I’m referring to is food, my love of food, and now I’ve taken all of the above and finally started up a proper food blog.

I’ve got a year’s worth of photos on the iPhone and HTC that are primarily about food. I kept a tumblr blog going until mid summer which was made up just of photos of meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, anything went. But a trip to Foodcamp over the bank holiday weekend gave me the kick in the arse / boost I needed to put everything in the one place and start writing about all things food. And so, if you didn’t get a nudge from me on Facebook about it, I present Any Given Food.

There’s about a week’s worth of posts on there at the moment but the notebook I’ve been keeping should see me through to the Spring, which is certainly enough in terms of content to get me started. That said, I’m not a conventional food blogger by any means. I can’t see myself painstakingly describing recipes (I’m very much “throw in a bit of this, some of that, bang it in the oven”) kind of home cook but the blog will carry posts on local markets, a wealth of foodie photos, dinners out, gluten-free bits and bobs and whatever else takes my foodie fancy.

I’m directing my food tweets via a new account, @anygivenfood and I’ll be posting extra content as I get it over on the Any Given Food Facebook page.

As of this morning I’ve also released a podcast feed (http://feeds.feedburner.com/FoodcampPodcasts) for the Savour Kilkenny Foodcamp Podcasts so if you missed out on Foodcamp last week you can grab yourself some of the talks. There’s four available to download at present with more to come over today and tomorrow.

Thoughts and comments much appreciated and if you would like to subscribe to the new blog use this RSS feed.

Talking Plugins With KLCK Bloggers Network

Kilkenny Pembroke Hotel

I don’t usually go out of my way to speak at events or gatherings, social, business or otherwise. But when Keith Bohanna asked if I could fill in for him at last night’s KLCK Bloggers Network gathering in Kilkenny I figured I couldn’t say no, the event being on my doorstep and all.

I would equate the gathering last night to something akin to Open Coffee only minus the coffee and a bit more formal. The KLCK Bloggers Network was formed by Amanda Webb (of Spiderworking.com, in the running for best videocaster at this year’s Irish Web Awards) and Lorna Sixsmith of Garendenny Lane who I had met previously at Kilkenny Open Coffee (also turns out we’re both writing for a Carlow magazine). The event itself was held in the Kilkenny Pembroke Hotel who were providing one of their conference rooms complete with projector, screen, notepads, pens, all you would need to run an event like it.

While I was the second speaker on the night (which worked out a treat in terms of the content), Marie Ennis-O’Connor was first up to bat leading a great talk on driving additional traffic to your blog, from starting out as a blogger to building a community around your blog through email, comments, guest blogging and more. The audience (about 18/19 of us there) was a mix of beginner and experienced bloggers with some people simply coming in to get an understanding of what blogging is and does for people.

My own talk was quickly cobbled together yesterday on the back of what I call my WordPress toolbox – the plugins I deem essential to any WordPress installation and ones that I keep handy in a zip file whenever I’m starting a new blog either for myself or a client but I felt it went well for something that was a technical overview of additions you can make to your WordPress blog for the both the admin side of things and your theme out front. You can get the list of plugins and links here on Slideshare. The slides also feature a glimpse of the new branding I’m rolling out across the business later in the month.

Last night was the fourth monthly gathering of the network which heads to Kildare for November and should be back in Kilkenny come February or March. The name – KLCK – is an aconym for Kildare Laois Carlow and Kilkenny and they’re actively looking for topics for discussion that would benefit all in attendance, along with speakers. If the rest of the gatherings are along the lines of last night then they’ll be well worth heading along to. Having it hosted in the Pembroke created an opportunity for people to stay on for drinks and further the conversation in the bar but there’s signs there of a good group and network in the making, with everyone being able to contribute on some level from the own experiences. One thing I did note though is that for the 18 people in the room, there were only four men around the table, one of them being me as a speaker for the evening. Makes a change from the male-dominated Open Coffee mornings in Kilkenny.

That said, it’s also opened me up to the notion that I need to get to more events. Outside of Kilkenny, I think Media2020 and the Blog Awards in Galway were the only events I’ve been to for the year. Time to get back on the road, maybe as far as Kildare for the second Monday in November…

The Start Of A New Year

IT’S THE start of a new year, a new decade. A chance to review the last 365 days and plan, or attempt to plan, for the next.

Sure enough, there’s a lot I’m going to do this year between work, theatre, travel, music, business as usual really.

What I missed throughout the year was a regular sense of blogging, something I’ve thorougly enjoyed over the past five years and something I plan to return to with much more vested interest in 2010.

For now, it’s the first day of a new year and those reading this I will assume are both alive and well. That’s the way it should be 🙂

To each and all I hope the new year does you well and you the same. Get up and get out, get on with your projects, turn your hobby into something new, open new doors and meet new faces. All the time while you’re doing it, have a blast as well.

K

Blogging The Arts Festival

Xi and Si

The Kilkenny Arts Festival, now in its 36th year, opened on Friday night and for the duration of the festival I’ll be hiding out over on the festival blog, with myself and John Morton making contributions to the festival content manning the blog / Twitter and video output until Sunday the 16th.

For me personally it’s a fantastic way to see the festival, having missed out on much of last year’s offerings due to our own (via Devious Theatre) commitments to producing Smitten (2008). Friday took in Aleksandar Madzar, Aka Moon and Black Machine opening to a weekend featuring RSAG, Julie Feeney, Amiina and much more. Throughout the week I’ll be attending a myriad of theatre, music, visual arts, crafts and literature events and working on bringing those to the web for the festival.

If you’re attending anything at the Kilkenny Arts Festival or talking about it on Twitter, there’s also the #kaf hashtag that’s currently being used to track festival chatter online. If you do manage to spot me at an event, be sure and say hello.

Irish Blog Awards: Technology Bloggers

The short lists for the Irish Blog Awards have been announced thanks to the trojan work being put in by the judging group for 2009. On average each blog shortlisted was scored by seven judges. Having seen KilkennyMusic.com and my own blog here drop off at the long list stage (i.e. not shortlisted), I’ll be delighted to “fly the flag” for Kilkenny as The Devious Theatre Company have been shortlisted in the Best Arts and Culture category.

The top drawer of Irish technology bloggers this year contains

As in previous years, each individual shortlist has turned up some gems. There’s some regular appearances by certain blogs in their respective categories again joined by several new faces, a great indication of growth in blogging in Ireland and the quality of output of those blogs.

I’ll be in attendance at the Awards myself on Saturday night and I’m staying over in the hotel so there’s

Testing WPtouch, Make Your Blog iPhone-friendly

kenmc.com running WPtouch, iPhone-rendering plugin for WordPress

A tweet from Donncha pointed me in the direction of WPtouch earlier today, now running on kenmc.com.

What does it do?

It’s a plugin for your WordPress-based blog that renders a very iPhone and iPod-friendly theme of your blog. Forget bulky images, scrolling screen after screen – load in the plugin, fire it up and browse a great looking lo-fi version of your blog (see the image above).

You can customise how particular pages are displayed, tie in Flickr photos, full links pages login / logout function and, to an extent, set a colour scheme for the theme via the plugin options. I might as well do a little digging into the plugin and bring across some kind of consistency between the actual blog and the iPhone version of it but I’m impressed.

Grab the plugin yourself here. It requires WP2.3 or higher and has support for WP2.7.