West Cork’s First Major Tech Conference – OFFSITE

3rd of September 2012 by conor

The lovely people down at WCDP (West Cork Development Partnership) in Clonakilty, have just announced an all-new Tech Conference called OFFSITE.

I’m really pleased they are doing this, and not just because I’m one of the speakers. There is a huge amount of tech activity happening in Munster but all of those companies rarely get a chance to meet and share ideas, knowledge or problems.

OFFSITE aims to get us all in the one place for a day and do exactly that. In addition to great speakers like Jerry Kennelly, John Dennehy, Donal Cahalane and Ger Keohane, they are also experimenting with a BarCamp session where anyone can offer to speak on anything in the tech sphere. Like all BarCamps, no self-pimpage will be allowed.

The other great aspect of the event is cost. Not €1900, not €900, it’s just €40 to cover those bits that WCDP isn’t allowed to sponsor. That includes lunch and coffee breaks.

Head on over and register. It’s on Thursday 27 September in the Celtic Ross Hotel, Rosscarbery, just a few miles from Clonakilty.

I hope we see people from across the country attending. This could be the start of something special.


Hack The City – Idea Lab Open Call – Go on, do it.

15th of April 2012 by conor

I somehow missed this completely until one of the Science Gallery people sent it on. In a nutshell, from their site:

As part of Science Gallery’s HACK THE CITY exhibition and festival we will be running a 10-day IDEA LAB between 14-23 June 2012 in partnership with Dublin City Council and IBM. The HACK THE CITY: IDEA LAB will focus on rapidly developing products and services that address current and future city needs.

I’m an enormous fan of the Hack The City concept. It pushes every single one of my buttons. Again, they express it better than I ever could:

HACK THE CITY is Science Gallery’s 2012 flagship exhibition and festival. The goal of the programme is to rethink our cities from the ground up through the spirit and philosophy of the hacker ethos – to bend, mash-up, tweak and cannibalise our city systems, to create possibilities, illustrate visionary thinking and demonstrate real-world examples for sustainable urban futures. HACK THE CITY draws on Dublin city’s history of innovation by transforming the city itself into a nimble “playground” and live urban hack lab.

The exhibition and programme focuses on hacking for good. Through the modification and repurposing of existing resources, our aim is to explore alternatives, which purposefully challenge existing hierarchies and consider tools for public good and social wellbeing.

This isn’t just for developers, it’s for designers, hackers, artists, activists and anyone with an interest in improving their city.

They are specifically looking for solutions that address the following:

  1. Dereliction
  2. Crowd Sourcing Public Data
  3. Safety and Wellbeing
  4. Open Data Transport Services

Ideally they want small teams of 2-3 people with a mixed skill set to apply but it is really open to anyone with the ideas and the skills to implement those ideas in an incubation environment.

Travel to Dublin and accommodation during the Idea Lab will be provided. Teams will be hosted in Dublin and provided with a team stipend of max €1500 to work on their ideas. This stipend will cover fees; day-to-day living expenses and core materials needed while developing the idea in Dublin.

You have until Tuesday 8th May 2012 to get your proposal in.

Lots more info over on their site.

I think this is a phenomenal opportunity, so please get your thinking caps on and submit proposals.

I don’t know if there is any lower age limit but most Secondary School students will be on summer holidays at that stage. I can imagine some very edgy ideas coming out of that age group.

Do it.

Techovate Biz-Tech Conference in Wexford looks good

16th of March 2012 by conor

I just found out the details of the Techovate conference that is on in Wexford Opera House next Wed/Thu. It’s about the intersection of technology and business, a subject dear to my heart.

You’ll hear from execs in Microsoft, Google, IBM, Facebook, CISCO, LinkedIn and others. More importantly, unlike some other conferences, you’ll actually get to talk and network with them.

The programme is jam packed and covers a wide range of topics. Plenty of learning and sharing to be had. A one day ticket is only €175, which is a bargain compared to a lot of the event gouging that is going on at the moment.

FeedHenry + Cloud Foundry = Mobile Apps with VMware Cloud Power

6th of March 2012 by conor

FeedHenry has just announced a new platform in partnership with VMware’s Cloud Foundry and it’s pretty awesome.

If you aren’t familiar with FeedHenry, they provide a powerful hybrid cross-platform mobile application solution. You can build mobile Apps simultaneously for 5 different platforms using HTML5, CSS and JavaScript. But just as importantly, it comes with a Server-Side API which allows you to move complex integrations and code onto their sever infrastructure which delivers just the data the App needs. You end up with faster more responsive Apps which can wire into anything on the web, no matter how complex or legacy.

Up until now that Server bit was FeedHenry’s own. Originally based on Rhino, they now offer Node.js. So you can build all of the server side in JavaScript.

The addition of Cloud Foundry is a huge win for the Waterford-based company. Now you build your Apps as usual but deploy the server part to the extremely impressive Cloud Foundry infrastructure. It makes use of Cloud Foundry’s Node.js support and you can deploy with the FHC command line or in the browser-based Studio GUI.

I’ve been a big fan of FeedHenry for a long time and also a fan of Cloud Foundry since it launched. It’s like your two favourite people getting engaged. Now to find the time to build something using both!

Lots of Audioboos from Twitter Teatime Dublin #twittertd

6th of March 2012 by conor

A big thank you to Paul O’Mahony for doing these at #twittertd and apologies for the delay in posting them here. Lots of great stuff to listen to.

Dublin for Twitter #twittertd (1) – ClueTrainManifesto (mp3)

Dublin for Twitter (2) #twitterTD (mp3)

V7 – web developers – Eoin Bara Founder & MD #twitterTD (mp3)

Donal Cahalane organiser of #twitterTD tells the story – includes @jasoncosta (mp3)

Mark Little of @storyful & @marklittlenews speaks of Twitter at #twitterTD (mp3)

Q&A at #twitterTD – this was the highlight of humour (mp3)

@daxon steels the show at #TwitterTd (mp3)

Woop.ie is here – @martharotter introduces it #twittertd (mp3)

Thucydides – Web Testing for Devs – Event this Thursday March 1st

26th of February 2012 by conor

The Irish Software Developer Network (ISDN – love it!) is running an event this Thursday all about automated web testing.

In this talk, John Ferguson Smart will look at the advantages of using Selenium 2/WebDriver for your web tests, and see what Thucydides brings to the party.

It kicks off at 6.30pm at the TCube, 32-34 Castle St, Dublin. Free beer and pizza too.

All the details and info about the live stream over on IrishDev.

Dublin Startup Weekend, March 2nd – 4th in Google

25th of February 2012 by conor

I heard about Dubin Startup Weekend at Twitter Teatime this week and Ma?gorzata Hrasimowicz has sent on the details.

I really like the tagline of  ”No Talk, All Action. Launch a Startup in 54 hours.”

The idea behind the Startup Weekends is to get a broad mix of developers, designers, marketers, biz people etc to work together and turn ideas into a workable business in 2 days.

It’s a non-profit org based in Seattle and they have had weekends like this all over the world.

All the deets are over on the website. Head on over and register, it looks like it’ll be a fab couple of days and it’s on in the cool Google offices.

Ireland’s Companies Registration Office (CRO) launches #opendata API

25th of February 2012 by conor

I was thrilled to get an email from Colm Ahern in Enterprise Registry Solutions telling me that the CRO now has an API which was just launched last week. This is the first time the CRO has done anything like this and I’m hugely impressed on many different levels.

I’ve been banging on about the lack of Government Open Data for years and built a few small things but nothing needle-shifting. Whilst we’ve had lots of bandwagon jumpers in the past 12 months yakking about it, the CRO has gone and done the hard work. The team in there deserves both publicity and congratulations for their efforts.

The API itself is a straightforward familiar RESTful one and currently provides all of the free data that the normal CRO site gives you. Pay-for data is not there yet. You need an API key to access the API and they provide some good examples in PHP, Python etc so that even the most inexperienced programmer can make use of it. Data is returned in XML or JSON.

You do have to register and there is a postal component to that. Yeah yeah, I know, but I also totally understand where they are coming from on this. Remember, they have never done anything like this as an organisation. Technically there is nothing stopping them giving out keys to anyone who registers online but they have to provide confidence at every management level that the system will scale, won’t be abused or won’t have bots slurping down the entire DB 24×7 etc.  I am sure that once they see how it is being used, the sign-up process will be relaxed.

I’ve played a tiny bit with it this afternoon and it was a doddle to use. The sample PHP code has everything you need. I’m already thinking about the kinds of mashups that might be possible with the data, particularly around location and general data mining. Some ETL into Google Fusion Tables might be fun. Hmm, I wonder what type of useful Twitter feeds you could create?

They are looking for feedback from developers on the API. Please sign up, kick the tyres, build some code and let them know what you think.

I fervently hope this will open the floodgates for Irish #opendata. It shows how any system, no matter what the technology, can be wrapped in a simple RESTful API and made available to the public. I hope everyone working in IT in the public sector and Government sees what the guys in the CRO have done and thinks “hell yeah, let’s do it”.


Twitter Teatime – Dublin

6th of February 2012 by admin

Tea Time is a weekly staff meeting held at Twitter offices on Friday afternoons. Every Friday  the company gets together, greets new hires, talk about what happened that week and take Q&A. Anyone in the company can talk about what they did that week.

Over the past couple of months, Twitter have expanded outside the office and hosted a series of events for developers in the Twitter ecosystem.  There’s a lot going on in the ecosystem and it’s a chance to share the highlights with developers – including the latest developments with the platform, areas of demand within the ecosystem, and technical dives into integration opportunities for developers.

Thursday, February 23rd will see see Ireland hosting it’s first teatime event, Teatime Dublin. On the agenda will be a couple of talks by Irish startups who are currently working on interesting applications of the various Twitter API’s, followed by a Q&A with the platform team from Twitter San Francisco who will be joining the proceedings via the magic of SKYPE.

Its a great opportunity to meet other developers and also get a chance to put any tricky questions directly to the platform team.

You can sign up right here on twitter.com. Places are limited. 

For updates and more information, keep an eye on web2ireland and also keep an eye out for the hashtag #twitterDT or tweet any questions or queries to @donal_cahalane

PaJR-Patient Journey Record selected for Chicago accelerator Healthbox

11th of January 2012 by conor

Healthbox, the Chicago-based accelerator program for health care startups has selected 10 companies to participate in its three-month program and the line-up includes Irish PaJR (Patient Journey Record).

PaJR is using Trinity College developed technology to build a cloud-based hospital re-admissions prevention platform. The software identifies at-risk patients based on health status information reported by patients and caregivers.

The accelerator program offers each company office space and $50,000 in seed capital, in addition to access to a network of about 70 mentors that includes hospital executives, health care entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The 10 companies will also work with the five-member Healthbox team.  Healthbox received about 200 applications from businesses across the country, in addition to eight applications from international teams.

“With this backing from HealthBox we believe that Patient Journey Record can continue to keep pushing our efforts to expand in the US market. It’s a fantastic programme and will give us unprecedented access to customers and experts in the US Healthcare system. We believe that through our platform healthcare payers and providers can reduce costs associated with avoidable hospitalisations and improve care coordination within primary care and community care settings” Enda Madden, CEO Patient Journey Record