Archive for the 'Ireland' Category

We’re bringing Ignite to Limerick!

miLKlabs and IxDA Limerick are joining forces to organise the first Ignite talk series ever in our city!The event will happen on  Wednesday, April 6 2011, 7 pm in the Absolute Hotel.

Why this event?

The idea is to spread the news about miLKlabs, bring together likeminded individuals, create synergies between people from different backgrounds and highlight possible collaborations. We are also trying to shed a light on the creativity and talent of Limerick people and bringing them to the attention of the public. IxDA Limerick is hosting the event as part of their United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development programme.

What is Ignite?

In talks that are exactly five minutes long, Ignite presenters share their personal and professional passions, using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. Ignite events are run by local volunteers in many locations around the world, as part of the global Ignite network. Talks are video recorded and shared on the Internet, allowing local Ignites to share the knowledge and passion with the world (more about Ignite here ).

What is miLKlabs?

miLKlabs is a collaborative community space based in Limerick City, Ireland. The name is derived from ‘made in LimericK’. It is meant as a shared physical space for any and all creative projects: art, woodwork, software, photography and electronics – to name but a few. The aim is to provide Limerick with a place for people to work and collaborate on creative projects, to learn and to share their knowledge.

What is IxDA Limerick?

IxDA Limerick is the local chapter of the Interaction Design Association, a global network dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design.

How can I participate?

You can sign up for attending the event either on Facebook or on the IxDA meetup page.

If you have an interesting idea or project you’d like to talk about, there’s still room for speakers! Please drop us an email at with your name and a title for your talk.

April 02 2011 | Events and Ireland and Limerick | 1 Comment »

Women in technology I admire…

Ada LovelaceLast year on Ada Lovelace‘s day, I wrote a post about someone I admire. I prepared a lot for that post, but I got very sick on that very day, so I had to crawl out of bed with fever to actually edit the post and publish it.

Call me superstitious, but I postponed taking the pledge this year, thinking that it would be safer to do it if and when I can, than dreading that I can’t do it. I don’t get to spend a lot of time on my blog these days and my sense of guilt is kind of going through the roof by now.

So for today, I would like to thank to some fellow bloggers from whom I’ve learned a lot during the years and who have been inspiration for me for many years now. The list is probably incomplete, and I’ll remember some more names when I’ll go to bed tonight, but here we go:

Nancy White(@nancywhite): although I have never had the chance to meet Nancy face-to-face, her work on online facilitation had a profound impact on everything I studied, wrote and did in both my professional and my social life. I attended her Online Facilitation workshop back in 2006, and I went back as a mentor in 2007. Nancy has a special gift of making everybody feel comfortable and important when participating in an online event,  she is amazingly creative and open to new perspectives. She lives in Seattle and when she’s not on the road, manages to work from home. She is also a well-known chocoholic:)

Stephanie Booth (@stephtara): I met Steph for the first time at Blogtalk 2 in Vienna, in 2004. She and Suw where like twins – always together! I always wanted to go to LIFT and to the Going Solo events she organised, but never made it. She came to Cork for Blogtalk 2008, and so we met again. Her blog is my special Sunday morning treat, many times when I read her posts I feel like someone is putting a mirror in front of me and makes me see things I usually avoid seeing! I learn a lot from her GTD endeavours and I am following on her steps trying out new tools on occasion. She lives in Lausanne, Switzerland, blogs in both English and French and I’m happy I can read in both. She started a coworking space last year and has a beautiful cat.

Suw Charman-Anderson(@suw). Suw is a prolific blogger- she blogs herehere and here. She’s based in London, is married to @kevglobal and has two lovely cats who tweet: @Grabbity and @SirMewton.

We only met once – in Vienna in 2004. Reading Suw is a delight – she’s interested in the same things, but she can put things in writing so much better than I could ever do! In November last year, she began to write to write on Computer Weekly’s Social Enterprise blog, covering various aspects of social technology in business. That was like my best Christmas present ever! Her hobby is making jewelry. She’s actually the one who initiated the whole Finding Ada movement.

Lilia Efimova (@mathemagenic) Lilia is a person I admire a lot. We were both interested in Knowledge Management, but at a time when Social Software was in its infancy (and somehow despised), she had the guts to embark on PhD research that put blogging practices at the centre of developing a knowledge-based ecosystem. She actually gave me the courage to go against the flow and consider what we call today Social Media as a research topic back in 2004!

How we first met: I missed Blogwalk1 because I was just out of hospital after surgery, but went to Blogwalk2 in Nuremberg in May 2004 and met Lilia and Elmine on that occasion. I remember that day very well: I was after a week of teaching at CNAM in Paris and I had to move from Germany to Luxembourg on that very Sunday, but I spent the Saturday in Nuremberg speaking and walking along with all these people whose blogs I was reading, and I was so happy I could be there!
Last summer, I had the honour to  be there when Lilia defended her thesis in Utrecht. Lilia lives in Enschede,  Netherlands.

Elmine Wijnia (@elmine) Elmine is a wise person who asks a lot of thought provoking questions. She’s always on a quest for what could help us live up to our values. The workshop she facilitated together with Ton Zijlstra at reboot9 in Copenhagen was one of those moments when you feel surrounded by creative and intelligent people, the ideas burst from all directions, and sky is the limit! Elmine and Ton live in Enschede, Netherlands, and I’m really looking forward to visit them this summer!

Carmen Holotescu (@cami13) – Carmen is teaching Software Engineering in a renowned Romanian Technical University in my hometown, Timisoara. But she’s also building fantastic apps., a sort of Romanian version of Twitter, but with far more capabilities built in, made her known worldwide. To me, she is the one who gave the Romanian blogosphere the much needed self-awareness, by putting together and maintaining a list of Romanian bloggers at a time when blogging started to take off in Romania back in 2005-2006.

Sabrina Dent (@sabrinadent)  Sabrina is a web designer extraordinaire living in Cork, Ireland with a dog and a husband;)  Although she’s working insanely too many hours, every now and again we get the chance to listen to her witty and thought-provoking presentations at various barcamp-style events across Ireland. Sabrina’s blog is a sort of focal point for many people involved in digital media here in Ireland, and on many occasions I’ve sent my students to have a look at her work and read her blog instead of reading yet another academic paper.  Sabrina is a real treasure and imho we are very lucky to have her here in Ireland!

Alexia Golez(@lexia) – Alexia is originally from Limerick and currently works for Microsoft in Dublin, Ireland. She blogs about everything from current affairs and technology to music and cultural events. And her Red Links are a delight to follow!  She’s part of the fantastic team that organizes the Irish Blog Awards every year – a great opportunity to meet face-to-face hundreds of bloggers from all the ways of life. I had the honour to have Alexia in my class last semester, giving a talk to my 4th year students, and I had the feeling that her insights about her work at Microsoft and the social media landscape in Ireland were extremely valuable for them!

Ina O’Murchu (@Ina) Ina lives in Galway, Ireland. She’s a brilliant community facilitator and a passionate promoter of the semantic web technologies.  She’s always up-to-date with the latest technologies and is very active organising Social Media events in her area.  She was the first blogger I met after I moved to Ireland – I found her blog by accident and then we organised to meet in person when I travelled to Galway. She was the one who introduced me to the Irish blogging scene.

So, on Ada Lovelace’s Day, thank you, ladies, for sharing your knowledge, reflections and enthusiasm day-by-day through your blogs, and for being such a great inspiration for me and for others!

Enhanced by Zemanta

March 24 2010 | iHCI and Ireland and Life and people and Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The iHCI conference 2009

The series of iHCI conferences started two years ago – my colleague Luigina Ciolfi organised the 2007 event, hosted by the Interaction Design Centre at the University of Limerick.

The 2009 event is hosted by Trinity College Dublin and it was organised by Aaron Quigley and Gavin Doherty. The first day was dedicated to workshops and tutorials.

I chose to attend the IxDA industry talks this morning – and I was really impressed by the great speakers line-up! Kudos to Ben Arent for the organisation and for telling us more about the IxDA Dublin and the upcoming Design Week!

Niamh Phelan (IQ Content) spoke about Google Analytics and how to harness its power when researching usability matters. She pointed the audience to the IQContent blog for useful tips on tracking multiple domains and I was really impressed by their openness to share useful solutions.

Henry Poskitt and Frank Long from Frontend spoke about OOBE (oh, how I recognised myself in the picture of the frustrated user!) and working with personas in design.

The talk of Des Traynor (Contrast) focused on designing for mobile context and made our imagination fly by talking about e-ink and application integration!

I enjoyed the morning session a lot and I’ll do my best to convince these fantastic guys to come to Limerick and talk to the students in the near future.

The afternoon was dedicated to a tutorial on Inclusive Design for Older and Disabled Users offered by Prof.Helen Petrie from the University of York, UK. The tutorial was a real mind opener on what it means to design for and with people with various disabilities. The conclusion was that even if the needs of these groups might be very diverse, the solutions are not that diverse, and by including these concerns in the design process from the very beginning, mainstream technologies (and not only the assistive ones) could benefit a lot. Prof. Petrie mentioned quite a lot the Utopia project and the work of Alan Newell from Dundee University who is using theatre as an intermediary between users and designers.

The workshop included a practical exercise that required us to wear 3 pairs of latex gloves and glasses exemplifying various sight disabilities while trying to perform a simple task on a phone or laptop that didn’t belong to us. Here I am wearing the glasses:) (thanks to @aquigley!)

The first day ended with a social event at the Bagott Inn. More about iHCI tomorrow!

September 17 2009 | conferences and Events and iHCI and Ireland | No Comments »

OpenCoffee, Twitter and thinking out of the box

I went to the Limerick OpenCoffee Club this morning. I could afford this luxury, as the semester is over- no more teaching on Thursdays- and my contract ended anyhow.

We had quite a few of new attendees, and I tried to play the host. Don’t think I succeeded very well, because I was too nervous thinking of the 1000 different things I had to postpone doing for going there! But anyhow, after 10 min and 2 urgent mails sent, I managed to sink into the relaxed atmosphere…

This time we had two presentations on the agenda:

  • Elaine Rogers from Seefin Coaching spoke about Time Management, and
  • John Gleeson from the University of Limerick (UL) spoke about Technology Transfer.

I had my laptop with me, and instead of taking notes, I felt like twittering what was going on. Read from the bottom up if you want to make any sense of it!These are all the tweets under #LOCC during those hours!

The funny part was that Ger Hartnett read my tweet about Elaine’s slide with a list of time wasters, and asked if Twitter was on the list. I presented Elaine with the comment (in almost real time), and she confessed she avoided it on purpose… because herself spends a lot of time on Twitter.

  1. elainerogers @gabig58 @schregardus thanks 4 comments. Really enjoyed giving the talk 🙂#LOCC about 17 hours ago from TwitterFon
  2. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC Partner with researchers and research groups, make your skill sets known to UL, suggest interesting problems, tap into EI support about 19 hours ago from web
  3. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC The EI High-potential start-up program – about 19 hours ago from web
  4. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC Successful UL Campus Companies:,, about 19 hours ago from web
  5. Ga09_normal gabig58 omg! 5 new followers in the last 20 min, just because I’m tweeting from #LOCC! Thank you! Hope my battery won’t fail me! about 19 hours ago from web
  6. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC For companies looking for collaboration with universities,have a look at Innovation Vouchers and Innovation Partnerships(EI funded) about 19 hours ago from web
  7. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC John Gleeson’s role at UL is to facilitate university – industry linkages and research commercialisation about 19 hours ago from web
  8. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC A bit of history – the establishment of UL in 1972, a picture of the White House and one of the Living Bridge about 19 hours ago from web
  9. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC John Gleeson from UL talking about Technology Transfer for the next 20 min. about 19 hours ago from web
  10. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers Anecdote about a person changing her Facebook profile to check what ads would come up! about 19 hours ago from web
  11. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers Try to fit your todo’s in one of the four quadrants: important/not important, urgent/not urgent about 19 hours ago from web
  12. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers shares her personal planner layout. A wheel of life ( underneath helps her keep the balance. about 19 hours ago from web
  13. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC Are you a Fireman? Over-Committer? Acquarian? Chatty Kathy? Perfectionist? Find out yourself! about 20 hours ago from web
  14. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC if procrastination is taking up,and you spend your day on Twitter, FB,YouTube -your body is actually telling you it’s time for a break about 20 hours ago from web
  15. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC The mayonese jar story:you can put the golf balls in,the pebbles and the sand -but there’s always space left for a cuppa with a friend about 20 hours ago from web
  16. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @ghartnett No trace of Twitter on @elainerogers time wasters list. She confessed she avoided it on purpose…she’s a Twitter addict;) about 20 hours ago from web
  17. Mypicture_normal ghartnett @gabig58 Is Twitter on the list? #LOCC about 20 hours ago from TweetDeck
  18. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers goes through a list of time wasters. Meetings very well represented;) about 20 hours ago from web
  19. Mypicture_normal ghartnett @gabig58 @elainerogers talk sounds interesting. Sorry I’m missing it. #LOCC about 20 hours ago from TweetDeck
  20. Ga09_normal gabig58 #LOCC @elainerogers from Seefin just started her talk. A few attendees’ opinions on time management. Elaine “time management is a myth” about 20 hours ago from web

And my battery did fail me in the end!

I had the chance to play an Akoha Thank you! card with Ted Vickey, for his talk on LinkedIn at Bizcamp.

And then I ran home to finish my slides for the Lero Industry Day on Monday.

In the evening, I went to an event organised by the Limerick County Enterprise Board: a talk by Brody Sweeney, the man behind O’Briens Sandwich Bars, titled “The real way to start up and stay in business”. The talk was the most inspiring event I went to lately! Brody spoke with extreme honesty about the problem he faced along the way, the sometimes unorthodox approaches he had to take, and what really counts. What really counts are people and hard work – and this struck a chord in me! We’ve heard the same thing from Patrick Collison at the OpenCoffee almost a year ago – there’s really hard work behind any successful business!

And the message we all took home was that there’s an opportunity in every apparently bad thing that’s happening to us – and the current recession is no exception! So I’ll try to get up smiling tomorrow morning, start with my best foot and see the hidden opportunities behind all this apparent doom and gloom everybody seems to be whining about!

May 07 2009 | Ireland and unconferences | 1 Comment »

The first Irish HCI Conference hosted by the IDC


My department organised a great event yesterday – the first Irish Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. About 50 people from different universities, companies and public institutions attended the event, which turned out to be a success! Several research groups from Cork, Dublin, Galway , Limerick and Maynooth presented their current research and projects, and I must say it was very interesting to find what was going on – not only in the other universities, but also in our own!

I found a lot of interesting connections in the presentations of Tim Hall (EMRC), Mark Magennis(NCBI) , Aphra Kerr(NUIMNIRSA).

Mark Leslie(Martello Media) presented three of their projects, and the “fun palace” designed for the Visitor Centre at the Cliffs of Moher really caught my attention. I’m as mad as everyone else for the horrible impact that building had on the environment, but I’d still like to see what came out!

The ScanCam one of the participants was wearing at his neck raised privacy concerns (taking shots at every change detected in the environment- 5000-7000 pics/day). Our colleague introduced an interesting application that was actually trying to make sense of these images by selecting the less frequent situations out of the huge pile.

I was fascinated by the story around the design of a digital piece of jewelry presented by John Mc’Carthy from UCC. Different interactive artefacts made me think of the wide spectrum of opportunities for augmenting human intelligence made possible by technology: the topographic torch, the touch table, the search of digital archives, or artistic events such as the re-creation of the 1831 riot in the Queen Square in Bristol.

I also had the chance to discover that one of our colleagues in TCD is actually studying meetings and the electronic support for meetings (unlike us, who are focusing on software engineering, he’s looking at the medical domain).

The breaks allowed for a lot of networking, and the gorgeous weather brought us outside, in the nice ambiance of the Kilmurry village.

In the afternoon, we had a group discussion on possible future actions for keeping in touch, creating awareness mechanisms on each other’s work, and becoming more visible in Ireland as a community. The ideas kept buzzing, and we put together a wiki page to keep track of what was said and remains to be put into practice.

A few other people blogged the event: Mike Bennett, Eoin Brazil.
And of course we had a short note (and some comments!) on the IDC blog as well!

Although several people were involved in the organization, my colleague Luigina Ciolfi was the heart and the force behind this event. Kudos, Lui, for all the hard work! I enjoyed every minute, and judging by what I’ve heard, so did most of the participants!

May 03 2007 | conference and IDC and iHCI and Ireland and Limerick | 2 Comments »