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Time to say goodbye

Today a friend came to see me one more time before leaving Ireland to return to Romania. I was a bit sad thinking that during the last two years she’s been in Dublin we only met a few times. But we are such close online friends that distance won’t really make much difference…

I met Diana in 2004, when she left a comment on one of my blogposts on Prinsea, a blog I was co-writing with Gabriel Radic, a Romanian living in Paris, about the tips and tricks of blogging. To our knowledge, it was the first source of information about blogging in Romanian. I took Diana’s comment as offensive, so I fired back. Gabriel asked us to stay calm and take it offline. E-mails followed, then IM. Misunderstanding clarified, we sent each other virtual hugs and became friends.

Later in 2005, the fact that a Romanian candidate for a PhD position on my project was turned down (she had two degrees and a master’s, but no publications)  made me think of a possible solution to this problem.  In the west, very few people realise how things work back in Romania, and that it is almost impossible as a student to attend any relevant international conference in your field, or even a workshop. The access to prestigious publications in one’s field is also limited – the universities can’t afford subscribing.  And nobody could ever dream publishing straight into a journal without being familiar with the latest progress in your field and without a supervisor’s support.   At the time, I was an observer on elgg, a social networking platform developed around the idea of eportfolio. I decided to encourage a group of graduate students from Romania to start building an online portfolio in English, writing about their research interests, their readings and future plans. My idea was that adding the url to their CVs could make a difference and give their potential international supervisors an idea about their abilities.  I have no idea how much the blog/portfolio idea helped to get a position – they were brilliant students anyhow, but all the 5 people in that group got the chance to study abroad. Diana was among them, and she came to NCI in Dublin to do a master’s in Learning Technologies 2 years ago.

And now she’s getting ready to return to Romania. She was invited to continue with a PhD, but she’s too keen to move back home and apply what she learnt. Time to say goodbye… no more dinners in Dublin together between the Damastown bus and the 9pm Limerick train!

Diana with Akoha card

Two weeks ago at Barcamp Cork II, Emma Persky made me smile and gave me an Akoha card:). “Akoha is a new type of “social reality game” inspired by the idea of pay it forward where players play real-world missions that can be tracked online” – their website says.

I played my card with Diana today, as I knew she will enjoy playing it forward. Farewell, and may the road rise up to you, dear friend!

November 16 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Going to Podcamp Kilkenny

Well, the Podcamp was in my calendar for the last two months, but until 3 days ago, I wasn’t sure I can go. It was a tough week (and a tough month!), and I wouldn’t have dared to go by bus or take the train up to Dublin and then to Kilkenny!

I had promised Sabrina Marczak (a Brazilian doing a PhD at the SEGAL group in Canada), who’s visiting our research group, to facilitate a few discussions with people in the Irish software industry involved in outsourcing. I have done my best, but we didn’t get many responses.

I intended to take her to an OpenCoffee in Cork, but this didn’t work out. She visited Cork last week, attending the Irish HCI conference in my place, while I was stuck at home, with an injured back and hip (don’t ask how it happened, because it was really stupid!)

But we’re coming to Kilkenny tomorrow, so who knows?! Maybe we’ll have a bit of luck!

If, by any chance, you have ever been in a software outsourcing/offshoring relationship (either at the receiving or at the sending end) and you happen to be at Podcamp this Saturday, please come and say hello!

We’re getting a lift with Marian, and I’m really excited to get the chance to talk to her on the way!

September 26 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

New home

Coniecto got a new home, and we’ll be moving here soon. Until then, you can keep an eye on the old blog.

July 08 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Panel discussion on Social Networking at the University of Limerick

It’s been months since myself and Micheal O hAodha have discovered we share an interest in social networking and decided to organise an event on this topic at our university. We started with the idea of a presentation in mind, but as the date kept on slipping , the concept changed, in an attempt to make the event more lively and interactive.

Taking advantage of my collaboration with Bernie Goldbach (@topgold) and James Corbett (@EirePreneur) in bringing to life the next BarCampIreland, I thought of inviting them for a discussion panel.

The announcement went out to the university Events mailing list:

You are invited to the panel discussion
“Social Networking – Getting Beyond the Hype”
in the Library Board Room, Friday 11 April, 2008, 2-3 pm.
The panel will touch on the variety of existing online social networking opportunities (e.g. Facebook, Linkedin, Bebo, MySpace etc.). But instead of insisting on the potential advantages/disadvantages of social networking as sometimes outlined in the mainstream media, the panelists intend to share insights from their own experience with blogging and micro-blogging as instruments for building social interfaces, networking through “social objects” (like photos, bookmarks, references) and the numerous face-to-face events facilitated by the use of online applications.
  • Micheal Ó hAodha –Librarian (College of Science and Engineering-ECE,CSIS,MAE,MOE), UL – Moderator
  • Gabriela Avram – Researcher, Interaction Design Centre, UL
  • Bernard Goldbach – Lecturer, Tipperary Institute of Technology
  • James Corbett – Entrepreneur and social media consultant, EirePreneur

And here’s a wiki page dedicated to the event.

So, if you’re around Limerick this Friday, you are more than welcome to join us!

April 08 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Irish Blog Awards 2008

This year, I made it! After only 3-4h of sleep per night in the last two weeks, a bit of extra sleep over the week-end would have been highly appreciated. But I decided to stretch myself a bit more, jumped on the Dublin bus at 12:30 on Saturday (the price of a one way train ticket is prohibitive!) and made it to both events:
– the Ladies’ Tea Party at the Market Bar
– the Irish Blog Awards 2008 at the Alexander Hotel.

I had to go to bed around 11, because my crazy plans didn’t end here. This morning I took the Aircoach to Cork at 6am, and here I am.

More on the Dublin events later!

March 02 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Limerick social media meetup scene

Not only that we have an Irish blog week 2008, but now we have a social media social life here in Limerick as well!

On Jan 19, we met for an exquisite Blogger Coffee Limerick at the Marriott, thanks to Alexia Golez;
I blogged about it that very afternoon, but the gods of Internet were against it, and the post disappeared without a trace. (Don’t get me started on Mercury retrograde and stuff like that!)

This Thursday, Feb 7, we had the first Limerick OpenCoffee in 2008; as usual, the Absolute Hotel was the venue. Bernie Goldbach and James Corbett took care of the organisation – again, as usual. An interesting mix of people attended, and after a round of introductions and discussions on the format and a possible alternative venue for the future events, I had the chance to talk to a few people (and get a few very useful tips!)
The next one is planned for the first Thursday in March, 11am, in the Absolute. We hear that a website for Irish Open Coffee is cooking, and there’s already a blog titled Cork OpenCoffee – but reporting on similar events across the whole island.
There’s a Jaiku channel for it, and a calendar of the forthcoming events is available.

And now Anton Mannering is bringing the TechLudd to Limerick on February 21. Venue: the George Hotel. Can’t wait, especially because I couldn’t go to Dublin on the 24th of January and missed the first event of the series!

Aren’t we spoiled?!

Update: wiki created at for Irish OpenCoffee, with the intent of making dates and topics of future events visible across the island and allowing for input and feedback.

February 10 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

The economics of conversations

The following quote comes from Jay Deragon‘s blog The Relationship Economy, but I first got it via the Value-Networks Google Group mailing list.

I deeply resonated with this:

“The best approach to leveraging the social web is to understand the systemic nature of peoples interest, desires and needs: a relationship. Connecting the dots requires a conversation, not just a connection. What say you?”

Finally someone tells corporations that becoming involved in social networking just because it is trendy and without changing their attitude will not pay off!

Markets are conversations… and they will never ever again reverse to corporate monologues!

January 10 2008 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

A Jaiku-born exchange

On Thursday we had a very nice exchange with a group of Creative Multimedia students from Tipperary Institute of Technology…

All started a few good weeks ago, with Bernie Goldbach following the Jaiku channel I use with my students (Bernie recalls jaikus about Marshall McLuhan received on his mobile phone while he was walking his dog:)- must have been that “toaster as medium” thingie!).

In October, I finally made it to an OpenCoffee in the Absolute Hotel and met Bernie in person. Not before spamming him with a Shelfari invite the night before:(

Photo by topgold

Still frustrated because I missed the EduCamp in June and the PodCamp in September, I invited Bernie to give a talk on podcasting to my students. Bernie thought of bringing some of his students along – and I was enthused about this!

And then all happened on Thursday – Bernard spoke to the UL+TippInst students about podcasting, jobs and entrepreneurship, asked his students to talk about their own work and encouraged the audience to ask questions. The students were a bit shy in the beginning, but when he invited them to have a look at his podcasting gear, most of them couldn’t resist the temptation and the ice was broken. The two groups of students had the chance to mingle for a few minutes afterwards!

After the lecture, the TippInst students visited the IDC, where Liam Bannon gave them a briefing on the Interaction Design Centre and our way of looking at technology, and Lui spoke about previous and current IDC projects. The visit finished with the grand tour and a closer look at some of our “reliques” – the Shannon Portal, the recipe pyramid…

It was an interesting exchange and I have the feeling we all learned from it!
Some opinions of my students on the event can be read on the Jaiku channel!

Note: A more formal version of this post was published on the IDC blog previously.

December 02 2007 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

BlogTalk 2008 in Cork, Ireland

In case you haven’t heard yet, the next BlogTalk will happen in Cork, Ireland on 3-4 March 2008 – “continuing with its focus on social software, while remaining committed to the diverse cultures, practices and tools of our emerging networked society. The conference is designed to maintain a sustainable dialog between developers, innovative academics and scholars who study social software, practitioners and administrators in corporate and educational settings, and other general members of the social software community.”

The conference chairs are John Breslin and Thomas N. Burg , having Tom Raftery and Jan Schmidt as co-chairs.

The full call for proposals is available here, and the deadline for submitting proposals has been extended until December 7, 2007.

Rashmi Sinha of SlideShare and Nova Spivack of Radar Networks are among the invited speakers.

There’s a colocated WebCamp on Social Network Portability scheduled for the day before, March 2 2008.

As a member of the organising committee, I should have blogged about this long time before. But as always, I’m madly busy at work and can’t find enough time for the things I love doing!
Shame on me:(

November 27 2007 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

About privacy, user options and spam

I got back home today and found an invitation from a friend to join Shelfari, supposedly a social network service for book lovers.

I recently heard about Bookmooch and I had a look at it without joining. But this afternoon, in between cooking dinner, cleaning my apartment and chatting to my daughter, I decided to give Shelfari a try.

I never liked this kind of shortcut in finding out who else is on that network (giving them your Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail username and password), but until now – with all my bad feelings about giving someone free access to my mailbox – nothing bad ever happened. But there’s a start for everything…I discovered a few friends were already using it and opted for connecting to them, but I specifically de-selected all the other people on my contact list. Pressed “send”, and – SURPRISE! – few minutes later I discovered the invitation WAS SENT to everyone on my contact list… Mailing lists, former students, former co-workers, a few blogs – all got it!
Two minutes later, a friend emailed warning me it happened to her as well and I went in, deleted my account .and started apologizing to people …

A bit of a search on Technorati showed me that it happened to others as well…
That doesn’t make it less embarrassing though:(

If you got the Shelfari message from me, please note that I don’t recommend it…unless you think you can handle the odd interface!

October 30 2007 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

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