One to Watch 2021

January 1st, 2021

2020. C’mere. I’m just going to run the same list as last year. Too fatigued to do one for now. I didn’t even think about this list until 2350 on the 31st.

2020. 2019 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009 2008, 2007.

TG4 Christmas Jumper

December 11th, 2020

TG4 Christmas Jumper source files.
Use away.

.ai source file
Colour Transparent PNG
White Transparent PNG

I used this designer on Fiverr to design the jumper.
I used this company to print it on to a sweatshirt. It cost about €32 including express delivery.

TG4 Christmas Jumper Colour Mockup

This is how it looks on. Size medium.
TG4 Christmas Jumper

Quite proud that Bouli makes an appearance, the famous blue tick and a tractor from Feirm Factor.

Rigging Amazon Flex’s gig economy algorithm

February 10th, 2020

Using a device you can buy on Amazon! Amazon Flex gig takers get crap money to do vicarious work for the 2nd biggest company in the world. To get more gigs they figured out how to game the gig distribution algorithm.


Interview with Val Robus

February 6th, 2020

I was delighted Val agreed to answer some questions.

I’m not sure how long we know each other online now but it’s been a
good while. How long have you been blogging now and why did you start?

I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I think I got to know you around that time, I also joined Twitter then too. I started blogging because there was a lot going on in my life, my parents being ill etc. I found that when I got the thoughts out into cyberspace my mind quietened a bit.

I suppose it’s different strokes for different folks. I’ve always loved blogging and can’t see me giving it up. Although it has changed a lot over the years, there was no such thing as an influencer back in the day.
I think if people want to blog they should go for it.

As for any tips, I’d say:

  • Be yourself.
  • Don’t expect anything from it. I’ve had a lot of people asking me how much money I’ve made from it which is hilarious.
  • If you are going to post photos try to take decent ones.
  • Don’t use photos that you’ve grabbed from the Internet (unless you’ve asked). It’s probably a good idea to stick to one topic, although I don’t. I just blog about whatever I feel like writing.
  • I liked your post about putting things into boxes, which is a nice
    mindfulness technique.

    Thank you.

    Are there techniques or things you turn to so you can reduce stress
    that you encounter?

    I went through a really bad time with depression, anxiety and panic attacks and strangely enough blogging about that really helped. A lot of my readers felt the same and they were able to offer advice and suggestions.
    I used to go to the opening of an envelope and now I don’t really go to very many places, I found it all quite stressful. If I need to rest I do and I’m certainly a lot kinder to myself. Of course there’s the painting.

    Val Robus
    You’ve been doing paintings the past while and they’re lovely, have
    you always had an artistic calling. What does painting mean to you?

    The painting has really been a life saver. I was photographing various art workshops and always amazed at how people of all ages produced great work. I thought I’d like to try it so a couple of years ago I bought some paint brushes and paint and off I went. It’s so therapeutic and is really my form of mindfulness, when I have a paint brush in my hand I’m not thinking of anything else.

    You write about your family and personal life and your fight to get Jono the healthcare he should have gotten years ago. What has been the result of your writing and fighting for this, have other people contacted you to share their stories?

    I don’t tend to write so much about my family these days. With Jono I firmly believe that the blog helped him get the surgery he needed. He still needs treatment and it’s an ongoing battle but not one I tend to write about now. I’m conscious that he’s getting older and if I do write about the family I always check with them first. We have had a lot of people contacting us in a similar situation and it’s heartbreaking knowing that ten years on things haven’t got any better for people.

    You also have covered grief on your site and on Twitter. I’ve seen other people interact with you about how they grieve too. Grief is unique thing to every person and probably still a taboo to talk about it. Has writing helped you with grief, did you have any supports? has feedback from others who read your site helped you too?

    The blog again really helped me deal with grief. In a strange way it helps me get my thoughts together and that’s a form of therapy it itself. The feedback from blog readers and Twitter users really helped, it made me realise that I wasn’t alone. Just to know there were people who cared was a huge help. I remember walking around in a daze after mum died, it was like being in a bubble of grief but there were many people who understood how I felt and that was a huge support. The online community, on the whole, are very supportive.

    What has been the best moment or moments for you in the past few years
    as a result of writing and sharing online?

    There have been many fantastic moments including being invited to Dublin Zoo for breakfast years ago – I loved this experience. I also did a lot of adventures around the North West Wild Atlantic Way which was just epic, I think being 45 as I was at the time and jumping off cliffs into the ocean was just amazing.

    My dream job that I’m in now is also resulted indirectly from the blog. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’ve inspired them and that’s just so special. I’ll always be grateful to the blog for giving me such wonderful opportunities.

    What do you see your life being like in 5 years time? Work, family,
    the world around you.

    That’s a hard one. I’d like to think my family will all be happy and settled. I’d like to see more kindness in the world, it can be a very nasty place at times and this saddens me. As for myself, I hope I’ll stay as happy as I am now and that I’ll still be blogging.

    Val’s website is here. Her Twitter is here.

    Hacking the Google Maps algorithm

    February 2nd, 2020

    It’s quite simple. Pull a handcart with 99 phones with Google maps loaded on them through a street. Google Maps now thinks 99 cars are slowly moving in that area and will direct people around to another less congested area.

    Google Maps

    Manipulating the algorithm to get hired. Faking it with robot recruiters.

    January 29th, 2020

    South Korea of course is using A.I. to recruit people and get rid of the recruiter. Cram schools are now giving lessons on what to say and what facial expressions to use in order to fool a system designed to replace humans who hire humans and judge these humans on their natural expressions. Confused? The same way we change our accent and voice stressors to have Alexa and Google Home understand us, will we start changing out expressions to keep the robots happy?

    One AI video system reviewed by Reuters asks candidates to introduce themselves, during which it spots and counts facial expressions including ‘fear’ and ‘joy’ and analyses word choices. It then asks questions that can be tough: “You are on a business trip with your boss and you spot him using the company (credit) card to buy himself a gift. What will you say?”

    A.I. predicts lightning strikes. What could go wrong?

    January 28th, 2020

    A.I. predicts time and place for lightning strikes based on weather data. Which means lots of scientists are going to be creating devices to try and store the energy for these strikes. That won’t go massively wrong at all. It’s aliiiiiiive!

    Uncut Gems

    January 15th, 2020

    Uncut Gems. Great movie, the pressure just builds and builds and builds. The style of it though is great. I love that they used New York as a set and let the public just walk through it, oblivious to the filming going on. Massive spoilers at this link.

    The Safdies found that their laid-back approach swiftly caught on and they proceeded to shoot largely unbothered, in the centre of New York City. Whenever they did encounter members of the public staring at the camera, or at Sandler, an incognito PA would slide over and ask for directions to the nearest subway, or the best local eatery, pulling that individual inside the reality of the film, instead of ushering them away. “It creates this bubble, wherein the fiction ends up feeling very real.”

    I made the wave, didn’t I

    January 14th, 2020

    Lord Rutherford, one of the great pioneers of nuclear physics, was a man not unduly self-conscious about his worldly success.`You’re always on the crest of a wave, my lord,’ one deferential interviewer said.`I know,’ said Rutherford, ‘but after all, I made the wave, didn’t I?’

    From Acid Drops by Kenneth Williams.
    While this is meant to be a witty response, I do like it.
    Be your own wave.

    Apple Glasses, Apple Car, Apple Medicine?

    January 12th, 2020

    What are Apple up to next?

    Apple really are pumping out the patents for Apple Glasses and VR headsets. Interestingly they’re still releasing patents around car technology. What interests me more are their patents around health. They now have a set of apps on the phone and the watch but I wonder is health going to be the main selling points for all future products?

    Apple glasses holographic elements.

    Apple Glasses detect free fall and ready the glasses for impact.

    The ability for Apple Glasses to change the colour or transparency of the lenses. Also patent here for detection of liquid inside a device and to blast the liquid out with heat.

    Apple eye tracking patents. Multiple applications.

    FaceTime volume goes down or up based on who you are looking at. Clever that.

    And this one is interesting – In surgical settings it allows display information to follow around staff based on their position in the operating theatre. Combine this with their Smart Bedding: Vital Signs Monitoring System. A sheet under your bed sheets that can record your vital signs like heat rate and respiratory rate. Then the Apple health Parkinsons app which seems really well considered.

    Apple car safety system pre airbag deployment.