October 2008 Archives

I have been using sat-nav on and off for the past 3 years, I am still convinced that navigating by signs is better than satellite navigation. The simple reason is that half the country is still dug up due to new estates, bypasses and motorways and the maps haven't caught up.

Where Sat-Nav reigns supreme is the city as sign-posts are a rarity. When driving cross country you are still better off following the signs as sat-nav has and continues to send lorries up and down boreens so as to save 1 km on a journey.
On boards.ie there is a good discussion going on about HRV systems, with some sound advice on selecting the systems and why they are vast improvement on the hole in the wall ventilation.


I was very disappointed with the Sunday Times supplement on ECO homes (26th October 2008). My overall impression was that claims were being made with out substantial evidence. Statements that claimed to cut oil bills by one third due to solar had me scratching my head.

The wind turbine section was inaccurate and did not reflect the range of turbines out there or critical factors such as placement, wind monitoring, yaw, need for turbine in an open space, why both smart and net metering is needed. I shuddered when I read that Wind Turbines can be clamped onto the side of a house.

Interview with an Energy Agency and their unbiased opinion would have made for better reading. Facts and figure with indepth analysis was sadly lacking

The Sunday Times needs to up its game if they are to be taken seriously
I am getting sick and tired of hearing ads for broadband (especially 3G) who use the max theoretical speeds as the headline of the advert. e..g pay 25 euros for speeds up to 7Mbps.

What is the average?

What is the minimum?
I have a new way of dealing with these offers and phone calls about these offers. I state that I will "Pay up to 25 if you give me up to 7 Mbps. If you give me less I will pay less."

For some reason they don't like my approach.

Some good news on the Three mobile broadband for my phone saga. They no longer charge me for my IMAP emails. The IMAP traffic is now being deducted from my broadband allowance.

Persistence does pay.
The ordance survey of ireland have launched OSI SmartMaps Mapviewer. Finally we have some high res images for the rest of Ireland. Google earth at the moment only shows parts of Ireland. The photos used for upperchurch were taken in 2005. You also have the option to look at photos taken in 2000 and this allow you to make visual comparisons.
A neighbour and I were discussing wind turbines the other evening and how selling back to the grid is not really an option until smart and net metering is introduced. An obvious solution to him however would be to divert any excess energy produced by the wind turbines into electrical storage heaters.

This idea has a lot of merit, especially for 6 months of the irish weather, Summer months might be an issue but wind speeds are generally not so high.
The following article/thread on boards.ie provides a detailed overview as to how someone built their own buffer tank, imported a polish gassifier log burner and combined it with his oil burner system so as to reduce his use of oil.

Good description and plenty of photos.

SchoolBots Press Release

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Google and Lenovo lend their support to help inspire the next generation of Ireland's technological talent

Student participation in computer games programming can help boost interest in mathematics and should be used to help reinvigorate the subject at second level, an Information Communication Technology programme specialist has stated.

Announcing a major computer games competition, Schoolbots for transition year students, Dr Liam Noonan, from Tipperary Institute's ICT Department explained how computer game programming can illustrate the implementation of key mathematical concepts in a host of real-life applications. Taking theory from the text book and translating it into a tangible project not only makes the subject more interesting, it is also proven to improve results in the subject.

Sponsored by IT giants Google and Lenovo, the Tipperary Institute competition, Schoolbots - the only one of its kind in Ireland - takes place on January 13th next and aims to encourage students to develop new IT skills while improving their understanding of important maths principles.

"ICT is a key sector in the Irish economy - Ireland is recognised worldwide as an ideal environment for nurturing, developing and expanding ICT operations and it is reliant on a steady supply of high calibre graduates. With recent findings indicating a 56% shortfall in the number of students taking up places on third level IT courses and a marked decline in second level maths grades, a creative approach to engage students early is needed," said Dr Noonan.

"One of the most practical ways to address the graduate shortage in the technology sector in Ireland is to introduce the applications of ICT at second level. The importance of mathematics for a range of applications, like computer game programming, is fascinating. Demonstrating this relevance can help to teach the subject more effectively while enhancing student interest and lead to better exam results and increased graduate numbers."

"SchoolBots aims to introduce IT into the classroom in a fun and imaginative way, helping to discover and nurture new talent," commented Eoghan Nolan, Engineering Manager, Google. "Innovation is at the heart of Google's success and our people are fundamental to this. It is incredibly important to us as an employer and for the future economic success of Ireland, that our education system creates a pool of world-class IT graduates who can think creatively."

He continued, "Initiatives such as SchoolBots are key in developing an understanding among students of how mathematics applies in the real world and also in helping students develop their innovative thinking powers. We are delighted to support Tipperary Institute with this project and we look forward to hosting the winning students at Google in Dublin next year."

SchoolBots uses Java to program robot tanks for battle against each other. The virtual tanks need to be smart enough to hit and avoid being hit and to move around without any kind of manual control. Prizes include a Lenovo laptop for the winning school and mp3 players for the finalists and runners up.

The winning team and 15 of their classmates will also visit Google's European headquarters in Dublin and have a tour of its facilities.

This is the third year of SchoolBots and last year's winner was Cashel Community College school and the inaugural winners were all-girls school Our Lady's Bower, Athlone.

"Lenovo is delighted to support this exciting competition as we know that it will inspire students with an interest in technology by showing them what can be achieved with a little work and an innovative spirit. We wish all the participants the best of luck and hope that they enjoy the experience" says Fiona O'Brien, General Manager of Lenovo in Ireland.

Students from schools across Ireland will compete in the regional final which will take place on 13th January 2009 at Tipperary Institute with the top eight teams competing against each other in the national final which will be held on 12th March 2009. The competition is limited to 40 teams and registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. Further information, registration details and competition terms and conditions can be obtained by visiting www.schoolbots.ie or emailing the competition organisers at schoolbots@tippinst.ie Closing date for entries is Friday 12th December 2008.


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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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Damien Mulley
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