New projects for 2014

Detail - Douglas Donkey. Acrylic on canvas, approx 60cm x 72cm. Price: €120.

Detail – Douglas Donkey. Acrylic on canvas, approx 60cm x 72cm. Price: €120.

So 2014 is starting off busy here. I’ve got a handful of projects on the boil. One of them is still top secret but very exciting and all will be revealed soon…. The others are not top secret but just as exciting. First up, I’ve set-up a technology blog to centralise all tech news that I see every day in my job as a freelance tech journalist. I’m fairly immersed in some pretty cool technology and I wanted to have a place to centralise it all and make some sense from it.

So without further ado I unveil my sister blog, TechByHeck Feel free to nip over if tech is your thing, like it, follow it, subscribe to the Twitter account (@TechByHeck) and let me know if there’s anything you would like to see covered.

And now for something completely different: I’ve also launched an art venture called LeKrazyZoo, where I paint and sell colourful animal paintings aimed at little (and big) kids and generally deal with all things fluffy and colourful. Feel free to join this wee community on Facebook and help me get inspired to keep painting animal portraits of all kinds:)

Happy New Year to you all!


Synaesthesia is more common in autism

Synaesthesia, a mixing of the senses where by people see colours associated to sounds they hear or link musical notes to tats, could be more prevalent in people with autism according to new research by the journal of Molecular Autism.

Scientists from Cambridge University found that whereas synaesthesia only occurred in 7.2% of typical individuals, it occurred in 18.9% of people with autism. The scientists tested and confirmed the prediction that if both autism and synaesthesia involve neural over-connectivity, then synaesthesia might be disproportionately common in autism. Read more of this post

Irish coverage for World Scleroderma Day

Two of my articles recently appeared in the Irish press to coincide with World Scleroderma Day on June 29th  in a bid to highlight this terrible disease.

I wrote both these articles based on my 8-month masters thesis project, which saw me produce and narrate a 45 minute radio documentary examining the life of sufferers of scleroderma in Ireland and the progress that has been made in understanding and treating the symptoms of this incurable auto-immune disease.

Woman’s Way magazine:

This article appeared in Woman’s Way magazine, dated June 24:

Womans Way June 24 Monica Heck scleroderma

This article ran on, dated June 29th and got nearly 20,000 views.


Is 4K Hype or the Next Big Thing in Pro AV?

This is an article I wrote specially for InfoComm, to support the InfoComm 2013 show which ran this month in Orlando.

Charting the emergence of 4K in the professional AV space and predicting its growth has a soothsaying quality to it, with analysts and integrators doing their best to predict the most likely future of a pro-AV industry on the cusp of 4K. Meanwhile the industry peers over the cliff and wonders who is going to follow digital cinema into the depths of Ultra HD, and more importantly, why they should invest in four times more pixels than the now-common HD format.

4K, Where Art Thou?

As the growth of digital cinema and its foray into 4K starts to tail off, other verticals are currently using or showing an interest in the avalanche of pixels that come with 4K.

“The projector market is going to want 4K in niches like visualization and simulation,” says Mike Fisher, senior analyst at Futuresource. “Oil companies, car designers, niche markets like military briefing rooms are all resolution hungry and are likely to be the first ones to bite. Not the mainstream corporate or education installations that run the internet, TV or PowerPoint.”

Keep reading this article on


20 ans plus tard, l’Irlande clarifie sa législation sur l’avortement

By William Murphy from Dublin, Ireland via Wikimedia Commons

By William Murphy from Dublin, Ireland via Wikimedia Commons

Vingt ans après le cas X, l’Irlande publie son premier texte de loi visant à légaliser l’avortement sur sol irlandais dans certaines circonstances restreintes. Le texte, qui devrait être debattu au parlement d’ici peu et être activé avant l’été, n’élargit pas les restrictions actuellement en place dans le pays mais clarifient légalement certaines zones grises qui stagnaient depuis 1992!

Depuis, les protestations sont vives du coté des “pro-life” (Pour la Vie – à l’opposé sont les groupes qui soutiennent le droit à l’avortement “pro-choice” – Pour le choix). Ces groupes pro-life qui vont jusqu’à poursuivre les membres du parlement jusqu’à leur porte d’entrée , leur écrire des lettres tachées de sang ou les menacer de mort.

Mon but aujourd’hui est de démystifer un peu ce sujet pour les francophones – un sujet, je m’empresse d’ajouter, qui est également mystifiant pour beaucoup d’anglophones vivant en Irlande! 

Read more of this post

Swinging success for Bank of Ireland business event

A swinging success: Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny looks on during Bank of Ireland's Building Business Momentum conference.

A swinging success: Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny looks on during Bank of Ireland’s Building Business Momentum conference.

It’s expected of journalists to be cynical, especially about a business event involving two stages, organised by a bank, with a line-up including the top man in Ireland, the top man at Ireland’s top bank and a man who shook Nelson Mandela’s hand on numerous occasions and who is not Bono.

After all, the banking industry is one of the most maligned entities in Ireland, if not worldwide. So positively praising an event organised by one of those terrible banks and worse, actually admitting to taking something from it can feel a little like selling out.

Yet it was hard to fault the Bank of Ireland’s Building Business Momentum Conference this morning, which closed the bank’s National Enterprise Week initiative. It was of course over-seasoned with upbeat messages about the current business climate, shimmering with the promises of billions in available loan funds and layered with covert admonishments of the media’s penchant for doom and gloom. Read more of this post

The Bigger Pixel – high resolution projectors feature (Installation International)

11 Lightening 45 Digital Projection high resolution projectors running at  Radio City Music Hall in New York

11 Lightening 45 Digital Projection high resolution projectors running at Radio City Music Hall in New York

With high resolution rapidly becoming the standard choice for many applications, this sector of the projector market is in healthy shape, with demands for even more pixels likely in the future, writes Monica Heck. pp34-37

Key points:

As a general trend, the market for high resolution projectors is growing, migrating down to lower brightness categories and into a variety of verticals.
It’s too early for 4k beyond digital cinema, mainly due to high costs and lack of available content.  The main benefit of solid-state light source technology is long-term cost-effectiveness, but it doesn’t yet deliver the brightness often required for many high-res installations. Software is increasingly used to deliver interactivity and simplify the deployment of complex, high-resolution projects. The high resolution projector market is feeling the competition from direct view displays in installations requiring screens under 60in – and sometimes over that.

Full article and Installation International magazine available online here (pp 34-37)

Access pdf of article here