The lost generation

Is Generation Lost like this old typewriter? Perfectly functional but unusable?

Is Generation Lost like this old typewriter? Perfectly functional but unusable?

My very first full day’s work started at 7am, in the cold clinical lighting of a giant underground kitchen. I was using a large butcher’s knife to chop a full-bodied, cold, slimy calamari into tiny dices for the lunch buffet of a prominent 4 star hotel on the outskirts of Paris’ CDG airport.

Fighting nausea, shock and homesickness, I was also being yelled at by the head chef for not cutting small enough dices and not going quick enough. By the time my work experience was done 6 months later, I had brulee-d the tips of my fingers with a crème brulee dish, spilled a lobster into a customer’s lap during an ill-fated understaffed seafood themed night and been told in no uncertain term by a senior male supervisor of the front desk that if he saw another un-made-up rosy cheek or a whisp of unruly hair escaping, he would fire me on the spot. Read more of this post


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!

Some Irish technology action at the close of 2013

The gallery at the new HD studio at the IADT Dun Laoghaire

The gallery at the new HD studio at the IADT Dun Laoghaire

My ‘heck-tic’ (see what I did there?) end to 2013 included some welcome action from the Irish technology front. I reported from NetApp’s European partner Insight event for ChannelPro, which they held in Dublin for the second year in a row. This event highlighted trends like the impact of all-flash storage on mission-critical storage arrays and of cloud.

Also in Dublin, the opening of Ireland’s second all-HD TV studio at the IADT in Dun Laoghaire was a pretty big deal, which I wrote about for IBE. I then provided readers of Sports Video Group an overview of the broadcast technologies behind the production of Ireland’s gaelic games and how new trends like 4k and second screen are faring in this space. Read more of this post

Everyone’s a broadcaster – production and streaming

I recently wrote a two-part article for industry organisation InfoComm, examining how non-traditional broadcasting companies like churches or companies are increasingly creating and distributing broadcast content. The first article examined the production process – what is needed to ensure the creation of a broadcast-quality output. The second article examined the streaming of that content to mobile devices.

Everyone’s a broadcaster – part 1: Production

“We’re theologically conservative but technologically liberal,” muses Stan Yoder, associate technical arts director at Windsor Crossing Community Church (a.k.a. The Crossing). “We view technology as a mechanism, a tool to get the message out.” Read more of this post

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


Discussing the latest trends in broadcast including 4k and cloud

ibe-may-june-coverThe latest issue of IBE Magazine is now available to subscribers. It examines security, test and measurement which are all topics that are increasingly important to broadcasters moving away from traditional linear and analog platforms to running hybrid environments.

In this issue I compiled a summary of the latest technology trends driving the industry at the world-renowned NAB show, the world’s biggest electronic media event which took place in Las Vegas during the month of April. This year’s show saw over 90,000 visitors from over 150 countries pace the halls of the LVCC.

Major show trends included the expansion of 4k into the broadcast workflow and the very early rise of cloud in the industry. In this issue I review how both are gaining momentum this year.

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