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

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

TheJournal.ie:

This article ran on TheJournal.ie, 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 www.infocomm.org

 

Mothers: a critical and original look at China’s one-child policy

A still from 'Mothers' by Huijing Xu

A still from ‘Mothers’ by Huijing Xu

The incredibly brave documentary Mothers by Huijing Xu lasts an hour but scars for life. Returning to his native northern Chinese village of Ma, Huijing Xu trails government officials, camera in hand and films them doing their job: enforcing the one-child policy and policing the administration of birth control and sterilisation on all women of child-bearing age.

Thirty years after the one-child policy was implemented along with hefty fines for those who don’t adhere to it, this harrowing “day in the life of” shows how policies from the top filter down through the layers to the village streets where on a local level neighbours and friends are compelled to interfere in each other’s most private sphere.

Check out my full review of this documentary, which received a special mention at the Sheffield Doc/Fest last week.

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 Marble Lady: the face of scleroderma in Ireland

“If…cancer, my particular cancer was put in front of me and scleroderma was put in front of me I’d pick cancer. Strangely. I’m better from cancer, I’m not going to get better from scleroderma.”

Unpredictable, irreversible, progressive and as yet, incurable , scleroderma is considered the deadliest of all connective tissue diseases. It’s estimated that 1 in 10,000 people will develop it.

From the Greek words “Skleros”, meaning hard, and “Derma”, meaning skin. It develops when the body produces too much collagen and hardens. Few people know about it yet in most cases it’s a life-changer and in some cases, it can kill.

Last year, I produced a radio documentary about this little known auto-immune condition, telling the story of patients in Ireland, mainly women and a handful of men, who suffer from this rare, debilitating and life-threatening auto-immune connective tissue disease. Read more of this post