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

The first time gardener: Swiss Chard

Swiss chard grown in Dublin, just cut and ready for dinner

Swiss chard grown in Dublin, just cut and ready for dinner

This year’s new project was to create a kitchen garden in my back garden in North Dublin city. The magnitude of this project can only be comprehended when seen through the prism of my illustrious botanical CV.

Previous experience with growing living things involved killing anything with leaves within a 2m radius, including two cacti. Apart from one hardy cheese plant I inherited from a departing friend, which has inexplicably survived for a decade despite sometimes not seeing water for 6 months at a time, I have managed to keep alive a grand total of zero plants.

Therefore, it is no mean feat for me to announce that today for the very first time, I harvested and ate something I grew myself. In my back garden. In Dublin. That beautiful thing is called Swiss Chard.  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

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.