Friday, May 16, 2008


In recent weeks it has become very noticeable that various public bodies and figures have a new word for people not native to these lands. Newcomers! It comes up quite a lot where issues around schools and education are concerned and the provision of services to support "newcomer" children.

Now the word stirred a memory in me and I had a rustle about in the old brain pan for a while and what did I find only that it has been used before. Only then it was used to describe fictional aliens, by which I mean real live aliens from another planet! Who got drunk on sour milk and for whom sea water was like acid! And their lady folk could do interesting things to human males that we never quite found out about. It could just be me but I've not noticed too many kids with lumpy heads about the place. What lazy bones think tank came up with that name I wonder? What next are we going to start calling the opposition the Rebel Alliance? Or make references to a minister being of the Hutt persuasion... hang on I think that is already being done.

In related news, RTe had a report that a GAA club in Gort had managed to get a local lad of a Brazilian background to play hurling. Just an FYI for the GAA but I've had a slogan for an anti racism effort floating around in the back of the trunk for a few years now. What matters is not the colour of your skin, but the colour of your jersey.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Work in progress

Things may look a bit odd from time to time over the next while. Please bare with us.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New directions in Search

A while back I noticed my posts getting visited by something called cuill and mistook it for a company that some friends are in the process of working up called...well, you'd best just wait for that exciting news. Anyway, it turned out not to be those folks but instead cuill (say it Cool!) is a search effort headed up by wife and husband team of Anna Patterson* and Tom Costello. Anna was someone senior with Google for while while Tom had his dalliance with IBM but they're running their own show now.

They got some 2nd round money recently and it would appear their key pitch is that their search takes 10% of the effort that it does for Google. I suspect the intent of something like cuill is to provide back-end search capability as a service to large corporate or governmental environments where the reduced overheard they speak of would really matter. I'm not sure the consumer end of search is all that bothered about the resources required when they are getting to have it for free.

Then I started to notice I was getting felt up as it were by another frequent visitor from Tempe, Arizona called I had a looksee and they're doing what I think are interesting things with the visual presentation of search results. Imagine if they had a client like this for the desktop we might be able to find some of those things we've lost on the harddrive. So it would seem that search isn't as static as some might think, and that old idea of some other new fangled interface for browsing or presenting content hasn't gone away either. There was a suggestion floated semi-seriously by some in the mid 90s that the Doom engine from ID could have been appropriated to give us that 3D world that Gibson et al had prepped us for. It never came to pass that I'm aware of in part because people thought that the footprint of the Doom client would be too large! Anyway, try the public Beta for size, it seemed to not be too keen on Firefox today but ran fine under IE and they have a blog too.

*I met Anna about.. Christ could it be that long ago?... 12 years ago now in Prague. She was at some maths conference and myself and a mate were in the city for sort of a lad's holiday. We were looking for an Irish pub that might have had the GAA results, net cafes being thin on the ground at the time. And we wandered into the James Joyce just of Staré Mesto, and we got chatting to her. I think one of us (probably me) made up some nonsense about working in the Oil industry mainly because we couldn't have looked more unlike some roughnecks in from the fields.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The pubs are calling us back

The publicans are going to spend money! to try and get people back into the pub. I've got a crazy idea how about killing the noise and encouraging people to talk to other people in pubs again. To people they don't already know! And if there is music, let's not be too holy about it. I can't stand being in a bar and then some live music starts and everyone is told to keep quiet.