AFTER 26 MINUTES of yesterday’s All-Ireland final, Mayo led by eight points to 1-2.They had gotten past the first quarter without shipping any fatal blows. They had seen Cillian O’Connor take a couple of heavy knocks and survive.Andy Moran had kicked two points. At that stage, despite a couple of bad misses, and an at-times shaky full-back line performance, Mayo were three points up and looking good.So what happened? They didn’t score another point from play in the game. So much will be written, so much emotion will be expended trying to rationalise how Mayo have lost another of these things… but they didn’t play well enough to win the game. They didn’t even make Dublin play all that brilliantly to win. And that’s the real kick in the pants.These Second Captains TV shows don’t make themselves, so I was far from sure I’d be able to take a few hours off to go to Croker earlier in the week. Then Friday morning came, and I realised this was not a game I was comfortable missing. But as the weekend passed on, the more I realised that there simply wasn’t a ticket to be gotten anywhere.I got a phone-call from a former underage All-Ireland winner from Mayo on Saturday asking me for a ticket. I got a ticket for the hurling replay. But I could not get a ticket for Sunday. So I sat down and watched it on TV, cursing my luck that I might miss Mayo’s date with destiny. The demand for tickets reflected the confidence Mayo people had in their team… but they just couldn’t get it done.I talked last week for quite some time with a recent inter-county manager who said something very interesting to me about the game as we currently see it. He said that when we talk about ‘skilful’ footballers, we only ever talk about the guys who can put the ball over the bar. That’s the only facet of the game that we are comfortable calling ‘skill’. Proficiency at anything else is not seen as something truly beautiful. Admirable maybe, but not truly skilful.It’s a flaw in how we look at the game, but Bernard Brogan was the difference between the teams, and whether you put that down to skill (of which he has plenty) or outstanding courage and conviction in his own ability (also qualities he showed in abundance), it doesn’t change that truth.Where Paul Mannion went off injured, and Ciaran Kilkenny floundered slightly, he grew in stature. He benefited, it should be said, from Denis Bastick breaking the habit of a season for this Dublin team when he passed the ball to a man in a better position for the second goal, but Brogan was the man on hand. He was able to make the difference when it mattered.FamineWhen Mayo finally do break this long losing streak, Cillian O’Connor will be the man to fulfil the Bernard Brogan role. Maybe we fixate on Mayo’s lack of a marquee forward which all winning teams must have, because we have that obsession with ‘skilled’ players.When you look at Mayo’s spread of scorers, and how heavily they scored over the summer, it should be seen as a positive that they don’t rely on one man to do all their damage. But if you go back through the last 20 years, name a team that has won an All-Ireland without a ‘marquee’ forward. Cork in 2010… and other than that? Donegal in 1992 might be your next best shout.That skill that is prized above all others, to the exclusion almost of all others, is still the difference between the teams. Cillian O’Connor is a much better forward at 21 than Bernard Brogan was. There will come a time when this will be his team, and hopefully Mayo will be in a situation to help him do what Brogan did yesterday. People will sympathise with Mayo, and they will shake their heads ruefully and ask them how they can possibly come back for more. But they will come back because the alternative is… to give up? Football is too important to Mayo, and it’s too important to this group of players, for them to stop now.Last year they were able to sit down and watch the final and take their lessons from it. They will do the same this year.They will be hurt, and then they will be angry, and then they will go back to training. Because the alternative is giving up – the alternative is forgetting about football. And, for that county more than any other maybe, that’s not even a choice.Jack McCaffrey: ‘Dublin win is a testament to the character of the lads’Andy Moran: ‘We’re in a situation where the Andy Murray phrase comes out’
PERMANENT TSB WILL attempt to defy the stagnant Irish mortgage market next week and raise up to €500 million that would be used for new lending.The move will be the first mortgage-backed transaction for an Irish bank since the bank guarantee and will see PTSB form a new Residential Mortgage-Backed Security (RMBS).The security, which will be backed by the bank’s most secure mortgages, will be marketed by US firm Morgan Stanley. None of the mortgages are in arrears of over 30 days.The plan has surprised some analysts, who say that if successful it would open up new investors into Irish banks.The selling of securities became controversial after the banking collapse of 2008, but industry insiders say it is the best way to fund a mortgage market.This week it was warned that Ireland’s three state-backed banks could lose over €150 million after the ECB cut tracker mortgage rates.Read: Nobel economist says Ireland is looking at a “lost decade” after austerityRead: RSA Insurance executives suspended as firm announces €84m profit shortfall
ALL TOO OFTEN we hear the statement ‘there are too many charities and non-profits in Ireland’. The suggestion being that a vibrant and diverse civil society sector is a bad thing and needs explanation. Evidence of this perspective can be seen in some of the comments online spaces when these organisations are reported on.This is not just an Irish phenomenon, but reflected in debates across the world. Avoiding duplication is one thing, but we are in danger of losing the diversity which is critical to any vibrant civil society. These organisations fulfill many functions, whether it’s providing services, bringing about social cohesion and a sense of community, or advocating for policy change. It is in the diversity of this sector that we find innovation, experimentation and inclusion.Over the past two years The Advocacy Initiative has been exploring and responding to the challenges facing organisations which seek to achieve social change by influencing government policy. Advocacy is not an uncontested role, some would argue that politicians represent their constituents and that these non-profit ‘lobbyists’ are bad from democracy.However, that’s not what most of us think. A public opinion poll we conducted in 2013 demonstrated that 72 per cent of us agree that it is important for charities and non-profits to campaign and lobby government. This demonstrates that people understand the need to address the structures that cause social problems, and not just treat the symptoms. Advocacy and working in collaboration is about addressing those causes.Collaborative advocacy takes many formsWe have also been asking how social justice advocates can do better, can achieve more for those who experience poverty and exclusion in Ireland. Collaboration is seen as critical both in the eyes of advocates themselves, but also in the view of policy-makers. We asked politicians what undermines advocacy, and they clearly said: the absence of collaboration. Too many groups all trying to do the same thing “that can very easily be dismissed as noise”.Collaborative advocacy takes many forms. Advocates work together in networks, platforms, alliances, joint campaigns, or once-off activities. It can range from very informal information sharing to formalised structures to once-off reactive campaigns aimed at resisting a suggested policy change. Collaboration and partnerships can be local, national, international or a combination and limited to community and voluntary sector actors or involve a variety of stakeholder including trade unions, media, think tanks, academic institution, funders, state bodies and government departments. But collaboration is not necessarily easy, nor is it always in the best interests of those on whose behalf you are working.The risks of collaboration are often hidden, because it can be difficult to talk about the drawbacks, especially if you are trying to maintain relationships or don’t want to be seen as contrary or resisting cooperation. But collaboration is not the right route if it:Compromises your position, so that the needs of those you are working on behalf of are not served;Narrows the focus of action to a particular sub-sector which can damage broader agendas or create competition between different groups. An effective collaborative campaign must be compatible with wider values of social justice, and not undermine the prospects of others;Is not based on enough trust to make it genuine. A perception that any one group is using a collaborative campaign to further their own individual interests undermines cooperation rather than encourages it.Collaboration is a tactic; it should not become a strategy.However collaboration has also been responsible for some of the most inspiring civil society achievements both here and internationally. Its potential is fantastic. In recent years collaborative strategies have resulted in substantive changes to law and its implementation, new policy departures, game changing legal cases, constitutional change, growing public awareness, support and commitment to particular issues, and successful resistance to damaging budget cuts.What happens when civil society organisations come togetherVery rarely can a social justice ‘win’ be claimed by any one group, but when civil society organisations come together to fight for a cause, the results are inspiring. In recent months we have seen the announcement of the referendum on marriage equality, the achievement of a redress scheme for those who were in the Magdalene laundries, the criminalisation of forced labour in Ireland, as well as many other small wins which, despite the crisis facing this country, will make a difference in people’s lives every day.In order to achieve this, collaboration needs a diversity of actors, both within the charities and non-profit sector, as well as across all other sectors of society. No-one would suggest that the solution to our economic problems is fewer businesses. So why is there a suggestion that we can solve our intransigent social problems with fewer charities or non-profit organisations? Granted, not every initiative will thrive and prosper, but without a multitude of perspectives and innovations we will all be worse off.On 20th November The Advocacy Initiative will be hosting a forum inviting charities and non-profits to learn from experiences of collaboration in Ireland and globally; the good, the bad and the ugly. We need to be excited about potential for collaboration, but not blind to its risks. For more information or to register go to: www.advocacyinitiative.ieAnna Visser is Director of The Advocacy Initiative and was previously Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network Ireland. She has over ten years experience in policy and development roles in the statutory and NGO sectors at regional, national and international levels in the area of anti-racism, equality, human rights and conflict resolution.Read: Survivor guide published for Magdalene women applying to CommissionRead: Sharp increase in suicidal farmers calling helpline over financial troubles
THE GENERAL MANAGER of Loyaltybuild, the Ennis-based company at the centre of a large scale investigation into a data-breach affecting up to 1.5 million people has said the company deeply regrets “any distress” caused by the criminal attack.It comes as news emerges of more Irish companies whose customer details were taken in the breach. Centra, Pigsback.com and Clerys are among the latest firms to be embroiled in the controversy.Peter Steenstrup writes that his company is “committed to providing as much information as we are permitted and as quickly as possible, however, this incident is the subject of a serious investigation by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation and we are not permitted to discuss specific details of the breach.”He says the company has ceased taking bookings via its website and by phone“We have done this to enable our external data experts to complete their investigation into the attack and to put into place the necessary protections and certifications to give our customers the highest degree of confidence when booking with us in the future.“Our investigation has shown that the breach was quite sophisticated, so it is vital that we work carefully not only to identify potential risks to consumers but also to preserve the evidence that will help the law enforcement authorities identify the perpetrators.Steenstrup says that evidence gathered so far “suggests that separate batches of information have been compromised”.“As these have been discovered, we have been informing the Office of Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland and the other necessary authorities as well as our clients for whom we operate the Loyalty and Incentive schemes.“All our clients are being provided with full details of the impacted customers and how they were affected. Affected customers have been or will be hearing from our clients in this respect.”Around 68 customers of Centra who took part in a vouchers promotion at the convenience store chain may have had their details taken, though the company say that only names, addresses and phone numbers were taken, not credit card details.Pigsback.com said it had run a promotion with Loyaltybuild in 2005, and that some personal details of customers may have been compromised, but again no financial data.It’s understood customers of Clerys, Postbank, Stena Line and Unislim in Northern Ireland may also have been affected.Both the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and gardaí are investigating the breach. Full card details of over 376,ooo people were taken by hackers, including those of some 70,000 Supervalu Getaway customers and more than 8,000 AXA Leisure Break customers.Just under 7,000 customers at Electric Ireland have also been affected.Read: Criminals “have all details needed to use credit cards”Read: Supervalu payment card breach ‘more extensive’ than expected
IRELAND’S POTENTIAL IN the area of renewable energy is significant – high wind speeds, a long coastline with significant potential for wave energy, and good climate and soil conditions for biofuel production are a strong base from which Ireland can become a world leader in the production of renewable energy. However, harnessing this opportunity requires a transparent, consistent and collaborative planning system.Many commentators and members of the public have voiced concerns about the extent the public can participate in decisions relating to major energy infrastructure. Only proper planning can address the social acceptance challenge and fears surrounding adverse local environmental impacts. This requires a clear policy context including a national renewable energy planning strategy, both to ensure public confidence in decision-making and to avoid ad-hoc and reactive planning.A national renewable energy planning strategy should consider all technologies, not just wind, and it must take all relevant issues into account: e.g. where will the grid need additional strengthening to accommodate renewables? How much land can be used for biofuels without compromising food supply or other land uses?Strategies should not be considered in isolationAny national renewable energy planning strategy should not be considered in isolation. For example in addition to the “Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework” being developed by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, on foot of the memorandum of understanding with the UK government, a national landscape strategy is required.Consideration of the impacts and cumulative impacts of renewable energy developments on landscapes will be critical in the assessment of any application for major energy infrastructure. Also updating the 2006 ministerial guidelines for wind energy provides an opportunity to take national and international research and practice into account along with developments in wind turbine technology.The Irish Planning Institute is learning from best practice across Europe as a partner in the EU funded SPECIAL (Spatial Planning and Energy for Communities in All Landscapes) project and this will ensure Irish planners remain fully up to date with experiences and approaches elsewhere while also sharing their knowledge.Retaining high cultural and natural heritage valuesAs noted by the Heritage Council in its November 2013 report “The Onshore Windfarm Sector in Ireland – Planning in Harmony with Heritage”, it is possible to have a high-quality environment that retains high cultural and natural heritage values, and to generate power and socio-economic benefits from wind turbines, both on and off-shore – but inclusive decision-making with full awareness of the complexity of the situation is required.As the Northern Ireland Landscape Charter published this month acknowledges “Each of us is responsible and empowered to shape the future of our landscapes in the actions and decisions taken now by us and others on policy and development.”Ireland’s statutory planning system is much more than development management (formerly known as “development control”). It is a democratic process that is enshrined in law and public participation in the process is a crucial part of that process. In order for our planning system to be effective, communities must play a significant role in the drafting of statutory plans for the sustainable development of Ireland and in decision-making on applications for development. Our planning system empowers us all to take part in planning for our future and it is only through participation that individuals and communities can ensure their opinions are heard.Ultimately, planning for energy requires extensive public engagement and participation to ensure transparency, accountability and ultimately public ownership of the planning process. Planning serves the community, and therefore there must be proper engagement. However, this cannot be done in a vacuum: it must be done in the context of national strategies. Seán O’Leary is the executive director of Irish Planning Institute, which you can follow on Facebook or Twitter. Read: €29m investment for marine renewable energy research centre creates 77 jobsRead: 500 per cent rise in use of biofuel since 2007
LAYA HEALTHCARE IS to increase its premiums from March by an average of 20 per cent – and it says that Government policy is partly to blame.The company said today that it will increase premiums across a number of its schemes with effect from 1 March.An adult on Laya Healthcare Essential Secure will pay €514.55, compared to VHi Healthcare One Plan Starter €547.08, Aviva Health Level Starter €615.20 and GloHealth Basic Plan €595.00GloHealth is also said to be increasing its prices, by €49 per adult and €14 per child per year, RTÉ reports.IncreaseThe average increase will be 20 per cent, and Laya Healthcare says the change is due to factors including changes to Government policy and the rising cost of claims.Dónal Clancy, Managing Director at Laya Healthcare, said that they “are very conscious of the impact the market is having on our members”.But he said that “unfortunately the market has come under unprecedented pressure from major increases by the Government, specifically further hikes to the Government Health Levy and the public beds redesignation charge”.The net cost of the Government Health Levy to Laya Healthcare will be c€72m in 2014 – an increase of 33 per cent compared to 2013.Among the costs that are driving Laya Healthcare’s price review are the charge for all beds in public hospitals, and changes to risk equalisation credits.The cost of claims continues to increase, and went up by almost 9 per cent in 2013 from 2012.According to Laya Healthcare, this increase is being fuelled by the rising cost of providing advanced medical treatments for members.It also says that younger, healthier people are being driven out of the market and that since 2007, the volume of claims from older members has more than doubled.Clancy said the company is “fighting hard on behalf of our members to be part of the Government agenda for health reform with genuine consultation key to achieving a fair, equitable health insurance system”.Read: Health insurance bosses stress the need to attract young people to the market>Read: Health insurance levy will cost customers “up to 15 per cent”>
GARDAI IN WICKLOW have arrested a man and seized a large amount of cocaine in the van he was driving.Gardaí conducting a checkpoint on the N11 near Ashford stopped a van at 11pm last night. On searching the van an amount of cannabis was found and a man in his early 30s was arrested.A more detailed search of the van at Wicklow Garda Station revealed a large amount of cocaine concealed in the van. Drugs with an estimated street value of up to €43,000 in total were seized.The man is currently detained at Wicklow Garda Station.Read: Dog duo Ralph and Defor help seize €90k worth of cannabis>Read: McDonald’s worker allegedly hid heroin in Happy Meals>
INDONESIAN OFFICIALS HAVE been searching through thick ash for bodies today after Mount Sinabung volcano erupted, killing at least 15 people.Scorching clouds engulfed victims during the eruption on Saturday, leaving rescuers with little hope of finding survivors as they searched through ash up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) thick.About 170 people, including from the military and police, armed with chainsaws and oxygen apparatus spread out through apocalyptic-like destruction in Sukameriah village, officials said.Sukameriah, just 2.7 kilometres from Sinabung’s crater, is located in the “red zone” around the volcano, where human activities are strictly banned, disaster official Tri Budiarto said. Residents had been evacuated.‘No sign of life’“It’s very dangerous and completely out of bounds. But many of the tourists still secretly went to the area to take photographs,” Budiarto added.An Indonesian soldier runs on an ash-covered road as he searches for victims. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) The first team to enter the village on Sunday morning emerged 15 minutes later empty-handed, a correspondent there said.“There’s no sign of human life. All the crops were gone. Many houses were damaged and those still standing were covered in thick white ash. It was hard to walk in ash which nearly reached my calves,” Gito, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told AFP.He added: We didn’t find bodies but we picked up a bag belonging to one of the victims. The cellphone was ringing.Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the spokesman for the National Disaster Management Agency, was unable to put a figure to the number of people still missing, but said there was a “chance” that the death toll might rise.People search for victims. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) “A body was spotted near a tree, but we have yet to evacuate (it),” he said.SurvivorsOfficials said finding survivors was unlikely.“I doubt it would be possible for anyone to survive the heat clouds yesterday. So far, we have not found any more bodies,” said Lieutenant Colonel Asep Sukarna, who led the search operation.The volcano on the western island of Sumatra started erupting in September, but on Saturday spewed hot rocks and ash 2,000 metres (16,00 feet) into the air, blanketing the surrounding countryside with grey dust.A motorbike covered in dust from the volcano. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) Fourteen people — mainly local tourists, including four secondary school students on a sightseeing trip — were killed by lethal heat clouds which cascaded down the volcano.A 24-year-old man who was accompanying his father to pay respects at the graves of their relatives died from his injuries early on Sunday, raising the death toll to 15, Nugroho said.Search operationTwo other people are being treated for serious burns at a local hospital.Officials warned that the threat of more searing heat clouds and weather conditions may affect search operations.A man weeps after identifying a victim of the volcano. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara) “It’s cloudy today so we worry that it might rain,” Karo district spokesman Robert Peranginangin said. “If it rains, the area will be muddy and hard to walk, so we will have to stop search and rescue.”Officials are also putting up more signs to warn people not to enter the area, officials said.Mount Sinabung is one of 129 active volcanoes in Indonesia that straddle major tectonic fault lines, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire.The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of eruptions in 2010.- © AFP, 2014Read: Hello, world: New island off Japan coast after volcano eruption > Read: Volcano erupts 30 times in one day >
Backing a move by Dublin TD Terence Flanagan who asked him if discussions had taken place between the National Transport Authority (NTA) and Irish Rail, Varadkar forwarded the query on to the NTA.In their response, they said that while “no discussions” had taken place between the NTA and Iarnród Éireann concerning the introduction of lower fares during off-peak hours, they said they were “open to the idea” provided that it can be demonstrated that such fares “stimulate extra passenger journeys” to generate an increase in revenue and as long as there are no technical impediments.The NTA is now proceeding with a preliminary examination of the possible fare reduction in consultation with Iarnród Eireann.The National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) have given a cautious welcome to the comments from Minister Varadkar. General Secretary Dermot O’Leary said “we have long been advocating initiatives towards encouraging more people to use Public Transport, our members have been at the receiving end of retrenchment measures partially as a result of the fall in revenue across the Public Transport providers”.Mr O’Leary went on to say that “it is acknowledged across the EU that adequate subvention is a prerequisite for the provision of modern rail infrastructure which, combined with low fares, encourages high volumes of usage”.Read: Iarnród Éireann workers may face pay cuts from next month> Poll: Do you plan to use public transport more in 2014?> Updated 21.30pm CHEAPER FARES COULD be on the way for DART users during off-peak times as the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said he supported the proposal.The Department of Transport confirmed to TheJournal.ie that Varadkar supported the reduced fares during off-peak times stating that this year the department has a target to increase overall public transport use by 2 per cent, or five million passengers, on DART, Irish Rail, Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann.Minister Varadkar said:I think it makes sense. DART is very busy at peak times but for much of the day it carries air around Dublin rather than passengers.The same goes for buses. It makes sense to me to reduce off-peak fares if we can show that it will encourage more people to use public transport.
GARDAI ARE INVESTIGATING the theft of a 500-year-old medieval sculpture from the grounds of a church in County Meath.The “baptismal font” thought to be worth at least half a million euro was taken from Rathmore Church between April 16th and May 10th.The ancient artefact dates back to the 15th century and is associated with the church built by Sir Thomas Plunkett and his wife Marian Cruise, who are both ancestors of Saint Oliver Plunkett.The octagonal shaped national monument is 2ft high and features carvings of the apostles on each of its eight panels, along with an engraving of the baptism of Christ.Keeper of Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, Ned Kelly, said it would have taken a “well organised gang” to remove the relic from its position on the grounds of the church.“This is not something a single individual would have engaged in – this was done by a gang,” Kelly told TheJournal.ie.He added: “This is something that would have a significant value. This is the type of thing you find in medieval galleries across Europe and North America.” It is a major antiquity from a protected national monument. This is a very important object, it is a major loss – every effort will be made to recover it.Mr Kelly is meeting with gardai tomorrow to discuss the increase in thefts of religious artefacts form churches and places of national heritage. The meeting was organised before the latest theft.Last March, the Heart of Saint Laurence O’Toole was stolen from Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral.Anyone with information should contact gardai in Kells, County Meath at 046 924 0999 or Keeper of Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, Ned Kelly at 087 256 7294.Read: Preserved heart of Dublin saint stolen from Christ Church Cathedral >Read: ‘Relics of true cross’ returned to abbey after being stolen >
Gamers all want big screens to play on, but there’s only so big you can go with current consumer displays. 40″ displays are typical and fairly cheap to buy, 60″ displays are just within reach, and 100″+ is reserved for those with more money than sense.One Chinese man has just played his favorite MMO on the second largest LED screen in the world, though. It is located in Beijing, and measures 250 meters x 30 meters. It is suspended above the area known as The Place and looks down on people walking below.Apparently the man paid $15,000 to get the game hooked up to the screen and the opportunity to sit underneath it to play. We don’t actually know what the game is, but it’s thought to be a local game based on Blizzard’s popular World of Warcraft MMO.We don’t think the experience was worth the money, though. As the screen is so long the game had to be tiled three times rather than spread across the entire length. At that size I doubt the graphics looked great either, and I’d much rather play on a 40″ or so HD LCD panel. Doing so would also save a serious amount of cash.The worst bit is just how much this cost compared to the time spent playing. For $15,000 you’d expect him to sit there all night, but he was given 10 minutes play time!Read more at MMOsite.com, via KotakuMatthew’s OpinionI’d love to know the story of how this gaming session came to be. What entices an MMO player to spend $15,000 playing his favorite MMO on a huge public screen for 10 minutes while getting neck strain?Was it really this guy’s dream to do this, or more of a publicity stunt setup by the publisher of the game. That would make more sense and could see the money recouped quite quickly. You can guarantee this video and images are circulating across the Chinese gaming press and online sites.If it wasn’t tiled and you instead got a huge panorama of the landscape in the game I’m sure it would be a fantastic sight to behold. But what he basically saw was a very large, pixelated view of what we see at home playing on a standard HD TV. Still, if he enjoyed it then it was money well spent I guess.
Yowtch. The Motorola Xoom was largely considered the big tablet his of this year’s ces, thanks in no small part to the fact that it was really the only one running Android 3.0 Honeycomb–the first version of the mobile OS designed specifically with tablets in mind.So, how much will you have to pay for this eagerly awaited device? One would imagine the company would undercut the price point of the tablet’s chief competition–Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab. Nope. If these leaks are to be believed, the tablet is going to carry a rather lofty unsubsidized price tag of $799.99.The news comes from a “tipster” over at Android Central, complete with a sheet featuring the minimum advertised price of the Xoom and other devices, all subsidized and a heck of a lot cheaper than Motorola’s upcoming tablet.
I suppose that bowling made sense for the demo. The gameplay is simple and short, so you don’t have to do it for too long–can you image trying to beat Donkey Kong with the thing? You’d definitely start chaffing. In his mission to make bowling video games more exciting (or, perhaps, to make intimacy less appealing), artist Hye Yeon Nam if offering the world the latest innovation in gaming peripherals–the Kiss Controller. To start playing, grab partner, and shove your tongue down their throat.Here’s the breakdown from Nam, One person has a magnet on his/her tongue and the other person wears the headset. While they kiss, the person who has the magnet on his/her tongue, controls the direction and speed of the bowling ball for 20 seconds. The goals of this game are to guide the ball so that it maintains an average position in the center of the alley and to increase the speed of the ball by moving the tongue faster while kissing
Nature is a wonderful thing and it should not only be preserved but also studied. Without it a lot for the modern inventions you see today would not have been created. An obvious example is birds which of course have been the main inspiration for all manner of aviation craft. You also have companies like FESTO paving the way in bionic research, again their inventions are inspired by nature.That leads us in to another discovery that’s beneficial to the millions of people around the world who have suffered with the dreaded signal degradation problems on the smartphones we use to day, such as on the iPhone 4 . It appears that researches at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been studying Ormia ochracea which is a small parasitic fly. What makes it so interesting is that the fly is renowned for its amazing sense of directional hearing. In fact, a female fly can use her antenna to track down a male cricket from its chirps and then deposit her eggs on the doomed host (the larvae will eat the cricket to grow and survive).Insects have already been used in previous innovative designs, such as improving the flight of robots and helping to create new wind turbine designs. But it’s the fly antenna that is the main focus of the university’s research, and they hope to develop improved cell phone antennas using what has been learned about how it works. Nader Behdad, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Wisconsin-Madison has already started to work on such an antenna design producing a proof of concept. The aim now is to create a small antenna that can distinguish the direction different signals are coming from just like the fly.Who would have thought it? A small bug being the basis of solving one of the biggest issues in mobile phones. Just keep that in mind next time you are considering crushing a bug.Read more at Animal Planet
The iPhone 5 is set to be available in the tens of millions before the end of the 2011. It’s also thought to look almost exactly the same as the iPhone 4. Both those bits of information have come via Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.While the phone may look the same with its Gorilla glass front and back, inside there is expected to be an improved antenna design to stop the dropped calls (death grip) everyone complained about with the iPhone 4. What you may be surprised to hear is that the RAM in the iPhone 5 is expected to remain the same at 512MB.Even so, an iPhone 5 that is the same dimensions as the iPhone 4 could still house a number of improvements beyond the antenna. A 4-inch edge-to-edge display is possible, and there’s expected to be improved performance from the inclusion of an A5 processor. As for keeping the RAM the same, there’s always a desire for more from developers, but does the iPhone 5 really need it?Even though the iPhone 5 is set to fly off the shelves whenever it launches, it seems Apple is prepared for demand. Kuo believes there will be 30 million of the smartphones in the sales channel before we reach 2012. 40% of those devices are expected to be white, meaning from day one you’ll have a choice of picking up a black or white iPhone 5. You could argue that just shifts the problem to one of a shortage of the most desirable color rather than a shortage of phones.We still don’t know the release date of the iPhone 5, but if Apple intend to have 30 million in stores before 2012, it means there’s already millions of the devices sitting in a warehouse somewhere. It’s got to happen soon, right? Maybe on the iPod’s 10th birthday?More at AppleInsider
As we rapidly approach Apple’s iPad 3 announcement (likely within the next two to three months), it’s expected that the rumor mill will heat up. Some will be accurate, many will be off, and others will be on the opposite side of the universe. Only hindsight will tell us which are which, so let the guessing games commence. The latest story has the next-gen tablet getting cameras that match the iPhone 4S’s 8MP shooter.Such a camera upgrade would be an enormous improvement. Apple went cheap with the iPad 2’s cameras, and it shows. The sub-1MP rear shooter harkens back to the days of 2005 camera flip phones, which you would only dream of using if it were the only camera in sight. The iPad 3’s front camera would also supposedly get an upgrade. It’s said to shoot HD video, allowing for much crisper-looking Facetime calls (particularly for recipients on large-screen devices).The story, however, didn’t stop with cameras. It says that the next iPad will get an A6 processor (no surprise), a Retina display (also expected), and would be slightly thicker than the iPad 2 to help power that Retina display. Its curves would also be slightly more rounded to compensate for the minor added thickness. The story also says that the previous rumor of the iPad 3 arriving in January (on Steve Jobs’s birthday) is bogus, as this would peeve holiday shoppers who just threw down for an iPad 2. We can expect the iPad 3 at about the same time that we saw the iPad 2 last year (March 11).One last detail is that the price of the iPad 2 will allegedly be dropping — perhaps to $400 — in order to help combat budget tablets like the Kindle Fire. As this is the same strategy that Apple has used for the last several years with iPhones, this would hardly be a surprise. The iPad 2 would still be $200 more than the Fire, but it creeps just close enough to help sway some cost-cutting customers.Does this report have legs? Only time will tell. What we can guarantee is that we’ll be hearing many more of these rumors during the next couple of months.via iLounge
You’re probably not in the market for a new calculator app, but in the case that you are (or if you are a design junkie), then you’ll want to check out the video above. The Rechner Calculator brings great design, interesting colors, and a gesture-based UI to the humble calculator.This app has a handsome layout and slick gesture controls, just as you would expect from a premium option. It’s reminiscent of Clear, the much-hyped ToDo list app which differentiated itself from any number of similar products solely on its design, UI, and gesture controls.The Rechner Calculator has gesture controls for the most common functions (+, -, =, clear) and then hidden buttons for the rest (*, /, ±, √, %, and erase). According to the app’s notes this calculator is 200% more efficient than the competition, a number that might help you justify the purchase but seems like it would be hard to prove (or disprove). There don’t appear to be any advanced functions, or even the standard MR, MC, M+, M-, so for anything aside from day-to-day calculations you’ll have to go to the stock iPhone calculator and turn it sideways, just like normal (or buy a more powerful app). At 99 cents the Rechner Calculator looks to be something pretty that you can impulse buy for yourself. Maybe you’ll get a few minutes of pleasure out of it, maybe you’ll put on a skinny tie, shirtsleeves, and frameless glasses and use it every day. Either way, it looks like a nice alternative to the standard, and quite passable, iOS calculator app.The company behind the app is Aeliox, who also made Delay — a great looking reminder app.Get it at rechner-app.com
We all knew the Nexus 7 was coming, and finally yesterday at Google I/O it was officially unveiled. At just $199 for the 8GB model, the quad-core tablet will pose a serious challenge to the Kindle Fire — and hopefully be the first of many offerings that deliver on Nvidia’s promise of sub-$200 quads. It may be tough, however, if other companies aren’t willing to sell their tablets at cost — which is what Andy Rubin told All Things D Google is doing with the Nexus 7.Does it really cost Google $199 to build a Nexus 7? Possibly, but bear in mind that Google is also offering free shipping, a $25 credit for Google Play, and throwing in Transformers: Dark of the Moon with every purchase made through Devices on Google Play. That could put the actual cost more in the $150 to $160 range.One of the main goals Google has for the Nexus 7, however, is to prove that Android tablets have a content ecosystem that’s competitive with what Apple has to offer. Google worked diligently to centralize the Android shopping and downloading experience, and offering up the Nexus 7 “at cost” and getting owners hooked on Play by forking over $25 to spend, should certainly help spur additional growth.The Nexus 7 isn’t just a cheap tablet, of course. Google worked closely with Asus to create a device that was built with quality components and performed and felt like a high-end device. Incredibly, Rubin says that the two companies went from a concept to a fully-functional product in just four months.What’s next for the Nexus 7? Making its way to big box stores for its brick-and-mortar retail debut, possibly.More at All Things D
About a year ago we reported on an amazing little robot that was capable of riding a bike at speeds of 6mph unaided. It was the creation of Dr. Guero, and was just as memorable for the way the robot braked (both feet down on the ground) as it was for the way it managed to remain balanced while pedaling.Now Dr. Guero is back, and this time he’s created a robot that can walk a tightrope unaided. The bike riding robot was called PRIMER V2, but for tightrope walking we present you PRIMER V4.Dr. Guero created the new robot by modifying a Kondo KHR-3HV robot to give it foot grooves. They sit over the 4mm-thick steel wire the robot slides its feet along while maintaining balance using its arms. The original arms have been replaced to be lighter, but maintain the same length. They react to an inclination sensor in order to make quick, micro movements and allow the body to remain balanced.The end result is rather impressive. At no point does the robot look in any danger of falling off the tightrope, but the arms are hard at work the entire time ensuring balance is maintained.If you are wondering what happened to PRIMER V3, that was Dr. Guero’s first attempt at a robot that could walk while balancing itself. It worked, but required a surface big enough for its feet to stand on. However, it is still very impressive as the video below shows.Read more at AI & Robot (translated), via Gizmag