The trials and tribulations of a web design company in
Belfast, Northern Ireland. Read as we tie Internet Explorer 6 to a chair,
stick on some super cool sixties sounds and cut off its ear whilst dancing
a merry jig. You got a problem with that?
I’ve been having a very interesting time having my own natural / unnatural inclinations challenged and thinking a lot (again) about the idea of culture change. And as tends to happen sometimes, things seem to appear from the ether on the same subject to help you along your way.
Last Thursday at the Northern Ireland Science Park I had the good fortune of meeting a genuine web over-achiever in the guise of Toby Coppel, ex of Yahoo and an all round needle twitcher on the world stage. And he’s under 40. And he’s from Northern Ireland. And he’s interested in investing in businesses, particularly cleantech and digital media.
Have a listen to his speech from the 25K Awards, it’s very revealing. Also notice the total absense of civil servants or government in general from his outlook and career to date.
Download the speech (.m4a format) from our Drop Box
I wonder if there is a point when you can have too many good things going on? Or is it really true that good things happen to good people? Either way at the minute I’m blessed in my working life, even if it does mean sometimes a few too many nights out on the beer and early rises to cope with.
Recently a meeting happened under the guise of Code4Pizza which saw 20+ developers, designers and such folk in a room discussing how to ‘crowdsource Translink.’ What the hell does that mean right?
Well essentially the rise of the OpendataNI iinitative that seeks to release governmental and other types of public interest data into the public realm has led to a bunch of folk deciding to use the Translink data for bus times, rail times and such to create something that serves the public better than what’s currently on offer from the Translink website and other places that publish bus times.
Ultimately this may be an iPhone app, or a web app or both that allows people to better see what’s happening, maybe even in real time, with bus locations and GPS tracking but perhaps not. Whatever it will end up being, serving the public will be its aim and that is to be applauded. There’s no talk of money here or anything sort of reward beyond just providing a better public service, again a laudable goal.
Of course the whole initiative rests on Translink releasing the data that’s required in a usable format and there’s no guarantee that that will happen, even though a bunch of freedom of information requests (FOI) have been sent in. Translink have, at the time of writing, about two weeks left to reply to these so we’ll know more soon.
Failing the release of the data, we have discussed ways of producing our own en masse, such as geo-tagging bus stops using our phones or Google Maps or some similar method. In terms of the routes information we decided that using Runkeeper for the iPhone would be a good approach, an application made to record the times and route of runners as they run using GPS tracking in real-time. So there are options no matter what happens, and anyone can get involved too so if you have an iPhone and fancy getting a few buses to help us record and map the routes, get in touch and we’ll keep you informed of what’s needed and when. It should be fun!
It’s not a co-incedence that all of these people are showing up with common mentalities and common goals in mind at the myriad of events happening in the tech world. It’s inspiring and energetic and if that energy translates into action it may well be something to behold. Come as you are as always, you will have a part to play. Maybe after all the geek will inherit the earth? Or at least be able to catch a bus more easily.
So we’ve been battering away in darkened (and then well lit) rooms for the last 18 months or so on what we think is frankly a wee belter of an application that will help the happy world of capitalism send its wares all over the world, selling everywhere from anywhere as our newfound motto goes. The application is called AirPOS and we will be launching it in around 8 hours time from the time of this post at the ISEA 2009 exhibition in the Waterfront Hall. We’re tucked away on floor two of the Creative Industries exhibition so you may have to hunt us out a bit but we promise it will be worth it.
At ISEA you will get the first opportuinity to toy around with AirPOS before we unleash its goodness on the unsuspecting world in the coming months. It’s blinking away at life in the Belfast Guitar Emporium as we speak and will be propelling fine wines out of Groomsport in the very near future. Come down and say hello over the next few days, more details on ISEA can be found at www.isea2009.org or check out more about AirPOS on the web at www.airpos.co.uk
You may have heard of Co Working Belfast. Co Working is a concept that’s been successfully piloted in many cities the world over and now Belfast has its equivalent. What it’s lacked for a long time is a premises but it seems that the search is at an end.
I’ll let Andy and David have the fanfare and make the big announcement in the coming weeks but in the meantime here’s a taster of what’s in store…