Project Plan for the year.

 Ideas, thoughts and musings, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Project Plan for the year.
Jan 282012
 

So it’s a new year and this post is largely a base of reference for myself to look over as the year progresses.

Coding Soundtracks

So I registered the domain codingsoundtracks.com and plan to and have been building a fairly simple website allowing coders to add their favourite coding soundtracks for other coders to find.
It is currently live at coding soundtracks

Rebuild Eventzin.com

Eventzin was a previous project which while it never quite took off on its first iteration does offer potential for being a useful tool. Basically it is a simple way to set up events with your friends, even friends that aren’t on eventzin. This will be rebuilt with node and also js css html5 mobile apps, probably using either sencha touch or the new jqmobi.

Walking Companion

Walking companion is personal project which will be a native iOS app doing something which has already been done, but something which I want to have an experiment with. It will be an app to keep track of your walks, how far your walk each week, how many calories you burn etc.

Kids Game on the Ipad

Having a 3yr old has told me that parents with iPads buy quite a lot of apps. The iPad is a brilliant device for children. The interface is perfect for a child’s hands on interaction. All of this has made me want to do a kids game. More on this later.

Helpfinding.me

This is an attempt to try harness the connected networks we have created and use them to help find missing people. Again this would likely be build in node js and then cross platform mobile app.

Dublinks

This is a business project. I bought this site at the end of last year and while it is paying for itself, it needs some investment of time and effort on my part to bring it to a better place and improve the revenue flow from it.

Nomad

Finally, but not least, Nomad is a novel that I am writing. I hope to have a reasonable draft of this completed by the end of the year.

So that’s it. A busy year ahead as I have also just started a new job with start up company Feedhenry.

Locals.ie concept – hopes – and plan

 Ideas, startup stuff, thoughts and musings  Comments Off on Locals.ie concept – hopes – and plan
Sep 052011
 

So a while ago I wrote an article on scaling down. Where I spoke about the success of any individual being bound with the success of their community. Well at the time of writing, I was also, and still am, busy working on a new project. That project is locals.ie.

The Concept

The concept behind locals.ie is to provide a place for the locals in a community to easily talk about and promote what they love, hate, and want to change in their local community. This can be done in a number of ways on the site: you can add a post, ask questions which other locals can answer and also set up, manage, organise and promote local projects, whether they be their own or community based. I have lots more ideas planned and would love to hear any feed back positive or negative.

Hopes

A major hope of mine is that first and formost that people find the site offers them something useful and worthwhile, but also that local authorities, tds, councilors, businesses etc catch on to the site and see its potential for connecting and communicating with the locals that make up their constituencies and communities.

My ideal, my dream, perhaps, is to have locals communicating with each other regularly and talking about what is on their minds. I also want those with ideas, perhaps ideas they have had for a long time, but have felt they didn’t know how to get started, or that they wouldn’t be listened to, find others who share in their idea and so do more than get started, they actually make things happen; and for those with valuable local knowledge to share it by adding posts and answering the questions asked by others.

You can see a good example of how the site can work by taking a look at the waterford section of the site. This is my home county.

Future

Over the coming months I am going to be working hard to try and promote locals.ie in anyway that I can. I plan on writing to my local newspapers, perhaps submitting an editorial piece to them, and also contacting radio stations to try and gain some exposure. I also want to get in contact with my local council, politicians and businesses.

I will also be working hard on the site. I hope to improve it with each day/week and make it a great place to visit. If you have any ideas or thoughts on locals.ie please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can use this blog, or via email at craig[at]locals.ie you can also follow @locals_ie

I am a web and software developer by trade and so have plans to bring out a mobile app in the future at some point also.

If you like the idea of locals: tweet about it, like it on facebook, talk about it, but most of all become a local and get involved.

 

nullI believe we should be doing everything we can to encourage an environment where small startup businesses have every possible chance to get off the ground and go from an idea to an actual business. I think it is vital to any real, lasting economic recovery. These types of businesses will in the future create a more healthy, robust and diversified economy.

There is one area in particular that I see as great way to cultivate a healthy startup environment in Ireland, and that is the area of office space.

It has struck me several times, while travelling around Ireland and around my own home city of Waterford, that there seems to be a whole lot of empty office space. This empty office space, is not newly empty, most, if not all of it, has been largely empty now for the best part of two years or more.

Waterford is not alone in this phenomena, wherever I have travelled in Ireland, these sad, empty shells are present on the landscape of any business park. It is as if they are destined to remain grim memorials of our recent past or perhaps simply as the scars of a well known tiger that turned on its keeper. You don’t have to stray far from the city center to find rows and rows of to let signs lamely hanging in the windows of these buildings; no doubt buildings which have been long forgotten by the appointed letting agent. These offices are not being let, and I would suggest wont be let for the foreseeable future. They are being wasted.

Now add to this mix the high number of unemployed people eager to get to work who, no longer able to find employment, are looking to set up something of their own, perhaps in a field they took interest in only as a hobby etc during the boom years, but now see potential for a business idea. Every effort should be being made to support these people that are working hard to try and start again; the entrepreneurial types who are building home grown, Irish businesses from the ground up.

Well these fledgling businesses need a place to work from. It is all well and good, working from home, but nothing really substitutes for a space in which you can bring people together for a single purpose, with no distractions and the tools with which to achieve your goals.
Also with a buildings full of these energetic, passionate and hard working people the effect will spread and infuse others, who are maybe a little unsure or disheartened, to take the first steps and begin putting together concepts and talking to people about their business ideas.

We do hear rhetoric from the politicians claiming they wish to help small businesses get started or continue to exist, and, while some things are being done to help get small businesses up and running, surely this expanse of empty office space offers a great opportunity to our enterprise boards and the government as a whole?

So here is my proposal: a young business, a startup, of under two years would have the opportunity to apply to the enterprise board for subsidized or even completely free office space. They would apply using a simple, but thought out business plan. The businesses that were successful, would be all offered office space in the same area, and perhaps with other business who had ideas in the same area? It’s that simple.

Landlords would begin renting now empty buildings. Businesses and jobs would begin to be created and the economy as a whole would benefit. Tell me I’m wrong, please!

Now I am aware that you can get grants etc from the enterprise board, but from speaking with people who have received these grants recently, this is a long and difficult process. What I am thinking of is something much more simple. It would be the case that if you could prove you were working hard on something, from home for example, and that your proposed business wasn’t simply a hobby, but actually had merit, then you would get space to work in. It may be shared space, or simply two desks in a room with other budding businesses. As long as there was access to broadband and general office equipment, I am sure it would be fine for most simple startup businesses. It seems amazing to me that this isn’t already being done and I would be delighted if someone told me it was already being done.
And after all, sure, we probably own half the building through NAMA etc anyway.

 

The success of a community is vital to the lasting success of any individual within that community. This is something I hold as a core value and I sincerely hope that you do too.

As a product of your community and peers, successful communities will create more successful individuals; and in turn, an individual that holds his own interests and those of his community as being equal, or as close to equal as possible, will create more successful communities.

When I speak of community, I am referring to your locality, the place where you live. Your community is made up of the people in your favourite coffee shop, the teachers educating your children your neighbours and so on. Each member of your community will have an impact, whether directly or indirectly, on your outlook and help you form opinions on society and on how you, as an individual, fit in and should interact with it. They will inform your ideas on how society should be governed, what is acceptable and how it can be improved. So far so obvious, right?

Well the above leads me to a major issue I believe we are facing, and that is the problems caused by the ever expanding scale of our communities brought about by our ability to communicate across vast distances. This problem of scale is affecting every aspect of our lives. In business, the internet is giving companies easy and cheap access to markets that they would have never considered accessible previously. This in turn means that these companies are growing at an unprecedented scale, and their customer bases are immense* this of course erodes the importance of an individual customer. News agencies and charities can bring every tragic disaster to our living rooms, causing us to become increasingly numb to disaster, as an act of self preservation. Your time is important and it is impossible to care about, in a realistic way which motivates us to action, all that is presented to us on a daily basis. But this also must have a trickle down effect on the way in which we perceive those within our own communities which require charity, effect how we run our small to medium businesses and so on.

With such large scale in our everyday lives, it becomes difficult to feel truly connected. We give money to charity but do not see any of the impact which that action had, we help a customer but again see no impact of having solved their problem. Seeing the positive impacts of our actions is essential to continued motivation to perform further actions. To this end, I think it is essential that we find ways to scale down, make things more personal and the effects of good action more visible.

So if we accept, and perhaps you don’t, that we should try to find ways in our lives to try and scale down and make the impact of our own actions more visible, then how can this be achieved?
Well I intend to go into that in my follow up post coming soon.

* read groupon, amazon etc

 

Before I begin this post, I want to lay a little ground work to show where I am coming from. I have no degree in any *”ology” and these ramblings reflect only my own musings. I am an avid futurist and technologist, in particular, web technologies. I am a believer in its ability to change the future in major ways, largely for the good, as it has already done over and over.

You always know when things are changing because people are talking about that which is in flux. And we are talking now more than ever about technology, progress and in particular the web and how it integrating with our lives.

I found myself happy to hear of schools introducing the iPad to classrooms replacing heavy, expensive text books. More information on this can be found here at ipadinschools. I still think that this is a wonderful change, but it got me thinking about where we may be heading.

What will happen to the physical things? The books, CDs, photographs, newspapers etc. And in the process of replacing them, what is it that we risk losing?

Does a physical photograph mean more, and have more value than its digital counterpart? Does a physical book have more value than a book downloaded to your tablet? I think for the large part the answer is a resounding no, but occasionally it is a yes.

My family has boxes full of photographs and attics full of “stuff”, very few of these items have any real meaning other than to map out the past as a timeline represented as things. This can be achieved far better in the digital realm; and in my opinion, the digital realm provides more relevance and connection, particularly in a spatial/temporal sense.

But there is something to be said about having and holding something which has had time and craft put into it through purely physical interaction. A physical object can create the sense of a physical connection with the maker of the object. When I hold a scrapbook, made by my partner or hold a drawing done by my daughter, I know that they have held, touched and created this object and that means something; and I have yet to feel that “something” from their digital counterparts. So perhaps the first thing lost is the tactile properties of an actual object. Feeling and touching that shared object adds a level to the shared experience, as stated, the giver/sharer has also touched the object. Perhaps other elements lost are rarity and uniqueness. These elements add a great deal of value to an object, but in the digital realm, there is almost nothing which cannot be easily reproduced, either by copying it to many places or by replicating it through some digital tool. There is no risk of loss of something important with these digital objects. Almost all of us have some form of back up of our important information.

Of course, the information contained and shared is more important than how we choose to share it. Yet I do worry that, even though a piece of information shared is clearly important, we treat it with less reverence purely because of the sheer amount of information being shared with us at any one point in time. This may well be due to our lack of experience in dealing with this volume of information, and maybe it something we will become much better at over time.

However an interesting question and problem is raised: if we accept we are losing something, how do we create and share something of worth and value in a digital format? How can we impart and understand the time and effort expended to create that which is being shared? I’m not sure whether these questions are truly important, but they matter to me and I hope to some of you too.

© 2012 Craig Brookes Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha