Rob O'Connor

Lecturer/Geek/Musician/DJ/Eejit

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The Machine Podcast – Walton Institute

Last week, we published an episode of The Machine podcast all about The Walton Institute, which is the new name for the TSSG research group in WIT. I’m proud o say that once upon a time, I worked with these folks (and completed an MSc by Research there). I’ve tried to keep up with their activities, though it’s become increasingly difficult as the years go by – mostly because the group has grown so much.

The TSSG originally had a telecommunications and networks focus, which was the area I largely worked in. However, over the years they’ve broadened to include all aspects of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and more importantly, lead some ground breaking cross-disciplinary research.

The Walton Institute isn’t just a renaming – it reflects the change in ICT research over the past 20 years and how the folks are looking towards a wider future. I’m very enthusiastic about this. I get a kick out of seeing how computing technology can be applied to other areas in a positive fashion. Are the results always for the better? No! However, I firmly believe that when people actually think about problems, we can come up with innovative solutions. What can I say, I’m an optimist.

Anyway, I enjoyed the chat with co-directors Sasitharan Balasubramaniam and Kevin Doolin who’s enthusiasm is infectious – for research and the opportunities for the South East.

This week, I’m recording an episode with some TSSG/Walton staff members about Virtual Reality and Augment Reality, so that’ll be proper geeky.

Irish Beats 14th March 2021

A slightly different radio show on this evening. To celebrate Seachtain na Gaeilge 2021, the second hour of Irish Beats was entirely as gaeilge, featuring loads of great Irish tunes as you mightn’t have heard before. MayKay (ex Fight Like Apes) was my guest in the first hour talking about the IMBOLC music special currently streaming on the RTE Player. Plenty of fresh tracks in the mix from Tolu Makay, James Vincent McMorrow, Emma Langford, Kojaque and more.

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Irish Beats 7th March 2021

To coincide with International Women’s Day and the Shine Festival 2021, we had a female voices special on Irish Beats this evening. Absolutely no shortage of fantastic music to play with tracks from Elaine Mai, MayKay, Tolu Makay, Kynsy, Pillow Queens and Choice Music Prize winner Denise Chaila all featuring (as well as lots more!). Stephanie Rainey was my guest in the virtual studio, spilling the beans on her new EP and how it felt to pick herself back up after being dropped by her record label (full podcast of this interview to be published soon).

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Interview with Caoimhe Barry (Wyvern Lingo)

Last week, I sat down with Caoimhe Barry of Irish trio Wyvern Lingo on the release day of their sophomore album ‘Awake You Lie.’ We spoke about how it’s not a COVID album having mostly been recorded in Berlin in late 2019, but it also kind of is a COVID reflection. We also chatted about musical influences, video games and Caoimhe gave the inside scoop on being on one of Ireland’s most successful indie record labels (RubyWorks).

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Irish Beats 28th Feb 2021

There’s a grand auld stretch in the evening! New sounds from Bobbi Arlo, Slaney and Carrie Baxter on tonights playlist, along with a few classics from the likes of Rollerskate Skinny and The Frames (special request from Mick from Kildare). Caoimhe Barry from Wyvern Lingo was my virtual guest in the second hour, chatting about their new album ‘Awake You Lie’, how it’s not a COVID record, but it also kinda is a COVID record.

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Lockdown Coding for Kids

During the mid-term break last week, a few friends were in touch seeking some advice on coding activities to keep their children occupied while they were no longer home-schooling but still hanging around the house. I’ve sent out versions of this via WhatsApp to people, so I figured it might be a good idea to get this down on virtual paper so someone else might stumble across it and find it useful. Regardless of mid-term or home schooling, some of this might be useful for kids starting out with some computer programming.

Normally, I’d recommend checking out your local Coder Dojo, but that’s probably not an option at the moment. All of the resources I’ll recommend here are free and readily available. All you’ll need is an internet connection and a computer or new-ish tablet to work from.

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