Mayday!

Where does the time go? It’s absolutely flying by. Things are good  but I think I need a break.

Not so long ago the country was crippled by frost and ice – nobody could go anywhere.  Then the deadly ash cloud covered the country and again people were grounded & having to stay put. I’m just wondering what’s next to hit Ireland!? Dust storms? Locusts? Unlikely. They better stay away because I need a break. It’s been over 2 years since I went away for 10 days and switched off. (that means no laptop or blackberry) so it’s high time.

It’s hard to think this time last year I was UL worrying about lectures, students, papers, publishing etc. it’s now a distant memory. It was a tough decision to leave but I’m glad I did. Had I not, I’d still be in UL worrying about lectures, students, papers, publishing etc.

It’s been a terrific year for the Cauwill with things going from strength to strength. Just last week I was delighted to see two more hotels coming online and using the technology as part of their booking – it  made me smile.

The year has brought great challenges and we’ve been learning new (technical & business related) stuff  everyday. LEAP has been good too and I’m glad I did. The year has been a roller-coaster ride with lots of lows including sleepless nights, worrying, having minor-to-major panic attacks when something goes wrong, stressed to max, wondering when were  going to sign a customer, wondering if anyone would ever use the service. But of course on the flip side, the highs have been great including successfully delivery a quality product, securing and getting paid by customers,  receiving a thank-you note from users who love the service and of course let’s not forget InterTrade Ireland Seedcorn 😉

Since we’ve won it’s been really busy.. for sure we’ve had some knock-backs but all-in-all it’s been positive.  You need to be able to take the highs with the lows in this game.

For those entering, I’ll be posting a blog on our experience last year, what we included in the business plan & presentation.

Anyway.. that’s for a little later in the meantime I need recommendations for a vacation! Answers on a postcard please

Palm Pre Review

So when I first got the Palm Pre I thought it was the worst phone I ever owned.. it’s now 5 weeks – has my opinion changed?

Hell yah!

My biggest two problems with the phone were battery related. The batter problem blinded me from the greatness of this phone. I got so frustrated with the phone because of :

1/ Opening/closing the phone or throwing it on bed would cause the phone to go dead

2/ Using the phone to get auto-retrieve email/tweets etc would drain the battery in less than 16 hours

So, to fix number 1/ slide a piece of plastic between the battery and the case. This will prevent it from moving around and stop the phone from going dead!

To fix number 2/ Set the email retrieval to  auto, likewise with Tweed. In ‘Location Services’ set the Auto Locate to OFF and Background Collect to OFF also.

These two simple changes (ok DIY fix)  make the phone very usable! I now get (sometimes over) 2 days out of the phone.

The phone is pretty nice. The User Interface is fast and clean. The touch screen is really responsive (and yes I have used a iPhone/Touch). The ability to have multiple programs open, as cards,  and easily switch between the cards is very cool. While the phone is in it’s closed position, there is a single button the maximises or minimise applications. When clicked it allows you to swish left or right  between the cards. Flicking an application upwards (out of the screen) closes the application.. I really like this!!

For a full information of all the features.. check out this 10 minute review

Here is some of things that get to me but not a deal breaker.  Comparing it to other phones;

– it’s keyboard (but I love the fact it has a qwerty keyboard) is a bit cramped compared to the 8900 BlackBerry Curve

– the browser isn’t as fast as the iPhone

– the camera isn’t as good as the Nokia N82 one

– It doesn’t have _proper_ navigation software like Nokia Maps on the N82.

The Palm Pre has a nice feel about the it. Very smooth, fits nicely in the hand and doesn’t appear too big while in the pocket.  I’m a tactile kinda of person and I love sliding up the phone to reveal the keyboard and the satisfying clunk noise it makes when you close the phone.

Palm Synergy makes asks you to select and sign into the services you use – like gmail, twitter, facebook and linkedin. Synergy then goes off and links all your contacts (from the various services) and merges then into your contact list. It brings all the emails, phone numbers, picture etc.  This is just fantastic and saves you such much time.. 10/10 for the synergy app alone.

Now that web OS 1.4 is out which promises improved battery life –  I think this could be a winner!!

8/10 for the Palm Pre phone

Installing Nokia Maps 3 on a Nokia N82

Had loads of fun getting Nokia Maps on my n82. I had an original version and automatic updates would constantly give the error

Unable to Install. Component built in.

Grrr…

so after much reading around I’ve put the following together..  kudos to http://betalabs.nokia.com

DISCLAIMER:

The following will reset everything (EVERYTHING!!) and you will need to re-install apps again (ovi will help !). The following will  install Maps 3 and restore your contacts.

 

1. Sync contact list with Ovi
2. If you want – Back-up your memory card but exclude the Cities folder and qf file
3. Hard reset  – Enter  *#7370# on the standby screen (This could take up to 6 minutes to reset.. white screen for quite a bit.. be brave.. don’t remove the battery!)
4. Format memory card (you can do this via Tools>Utilities>Memory.. Options Format Card). Buhbye memory card.. THIS WILL WIPE EVERYTHING!

5. Get operator settings for network connectivity (02 will send them OTA to open use code is 1234) 
6. Open Maps and exit
7. Connect phone again via USB and Run Maps Updater. Update and wait for licence and voice navigation 
8. Open Maps after it’s updated. Make sure the application does open and it does the removal of old maps (which was created by step 6)
9. If Maps opens but shutdown by itself, remove memory card and open maps without memory card.
Then delete the cities and qf files using a PC. Put memory card back in and reopen maps.
10. Synch with OVI for contacts again 
11. Reinstall any application and settings you have previously
12. Download new maps..

 

Enjoy.

 

Voddler: Like spotify but for movies..

The blurb : With Voddler you can watch movies and TV shows the way you want, anytime. Voddler is easy, legal and available around the clock ..

Before I could it to work I had to configure the firewall correctly to allow inbound/outbound permissions but still it didn’t pass the startup test completely. It worked fine though.  The UI is a bit clunky but once you get the hang of it ..it’s fine. Enter and ESC with the nav keys pretty much do everything. You can see the UI designers have TVs in mind.. everything is BIG ! I kinda like it!

Because Voddler originates from Sweden  subtitles are on by default. You can turn them off in the settings.

The video quality of the movies is excellent as is the sound quality however the movie selection is s a bit limited at the moment but still I’d happily watch most of the movies currently listed.  Voddler also has TV series listed, I haven’t investigated them too much right now but from the first glance they looked to be a good mix of stuff.

The moves are listed as FREE and then there is a Premium section… as you would expect.

Before the movie starts you get to watch some advertisements, which is fine and understandable.  I haven’t watched a movie in it’s entirety to see if advertisements occur in the middle of it. If you exit a movie and come back in – it picks up where you left off (again with a few advertisements prior to it).

Overall – I like it! 8/10

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Seedcorn Best Emerging Company 2009 – Cauwill

So Ian and I went to Dublin on Thursday to give a pitch for the final of InterTradeIrelands Seedcorn competition. It went well but it took until 11pm that night to find out how well it went.

Since spinning out from the University (July this year) and running solo with Cauwill we’ve worked hard on fine tuning the technology, focusing on a vertical market and generating sales – on Thursday night at 11.05pm our effort and thought process was recognised. To use a cliche – we are over the moon – it was fantastic to stand up and pitch our business idea to VC’s and serial entrepreneurs and win the Best Emerging company of 2009.

A lot of people to thank – but Ian is top of the list, fantastic business partner and friend  (I wonder could we have ever imagined being in this position today when we met over 10years ago in the ‘that’ office?). Family and friends (& soccer) have been a massive support – without I would have gone a little crazy a long time ago. Enterprise Ireland have played there part too – they were there to seed the idea in the Proof of Concept project while in UL. In particular, Mark and Gearoid have been tremendous.  To all the people in the EAC – many thanks for the advice, coffee and outlet to talk about everything and anything. A big thanks to InterTradeIreland and all the judges (at the final and regional level).

Congratulations to Sophia Search who is winner from  the High Growth category. Congrats to all the regional winners too – they walked away with €25,000.  A very special mention to coClarity who won the Special award for best spin out  or platform.

Go raibh maith agaibh.

“Go raibh maith agaibhog

Serious Validation & Goals

We got some serious validation of our business model this week when we got the phone call from InterTradeIreland Friday.

Cauwill, (Founded by Ian Rice and myself) won the Best Emerging Company in Munster 2009.

Getting customers and validating our business is an important goal for us and it just happened that Fergal was in again to talk to us on Goals.

Thankfully those two goals have now been achieved and we delighted!

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay his entire session (we had a few meetings and prep work to do for Seedcorn) but I really enjoyed the half day.

We did an exercise where we had to fill out our goals. There was 3 categories. Personal(life) goals.. Things (I’d like to have) and Financial Goals. Each of these then had to assigned a time scale (1, 3,5 ,10 and 20 years), then we had to take our top 3 one year goals and assign a first task in achieving it.

To be honest, I was so surprise to find myself pouring out personal goals, finding it difficult to ‘want stuff’ and the financial goals were short. I was expecting myself to ‘Want’ more stuff.. after all I do like gadgets but I just didn’t really feel I really really wanted them.. whereas the personal stuff I really really wanted.

Very interesting exercise. Really makes you think of whats important to YOU and your business..

The other exercise was to write up your business purpose in 3 sentences.  Then, other people got to review it and leave comments on it.  Because it was psuedo anonymous I felt I should leave fair and constructive comments and not be afraid of putting someones nose out of joint. In return, I wanted the same. I got it too from others that attended and you know it really helped in getting my thoughts together for the Seedcorn presentation. Thanks guys!

Spotify in Ireland Part 2

..  so I purchased spotify premium. Spotify Premium, like the free version, is awesome. So I’m thinking – “hey, let’s download Spotify to the  iPod touch and connect this to my 1930’s McMichael radio ” .. but alas not possible.  Is it because of connection problems I hear you ask? No the radio has a gramophone input I’ve re-wired for 3mm audio jack . Spotify, albeit listed in App Store, isn’t available in Ireland.. why oh why are you trying to thwart me!?

Anyone got a workaround to achieve the following.. but in Ireland?

On behalf of Gmail

Gmail is great. I love it. Use it all the time but one of the really annoying things about Gmail was the ‘On the behalf of’ message that would appear in some email clients, MS Outlook,  if I sent a message from a non-gmail account via Gmail. It looks a little unprofessional.

That in theory has been resolved with the new Settings to nominate you smtp server to send mail out other than Gmails smtp.

Finally says he! But Houston we have a problem. TLS is not supported.. so back to square one. Nice but no cigar Google! Can we now have the option to turn off TLS ??
TLS_not_supported.