Filleann an Feall ar an bhFeallaire

The recent announcement that the Turing Award had been awarded to a team that created “Eugene Goostman” got me thinking for my most recent article for Beo.ie.

Beo.ie is currently seeking the assistance of its readership and supporters of independent minority language media. It is among a raft of Irish Language organisations that have had their funding withdrawn by Foras na Gaeilge in 2014, many of which have since closed their doors including my former place of work, Comhdháil Náisiúnta na Gaeilge which was founded in the 1940s. Beo.ie is a vital part of the international Irish language community media since 2001, allowing Irish Language writers and readers to consider and discuss news and current events in their own language.

‘To conquer the unknown, you must trust.’ Sin an mana a bhí ar lipéid mo dheoch tae luibhe ar maidin mar spreagadh don lá amach romham. Ritheann sé liom go mbíonn sé deacair uaireanta, go háirithe nuair atá tú ag plé leis an idirlíon, an oscailteacht seo a iompar leat i rith an lae.

Samhlaigh go bhféadfaí lipéid ar thae luibhe, rud chomh bunúsach, ársa mar dhea, deacrachtaí nuálaithe ár linne a achoimriú i mbeagán focal. De réir Pamela Mayer, saineolaí aigneolaíochta agus údar ‘Liespotting’, cloistear idir 10 is 200 bréag in aghaidh an lae. Tugann sí “deception epidemic” ar mhéid an mhí-ionracais atá sa saol comhaimseartha, ach dá réir, is tréith inbheirthe é sa chine daonna atá againn ó aois an-óg.

Ach le borradh teicneolaíochta tá sraithe eile ann: conas gur féidir linn a bheith muiníneach faoi na mílte duine atá inár gciorcal soisialta anois? Conas is féidir linn muinín a bheith againn sna céadta seirbhísí idirlín a bhfuil sonraí pearsanta acu fúinn? Conas is féidir linn ár ngá don teicneolaíocht a chomhardú le príobháideachas agus le sábháltacht eolais? Tá caibidil nua, gan chaint ar leabhar nua, á dhreachtú (is athhdreachtú) faoi mhothú ionannas an duine, cúrsaí muiníne agus teorainn phearsanta.

Drochscéala ‘Eugene Goostman’

Dóibh siúd a bhfuil deacrachtaí muiníne acu cheana, déarfainn gur chuir an nuacht is déanaí faoi Dhuais Turing soir in iomlán iad. Fógraíodh an mhí seo chugainn gur bhuaigh scata forbróirí an duais cháiliúil seo toisc gur chreid níos mó ná aon trian de mheitheal moltóirí go raibh siad ag plé le Eugene Goostman, buachaill de trí déag ón Ucráin in ionad a bheith i mbun cumarsáide le clár ríomhaire. Bunaíodh an duais in onóir Alan Turing a scríobh faoi mheaisíní machnaimh in 1950 is a chur an cheist:

“Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?”

Is é seo prionsabal fealsúnachta bunúsach i gcúrsaí intleacht shaorga (IS) atá fós á phlé 60 bliain i ndiaidh bás Turing.

Ar ndóigh táthar ann nach dtugann mórán creidiúnt dá leitheid, ag rá go bhfuil an triail róghairid (5 nóiméad), nó gur cleas a bhí ann pearsa déagóra nach Béarla a phríomhtheanga a úsáid nó nach bhfuil fiúntas ar bith lena leithéid de dul chun cinn. Léigh mé cáinteoir amháin a rinne mórán de rud gur comhtharlúint dochreidte a bhí ann gur tharla seo ar ócáid comórtha 60 bliain ó bhás Turing.

Más é todhchaí éasca a shamhlaigh Arthur C. Clarke i gcathair Diaspar ina úrscéal The City and the Stars atá uainn is céim bheag ina threo sin an chéim seo. Samhlaigh mura mbeadh ar na ceadta céimí ollscoile tabhairt faoi dhíol is tacú teicneolaíochta in ionaid glaonna ar fud na cruinne. Samhlaigh go bhféadfaimís an obair sin a fhágáil le IS. Ní bheadh de dhíth ach na forbróirí agus, céim ar céim, bheadh an IS in ann tabhairt faoi fhorbairt na ríomhchlár freisin. Is é an todhchaí sin a chuireann eagla orainn is dócha agus a phléigh Clarke sa leabhar céanna agus a phléann na ceadta scríbhneoirí ficsin is fealsúnachta i leith IS.

An Neamh Seo Chugainn

Go pearsanta táimse ag súil leis an lá nuair is féidir liom díriú ar cheardanna agus ar na healaíona, ar rothaíocht is siúl trí choillte agus cois farraige, ar gach uile leabhar a léamh sa leabharlann, ar leabhair a chur sa leabharlann mé féin, ar luí siar agus a bheith ag samhlú dom féin. Tá mé ag súil leis an lá nuair nach mbeidh dualgas oibre ar aon duine beo agus an t-aon sprioc a bheas againn ná spriocanna bunaithe ar spéis in ionad a bheith bunaithe ar bhrabús corporáideach. Ach conas is féidir linn a dhóthain muiníne a bheith againn i dteicneolaíocht chun an saol só sin a ghealluint do gach mac is iníon máthar?

Táimid fós i bhfad uaigh sin go háirithe nuair a dtuigeann tú an comhrac inmheánach agus an lámhacán cúl scéithe a bhaineann le, mar shampla amháin, OAuth agus OpenID, péire creatlach aitheantais atá in úsáid, nó nach bhfuil in úsáid i gceart ag a leithéid Facebook, Microsoft, Google agus Twitter. Ligeann an creatlach seo úsáid frithchuimilte a dhéanamh dá seirbhísí i dteannta le suíomhanna idirlín eile. Mar shampla, más mian leat tráchtaireacht a dhéanamh ar suíomh is féidir ‘Social sign-in’ a úsáid toisc OAuth. Tá rian coimhlinte le leanúint i leith na teicneolaíochta seo chomh fada siar le 2012 de réir mo léamhsa.

An mhí seo chaite bhí an creatlach seo sa nuacht arís nuair a fógraíodh go ligeann feidhmiú an chreatlaigh do shuíomhanna mailíseacha eolas pearsanta a bhailiú gan stró. Tugadh “Covert Redirect” ar an locht seo. Cé nach bhfuil an earráid seo chomh contúirteach is atá Heartbleed faoinar scríobh Joseph Steinberg,

“Some might argue that [Heartbleed] is the worst vulnerability found (at least in terms of its potential impact) since commercial traffic began to flow on the Internet.”

Is achrann eile é a chuireann siar céim eile i dtreo saol na bhFlaitheas a bhfuil muid ag dréim leis.

Mar sin is buille eile é seo i gcoinne muinín i dteicneolaíocht ach mar a mhíníonn Matthew J. Schwartz ina alt faoi, ní hí an teicneolaíocht atá lochtach ach iad siúd atá á chur i bhfeidhm:

“Many developers, however, have used implicit flows when they should be using code flows, and many sites have allowed them to do so. (Bradley recently published OAuth guidance for developers about how to employ the right flow techniques.)”

Faoi Scáth an Amhrais

Thosaigh mé ag machnamh mar sin ar an bpriacal atá inghlactha dúinn agus sinn ag plé le teicneolaíocht. An ligfidh nádúr an chine daonna dúinn riamh an chéim mhór chun tosaigh a thógáil a fhad is a bhfuil grifters, is sharks, is con-artists amuigh ansin ag iarraidh feall a imirt orainn? De réir an tsaineolaí slándála Bruce Schneier, táimid ag éirí níos drogallaí in aghaidh contúirtí de réir a chéile toisc ár n-in-oiriúnachta.

When you implement measures to mitigate the effects of the random risks of the world, you’re safer as a result. When you implement measures to reduce the risks from your fellow human beings, the human beings adapt and you get less risk reduction than you’d expect — and you also get more side effects, because we all adapt.

Labels – how did they fare?

I like to be positive. It distresses me to be negative. I don’t always manage it but I do try. It’s one thing I learnt from a manager who was forever rocking in from the current training course and trying out the latest lesson on us. Mostly this habit drove me mad but one day this manager asked me to talk up the positives of a certain issue and it really can change your perspective.

So I’m very happy to be writing this post as it won’t require much positive visualisation. I have a good review of a product: YAY! I swore this time last year that I would report on my experience of MyNametags.ie product because I have a whole swath of crappy “iron-on” labels in my sewing kit. Mind you I was raving about MyNametags to my sister-in-law and my mother piped up something along the lines of “A needle and thread always kept my labels on.” Well after ironing on 35 labels, I’m pretty damn glad I didn’t have to sew them all on.

So what do I think is so good about these particular labels? They stay on. Simple. The iron on labels did not shrivel or fade. No matter if they are sewn on to shirts, polo shirts, trousers or jumpers they held on like limpets. Everything gets washed at 40 degrees and ironed at cotton and they hung on like an enraged terrier.

MyNameTags.ie iron on labels in action

MyNameTags.ie iron on labels in action

I ordered a pack of 75 iron on labels and 75 stick on labels – classic style. The package arrived promptly with clear instructions. As mentioned above I used them on cotton, polycotton and wool and whatever the ties are made from and no sticking issues on any of them. Since then not one single label has come unstuck and all remain legible.

The stick on stickers are very handy and as I got our family name with both myself and Himself’s phone numbers included, all of us can use them. The stick on labels are also excellent although I cannot give them an absolute no holds barred rave review as one or two, while remaining stuck firmly in place, did completely fade. However bear in mind that these are stuck on lunchboxes that get turfed into the dishwasher or hot washing up sink willy nilly. I also can’t swear to the conditions in which they were stuck. They stayed on pencils, markers and mathematical set equipment.

I suppose the one and only issue I might have is that the labels and stickers are a little on the small side but I can also see the logic of this too. If they were any bigger they probably wouldn’t work for the pens and pencils. I might try their newer colour labels in three colours to make it easier to sort uniforms because with Nipper 3.0 starting in September this is only going to get more tiresome.

And our score for this year? 1 pair of tracksuit bottoms lost. I’m actually still cross when I think about this. Nipper 1.0 arrives home from swimming in a pair of tracksuit bottoms that are at least two sizes too small and obviously not the brand new ones I had so carefully labelled not two months previously. The other parent had not marked their tracksuit in any way. I contacted all the parents in his class via email to ask everyone to check: nothing. I asked a couple of parents in the class below who do swimming at the same time but didn’t get a huge amount of traction there. What bugs me about this is that there is a parent out there who is so disengaged that they didn’t notice that their child arrived home in brand new tracksuit bottoms two sizes bigger than the pair they went out in. I can only presume that these same parents haven’t laundered the trousers since because, based on my experience, there is no way to get that label off short of excising it with a scissors! Of course, I like an eejit, promptly went into the office to hand over the tracksuit that didn’t belong to us presuming it would only be a matter of time before the other parent did the same. The upshot of that was that Nipper 1.0 had to wear non-regulation tracksuit for the rest of the year because I was damned if I was forking out more cash!

If you have our carefully labelled tracksuit bottoms you can still return them. The harsh judgement is done: can it get much worse than me calling you a negligent parent on my mammy blog?

End of year school fundraiser with Maria Doyle Kennedy

The first time I saw Maria Doyle Kennedy in clós na scoile I gave her a big “Hellloooo!” which is nice as she was a new parent in the school. Very welcoming of me eh? Nice for her: I was mortified of course because I obviously couldn’t separate fiction from reality and was in the middle of watching Dexter on Netflix… Cringe.

Maria Doyle Kennedy in Dexter Season 5

Maria Doyle Kennedy in Dexter Season 5

So yep we have a star of stage and screen in pobal na scoile but we’re way cool about it…. Ahem. I’m not just telling you this because I’m more than a little starstruck. Maria is playing a fundraiser gig for the school* on Thursday 26th June in the Odessa Club, Dame Court, Dublin. It’s the second last day of term so expect high spirits and even if you aren’t associated with the school what a great way to round off the school term even if terms are a distant memory for you. Come along – it’s €20 on the door for a great cause and a great gig. Bargain!

*Excuse me not mentioning the name of the school. It’s one of my online rules in order to protect the nippers. I know it’s not rocket science to work it out but I prefer not to make it easy. I feel crazy paranoid but I decided early on never to mention their regular haunts online.

My crochet in the wild

Roseanne's Shop at CCMA Craft Fair

Roseanne’s Shop at CCMA Craft Fair

There wasn’t much demand for my crochet and handsewn homewares at the recent CCMA Craft fair which was very disappointing for me after all the work I put in since January, especially with everything else that has been going on. (We moved! Same area, much more house to keep!) However my motivation for taking a stall wasn’t purely profit: the centre is just down the road and I thought it was a good way to get involved in the community. I was really impressed with the number and variety of craftspeople based in the area. It was also a challenge for me to push my creations out into the world. I even created a pattern which I will post anon – it’s kind of an Ikea hack too! I’m also considering setting up an Etsy shop or taking a stall at another market. So onwards and upwards.

The only thing that sold like hot cakes were my vintage knitting patterns. I have a large collection thanks to my godmother and great aunt (below, on her wedding day :) but as I don’t knit myself I’m willling to part with them.

Some of the pieces I crocheted for  have been repurposed as gifts and I’ve been delighted to see them in use! My mum (one of the three people who bought something) has been using the coin purse she bought: the bright yellow zip makes it easy to find in the dark recesses of her handbag. We all know that feeling!

I think the bunting above will likely make an appearance at the school family fun day too!

Coasters in Cork

Coasters in Cork

Doily with Rosemary's arrangement atop

Doily with Rosemary’s arrangement atop