Date set for Congregation 2014 #cong14

I posted last December about a great event I was at in November called Congregation. I recently got an email from the organiser, Eoin Kennedy, to let me know that the date is set for Congregation 2014: November 29th. If you are interested in attending this unique event you should express your interest via this handy wee form.

Eoin is also pulling together the social media hacks we shared on the day at #cong13 in an eBook so keep your eyes peeled for that one as well. This is my contribution:

Buffer logo

Buffer logo

I have been using Buffer on my desktop browser, my phone browser and through it’s native app and lovely integration with Feed.ly for over a year now (https://bufferapp.com/extras). I would highly recommend it if you are responsible for pages on social networks including Google+ (a premium service). Their blog is a wealth of social media and time management information and advice too. If their own extensions aren’t enough for you you can set up your own bookmarklet for iPad too.

 

Ar dTús, bhí an Clódóir – Beo mí an Mheithimh

My article this month for Beo! focusses on 3D printing. While it was an article about an arrest in Japan that got me thinking about this burgeoning technology, it was the development in the 3D printing of food that really amazed me.

This may well be my last artcile for Beo! as it is among the organisations that have had their funding cut entirely by Foras na Gaeilge. (English)

Le tamall de bhlianta anuas, bhí mé nach mór cinnte dearfa go raibh scaireanna ag an irisleabhar ‘The Economist’ i gcomhlacht cló 3D. Ní raibh mí ann nach raibh alt san iris seachtainiúil sin faoin teicneolaíocht úrnua seo. Nach mise a bhí tuartha de agus, go pointe, mícheart is mé ag caitheamh anuas orthu im’ intinn? Tá ré na clódóireachta 3D linn.

Tarraingíodh m’aird ar an réimse teicneolaíochta seo arís le déanaí nuair a ghabh póilíní sa tSeapáin Yoshitomo Imura toisc go raibh 5 gunna clóite aige sa bhaile. Tá dlithe na Seapáine an-ghéar ar ghunnaí, rud a chiallaíonn go bhfuil baol ann go gcaithfidh Imura roinnt ama i ngéibheann. Chraol Imura físeáin dó féin lena chuid gunnaí ar YouTube agus dá bharr thug na póilíní aghaidh ar a theach. Dúirt Imura, atá 27, nár thuig sé go raibh aon ní mídhleathach déanta aige. Ritheann sé liom go bhfuil an ceart ag údaráis na Seapáine a bheith dian ó thaobh gunnaí mar gheall ar a leithéid de ráiteas. Bí ag caint ar easpa stuaime.

Fuair Imura na dearthaí do na gunnaí ó shuíomh ar líne. Ina measc bhí an dearadh ‘The Liberator’ a chruthaigh conspóid do Cody Wilson anuraidh nuair a rinne sé é agus nuair a scaoil sé é ar cheamara. B’é seo an chéad ghunna a clódh le clódóir 3D agus ar ndóigh chruthaigh seo raic mhór ag an am. Ar ndóigh toisc gur dearadh agus gur clódh é sna Stáit Aontaithe raic as cuimse a bhí ann tharla go bhfuil deighilt as cuimse ann idir iad siúd atá i gcoinne agus ar son smacht ar ghunnaí. Ar ndóigh ní bhfuair na guthanna ciallmhara an chluas éisteachta chéanna le linn na raice seo.

An Oibríonn Sé?

Bhí saineolaí armlóin ann a mhínigh cén fáth nach mbeadh mórán úsáide i ngunnaí clóite as plaisteach mar seo. Go bunúsach, theipfeadh ar an bplaisteach an phléasc a choimeád taobh istigh do bhairille an ghunna agus, mar sin, ní bheadh an chumhacht chuí taobh thiar don urchar chun é a chasadh is a chaitheamh leis an neart ceart.w

Mar sin féin, tá comhlacht clódóireachta 3D amháin nach bhfuil ag gabháil sa seans. Tá bogearra cruthaithe ag an gcomhlacht Create It Real dá gclódóir a aithníonn nuair a chuirtear dearadh gunna ann agus a chuireann ceal lena chló ar a chuid uirlísí. N’fheadar cad a tharlódh dá mbeifeá ag cló banana?

Is ag caint ar bhananaí, tá neart comhlachtaí atá ag díríú ar na féidearachtaí a tharlaíonn nuair a mheasctar bia le clódóireacht 3D. Fuair Anjan Contractor ó Systems and Materials Research $125,000 ó NASA chun Pizza Inchlóite a chruthú anuraidh agus d’éirigh leis. Ag úsáid a mheaisín foinse oscailte RepRap (.i. meaisín déanta ó dhearadh saor in aisce atá in ann a pháirteanna féin a chló chun é féin a atáirgeadh) chlóigh sé amach an taos, an t-anlann agus ansin an “protein layer”. NOM! Cé is moite de Heston Blumenthal, ní dóigh liom go mbeidh a leithéid á thairgeadh i bpríomhbhialann na cruinne go luath! Sin ráite tuigim go maith cén fáth gur thug NASA faoina leithéid de thaighde: éiríonn na spásairí braon den ghnáthbhia spáis. Más mian leat a leadrán a thuiscint is féidir bia spáis a cheannach ar líne http://www.thespacestore.com/spacefood.html agus bhí sé ar fáil ó Easons thart fán Nollaig. Fuair mé uachtar reoite Neapolitan ó Dheaidí na Nollag anuraidh. Ní mholfainn é.

Bíonn Blas ar an mBréagán

Comhlacht eile atá ag déanamh rudaí spéisiúla le cló 3D agus bia ná NaturalMachines.com atá ag cruthú clódóir bia 3D don ghnáthchistin. Beidh praghas timpeall €1000 ar an meaisín: mar sin ní gnáthchistin mar is eol dúinn atá i gceist. Ligfidh a mheaisín don úsáideoir saghasanna bia atá deacair a chruthú a dhéanamh sa bhaile cosúil le ravioli, pizza nó roisíní. N’fheadar conas mar a d’éirigh leis na céadta mamaithe Iodáileacha go dtí seo? An difríocht is mó idir an Foodini s’acu (atá fós le seoladh) ná gur cruthaíodh mar uirlis cistine é agus is féidir do rogha bia a chur ann.

3D Systems mar shampla ag díriú ar chruthanna clóite as siúcra amháin in ionad raon bia agus feicfidh tú leis na pictiúir thíos go bhfuil siad ag cruthú rudaí áille ar fad.


Cinnte, níl anseo ach cleas nuair a thuigeann tú an obair eile atá ar siúl ag 3D Systems. Lena chumasc leis an gcomhlacht Medical Modelling, beidh borradh mór faoin obair ag cruthú próistéitic agus eisichreatlach. Is féidir leo cló le titanium agus mar sin is féidir leo ionchlannán uathúil a chruthú leis an ábhar sin agus le hábhair eile bio-comhoiriúnach.

Tá físeáin ar a suíomh a thaispeánann Amanda Boxtel ag siúl tar éis dhá bhliain déag a chaitheamh i gcathaoir rotha. Murach scanadh 3D agus cló 3D, ní bheadh 3D Systems in ann an eisichreatlach uathúil a dhéanamh a lig di siúl. Tá teicneolaíocht ag ligint di an leaba a sraideog a chrochadh den talamh agus siúl léi.

Craft like a fox

So it’s official: I can no longer use our recent house move as an excuse. With the housewarming well and truly over we are settled in and then some into our fabulous new home.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram/ Facebook may have seen me posting that I was feeling all Maria Von Trapp after taking down all the curtains in our house. (This was after the installation of our new blinds from Square Blinds on the Long Mile who I am very happy to recommend.)

So even though those curtains were no longer needed to dress my window I did feel a mega pang of guilt about the concept of chucking all that polycotton in a bin, even a recycling one. One curtain was immediately put to use as floor protection as I painted the kitchen. Like a complete amateur I forgot to do a before and after so I won’t be regaling you with carefully styled interior shots.

Handmade fabric box
Then I remembered this tutorial on UCreate for making fabric baskets and I thought, “It’s not curtains for these curtains after all.” I had visions of converting all that curtain into basket, forgetting it was neither today nor yesterday that I sat at my machine. Bits of three days later (I had to do a LOT of practising,  particularly the curvy bits) I am quite proud of the finished article (as long as I don’t look at the cut-out handles. At all. So I learnt something too, right?

Part of my motivation for making this was that I needed some way to display my wares at the upcoming St. Agnes CCMA Craft Fair on May 15th at which I will have a stall. My first craft fair! It popped up in my Facebook feed back in January while we were waiting to get our keys for the house and I figured I might have time. The centre is just down the road from the new gaff so I thought it might be a way to meet some folk too.  It is being run by a very interesting local organisation. They are most famous for their initiative for creating a community orchestra where both children and parents learn instruments from scratch at the same time. So if you are anywhere in the neighbourhood between 12 and 5 on Thursday 15th May pop in and have a gander. In the box above you can see a sample of my Granny square coaster and my Granny Bunting but I (will!!) have lots more bits and bobs on the day.

Hope to see you there!

Congregation Social Media Gathering 2013: Unique

I have just spent the weekend in a tiny wee place in the west or Ireland called Cong. Population 35 (apparently) and setting for The Quiet Man (famously). As mentioned in a previous post I was headed there to take part in Congregation Social Media Gathering, an unconference on the theme of social media. I would highly recommend perusing some of the blog papers submitted as entries to the unconference because you will definitely learn something new and at the very least you will get an understanding of how unique an event Congregation was.


While there was a certain amount of trepidation around the format (4 rotating huddles with 2 different speakers at each throughout the day) it actually worked splendidly. With 50 attendees I think there was only maybe one or two present that I didn’t interact with in this quasi-formal setting but tried to catch up with them during the even more social aspects of the weekend.

I heard presentations about affiliate marketing, about why the digital native/ migrant nomenclature is all wrong, about questioning Google’s omnipotence, about using social media in the classroom (my favourite in fact), about online donations and about developing content strategies. My own presentation is below which was developed from this article I wrote for Pixel Design about making the most of sponsored stories on Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter and promoted posts on LinkedIn.

UPDATE June 2014: The organisers are now calling for Expressions of Interest for #Cong14 so get in touch with them ASAP. I reckon there will be huge interest this year after the success of last year.

A sweetener to raise funds for the Philippines

Wellington Squares

Chocolate Caramel Sqaures with a coconut shortbread base

The nippers’ school are holding a cake sale in aid of disaster relief for the Philippines tomorrow. I’m sure this is a scene that will be repeated across the land tomrrow! This gives me an opportunity to make cakes and also eat them with a good conscience. I’m looking forward to doling out my hard earned cash on lots of goodies tomorrow morning. No doubt many other schools are doing similar. I made what we, in the Murphy Smith family, call Wellington Squares. Don’t ask me why. These are a speciality of my youngest uncle but I found a most amazing recipe online years ago and have been using this ever since. I can no longer find it online so I am going to share it here with you but on a condition.

I got an email from a friend during the week who is very proud of her niece who, completely unprompted, decided that she wanted to raise funds for the victims of the tornado in the Philippines. Off her own bat she investigated which charity she would like to send her funds to and chose the Red Cross. So she plans to do a 10km sponsored walk. Now she is a couple of months younger than Nipper 1.0 and I know he would find 5km challenging, never mind 10, so I’m very impressed.

What does this all have to do with my recipe you might wonder? Well what I would like you to do is this: if you think you might ever use this recipe, please sponsor my friend’s niece in her sponsored walk. Not only will you help the disaster stricken folk in the Philippines, you will make an aunty very proud and a young girl very chuffed! You will also be able, like I, to eat these calorie laden delights with a clearer conscience.

Wellington Squares
(Makes 32 squares of a smallish but perfect nature)
Base
125g butter
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
90g dessicated coconut
115g caster sugar

Filling
100g butter
100g brown sugar
397g tin condensed milk
2 tbsp golden sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping
200g dark chocolate or 100g each dark and milk chocolate
I usually make this the night before I need it as the base and filling must be cooled before adding the chocolate topping which must also be allowed to set.

Preheat the oven to 180degC/ Gas mark 4 and grease and line a 18 x 28 cm tin. I usually make this in a small roasting tin but I have also made them in a square brownie tin – they just end up deeper.
Melt the butter (I usually pop it in a pyrex bowl in the microwave for 30 second blasts)
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add coconut, sugar and melted butter and mix well together.
Press into your prepared tin and pop it in the oven for 10 – 12 minutes until a very light golden colour.
Take it out of the oven but leave the oven on for now.

Filling
Put butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and condensed milk in a thick bottomed saucepan over a low heat. Cook, stirring all the time, until butter has melted and sugar has dissolved.
Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and continue cooking for 5 minutes, stirring all the time. It will turn a light golden colour. No matter how very, very tempted you are do NOT taste this. You will burn the tongue off yourself!
Pour this over the cooked base and then return the lot to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes. It will deepen in colour and bubble.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled start prepping the chocolate topping. Melt whichever chocolate you have chosen in a heat resistant bowl over a pot of boiling water. Spread over the filling and allow to cool before placing in the fridge to set.
I usually remove the whole slab from the pan and cut into squares. You can cut them really quite small as this is a very rich little treat.
Enjoy!