Would the last Java person leaving Ireland please turn out the lights?

Over the last 6 months, I know of 5 top Java guys who have either left , or seriously planning to leave, Ireland. I’m not happy about this.

Surprised?

Halfpenny Bridge Dublin

You’d think that I’d be delighted that the idea of the all the competition leaving. Reality is that all us IT Consultants live in an ecosystem: if companies don’t have a pool of talent available they will find somewhere or some other way of doing it.

All of the 5 guys have very different reasons for going (and they are guys, just to confirm the stereotype). All are going for very positive reasons. They want to go to the UK, USA, France and further afield. Some are going on spec, some have work with top companies lined up. There is a mix of nationalities, but all have been in Ireland for three years or more. These aren’t people who came to Ireland for a working holiday or are leaving do the ‘Big OE’ in New Zealand. They’re also people Ireland can ill-afford to lose.

The common thread in all the stories was that the Irish Property Market; It’s great to have an itch to travel, but you’re never going to leave unless somebody gives you a push. High rents and impossible property prices gave these guys (at least some) of that push.

Dublin Traffic Chaos – who should I believe (RTE or BBC)?

Not so sadly as it turns out; I wasn’t in Dublin on any client sites today. The trouble is , did I miss major traffic chaos (BBC) or a slight hiccup in operation freeflow (RTE)?

BBC :

An overturned truck, which took the emergency services six hours to remove, brought large areas of Dublin to a standstill on Monday….One of the worst traffic jams the city has ever seen….the chaos led to a huge build-up of traffic, with a jam on the M1 Belfast-Dublin motorway extending as far back as Skerries, 20 miles north of the city.

bbc_dublin_truck.jpg

RTE:

Traffic eases after truck accident…. Although there was only a marginal impact on early rush hour traffic, there were major delays in late morning.

Can I still donate my 150 quid licence fee to my blogger of choice?

Denise Fay (Achieve Marketing) – the latest Irish Business Blogger

Denise Fay of Achieve Marketing is finally blogging over at achievemarketing.ie. The guide to Business Blogging in Ireland is a direct result of Denise’s Marketing Session at the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk, but even so , it’s taken 6 months of intimidation sorry encouragement since the Barcamp Belfast meetup to get Denise to this point (she insists on using her time to look after customers).

A couple of things that I’ve learnt if you want to get people in your business network blogging:

    1. Everybody wants the site traffic, but not everybody can / wants to make the effort. Not everybody is suited to writing stuff (but then again, they’re probably a natural at professional networking). Denise writes press releases already , so not only does she have interesting stories to tell, but she has those stories already written down.
    2. Blogging probably seems natural to you now, but you forget how much you’ve learned. Set aside some time to go through the basics with your victim. 1 hr should be enough if you’ve done the ground work (i.e. have wordpress already setup). Get a blogpost out within the first 10 minutes (to show how easy it is). Then work your way through the other tabs in wordpress. Concepts (like categories, linking , trackbacks, url structure) will naturally flow in the conversation.
    3. I was lucky that Denise had already setup Google Analytics for some of her clients. Even so the latest version of wordpress makes setting up analytics easy , and those charts are so damn addictive!
    4. I found that a combination of having the new blog (Achieve Marketing) and my one (People and Technology) open at the same , and flicking between the the old and new blogs worked well. Some stuff like themes, archived blogposts, spam prevention is easier to understand on a blog that’s been in use for a while.

To set the background, Denise is very knowledgable about her area (Marketing), has people to get the techie stuff done and definitely knows more about the web than she admits, but would in no way be classed as a ‘techie’!

Business Rules without Java

I like this sample as it explains what Business Rules are, in a way that professional (i.e. non technical people) can understand. This one I originally posted on the O’Reilly Java and JBoss Drools blogs. If you were around in Dublin last month, you’ll notice that it’s also the sample that I talked through at the Irish Java Technologies Conference.

Like many countries, the Health services in Bangladesh can’t get enough doctors. Training more is not a solution ; Qualified doctors often leave for better pay elsewhere. Given the urgent need for trained medical staff in rural areas so save lives (often children dying of curable diseases), what are health workers to do?

The solution that the Health workers came up with was IMCI – or Integrated Management of Childhood Illness. It takes what the Knowledge in Doctor’s head’s and stores it as a simple guide that health workers can follow. When a sick child is brought into the clinic the health worker is able to follow the simple step-by-step instructions to make quite a sophisticated diagnosis.

I’ve no medical training beyond simple CPR (and if you’re relying on that then you’re in real trouble) but even I can understand it.

imci.jpg

Look at the pale blue box in the diagram above. It’s a set of medical rules: Are there any danger signs? What are the main symptoms? What combination of these symptoms are there? What is the age of the child? How long have they been ill? Depending on the outcome of the rules, go to the next set (the pink / yellow /green) boxes and apply the rules that you find there.

That’s Rules and RuleFlow.

  • Rules are ‘when something is present , then do this’. And not just single rules, but many of them. Together, loads of simple rules allow you to come up with quite a sophisticated diagnosis.
  • Ruleflow allows you to group your rules. If you’re a health worker with a sick child you want to do the most important checks first. Depending on the outcome, you then apply the next set of medical rules: Pink if they need urgent referral to the hospital, yellow if the clinic can cope , or green if the child can be looked after at home.

As gory as it sounds, everybody, including the doctors, are happy that their ‘brains have been put into a PC‘ (or in this case , a set of paper cards). The Doctors are happy because they can (guilt free) move to better paying jobs. The medical workers using the system are happy because they can help the sick children that they see every day. And the children gain because the better availability of medical knowledge (via Rules and RuleFlow) is literally the difference between life and death.