Drogheda Library follows the Ryanair Model

Think of Libraries as an early version of the internet, with books instead of pdf’s and web pages. You would think that as places of study , they would encourage student’s to use modern technology as part of revising for their Leaving Cert. Wrong.
Drogheda Borough Council Logo

Our local library in Drogheda has banned people from using laptops in the library. The excuse is that they can’t find a practical way of charging for the electricity they use. And don’t even think of asking for free wireless access. And all the student was asking for was a quick charge of his MacBook so he could do a final study session before his exam.
Forget about Web 2. If we don’t get the basics right we’re doomed.

Update

The Drogheda Independent has just picked up on this story (almost word for word). More to follow.

Update 2.

O’Reilly Radar have a very interesting related story (If Libraries had shareholders) with detailed graphs showing how people are using libraries less and less for the books, and more and more for the internet

Dublin Java Users Group (JUG)

If you’re reading this , you’ve missed the Dublin Java Users Group (previously known as the Dublin Java Meetup). Jakub will have his blog of the event up soon, including his mad take over the world plans.

Update: 

Blogging for Charity – should improve their Google page rank

I’ve been tagged by Ken to carry on Gavin’s blogging for charity idea. I’ve twisted the idea a little as rather than repeat an ever expanding list, I’ll add two of my own and highlight two on Ken’s List:

To continue the flow , I tag the following people:

What's better than a blog for getting more visitors to your site? A Wiki

Regular readers know that there are three parts to this site:

  • The blog (the part you are now reading) – aimed at business people with a passing interest in technology.
  • A wiki (more later) – undiluted techiness, and a scratchpad for various projects in progress.
  • The ‘corporate‘ site – the usual ‘happy people in front of PC site’, with standard ‘about us’ , ‘contact us’ and ‘what we do sections’. This is the part that thankfully, Eoghan is working to update.

If you don’t know already, a wiki is an easy to update website that almost anybody can edit. The most famous is Wikipedia, we use the same software , Mediawiki, on our site. It’s good / free /open software, and if you’re able to setup a blog , you should be able to get this working with little of no problems.

Looking at the stats for the last 18 months , I’ve noticed the following:

  • At the moment , traphic to these is split roughly 60-30-10 (should keep all you MBA types out there happy). 60% goes to the blog, 30% to the wiki and 10% to the corporate site.
  • Visitors to each section are looking for very different things – people tend to hit the blog via cross posting and general search terms (e.g. Java Dublin). People come to the wiki looking for very specific terms (e.g. Apache Lucene Exception). People come to the ‘corporate’ site, either after personal contact, or reading my CV from other channels.
  • The writing styles in each are very different. The wiki gets updated most , but is often a series of technical notes in various stages of completion. The blog is updated (on average) 2-3 times a week , with more composed items. The corporate site get’s updated roughly every 3-6 months and has a much ‘dryer’ official style.

All of which brings us back to why a wiki is even better than a blog for getting people to your site.

  1. The current wiki has only been working 7 months (since our last web hosts big crash) and already (without any serious promotion) is getting half as many hits as the (heavily promoted) blog. This is before we get into implementing Richard’s Search Engine Optimisation tips. From previous experierence, I would expect to get 4 times as many hits without too much effort.
  2. Wiki’s are updated even more often then blogs. Google loves frequent updates. Therefore wiki’s are even better than blogs for SEO.

Outpouring of talent from Ireland (and property crash to follow)?

I’ve been lucky enough on my travels to work with many different people of many different nationalities. Coming back to Dublin, it’s been good learning from the best of other countries, instead of Irish people having to take their talents elsewhere.
That’s the good bit. Here’s the bad bit.

Mackozer (Ireland from a Polish Perspective) reminded me of something that I’d forgotten : until now, Ireland  and the UK  were the only  EU -15 states to have no work permit restrictions for new talent.  That ends today when  the  Netherlands opens up , with other countries  (including Germany)  will be ready and waiting to take the people that we’ve been having an easy time attracting / keeping over the last couple of years.

Bad enough not being able to find good people. Worse still is the vicious circle of people leaving the country , leading to lower rental demand for property, leading to lower demand for people , more leave the country (as listed in RTE’s future shock, property crash). Or am I being too melodramatic?