← Older posts Newer posts →

AIB bites the bullet, how long before other banks wake up?

Posted on by David Murphy

arrears

AIB has taken a refreshing approach to the problem of mortgage arrears

For five years, politicians have been carping about the slow-learning banks not writing off mortgage debt for homeowners in arrears. Now AIB is doing just that. But its actions are not being met with universal approval from public representatives.

Fianna Fáil’s Michael McGrath said whether a family gets a sustainable solution to its mortgage headache depends on which bank provided them with their loan.

Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said he “welcomed” the development but called for a more “systemic” approach. He remarked that although AIB restructured their mortgage, in one case the family involved still had problems with other unsecured debts to credit card companies or credit unions.

Continue reading

How Ireland could make a Big Bang in astronomical science

Posted on by Will Goodbody

I-LOFAR thinks Ireland could become a star of astronomical research

I-LOFAR thinks Ireland could become a star of astronomical research

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

On St Patrick’s Day, as we marked our national holiday, a substantial breakthrough in cosmology and astrophysics was announced by a team of scientists in the US. They revealed that for the first time, they had recorded an echo of gravitational waves – signals emitted in the immediate aftermath of the Big Bang.

The discovery was made using a specialist telescope based in the inhospitable environs of the South Pole. It’s a big deal, as it goes a long way towards proving some pretty important physics theories about what happened during the dawn of the universe, and could help us to answer the most fundamental question of all – why the Big Bang took place.

Continue reading

Spotlight turns to SME debt

Posted on by David Murphy

morgan kelly

Morgan Kelly believes that the ECB is going to get tough on Irish SMEs

By Business Editor David Murphy

Whether he is right or wrong, UCD economist Morgan Kelly always has the ability to put the fear of God into the Irish authorities.

When he predicts a financial maelstrom, it is always worth taking notice.
Continue reading

The challenges of reporting on academic papers

Posted on by Will Goodbody

 

Haruko Obokata and Teruhiko Wakayama were among the authors of the paper

Haruko Obokata and Teruhiko Wakayama were among the authors of the paper

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

The latest controversy to hit the world of academic publishing is a curious tale. On 29th January, the respected international journal, Nature, published a paper by Japanese and US scientists, which claimed a significant breakthrough in the manufacturing of adult stem cells. The team’s research asserted that they had found a way to reprogramme mature animal cells into an embryonic state by shocking them in acid. The implication was that if this STAP method could be replicated in humans, it would usher in a whole new era of regenerative medicine, potentially providing a means of reversing some of the effects of the most serious degenerative diseases and conditions.  Put simply, it seemed like a big deal.

Continue reading

Is it possible to fall in love with a computer?

Posted on by Will Goodbody

In "Her" Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, who falls in love with Samantha the computer

In “Her” Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, who falls in love with Samantha the computer

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

The movie “Her” was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture on Sunday night. Set a little in the future, the movie tells the story of a heartbroken man who falls in love with Samantha, a female sounding intelligent computer operating system.

The film didn’t win the Oscar, but has started something of a discussion about the potential extent of our interaction with computers and devices in the future. And it has provoked a bizarre yet obvious question: could a human ACTUALLY fall in love with a machine?

Continue reading

Low inflation may complicate Budget maths

Posted on by David Murphy

Prices have remained largely static - which could put pressure on the Budget arithmetic

Prices have remained largely static – which could put pressure on the Budget arithmetic

Business Editor David Murphy

There is growing sense that the recovery is taking hold – and it is easy to forget that Ireland has pencilled in another austerity Budget for October.

That is due to take a substantial €2 billion out of the economy.

Ideally, Finance Minister Michael Noonan would like to ease up on belt tightening. But his problem is inflation – or the lack of it.
Continue reading

10 things we noticed at Mobile World Congress 2014

Posted on by Will Goodbody

20140226-214942.jpg

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Barcelona

@willgoodbody

After three brain frying, feet swelling, mind boggling days in Barcelona, our coverage of Mobile World Congress is coming to an end. We’ve reported extensively on the big announcements and the Irish angles. But here’s 10 less talked about devices, trends and issues that we noticed during our marathon trek around the vast complex of booths and stands:

Continue reading

Answering Ireland’s call at Mobile World Congress

Posted on by Will Goodbody

20140226-091414.jpg

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Barcelona

@willgoodbody

Your product or service may be new. It may be clever. It may even be unique.

But when you are a company competing on the global stage, in a massive market which changes second by second, getting people to take notice of you is not easy.

That’s the challenge facing the 50 or so Irish and Northern Irish companies taking part in Mobile World Congress this week.

Continue reading

Mobile World Congress Day One – First Impressions

Posted on by Will Goodbody

20140224-232054.jpg

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent in Barcelona

@willgoodbody

As a first time visitor to Mobile World Congress, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I knew it would be big, though not quite as enormous as it is. Set across eight massive halls, each equivalent in size or bigger than the RDS Simmonscourt, even getting around is a challenge.

The other thing you notice is the international nature of the delegates. Telecoms and the internet are global, and so too is the reach of Mobile World Congress.

The day was of course punctuated by a series of glitzy, overblown tech launches by the biggest manufacturers, which invariably hogged the limelight. But what was most obvious was the absence of a ground breaking genuinely new device or technology. Sure, we got Sony’s new 4k video recording smartphone, the Z2. And Samsung unveiled its new curved screen Gear Fit health monitoring wrist band. But again nothing massively new here. It’s an overly used word in the techosphere, but all we really got were iterations or new versions of existing products.

Another observation was the number of cars on display in the main halls. Most of the world’s biggest manufacturers are here showing off their mobile connected vehicles. Cars that can sense danger on the road, can automatically summon help in the event of an accident, and that one day will drive themselves. Mobile tech is set to be a big deal for the auto industry “going forward” (forgive me, it’s late!).

What else? Well device manufacturers are clearly now seeing the limitations of the deluxe high-end of the market. Growth for many established electronics and telecom companies over the coming years will come from the massive untapped potential of emerging markets, not from selling shiny top end handsets at €500 a pop to middle class consumers in the west. It’s clearly what Nokia is thinking, as it launches the X range of smartphones running the Android OS. And many others are also following suit.

Finally, the venue at MWC is festooned with Near Field Communication (NFC) points. NFC is a wireless technology that allows the transfer of information between devices at close range, and is being used for marketing, payment and other functions. But while the promoters were pushing it hard, it was notable that despite being a “trend” at previous MWCs and similar trade shows, NFC has yet to really take off. Part of that may be due to the slow proliferation of NFC enabled devices. But I also wonder whether proponents of it have done enough to convince users of its merit.

So Day 1 is over. Tomorrow is another day.

Mobile World Congress 2014 – what to expect

Posted on by Will Goodbody

20140223-142128.jpg

By Will Goodbody, Science & Technology Correspondent

@willgoodbody

It’s that time of the year again. When the world’s mobile moguls congregate in Barcelona, for one of (if not) the biggest mobile phone extravaganza – Mobile World Congress (MWC). For five days hardware manufacturers, telecoms operators, app and software developers, journalists and other interested onlookers, will discuss and showcase the latest developments in mobile, and the trends for the future.

So what can we expect from this year’s show?

First of all it is fair to assume there will be much noise about new smartphone devices. All eyes will be on Samsung, which is expected to announce the Galaxy S5, a successor to its flagship handset, the S4, which it’s rumoured will have an overhauled user interface, a curved screen and may follow Apple down the road of introducing a finger print scanner. It’s also expected that there will be new smartphones from LG and from Sony, which is rumoured to be preparing to unveil a successor to its Xperia Z1, that may feature a 4k video camera, according to reports. And don’t forget Nokia, which may announce a new phone running the….wait for it…. Android operating system.

We can also expect a plethora of new wearable devices. Samsung got the ball rolling today, unveiling two new smart watches to replace the Galaxy Gear. Rumours abound that Sony may have a fresh version of its smart watches in the pipeline. While other manufacturers like Huawei, for example, are rumoured to be on the cusp of entering the wearable fray.

But some, like analysts Gartner, reckon that while last year’s MWC was dominated by wearables, this year it will be more about enhancements to the mobile ecosystem, like apps, software and services. And the connection between wearable devices and the smartphone as a hub. They also predict that like at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, there will be much focus on mobile connectivity in cars and in the home.

This year could also be notable for the keynotes, particularly the speech on Monday night by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. It will be one of the first times he will be out speaking in a public forum since closing the $19bn deal to buy WhatsApp. Many will be interested to hear what he has to say about that. Also speaking on Wednesday is IBM Chairperson, CEO and President, Ginni Rometty.

People travel to MWC from all over the world. So it is perhaps no surprise that more than 50 companies from Ireland will be showcasing their wares there this year. 18 of those will be on the Enterprise Ireland stand, which once again will be trying to help match them with potential customers and partners visiting the show.

This year RTÉ will be bringing you the very latest from the show, on TV, radio, web and social media. We’ll bring you news of the latest product announcements, analysis of the new trends, quick peaks at the quirkier side of MWC and of course we’ll be talking to Irish exhibitors as they try to woo other visitors to the show.

So keep a close eye on our special page on the RTÉ website over the course of the week to stay up to date with the news, views, images and video coming from MWC 2014 and keep an eye on my Twitter account @willgoodbody, and @RTEScienceTech for quick updates on the very latest news.

← Older posts Newer posts →