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A Different View

Without electricity – we’re truly powerless

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Pictured at the St Joseph’s College (Bish) annual Sports Awards were (front – from left) Lifetime Achievement Awardee Serge Bruzzi with his wife Anne and Tom O’Malley, with (back) Ross Conboy, Bernard DeSouza and Brendan Doheny.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The one thing that works in a power cut is a house alarm – and when the street has its electricity turned off at six on a Sunday morning, the cacophony of ringing bells would be enough to rouse a hedgehog from hibernation.

And so as you lie there lamenting the fact that the one chance in the week of a lie-on is now over, you also think – shouldn’t they make all electrical items out of the same stuff as domestic alarms and we’d never be left without power?

It’s the same argument as you get for making aeroplanes out of the same stuff they use to make the black box – after all, that’s the one thing that survives any impact or accident.

The threat of a day without power was enough to show how utterly dependent we are on electricity; given that this particular power cut came with prior warning, we’d prepared like Shackleton would for an Arctic expedition.

We’d charged all electronic devices to 100 per cent of capacity and downloaded enough television movies to see us through the first couple of months on a desert island.

We’d completed the household chores like washing and ironing, all well ahead of schedule so that this particular Sunday would have the sort of imposed rest that the Lord had in mind in the first place.

The ESB warning said that the power could be out from 6.30am to 10pm and that, even if it came back for a few minutes during the day, you couldn’t depend on it not going out again.

The reason for this enforced outage was explained by two words – essential maintenance – which in reality meant it wasn’t explained at all.

But true to form, it disappeared ten minutes early – 6.20am – but not true to form, it was back before 9am and never so much as flickered for the rest of the day after that.

And yet you’re sitting there, watching the telly and waiting for the picture to disappear.

You’ll risk boiling the kettle because you’re fairly sure to get five minutes, but you wouldn’t risk the dinner because that requires a leap of faith too far – and you’d be so stressed out that you wouldn’t be able to eat in anyway.

There are books you can read of course or you could talk to each other –but that would clearly be only as a last resort.

Given the time of year there was no need for heat, and artificial light wouldn’t be necessary either because the outer limit on the power outage was 10pm when it still bright enough anyway.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Phone zombies add additional degree of difficulty for walkers

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There was a time that students communicated with home about once every blue moon – and only then if they’d ran out of money. There was no real point in writing or phoning home for any other reason.

But now it appears they can’t be out of contact for more than a minute – or at least that’s how it looks if you try to negotiate a way through the hoards of them that stride four-abreast down the street, not one of them looking in the direction their feet are taking them.

They are on their phones, communicating with someone although probably not home – because they give off an intensity and urgency that suggests this messaging couldn’t possibly have waiting until they reached their destination.

Either that or they have become so dependent on Sat Nav that they fear they wouldn’t find their way to college without Google Maps – and so they walk, head down, staring at the screen, oblivious to other pedestrians or even telegraph poles.

And as you dodge around them, you wonder what’s so important that it won’t wait until they’re sitting down somewhere; have they a shares portfolio that has taken a hammering on the morning’s trading?

More likely, they’re watching TikTok or videos on YouTube, while wandering in public spaces like the last of the headless zombies.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Twenty one years after the day the world stood still in horror

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It’s hard to believe that this week marked 21 years since we were stopped in our tracks at the sight of two planes exploding at full speed into the sides of the Twin Towers – not alone taking down part of New York’s iconic skyline but rocking our world to its core.

We may have missed the first plane, but every one of us can remember exactly where we were as the second plane followed suit, careering through the smoke of the first crash to explode in front of the eyes of the world.

It was so shocking it was difficult to even take in; the first incident might have been a tragedy caused by pilot error or illness – but there was no mistaking the deliberate intent when the same act of terrorism was repeated just 17 minutes later.

And this time the terrorists had the eyes of the world on their act, because we’d tuned into the live pictures of the smoke billowing from the North Tower – to see the hijackers crash UA Flight 175 into floors 75 to 85 of the South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.

I was working in the Irish Star at the time, where we had one television halfway down the newsroom. With the time difference between Dublin and New York, it was just coming up to 2pm, when the management team met to discuss the news stories for next day’s paper.

It didn’t take a brainstorming session to work out what would fill the paper, and the global news agenda, the next day – except it was already impossible to annunciate just what had happened live on every television station on the planet.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Memories of floppy disks – once the future but now firmly the past

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

While watching an old crime drama on the telly recently, the sight of two detectives storing their evidence on a floppy disk brought back memories of a time when we thought our first or second-generation computers were at the cutting edge – little knowing that, within years, the floppy would be as obsolete at the typewriter.

The irony of course is that they weren’t floppy at all because they were housed in a hard plastic case, but without doubt they were gamechangers; a small square not much bigger than a playing card and yet it could store the contents of a large office cabinet on it, with room to spare.

And even if technology has since advanced so far that we’d store all of that and more on the pinhead of a needle, that’s just evolution. The floppy disk was the trigger for a revolution.

We’d never lose another story we’d written; we could store contact numbers (in a time when Data Protection wasn’t even a twinkle in some Ombudsman’s eye), transfer information from one computer to another – and just marvel at how far the world had come in our lifetime.

The computers themselves were also wonders to behold; an electronic screen with a little green cursor pulsating like a beating heart, allowing you to go backwards as well as forwards and clear up your spelling mistakes without the aid of Tippex.

Newsrooms used to be cacophonies of clacking typewriters and ringing phones – reporters slamming the carriage return like they had a vendetta against it and those traditional devices of communication ringing away, possibly because the intended recipient was away in a pub.

Within a generation, the newsroom became almost as quiet as a library as reporters gently tapped computer keys, and they no longer had to rely on desk phones because their lives were liberated by the arrival of the mobile.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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