Over on Irish Publishing News, I’ve begun a survey on Irish attitudes and thoughts about ebooks, ereaders and digital reading generally. You can take it on Irish Publishing News or on a completely separate page.
I have to say, I didn’t expect this of TV3. I missed the news that it was running and so missed the first episode on one of the most interesting men t hold the office, WT Cosgrave (whom we’ve mentioned here before).
The Independent carries a fine piece by John-Paul McCarthy about the series:
Cosgrave was in many ways an essentially theocratic politician, a deeply devout Catholic who once proposed that an ecclesiastical commission vet parliamentary legislation for theological deviance as soon as the statutes emerged from the Dail print shop.
And yet he held office under a classically liberal constitution, complete with an American-style establishment clause banning preferential treatment for a state church and an essentially British division of competences between an executive, a lower house and an upper house possessed of some interesting delaying powers. The Catholic Gulliver was thus immobilised for 15 years by these delicate constitutional chains. Cosgrave was also mild-mannered, unambitious personally and prone on occasion to diplomatic illnesses which allowed him to avoid contentious cabinet tussles between his headstrong subordinates. (He was formally ill during the Army Mutiny crisis in 1924 and sought to direct events from hospital.) And yet, circumstances forced Cosgrave to become arguably the most ruthless civilian chief executive the Irish State has ever produced.
Looking forward to catching up and watching the rest!
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Everyone is off writing prediction posts for 2010 (follow them on George’s wonderful tracker), I thought I might take a brief minute or two to consider the heroes of 2009. At least my heroes. I tried to keep it to a small list (5) and I chose them for personal reasons, they may grate with some (and yes I kinda broke my own limit with one of them).
Dominique Raccah – The Innovator
When I saw Dominique speak at TOC Frankfurt I was blown away. She was the breath of fresh air that I had been waiting for in the industry, she is passionate, articulate and insanely clever. She grasped the challenge of publishing in the present age brilliantly and has responded in kind. Her discussion of the publishing continuum has revolutionised my thinking on digital offerings and content and her passion for her company and its future is manifest and heartening. She is at the core of the discussion about how to respond to the challenge of digital content from the publishers perspective and I think she has the answers. She is a hero for 2010, and I suspect for many years to come too.
Mike Cane – The Writer’s Advocate and Alarm Bell
Cane provides solid analysis (caked as it can sometimes be in vitriolic hyperbole). His vision is not even remotely tainted by the fact that it comes solidly from a writers perspective, in fact in many ways that is his strength. Too much for some, he is never shy with his opinion but willing to respond when challenged and corrected.
The Quartet – The Try-ers
They briefly excited the online e-vangelist echo chamber with their hopes and ambitions for a digital only press. They failed. Trying something big and scary and failing publicly can be disheartening, dispiriting and depressing. But the Quartet have dusted themselves off and moved on with a speed and alacrity that is impressive.
James Bridle – The Inventor
James continues to amaze with the work he produces and the ideas he brings to fruition. I heartily recommend following him if only for the sense of wonder you have when you read about his latest project or the awe you feel when looking at the pictures he produces of them.
Jose Afonso Furtado – The Source
A seeming unstinting dedication to reading and linking out to the best stories online in the media, publishing and book sphere, is Jose’ great strength. If you follow his twitter deed you will be connected and in the loop on just about all the trends you might need to monitor.
It’s not a long list, but I think it’s a good one!
Last month I announced that I had rolled out an experimental service aggregating news links for Irish Publishing. Today, after much meddling and experimenting, I finally pushed Irish Publishing News to its own site: http://www.IrishPublishingNews.com
I liked the experimenting and I’ve figured out a few things while I was at it:
1) There are less blogs about books and publishing in Ireland than you’d think. If I’m missing someone or some organisation you think should be included, let me know I’m very keen to improve the quality and sources for Irish books and publishing.
2) One widget is better than six widgets when it comes to WordPress. By that I mean, pruning widgets that operate at cross purposes is a sensible move.
3) Design is important but function is nicer. I’m still unhappy with the look, but the site generally does what I had hoped it would and that is a pretty good place to be.
4) Most things can be built-in WordPress and for free! It really is a tool for champions. Yes it requires some basic knowledge, especially when digging deep into the back-end, but it pays off.
Still, I’m sure this iteration will be an experiment much like the others. This new version of the site offers numerous advantages over the old add-on site:
1) It allows me to build an archive of links day by day
2) It allows me to build up the news and features categories more effectively
3) It brings the power of RSS to the blog section properly rather than by proxy
4) It is just neater
I hope you like the change. Remember to update your RSS feed too.