*During a global pandemic

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Three years ago I wrote a post here on Medium called ‘One Hour of Side Project Coding a Day* — A New Year’s Resolution Worth Keeping’ (with the asterisk being ‘Except when my wife gives birth’!). That post has been one of my most popular, mainly due to what I suspect are all the other people also struggling to make time for side-projects.

Three years later, and during a pandemic: it’s still difficult, but still worth trying to do.

Why side-projects are worth it

I’m lucky/privileged enough to still have a great job, in a company that’s really stepped up and supported its employees during Covid. …


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This is a quick tutorial on how to use an AWS IoT button to create what I like to call a Not-For-Emergencies Parent Button! I say quick because it’s a lot easier than it used to be to set it all up, and I say Not-For-Emergencies as I wouldn’t necessarily rely on it!

What’s the “business case”?

I’m lucky enough to have a great job that has me working from home during COVID, until at least May 2021. …


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TLDR there were some interesting talks at remote Web Summit this year, but the real value of Web Summit is the ad-hoc meeting and chatting with people, seeing what startups from across the world are working on, and seeing just in general what the tech world is up to. All of which is much more difficult remotely.

Last week I attended the Web Summit tech conference for what I think was the 6th time. I went two or maybe three times in Dublin (I must be getting old if I can’t remember my conference visits!), …


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I recently gave a talk on Innovation at the Digital DNA conference in Ireland (remotely!) and this post is more or less the written version of it, except for the bit where my dog interrupted!

What is Innovation?

Innovation is a much used word in enterprises, and can mean lots of different things to different people.

Is this innovation:


Bootstrap + AWS === Easy

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Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

I’m (thankfully) really busy at the minute, with actual work and also an app I’m making for heart patients stuck at home because of Covid-19 (with the Team-OSV community). However, my wife mentioned that the residents’ association that she chairs needed a way to get info out during the lockdown and I magnanimously (AKA foolishly) said,”I could make you a website, easy” … so that’s how I found myself needing to create a website that I didn’t have time to make … one evening after dinner.

I know there’s quick-fix options like Wordpress, or those sites that you can pay to deploy a template site for you in minutes, but I like building things so wanted to create it myself. I considered doing it in React as I’m using that a lot in work at the minute, but then decided that was overkill for a simple site that I had very little time to spend on, so I decided…


Human centred design and serverless development for a great cause

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For the last few months engineers from Liberty IT have been building an app and website for the Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH) charity for their volunteers to use. I’m writing about it now, not to blow our own trumpets, but to show others that it’s possible to use our technical skills for good, especially during these troubling times when a lot of us are going to have a lot more time on our hands at home.

The Inner City Helping Homeless charity is a remarkable one, whose volunteers head out late each night on the streets of Dublin to give food, clothes and information to the homeless; along with providing other services for homeless people during the daytime like advocation & assistance finding accommodation. …


How to make the most of the situation

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Absolutely no distractions here, honest

Firstly, let me say that I’m not making light of the coronavirus, or its impacts; it’s an incredibly serious & dangerous virus that is having and will continue to have a devastating affect on millions of people all around the world.

However, if like me, you find yourself working from home, “self-isolated”, quarantined, or told by your local authorities to stay at home, this guide can perhaps offer some advice on how to use your newfound “extra” time at home, in a few buckets:

  • What could you do or learn
  • Tips for working at home
  • And let’s be honest, what to stream! NEW SERIES OF WESTWORLD!! …


Know your Ideation from your Ideo

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After working in full-time innovation teams for many years, I’m fully immersed in the culture of “Innovation”, with all that entails — agile methodology, ideation, guerrilla testing, arguing and more. For anyone out there new to the wonderful world of innovation this guide should help you navigate your way through the transformational jungle of buzzwords, covering everything from design methodologies to hardware to cloud vendors and more.

It’s also quite long so I’d suggest reading after lunch when you can’t face actually working for a while longer.

As innovation is about pushing past preconceived boundaries and ideas, and it’d be good to get a definition of what innovation actually means, I’m going to start…


Hint – it’s not easy

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Image by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay

A couple of years ago I wrote one my most popular posts — suggesting that spending one hour a day on side projects would be a good New Year’s resolution. I still believe in that, but I also understand just how difficult it actually is. This post is all about the overall conflict between work, life and side projects that makes accomplishing goals like this one seem impossible.

The problem

This recent Human Parts post, The Riddle of the Well-Paying, Pointless Job had a line that resonated:


Ford Makeitdriveable challenge in Lisbon, Portugal

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Beautiful Lisbon. Image source: Ford

A few weeks ago Lynsay Wright and I, from the LIT Incubator (Dublin & Belfast, Ireland) attended the 2019 Ford Makeitdriveable event in Lisbon, Portugal.

The two day event was aimed at allowing technology startups to meet Ford and see if their products and services would be suitable for integration with Ford’s in car technology, for consumers and businesses.

Although obviously not a startup (although we like to think we operate in certain ways like one), Ford kindly allowed us to gatecrash the event!

As car technology continues to become more advanced, with on-board connectivity, cameras, sensors and more, its importance to the insurance industry also increases. …

About

Andy O'Sullivan

Innovation | http://appsandbiscuits.com | Tech for Good Dublin | Gaeilge | all content my own opinion

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