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  • Sink or swim | Writing, life and other animals
    they did until their current teacher started getting them to do an appalling straight armed version of the front crawl I d defy anyone to move gracefully through the water while swinging their arms like demented windmills The little one on the other hand is possessed of a more robust build Her natural swimming style You can only describe it as brick like It doesn t matter what she tries she pushes off the side with gusto kicks her little legs valiantly does absolutely everything right and sinks like a stone It s a twist of fate she s a natural sinker The human body is more than 80 water and is usually neutrally buoyant with our breath exhaled most of us will float with our heads just below the water s surface But as with most things in nature this isn t a hard and fast rule some people float others sink The little one sinks Luckily sinking doesn t seem to phase her too much she just proceeds under the water sticking her head up when she runs out of air Every week she s loving the water more and every week the teacher does her level best to coax her to the surface Meanwhile down in the deep end the twins have stopped learning how to do the front crawl wrong and are now treading water while clapping their hands which of course is a vital skill to have if you re on a cruise ship and fall overboard whilst applauding the cabaret act This is one of the reasons I don t bring them to swimming lessons more often My pedantic nature and the fact that I m a pretty good swimmer means that I often spend the car journey home correcting what the swimming teacher has taught them I shouldn t but sometimes I can t help myself It confuses the issue and does more harm than good Then again I remember my Dad doing the same thing when I was their age There was one swimming teacher in particular who s methods clashed with Dad s view of how swimming should be taught Every week he d tell me not to do it that way do it this way instead It was hard at the time but as I improved and moved on to more advanced classes with other teachers guess what I found out Dad had been right all along I suspect something similar is happening here but what to do Do I let things run their course or intervene and tell the twins that actually you don t keep your arms straight when you re doing the front crawl Or perhaps I should focus on teaching the little one how to float first and let the twins sort themselves out Be Sociable Share Tweet Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window Related

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/2009/02/01/sink-or-swim/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Swimming | Writing, life and other animals
    appalling straight armed version of the front crawl I d defy anyone to move gracefully through the water while swinging their arms like demented windmills The little one on the other hand is possessed of a more robust build Her natural swimming style You can only describe it as brick like It doesn t matter what she tries she pushes off the side with gusto kicks her little legs valiantly does absolutely everything right and sinks like a stone It s a twist of fate she s a natural sinker The human body is more than 80 water and is usually neutrally buoyant with our breath exhaled most of us will float with our heads just below the water s surface But as with most things in nature this isn t a hard and fast rule some people float others sink The little one sinks Luckily sinking doesn t seem to phase her too much she just proceeds under the water sticking her head up when she runs out of air Every week she s loving the water more and every week the teacher does her level best to coax her to the surface Meanwhile down in the deep end the twins have stopped learning how to do the front crawl wrong and are now treading water while clapping their hands which of course is a vital skill to have if you re on a cruise ship and fall overboard whilst applauding the cabaret act This is one of the reasons I don t bring them to swimming lessons more often My pedantic nature and the fact that I m a pretty good swimmer means that I often spend the car journey home correcting what the swimming teacher has taught them I shouldn t but sometimes I can t help

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/swimming/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Net generation — growing up in a connected world | Writing, life and other animals
    were a staggering 1 46 billion people online That s 21 of the human population and it s still growing at a phenomenal rate Even if you don t own a computer have never sent an e mail and never want to the influence of the internet in your life is profound How so Well the people businesses and organisations around you the ones you interact with every day are using the internet in all sorts of ways Take the newspaper you read this morning for example how much of that relies in some way on the internet How many of the articles in it involved some sort of online research news feeds web search e mail blogs authority sites fact checking What about the business side of running that newspaper Again e mail but also the too ing and fro ing of management reports financial information communication collaboration and myriad other elements crucial to the running of any successful business I look at the girls growing up in a digital world and think about how different their experience of childhood is to my own They still play outside they still build things they still explore discover and do all the stuff we used to do as children but they re entering a world that works in a profoundly different way to the one we knew at their age It s a networked world of instant messaging and status updates of online friends and personalised information feeds of social networks location aware mobile devices and cloud computing A world in short which is full of tremendous opportunity one that they re already subconsciously integrating it into their young lives They truly are digital natives in every sense of the term and seem to take to all this stuff instinctively I m holding my own keeping abreast of the digital lingo even if I speak it with a foreign accent Given the current pace of change I just hope I can keep up Meanwhile I m making a point of teaching them that feeling the wind in their hair the sand in their toes the crunch of leaves beneath their feet and yes even real live conversations with real human beings are just as important as all this digital mallarkey It s about striking a balance harnessing the potenital of the digital world without becoming beholden to it and remembering that there are more important things in life than updating your social network status Related articles by Zemanta Does Facebook Replace Face Time or Enhance It Media Literacy Making Sense Of New Technologies And Media by George Siemens Jan 17 09 Detailed Data on the Consumer Internet Trends Be Sociable Share Tweet Share this Click to share on Twitter Opens in new window Share on Facebook Opens in new window Click to share on Google Opens in new window Related Posted by Calvin at 11 43 Tagged with Cloud computing Education Instant messaging Internet Kids and Teens Nintendo DS Social network

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/2009/01/18/net-generation/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Cloud Computing | Writing, life and other animals
    consoles they d got for Christmas playing the same game together but apart On one level the remote interaction using portable electronic devices to communicate and collaborate in real time is a really important skill for them to develop on another it s worryingly antisocial and all consuming Trying to get their attention while they re immersed in a game or engrossed in a wireless instant messaging chat with each other even though they re in the same room is disturbingly difficult It s a sign of the times technology is bringing us closer together but at the same time its pushing us further apart diluting the need for real human contact Via the internet it s now easier than ever to connect share and communicate via media that by their very nature transcend physical barriers like geography and time zones Always on high speed access to the internet is fundamentally changing the way a whole generation of people do everything from Christmas shopping to chatting with their grandma on the other side of the world The rise of the internet to become a dominant force in practically all of our lives is unprecedented According to Internet World Stats in June 2008 there were a staggering 1 46 billion people online That s 21 of the human population and it s still growing at a phenomenal rate Even if you don t own a computer have never sent an e mail and never want to the influence of the internet in your life is profound How so Continue reading Posted by Calvin at 11 43 Tagged with Cloud computing Education Instant messaging Internet Kids and Teens Nintendo DS Social network Subscribe to feed Get posts in your favourite feed reader Now blogging about Ireland s Wildlife and Nature Read Calvin

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/cloud-computing/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Education | Writing, life and other animals
    again and partly mourning the fact that the holidays are coming to a close I can sympathise with them in part because I still recall the conflicting emotions of going back to school after the Christmas break from my own childhood but mainly because of the clash of sentiments it causes for me now as a parent Back to school means back to routine getting up early making school lunches a personal pet peeve of mine organising the kids getting out of the door on time The return to school imposes structure on the fluidity of life and on one level that s a good thing At the same time structure and routine are always going to be more boring and mundane than disorder and spontaneity and part of me riles against the conformity of it all But back to school they must go and while spending lots of time with them over the holidays has been wonderful for the most part I ll be happy to reclaim the bulk of my working week as we head into what promises to be a very challenging year Talking of challenging years I guess I should be grateful that the children have a school to go back to in 2009 given the cutbacks our esteemed Government is imposing on our education system Faced with the cost cutting initiatives spearheaded by Cork TD and Minister for Education Batt O Keeffe financially embattled schools across the country are facing a very tough 2009 on the fiscal front and will no doubt be looking to parents for fundraising and direct financial contributions The Government will bail out the banks it seems but bailing out the schools falls to mums and dads I m all for parents getting involved and raising money for schools but for my money if you ll pardon the pun such funds should surely go towards equipment facilities and resources over and above those demanded by the standard national curriculum Schools should be adequately funded by Government to cover all of the basics When parents have to raise money to subsidise things like the school s heating bill there s something seriously wrong with the system Nobody questions the need to cut Government spending in the wake of the economic downturn but the approach the Government has taken speaks volumes about the character of those we choose to lead us When the going got tough they chose to target the most vulnerable in society the very old and the very young or to put it another way those least likely to fight back Of course they underestimated the backlash they seem to underestimate most things with the notable exception of their own competence to govern The irony here is that health and education are probably two of the last places a Government should look to reduce funding the first is vital to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce today a workforce that will help our beleaguered economy push through the recession the

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/education/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Social Network | Writing, life and other animals
    21 of the human population and it s still growing at a phenomenal rate Even if you don t own a computer have never sent an e mail and never want to the influence of the internet in your life is profound How so Continue reading Posted by Calvin at 11 43 Tagged with Cloud computing Education Instant messaging Internet Kids and Teens Nintendo DS Social network Too much internet is bad for your health Computing Internet Rant social media Technology Uncategorized Web 2 Responses Jan 10 2009 Image by husin sani via Flickr Always on internet should come with a Government Health Warning No seriously it should I m sitting here at daft o clock in the morning writing this blog post wondering where the time went to My wife is away for a couple of nights the kids went to bed almost eight hours ago and are sound asleep and I should be too but I m not Why Because we have always on internet that s why I m not going to call it broadband because to do so would give it delusions of grandeur but it is demonstrably always on And that means I m always on On the laptop on the netbook on the WiFi enabled mobile must sleep Kids will wake up early regardless and I won t be able to cope if I don t get four or five hours in Will finish up tomorrow Right morning all Woken up at 7 30 by the little one Don t even want to reflect on how little sleep I ve actually had Looks like I m running on caffeine today folks Now where was I oh yes always on internet It s like heroin only worse because while getting your fix online might make

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/tag/social-network/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Classroom cutbacks show government's true colours | Writing, life and other animals
    I guess I should be grateful that the children have a school to go back to in 2009 given the cutbacks our esteemed Government is imposing on our education system Faced with the cost cutting initiatives spearheaded by Cork TD and Minister for Education Batt O Keeffe financially embattled schools across the country are facing a very tough 2009 on the fiscal front and will no doubt be looking to parents for fundraising and direct financial contributions The Government will bail out the banks it seems but bailing out the schools falls to mums and dads I m all for parents getting involved and raising money for schools but for my money if you ll pardon the pun such funds should surely go towards equipment facilities and resources over and above those demanded by the standard national curriculum Schools should be adequately funded by Government to cover all of the basics When parents have to raise money to subsidise things like the school s heating bill there s something seriously wrong with the system Nobody questions the need to cut Government spending in the wake of the economic downturn but the approach the Government has taken speaks volumes about the character of those we choose to lead us When the going got tough they chose to target the most vulnerable in society the very old and the very young or to put it another way those least likely to fight back Of course they underestimated the backlash they seem to underestimate most things with the notable exception of their own competence to govern The irony here is that health and education are probably two of the last places a Government should look to reduce funding the first is vital to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce today a workforce that

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/2009/01/10/classroom-cutbacks-show-governments-true-colours/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Comment | Writing, life and other animals
    well at all Everything about the businesses depends on the internet the websites e mail payments banking accounts Even the business phone line is delivered online Dial up simply isn t an option for us any more Unfortunately we live in what can only be described as Europe s digital backwater While Ireland has made great strides to improve broadband availability over recent years we typically pay through the nose for much slower connections than our European peers and an unacceptable proportion of Irish households still can t get a broadband connection at all It s curious that we find ourselves in this position as Europe s digital poor relations To listen to our government you d swear we were ahead of the curve in the technology stakes They talk about Ireland leading the charge towards a knowledge based global economy but while they pimp Ireland as the technology hub of Europe on the global stage small businesses at home are struggling to compete because they don t have access to the bandwidth they need It s a shambles And it s not just small businesses that are suffering in this impoverished digital environment The internet and the suite of communication and information technologies it enables is a vital educational resource for our children They re growing up in a technology centric world to thrive and succeed tomorrow they need to engage with that technology today Without a decent internet connection at home and at school they simply can t do that The next day I rang our telephone provider praying that our local exchange had finally been broadband enabled Luckily it had I breathed a huge sigh of relief and signed up straight away It s going to take three long weeks for us to get connected and because we re a long way from the exchange there is no guarantee we ll get the connection speeds we need I guess we ll have to wait and see It s going to be a long three weeks Technorati Tags Evening Echo Broadband Rant Ireland Posted by Calvin at 13 03 Tagged with broadband column evening echo Rant Change at home is what Ireland really needs Comment Evening Echo Column Government Parenting Politics Rant Writing 1 Response Nov 12 2008 Image by jmtimages via Flickr On the 4th of November 2008 Barack Obama made history when he was elected as the first black president of the United States of America It s an achievement that is remarkable for a lot of reasons and one that has far reaching implications not just for Americans but for people around the globe One of the most striking things for me about Obama s election has nothing to do with race It is the overwhelming impression I get that here finally is a politician who has been elected into office on merit That may not sound like such a revolutionary a concept but here in modern Ireland it s practically unheard of Our incumbent administration endures because a large chunk of the electorate has zero confidence in the competence of the opposition to govern It really is that simple Back across the Atlantic I refuse to call any ocean a pond you could argue that the same thing applied last week The alternative to the Obama Biden ticket was hardly a compelling proposition You d be hard pressed to find anyone who could convincingly dub John McCain a dynamic force for change and as for Sarah Palin well I think enough has already been said on that score But despite the fact that Obama would probably have won the election anyway through lack of viable opposition I m still left with the very strong feeling that he won the votes of the undecided masses largely on the merits of his policies and the overwhelming belief that here was a man who had the best interests of the American people at heart That last point is an important one but one that seems to have been overshadowed by the Obama Mania that s gripped the world over the last week Buoyed on a wave of euphoria that spread from its epicentre in Chicago to engulf the globe people seem to have lost sight of the fact that Barack Obama is in fact President Elect of the United States of America He is not President Elect of the World at large There s no doubt in my mind that Mr Obama will make an excellent president His biggest obstacle will be the incredible burden of anticipation that now weighs heavily upon him People expect incredible things from this man and I m sure he ll prove a force for long overdue change in the US The knock on effects of that change will ripple out to impact many nations around the world our little island state included Much of that impact will be positive some of it won t Whatever changes the new president decides to implement you can be certain of one thing those changes will be driven by policies forged around the best interests of the American people The wellbeing economic or otherwise of Ireland Europe and the rest of the world simply won t factor into the equation I always find it amusing when blockbuster Hollywood disaster movies the likes of Independence Day The Day After Tomorrow and Armageddon portray the rest of the world waiting with baited breath for America to save the day save the planet and save humanity The truth of the matter is that despite the hype surrounding this election we are not beholden to the US or any other nation The US president is not in fact the Leader of the Free World The independent nations that constitute The Free World are and always have been free to make their own decisions based on what s best for their own people What it ultimately boils down to is this Barack Obama will do a great job of looking

    Original URL path: http://blog.cjwriting.com/category/comment/ (2016-02-15)
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