I used to be one of those people who would roll their eyes at the sight of yet another ‘inspirational motivational’ quote that a friend had shared on Facebook so please excuse the title of this post if it is putting you off reading any further.
To cut an extremely long story short – I have always been overweight. My weight has fluctuated from 16st to 14st, back up to 17st, down to 15st 7lbs for all of my adult life. In September 2010 I weighed 18st 7lbs. I know this as I took a career break from work for 3 months to travel some of the world and I remember weighing myself the day before I left Ireland. I returned just before Christmas 3st lighter thanks mainly to the backpacker lifestyle of living off beans and toast & carrying all my belongings on my back everywhere we went. My lifestyle while I was backpacking couldn’t have been further from my reality. I’m a computer programmer so spend from 8.30am to 6.00pm sitting at a desk. I drive to and from work and in general I’d admit that I have always been a lazy person. Fast-forward to Saturday, August 25th 2012 and I was helping friends move house. We were doing one final sweep of upstairs to make sure everything had been packed away and I found a weighing scales in their bathroom. I don’t own weighing scales (probably out of denial) and I stood on them. That Autumn afternoon in my friends empty bathroom, I watched the needle on the scale fly past NINETEEN STONE (19st 2lbs to be exact).That Saturday afternoon in my friends’ empty bathroom, I stood looking down at the weighing scale and I felt so much shame… I am the only person to blame for my own size. Not one person has ever forcefed me, prevented me from taking a walk/exercise class/joining a gym, made me choose a take-away over something fresh and homemade.
On Tuesday, August 28th 2012, I rejoined Weight Watchers – Something had to change! From September to Christmas I followed the Weight Watchers plan, pointing my food daily and sticking to my daily point allowance. I lost about 3st in 3 months. The small changes I had made to my food intake had massive effects on my body. Instead of having 6 coffees during my work day, I drank water instead of every second coffee. Instead of grabbing breakfast at the deli counter, I brought porridge to work. Instead of having a Mars Bar at 3pm, I had an apple. Each of these sound so trivial, but collectively played a massive part in my weight loss. I’m not saying it was easy to resist the instant gratification achieved from eating ‘bad’ food like chocolate, pizza or takeaways but with a little self restraint and discipline, I found myself moving in the right direction. Each little Silver 7 (a sticker you get when you lose 7lbs/half a stone) motivated me towards getting the next Silver 7.
By Christmas (the picture on the right below), I was 16st 7lbs and I felt great. My weight loss has slowed down either due to the fact there was a lot more temptation around close to Christmas in the form of staff parties, selection boxes and tins of roses or the fact that what I had changed in life had reached its plateau. I want to be a healthier, fitter, better person – that was when I remembered my own advice ‘If you change nothing, nothing will change’. I had to make another choice, am I happy being 16st 7lbs or do I want to push for more?
Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Public and Commuter Transport, Alan Kelly TD today launched the new Irish Rail App. Available on both Android and iOS. The helpful app is now available to download for free.
The main features of the App are:
Alan Devins Photography has teamed up with b*different and offered us his services for a one hour portrait or head shots session for a small Irish Business! To be in with a chance to win this great prize simply like our Facebook page and comment why you need our help!
Terms and Conditions:
So today, we were going through our newsfeed looking for something to light up our day when we noticed a lot of chit chat especially jokes from a Garda parody twitter account talking about a bit of a mix up by @GardaTraffic . When I clicked on I noticed our hard working public servant had gone from discussing “Traffic collision on the N3 outbound just off M50 and before exit for Blanchardstown Shopping centre. expect delays” to doing their public duty and letting the country know “Ronaldo going back to utd” only minutes later to let us know “sorry mistake re ronaldo” That left us in a state of confusion was it a mistake to post the tweet on the official Garda Twitter account or just an update to let us know in fact Ronaldo is staying put?
*Both tweets have now been deleted.
Appy bank holiday Tuesday to all! So we are a day late this week because of the sunny weather but we will make it up to everyone by looking at 5 cool photography apps instead of just one! This week I got a little help from photographer Alan Devins.
Alan is a full time school photographer by day and a freelance portrait photographer in his spare time. He lives and breathes photography be it portraits, landscapes or products, So who better to guide us through photography app purchases!
1. Camera Zoom FX €1.99
Camera Zoom FX is an excellent app and has become my default camera app. This camera app gives you easy access to necessary options such as zoom, white balance and flash control, as well as different shooting modes like timer, burst, time-lapse and voice activation. A useful feature is the stable shot mode which takes the picture automatically when the phone reaches a certain level of stability. This app really shines with its well packed post-processing effects and these are presented to you as soon as you take the picture.
2. Fast Burst Camera €3.99
Fast Burst Camera is a high speed camera app that lets you take up to 30 photos per second. This is really handy for capturing exciting sporting moments like Tippeary scoring a goal or Mayo putting over a point from a free, but can be just as good for getting shots of your kids playing on the trampoline. This app also has a built in option to create an animated gif file from the pictures taken. The quality of the pictures can be adjusted to allow for more or less captures and the settings allow you to tweak options such as delay between shots and whether you want 1,3,5 shots or continuous shooting. With no shutter lag it means your picture is taken as soon as you press the button with no delay. Definitely a very useful camera app to have to make sure you never miss a thing.
3. Retro Camera Plus €2.49
Retro Camera Plus is a novel camera effects app. Rather than giving different ‘post’ processing effects like instagram, Retro Camera Plus lets you choose from a range of old cameras types which all give a different end result. It may not be the quickest app to use when you need to capture an important moment but this app isn’t trying to be a replacement camera. It is great fun to use and its novel approach is welcome over the majority of picture editor apps that are available on the play store.
4. Pro HDR Camera €1.51
With the popularity of HDR photography I had to include a HDR photography app in this post. A HDR image is basically two or more different exposures of the exact same subject compiled to give a single image of High Dynamic Range which can result in a stunning image. Given HDR’s recent spike in popularity there are surprisingly very few apps available worth considering and (maybe unsurprisingly) even then you won’t get the same result as you would from a computer and dedicated software. I found Pro HDR Camera to be easy to use with both the manual and auto modes and the results were great. If the choice for a holiday snapshot was between the standard camera and this I would probably use this to bring my images closer to life.
5. PicSay Pro – Photo Editor €2.99
While not strictly a camera app, PicSay Pro deserves a mention on this list. It’s a feature rich photo editor that is a must have for anyone wanting to get a little more from their photos. Besides the fun ‘stickers’ that can be added to your photos, its selection of effects and post processing is remarkable and if used right can make a throw away photo into something special in seconds. Compared to Adobe’s Photoshop Express PicSay Pro gives far more choice of effects and adjustments and is worth the low cost.
Young Irish entrepreneurs Dan and Mike from County Tipperary answered a few questions for B*Different on what appearing on Junior Dragons Den with Dan and Mike’s Ice Cream has done for them and their business.
How was your business doing before appearing on Junior Dragons Den?
We set up our company in September of 2011 as a project for school. The sales really started piling up the following summer and then we entered Junior Dragons Den. Before appearing on Junior Dragons Den our business was going quiet well. We were working on new designs for labels and tubs and the hype of being on Junior Dragons Den got us a lot of publicity and our sales were also very high. We noticed that a lot more people were beginning to ask more questions and enquire a lot more, after hearing that we might be on television, instead of just buying an ice cream or sorbet and then walking away.
How has the show helped you?
The show helped us immensely in many ways. Our product was so much more well known and the support and great comments we were receiving from people we didn’t even know was just fantastic. it gave us great confidence in our product and we were really pleased in general. The bursary that Sean O Sullivan awarded us helped us to widen our selling range as many shops now want to sell our products and we are also able to travel to town festivals and craft fairs to sell our ice creams and sorbets there. some of the comments that the dragons made about our products on the show was was really encouraging and also was a great endorsement.
What have you done since the show?
Since the show we have completed our new designs for our new customized tubs along with the help of a few friends and a great graphic designer in London. These tubs will allow us to expand our range into more different shops, only around South Tipp for the moment. We have also purchased a new ice cream cart with the bursary which we feel is a unique sight in Ireland and will also help us to sell more as we can travel to many festivals and events.
What are your plans for the next year?
In the next year we hope to have our ice creams and sorbets in all good shops around our area! We also plan to travel around the county and province this summer selling our products at craft fairs and festivals.
Dan and Mike will be selling their Ice Cream in Tesco, Clonmel this Friday June 7th 2013 and it is available locally on an ongoing basis in shops around the town.
Here is a great infographic we came across on Pinterest this morning. We hope it inspires some great blogging from all of you!
Google loves fresh content, fresh content is one of the factors that will get your website ranking better and traffic flowing on to your site but even the best writers struggle at creating content just for the sake of it.Great content is relevant, engaging and helpful. It is what separates a great website from a more spammy site. Users need to trust the articles they are reading and believe in the source.
So for the days that you are stuck here are “22 Ways to Create Compelling Content – When You Don’t Have a Clue”
The concept of ‘cloud computing’ is causing a lot of stir at the moment. And it’s no wonder, as it is arguably one of the greatest technical revolutions since the invention of personal computing. However, while most of us have come to grips with the basic functions of our PCs and laptops, there exists a lot of confusion surrounding cloud computing, even amongst the most seasoned computer user.
At its most basic, cloud computing is ‘internet computing.’ Essentially, it involves the accessing and storing of applications and services over the internet. So far, so simple. However, the term ‘cloud’ itself seems to be one of the main causes of confusion. People often ask: ‘What exactly is the cloud? and ‘Where is it?’ The best way to answer this is to think of ‘cloud’ as an umbrella term for the data centres that store these applications and services. There is no one physical cloud in the sky in which this data is stored. Rather, there are huge centres all around the world that hold this information. Just think of the hard drive on your laptop or the server in your office, but on a much larger scale.
The truth is that the layman has been using cloud services for quite some time now, though they may not have been fully aware of it. Take, for example, your internet banking, your Gmail or Hotmail accounts, and of course, your social networking. All of this information is both stored and accessed remotely. Whether you log in to your email account from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC, what you are essentially doing is accessing data that is stored in a remote centre, possibly thousands of miles away.
When the concept of cloud computing is simplified, the personal user realises that there is little to be afraid of. However, in the business world, adopting cloud services can seem like an ominous task. This is due in part to the high level of data that most organisations would need to transfer to the cloud. It is also due to the wide variety of cloud solutions that are available to business customers. Some more common questions: ‘How do I know which is the right cloud solution for my company?’ ‘Will our sensitive information be safe?’ and ‘How long will the migration process take?’ This is where Cloud Compare steps in. As Ireland’s first cloud services brokerage, Cloud Compare acts as the independent middleman between service providers and customers, ensuring the right cloud solutions are adopted for the business. However, there is more to Cloud Compare than simply identifying appropriate solutions for clients. The team at Cloud Compare also works closely with clients to ensure that these solutions are implemented and managed in the most effective ways possible, as well as offering support and review services so that clients are always ahead in the cloud.
Cloud Compare is currently rolling out tailor-made workshops for organisations that are looking to move their operations to the cloud. These interactive workshops are conducted on the client’s premises and generally last about 3 hours. They aim to equip staff with the necessary knowledge for the adoption of cloud services and include a personalised take-away report outlining the individual needs of the organisation, along with appropriate suggestions for cloud solutions.
If you are unsure about which direction to take on the road to cloud migration, a Cloud Compare workshop could provide you with the answers your organisation needs. All concerns are covered; from the commonest of queries to the most technical and company-specific requests.
Eamon Moore is Managing Director of Cloud Compare, Ireland’s leading Cloud Services Brokerage.
Cycling in Ireland has never been more popular and you don’t have to be training for the Tour de France to pop on a helmet, hop on your bike and take to the road.
Today we are looking at the Map My Ride App, available free on Android and iOS. Map My Ride allows users to plan, track and analyse a workout from their mobile phone. There is a lot of competition in this area of the market and after testing many cycling/route tracker apps out since I purchased my bike seven weeks ago, Map My Ride is the clear winner in my eyes.
Map My Ride is easy to use, takes very little time to set-up when you want to get going and will track your route, speed, distance, calories burned and much more. One of the features I enjoyed most on this app was the voice notifications which alert you to your progress along the route.
Starting out with this app is easy, you have a choice of signing up to an account or you can log in with your Facebook, you just need to add some extra details such as height, weight and gender to maximise the benefit you get from the app. Tracking your route could not be simpler, simply hit record from the main menu when you depart for your cycle and pause when you are finished your workout and Map My Ride will take care of the rest, uploading your route to their website whilst giving you the options to make it public or private
Not only can you track your own cycling routes but you can look at routes others have cycled locally and compete in challenges on these routes to gain the fastest times.
Map My Ride also has extra features that I do not use such a food and water log, calories budget and weight tracking.
To download the app from the iTunes store, Click Here
To download the app from Google Play Store, Click Here
We were very excited to wake up this morning to this email from Google. Last week after the announcement from Google on all the new features we signed up for Beta testing straight away.
The new Google Maps are very sleek; they integrate your search into the map. I am using the example of finding an Italian restaurant in Dublin, press search and all your options are now on front of you on the map, click on them and the information box is shown in the top left hand corner including reviews from fellow Google users, making the maps very user friendly and social. The option for directions is given to you in the information card, also allowing you to save home and work so you can quickly find your way to and from your destination. Another cool feature is the live traffic updates for the area you are searching.
Not Hungry? Fancy a trip to Croke Park or maybe you would love to go to the zoo? Well now you can do it without ever leaving your desk, thanks to the new Google Maps.
Stripe to go in to Beta in Ireland before hitting the rest of Europe.
Stripe the online payment system for apps and businesses founded by Irish brothers Patrick and John Collison is to launch in Ireland before hitting the rest of Europe. Stripe allows for payments to be conducted online with out the need for a merchant account, There are no set up fees, no monthly membership fees or refund fees so you only pay for the cash you receive At a rate of 2.9% + 30c (Us Dollar) Stripe’s fees come in cheaper than leading competitor Paypal.
Patrick and John founded Stripe in 2010 two years after selling their first start up Auctomatic. Stripe is based in Silicon Valley, California where Patrick credits for having an excellent multinational talent pool. To choose employees from. Stripe received $18m in funding in February from Sequoia Capital, who valued the company at $100million.
You can check Stripe out by purchasing a book from the Collison’s younger brother Tommy for just 99c here