Category Archives: fun

Continuing to Waggle My Mouse

Getting the Waggle On

Development of the Waggle My Mouse application has been going well. I’ve over come a number of issues, I can now track the mouse pointer, and can capture the quick changes in the mouse pointers location. Two outstanding technical issues arise. These are:

  1. How do draw a highlighted shape over the mouse pointer?
  2. How do I know when the mouse has been waggled?

Detecting a Mouse Waggle

I’ve done some Windows programming before and I’ve a fairly good idea that I can draw a shape over the mouse pointer. The biggest unknown after that was trying to determine what a waggle is, and recognising when I saw one. I’ve a little test bed win32 application that I’ve been playing it. I’ve been using this application to complete my investigations on the practical ability I have to write a mouse waggle utility. I modified this test bed tool to record the mouse pointer locations, and the Delta-X; the difference in the position between the X coordinate of the mouse pointer now, and when it was last recorded. I managed to capture a bucket load of data describing what a mouse shake (or waggle) looks like. I imported this data into excel to let me visualise the waggle.

Graph of a Mouse Waggle

The shape of the waggle became really quite easy to see. The next question is “How do I write a bit of code which can detect that waggle?”. – Or at least that’s what I thought the question was.

Sharing the Waggle

I’ve a big fan of Justin Jackson with the Mega Maker podcast and Rob Walling and Mike Taber with the Startups for the Rest of Us podcast, and I was listening to them recently, when both shows made two really good points:

  1. “How will I let people know about my idea?”

    and

  2. “How do I know what people think about my idea?”

That got me thinking.. “I really need to Share my Waggle”. So I bought wagglemymouse.com. Feel free to check it out, there is nothing there right now. My next job is to create some content which concisely describes my idea and why it is a good thing, and encourages people to sign up to an email list, or follow me on twitter for updates. That’s going to be my focus until the next Waggle my Mouse blog post.

Waggle my MegaMaker

Wow it is hard work to fit everything in. I’ve been working hard on progressing and investigating the two ideas I proposed last week;

  • Waggle my mouse : Find your mouse pointer on Windows desktops with very high resolution monitors, or multiple displays.
  • Social Media authorization for groups : Supporting the Brexit campaigns I’ve seen on Facebook who are struggling to all members of the group to access other resources, such as wordpress blogs etc.

Waggle My Mouse

This looked the most technically straight forward of the two ideas, and one with probably the easiest route to market. So this week I set up to investigate what APIs where available on Windows to track the mouse cursor. Now, I’ve done some win32 programming in the past so I thought “This can’t be too hard… right?”. Alas, as anyone who’s done win32 and ‘c’ programming knows, there are always twists in the tale. So I spend a number of hours chasing through the MSDN win32 documentation trying to discover how you track the mouse. In brief, it’s really easy to track the mouse if the cursor is moving over your application’s window, but if it isn’t – then it’s a bit more tricky. I discovered the rawinput APIs which are pretty cool. They give the raw input from the mouse device driver. I thought this would solve the problem, and it does and then it doesn’t.

RAWINPUT on Windows

While the rawinput API does give me information about the mouse, even when it is not over my application, it doesn’t actually tell me where the mouse is. The API gives the delta between the mouse’s last location, and its current location. This is great or detecting a “waggle” – as this is exactly what I would need to do, but it doesn’t tell me where on the screen the mouse is, or on multiple displays – which display. I’ve some more work todo.

WaggleMyMouse.com

Well on the basis on my hunch for implementing the idea I went out and bought the domain name anyway. I had a number of domains up for renewal and though, heck, I’ll get this one while I’m at it. I plan to setup a simple WordPress page, with a pre-bought template. I known that I can get a template that will hook up with mailchimp and provide me with a quick sign up mailing list. Now I’ve just got to go searching for that.

Before I do, I want to go searching for this silly Win32 API – talk about an itch I need to scratch, this technical issue about he mouse location is bugging me.

Social Media authorization for groups

I did some API investigation on this one. The core idea is that members of a specific Facebook group would be able to sign in to say, WordPress, and then would be provided access to the editor based on their group membership within Facebook. That way user access control is done by the Facebook group admins. Now, after checking I can see that all the APIs are there to do this, and it seems deceptively straight forward. However given all the trouble with the win32 idea, I’m wondering if it really is.

The goal of this plugin / tool is to support the existing Facebook groups. So I’ve a meeting this Wednesday with a group. It also happens to a brexit group, one I’d like to help anyway – perhaps I would be able to kill two birds with one stone? – I’ll have to wait and see…

Keep moving forward

Of the two ideas Waggle My Mouse looks like the idea with the least unknowns, both technically and route to market. So that’s the one I will follow for now.

I’m going to see how I can help the brexit group more generally, if anything comes out of that conversation which could be a candidate for my own MegaMaker challenge, then that’s a bonus.

Time challenge

The originally challenge from Justin was to launch something every week. That’s tough, especially while your holding down a day job – and I’m contracting at the moment, and have a young family to hangout with. But even doing the API investigations has engendered that love of technology and software development I have, and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Justin mentioned finding something that you enjoy doing – and this has been it.

And all the rest

In addition to the work I’ve done on these projects, I’ve also taken part in an AirRun – it’s a 5k race with adult style bouncy castle obsticals to cross. It was a huge amount of fun, and if you get the chance you should totally do it. It also reminded me that I need to get back and exercise. I’d eased off in the run up to my holidays, but I really do need to get back at it.

How not to deliver a wedding speech

11 years ago today, I woke with a hangover. As the room came into focus I looked about. Flash backs from the day before came before my mind, and the largest, biggest smile spread across my face. The booming headache was replaced with a serenity and happiness for which I felt immensely blessed.

I glanced at the table in the hotel room, it didn’t look a sturdy as the one upon which John Page, a family friend had danced upon the night before.

On top of the table in the hotel room sat a scrap of paper, it was the guide I’d given Robert Macdermott; a list of every memorable but wholly embarrassing event we had shared together at university. I’d requested that he would not use these, however in the speech he gave to the entire room of friends and family he hit every single one. The embarrassment of that event pinged lightly off my receding hangover.

I recall sitting at the top table the night before and looking out at a sea of friends and family. Seeing my Grand Mother’s smile as she sat at a table with my cousins, Uncle and Aunt.

I recall my father, still struggling with the effects of his stroke, standing to give a speech. My father had told me years before he took ill about what an amazing public speaker my uncle was. To my great surprise after my father spoke, my uncle stood and gave a truly inspiring, and humorous and captivating speech on the topic of “love”.

As I lay there on the bed the morning after the night before; I think some of my tiredness can be attributed, not to an excess of bacchanal, but the more mundane. My nerves had gotten the better of me and I didn’t really sleep the night before.

In the early hours of the morning I gave up trying to sleep and found myself in the hotel pool with David Bullock, and Rob.

But those nerves where nothing compared to what I experienced in the Church. Waiting at the alter with David, Rob, Stephen Melia and Stephen Airey, they kicked in big time.

Rob and David started trying to relieve my nerves my coughing and spluttering under their breath “don’t do it”. I don’t think that really helped.

Then, I saw my sister, Elaine in her bride’s maid dress, following that Orla, Ruth and Dawn, and eventually Emma and her father Aubrey. I got the biggest smile from Emma and my nerves relaxed. Well, they did until I shook hands with Aubrey, and his grip left me in no uncertain terms about the importance of the day. Little did I know that I would be tested in my new role as son-in-law quite so soon. I discovered that the walk to cut the wedding cake could pose the first really important decision of my marriage.

The wedding cake, a large chocolate cake had been transported with great care by a team of friends, including Elaine MacDermott and David Bullock. They had balanced that cake on their knees as, I in a little VM Polo had got lost on the back streets of Dublin – where every road, no matter which one you take, appears to be sign posted for the airport. While the cake had made it safe and sound to the Hotel, my travel from the top table to the cake stand would not prove so easy.

Emma had told me that the one thing she was most worried about, was tripping up and falling on our wedding day.

Emma, being closest to the cake, stood first and turned to walk toward it, and I followed. It was then that I saw her fall; the train of her dress extended in front of me as she fell away from me. In my mind, time slowed and a set of possibilities where quickly evaluated:
1)    Lunge for Emma and save her from the floor. In doing so I would need to step on the train of her dress, possibly ripping it.
2)    Let the dress survive, and let Emma fall to the ground, then pick her up afterward.

I the second I had to make this, I concluded that Emma would like to see out the rest of the day in her wedding dress more, than not falling to the ground. So with I stood, helpless as I watched Emma’s worst fear unfold in front of me.

I quickly helped her to her feet and hugged my bride. She started to tear up. With her back toward the sea of family and friends, she couldn’t see my hands. I looked over her shoulder at the first table of friends and with my hands behind Emma’s back I made the universal sign for applause. The room responded with gusto and Emma’s trip was met with a great cheer and much clapping. 

While Emma’s fear had actually produced a great big cheer. The same however could not be said for my speech.

Now I have to admit, my preparation for the speech on the big day wasn’t great. So when it occurred to me that I needed to give a speech I quickly borrowed a pen and a napkin and started scribing. The nerves did indeed return. In the best style of all groomsmen my new brother -in-law Stephen Melia did his best to ensure that my nerves were relaxed. “Just remember” he said and then referred to Emma’s tumble “you’ve already got Emma on her back”.

So I stood, and thanked everyone, we raised a toast to all the absent friends who were no longer with us, before I turned to address my new wife.

“Ever since seeing Emma walk down the aisle” I said, “I’ve been looking forward to getter her on her back, but never thought it would happen so soon.”

As I finished the sentence the entire room took a collective intake in breath, and silence befell.

Balls.

Then a cackle of laughter appeared, first from somewhere on the top table and then it appeared to spread across the room.

After the speeches concluded I caught a few words with Scott Lewis, he told me “Chris, when you delivered that line, I was confused, I thought ‘that’s funny but I don’t know if I should laugh or not’”. Scott continued “But then I looked up, and I saw your new father in law laughing hard and I understood it was ok”.

11 years later, I’d happily acknowledge that a little extra preparation on my speech would definitely have helped. But I wouldn’t want to change a single thing about that day. It is a day filled with some of the best memories, and warmest sensations of friendship and love. It is still one of the most amazing days of my life and was the start of a huge adventure with the most amazing women in the world.

Perfect Mince Pies

Hello Mince Pie Day

And tho it came to be that this day shall ever more be known as Mince Pie Day!

We all have foods we love and for me it is the humble mince pie. The smell of the mincemeat, the stickiness of the substance when it escapes the pastry and caramelises on the outside of the case are all reminders of the most awesome mince pies that my grandmother used to make. They evoke memories of Christmas past and time spent cooking with my Gran.

An abiding memory is the care pack of mince pies that my Grandmother sent to me when I was in my second year of university. A bloody great big box arrived, quite nicely battered by the Royal Mail, and inside where four dozen mince pies. I have to report that there were casualties, of the four dozen at least a dozen had succumbed to “transit torture”. But no matter; with pies these good even the crumbs were delicious! I safely stored then in the student kitchen.

Granny Scregg – The Most Awesome of Students

Now my grandmother was awesome, although she had never been to university herself she seemed to grasp the core essence of the experience. As I bit into my first pie I realised she’d laced it with enough scotch that it was making my mouth feel pickled. It made for the most awesome breakfast treat; screw the American beagle, or the French croissant this was the breakfast of champions; the great British mince pie! – with added fortitude by Granny Scregg.

Just as surely as the sticky insides of a good mince will leak out during the cooking process, news about my seasonal breakfast of alcoholic wonders got out.

The first I heard of this information leak was discovering that supplies of my carefully rationed mince pies had taken an unexpected hit; the box was half full. An inquisition was held and it was discovered that these pies had international appeal! – I knew my granny could cook, but these pies had made it onto the world stage! – Kingsley my Nigerian flat made admitted to enjoying them to.

In the spirit of full international cooperation I did the only logical thing I could, I hid them in my bedroom.

Unfortunately the close proximity of the mince pies to my bed resulted in my careful rationing going out the window and the remaining mince pies lasting just days rather than the projected two weeks.

Do It For the Love of the Pie… Man…

In that particular year, spurred I think by the student competition for the alcoholic mince pies my overall mince pie consumption shot through the roof. After gaining at least 1 stone (14 pounds or roughly 7kg) in weight that Christmas alone I decided that I’d better save the tasty yet modest mince pie for just the Christmas season.  From here Mice Pie Day was born. I embarked on a Mince Pie Fast which lasts from the 1st of January right through the year until Mince Pie Day – the 1st of December. Today I’ll be enjoying the my first Mince Pie of 2015… and the challenge every year is to find (or make) pies that can pickle your mouth like Granny Scregg’s did.

Predict that my twitter feed will feature at least one Mice Pie this lunch time.

The Friday Movie Conundrum

It’s Friday! – And for me, that’s the last day of the working week, the weather is great (for Ireland) and we’ve got a fantastic two day weekend ahead of us. To help celebrate I’ve been playing the Friday Movie Conundrum with some friends. The game is simple. One of us starts with a movie quote, and the other’s have to guess. Clues can only be given out if there is a lack of response. So folks, today’s quote is :

“Tell it right, COB. Pavarotti is a tenor, Paganini was a composer.”

No googling now! Answer’s on a post card, or alternatively on Twitter using this #fridaymoviecondundrum

Image from flickr, a Pumpkin head: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14119298@N00/1737062656/in/photolist-3DuUd9-3G3ByD-3HE88L-4ugKoU-4xxm29-4DhKTP-4Dn1NY-4EcZ8B-4EZxe6-4EZxKv-4Lcm2U-4Vuj9h-542kvt-542kEc-546zFm-546A5W-5eU5xb-5oviYR-5rhWJr-5rUzpN-5rUzqY-5vdyRW-5vdz7b-5wrHPx-5wssVk-5wXohE-5x2qdP-5x7wGd-5x8vDr-5xg1DV-5xgfTC-5xKKx2-5xMtsc-5xRRAq-5y6gou-5y9FoZ-5ybNb7-5yhB1D-5yCxoQ-5zbyH5-5ATTep-5DcKhP-5EvjNz-5R233K-5Rjqyw-5YVCje-6vsUJ5-73CKjK-75fofw-75BvoH-77fHWc

Creating the #HalloweenTop10 Playlist. . .

Halloween Top 10 It’s that time of year; October is here and in a few weeks we’ll be celebrating all things ghoulish with Halloween. But what would be the ultimate sound track for this month? – Is it possible to create a Halloween top 10?

After all of the comings and goings with Mattie it is great to think about something a bit more light hearted. So here are my top 10 tracks for Halloween:

In 10th place. . . People Are Strange

“Michael… Michael. . . Michaeaaaaaalllll Mawahahaha” – The screaming mantra from many a teenage girl who watched “Lost Boys”, a movie which left the rest of us thinking “What’s the dude from the Goonies doing in that?”. – Well let me tell you, he was kicking some Vampire’s butt. The vampires have invaded a sea side town, only to meet their match when they encounter a Goonie, who drives a steak through the heart of this movie. If only they’d introduced Goonies into Twilight – now that might have been a movie worth watching! With holy water in water pistols and very sharp pencils at the ready, Bella’s dad wouldn’t have had to worry about a Vampire trying to date his daughter.

In 9th place. . . Back from the Dead – Spinal Tap

“Nothing’s more fun than flipping off the reaper”. 80’s fictal rock band resurrect themselves in a feat not equalled since Mary Shelly’s bad dream. They are determined to start giving satisfaction and, well getting some too. Just don’t ask them about what happened to their drummer, that’s a tale best left untold. In the meantime, you know what to do . . . turn it up to 11.

In 8th place. . . Monster Mash

This always made me wonder what a real Monster (potato) Mash would look like? What would you add to mash potato to make it ‘monsterful’ and scary?. I’m getting side tracked, and this is a track that you cannot avoid at Halloween, a cheesy classic of the highest order. Listen if you dare…

In 7th place… Dragula – Rob Zombie

I know what you’re thinking too – what would Halloween be, if a Zombie Dracula didn’t drive through the forest running over random witches? – “Pointless Chris!”, “Pointless!” I hear you cry from the other side the screen. I think you might be right. . .

In 6th place… Ghost Busters Theme Tune

The opening bars are all that’s needed for a legion of now adults to be transported back to being kids watching this movie for the first time. Ghosts and comedy in a movie which doesn’t suck . . . an important event for any child.

In 5th place… Sweet Transvestite – Rocky Horror Picture Show

Dr Frank-N-Furter and the quest to free Rocky from his evil clutches. Camp, raunchy, funny, and with a nod to almost every classic horror story you’ve ever read, and some serious amount of random Sci-Fi elements. This has to be included, even just for the “anticip. . . ation!” . . .

In 4th place… Tenacious D – Tribute

Two singer/song writers are lost on an old country road in the dark of night when they encounter a demon. The demon says that unless they play the best song in the world that he will eat their souls. Of course facing such super natural occult odds, what’s two guys to do but actually play the greatest song in the world. . . just a shame they can’t remember what it was.

In 3rd place. . . RE: Your Brains – Jonathan Coulton

Your work place has been taken over by a zombie virus, turning your coworkers into the undead. While still maintaining good office etiquette they try to arrange to eat your brains. It could be the morning after the Christmas party or … It could be Halloween! – Now Jonathan Coultan has put the occult phenomenon to music. The challenge is to listen to this track while in the office and not to run screaming from your co-workers.

In 2nd place. . . Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon

There is a werewolf, he’s lost in London, quaffed with the perfect hair and after downing a cocktail or two in Trader Vic’s he heads off in search of a beef chow main from Lee Ho Fook’s. What a story for Halloween.

In 1st place. . . Thriller – Michael Jackson

After a night out at the movies a girl discovers that her date for the night isn’t Michael Jackson, it’s a .. a .. Zombie Overlord.. . who can dance, surprisingly well. Just remember “No known mortal has been found who can resist the evil that is the . . . Thrilleeeerrr. . . “

Titus the Fox – Haunted by a Digital Ghost

I wrote this a while ago, while clearing out the study… while the study is now empty, there is now another room in the house currently stuff full of enough digital artefacts to make a silicone Tutankhamen envious.

A long long time ago… in at study filled with cool old computer gear…

With the imminent arrival of a new baby my home study is being squeezed. A digital excavation of my study uncovered a digital ghost hiding on a 3.5″ floppy disk.

Where once I had a whole room to myself I will now only have half a room, the other half being dedicated to a spare bed for visitors. The resulting clear out of old gadgets and gizmos and prompted a rush of old memories. Plunging me back into memories from school, and then ripping me back in to the present day.

The lunch time battle

In the school lunch hour’s battle between the shiny 16bit computers of the Atari ST and the Amiga 500 I was an outsider. The main ammunition in these battles was not the computers themselves; it was the game reviews in the two major magazines of the time, ST Format and Amiga Format. My 16 bit computer owning friends would bring in their magazines and the review comparisons would start over lunch time. The arguments of which version of a game was better would kick off at the top of the hour, and comparisons would be made over which game port made best use of a systems graphics and sound capabilities. These arguments could start on a Monday and go on until at least Friday, before renewing the next month when the new editions of ST and Amiga format were published.

As one of those who still had an 8 bit home computer I would admire the games and graphics from a distance, until one Christmas when my parents went all out and bought me a PC. My initial trip to the local computer game shop revealed rows and rows of games for the ST and Amiga and a small half a shelve of games for the PC. I’d picked up a few games, some of them really bad. I was telling my one my Atari ST owning school mates this when he told me that PC Format had been released. A PC magazine with game reviews! – I was hooked.

PC Format 3.5" Floppy

PC Format 3.5″ Floppy

At the back of the cupboard I pulled out a shoebox packed to the gills with old 3.5″ floppy disks. Before I throw out the only machine in the room which can read floppy disks I thought it best to go through them. Nestling in the middle of the bunch were some old PC Format cover magazines. Including issue 8, from 1992. The featured game of the issue was Titus the Fox. I had to check it out.

Starting up the game, I was struck by the ghost. A hand reached out from 1991 and grabbed me. I was presented by the following message:

YEAA . . .
YOU ARE STILL PLAYING MOKTAR IN 2008 !!PROGRAMMED IN 1991 ON AT .286 12MHZ.. . . ENJOY MOKTAR ADVENTURE !!

It’s 2013, and I’m running a game from 1991. The forward looking developer of the game, Eric Zmiro had sent me a message.

NB: MOKTAR was the name for the original French language version of the game, it was renamed before launch in the English speaking markets.

Running old DOS games is possible on modern computers, but it isn’t easy. Especially with my setup. The only computer in the house with a floppy drive is an old Pentium 75 machine with 16 megs of RAM. Tiny by today’s standards, but more than enough for a game writing on a 286!. My machine boots into a FreeBSD installation I once placed on it back in 2004. It only supports serial port mice (and I don’t have one I do, it was just hidden under all the other old junk). So to get the cover disk working I had to do the following:

  1. Take a copy of the disk using the free BSD machine
  2. Copy the “copy” to a more modern machine
  3. Install DosBox
  4. Mount the directory location of the “copy”
  5. And then launch the game!

Yup, it took a while to get the game up and running – that might explain why while I now have an empty study, my newly arrived son’s bed room is new full of old computer gear.

It’s alive!

It’s not my video – but I can recommend watching it, it’s a lot easier than trying to resurrect the game..

Random Thoughts on the First Experience of Silicon Valley

Driving down the street passing by offices for most of the major players in my industry as just surreal: eBay, Intel, NVidia, BroadCom.. even some new comers, Evernote.

I’ve heard Peter Day (BBC World Service Business podcast) talk about how important Silicon Valley is – but when you see these names and how close they are it really brings it home.

Knowing that staff from these companies socialise together and the mixing of ideas, insights, and concepts that come from that – well it is easy to understand why there are so many startups in this area.

But does that mean that the same success can’t be had else where ? Well no. But you can understand the advantages of being here, or at least visiting here would bring.

That doesn’t mean of course that all the ideas that come out of here are going to be great – I in particular think that google glasses concept is just nuts. If glasses were such a good idea, we wouldn’t have contact lenses, and hose people who didn’t need glasses would all be buying empty frames… But hey ho…

It is now time to head home. Honestly, it’s been educational and fun, but now it’s time to head back home and I’m looking forward to that too. I’m even looking forward to my long, and delayed JetBlue flight to JFK … once I get there I’m hoping to get some sleep or an hour or two before meeting my family and heading back to Dublin. It’s been two weeks without them – and I’ve really felt it. To most people the idea of a 7 hour flight with two babies, while tired yourself, wouldn’t seem like a good idea – but right now, it sounds like great craic!

But I do have to share my last bit of California wonder – I’m sitting here, in a bar, typing this on an iPhone via a bluetooth keyboard, while listening to music from my iPhone on some bluetooth headphones, and I’m bopping away in my seat – yet as I look up, i’m not drawing a single glance – which is impressive, given my big hair. Maybe there just a new definition of geek here in birth place of it all ?

Silicon Valley without the Silicon Connection

It’s ironic really. I’m in what could be considered one of the birth places of the modern Internet and yet I can’t get Internet access. As soon as I stepped off the plane, the data on my phone stopped working and it effectively became a dead weight in my pocket.

I’m in Silicon Valley on a work trip. The birth place of many of the Internet brands and names which we all know today. My hotel is a stones throw away from McAffee and Intel, with Google, Apple, and AMD just short drive.

Sure my hotel has WiFi and when I’m in the office the company has WiFi, but as soon as I step outside of these islands of connectivity I’m cut off from the internet and instantly geographically displaced. I’m pretty much lost. I find myself uncertain of my location and not entirely sure where I’m heading.

I learnt to map read when I was ten, I know I can do it. The problem is I don’t actually have a map. I don’t carry one anymore. I’ve come to rely on my mobile device to have the map for me, and when it doesn’t. I feel a bit like a floundering fish. This I can overcome, with some scribbled notes and a constant chanting of directions. “Out turn left, third on the right” (repeat).

But what really irks, what stings, is being instantly cut off from family and friends. Most of my communication now happens over a data connection. From Viber and WhatsApp (I’ve both) to Skype messages, email, Twitter, FaceBook and FaceTime – it all goes via data. When the data stops it goes silent very quickly. I’m instantly on my own.

Running the numbers
I’ve started looking at ways to solve this problem, to obtain mobile internet. At home my typical mobile data usage is roughly 4 gigbytes a month, I use it alot – from podcast and streaming using to video calls. I’m in the US for roughly 3 weeks which translates to roughly 3 gigabytes of data or 3072 megabytes.

Turing on my data here in the US isn’t an option. While travelling in the US it costs me €5.08 or $6.67(USD) a megabyte. Turning that into real money – that’s €15,605.76 or $20,490.24 (USD) for my normal data usage! – My eyes watered just writing that.

So what are the options?
My mobile phone is locked to my Irish carrier (3 Ireland), so I can’t swap the sim-card. But what would work would be a mobile wifi hotspot or MiFi as they are known.

One of the best options around at the moment is FreedomPop. It’s a 4g WiFi converter (MiFi) which you can carry with you. It’ll provide a WiFi access which would allow me to connect my mobile device to it. More importantly they provide 3 gigbytes of data as free for the first month when you sign up. It sounds ideal.

I’d love to borrow one for the time I’m here. I’d even pay for the rental of it and return it at the end of the trip. There were be little point in taking it back to Ireland – I couldn’t use it, and to top it all off I only stumbled across FreedomPop on my last week here.