QTales Launches Platform for Authoring and Curating Interactive Ebooks for Kids

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QTales, a project to develop a collaborative ecosystem for European SMEs to create and exchange multi-plot interactive ebooks/multimedia apps for children, has recently released a new version of its QTales social platform for ebook co-authoring at qtales.com.

The QTales project began in early 2015, and was established to build a set of multi-platform editing/authoring tools along with players for interactive ebooks developed using the QTales framework. QTales has been designed with young creators in mind, allowing them to foray into a creative domain typically dominated by adults.

“The QTales platform is a great opportunity for young authors, illustrators, etc., to promote themselves and their work,” according to QTales Project Manager Delia Petacchi from Forma Camera, an Italian partner in the project.

After signing up for QTales at qtales.com, users begin by creating a new ebook and then editing it in the QTales authoring application (also downloadable for Windows and Mac), adding various multimedia elements including images, audio, mini games and more for a more captive interactive experience. Users can then choose to submit their ebooks for further curation, inviting those with complementary skills to enhance their ebook further.

“QTales is not [just] another social platform, it is a social platform for professionals who wish to join a new era for the traditional second generation book industry,” said Constantine Abazis, Chief Project Manager with Publisto in Greece.

The eventual aim is to establish QTales as a known brand for next generation ebook production within the European publishing industry. The ebooks can be interacted with using a set of easy-to-use QTales players for popular mobile devices and operating systems.

Dr Tony Hall, Lecturer in Educational Technology at NUI Galway, highlighted the importance of QTales for both literacy and creativity: “QTales will support children’s literacy and reading development, by encouraging them and supporting them in the development of ebooks, authoring them and sharing them through the QTales portal.”

The authoring portal is at qtales.com. QTales is funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme (ICT-18-2014 645588), and will produce its final version of the QTales platform this summer. You can find out more about QTales in this recent video on YouTube or by visiting the project site.

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The Yield Lab Announces the Launch of the Yield Lab Galway

Agri Tech Conference at The Portershed, Galway, IRL. Photograph by David Ruffles

Thad Simons (Managing Director, The Yield Lab) makes the announcement at the Agriculture Technology and Innovation Seminar in the PorterShed (photo by David Ruffles).

The Yield Lab, the United States’ first food and agriculture technology (AgTech) business accelerator, announced the launch of the Yield Lab Galway, in the PorterShed on Friday, 15 July. The Yield Lab Galway is a food and AgTech venture fund and business accelerator, located in Galway, Ireland. The Yield Lab Galway is a significant boost to the investment opportunities available to emerging AgTech and agriculture innovation spinouts and startups from Galway.

The Yield Lab is an early-stage venture fund and business accelerator that invests $100,000 in early-stage food and AgTech startups, provides one-on-one mentorship, free workspace, and networking opportunities supported by agriculture-focused organisations and businesses from the St. Louis region.

Agriculture is a leading industry in the US Midwest, with extensive business connections to the St. Louis region and beyond. The diversity, central location, and solid business community support makes the St. Louis region a leading market for AgTech expansion. St. Louis is a sister city with Galway, which has an emerging and vibrant agriculture innovation system.

“We believe finding innovative solutions to sustainably feed the world’s rapidly growing population is the biggest problem facing humankind today,” said Yield Lab Managing Director Thad Simons. “The launch of the Yield Lab Galway is the appropriate next step and will provide greater access to financial and strategic opportunities for both our St. Louis- and Galway-based investments.”

The Yield Lab Galway has been established on the same building blocks and strategy of sourcing, transacting, and mentoring as the Yield Lab in St. Louis. The fund plans to invest in 8-12 companies over the next two years. Each Galway-based food and AgTech startup will receive up to €100,000 and participate in a twelve-month accelerator program.

Professor Charles Spillane, Head of the Plant & AgriBiosciences Research Centre (PABC) at NUI Galway highlighted that: “The Yield Lab’s establishment of its first European base in Galway is extremely exciting for the translation of agriculture research activities into agriculture innovations and AgTech startup companies. The multi-disciplinary PABC looks forward to collaborating and working closely with the Yield Lab Galway as one of its key investment and startup partners. The sustainable intensification challenges facing the agriculture and food sector in Ireland, and internationally, present opportunities and necessities for the development of disruptive agriculture innovations that the Yield Lab can foster.”

Dr John Breslin, one of the founders of the PorterShed and a PABC Principal Investigator, highlighted significant synergies between the Yield Lab and the NUI Galway AgTechInnovate program which he leads.

He indicated that: “AgTechInnovate is a new Fellowship Programme from NUI Galway which aims to create interdisciplinary teams of technology entrepreneurs (“techpreneurs”) who are embedded in a particular domain for 6-8 weeks to identify real needs, following which they invent, implement and iterate solutions. In the case of AgTechInnovate, this would be in an agricultural environment, with our initial plans to immerse the 2016 AgTechInnovate team in 10 large dairy farms.

“Spinouts emerging from AgTechInnovate will have the opportunity to pitch to the local Yield Lab Galway for investment. The establishment of Yield Lab Galway will further strengthen the agriculture innovation ecosystem in the West of Ireland, which includes the NUI Galway PABC, Teagasc Athenry, Mountbellew Agricultural College, GMIT and agriculture innovators like JFC, Food 360 and McHale.”

“AgTech companies work in a global economy and our goal is to build a bridge to St. Louis for Irish AgTech companies looking for a US footprint,” said Joe Reagan, President & CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “In St. Louis, we are focused on supporting entrepreneurs and innovators, and our economic development strategies in the 21st Century must be bold and innovative as well.” The St. Louis Regional Chamber has made a founding investment in the Yield Lab Galway from its Spirit of St. Louis Ventures fund, which has previously made founding investments in five early-stage business accelerators as part of a comprehensive strategy to support the formation of early-stage capital and to support entrepreneurs.

Galway was the obvious choice for the Yield Lab to establish a European footprint due to the strong relationship as a sister city with St. Louis. It also offers a number of regional resources such as the multi-disciplinary NUI Galway PABC, GMIT, Teagasc Athenry, Mountbellew Agricultural College and a central location to the vast agricultural production systems of the west of Ireland. Galway has built itself into an entrepreneurial stronghold, boasting a thriving technology park and growing support ecosystem for innovators.

Cultivation Capital has developed a significant interest in agricultural technologies,” said General Partner Rick Holton. “The Yield Lab has provided us with valuable insight into their portfolio companies that has consistently presented Cultivation with the opportunity to capitalize on promising investments. This was the value proposition that led us to invest in St. Louis, and this is why we are investing in Galway.”

“The new Yield Lab partnership enables a two-way street of economic activity between St. Louis and Galway. The growing Yield Lab portfolio in both regions will now have overseas networks to leverage. The Yield Lab Galway portfolio companies will attend a programming session in St. Louis to provide them with opportunities to access US markets and alternative sources of capital, and the Yield Lab St. Louis companies will be encouraged to leverage the resources unique to Galway. This marks a critical milestone for the St. Louis entrepreneurial and economic ecosystem. This bridge of economic activity with Galway should bring further opportunities for St. Louis.” said Sheila Sweeney, CEO of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.

Congregating in Cong

Reflecting on Congregation14 which took place last week in Cong on the Galway/Mayo border in the west of Ireland it was clear that social media can no long be considered a passing fad but now needs to be treated as an integral part of any public activity whether it be commercial or institutional.

Interestingly, social media’s amorphous ability to adapt to the various aspects and facets that are constituted in the different needs of different organisations preclude anybody from calling themselves a social media expert. There is just too much going on over too many time frames for any one person to claim omniscience.

Hence the need for something like Congregation 14, now in its second year and organised by Eoin Kennedy, @eoink. Admittance is by submission of a blog post which is later collated with other participant’s blogs into an e-book. The submitted blog can also constitute the thoughts of a talk that a participant may use to give a talk or they may talk on another subject entirely. You can, of course, choose not to give a talk but even the most taciturn amongst will find themselves engaged in the subsequent conversation.

Attendees gathered at the Crowe’s Nest and were assigned their huddles for the day. These huddles were small groups of four to eight people of which at least two people were to give a small talk.

The huddles take place in various locales around Cong which since it was Cong means there was a very short walk between any two places. My first huddle took place at Pat Cohan’s.

Eoin Mulvilhill, @eoinmulvihill, spoke about how Twitter, and social media in general, was both under-used and misused in Ireland’s last presidential election. Social media is all about engagement through conversation but all of the contestants had used it as if it was an old-fashioned uni-directional broadcasting service.

Roseanne Smith, @enormous then gave an informative talk about pimping up WordPress through the use of plug-ins. Technology Voice runs on Drupal but I have an old legacy online CV site that runs on WordPress that I rarely ever look at. Her talk gave me a couple of ideas which in turn has given me the impetus to go back and brush the cobwebs off the site and see what I can do with the presentation.

After a light lunch came the afternoon sessions. My new huddle location was Danagher’s hotel. Bernard Goldbach, @topgold, gave us a detailed rundown on how he handles his social media firehose. There is no standard management technique as tools have to address needs. While some of what he does is not applicable to my circumstances other parts were.

One unexpected insight from the day was a distinct sense that that the fortunes of the Irish economy might have turned. I heard a lot about how institutions such as An Garda Siochåna, @GardaTraffic, and other large companies interacted with the public. But I also heard about how companies, particularly those in the construction sector, were thinking of using social media to find qualified people for possible upcoming positions. It seems social media, particularly Linkedin, is invaluable in establishing who the right workers are, where they are and what they are doing.

Even having spent an entire day at Cong14 I had not been to all the huddle locations nor had I met all my fellow attendees. Still, there is always next year. If I do go I will definitely have a talk prepared. Like so much else the more you put into these things the more you (and hopefully others) get out of it.

Episode 14 – Dublin Web Summit & Entrepreneurship in Ireland

00:00 Intro Music “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar
00:11 Intro by John Breslin @johnbreslin, Marie Boran @PixievVonDust, Jack Harty, Andrii Degeler @shlema, Tom Murphy @tom_murphy
00:01 Shout outs:
Irish Executive Mentoring Program http://www.iemp.org
FlirtFM http://flirtfm.ie
01:37 News Section:
01:45 Dublin Web Summit http://websummit.net
03:17 Jay Bregman on Drones @jaybregman Ireland well poised to be a leader in Drone tech – discussion.
06:44 Driverless Cars – piloted cars discussion.
08:44 Amendments to Article 8 and Article 39 of 1968 Convention on Road Traffic http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/doc/2014/wp1/ECE-TRANS-WP1-145e.pdf Annex Page 9.
09:44 Audi Pilotless cars Andreas Reich – Head of Electronic Predevelopment http://blog.websummit.net/audi-web-summit-2014/ discussion.
13:30 Wearable fitness devices are not used over the long term. http://fortune.com/2014/05/08/fitness-trackers-are-on-the-outs-but-wearables-are-not/
19:30 Walkmeter https://abvio.com/walkmeter/
20:25 Jawbone Up https://jawbone.com/up
20:32 Fitbit Flex http://www.fitbit.com/flex
20:44 StepTracker https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/steptracker-fitness-pedometer/id714439468?mt=8
21:05 FuelBand http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/nikeplus-fuelband
22:30 Propeller Health http://propellerhealth.com/solutions/
23:00 Tech Finance:
Jack Harty discusses the National Policy Statement on Entrepreneurship in Ireland http://www.enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/National%20Policy%20Statement%20on%20Entrepreneurship%20in%20Ireland.pdf
30:33 #DigiWomen http://digi-women.com
50:07 Cool Tech:
50;15 Microsoft Band http://www.microsoft.com/microsoft-band/en-us
56:11 Amazon Echo http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo/ref_=ods_dp_ae
57:25 i3 BMW Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwi10ZCXRrA&spfreload=10&channel=technologyvoice
57:34 Onyx Walkie Talkie by OnBeep http://www.onbeep.com/order/onyx
58:57 Wrap Up
59:25 End of speech portion.
Outro music “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar
60:00 End

Top Software Testing Conference Comes to Dublin: We Have Three One-Day Tickets!

Europe’s software testing community will descend on Ireland’s capital at the end of the month for what is Europe’s leading software testing conference and exhibition. The EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference 2014 will be held in the Convention Centre Dublin from 24th to 27th November, and we are delighted to be able to offer one-day tickets to three lucky winners of our competition.

Organised from their headquarters in Galway, the annual EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference has been running now for over 20 years, and is recognised as the premier event for software testing professionals who wish to both learn and network over the four days.

The first day consists entirely of full-day tutorials, followed by half-day tutorials during the first half of the second day, with the conference itself running from the middle of that second day until lunchtime on the fourth day. The afternoon of the final day consists of a set of active workshops.

Over 40 session tracks will be run during the conference in Dublin, including sessions on: Agile Testing; Test Strategy; Big Data; Mobile Testing; Security Testing; Test Automation; Test Design; and Test Management.

The conference will also feature keynote talks from some renowned world leaders in software testing: Andy Stanford-Clark from IBM Global Business Services; Rob Lambert from New Voice Media; Isabel Evans from Dolphin Computer Access; Julian Harty, an independent consultant; Daniel Maslyn from Sogeti; and Zeger van Hese from Z-Sharp.

The event includes a well-established interactive exhibition where companies can show off their wares and innovations. Companies at this expo include SmartBear, HP, Applause and Accenture. The exhibition will also include a “Test Lab” live testing environment where conference attendees can demonstrate their software testing prowess and learn from the experts.

All-in-all, the event is a must for IT companies who want to learn about the latest developments in the global software testing industry, as well as providing maximum opportunity to network with over 1,000 software testing professionals – from not just Europe but from all over the world – at the social events in Croke Park and Trinity College Dublin.

In conjunction with EuroSTAR, we are delighted to run a competition for three one-day tickets to the event. Simply click on this link to tweet out your entry to be in with a chance of winning: I want to win a ticket for the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference 2014 with @technologyvoice @esconfs #esconfs.

For more details on the EuroSTAR Software Testing Conference’s programme for 2014, simply go to conference.eurostarsoftwaretesting.com.

Social Fresh Conference WEST 2014 in San Diego

Did you want to attend the Social Fresh Conference in San Diego, called the “top social media marketing conference” in the world, but couldn’t find a direct flight on Aer Lingus?

You still have time to sign up and plan your holiday (err, business meeting) to San Diego. Tickets are available at the Social Fresh Conference website. They even have a template email/letter that you can use for requesting time off from your boss!

But if you can’t make the trip, don’t fret. Ted Vickey, our very own west coast columnist for Technology Voice, will be attending from 28th-30th October and live tweeting during the event.

The Social Fresh Conference is targeted at marketing professionals and has a focus on useful and practical presentations with takeaways that can be used immediately to yield business results. Attendees are typically marketers who are using social media to build their business, in all types of domains and in all sizes of company.

Most attendees work in social media as community managers, communications and marketing specialists, content marketers, designers, executives, account team members, business managers, and consultants.

For a complete list of the speakers that Ted will be live tweeting, visit the website, and don’t forget to also follow @technologyvoice and @tedvickey on Twitter.

You may also want to visit the Social Fresh social media blog and sign up for their weekly social media tips newsletter for social marketing tips, tricks and tactics to help you better use social media for yourself.

(One of Ted’s favourites is the blog post entitled “How my Blog Helped Me Meet Princesses, Talk to Billionaires and Make a Few Million Bucks“.)

Podcast – Episode 13

00:00 Music Intro: “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar
00:12 Introductions by John Breslin @johnbreslin, Tom Murphy @tom_murphy, Jack Harty Linkedin ie.linkedin.com/pub/jack-harty/15/92b/1b9, Fergal Gallagher @gallagherfergal, Tara Dalrymple @missionpossirl
01:05 Acknowldgements
01:10 Clearbookings.com Events booking service.
01:20 http://www.ispeakenglish.me I Speak English: Graphic Design Solutions
02:00 Flirtfm.ie The kind providers of our studio time.
02:17 Technology News:
Internet of Things to Grow to $8BN – http://www.businessinsider.com/the-internet-of-everything-2014-slide-deck-sai-2014-2?op=1
07:40 Alibaba – World’s Biggest IPO http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/22/us-alibaba-ipo-value-idUSKCN0HH0A620140922
13:25 Apple’s Irish Tax Dealings http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/09/30/us-apple-ireland-tax-idUSKCN0HP0QT20140930
18:04 Trend of VCs Having Design Directors http://www.fastcodesign.com/3029639/innovation-by-design/why-vc-firms-are-snapping-up-designers
21:47 Peter Thiel Review of “Zero to One”http://zerotoonebook.com
32:15 Tara Dalrymple – Mission Possible http://www.mission-possible.busylizzie.ie/MissionPossible/
35:14 Tech Finance with Jack Harty – Apple and All Their Money http://biz.yahoo.com/e/131030/aapl10-k.html
38:38 Interview: Fergal Gallagher talks to Stephen Mullan VP Emerging Business, East Coast, US, IDA Ireland https://www.linkedin.com/pub/stephen-mullan/29/43b/6b6
44:32 Cool Tech:
Nixie – Wearable Camera http://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/nixie-wearable-flies-wrist
46:22 Nymie – Heart Rate ID http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/bionym-wearable-uses-heart-rate-for-id/
47:43 Outro
48:22 End Speech
52:05 End Music: “Alone But Not Lonely” by Stefan Ternemar