Weekend news roundup: Wi-Fi for Dublin parks, Bono Yelps

5 Mar 2012

A roundup of some of the weekend newspapers’ tech coverage, including another beautiful payday for Bono as a result of Yelp’s IPO and very soon Wi-Fi may blanket Dublin parks.

Wi-Fi for Dublin’s green areas gets greenlight

The Evening Herald reported Saturday that Dublin City Council is seeking a private operator to roll out free Wi-Fi in parks across the Irish capital.

Web browsing may become a regular activity in Dublin’s parks and green spaces after council management gave the green light to a Labour Party motion. Parks such as St Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square may be equipped with free internet facilities as early as July – a move that is tipped to boost visitor numbers in the capital.

The project would make Dublin the first Irish city to roll out a free Wi-Fi network.

As first revealed by the Herald, Labour Party councillor Oisin Quinn tabled a motion last month to roll out free Wi-Fi in the city.

It has now emerged that the plan has been given the green light by John Tierney – with councillors expected to formally pass the proposal this week.

Bono’s Yelp of delight

As well as a looming US$1bn payday for his venture capital firm Elevation Partners, U2 lead singer Bono was celebrating on the stock markets again last week as a second major investment in a technology firm paid off, the Irish Independent reported.

Bono’s investment company Elevation Partners paid $95m (€70m) for a 22pc stake in website Yelp just two years ago.

When the company floated on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, the shares soared 60pc and by the end of the day the €70m investment was worth a staggering €235m – a paper profit of €165m.

Preserving the 20th century

The New York Times carried an interesting story about efforts to protect the 20th century’s knowledge in the event of a digital disaster.

Forty-foot shipping containers stacked two by two are stuffed with the most enduring, as well as some of the most forgettable, books of the era. Every week, 20,000 new volumes arrive, many of them donations from libraries and universities thrilled to unload material that has no place in the Internet Age.

“We want to collect one copy of every book,” said Brewster Kahle, who has spent US$3m to buy and operate this repository situated just north of San Francisco. “You can never tell what is going to paint the portrait of a culture.”

Apple an employment powerhouse?

The San Jose Mercury News reported on claims by Apple that it has directly or indirectly created 514,000 jobs in the United States through its gadget ecosystem.

The company, which used data crunched from economists at the Analysis Group, placed the job creation in two categories.

The first comprised 304,000 jobs, including software engineers working at the Cupertino, California, company’s campus, workers in Texas who manufacture processors for Apple devices, Corning employees in Kentucky and New York who make glass for the iPhone, and United Parcel Service and FedEx workers who deliver its products to customers.

The second category comprised 210,000 independent app developer positions that exist as a result of the company’s iPhone and iPad devices. Separately, the company said it has generated more than US$4bn in business for developers who make apps for the iPhone and iPad.

“Throughout our history, Apple has created entirely new products – and entirely new industries – by focusing on innovation,” the company said on its website. “As a result, we’ve created or supported more than 500,000 jobs for US workers: from the engineer who helped invent the iPad to the delivery person who brings it to your door.”

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years