Weekend takeaway: 10 tech stories you need to read right now

28 Nov 2014

To whet your Black Friday appetites, 10 nuggets of knowledge, including the Taoiseach learns to code, Irish start-up’s treatment for Ebola, and extra-special tech gifts for Christmas.

1. ‘Coding is learning to write for the future,’ says Taoiseach (video)

Following an hour-long lesson in coding with Europe’s Digital Girl of the Year Lauren Boyle in Dublin on Thursday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, has noted its importance in the future of education.

Founder of the Excited digital learning movement, Ciarán Cannon, TD, claims Kenny is the first head of state anywhere in the world to take part in the Hour of Code, a one-hour introduction to computer programming.

“More than learning to write with the pen, this is learning to write for the future here,” said Kenny following his lesson with 10-year-old coder Lauren.

2. 90,000 messages to Mars to be beamed to celebrate 50 years of exploring Mars

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the launch of US space agency NASA’s Mariner 4 mission, the first probe sent to Mars, a space funding company is to send nearly 90,000 messages to the planet.

3. Irish start-up Hemanua invents treatment for Ebola virus

A treatment for the Ebola virus by a Dublin start-up called Hemanua that relies on gravity rather than electricity is in the advanced stages of testing in collaboration with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service.

4. A guide to extra-special tech gifts for Christmas

There are some people in our lives we really want to spoil at Christmas, so here are some extra-special indulgent gift ideas to inspire you.

5. Action Plan for Jobs behind 80,000 extra positions in Ireland – Minister Bruton

The latest Central Statistics Office figures show 80,000 additional people have been employed in Ireland since the first quarter of 2012, when the Government launched the Action Plan for Jobs.

6. iPhone 6 Plus release has led to a reduction in iPad use – report

The release of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus has caused a migration away from the iPad tablet as owners use the 5.5-inch device to consume more media than any previous version of the smartphone.

7. New M50 app ensures drivers won’t forget to pay their toll

Motorway tolls are bad enough but the tension when you receive a bill or a summons for non-payment can take a toll on your nerves. All is about to change thanks to a new M50 app.

8. Who is winning the social wars? Snapchat vs Facebook (infographic)

In the war for hearts, likes, mobiles and selfies, the real battle in the social media sphere is taking place between the rising Snapchat and the incumbent Facebook.

9. World’s online population now surpasses 3bn people

More than 3bn people on Earth are now online and by the end of 2014 there will be some 7bn mobile connections on the planet, according to the ITU’s latest Measuring the Information Society report.

10. Equine tech start-up off the starting line with €550,000 seed funding

Equilume, an Irish equine technology start-up, has secured €550,000 in seed funding to expand its Light Mask product to the international market that will assist horse breeders in more efficient reproduction.

Fish and chips image via Shutterstock

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