Season’s greetings: Snuggle up with some great reads from Silicon Republic

24 Dec 2015

Curl up with some of’s must-read and must-watch content from 2015

If you’re lucky enough to be home for the holidays, settled by a roaring fire, why not snuggle up with and a selection of our highlights from 2015.

Whatever you’re into, I’m sure we’ve got something that can intrigue, enlighten or delight as you while away the winter hours.

Looking both ways

You can start by looking back on the year’s biggest newsmakers, or turn your thoughts ahead to next year with our editor John Kennedy’s predictions for what’s going to be taking over tech in 2016, or his selection of 20 Irish start-ups to watch.

Looking back on the year that has past, it has been an epic one for NASA, but Irish innovations have also had good innings. Just look at our calibre of entrants for the James Dyson Award if you’re in any doubt.

A sci-tech education

If your New Year’s resolution is to get to grips with STEM industries in Ireland, you might want to peruse Ireland’s Sci-Tech 100, a who’s who of science and technology leaders both in and from Ireland.

Some growing areas of interest for 2016 will be the emerging internet of things (IoT), data science, and fintech services and products. We’ve already taken note of who to know in IoT and fintech (even those whose names aren’t John or David) and, this year, we learned plenty of lessons from data.

We also gathered insights from leaders across the board, plus the top tips for ICT management in 2016.

Start-ups and budding entrepreneurs may find this list of funding sources is one worth bookmarking for the new year. You might also find wisdom in this interview with 500 Startups partner Marvin Liao – who doesn’t invest in PowerPoint start-ups – or any one of our Start-up Advice series.

Intriguing interviews

A lot of remarkable people have crossed our path this year, and some even stopped to chat.

Our CEO Ann O’Dea sat down with Richard Branson; sub-editor Brigid O Gorman discovered the Opsh founders’ plans for world domination; while our hard-working editor John Kennedy interviewed the young and ambitious CIO of the HSE, successful Kilkenny inventor Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh, the Irishman who helped build the internet, and the great-great-great-grandson of a key figure involved in laying the transatlantic cable.

Biodiversity enthusiast Gordon Hunt discussed the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park with wildlife biologist Doug Smith, as well as the the challenge of reversing the downward trend of tiger populations with WWF’s Mike Baltzer.

Meanwhile, space-mad Colm Gorey learned about Michael Tierney’s life as a NASA spacecraft software engineer, and spoke to Irishman Laurence O’Rourke about his role in the Rosetta mission.

Gorey also found out about the future of robotics from Dr Ayanna Howard while Hunt learned the importance of the general public’s understanding of crime scene investigations from Shivani Lamba, both of whom visited Dublin this year for HybridConf.

We were also delighted to not only interview EU Digital Girl of the Year Niamh Scanlon earlier this year but also to publish her writings on her experience as a coding mentor and Outbox Incubator executive. Scanlon’s is surely a rising star to watch in 2016 and beyond.

Guests of honour

Other outstanding contributions to this year came from a wide range of writers. Dublin Maker co-founder David McKeown gave us an insight into the maker’s mindset, InterTradeIreland’s Drew O’Sullivan delivered some home truths about the start-up landscape in Ireland, and Joseph O’Connor brought us to the start-up scene in Palestine.

We also got the fintech view from Hong Kong through James Lloyd, while author James Haycock gave us an insight on this industry from the UK perspective.

Get inspired by Inspirefest

If you didn’t make it to the inaugural Inspirefest in 2015 – or if you did and want to look back at some of the rousing discussions – sit back and watch our complete playlists of keynotes and panels from the event.

Get Ixia CEO Bethany Mayer’s 15 tips for the top, tune in to Brianna Wu’s empassioned speech on the games industry, and watch as Prof Susan McKenna Lawlor surprised us with plans for Ireland’s first space mission. There’s even a bitesize version if you’re tight on time between turkey. (And, if you find all that thoroughly inspiring, you may want to check out our competition to win tickets to Inspirefest 2016.)

Employers to watch

If you’re thinking of changing lanes next year, you may want to find out what the 10 hottest jobs of 2016 are going to be.

We’ve spent the year talking to tech employees from around the world who have moved to Ireland for work and, more recently, the émigrés who have returned home for job opportunities. We have visited sci-tech employers in Ireland for an inside look at these workplaces, and promise much more to come in 2016.

Phones and fun

One of the most common questions we are asked as tech journalists is ‘what smartphone is the best’? Well, why not judge for yourself from our tried and tested opinions on the year’s flagship releases.

If you’re happy with your smartphone and a spot of make and do is what you’re after, try your hand at turning this device into a 3D hologram projector. All you need is a CD jewel case and some standard craft supplies.

If none of the above is what you came here for, you could always just look at funny animal photos. Go on, sure it’s Christmas.

Christmas fire image via Shutterstock

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.