Alexa, tell me what changed your mind


We were given an Echo Dot for Christmas. And it’s just brilliant.

I have to admit I was pretty cynical – my principal experience with Apple’s voice activated “Siri” is that it doesn’t understand my accent (even though you can select an Irish voice for the output, forget about it for the input.)

But this is really great. It sits in the kitchen and has essentially replaced the digital radio and the fact that you can ask it (simple) things is a bonus.

One of the best things about it is that it allows me to spend 10 – 15 minutes listening to “Morning Ireland” on RTÉ Radio 1 every morning as I eat my toast – easy access to that perspective on world events (and on what the only country with a land border with the UK thinks about what is happening here) is a great thing to have.

Cannot recommend it highly enough.

Spangles Muldoon and the micro revolution


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Image by Paul Easton via Flickr

I am meant to be revising for my forthcoming exams but any act of procrastination or displacement is preferable to writing SQL queries – so I did some more digging on “Comp Shop” – and this is what I found out:

The store was set up by Chris Cary (pictured on left here) – perhaps more famous to many as Spangles Muldoon, his alter ego as a Radio Caroline DJ in the late 1960s (before going on “the great 208” at Radio Luxembourg). Spangles Muldoon appears to be something of a cult creation in the world of radio DJs – with Chris Moyles telling an Independent interviewer that it was his real name (the joke seemed to fly past the Independent).

After Comp Shop (or maybe during it) Cary went to Ireland, where he founded Radio Nova – the station that many seem to credit with revolutionising Irish radio. He also seems to have been involved in several stations in the UK.

Sadly he died, of a stroke, while (on holiday?) in Tenerife in 2008, aged just 61.

According to what I have read his interest in radio came from mucking about with electronics when younger and that would presumably fit with his role at Comp Shop too – where they not only marketed the UK101, they actively modified and improved on its design.