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Video Game Developers To Showcase Skills On TUS Thurles Campus.

  • Video game developers to showcase skills at 21st All Ireland Games Fleadh on the TUS Thurles Campus during 2024 Games Fleadh.
  • Games Fleadh 2024 open to the public for free. Online registration is available at www.gamesfleadh.ie.
  • Unique insights being offered into this €165-billion euro industry; to all/any visiting second and third-level students.
  • Games Fleadh 2024 is sponsored by TUS, EA and FiServ.

Students with ambitions in the gaming industry will get a unique insight into the €165 billion industry and access to some of the world’s most successful gaming companies and representative bodies at this year’s All Ireland Games Fleadh in the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Thurles Campus on Wednesday March 6, 2024.

Games Fleadh Mascots pictured with Dr Liam Noonan, TUS and James Fogarty, TUS.
Pic: Alan Place

In its 21st year, Games Fleadh continues to lead the way in recognising the brightest and best among the country’s university student game developers, while also bringing together the collective knowledge of some of the leading names in the gaming industry.

Up to 1,400 students have competed in the competition since its inception, according to the event organiser Dr Liam Noonan (TUS Software Development and Games Programming Lecturer).

As well as being a hotly contested competition, Games Fleadh is a unique opportunity for third level students to demonstrate their games to industry veterans and gain valuable feedback on their creations,” said Dr Noonan, explaining that some of the country’s leading software developers and international gaming companies will be in attendance once again.
Games Fleadh 2024 features competitions such as a Game Studio ‘Start with Nothing’ themed competition and Robocode. Competitors will be in with a chance to win one of the many EA title prizes available.

Every year this free event, which is open to the public, also attracts second level students from all over Ireland with an interest in studying Computer Science or a future career in this competitive industry.

“The video games market is larger than the music and movie business combined, with revenues recently surpassing 180 billion dollars (approximately €165 billion) as reported by UK-based market intelligence firm Pelham Smithers. Games Fleadh continues to be a fantastic networking opportunity for the Irish game development sector. We believe that it also offers a fantastic networking opportunity for teachers to engage with third level institutions and explore best practice in teaching coding concepts,” added Dr Noonan.

Dr. Janice O’Connell (Head of Department of Information Technology at TUS) said, “The Games Fleadh is a fantastic event which integrates multiple different aspects of IT, innovation and creativity. Through the originality and imagination of Games, this unique event brings together industry, academia, current students, and future students. Special thanks to all our industry partners for their continued support, to the participants, and the staff in Thurles for making this event possible. Sincere thanks to Dr. Liam Noonan, who champions Games Fleadh every year.”

NOTE: The TUS Thurles Co. Tipperary Campus caters for students studying for qualifications in Applied Sports Science, Agricultural Science and Environmental Science, Business, Social Care Work, and Games Design.

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Free Talk on Kids, Teens and Screen Time Challenges.

Tomorrow, Tuesday February 6th, 2024, is ‘Safer Internet Day’.

Safer Internet Day (SID) is an EU wide initiative to promote a safer internet for all users, especially young people. Webwise is the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre, funded by the Department of Education and co-funded by the European Commission. They provide excellent information and support for parents on how to promote safer internet use, so do visit HERE.

Another helpful site can be viewed HERE, which provides up-to-date information on movies, apps, podcasts, games and other media aimed at kids.

Please watch the YouTube video hereunder, for a previous talk given by Avril Ronan on Gaming Safety and Kids.

For Safer Internet Day 2024, Avril Ronan, from Trend Micro (a global cybersecurity leader), is offering a free webinar for parents, teachers and other adults working with young people, on ‘Let’s Talk Kids, Teens and Screen Time Challenges’.

Her talk will explore the screen time battles and challenges faced by so many parents today and it will offer practical advice, top tips, and a question and answer session.

This event is totally free and takes place on Tuesday 7th February 2024 at 7:00pm. It will last approximately 1 hour followed by 30 minutes of question and answer time. You can register to attend this Zoom webinar from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Android device: https://www.trendmicro.com/internet-safety/eventsie. [Please note also that Irish Sign language interpreters will sign at this event.]

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Keep Your Money Safe This Festive Season.

The Allied Irish Bank Fraud Prevention Unit (Mr Tom Mullen) points to the ‘Seven Deadly Scams currently known to be in operation during this festive Xmas season; warning that criminals don’t take holidays and are finding smarter ways to steal your money.

Hereunder, the Allied Irish Bank Fraud Prevention Unit point out just seven of the ways to avoid being scammed this Xmas holiday period.

Being bombarded with texts containing links?
Don’t click on that link. Take a moment and ask yourself does this seem legitimate. If in doubt, contact the sender on a verified number to check its legitimacy.

Taxi collecting your card?
AIB will never send a taxi or courier to collect your physical card, PIN, or any security details. Always keep these details in your possession.

Offer to fix your PC?
A helpful caller wants to fix broadband or account issues or give you a refund, but needs to take control of your device. Stop. Do not download software or applications (apps) that can allow a scammer access to your personal device. Never provide one time pass codes or card reader codes to any cold caller.

Investment Opportunity too good to be true?
Then it generally is just that. Be cautious of ads advertising high returns on investments. Make sure that you’re dealing with the real provider. Always verify the provider is regulated and seek independent financial advice before parting with your money.

Checking in on your accounts?
Always login to your account by using our website at AIB.ie or by using our secure Mobile App on your phone. Browsing the internet for login pages can be unsafe and may result in you landing on non-AIB sites.

Security Codes being requested?
Always be cautious when providing codes from your AIB security device. Be familiar with when these are required. Do not provide extra codes when requested out of the blue.

Received an email with payment instructions?
Never make a payment on the back of an email instruction. Verbally confirm the details with the sender on a known and trusted contact number.

Please do discuss the above information with elderly parents, relatives and friends who, because of age, may not be fully IT literate.

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Email Data No Longer Safe With Website Temu.

If you are a frequent online shopper, there is every chance that you’ve come across a site called Temu. It’s a Chinese-owned digital marketplace.
Customer who have purchased items from the Temu Ireland website, should not be surprised if they get an image shown below in their Email accounts.


First note the picture above and also retain in your memory that something which views as too good to be true, most likely is untrue; note: Temu do not send Mystery Boxes to their customers.

This is a Spam Text Message and Phishing at its very best, attempting to seeking personal detail and on no account should you click on the links requested on every line of the notification.

In yet another picture, shown immediately above, you will be asked to unsubscribe. Should you attempt to do so you will again be asked for personal details, so refrain from doing so.

Today, we contacted Temu [help@support.temu.com], re. the hacking of email data on their website and received the following reply in the form of a rather ‘limp apology’.

A portion of their reply message read: [Temu Ticket 1699871874096499]
“Thank you for contacting the Temu Customer Service Team.
We care deeply about privacy and data protection. We strictly abide to our Privacy and Cookies Policy. We believe in transparency and are committed to keeping your information safe.
From the picture information you provided. After verification, this is indeed not an official website and our team is currently taking necessary measures to resolve the issue.

We have already filed a complaint to the Message publishing platform.”

But of course they have failed to kept personal email data/information safe, as proven by the images shown above. They now join the ranks of Adobe, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, to name but a few, who in the past have each allowed Email addresses, Employers, Geographic locations, Job titles, Names, and Social media profile data to be compromised.

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Are Smartphones A Smart Choice For Our Children?

Fianna Fáil Minister for Education Ms Norma Foley TD, has announced that she is bringing a policy to Cabinet that will support parents not to buy ‘Smartphones’ for primary school children. Many in society will welcome this move, given mounting evidence that so called “Smartphones” are NOT a smart choice for our children.

The term ‘Smartphone’ refers to the now ubiquitous touchscreen phone that is so ‘smart’ it can perform any number of diverse functions; including stream movies, access the internet, email, access social media, take high quality video and photos, pay your bills and show you how to get from ‘A‘ to ‘B’ with built-in satellite navigation tools. Indeed, the potential of smartphones is unlimited given their ability to download applications (apps) for just about anything.

Despite their benefits and utility, increasingly, scientists, educationalists and parents are highlighting that they have the capacity to cause real harm, when put into the hands of children and teenagers (and some adults too). Smartphones enable unlimited access to social media platforms with multiple studies highlighting links between social media and increased levels of anxiety, depression and bullying.
Dove recently launched its “Cost of Beauty” campaign, and a short film, that is a stark warning to all parents about the devastating impact various platforms can have on young minds when these platforms enable them (and some would argue encourage them) to scroll through thousands of images of impossible beauty standards.

We are repeatedly warned of the dangers of excessive screen time and with apps purposely designed to keep users online and engaged, it’s impossible for adults, let alone young minds, to get offline. As well as spending too much time online, smartphones enable anyone to access anything online. You may think “that’s fine my kids only watch YouTube and Tiktoks”, but even these familiar apps can lead children to dark and strange content.

Please do take the time to watch, to the very end; this ‘Ted Talk’ video, shown immediately hereunder:

As well as the dangers of social media, screen time and exposure to inappropriate content, smartphones and apps are potentially invading our privacy. Our actions are constantly monitored and our data used and misused. It’s worth watching the documentary “The Social Dilemma” to get an insight into this area of danger.

Less dangerous, but troubling all the same, are the warnings about smartphones and the damage they are doing to our intelligence and creativity. We never get bored, never need to remember anything and never experience quiet solitude when in the presence of our smartphones.

Boredom and offline time is essential to learning, imagination and creativity. Indeed, back in 2018 “The Times” published an article entitled “Why the Silicon Valley titans who got our kids addicted to screens are sending their own children to tech-free schools”. Why? The Silicon Valley titans know the value of tech free time, hands-on learning, boredom, imagination and creativity and they want this, not their high tech, for their kids. It is even said that Steve Jobs, creator of the iPhone and iPad, did not allow his own children to use the very devices he created.

Many parents get their child a smartphone for understandable reasons. They want to be able, for example, to contact their child about ever changing after school activities, sports matches or visits with friends. This is important but you don’t need a smartphone to achieve this.

All you need for children is what’s known as a “dumb phone”, [View here for “dumb phone” ]. Dumb phones are so-called because their functions are limited. All you can do is make a call, receive a call and send and receive texts (some readers may remember these prehistoric devices). With all the negatives associated with smartphones these days, maybe “dumb phones” aren’t that dumb after all.

And whilst politicians don’t always get things right (“Do they ever”, I hear some of you say), Minister Norma Foley may be making a ‘smart’ move/decision here, and if her advice is followed, one that will really benefit our children into the future.

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