Archive for December, 2008

PuddleDucks Reviews with LouderVoice

I have done a bit of work on the blog today. I have selected a new design template and have added a new left sidebar where you can see a new area showing reviews taken from LouderVoice which have been tagged with “puddleducks”. 

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Reviews can now be added to LouderVoice by texting a review to 087-9409325 with “puddleducks” as the first word. You will then get a username and password texted back to you.  We hope this is just a first step in getting reviews of the PuddleDucks range more easily posted and more widely seen across the web.

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Happy Christmas from PuddleDucks

Happy Christmas from Aedan and Suzanne at PuddleDucks. We hope Santa has brought you all that you hoped for and that you have a lovely break and relaxing time with your families.

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Outliers and Munster Rugby

I am currently reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s a fascinating book. It has a byline of “The story of success” and investigates why successful people achieve so much more than others. Gladwell argues that circumstances can play just as important a role as talent.

In the first chapter he looks at the reasons why certain sports players are more successful than others. Is it all down to inate talent or are other factors just as important? An analysis of Canada’s top hockey players reveals that birthdate, more than any other factor, determines which teams and eventually which opportunities and what type of training players receive.  He found that seventeen of the twenty five players in the top Canadian team were born in January, February, March or April. This distribution is way outside the normal expected pattern.

Quoting here:

“The explanation for this is quite simple. It has nothing to do with astrology, nor is there anything magical about the first three months of the year. It’s simply that in Canada the eligibility cutoff for age-class hockey is January 1. A boy who turns ten on January 2, then, could be playing alongside a boy who doesn’t turn ten until the end of the year – and at that age, in preadolescence, a twelve month gap in age represents an enormous difference in physical maturity.”

 So I decided to look if this also holds for sport teams closer to home. I am a big fan of Munster Rugby so I looked at the birth dates of the 34 Irish raised players in the current Munster squad. I found a distribution completely different to the Canadian Hockey team. But again what I found was a very unequal distribution. And what I found was staggering. Only 18% of the players were born in the first six months of the year with 82%  born in the second six months. Did this completely contradict Gladwell’s theory? No. Because the eligibility cutoff for Irish underage rugby is July 1st. Looking at the breakdown of the birthdates, 7 players were born in July with only 1 born in June. No players at all were born in January with 8 players born in October.

Munster Rugby Team

Munster Rugby Team

So in underage rugby in Ireland, a player born in July is seen as more mature and co-ordinated than a player born in June (as he’s almost a year older). Because of this, he then gets chosen for the under-12’s or under-13’s and gets better coaching and he practices more and gets more confidence in his ability. At the younger age the advantage isn’t much but as time goes on the advantage increases and the players really are better.

I don’t know if there is a solution to this situation. I suppose there is a need of a cutoff at some fixed date sometime in the year. But what if the arbitrary cutoff date for underage rugby was January 1st and not July 1st. If this was the case, we would probably have a completely different makeup of the Munster team. The stars of the current team may not be playing rugby at all now, as their bigger and more coordinateted peers would have superseded them in the underage teams. And maybe men who now play at lower standard teams or do not play rugby at all would now be the stars of Munster rugby.

I find this really interesting. An arbitrary decision of a date in a rulebook has played a huge role in determining the life and career of the players and also in a way the life of the supporters. 

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Published by Allen Lane.

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Postcode a no-no for Irish shopping sites

Doing my Christmas Shopping. Online of course. I’m not really a shopping fan. I’d much rather a walk in the woods with the dogs than a trip down to the shopping centre. So buying online suits me perfectly. This Christmas I’m trying to shop locally and only use Irish-based sites, but am continuously finding one annoying feature.  The postcode / zip code issue.

shopping_cart

Why is it that an Irish website marketing itself primarily to the Irish market insists on a postcode. OK – have an option for one, sure. Just don’t insist on it.  One site lost my business because the delivery details page was so inflexible that I gave up.  Another at least let me put in a few 0000’s and allowed this so I did complete my order. But please, if the majority of your customers are from Ireland please make it easier for all of us and rewrite your postcode option.

— Suzanne

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Christmas Shopping at PuddleDucks

Just a quick reminder that you can shop at PuddleDucks until Thursday 18th December and still get your delivery to any address in Ireland before Christmas.

PuddleDucks Fleeces

PuddleDucks Fleeces

Our range of cosy and fun fleeces are proving to be very popular this year as Christmas gifts. You can see them all here.

Don’t forget we offer a gift wrapping service for a small cost (either €3 or €5). And gift vouchers are also available on the site.

And finally – if you join as a fan on our Facebook page you get free shipping on Christmas orders.

Happy Christmas from PuddleDucks!

— Aedan and Suzanne

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Positive Redundancy

I have written a guest post over at the RecruitIreland blog about my, mainly positive experiences after being made redundant last year. Thanks to Vicki from RecruitIreland for suggesting the idea of writing the post. You can read it in full here.

— Aedan

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Get Out and About this Weekend

It’s shaping up to be nice winter weather for the weekend – dry, and cold with sunny spells. Check out the latest forecast from Met Eireann here.

coillte

So why not leave the Christmas shopping behind for a while and get out and about in one of the Coillte Forest Parks. Here’s a list of them:

Ards Forest Park, Co. Donegal – details here

Avondale Forest Park, Co. Wicklow – details here

Curragh Chase Forest Park, Co. Limerick – details here

Donadea Forest Park, Co. Kildare – details here

Dun a Rí Forst Park, Co. Cavan – details here

Farran Forest Park, Co. Cork – details here

Guagan Barra Forest Park, Co. Cork – details here

Killykeen Forest Park, Co. Cavan – details here

Lough Key Forest Park, Co. Roscommon – details here

Rossmore Forest Park, Co. Monaghan – details here

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