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Irish Geeks keep Focus with Charity Fundraiser

Posted by Declan McGrath on 20 December 2010.

What with all the furore around cyberhackers giving some of the world’s largest governments and companies the willies this week, you’d forgive non-techies for running hysterically in the other direction at the sight of someone whipping out a laptop beside them in the cafe. Thankfully, not all us geeks are quite so malevolent, a fact highlighted at a charity night organised by geeks in aid of Focus Ireland in Dublin this week.

The Pub Quiz for Techies that Wanna Read Real Good and Do Other Stuff Real Good Too was the name of the event (inspired by the school at the end of the Ben Stiller’s comedy classic, Zoolander). It lined up techies from around Ireland, who fancied their chances at being crowned Geek Champions, while helping to raise hundreds of euro for the good work that Focus Ireland do. It all went down at Karma Stone bar last Tuesday Dec 19th, with various flavours of geek in toe - system administrators who fight the daily battle to keep the online world up and running each day, coders that chip away producing the next Facebook (or the next Github if you’re even cooler!)  and general tech enthusiasts.

This seemingly random hodge-podge of individuals have helped make the Irish tech scene one of the most vibrant to be found anywhere. With a recent trend towards open technologies, many of the latest and greatest things have arisen from developers working together openly on code - commonly outside of company or organisational boundaries. And as Ireland looks to drag itself back into the big time economically these tip top techies are having some of the greatest influence in our emerging tech companies and Internet advancements. Which brings us nicely back to question one of the pub quiz - who invented the Internet?

The answer, Tim-Berners Lee, was about the only easy one to be had on the night. After five brutally punishing rounds, the winner was announced. However, there was twist in the plot when that winning team - Python Ireland’s confidently titled entrants “It’s A Winner” - contested that they were unfairly awarded a point, bringing them into deadlock with their nearest competitors. Now that’s sportsmanship for you! Take note Sepp Blatter!

Despite immediate calls for a Zoolander style ‘walk off’, and a one point a cage fight, the evening was to be decided by a tie breaker. After a few false starts, dramatic pauses and heckling, The Geek Girls finally emerged the winners (who ironically fielded one of the hairiest men in the competition). The Pythonistas did go on to scoop the Fabulous Fair Play award for their sheer unselfishness!

Supporting the event were a host of sponsors including Apress, Blacknight, Jolt Online Gaming, Microsoft Ireland, NCI, O’Reilly, Python Ireland and Ruby Ireland. And, very impressively, the Karma Stone Bar weighed in by putting up the venue and food for free.

And with that, the Irish Open Source community had restored the good name of geeks everywhere! Thanks to everyone who showed up and made it a super event, the sponsors and fellow organisers Vicky and Michael Twomey-Lee from Python Ireland, Andrea Magnorsky from Dublin ALT.NET, Jeffrey Roe from TOG.ie (the Dublin Hackerspace) and last, but certainly not least, Mike O’Donohue from Ubuntu Ireland.