Archive for August, 2005

14,159,265 – The life of Pi

Friday, August 19th, 2005

Google decided to sell a few shares to give themselves a nice pile of cash to play with and possibly acquire something or spend on a big project. They sold 14,159,265 shares. This number is important in a way. These numbers are the first numbers after the 3 in 3.14159265. Pi. Larry and Sergei, such jokers. One rumour is Google will build a national WiFi Network with their pi money. With the FCC giving the telecom goliaths anything they want to make more money a free WiFi network would be really interesting.

Columbia 3 – My site first for Google search

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

How odd. It seems that if you do a Google search for Columbia 3, it is my sarcastic blog entry on the Columbia 3 that appears first in Google. Maybe it’s just a temporay thing until Google finishes her regular dance.

Now would be the perfect time for selling T-Shirts and novelty pens.

EDIT: Just realised why. DOH. Colombia is the country, not columbia.

Why did Irish Bloggers not talk about Abortion?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

that girl is musing about the Sigla piece by Sinéad wondering why there has hardly been any discussion about the Abortion issue which recently resurfaced and especially why women have not posted about it.

I too thought there was little coverage. I mean, it seemed talk of wine got more coverage.

To verify the lack of coverage I did a search of Planet of the Blogs and found the following recent posts on Abortion:

Thaed is pro-abortion and she makes some very heartfelt comments. Her whole post on it needs to be read. I’ll just quote a small piece.

So we ignore the big taboo.
Women dont tell thier stories.
They dont share why they full of relief, guilt,sadness and happiness twice a year,
usually the date of thier termination and that date the child would hve been born.

Colm Bracken takes Ivana Bacik to task, and talks less about whether abortion is right or wrong.

Bacik has done the opposite. She has sought the deny the unborn their rights, not by asking the Irish public their opinion, but via the European Court of Human Rights route.

Slugger mentions the abortion story, but doesn’t give an opinion. Some good comments below the story, one from Daisy:

My view is that there is always an element of misogyny on display during any debate on abortion. My view is that those who demand that women control themselves (and if they can’t, then control their fertility through contraception), damn women who choose to terminate when things don’t go according to plan. My view is that men are treated differently when it comes to matters of conception/contraception (their behaviour being excused in a “typical man” kind of way) and that this is hypocritical. My view is that people shouldn’t be so quick to judge without knowing all the facts.

The Dossing Times calls the abortion debate the new A-Bomb. He doesn’t seem to give a view on abortion itself but rather what may happen as a result of a ruling:

I think this is going to be a big case not only for Ireland but for Europe as well if not the world. If they win will people say it is a human right to have an abortion. If they lose will it define the foetus as human and subject to the same rights such as life and freedom of expression. Could this be the European Rowe vs Wade.?

William Sjostrom is the Atlantic Blog too takes a shot at Bacik.

Bacik was least seen getting indignant about removing Saddam from power. Dead Iraqis, dead babies. Who else is she keen to see get killed?

Mark loses it with both sides and thinks they are both more interested in the fight than a solution.

You know what pisses me off about the pro-life & pro-choice camps? It’s not about fighting for what is right, it’s about proving that they are right, that their way of thinking is the right way, it’s about proving that the other side is wrong. And that makes both sides of this “argument” equally disgusting.

PS on Balrog’s opinion on abortion is clear, though blunt.

To me, abortion is the murder of an innocent child and can NEVER be justified in any way shape or form. The IFPA make the point that every year thousands of Irish women make the journey across the water to abort their children. To me this misses the issue. If only one child is saved because the woman in question did not want to travel then the legislation is worth having in place.

Now going back to that girl:

Men unconsciously know that women have the power to annihilate them. We can kill them if the pro-choice movement gets its way. The control of women’s fertility and sexuality has always been about the unconscious fear carried by men that women are, in fact, more powerful in the life stakes. I believe that the prominence of men in the anti-choice movement is an attempt to save the perceived annihilation of the male species.

So in terms of freedom of choice – I’m all for it, whether it’s about blog content or reproductive rights. Try taking away freedom of choice and let’s see who falls on what side of the divide.

And finally Sigla piece by SinéadSinéad’s views:

Bacik should be at least be applauded because she and the IFPA are prepared to address the huge numbers of women travelling across the water each year for terminations. Even if many, or perhaps most, of this country deems itself anti-abortion, it’s time to take collective heads out of the sand when it comes to the fate of over 6,000 women every year.

Both Sinéad and that girl have made a very valid point though. For such a big issue there hardly is any coverage and less again from the lady bloggers. Perhaps Caoimhe could research this when she does her PhD?

As for why I didn’t comment? Generally I do stay under the radar on political stuff like this but I did contribute to an abortion debate on GayCork which proved to be quite hot-headed and I was quite fatigued from writing about it anywhere else.

UPDATE: 19 August, 2005: Wind and Breezes gives her opinion. though in answer to why Bloggers did not blog about this.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s up to every blogwriter to decide what appears on their blog and is up to no blogwriter to be surprised by presence or absence of subjects.

Word to Blogger – How important is this?

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

With the new Word interface for Blogger there is no need for the browser is there? Control goes back to the Operating System and Microsoft Office. The main money spinner for Redmond.

MS really does want to get into RSS and Blogs. Vista is meant to have RSS support. How much we don’t know. Blogger then is one of the biggest spaces around. I’m sure it would be a good trial for MS to see how this goes and then offer the service to typepad and all the rest. Shouldn’t there be a toolbar for MSN Spaces too?

It is interesting that Google and MS worked together on this with MS wanting to tackle Google and Google apparently wanting to move more of the operating system on to their servers and away from MS. I guess they’ve not become enemies yet. Oooh, I wonder what the conspiracy nuts would think if they worked far more closely together? – Citizen Journalism

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

*Update* Comments are now open and working.

A few weeks back I registered and yesterday I already got my first snailmail spam about it from some crowd trying to sell me hosting. So, why did I register

Someone that I’ve read and listened to more than anyone else of late has been Jeff Jarvis. His thoughts on the New Newsroom are to me quite inspiring. Citizen Journalism seems to irk a few people and people worry about the mass amateurisation of publishing or the mass amateurisation of nearly everything.

Certainly the O’Reilly Family fear blogs and amateurisation of a market they rule with an iron fist. While the likes of Citizen Journalism or Participatory Journalism might add a lot more noise it will add a lot more voices too and maybe the new generation of editors will be the ones to pick and choose from all these voices and knit together a professional story.

We may as a total group be amateurs but humans have been professional communicators since the start. This is one reason why we evolved so well.

So then, enough of the build up.

What I want to be is somewhere which gathers stories from Irish people. Aggregates them, from the mundane to the explosive, from very local to national.

In order to do this, my current solution, which may radically change once I get feedback is a system of local contributors. Split into areas and split those areas into smaller areas and so on. So we have frontpage stories which are fed by contributions from the provinces, the provinces are fed from county sections, counties from localities etc. etc. It reminds me of the Powers of Ten idea in a way.

So we have the local kid talking about who vandalised the playground and taking pics and we have the local concerned citizen talking about some local planning controversy. At the same time in the greater area there may be some big yet local story, for example lots of Cork people pissed off over water charges and all discussing it.

Now comes the hard part. How do these very local stories filter into the area list, filter into the county list and into the frontpage news? Could it be done by having local “editors” vote those posts into a higher up level, or would it be done by page votes?

Could there be a “Mark as interesting” button at the top and bottom of the story that could be pressed to give the story a vote?

I would hope that would be the place to give anyone and everyone a voice. Everyone if they wanted to, would become a reporter. There are many issues though about libel and whether could get into shit for reproducing content that was damaging.

Another issue is whether would work like Planet of the Blogs and IrishBlogs and just aggregate content from blogs and categorize them using Tags as well as how users submitted their site. I would prefer this than a Slashdot style system where you post your story to the site.

So, am I a coder, can I do any of this? Nope. Not a clue of PHP, Ruby or anything else like that. I’ve discussed it with Mr. Breslin alright and I think it piqued his interest. Anyone else wish to comment on this? As usual, comments don’t work on this blog, so just link your thoughts from your own blog and I should pick it up.

Edit: I meant province not provence. D’oh.

Dick O’Brien talks about here.

Bernie says don’t forget to allow comments. Definitely comments would be there, forgot to include that above. I’m all for comments* and find that the comment sections in many other blogs inspire new blog entries on the original and reader sites. Comments are essential for a 2-way web.

* The irony of course is that comments here are busted. But to fix the comments means I have to set aside about 3 hours to work on this blog. I don’t have a block of that size for the next while.

Further Update:
The Dossing Times picks up on it too. Zepp (real name?) suggests that importing all blog posts from someone would be just as noisy and spammy as IrishBlogs and PlanetofTheBlogs. He rightly says that blogs are not news sources as such. I left a comment which I’ll reproduce here:

True, blogs are not news sources, but you can post news on your blog. Blogs are a communications medium. When you do have something newsworthy then possibly adding a tag like “newsroom” would alert to add that into the mix.

I wouldn’t have just sucking in any blog posts hoping news would be in them. It would definitely need filtering. Tags right now seem the best option. Maybe there’s a better one I haven’t thought of.

I like the idea of categories like IT and stuff too. Never had factored that in to the original idea.

Also, wouldn’t be a competitor to RTE news or the like. I’d like to see it as a place to maybe grow journalists and give a voice to the little guy in a way. I think allowing the kid down the road to talk about the vandalised playground is just as important as someone getting another story heard.

Hopefully too with people reporting so much online it will become an historical record of the most local of things.

Update August 22nd 2005: News/Media Forum Piaras made some worthy comments:

Would be very suss of something that just aggregates feeds because it’d end up as another Indymedia – some gems lost in a sea of waffle. I’d be worried about the lack of balance tbh.

The spamming thing is a worry alright. I can see that get sorted by having a flood control of a sort built in somewhere


James Corbett also commented on

The main reason I would advise Damien to implement in such a small pieces, loosely joined manner is because it would require very little work for any Irish blogger to contribute. Many of them already tag their blog posts and it would be simple to adapt to a group tagging consensus if necessary.

Yeah, tags and aggregating content look like the easiest way to go so far, but with possibly some kind of spam control put in place.


Joseph Szabo

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

Via Rashomon comes this picture from Joseph Szabo

Dinosaur Jr. used it for an album cover. It is quite unsettling to see what is just a kid trying to carry the attitude of an adult.
More Joseph Szabo photos

Using Google Maps to track visitors to your blog

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

Map of visitors to

Thanks to a neat script from GVisit I can see the locations where people visited from. Trouble is I think it misses a lot of my visitors. According to the map only half a dozen people visited in the past 12 hours. generally I have about 10+ per hour visiting.

Anyone can look good in Black and White

Thursday, August 11th, 2005


The World Wide Adventures of HeldenCrow

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

HeldenCrow – The journal of an Irish barrister who nipped out of the Dublin law library on a coffee break one afternoon and never went back.

Blogging since 2001! Been reading some of the posts are they are really good. Someone give him a book deal. There is a distinct lack of Irish writers around… *ahem*

Got this via MetaFilter.

Is my child becoming a homosexual?

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

From the Focus on the Family nuts, you can’t make this stuff up:

Is my child becoming a homosexual?

Via MetaFilter.