Archive for December, 2005

Hidden Agendas or not…

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

From the Director and Producer of Homosexual Agenda comes a new bigger and more explosive sequel – Gay Agenda.

There are now 42 LGBT bloggers on Homosexual Agenda which caters for Irish people or those living in Ireland but for those non-irish or not resident here we have launched Gay Agenda. Unlike Queer Filter which is pretty massive, I think for GA we’ll have to keep the numbers down and choose blogs that are less personal diary and more cultural, political or somethingelse-ical natured. I was thinking that if we kept the number to something like 500 or so blogs and ran an automated script that when the technorati ranking of a blog reached a certain level then the blog would be removed from the aggregator.

The idea being that GA would help promote some of the good but lesser known blogs and try to help with making them more popular and as they reach a certain threshold they’d get kicked out of the nest to fend for themselves. There are another few ideas for GA using structured blogging and the like which I have to convince Rob to create when he has some free time. :)

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Schools and blogging

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

At the recent IT@Cork Conference a school principal/teacher asked Robert Scoble about blogs and school kids blogging. I think the principal/teacher was worried about kids blogging and revealing too much information about themselves. I wonder how much the fear of predators contributes to schools and parents preventing kids from going online.

Trouble is, trying to discourage kids from blogging will be counter-productive. They’re curious, they’ll want to be independent, they have a lot to say. So perhaps kids should be taught how to blog when they are taught how to use computers. Blogging could be a serious tool for the likes of debating, english assignments and learning how to frame arguments. Seeing how your peers blog and how they think would be an excellent means of furthering ones education surely?

I think I mentioned this in another post, but I’ll say it again: Scoble made a great point that he wished that his son’s teachers blogged so he’d know what they were covering in school. I like this idea a lot. A single daily post from each teacher would be good. For primary schools anyway, doubt this would work with secondary schools though, so perhaps a weekly post from each subject teacher.

In an email chat with Ina O’Murchu she mentioned how DERI have given classes on the semantic web to refugees in the area and that Brendan Smith the DERI outreach officer is in the process of setting up blogs for 40 schools in Galway. Definitely something to watch and see how it goes.

The Google Book Debate – Torrent of the Video

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

A while back I posted about Google Print/Books and them wanting to scan in every book without first consulting the Authors or Publishers and how I agreed with Dave Winer and thought it was wrong of Google to use the model of the web in relation to the publishing world. Tom Raftery disagreed with me and supported Larry Lessig’s arguments. I still stand by what I said and suggest people Download the torrent of the Battle Over Books debate.

It must be said that Google didn’t come out well in this and had nothing significant to say or to justify their position. Allan Adler from the AAP played a blinder and came across as way stronger. I would have thought that Google with their sheer arrogance and self-praise for hiring intellectual heavyweights would have fielded a better representative or better arguments. In the end nothing was added to the debate as Google and Larry LEssig chose what seems to me to be a twisted version of fair use. It seems fair use is anything Google wants it to be. When they said all they wanted to do was index books and the publishers now want to stop them making indexes, the APP retorted “Well why not scan in all the index cards in the libraries then?” to which Google replied “Oh we want to make a better index card”. Yeah right, with their vision there would not be a difference between and index card and a book.

One thing I hadn’t thought of is that Google making the programme opt-out means that 100s or 1000s of other web companies could do the same thing, so the publishers would have to be on constant vigil for new companies doing a Google on them. No mean feat.

But after saying all that, I’m for fair use and would like to see it in Ireland but not a definition that Google decides on.

I’m not allowed to have a daily links post

Saturday, December 31st, 2005

Via Justin Mason comes this Anil Dash post about Blog Awards which also links to this Business Blog Wire post on Awards. Food for thinking!

They’re making a TV show of the best videos found online. Weird. I was only thinking about that after watching some videos on google yesterday. Cheap TV. Just what we need.

See here for post title. Other signs of cheap blogs are lists of things. Top 10 lists etc. Another sign of cheap blogs are trolling posts to get in a lot of people.

Is there a Fortune 500 for Ireland?

Friday, December 30th, 2005

Who ranks businesses in Ireland and makes lists like the Fortune 500? Is it the Sunday Times or the Business Post that has a list somewhat like this?

Goodbye Nape Piercing

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

About 13 months ago I got a nape piercing. After constant fighting with it, my body won and I decided to take it out. With overworking myself and always being run down, the piercing was getting infected every few days. It got really bad the past two weeks as you can see:
Infected piercing

So, tonight I unscrewed a ball and pulled it out from under my skin. This is what the bar looks like:

Nape bar

I guess I should really just stick to tattoos. At least they don’t get infected.

That’s me in the Examiner looking pissed off, apparently.

Thursday, December 29th, 2005

So I just saw a pic of myself on page 10 of the Examiner. I look pissed off, apparently. Yes, I’m talking about broadband as usual. Broken record!

Oh and tune into RTE News at 6pm and 9pm. One of the IrelandOffline supporters is going to be on talking about broadband.

Irish Blogging Consultants

Wednesday, December 28th, 2005

James brings up the question about whether there are Irish blogging consultants and it got me thinking like many of the posts that James makes .

My take on blogs and business is that they are going to become inevitable and with them come marketing scum and every two-bit cowboy consultant who will declare themselves experts at blogs.

Aside Alert: [This reminds me of the time I was working with a friend to build a website for a client. They hired in a marketing company who excelled at websites. They told the client that he needed a database backed website for his hotel because the pages would load faster and they also told him that if he wanted a .ie domain he had to buy the domain name and also buy every url from it from the domain registry. They also told him every page had to be submitted to the search engines and not just the main site url. That company got close to six grand for that consultancy work. I think they went bust eventualy. Hopefully anyway.]

Anyway, I would hate for business blogging consultants to be like them, but like splogs I think we can guarantee that we will have scum muscle in on this area and screw over innocent companies. Right now this isn’t happening but I know blogs will become more of a buzzword in 2006. So let’s try and prevent this.

Why not create a vendor neutral site about business blogging in Ireland? Have all of us in the blogging world in Ireland work on an FAQ via a Wiki and produce something that helps a business understand blogs and how they can be useful. We can also work on a code of practice that people can sign up to. A quality mark one could say. It will also help us share tips with each other so that we ourselves can improve our skills from the technical, to how to sell it to business people e.g. finding the simplest way to have a non-technical manager see why it is a good thing.

I don’t think there is any giving away of secrets by working as a community and creating this online resource (and keeping it up to date). There’ll be enough work to go around I should think and it is good PR for anyone that is seen to be genuinely helping out people. “Don’t want to pay me to help you? No problem, have a look at this site for advice on how to do it yourself.”

The money is going to be made by those consultants employed by companies too lazy/busy/non-technical enough to do it themselves, which I bet will be the majority. Hell, I was too busy/lazy to update my blogging software and Michele was kind enough to do all the donkey work but at the same time I would have happily payed him or anyone else a few quid (not a fortune) to do it for me.

So, who wants to sign up for this? :)

EDIT: To clarify, marketers are not scum, just a few, like in every other profession. Unfortunately I trust marketers less.

Bubble Brothers , Stormhoek and telling stories

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

I regularly visit Bubble Brothers in the English Market(why does it not have its own website?) in Cork. The main reason I go there is that I’m clueless about wine but I know what I like and ask for variations on my taste or ask to try something different. The staff in there are passionate about wine and love talking about it. Seriously, the enthusiasm is addictive and you come away from the place energized. (And often with a few more bottles than you thought you’d purchase.)

If I were to go to an offy or Dunne’s or Tesco’s I wouldn’t hear the story of the wine, I wouldn’t get recommendations. I wouldn’t get the enthusiasm. I think it was Hugh Macleod who talked about Stormhoek and it having a story. I like this idea and I’m happy to pay extra for this kind of service. I just wish that there was a blog on the Bubble Brothers website where the rest of the world could feed off this enthusiasm. Yeah, they do give reviews to an extent in the product descriptions but I think they could do so much more than that and gain a lot more custom as a result too.

Dec 27th 2005 bits

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Google will be releasing a feed reader API. Nicely investigated by Niall Kennedy. Scoble seems a little pissed off and a little impatient as a result. But honest to a fault at the same time.

Jeff Jarvis has an enthusiastic rant about Amazon’s author blogs initiative. Jarvis and ranting? Yes, the the name of the day ends in a “y”. :) Still, a very valid rant as usual with Jeff. It’s good they’ve got blogs, shit they don’t allow comments and links to external blogs. But that may change in time. If I were Amazon I’d approach people like Bookslut and ask their permission to link to them from some main book section on Amazon and offer to host them if there is a dramatic traffic increase. They should be doing the same with other maven type sites too. For Ireland they should be linking to the likes of Sigla or Bibliofemme. I still stand by my statement about bookshop.ie

I’ve read Fred Wilson’s blog before and enjoy it for his VC musings and his excellent taste in music. I’ve just added him to my bloglines. In a recent post he quoted Alan Kay who said “The best way to predict the future is to invent it. “ Very true. Hopefully Newsroom.ie can meet some of these future predictors.

Edit: Clarified Jeff’s enthusiasm about Amazon!