Archive for March, 2006

No Bernie, I ego aggregate

Thursday, March 23rd, 2006

Bernie wonders do I ego surf which for those that don’t know is using search engines to see where you’re mentioned on the net and maybe to see how high up the Google rankings your site is. I don’t do that. I use RSS searches to monitor what’s said about me online.

I use Bloglines Citations and pubsub to monitor the net for “damien mulley” “Irish blog awards” “irelandoffline” and a few more phrases. I have to say that bloglines citations is superb but pubsub is atrocious. I’ve just this minute decided to try out Icerocket for some ego aggregating so lets see how good it is. What do other people use for rss and web monitoring?

Some fucking yank interviews Twenty Major

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

No, not that yank nor that one. No, not her either. Christ, we’ve a lot of the fuckers around these days don’t we? This is the interview.

Jumping off points into deeper thinking

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Infact, ah post on blogging that turns to a rant about broadband in the comments and then turns back to blogging. 68 comments so far. Lets see can we bump it to 100 or 200.

Via the ENN blog is a Times piece about a woman being successfully sued for libel over anonymous comments on a message board. ENN seems to think it is a threat to free speech but I’m more interested in the fact that the website itself was not sued for libel. I’d love to see what Simon and TJ have to say about this. Is safe?

Via Kottke In the last two years, 83% of the pieces about abortion on the NY Times op-ed page have been written by men.

Tully Satre is not invisible. His rights and of those he represents won’t remain invisible forever. Well done Tully. Quite an inpiration for young people.

Sligo Tourism Girl Aine is moving up in Google

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

21st for the search term Sligo on
17th for search term Sligo on

In even more Sligo Tourism news, Aine has now been officially invited on to Podge and Rodge. From the site:

As a result of a recent Sligo Champion feature, brought to the
attention of Podge And Rodge by the lovely Lucy Kennedy,
the lads have kindly invited me to a visit with them at Ballydung Manor!
I have of course, accepted and am over the moon!! 🙂

The only issues to be sorted are the sleeping arrangements and date. Watch this space!

Well done Aine!

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Self worth? Slugger, Twenty or Donncha?

Hi-Fi popcorn

Monday, March 20th, 2006

Found Hi-Fi popcorn a while back and forgot about it so am going to subsscribe to it now. Love the site and really like the fact that I can access mp3s and videos of those featured. Quite impressed at the amount of artists that are now using MySpace as well.

I was at a loss of late when it came to new music and new bands but thanks to this blog as well as Sinéads and the In, Fact Ah kids I can keep up with some of the newest music. Woot.

Links for the day before the day that’s after the previous day

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

3rd Annual Nigerian Email Marketing Conference. Shame I missed it. Some good highlights including:

“The hotel was very, very upscale. The running water was a nice touch! – Dr, Collins Mdadiwe

The Scientology Episode Tom Cruise got canceled.

Installing reBlog on your server. This is a very very sweet blog aggregator.

Survey from Canadian version of IRMA counters many of their own claims. Via the brilliant Michael Geist.

Scoble interviews Microsoft lawyer Don McGowan. Very interesting interview and gives a great insight into how Microsoft works. You have to wonder how many wild and genius ideas Microsoft had to ditch because of the worries of litigation. MS has a legal Dept with 800+ staff. Jesus. Don does a fantastic and almost candid interview. It would be good to see more people like Don around the place. He gives very good advice too to anyone that finds they are not working for the good guy at times. Some of Don’s writing.

Dana Boyd paper “G/localization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide”

I beg to differ

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Blog Button

The personal is political and available

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

The saying goes “the Personal is political” but with the growth of Internet usage mostly via broadband, the personal is becoming available and could be used politically and maliciously.

When you mix mySpace, blogs, Facebook, Faceparty, and even Gaydar (as one FF councillor found out) together you are handing your personal life over to anyone that can access Google and it’s begining to freak a lot of people out.


MySpace and Beebo are in the news a quite a bit lately and we hear quite a bit of noise from concerned parents that these sites are preying grounds for all sorts of evil people. People on MySpace have been abused, stalked, kidnapped and murdered. Naturally people worry that kids are sharing far too much information with these potential people who circle MySpace like vultures.

Fred Wilson has a very good launching pad post on MySpace which quotes a really good post from hip Mammy Gotham Girl:

Did parents freak when Elvis came on the scene? Did they freak when the Rolling Stones came on the scene? Did they freak when they grew their hair long and rebelled? Answers to all of the above and more is yes, yes yes. Think about what you did growing up that your parents were scared of. They were scared because they didn’t understand the space and weren’t sure how to teach you the tools to navigate the situation.

Fred also points to Chartreuse:

Now because of all the horrible things which can happen to a kid on a bike a huge industry was created. They sell helmets, kneepads, tracking systems, and the like to make bikes safer or parents feel more secure.

Despite all this stuff most parents still just give their kids some rules and let them ride.

MySpace is just the modern bike.

Lots of horrible things can happen to a kid on the internet. And the industry will continue to grow based around protecting children from all that horrible stuff or making parents feel more secure.

But the truth of the matter is that most parents will just give there child some rules and let them ride

So MySpace is the new rock and roll the new Elvis and if parents rebel against it and do their best to not understand it then it becomes more damaging. Two mothers pointing out that understanding MySpace and what your kids do on it is crucial and allows you to lay down ground rules. There are rules but there needs to be some basics learned too so the kids can watch out for the weirdos who are much harder to figure out online.

Do we have a guide in Ireland from the Government or the ISPAI advising parents on the rights and wrongs of the Internet which gets updated for sites like MySpace and Bebo? I would think it is certainly needed. There’s plenty of people warning about the dangers but are they doing anything to educate the parents? You might even see more parents going online if these educational packs contained the basics of going online too. Perhaps this should be done in schools and the parents as well as coming for parent teacher meetings should have to come along for Internet education classes. Seaghan Moriarty might have some views on this.

Governments, Companies and Organisations
Even the CIA has been caught by the ghoulies lately when simple search was able to reveal so much about their agents:

The Tribune story, published on Sunday, outlined its search of a commercial online data service. Through that service, the Tribune found information for internal agency numbers, supposed secret locations, and over 2,600 employees. An undisclosed number of the employees on the list were working covertly.

Gavin Sheridan had some fun with the Irish Government and thanks to their robots.txt file found information they didn’t want us to find. If you actually Google for .pdfs and .docs on many Government sites you’ll find documents you shouldn’t find. I found a map of the eircom FWA locations which ComReg refused to provide on the ComReg site. After I made it public they removed the map. Luckily backups were made. While this information per se wasn’t personal, many of the word documents you find contain the details of who wrote them and the notes and comments they made. There is a large chance that private personal communications can end up online.

One that probably scares the shit out of companies more is blogging. Google fired a new employee for what he blogged about them which is slightly ironic since it is Google that is delivering all the dirt on so many. It’s not just Google though. Delta fired an employee as did Friendster. It’s not as if employees ever got fired before for off the cuff remarks but with traditional media you had to be high up in order to get media attention and then make a gaff like Cheney did when he told Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself. One blog post from a lowly employee can generate a lot of attention. For companies I would think that they don’t mind the personal going online more than the professional. Talk about your cat and your yeast infection but please don’t talk about the way we look after you financially. Delta fired that lady for being naughty in some pictures where she wore her uniform.

Political parties on their members “interactions” online.

Malcolm Byrne while apparently out (as in not closeted) was outed as having a Gaydar profile recently, Gaydar being a gay dating website. A national non-issue was made of the issue and Malcolm did very well out of it by actually building up his profile. His poltical profile that is. Many think he was lucky enough to escape this in a positive light but this isn’t 1983 anymore. Does his party or any other party have a policy though for their members advising them how to behave online and what exactly search engines can find? Do they even have an email policy or any kind of electronic communications policy?

Damien Blake (who is scarily the image of someone I used to know very well) and Liz McManus are two of a growing list of politicians who blog. It’s great to see them blogging and I wonder how much oversight their central offices have on their blogs? Do their parties have blogging policies which include what to blog and what to avoid blogging about as well as commenting on other websites? I’m pretty sure that Damien and Liz are well schooled in what to say and what not to say so the gaffs per blog are probably bordering zero but I would think a blogging policy is needed which would actually encourage the idea of blogging at the same time and give tips on how to blog best.

Your employer is watching you.
On the flipside to this are companies looking for information on employees and prospective employees. Michelle Conlin wrote an excellent piece in BusinessWeek online about all our personal details showing up online. She tells us how useful Google is for getting all the lowdowns on us that we ourselves (mostly) have put up:

Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information — some of it for a nominal fee — that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your martial status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children

Perhaps a little bit should be added to the Labour laws forbidding companies from Googling their employees or prospective employees but sometimes googling someone might turn up the odd axe murderer. Maybe a balance can be found?

So we should have guides for parents being given out by the Governments and ISPs and maybe thought in schools, we should have guides by political parties on how to behave and interact online and we should have guides for the general populace on how your new employer knows way more about you than you think, thanks to the Internet.

For all the stupid, and silly crap we did when we were “web juveniles” should there be some kind of record sealing of web history like they have for juvenile offenders or family law cases? You can have Google remove content from their database *only* if you own the website in question. They may take down other content but that involves getting a lawyer and probably some DMCA issues. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a guide on how to remove silly things you said or how to restrict what search engines could hoover up from your site?

The personal becomes available and uncomfortable

Coming up to the Blog Awards there was a vigorous discussion about personal blogging and anonymity with
Dermod, RedMum, Steven and the not so anonymous That Girl discussing it. I don’t blog too much very personal things, I let tidbits out now and then but when I do write online I generally use my own name and don’t remain anonymous. Even on webforums generally my username is damien or damien.m or dm or my surname backwards. There are lots of people who are allowed to be more creative and more “real” by being anonymous and this too should be catered for. Perhaps the Blogger Academy can create some guides for blogging anonymously and staying that way?

Teach a person to fish/blog/interact…

The greatest thing to understand about your data is that once it is out there it can never be reeled back in. That is the beauty and the horror of the Internet. If we teach those around us and coming online how much of what they say will forever remain on the net and how best to manage their private data and public data then we might have less fear filled statements about the evil Internet and more people and organisations can embrace it fully.

Tom Coates praises PXN8

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Well done Walter and crew. Tom Coates tells how he has a thing for PXN8. That’s a pretty sweet endorsement. And like the stereotypical Corkman I am obliged my local law and genetics to point out that PXN8 is from Cork. Like.