Archive for June, 2007

Fluffy Links – June 5th 2007

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007

Bullshit alert. The Observer falls for the Carlow wireless town LIE.

John Ward uses a widget called plugoo so you can IM him. You don’t need to log into a website to get messages, unlike meebo.

The new iPhone ads are pure UI porn. Hubba.

I’ve joined Dopplr thanks to James. If you want an invite to the beta, then give me a shout. I may have given out about their presentation at Reboot but the product seems nice.

Classic interview with the Ocean’s 13 cast. They all seem like genuine friends.

Timmy Worstall was told the logo for the London Olympics looks like Lisa Simpson giving a blowjob. He couldn’t see it and then someone made an animation:

Olympics logo 2012

John Doerr: Seeking salvation and profit in greentech – A video

Sanctuary Webisode:

Dasher, a new way of interacting with a computer:

The National Carrier saves the day even though it isn’t their problem

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Thanks Aer Lingus. Thanks to Piaras up there in Cork Airport who left a note to keep an eye out for my bag. It arrived tonight via BMI from Birmingham. Now, why would Aer Lingus give a shit about an SAS customer, who lost his bag in Dublin, who Sky Handling Partners were mishandling and whose bag was delivered to Cork, not by them but by BMI? Makes a change that airlines and people in airlines still give a damn even when it isn’t their customer. I can be sure Ryanair wouldn’t do this and as can be seen SAS really couldn’t care less.

SAS are also cunts – SAS as in Scandinavian Airlines

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Day three and SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) tells me their customer support line is only open from 9am to 10am, 12pm to 2pm and 4pm to 530pm. They insist you only email them or fax them if your bag is lost cos they care that much. I think I’ll fax them a picture of this blog post. Hello you cunts, by the time you read this it will be four days of not having my bag. Sky Handling Partner says now my bag is not in Dublin and it is NOT in Birmingham but perhaps it is in Cork. No, maybe it isn’t there either they have now said. Sky Handling Partner still won’t let me talk to their supervisor because she only works during the day. Time to start registering domains…

Why Sky Handling Partners are cunts

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Day three of no bag. It seems they say my bag is in Cork yet nobody in Cork Airport says it is. In their infinite fucking wisdom, yesterday my bag was in Dublin when they told me it was flown to London. From Dublin they thought the best route to Cork is to ship if via Birmingham and then Birmingham to Cork. It never got to Birmingham. They don’t know where it is. Cunts. I’ve asked to speak to a supervisor and they’re giving me the run-around.

I got cross with the man on the phone. Not many people have seen me lose it. All of Cork Airport did when I called him on my phone. My phone that is about to die because the charger for it is in my fucking missing suitcase. They tried to pass the buck to Aer Lingus who I called to and were amazingly helpful. Thanks Piaras from Aer Lingus Cork. At least he was able to figure shit out. It seems like it never went to Birmingham as it never was put into some special status that bags without traveling owners have. He thinks it is still in Dublin, the dickheads in Sky Handling Partners don’t know where it is. I don’t appreciate being constantly lied to by Sky Handling Partners and SAS are going to get the full brunt of my anger in the morning. What quality control?

Fucking over dialup users will increase broadband usage

Monday, June 4th, 2007

So says John White of PA Consulting. Is this the same PA Consulting that are rolling out the Government ID Cards in the UK?

An opinion piece in Computers in Business this week once again harped back to the bullshit line that it is a demand issue and not an availability issue when it comes to broadband in Ireland.

There has been a fair measure of good, old-fashioned Irish begrudgery in the ongoing debate on broadband access in this country. It’s largely been a one sided blame game so far.

Actually, before IrelandOffline beat all the naysayers with the reality stick, eircom, ComReg, DCMNR and the eircom yesman that call themselves TIF were all blaming the lack of broadband on the people, saying they didn’t want it. It took a long while but now they are all seeing that the issue is about availability not demand. People rabidly want broadband, even ComReg stats show that. Chambers of Commerce of Ireland stats showed that and recent O2 surveys showed it. People want broadband and cannot get it. This is still the biggest issue. Not begrudgery, reality. I love how people try and dismiss anyone that gives out about constant bullshit as begrudgers.

This looks bad, and indeed it is bad. But what the bare statistics fail to show is how well we’ve been doing recently. Ireland had among the strongest growth rates during 2006, adding more than 5.8 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. That placed us in the top four in the OECD and on top of a doubling of penetration levels the previous year.

Here we go. ComReg logic. A growth rate of 100% when the current penetration rate is low is much much less of a jump when another country and a high penetration rate has a single figure increase in growth. 100% of 1 is nothing to 10% of 60. Basic maths.

This means that 75 per cent of the population have access and only 12.5 per cent have decided to take it up. Why aren’t the other 62.5 per cent interested? This is the most important question that we have to answer in relation to broadband penetration.

Now this is just fucking dumb. Most countries will not reach 100% penetration rate because WE ALL DON’T LIVE BY OURSELVES. How dare Mummy, and sister and brother not get broadband when Daddy already pays for a broadband connection.

Now another point. 12.5% of the population have broadband and given that just 75% can actually access broadband, it means had we 100% availability like most countries, adjusting for that means 17% penetration. Which reaches the EU average.

Among the main barriers to these people availing of broadband access are probably cost, lack of IT knowledge, access to technology and lack of relevance. In each of these areas, the government can take steps to help improve our performance.

It’s availability, it was availability and it still will be availability. But for a consultant that needs to sell crap, availability will not make one money.

The cost issue is an interesting one. You can now get pretty good broadband access for around €20 per month. This is a lot less than some people spend on text messaging but is still seen by many as too high.

€20 a month for those already paying for a phoneline. €50 a month plus install costs if you get a phoneline just so you can get broadband. Let’s be clear. This is how most of the population is able to get broadband. MOST of the population cannot get wireless broaband like the one Digiweb offers for €20 a month.

For example, a partnership between government and industry could run roadshows, visiting shopping centres and other public spaces throughout the country offering 15 minute internet classes, with an incentive of entering a prize draw on the internet.

Ooooh and we’d need consultants for that!

A grant should be introduced for purchasers of personal computers of a certain specification. The grant could only be availed of once in a three year period and would be equivalent to the Vat element of the cost of the PC.

Cos €400 for a Dell computer is way out of reach of everyone, is it? FACT: PC Penetration is in-line with many other EU countries that have a broadband penetration figure double our own.

The relevance issue could prove more difficult in that many people find their dial-up access is al l they require for their limited level of internet usage. However, if the government were to begin setting up content-rich sites for the public which required broadband access for full functionality, this too might be addressed.

That’s it! That’s how you solve the broadband crisis in Ireland. Make websites harder to download and bigger so those on dialup are even more fucking screwed. Hurt dialup users. Yeah. It’s like saying printing more books will increase the literacy rate in Ireland.

I believe that this is a fundamental requirement to getting the 100 per cent coverage that we all aspire to.

But you yourself has said it is not an availability issue, that implies not a coverage issue. Which is it?

306,000 spam comments in 12 months

Monday, June 4th, 2007

Yesterday was the 12 month anniversary of installing Askimet and so far 306,453 spam comments have been stopped. Things seem to be getting worse though. Well over 1000 spam comments are coming in every day now and some days it is way more than that. I’ve also noticed the number of false-positives is going up so genuine comments are not getting through and with so many spams per day, it is difficult to monitor the spam list. Sapm is winning this war of attrition.

Fluffy Links – June 4th 2007

Monday, June 4th, 2007

I’m back and looking forward to sleeping in my own bed. Off again soon to Dublin and then to Portugal though.

This is brilliant. At last a way to gripe via a text message about anything and everything in Cork. – County and Ireland-wide versions on the way. Instructions on how to use this.

Rick is celebrating his 1000th blog post. Yay. Lots of memories. Hey Rick, any interest in doing another Awards show, not related to the Blog Awards? 🙂

Al Gore’s latest book gives out about the state of U.S. News Media. He had a hand to play in why it is not the way it is. Ooops.

Beirut brought us Balkan music and gypsy acousticy stuff and now we have Gypsy Punk:

Family Guy does Star Wars:

A reboot review – Reboot 9.0 in Denmark

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Reboot is worth going to. Definitely. Totally. Loved the attitude and the atmosphere. Very family orientated with the creche and everything. A massively packed menu of most highly entertaining talks. The organisers should be rewarded with a special nerd medal made out of circuitboard or something.

I did however think it was hard to network with people because there were too many talks on all the time and there were too many people to get to know them or a subset in the two days. More networking please. The heat in the venue was a killer. I was burning up at most talks. Most talks ran to time or ran-over. Seriously, some speakers thought they could get through their 45 slides in their alloted time. Next time have them present for 20mins and have the rest of the time for questions. When people don’t ask questions, the organisers should ask a few themselves and you’ll find the audience then will ask. The lack of Q&A was very disappointing. Even with these issues, it was one of the best events I have been at and I will go again but this time I might not go to any talks but instead try and meet and talk to as many people as we can. There are some amazing brought minds at Reboot and I’d love to make friends with some of them.

In order, I’ll review the talks I was at:

Trusted Space – Nature’s Rules by Robert Patterson.
Now looking over this, I can only remember short clips of the talk. Jesus. I blame the lack of sleep the night before. Slightly academic but a fascinating subject. Slides are here. Go download them.

While We Wait For The Babel Fish by Stephanie Booth.
Brilliant talk and a talk that every web app and website builder should go to if it is touring their local area. Lots of “oh yeah” moments in the talk.

The Politics of Web 2.0 and the contradictions of a sharing economy by Michel Bauwens.
Michel Bauwens’ talk was great. He’s a good speaker and his topic was very engaging. By P2P he does NOT mean file sharing. This is the blurb:

“Peer to peer gives rise to the emergence of peer production (the ability to produce in common outside the state or the corporation), peer governance (the new ways of managing such efforts), and peer property (the new ways of protecting the resulting commons from private appropriation).”

I hope the presentation is available somewhere. It’s one of those kind of talks where you get excited that maybe we can change the world and make it better.

Meanwhile, watch this video:

How does humans predict the future? by Jesper Krogstrup.
This was all about prediction markets and how to basically create a gambling system inside a company to better predict the success or on-time completion of projects. Seems Microsoft used the system to see would they release a game in time and Google are also using it to spot good ideas. Fantastic talk, would love to have heard more about this whole topic. He mentioned HP might be bringing out a tool for this kind of stuff. Again, would love to get hold of the slides.

Happiness by Alexander Kjerulf
This went nowhere. When challenged on the idea, I don’t think the points raised were listened to. Smiling does not answer a question. I agree it is good to be happy but the fundamental argument behind this is that we do things to be happy. Uh, I think there is something more than that to it. There are reasons we want to reach the state of happy that have better reasons that just to be happy. The facts did not add up in the presentation. The happiest countries also happen to be the ones who seem more about consumerism yet the argument was that consumerism is bad and makes us unhappy. Alexander’s blog looks good. He seems like the Guy Kawasaki of Happiness with lots of posts with lists and how-tos. I’ll prob sub to his blog for a while as there does seem to be valid stuff on it but I thought the talk didn’t go anywhere.

Travel and serendipity by Matt Jones
Did anyone else think this was just a glorified sales pitch for Dopplr? I really saw nothing more than a demo of this product. This is a shame as I was looking forward to the talk and thought it soured the talk and my impression of the very good service that is Dopplr. Half of a very large audience also were users so it seemed like a preaching to the converted. Matt Jones is still a legend though. Check out his blog and Dopplr. Slides of the talk here.

Improvement > Change
This was shit. It made no sense. Good soundbites, no substance, no data, no empirical evidence. Presented by the guy that classes himself as an “idea captain”.

Citizens of the future by Ewan McIntosh
I want every teacher in the country, every civil servant in the Department of Education and every politician to be at a Ewan McIntosh talk. So many Rebooters have ideas and gave talks on how to make the world better but I liked Ewan’s talk the best because it was practicle, easy to implement and had the data to show how one can change a generation through education. We’re going to have to bring him over here soon and get him recognition. I’ll be sending his presentation out to some journalists I know to see can he get some recognition here. Seaghan Moriarty has been trying to do something along these lines here in Ireland.

Dave Winer’s conversation was so so. I left half-way through as the room was so warm and beer was calling me.

Jesus Christ. All theory. All academic. Useless unless you were a philosophy student. And then there was…

The Ethical Economy: A New Humanism?
20 minutes of rapid fire, no interaction academic talk. Shit. Some guy asked two questions afterwards asking how can one measure ethics and stuff like that. He avoided the questions. Yeah great, making a company and the world more ethical is good but HOW do you do it? Gah.

Thank god the conference ended on two very good talks:

Lessons from a social entrepreneur by John Buckman
This could have been a sales pitch for Magnatune or Bookmooch and yet it was not. Slides of talk here. A good talk on using Free Culture and the Creative Commons can make you money and make content producers money. John was not smoking dope, did not have long hair, was not wearing sandals or wearing a tie-dye t-shirt. See, you don’t need to be a hippy for this stuff. A good wind-down talk and very inspiring. I love this whole para:

Offend people’s pride to motivate them to action: BookMooch’s 1st-pass machine translations of the site from English to 7 other languages produced translations that I knew would be offensive to native speakers, and the wiki-style correction mechanism allowed them to express their offense by correcting it. But, if I hadn’t done the machine translation and mangled their language, very few people would have bothered to translate the site from English to their language.

The last talk of Reboot was well worth waiting for.

Products are people too by Matt Webb.
Another one of those “Oh yeah” type talks. He talked the sense. A lot. Blurb:

“Design can be easier when we acknowledge that products share our homes and malls, and have wants and lives of their own.”

I hope we get to see the slides soon. Mr. Webb I think is a genius and a very effective communicator. Reboot ended on a nice happy high as a result of this talk.

All in all I enjoyed most talks but there were so many I wanted to see but they clashed with the talks I was at. All were videoed so I hope I get to see the ones I missed and revisit the ones I saw. I also have a whole heap more blogs to subscribe to.

SAS Lost my baggage – They don’t seem to care

Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

Bag with all my clothes and other bits and pieces missing since yesterday. Online tracing thing is useless. When I rang the Sky Handling Partner all they could tell me was that it was on an Aer Lingus flight and did not know where to or when it was arriving. Fanfuckingtastic. Aer Lingus don’t fly to Copenhagen either. Odd.

Update: Finally they answered the phones at Sky Handling Partner. They told me it was in Cork with an attitude like I should know this and it was my fault. I asked were they sure and they said no but yes but no but yes it was there since 1630. I asked when I was not told this and was told they didn’t know. I asked isn’t it their job to tell me this and again I was told they didn’t know. No answer from any of the Cork numbers for Sky Handling Partner. No answer from SAS customer service at all today, either engaged or ringing out.

Still at Reboot

Friday, June 1st, 2007

Still at reboot, tune into my Twitter so get updates. Ewan McIntosh did the best talk so far. 90% of people with laptops are using Macs. How common. Macs are going to turn into the Hilfiger of portables.