Author Archive

Fluffy Links – Friday May 9th 2008

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Christmas. Not long off now.

Check our Mike Kelly TV, a video blog that concentrates on Acquired Brain Injury.

Lover, you should have come over. The Dear Lover blog.

East 17 and Vengaboys on tour! In Ireland! In Enniscorthy

Why do so many Americans wear phone belt clips on their ears?

Volcanoes! Lightning! Lava! Photo op!

Black Acid. Played last night in Dublin. Ex Death in Vegas.

I wonder how this young innovators showcase went?

Loving that marketing folks in the music biz are copping on and using their brains.

Gaytime candy. Course.

WWF Smackdown!

Of course Cork Airport is the best place to Salsa dance.

Go on a benda with GlEnda:

Via You Ain’t – Islands – Red Football (Sinéad O’Connor cover)

CSO totally trust estate agent rental prices – Can you see where this is going?

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Edit: Big Up the Pinsters!

Hattip to the smoking man with the smoking gun. 🙂

From the best damned website in Ireland, The Property Pin:

The CSO compiles statistics on how much rent people pay. (PDF Link) The past few months they’ve been showing it going up consistently. “Rat smell” says the people of ThePropertyPin.

When I asked where they got thier figures for rent I was told form several sources including estate agents. Estate Agents are, it would seem, thier primary source!!

They do not ask tenents what they are paying as this would proove difficult when tenents move on. They do not do like for like monthly questionaires of tenents, ( eg tenent in 3 bed semi in a particular estate in Dublin and then use the same estate again in the following months).

I just called the CSO Cork office. Told me the same thing. EA’s and Local Authorities (for Council rents) are their only sources. They don’t go next nor near tenants!

Richard Delevan already covered the fact the Irish Times don’t trust prices from Estate Agents/Auctioneers anymore. So rental is the same now?

On Tuesday the number of properties to rent on Daft hit 12,000 for the first time. May 07 was 5000, so thats 140% increase. Have a look at the number of properties available for rental explode (via Daft Watch):
rental Properties

Watch those rental properties plummet with the Rental Price Drop Forum. I love it. Not the dropping, the idea of such a forum.

So there you go.

Cork International Airport Hotel – It’s like the set from The Prisoner

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I visited the Cork Airport International Hotel again today. It’s one of the strong candidates as the location for the 2009 Irish Blog Awards which will not be in Dublin. Apologies for the shit quality of the pictures, blame the crappy video camera that I had with me. The hotel’s design is fantastic, though some hate it I’ve heard. I love it. The decor rock. It really feels like you’re in Dr. Evil’s layer or on the set of the Prisoner. Bernie’s been and recommends the grub. Part of the restaurant is done like the inside of a plane too. Free wireless all over the hotel. They have their own bakery and hairdressers! Didn’t take pics of the rooms but they’re huge.

The only other hotel that almost compares is the funky Radisson SAS off George’s Street. Have a look at the photos. Even if we don’t use it for the Blog Awards, I have to use it for some event.

Cork Airport international Hotel

These are pics from the lobby area:
Cork Airport international Hotel

Cork Airport international Hotel

Cork Airport international Hotel

These are pics of the stairs going from the lobby area to the reception area which is upstairs. Check out the mirror ball:
Cork Airport international Hotel

Cork Airport international Hotel

Cork Airport international Hotel

And these are pics (really bad ones) and a video (worse again) of their Pullman Lounge, a room for those waiting to pop over to the Airport which is just behing the hotel and you can walk to. The Pullman Lounge allows you to relax in chairs where you can get a kip, check your net, enjoy a good few types of seat massages (I giggled when they switched it on) and watch a movie or a computer demonstration on the screen.

Cork Airport international Hotel

Cork Airport international Hotel

And a video

Non-human social networks – Mulley on about fridges again

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

No I am not a secret shill for PowerCity or Harvey Norman’s.

I previously wrote about defrosting fridges and about how being a fan of objects would connect people together. Knowing someone through their fridge is how I put it. But that was about human social networking. Will my fridge be on a social network too, connecting with other like-minded fridges exchanging recipes? I think yes.

Prepped for CyberSalon Visitors
Photo owned by cogdogblog (cc)

The idea of a social object is to create something that will make humans more sociable and get them to connect with each other. Need it just be for humans though? Could we not make these objects take on some human characteristics allowing them to communicate with each other too and have personalities in a way? In the near future our fridges will either have barcode scanners built in or rfid readers when all barcodes are replaced by RFIDs. The fridge will know what it contains and would have a good guess as to what food types you like and what recipes you might use. In turn just like LastFM matches people with the same musical tastes, FridgeBook might just link fridges together and have them exchange recipes which will pop up on the front of the fridge. In addition the fridges will also share bargain hunting tips with each other. It’s better not to have the fridge stuff on your Facebook anyway as the fridge has a different personality to you since it’s used by a few people, unless you live alone. And cry yourself to sleep at night over it…

Then let’s not forget VRM – Vendor Relationship Management, where retailers will come to you or your fridge and offer what you normally buy each week but at a cheaper price. With all the fridges talking to each other they can also root out the scam artists and messers and low-quality food retailers so you get the best quality for the best price.

Of course for that we’d need some kind of “social layer” built into the communications stack of all these tech devices. Imagine sharing templates via a toaster network? Someone designs a nice toasting template for their toaster and they share it with a toaster network? All these social networks that we have are people based and they are hardly embedded but the BBC Olinda radio might change that and we might see more white goods with a social networking chip or firmware. That’s when the real fun happens.

Wow. Chalked shadow outlines

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Via Noisy Decent Graphics

A Flickr set of chalked outlines of shadows.

Chalk outlines

Oh hello new visitors!

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Looking for this?

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Fluffy Links – Thursday May 8th 2008

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Dedicated to Biffo. Portraits. Some of these are fantastic.

Ryanair being very dodgy.

Faces from around the world. Pick a country, perv on the facepics of those from that country using Google images.

Great great article. New ideas are not unique it seems. In the Air by Gladwell.

Microsoft wanna buy Facebook? Facebook should just take what they want from the MSN and Live portfolio and make something cool. Share revenue then.

The next big Wii game? Boom Bloxx.

Really handy Powerpoint template. Use.

I dunno will you be trusted again if you trick Hollywood stars into turning up to a premier and instead you unveil some product.

Shoulda gone to:

This time last year Enda went head to head with Simon:

Elvis Perkins – While you were sleeping:

eircom gives €35k to charity after Data Protection Commissioner investigation

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

NO court cases. Another slap on the wrist. We won’t do it again. Again. Again. eircom keep having these database errors that mean they accidently ring ex-customers when they shouldn’t. They kept promising ComReg it would not happen again. Yet it does. See my views of the DPC from last year.

Case Study 9: Marketing Calls by Eircom – remedial action – amicable resolution.

During the first half of 2007 I received a large number of complaints from members of the public who had received marketing telephone calls from a telecommunications company, Eircom. Many of the complaints came from people who were ex-customers of Eircom and the marketing calls from the company were made in an effort to win back their business. Some of these complainants informed Eircom that they did not wish to receive further marketing calls but the company continued to call them. Others had their phone numbers listed on the National Directory Database (NDD) opt-out register but continued to receive marketing calls from Eircom.

Regulation 13 (4) of Statutory Instrument 535 of 2003 prohibits the making of an unsolicited telephone call for marketing purposes to the line of a subscriber where the subscriber has notified the person or company making the marketing call that he/she does not consent to the receipt of such a call on his/her telephone line or where the subscriber has had his/ her telephone number recorded in the NDD opt-out register. It is an offence to make a marketing call which breaches this Regulation.
My Office investigated the complaints and engaged at length with Eircom on the matter. This involved meetings with the company as well as several exchanges of correspondence which eventually led to the following favourable and positive outcome from my perspective:

• • • Eircom assured me that it is fully committed to ensuring compliance with data protection legislation within the organisation. It expressed concern about the complaints received by my Office and it assured me that it takes all such complaints very seriously. Eircom introduced a number of measures to Eircom conveyed its sincere apologies to the • complainants to my Office for any inconvenience caused to them and it entered the complainants’ contact details on its suppression list to prohibit further marketing calls from the company to those individuals. In order to demonstrate its commitment to•

• • • reduce the risk of any reoccurrence of such complaints. These measures involved the completion of a full internal review of the processes which are followed by all customer-facing channels when recording requests to opt-out of direct marketing by Eircom and its related companies. Where any points of weakness within these processes were identified, the process was revised to ensure that it was both robust and compliant with data protection legislation. Eircom briefed all relevant staff on the issues which gave rise to complaints and on the new processes which were put in place. The new processes also became an integral part of the training material for new staff. Eircom established a centralised and dedicated ‘suppression’ unit with responsibility for processing “do not call” requests received by post, email or fax. A statement was placed on Eircom’s Intranet homepage emphasising the importance of ensuring compliance with data protection rules. The statement also explains the process which must be followed to implement a suppression request (i.e. an individual’s stated preference not to be called by the company for marketing purposes) and it provides details of the new centralised ‘suppression’ unit. the protection of individuals’ data protection rights and its regret for the issues which gave rise to complaints to my Office, Eircom made a donation of €35,000 to a reputable Irish charity. Finally, following agreement with my Office •

on the content, Eircom published a statement on its website regarding the protection of customer information. In the statement, among other things, Eircom acknowledged that it had communicated with individuals whose preference to decline marketing contact was not recorded due to a problem with its systems and processes and it expressed regret that these people were contacted when they did not want to be. It also stated that it had identified areas for improvement and had implemented those improvements. Overall, I am very pleased with the investigation of these complaints and the steps taken by Eircom in response to my Office’s intervention. The complainants concerned had good reason to complain to my Office about unsolicited marketing telephone calls which have become, in recent years, an all-too-frequent intrusion into the personal lives of individuals in their homes. Eircom identified the failings in its marketing processes and it did what a responsible data controller should do in similar circumstances -it took effective remedial action. In addition, it responded positively to my Office’s efforts to amicably resolve the complaints

-the Data Protection Acts make provision for the amicable resolution of complaints in the first instance between the parties concerned – by apologising to the complainants and by making a substantial donation to charity. Furthermore, I am happy to report that since Eircom took the remedial steps outlined above I have received no further complaints of substance regarding its marketing activities.

FAIL
Me = Harry Potter?
Photo owned by smurfster1 (cc)

image001
Photo owned by Simon Davison (cc)

Data Protection Commissioner can’t protect their data – Leaked Annual Report for 2007

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Below is the press release going out at 11am tomorrow from the DPC but I found it by accident on their site and the full report is here. It’s kind of pathetic that you can actually access the full report from their site because of a badly configured publishing system.

UPDATE: Report is now here.

Once again the report is a crock with investigations that don’t go anywhere with eircom and Newtel reoffending. Newtel got mentioned in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Four in a row next year?

The Data Protection Commissioner launched his report for 2007 today. He has emphasised the responsibility of public and private sector organisations to respect the privacy of those who entrust them with their personal information. Equally the Commissioner has also drawn attention to the need for an appropriate balance to be struck between the ever increasing desire to seek the personal data of all of us as part of the security agenda and the individual’s right to privacy. In this respect he raises the question, “Have we not succumbed to terror and submitted to extremism when we loose the liberty to live our lives without constant intrusion by the State in the name of security?”

Enquiries and Complaints
During 2007 the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner opened 1,037 new complaint investigations, up substantially from 658 in 2006. This very large increase in the number of complaints relates in part to an increase in complaints in relation to unsolicited text (SMS) messages. The Report updates on the actions which the Commissioner has taken to address this issue. He currently has more than 350 prosecutions before the Courts in this area. These prosecutions follow strong action taken by the Commissioner who sent teams of investigators into the premises of those involved to collect evidence. The Commissioner has increasingly made use of his powers to send his officers into premises which contain personal data without notice to ensure that data protection requirements are being met.

The Report updates on the Commissioner’s actions in relation to the issue of unauthorised access to personal data in the public sector, a large number of complaints received in relation to the marketing practices of Sky and also includes case studies of a number of specific investigations into the use of personal data including:

• The use made by Baxter Healthcare of two medical reports relating to a former employee;
• The inappropriate use of CCTV footage by the West Wood Club in Sandymount and covert CCTV by the Gresham Hotel in Dublin;
• Suspension of the operations of a cold-call marketing operation by Newtel communications;
• Inappropriate disclosure of employee information by Aer Lingus;
• A very serious case of inappropriate access to personal information held by the Revenue Commissioners;
• The failure to supply a reasonable means for opting-out from email direct marketing by Ryanair.
• Extensive engagement with Eircom following the receipt of a large number of complaints in relation to unwanted marketing telephone calls. This resulted in a €35,000 donation by Eircom to charity to resolve the complaints
• Excessive information of local residents retained by Croke Park
• Unsolicited email marketing by Tesco arising from technical difficulties

In addition to actual formal complaints received and progressed, the Office dealt with approximately 20,000 telephone enquiries together with over 4,000 email enquiries and a smaller number of enquiries by post.

Other Activities
In a wide ranging report on his Office’s activities for 2007 that reflects the variety of issues the Office is called upon to address, the Commissioner also focuses on:
• The benefits that flow from an increasing awareness of privacy and data protection issues on the part of members of the public, the media and institutions holding our data;
• The occasions when he was obliged to resort to the use of his legal powers to protect and promote the interests of data subjects;
• The responsibility of private sector organisations to protect the personal data of their customers and clients;
• Breach notifications as an example of good practice;
• Developing codes of practice within particular sectors and public bodies to allow a better understanding of data protection requirements among those entrusted with personal data;
• The continuing challenges posed by new technology and the use made of the internet.

The Commissioner has taken the opportunity to highlight his engagement with Government on a variety of issues including the proposed DNA database, the intention to introduce what is known as an “eBorders” system to track all of our movements as we enter and leave the country and a very satisfactory outcome in terms of ensuring that the planning system respects privacy while maintaining transparency.

The Report also includes for the first time an unscientific list of the top ten threats to privacy as identified by the staff of the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner. This list, which is by no means authoritative, is intended to provoke discussion of privacy issues.

Oireachtas decide that maybe encryption on TD and Senator laptops = Good idea

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

See the tender.

Appropriate for ages 0 - ∞.
Photo owned by Britt Selvitelle (cc)

Email sent to TDs and Senators:

In the event of the loss or theft of any such device containing personal data, Members are advised to contact the Gardaí (to report the incident) and the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (for advice on the most appropriate steps to be taken in relation to the lost / stolen data).

In order to maximise the security of data which may be on laptops and desktop computers, the Office has recently invited tenders for the provision of a data encryption system. As soon as a contract has been awarded, we will contact Members again to offer the installation of this software on all existing laptop devices. The software will automatically be installed on all laptops issued to Members after the contract has been awarded.

Members are reminded that although they are no longer required to register with the Data Protection Commissioner merely by virtue of their membership of the Oireachtas, they are still responsible for ensuring the safety of personal data which is stored on their computer systems.

The Office will replace stolen laptops only following receipt of a formal Garda report confirming that the loss or theft has been reported to the Gardaí.

There’s more to security than encryption, right? Anyone got a better solution?