Author Archive

When press releases go bad

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Check out this really bad press release I just got which contained all the changes from the original draft. Ouch.

Uhm what?

The eircom Innovation Fund – Redux

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I had a chat last week with Dervilla Mullan from eircom about the eircom Innovation Fund, which I covered last November too. The closing date for this is February 15th. Hopefully there will be a lot of interest in it.

The gist of it is that eircom are giving away €100k to 4 companies, that’s 25k each plus all the help eircom can provide including their seriously powerful marketing machine and a chance to show off your product/webservice at the Golden Spiders as well as eircom using their extensive contacts to help out.

I asked her why they decided to do this, given it seemed to be a departure by eircom and something quite unusual for any Irish company to do. Dervilla explained that it certainly was a new way of doing service creation where traditionally a lot of the work was done internally and/or with big partners but the Web 2.0 area is a whole different environment and eircom are interested in designing the front-end experience while partners do the rest. She pointed out that a lot of people have a lot of great ideas and a lot of time they can’t carry them out because they lack support. eircom would like to partner with the right ones and given the right support both eircom and the company can share in the success.

It also seems that while eircom are the first to do this, other companies might also be starting to use this model.

I brought up the fact that eircom are not looking for equity or some or all of the IP. Dervilla said they consulted some web companies about their fund and it was suggested that they not ask for equity and they’re happy to do that.

In terms of what they are looking for, they’re intererested in all applications both standalone and on website. If the idea is good they can be flexible but obviously something that they can use on their portal or to offer their broadband users would be more interesting to them. They also want to target more niches and are starting to do that with their music store and other offerings and they probably forsee that for the teenager/youth market the existing eircom portal might not be the best place to get their attention.

There will be a judging panel for all submissions which will be comprised of eircom and Enterprise Ireland staff and this will create a shortlist. Those on the shortlist will then present their ideas to the panel. They will be selecting 4 companies in March, though they can be flexible with the numbers too (please god let there be at least 4 very good ideas) and they’ll work with companies to have 6 weeks cycles/goals where they can see how they are getting along and if they need any assistance. They would like to see a product commercially launched in 6 months and in time for the Golden Spiders where the 4 companies will show off their products and they will then work with the companies over the next 6 months helping them to measure performance and making any changes/iterations that are needed.

The innovation fund is not a once off either. They hope to do this every year from now on. It’s up to the web companies now to get applying.

Why not partner with some of the Web folks here if you have an idea but not got the skills to build something yourself? Worth a gamble, right?

Does the Irish Examiner check “facts” for their front page articles at all?

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I already blogged about it in the Fluffy links ages back but I’m still looking into the terribly alarmist piece the Examiner did on the cost of Facebook to Irish businesses.

The headline on the front page of the Irish Examiner on Thursday 24th of January 2008 was “Facebook: Staff use costing firms €700m a year” yet the first few lines contradicted this by saying:

Workers are logging onto sites such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace for at least 30 minutes a day — which adds up to a minimum of 10 hours a month or three weeks a year, according to figures released by IT security group Global Secure Systems (GSS).

Except that would be UK workers, not Irish workers. Ireland as the Examiner being a Cork paper should know, is not in the United Kingdom. The figures are here. They are based on a survey of 776 UK workers. Not Irish.

I checked with the company. Half of those surveyed were surveyed at Liverpool St. station in London and half via a website. No Irish people surveyed. (I had actually interviewed the guy from GSS about their survey but it never got printed in the end but I might stick up my notes on the blog instead.)

This is from the press release about the UK:

The poll was carried out amongst 776 office workers, who admitted to spending at least 30 minutes a day visiting social networking sites whilst at work, that’s a minimum of 10 hours a month which equates to 3 weeks of every year

It gets better, this is from the Examiner piece:

Facebook is Ireland’s most popular social networking site with close to 100,000 members. It targets people in the 25-35 age category.

Uhm, try Bebo and the million Irish on it. Try Facebook with the 224,820 people on it as of this morning. Even a simple Google search would get you those REAL facts. Actually no, stop, ever heard of the Irish Examiner? Oh that’s you guys, yeah, you reported Facebook had 131k users last October. You do read your own paper, right?

Hang on though, here are the Examiner facts on Bebo:

Bebo is aimed at the 13-24 age group and it has in the region of 60,000 members in Ireland.

Eh no, see where I pointed to above there. Yeah, you know, a million people. You rang Bebo and asked, right. Front page story, you’d be verifying all the facts right? Even a quick Google, no? If you did ENN might help you.

We get more wisdom:

MySpace is aimed at the over 35s.

You emailed Jay Stevens in the mySpace London office and asked him that? No? Want his number? Let me know.

Let’s get to this money issue though:

If we use the totally WRONG 100k figure from the Examiner:
700Million wasted means that the 100k on Facebook cost their companies 7k a year.
They (wrongly) say 30minutes a day. At 5 days a week. 49 weeks a year. (52- 3 weeks hols) gives us 367.5 hours, Edit: I really can’t add. is 122.5 hours minus 9 bank hols (4.5 hours) gives us 118 hours on Facebook per working year.

So that means that the Examiner is saying that we are costing an employer on average €19.28 €59.32 an hour? So 39 hours a week, 52 weeks a year means us Irish that use Facebook are being paid €120k a year. Nice. Some of ye got pay increases. Congrats.

I don’t think I’ve seen such shoddy fact-checking in a long long time. I’d fire my fact-checkers. I’d hire blind and dumb chimps instead. Anything would improve what you have. Even a blogger.

Update: Changed the figures because I can’t add or multiply!

● Fluffy Links – Monday February 4th 2008

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Fluffy

Biggest killers in movies.

Neil Gaiman with another fascinating insight into writing books.

Sounds so simple. A rolling bench.

Judging me judging you. This is how one judge rolls.

Makes sense. A business to roll back Vista to XP.

Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward are doing a record together.

The mindset of kids these days. ‘“Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.’ etc.

Interpretive dance. You gotta love it. The Ballyogan Interpretive Dance Group star in Inside the Clock of Lives. I think we just found our new Irish interweb superstars.

This. Is. Gold. Sarah Silverman sings “I’m fucking Matt Damon”, to her boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel.

Via Adam

Well Google is pissed – All-out attack on Microsoft Yahoo! Acquisition

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Via Pat Phelan is a link to Google’s comment on the Microsoft Acquisition of Yahoo! by David Drummond, one of their main legal guys. It isn’t nice or subtle. Hostile acquisition is mentioned twice. Open standards blah blah blah.

Google is pulling no punches saying this is a very bad thing for openness. Google of course has APIs for everything. Oh, except for their search engine. They do have a fakey plasticy API that throws AJAX gunk search results on your site but not a real API. Google is open when it suits, of course. Google wants open standards in areas they want to disrupt and take over. Fair enough. Will they open their search API now to save the Internet?

The digs come hard and fast:

Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC?

Google hasn’t been done on anti-trust, just yet but after this Microsoft I’m sure is going to be spending a lot of money lobbying for it.

Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft — despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses — to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet?

Google is worried about their ad revenue more than anything else. The digs are fun though. Why have they not complained about Microsoft and extending unfair practices to the net? Google will still own a bigger chunk of search even if this acquisition goes through. What’s the issue? They still own the ad business, the not very open ad business, what’s the issue there?

It makes me wonder whether Google was waiting to kill Yahoo! a little bit more before they assumed they could swallow them up? The last comment in the statement kind of says they can always jump into the arms of Google or let Google help them.

We believe that the interests of Internet users come first — and should come first — as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored.

Get the popcorn folks!

Update: Microsoft reply with cold hard figures about Google’s control of search and advertising. They also mention privacy.

Improv Grand Central Freeze

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

Well edited video too

Microsoft offer to buy Yahoo! – Rapid reaction

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Twitter breaking the news as usual and the reactions

crap… I loved flickr and del.icio.us

A friend on IM:bugger i like yahoo

If Microsoft buys Yahoo, I’m rolling my own del.icio.us and probably switching off of Flickr.

@marcusmacinnes Must be grinning from ear to ear

true, but yahoo really needs this, it’s really struggling to attract young users, e.g. search and mail, I never see yahoo at work

Mega mergers rarely succeed with the final entity being less than the sum of the parts

great buy and great timing for MSFT but i am going to buy more GOOG when it opens down big this am

SuperGorm – Chuck Norrising John Gormley?

Friday, February 1st, 2008

SoggyJazzBiscuit has another fun idea, blogging about John Gormley and John Gormley facts:

John Gormley doesn’t blog: he looks in the direction of the internet and it writes for him

In the main photo at the top of his blag, John Gormley is shown standing beside a river. What’s not obvious to the layman is that the river is diverting itself around Gormley out of respect.

Chuck Norris, Paul O’Connell, now John Gormley?

Maybe that’s why John wears sandals? *bigvoice* Sandals of steel. *bigvoice*(Environmentally friendly, carbon neutral, recycled, not tested on animals, organic steel) No shoes can take the punishment from SuperGorm, y’see. Thus the sandals.

Another fact: John, er SuperGorm has his SuperRothar because no ministerial car is needed as the road moves backward out of fear.

Anyone else able to summon up Gormley facts? I’m useless at this.

Dept of Environment logo

I do like the new Department of Environment logo though. Are they leeches used in homeopathic healing techniques or are they lentils?

● Fluffy Links – Friday February the 1stest 2008

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Fluffy

Fluffy badges are now all gone. eBay might see these rare gems show up I suppose. Other badges might be on the way though but not fluffy ones.

Jazz Biscuit has some Scientology in Ireland stuff.

It seems when you Google for “Fine Gael Broadband”, you get this blog. No wonder FG TD and spokesperson on Communications Simon Coveney left a comment.

Shane Torturegarden goes to UCC. I already like his work but nice to see a fellow UCC student blog.

Finger puppets.

Mick might as well guest fluffy here. He sent this: spEak You’re bRanes

All the comments quoted were found on the BBC “Have Your Say” site. Yes, people really have written them. On purpose as far as I can tell.

An airplane on a conveyor belt DOES take off.

Jaffa cake Ice Cream.

I might head over to the Personal Democracy Forum conference. If I’m not campaigning for Hilama.

Via MetafilterDon’t fuck with Chuck. Bronson, that is:

Via Shane is this gem. Samantha Fox but but on the Jim’ll Fix it show. For those under 25, I won’t explain. 🙂

eircom announce speed iterations

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Worst kept secret in broadband but speed increases are always welcome.

Customers currently availing of a 3Mb, 4Mb or a 6Mb product will see significant increases in downloads speeds which will at least double. They will be upgraded to 7.6Mb, 10Mb and 12Mb product respectively. Customers currently using a 2Mb product will be upgraded to a 3Mb product.

More than 240,000 wholesale and retail customers will now see their broadband download speeds increase

How many do they have on DSL, inc the resellers? That’s a lot of people that are on 1Mb broadband so.

New Speed : : : Old Speed : : : When increases will happen
12Mb/1Mb : : : 6Mb/512k : : : March – May 2008
10Mb/832k : : : 4Mb/484k : : : March – May 2008
7.6Mb/672k : : : 3Mb/384k : : : June 2008
3Mb/384k : : : 2Mb/256k : : : June 2008
1Mb/128k : : : 1Mb/128k : : : N/A

I know some people that got the “upgrade” and their speeds were far from doubled. All depends on your line. But even when you are near an exchange, this might not be a guarantee.

Edit: Yes, the upgrades are free. I doubt contention ratios will change.