Author Archive

Science Week Ireland blogging competition – Win a Nintendo Wii each day this week

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

In case you didn’t know it, Science Week is on this week and they’ve gone all blogger friendly by having a competition each day for the rest of the week.

Here’s their spiel:

This year Science Week Ireland explores this theme and illustrates just how much science surrounds us every day. We are constantly surrounded by science, technology and engineering in the modern world. We are woken by talking alarm clocks, dress in man-made fibres, check the TV weather, listen to radio news or traffic reports, use electricity to make our breakfast. And all that is before we have even left the house.

We would like you to tell us a little bit about the role science plays in your everyday lives. We are inviting you to answer each of the following questions:

  • Tuesday – Q What was the favourite invention from your childhood?
  • Wednesday – Q What invention do you want to see most in the future?
  • Thursday – Q What’s the next gadget that you want to buy?
  • Friday – Q Which invention has helped you most with your working life?
  • Saturday – Q In your opinion what was the best invention in 2007?

Easy pickings really! C’mon and get blogging. Link to the Science Week website so they can track entries or link back here. I’m not sure will Science Week allow this, but if people read this blog, don’t have their own blog but want to contribute, I’ll happily allow them to guest post here. I’ll check with the Science Week folks about this.

Also see this other competition from them.

MashupCamp – Do we deserve it to come back?

Monday, November 12th, 2007

MashupCamp Ireland. David Berlind, Doug Gold and everyone else (apologies I don’t know your names yet folks) have put a wonderful International event together and they honoured Ireland by bringing it here. The turnout has been healthy enough and hopefully we’ll see more people on Monday. Maybe even more Irish people because from what I’ve seen there’s been more International people than locals here.

MashupCamp is a very important event with some high-powered people from the biggest companies in the world showing how to make new services and products using their APIs. Mashup Camp could have chosen anywhere in Europe and they chose Dublin. It’s nice to see people from these tech companies fly in to share a lot of information with everyone that turns up.

I would have expected to see more of the people that go to the various Open Coffees to turn up, or more of the Paddy’s Valley people, especially as they’re getting pitching training tomorrow. I.B.M. had a great presence and Microsoft have been there at every single talk over the weekend, mixing and networking and even writing summaries of some of the talks. No official Google presence to show people how to use their APIs yet they have some of the most used APIs about. Good to see an unofficial presence though.

I also would have expected the likes of Enterprise Ireland to have had a large presence or any presence at the event. They’re a sponsor too. Out of interest how many Enterprise Ireland D.A.s rang tech companies on their books and told them about MashupCamp? S.F.A. I reckon. I gave the organisers a small bit of help getting the word out yet the locals here in Ireland should have been clawing to get to Mashup Camp without having to be begged and prodded. Universities should have been aware of the event and telling their students get here and should have gone themselves. E.I. and their grant drawing clients should have been there in force. Any tech startup should have been at the event to mix with the “big boys” and just see how they work and learn about the way they work.

For me, I see MashupCamp as being like a multi-national company wanting to come here and set up. The same way politicians, councils, chambers’ of commerce and I.D.A./E.I. fall over themselves to court these big companies, so should they do the same for events like Mashup Camp. If E.I. and Unis and all the others cannot see a few steps ahead and that Mashup Camp creates the potential for new jobs and enterprises then we really are sunk. We’ve been given a fantastic opportunity with MashupCamp and I don’t think we’ve honoured it enough by the lack of support from the tech community in Ireland. We need way more events like this in Ireland from people more experienced than us but if they come looking at having events here, what can we show to them for us to deserve it? Remember, they can go to India or China where they’ll be treated like gods. Or London or Berlin where they’ll pack many halls and probably make a profit.

Despite all of this I hope to see enough good feedback from the event that the organisers will come back again and maybe next time we can see a queue of Irish people wanting to get in. Well done MashupCamp organisers! Thanks for the event so far. It’s great.

Anyone else getting spam comments?

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

Nóirín is. She ranks very well for Christmas Cards on Google and it was a post about these where she got three spam comments from people, all claiming their website was, all recommending the site and ALL coming from the same IP address. I do remember a company on the Enterprise Ireland mailing asking for SEO advice recently. I don’t think anyone would have recommended this tactic. If it wasn’t people from then I’d consider it someone try to give them a bad name by leaving these comments but at least their IP has been logged!

Lucinda Creighton’s Website got hacked

Friday, November 9th, 2007

Have a look here and here and here. If all evidence removed, you can still see how the blog part of the site was hacked by looking at the RSS feed here.

Fluffy links – Friday November 9th 2007

Friday, November 9th, 2007

I’m not really here. I’m in Wicklow. This is a post written on Wednesday.

I’ll be at Mashup Camp in Dublin all weekend, will you? Here’s who’s going.

On Monday I’ll be taking my first trip to Phantom towers to talk about blogging on the radio. Sometime after 2. Do tune in.

Fluffy Links – Thursday November 8th 2007

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

I’m off to Wicklow today as I’m up early on Friday morning giving this blog training course. Sign up if you want to learn how blogging is good for your business and what is involved in business blogging. I’m staying here tonight. Pricey but I hope worth it for the location. Can someone cold call them about their site and offer to fix it?

Check out this Irish Craft news blog.

Got an Education blog? Check out the Edublog awards. It’s been suggested I have an Educational category at IBA3. What do you think?

Twenty pitched this as his first book but was beaten to it: Cooking with Booze.

I’ll be at Mashup Camp in Dublin all weekend, will you? Here’s who’s going.

Evil Eamon Ryan is now leaving it up to Junior Ministers to announce the bad news about broadband rollout in the sticks. National Broadband tender winner not announced til mid-2008. I’m betting late 2008 meaning people won’t avail of this scheme for up to two or three years after.

Larry Lessig at TED. How creativity is being strangled by the law.

How do we get Girl Talk to play in Ireland? Speaking of gigs, anyone going to the Final Fantasy gig on Dec 11th? I’m going to Lapland the next day I think. (Not the club. Boo!) A Hawk and a Handsaw are on the same night as Final Fantasy. Gah.

Sick of all this Facebook talk. Hugh drew this.

The N95 has an accelerometer inside, apparently. Would have been nice to know.

Analysis: New Facebook Ad System – faux-permission marketing to your friends? (Twitter finds a revenue stream)

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

But before I give my opinion on this: Microsoft have no input into this at all. Holy Cow. This is a competing ad platform to the existing one running on Facebook that Microsoft manages. While the 240 Million dollars is small change for Microsoft, bloody hell, all they got was access to banner advertising while Facebook has control of a more highly targeted system?

Thanks to the analysis of Jeremiah Owyang on his blog I was able to make some kind of sense of what this ad system actually does.

Executive summary

To me this system appears to be the start of Vendor Relationship Marketing though in a kludgy manner. The new Facebook system allows a company or individual to basically create a profile or group for their brand or product. Instead of “friending” this brand, a person “Fans” this profile and it is listed under their friends listing. The profile owner though can serve ads on your profile. They can also show ads on your news feed when you interact with them on their profile. Also external sites can advertise in your feed when you interact with them e.g. Your feed will say you bought a book from Amazon and under it Amazon might offer you 5% off the same book OR a book that is more tailored to your preferences as with the ad system it caters to your profile. The last bit has the most potential.

The new Facebook Ad Platform is broken into four areas: Social Ads, Facebook Pages, Facebook Beacon and Facebook Insights

Facebook Social Ads:

Very much just an iteration on Facebook Flyers but they allow you to drill down and be even more specific who you can target, age, sex, workplace, college, likes and dislikes etc. Quite targeted but these via Facebook Pages and outside webpages allow you to place ads in the News Feeds of people. They do this by showing ads under the actions of what friends have done with facebook Pages or Facebook Partner websites.

facebook ads 3

This is pretty much your friend giving permission for you to put an ad on their friend’s News Feed. Not permission marketing as such is it? How many friends will you dump on Facebook when this kicks in wholesale?

Facebook pages:

These are profiles for companies or products. People “friend” or rather “fan” your Facebook Page. It works very much like a profile with a few exceptions. When you add a Facebook Page it goes into the Fan section on your own profile.

This is the screenshot of adding Jeremiah’s Facebook page:
facebook ads 1

And this is how it looks on my Facebook profile:
facebook ads 2

All your friends also see this add in their news feed. This is now called a “social story”. When you interact with the Facebook Page by leaving comments and uploading photos and all that, that too goes into your news feed. Just like interacting with a friend. Each of the “social stories” has a link back to the Facebook Page so it is a handy way of increasing traffic to a profile. Then the Social Ads kick in. So you see this on the News Feed and under it is an ad for whatever that brand is BUT it is also tailored, almost sniper-like to your Facebook profile. So people in Ireland might see a different ad to someone in the UK or men see different ones to women.

Facebook Beacon

This is clever. I like this. This is for external websites who want to get a foot in the door of Facebook. Like the example above. Buy a book from Amazon and it gets listed in the news feed of that Facebook member and you can attach an ad to it. Want 5% off the book John just bought? This is good in that to start with it won’t get astroturfed. It will allow us nosey human beings to see what people bought or what they did with external websites while that site can pique your interest with an offer. And that offer is tailored to your demographic.

Facebook Insights

This is just the stats part of the ad system. Seems basic enough for now but bound to change.

Things unanswered for now

Groups: Why isn’t this offered to existing groups? C’mon Facebook people, with millions in some groups you could actually make more cash by allowing those group owners to do the same. Switch it on for them. Allow group members to opt in.

An ad network inside an ad network
If you build up your brand (Hey, remember Ze Frank is a brand) on Facebook and put a lot of hard work building it up, why not be able to make money by selling ads for other people and do it in some kind of automated fashion. If I have 100k followers, it would make me and Facebook money if I can allow some other people to send targeted ads to my subscribers without this advertiser going off and creating their own page and build up a following. Right now it only seems that I can spend money on Social Ads, not make money. Facebook people, yu do remember something called AdSense, right? Allow people to make money from their Facebook pages. Go on!

Where’s my kickback?
If my friends are reading my lifestream and seeing ads built around what I’ve purchased and done. What do I get back? I want a kickback

Will others rip this idea off?
You friggin bet. Now I sound American! Tumblr just got their revenue stream if they hadn’t already thought of this. Twitter too. I think we’ll also see RSS feeds of purchases become standard on all websites and people encouraged to stick them in their lifestreams via some kind of points thing. Get 5 points every time someone clicks on an item you’ve purchased etc. etc.

The future

This will get people and advertisers next to the next step in advertising. Vendor Relationship Management. A post on that another time.

Fluffy Links – Wednesday November 7th 2007

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Want to try out some ice cream recipes? Want to get credit in an ice cream book and get a copy of the book. Talk to Kieran Murphy now. Yes, another blogger with a book deal. There’s gold in them thar blogs.

Sinéad’s got a new series called Musical Rooms. Check it check it out.

If you want to thrash valid opinion use the word “fringes”.

Via the ladies from, tis Roy the Taxi Driver. He’s looking for other Taxi Drivers and the stories they may have.

New blogs on the block for this week. Want to be listed? Go there and leave a comment.

Speaking of which. Another fine music blog is added to the mix. Damn but that’s one vibrant blog area. Between that and food bloggers. Great to see.

Harry has a nice video of the Govt Ministers talking about their pay.

Nokia does touchscreen haptic feedback. I like.

Rob is now doing, er, Robby Links.

No Youtube for you!

And the real deal. Skip the middle part.

Pay Per Post and fake reviews illegal in Ireland/EU?

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

Not only has Google punished all those people judasing their opinion on the web for some silver, but now the EU is saying that companies who pay people to write fake reviews of products will get fined and be liable for criminal prosecution. Well according to the Register anyway.

and the upshot is that companies (including sole traders) will no longer be able to pay individual bloggers or professional agencies to post false or misleading blogs or reviews online. Nor will they be able to do it themselves.

A little step in the right direction for the malevolent marketers and their deceptive disciples who would rather make a quick buck then have a moral backbone or an ounce of creativity. In actual fact this is law in many EU countries already, this is what the EU wants:

Certain commercial practices across Europe are banned outright under the Directive. To ensure that traders, marketing professionals and customers are clear about what is prohibited, a Black List of unfair practices has been drawn up. Which types of commercial practices does it cover? The commercial practices on the Black List are unfair in all circumstances and no case-by-case assessment against other provisions of the Directive is required. The list may only be modified at EU level, by revision of the Directive with the involvement of the European Parliament and the Council (representatives from Member States).

And the one for this blog article:

Professional trader disguised as consumer “Falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer.”

Is paying someone to blog about your product covered under this?

Is it Law in Ireland? Under the Consumer Protection Act 2007, in section 55 it outright bans:

(x) making a representation or creating an impression that the trader—
(i) is not acting for purposes related to the trader’s trade, business or profession, when the trader is so acting,
(ii) is acting as a consumer, when the trader is not;

And the fines:

56.—A trader who contravenes section 55(1) or (3) commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment or on summary conviction, as the case may be, to the fines and penalties provided in Chapter 4 of Part 5.

But would the below section mean that once someone delcares Pay Per Post, they’re ok?

(q) using editorial content in the media to promote a product (if a trader has paid for that promotion) if it is not made clear that the promotion is a paid promotion, whether in the content itself or in any oral, written, visual or descriptive representation in the promotion;

I’m not sure myself but I’m not a legal scholar so I’ll leave it up to one to clarify it when they read this. However part x is quite clear and useful. You can now make a complaint to the national consumer agency if a marketing or PR company leaves fake comments as “consumers” and have them done for breaking the law. Not that the NCA will give a damn or make an effort to do anything about this. I should think can make massive use of this given how so many marketing companies and all sorts of companies come on to the site, register as new users and talk up new products pretending not to be linked to them. I remember a certain Satellite Internet company used to do that on the IrelandOffline forum on boards, come on talking up their product and denying they were from the company.

Update: Daithí was 9 months ahead of me!

Gadget Lust – ASUS Eee PC 701

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007


Asus EEPCShips in 6 days. I want. Once I get it running with a 3G USB modem that is.

• Display : 7″
• CPU & Chipset : Intel Mobile CPU & chipset
• Operating System : Linux System/ Hardware Compatible with Windows XP
• Communication : 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
• WLAN : WiFi 802.11b/g
• Memory : 512MB, DDR2
• Storage : 4GB S.S.D. (Solid-State Disk)
• Web-Cam : 0.3 Mega Pixel Video camera
• Audio : Hi-Definition audio CODEC, Built-in stereo speaker, Built-in microphone
• Keyboard : Qwerty UK keyboard
• Expansion: 3 x USB ports
• Battery Life : 3 hrs (4 cells)
• Dimension & Weight : 22.5 x 16.4 x 2.15~3.5 cm, less than 1kg