Author Archive

Wants – Who would you like to see talk in Ireland?

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

So far, no conference has beaten Reboot for the amount of inspiring people I listened to and met. For a fantasy conference, who would you have give a talk? Doesn’t have to be tech people.

My wants:
For me I’ve love to see Ewan McIntosh being brought over and giving a talk to the people in charge of the education system in Ireland. Ewan has some great ideas for using technology to engage the bored kids in schools.

Tara Hunt. Citizen Agency and so much more.

Steven Johnson. He wrote Emergence. He’s a genius and he’s also behind

I finally met JP Rangaswami in person last week and he’s more magnetic when you meet him. Very engaging and very charming. Would love to see him talk to an Irish crowd. Might ask BT Ireland to invite him over. 🙂

I’d love to see Shel Israel back in these parts but not as such to give a talk but to have a conversation about, well him really. Mr. Naked Conversations has some great stories to tell.

Walter Murch.

Russell Davies. No T. The guy that amongst other things runs the Interesting conference.


Fred Wilson. I never thought I’d be reading the blog of a venture capitalist and actually be excited about seeing new content arrive in my feedreader every day. If he came over I’d actually like to see him talk about music more than the business he’s in.

Who’s your want list?

Update: Funnily enough I’m subbed to everyone bar Murch and Kos.

Phantom win Music Station of the Year – woo

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Via a Twitter from Brian Greene is news that Phantom 105.2FM (full title to keep Derek happy) has one Music Station of the Year at the PPI awards. Well deserved and well won everyone! No other radio station has influenced my music taste more in the past few years and none has gotten this close to match my eclectic tastes. I don’t expect many Phantom staffers to be in anyway sober for the next day at least. 🙂

Social Networking for Business – More details on Conference (Jan 2008)

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Update: Jan 14th. This is still going to happen but later in the year. Leave comments if you are still interested.

The very rough timetable for the Social Networking for Business Conference is below. It’ll be on a weekday, around mid-January in Dublin. I’ve not figured out all the costs yet so not sure of the charge but it looks to be around 200 euros for the day, that’s if I get good sponsors too. I have speakers in mind for most of the slots and most have agreed to do it. However if you are interested or want to recommend people or recommend putting/removing a slot, let me know. I want to make this as useful for people as possible. If you’re interested in coming along, do also let me know.

1000 -1030 Group discussion: What is social networking/how should businesses use them?
1030 -1100 Advertising + Marketing in Social Networks overview
Coffee: 1100-1130

Case studies (From companies that made/make money via working on Social Networks):
1130 -1200 Bebo
1200 -1230 Facebook
1230 -1300 mySpace

1300 – 1400 Lunch

1400 – 1430 Feed Marketing and Widgets
1430 – 1500 Plugging into social networks(making money from building apps, from having apps built)

1500 -1515 Coffee

1515 – 1545 Doing PR on social networks
1545 -1600 Putting it all together: Running a social networking campaign
1600 -1630 Final Panel Discussion with input via questions raised during the day

Foy Decision – State is in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Friday, October 19th, 2007


The High Court has ruled that the State is in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

He said those who suffer from gender identity disorder suffer from an incurable condition. He said Lydia Foy’s former wife has lost a husband and her children have lost a father. He said it is clear that this case has wider implications than for Lydia Foy herself.

He said in these cases there seems to be a burning desire for applicants to have their sex recognised not only socially but also legally. He said such a process is often humiliating and sometimes unsuccessful but he said everyone had the right to dignity.

Lydia Foy brought her case after undergoing a sex change operation. She wants a new birth certificate recognising that she is a woman. Ms Foy has been engaged in a ten-year legal battle to obtain the new birth certificate, describing her as female.

I hear all she’ll get is compensation for the breach until a law is changed?

Rigging the Irish Election Part 5 – Election day

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 5 – Election day – Traffic Module

Election Day

Before election day, each cell member will create a list of people in their constituency that they know. This includes those they are meant to be influencing as well as any more they think they should be calling. On election day the Traffic module, using the same idea as the Voice Module in part 3, will call each cell member and ask them do they want to connect to X, Y,Z and chat to them about voting, it will base the calling list on exit polls at the various polling stations. Before you connect it will tell you where their polling station is and any other information too. It will also highlight one or two facts that can be used to sway them. The automated system will also have an option to “Ring me back later” and “I’ve done enough, please see can someone else phone the rest”.

The same system will also ring during the day and will call out a text message it wants to send out to all your “friends” on behalf of you. It will ask you do you want this sent out. You press a button to say yes or no. Alternatively you can write a text and text it to a special number hooked into the Traffic Module. You will then be called by the Traffic Module do you want to send it to all your friends, once confirmed, it will be sent out to everyone.

Later in the day, the system will switch and start targeting anyone in any area, again depending on exit polls. A much larger database will be used for this and it will be crosschecked with the databases of contacts from every cell member and any number there not called will be be put on a “do call” list. Cell members and volunteers will be called at home and connected to these numbers, again with some profile data given out before the call is connected. After the call ends, a callback will ask if the person appeared to interested in voting or whether they had or not, depending on the election it will ask whether that person requires to be collected and brought to the polling station. Again, all automated.

This is Part 5 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

That’s it for now. Maybe I’ll come back to this topic at another time with more cynicism.

Rigging the Irish Election (All five parts). (PDF doc)

The guilt of not being fluffy

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Blogging volume has been down this week due to many deadlines and my trip to London. I’ll get back to doing fluffy links next week. Here’s a review of the Facebook debate. Last post in the Rigging the Election series goes out today at 1413. I’ve gotten some VERY interesting private commentary about it. 🙂 Talk soon!

Rigging the Irish Election Part 4 – Embargo day

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 4 – Embargo day

Media Embargo

The day before an election sees a ban on election reporting and advertising in the media. This does not apply to the online world and in reality can never do so since you might be able to embargo Irish websites but not websites outside of the country. The Embargo module will be used to leak a sensational story about a competitor which can be perpetuated online but cannot be covered in print or on radio and TV. Every gaff and inconsitency from a candidate should be lined up and ready to go. One page fact sheets on the parties should will be sent out to all cell members and sympathetic bloggers which contain information on “flip flopping” and scary facts on parties. The Embargo module can suggest create draft blog posts to cell members with blogs and can be lined up from 10pm before the embargo. The module will also send automated emails and text messages out to people with details on controversial stories with the return address of the cell members. With a traditional media blackout, it means that there is no ability for a candidate to counter these claims until the morning of an election.

Advertising should be ramped up on Embargo day too since people will probably be going online that day for election information. Ads connected directly to the candidate can be released as well as ads not connected to the candidate at all. This is for ads linked to search results. However Google and the other online ad companies list which sites are part of their advertising networks and so you can line up 24hour only campaigns to start on embargo day with ads tailored to youth sites, health sites, babycare sites and so forth. These ads would concentrate on issues which will influence these audiences. Politics sites themselves should be avoided for advertising as they are full of politics junkies and their self-indulgent fantasies.

This is Part 4 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs – True Voice

astroturfing via SMS

The E.A.B. system’s True Voice module makes it much easier to manipulate call-in shows, letters to editors and blog comments. True Voice is of course connected to the Tracker system and the Reach system. The True Voice module itself is split into various submodules which allow the easy manipulation of opinions. First it has a detailed database of the contact points for every media outlet both email, post and text number and can send opinions to all of these outlets automatically.

The True Voice application can randomly generate hundreds of opinions ranging from semi-neutral to very pro-candidate and pro-party. An easy drop down list allows you to generate opinions on specific topics but an AI like engine can also take a human typed opinion and from it create dozens of opinions along the same lines but rewritten to be practically unique. It can do this for text messages, for emails and for letters to the editor which are printed out and posted. The module generates fake names and locations but it also relies on real email addresses so that if a media outlet replies, they will not be told the email account does not existing. The True Voice system will rely on gmail, yahoo, Hotmail, and addresses. It is intelligent enough to not use the same email address when sending opinions to news outlets again and again. Meaning the Last Word won’t see John from Sligo emailing in every second day.

The SMS module:
It is scarily easy to fake text messages from anyone. The SMS protocol is as insecure as the email system. As a result True Voice randomly generates mobile numbers which look valid and send messages from these numbers to the various call-in shows on Irish radio and TV. For some shows that send an auto-reply, a bank of numbers of real numbers are instead used. These numbers are taken from sim cards purchased from all 3 mobile phone companies from dozens of outlets around the country.

The Email module:
Like the SMS module, this takes the autogenerated opinions and sends them into the call-in shows as opinion. In addition this sends letters to the editor of all the print publications.

The Voice module:
Using new phone technology, this system will ring volunteers through an automated system, will explain what the show is about and what opinions are needed and then will give the option of connecting to the show or declining the invite to give an opinion. “Press 1 to connect to Right Hook or press 2 to decline”.

The Web module:
Something like the text module but instead for leaving blog comments and also comments on discussion forums. The Tracker module will alert the system as to what blogs and discussion forums are currently discussing your candidate. Since those wiley bloggers are a clever lot, the web modules will have a list of IPs/proxies that can be used so as not to bring suspicion to the automated system. The web module will have a database of discussion sites available as well as up to half a dozen usernames which can be used on that each site. While opinions are autogenerated, it will still need a human to press the publish button here to ensure that what is being posted appears to be natural and is being posted in the most appropriate area.

This is Part 3 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

Facebook will kill your kids – Ah no it’s just another bullshit survey from Sophos

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Panic panic panic. First, think of the children. Then think of the implications of them sharing stuff. Oh my god, there are evil people on the web, evil people who don’t exist in the real life, despite the fact that most kids that are abused are directly related to their abusers.

In most cases, Freddi was able to gain access to respondents’ photos of family and friends, information about their likes and dislikes, hobbies, employer details and other personal facts.

Like stuff you see on a blog or normal website so then? Employer details, like LinkedIN so?

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, has this to say about the experiment: “What’s worrying is how easy it was for Freddi to go about his business. He now has enough information to create phishing emails or malware specifically targeted at individual users or businesses, to guess users’ passwords, impersonate them or even stalk them.

“While accepting friend requests is unlikely to result directly in theft, it is an enabler, giving cyber-criminals many of the building blocks they need to spoof identities, to gain access to online user accounts, or potentially, to infiltrate their employers’ computer networks.”

But am sure they have a security solution they can sell us for all of this. The real danger though is this story in the Indo where civil servants are prying into our data and passing it on to the highest bidder.

The Irish Independent can reveal the brother used the key information, which is held by the Government, to burgle one man and attempt to extort money from three businessmen. The mole worked in the Data Protection Section of the Department of Family and Social Affairs and broke the Official Secrets Act by passing on the details. He later admitted to officials that it is common practice amongst civil servants to check up on the financial status of friends, family and acquaintances.

This is the same department that did this:

Two years ago the Sunday Times revealed that at least 72 civil servants accessed the social welfare details of Dolores McNamara, the EuroMillions lottery winner. The department’s system logged over 125 hits on McNamara’s files after she scooped a €115m jackpot. Her social welfare details were subsequently published by a newspaper.

Why isn’t Sophos warning us about that? Afraid of pissing off those with the purse strings?

Fluffy Links – Wednesday October 17th 2007

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Via Nialler, MIA remixed into Battles. Brilliant.

So obviously Microsoft has something with “Hyper” in the name, either a programme or a product.

Via Tom Murphy, some backlash for one PR person.

A startup weekend in Dublin, I wonder will it flounder as much as the dumbass Mashup camp. Free clue people, engage the bloody locals when planning these events.

Check out Cork band Hooray for Humans.

That auld fella on YouTube is now going to be talking at the World Economic Forum. User generated content and people power, nah. A new way of gaming the public is all, the marketers will soon catch up and spam the new genuine web.

If you not done so, check out Play Rewind.

Another Sony Bravia ad, this time with the Pyramids: