Author Archive

Fluffy Links – Friday August 3rd 2007

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

In case you missed it, The Bitter Pill is back and in fine form.

Rob teaches y’all how to hack the Blogger template to add Digg and Reddit widgets.

For all those interior design buffs, some nice LCD lumin lights.

Beautiful and amazing rice paddy works of art. Been around the blogs this week but finally looked at the page yesterday. Wow.

This is just amazingly weird. An award winning author is far too candid on his break-up.

Wine tasting videocasts. This guy is hyperactive! All good and he is on Twitter and Facebook and all the rest.

If you like David Beckham and wanted to see that photospread with his missus.

And now for some Sopranos music videos:
One is about the relationship between Johnny Sack and his wife set to INXS:

And then Sopranos mixed with Daniel Bedingfield (Graphic violence alert. Violence inducing shite music alert.):

and then there’s this:

Ah lads. Stop – The Culture of Gov Orgs afraid to use the paddle

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Earlier this week I was on the Last Word, as was someone from the Data Protection Commissioner. They have been on a big PR run of late, getting themselves lots of attention for raids and investigations they carried out. Investigations that rarely end in prosecutions due to their catch, warn and let go policy. If they catch you once and give out to you, you get away with it but they’ll get you if you do it again. Their latest press release was about warning a restaurant that SMS spammed their customers without permission. The DPC said it was ignorance on their side and they were not aware it was the law. I pointed out that their current policy means that companies know they can carry out a massive assault on customers and harass them like hell up until the DPC comes in and says stop. Professional, multimillion euro companies. Such as TalkTalk. Read all about it in the Data Protection Commissioner’s report for 2006.

TalkTalk rang 1000s, perhaps 10s of 1000s of people pushing them into signing with them. They were so nice to stop once the DPC told them to. Now read the text of this. These people had stated on many occassions they did not want to be contacted again and they were ignored. The opt-out registry was also ignored. I personally know people who would get 3-4 calls per day from them:

Talk Talk (previously known as Tele 2 which was taken over by Carphone Warehouse and re-branded Talk Talk) was making marketing phone calls to individuals who had already expressly told Talk Talk that they did not wish to be contacted, or who had exercised their right to be recorded on the National Directory Database opt-out register.

And so what did the DPC do? Fuck all:

Given that this was Talk Talk’s first offence (albeit a number of offences were committed at the same time), it was decided to give them one opportunity to take remedial action and to put new practices and procedures in place as an alternative to prosecution.

Examples need to be set and set for more than just a PR stunt. If this were a negligence case, a court would not be so forgiving. “Next time we’ll check the brakes.”

Another example, this time from my old nemesis ComReg who are doing a bit more lately that I’m happy about, but as usual the follow-through is not so good. So after 10 years of complaints ComReg finally reported that eircom were giving preference to their retail customers over reseller customers when it came to fixing the phone service. No? Really?

However, they had a reason why this happened :

It is understood that the problem related to the systems Eircom used to log repair requests from other operators, which meant that these requests were not being escalated if they were not resolved within the initial time period promised to the other operator.

So what happened next? Nada. Nothing. SFA. Now, if you look at ComReg’s history of eircom investigations, they have a half-hearted investigation, find eircom did do what was reported but it was down to a mistake, a bug in a database or a incorrectly implemented system and nothing more than that. eircom calling old customers who left to BT and enticing them back when they were not allowed to or the customers said do not call. “Bug in their database”. Same thing again a little while later. “Different bug in the database” and so on and so forth. With an organisation like eircom being so big, I bet they could have a new bug every day for the next ten years which would accidently allow them to screw over their competitors. How about punitive encouragement from ComReg to have eircom implement a better quality control system for their operations? Such as “do anything like this again and we’ll find you 5% of turnover”. That’s surely the best encouragement for eircom with their past history of bugs?

And of course then there’s the Comptroller. Via 73Man is the attitude that all those involved in the PPARS, e-voting and other over-spending debacles suffer enough as it is without getting further punishment:

But then he is asked about what fitting negative sanctions could be assigned to underperforming public servants when they cock up royally but their political masters move on or are not returned:

In many cases, the public berating of the people involved in controversies is punishment enough, I believe.

Nice culture we’ve got going here isn’t it? But they’ll throw some bin charge protestors into jail no problem.

P P P P Picked up a Penguin

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Club Penguin got purchased by Disney for $350 Million with an additional $350 Million performance bonus if they keep growing well til 2009. Coverage by the NY Times and Techcrunch.

Club Disney Penguin

Techcrunch points out that Sony previously wanted to buy the online social networking website for kids but the deal faltered for a few reasons, one being that Club Penguin donates sunstantial portions of their profits to charities and Sony wasn’t easger to continue this after a sale. I guess Disney is happy or else the three fathers who created the site have worked out some other deal.

Club Penguin’s growth has been fantastic and they seem to have decided on a site philosophy early on that they’ve stuck with. They’re not overly commercial looking and tone down rather that harass people with ads. It looks like they got the balance right when so many other websites have failed so badly. They also CHARGE customers which seems to be some kind of vulgar no no for other websites. 700k customers pay $5.95 a month to customize the penguins.

Lots of lessons to be learned from this website and their business plan.

Fluffy Links – Thursday August 2nd 2007

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Fun and cute candles.

Free webcast: Managing SEO for Big Sites, Big Brands.

Of course:Rock  Paper Scissors

Anyone going to the Future of Mobile conference?

Another foody blog.

Totally nicked from Una

Blur – Song 2 (Acapella)

Fluffy Links – Wednesday August 1st 2007

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Worthy of New blogs on block but thought I’d give it a fluffy link too. The Mood Food Blog is a damned fine food blog.
Mood Food

Never thought cooked veg would make me hungry and want to try them. I hope the owner (Donal) sticks to the blogging. I’ve seen his other past blogs.

Staying with food. Milk is better than sports drinks post-game or post-workout. Who sponsored this?

Almost moving away from food … they’re breeding schizophrenic mice now.

Register for the FireFox 3 talk in Cork.

I love it. A multi-purpose tool that fits in to your wallet. 11 tools in the space of a credit card. All for a fiver. Now now, I know I won’t mention the big end of year event that starts with C but that would make a great stocking filler. Sold out on both sites that are linked to on the Cool Tools blog.

Microsoft gives away Microsoft Works for free as adware. Stupid stupid stupid. Stop trying to copy Google and make a mess while you do it. Put it online, not on the operating system and NOT with ads.

Nice observation by Rob on Twitter, Second Life and Greenpeace.

If they were to stick to their principles fully, of course, Greenpeace would probably have to address the Internet through machines powered by hippies (vegan ones, naturally) on treadmills.

And for the geeks, Rob rants about WordPress and all the calls it makes. In a convo with Rob once I think he talked about writing a WordPress like clone using some other language which was 1700% faster or something? What was it again Rob?

Treasa got me thinking about the Princess Bride. One of my favourite movies ever. One of those movies to test out the other person in your life. If they like that, then that’s another box checked. Well, for me anyway.

Via Writing it down:

“Antony and the Johnsons – You Are My Sister”
:

Talk: Read, Write, and Recycle the Web with FireFox 3 – Register your interest

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

IT@Cork are now hosting the Marcio Galli talk I previously mentioned. It takes place at 6pm on August 8th in the National Software Centre, in Cork. Please let others know about this and encourage them to register if they are going to attend.

Read, Write, and Recycle the Web with FireFox 3

Blurb:

A talk on Web development and advanced applications with upcoming Mozilla Firefox 3. The presentation focuses on demonstrations of new features of the Firefox “platform” built on open standards with the focus on technology cases and development opportunities.

Target audiences: Computer science students, web developers, software engineers, entrepreneurial individuals, and more.

FireFox – A Web-browser, a Platform, a Framework.

Bio of Marcio Galli:

Marcio Galli currently works as a consultant for the Mozilla project, with specific contribution to mobile projects such as the Mozilla Joey, Mozilla Minimo, and Mozilla development efforts in Brazil. Prior to that he worked as an web interface engineer for the Yahoo! Messenger team, and served as Technology Evangelist for the Netscape Gecko and Open Standards at Netscape Communications. Marcio now lives in Sao Carlos Brazil. Marcio presented in conferences like OSCON (portland ), Nasa and Warner Bros while at Netscape, and other open source events in Brazil such as FISL and ESLAM.

Update: A few hours later, Blacknight stepped in and sponsored the event. Nice one.

Pope Benedict XVI Brings Reform to the Catholic Church

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

From the people that gave us Bertie on Dragon’s Den

Fluffy Links – Tuesday July 31st 2007

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Via Pat. Send texts from as little as 1 cent.

This week’s new blogs on the block.

Last chance for Paddy’s Valley this week. Spaces still available. Details here.

Tech company profiles, why not have your own company profiled? So far I’ve gotten 14 profiles sent in. We surely have more tech companies in Ireland than that?

I really thought online group buying died a death?

Richard Hawley – Tonight The Streets Are Ours

Albert Hammond Jr. – In Transit:

Tempted by the fruit of another

Monday, July 30th, 2007

I feel ill. The chef here had me try out a chocolate sweet made from durian. The smelliest, most horrid fruit ever. This is actually how he billed it before I tried it. The sweet is now repeating on me and sends waves of the most noctious, sickening gas up my throat and out my nose and nostrils. It is the type of thing that fits so comfortably in the “delicacy” comparment that fools us all into paying a fortune for food nobody else would bother trying since their life doesn’t depend on it.

Here’s a video of someone trying it:

Battles – Math Rock – If Google started a band they’d be this lot?

Monday, July 30th, 2007

Math Rock. Yeah apparently this genre exists. I’ve heard of Battles for a while but was really wondering were they a band that sang songs like “1 and one is two. Two and two is four. Break it down.” or “I don’t want to be your square root, I want to be your multiplier” but they seem more about doing rhythms in certain ways. They have a Primus or Zappa feel to them. Then the chipmunks have an LSD party with the Smurfs. It also reminded me of something else.*

Anyway, Phantom played this tune tonight:

Of which a longer, live version is here:

Really good. Must get the album now.

* Was also reminded of this Trigger Happy TV moment: