We’re looking for some Santa’s little helpers for the Blogging the Election conference. Interested? Follow the link
It seems that It MySpace will now be encouraging people to register to vote and Walmart are going to be doing something like this too by running an initiative to register all their staff to vote. They have 1.3Million employees. Simon McGarr wrote a guide on how to register to vote which deserves attention.
In one of the afternoon sessions at the Blogging the Election conference, perhaps if there’s interest we’ll discuss how a non-partisan campaign that involves everyone can encourage people to register to vote. Please consider going to this conference. Register here for it. There’s a €15 entrance fee on the door but lunch is free!
If you want to sponsor the event then give me a shout. We need about another 2k in sponsorship by the looks of it!
Update: Went in there to check. Damn them. It’s now pay and display. Tenner for the day though. Might be worth it.
White Street car park in Cork is (no longer) free on weekends, if you get in there early enough. For those that register early (like 9am) then this car park would be perfect. White Street is in the bottom left of the map. Click the below map to see where it is in relation to BarCamp:
You can also see this on Google maps:
Alternatively there is a pay car park right next to Webworks.
Thanks to Terry for making the map.
The Broadband Leadership conference was quite enjoyable. Some speakers were totally predictable like Gerry Fahy from TIF, Davis Jesse from EBay and Paul Bradley from HP. A presentation on how to use eBay was quite out of place at a broadband leadership event in my view. The HP Halo room was very disappointing too. It’s videoconferencing with a few more cameras. Nothing ground breaking. Then good ole Gerry who changes his mind everytime eircom management change their philosophy. At least this time his presentation was more aligned to reality. Still some of his figures were quite dubious.
Peter Cochrane was a live wire and tore into telcos and their attitudes towards the future. He wants fibre everywhere and he made everyone from the telcos uneasy by saying “Telecoms companies don’t want you to have broadband”. Very interesting guy. Made mince meat of Gerry Fahy during the Q&A session. Here’s a SiliconRepublic interview with Peter.
Dylan Collins talked about online gaming and the potential revenue it can generate and how his company is working in this area. Demonware are a company to watch.
Brian Coll gave a good presentation on how Sligo IT are using podcasting and videocasting for students and talked about the future of distance learning.
Martin Cronin from Forfas gave a good talk as usual and pointed out how much we have to do to secure jobs and investment. He pointed out that broadband was a key to this. Forfas are a really good organisation. No bullshit or spin from them, just good research and real facts.
Here are all the presentations:
Presentation by Peter Cochrane. 1329 KB PDF file
Presentation by Gerry Fahy from TIF. 332 KB PDF file
Presentation by Paul Bradley from HP. 1096 KB PDF file
Presentation by Dylan Collins from Demonware. 727 KB PDF file
Presentation by Brian Coll from Sligo IT. 1964 KB PDF file
Presentation by Martin Cronin from Forfas. 999 KB PDF file
Presentation by David Jesse from Ebay Ireland. 2018 KB PDF file
Dog swallows car rfid key so has to be kept in car for owner to be able to drive.
They will now have to take George [the dog] with them in the car until things take their natural course.
Some people are making up to $300k a month from Google Ads.
Lithuania’s cabinet sessions can now be watched in real time and on your mobile.
Watch over 250 hours of courses from the University of Berkeley online via Google Video.
The Wall Street Journal has a piece on the money to be made selling virtual fashion goods in Second Life. It’s a thriving virtual cottage industry. Unlike online games, Second Life seems to have a far more balanced demographic: Median age 32 and 57% male, with 40% living outside the U.S. This means you can sell more than redbull and virtual weapons to the users.
For all those in Cork, here are the most of the payments your county councillors got in 2005. A full breakdown is available here. The below totals include mileage expenses, conferences and an annual salary (Representational Payment) of €15,330.00 for being a councillor (which is a part-time position remember) .
P.J. sheehan was Mayor below too and got more money for that. The Examiner had a piece about him here.
|Names||Total in Euros|
|Maura Cal McCarthy||36,179.96|
|Dan Joe Fitzgerald||34,733.31|
If eircom wants to increase line rental charges in this country, in theory there is nothing that can be done about it. eircom have “Significant Market Power” (this is telecoms speak for the power to smother all competition) and so the way they bill people must be regulated according to the EU. The regulator does this by creating a pricing model. Via a suggested usage model, ComReg created a model for the average user and this model is then used to keep eircom’s phone charges down (in theory). For a phonebill ComReg created a model something like: W + X + Y = Z. Z cannot increase by anything more than inflation. W is the cost of say 10 mobile calls, X is the cost of say 20 local calls and Y is the line rental charge. There are more costs on the left hand side than those mentioned.
ComReg have allowed eircom to dictate the prices of the individual items on the left hand side of this model. W and X and Y etc. can be changed by eircom once Z does not increase by more than inflation.
Increased use of mobiles, use of VoIP on broadband and massive price cuts by resellers means that telcos across Europe are making way less from landline calls. eircom is no exception. It would make sense then for eircom to look at ways at preserving the revenue they get from a customer without making too much effort.
To do this they are going to bump up the cost of line rental while reducing the cost of calls. Once the increase in line rental balances with the decrease in call costs, they can do it. Since people make hardly any calls, eircom are in effect making more money per customer even though one side of the equation remains static. The model is seriously flawed. In other countries the regulator also controls the line rental charge so a telco can’t screw you with a massive line rental charge which you have no choice in paying, unlike all the other variables.
Ireland now has the highest line rental charge in the EU at €24.17 per month, €8 above the EU average and €6 more than the second most expensive EU country. Welcome to regulation, ComReg style. That’s the “how” ComReg allows it, ever wonder the “why”?
Bonus fuckover. The model apparently includes VAT. eircom is fighting to make sure that phone is classed as a service and not a product. If it is, it means a rate of VAT at 13.5% and not the current 21%. You won’t see a 7.5% saving on your bill though but I bet you will see some announcement of a 2% saving and later in the year ComReg will inform the world how they have saved you money in their tireless effort to help the consumer.
So with so much taken in line rental, what have we got? An eircom network that is riddled with crappy lines. eircom have told the Oireachtas that to remove carriers (devices that splits a phone line between a few houses, saving copper but with the result broadband doesn’t work on them) will cost €200 million. Where’s the 100s of millions they take on line rental going?
ComReg have a consultation on landline bills at the moment and are looking for feedback. More details here. The deadline for sending in feedback is Friday the 29th of September. I suggest emailing email@example.com and tell them what you do and don’t want on your phone bill.