Author Archive

Dapper Dapper do – Mashups become easier to0

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Via Waxy is Dapper, a cool web app that takes any website and turns it into an XML source allowing all kinds of fun to be had.. Create RSS feeds for websites that don’t have them, something which Feed43 does ,though it is 6 hours out of synch with the Net. You can also take various websites and mash them together. Great idea but I have a feeling sites could start banning the Dapper IP addresses so they can’t scrape the information.

One of the apps created thanks to Dapper is Magg which is a mashup of the existing video sharing websites. Handy that.

Another app that was quickly created is Blotter which graphs your site in terms of inbound links and Technorati ranking. This is the plot for my site:

Happy mashing!

Hello Pierre Danon, Goodbye Philip Nolan

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

A few journalists contacted me today asking me had I anything to say about eircom CEO Phil Nolan. It was Dr. Phil’s last day. He was on Morning Ireland this morning where he stated:

Eircom had the market in controversy well cornered by the time I got here I think.

Very true Phil but you actually stoked up the flames of that ongoing fire even more.

Phil also added:

So I think, you know, broadband is set well. By international standards in terms of supply we have eighty-five percent of lines in enabled exchanges, that’s on a par with Europe, it’s better than the US, and demand is accelerating and it’s all about demand now to get take-up and I think the industry and the department are getting behind that.

A statement which regulars of this blog will know is bullshit. 2nd last in the EU Phil. Same as it ever was. With the millions you personally made from eircom, here’s what you’ve actually left to the consumers of Ireland: The highest line rental, probably on this planet but certainly in Europe. 8 euros above the European average, an average which eircom have made quite high just from Ireland alone. Yet line rental is about to go up again. The Minister and the telecoms poodle are not going to stop it. They have no balls or really any right as they made a system that prevents them from stopping it. You’ve left the eircom network in such a state of disrepair that when it rains some people can’t even get voice calls. eircom’s last filings with the SEC showed that. 400M depreciation a year and 200M reinvestment. There are TDs and Senators that can’t get broadband on their lines. One of them is in the heart of the Capital. Not far from the Dáil. But this isn’t all your own fault. There was a policy of taking a phoneline and splitting it between homes or businesses to save on copper. All grand and well for low quality voice but it screws anyone who wants dialup and DSL. Instead of stopping this as the Internet took off it still happened. According to your own figures you gave the Oireachtas (yeah I managed to get them) it will cost €200M to fix all these split lines. It probably would have cost less 5 years ago. Until these are fixed it’s tough shit for all those failing line tests today.

Now thanks to you and the telecoms poodle, things like local loop unbundling are still a running joke in Ireland. Up until last week you couldn’t keep your number if you wanted to move to Smart or Magnet. Christ on a bike! So yeah Phil, thanks for grudgingly bringing out broadband, thanks for the 2nd highest landline bills in the EU, thanks for a phone network in bits and this comes from the head of the company that bought it and then thanks for the statement that people just don’t want broadband in this country. Great legacy. Enjoy the Irish Management Institute.

Pierre Danon is a different man to Phil and has a different style. Hi Pierre! Pierre reads blogs don’t ya know. Or he has people to do so. All the same, the guy is sharp. He knows his stuff. He knows his tech, he knows his finance and he knows people. Before he was ever officially put in the eircom throne he was meeting with consumer groups such as IrelandOffline, interest groups, the various telcos, groups like the Irish Internet Association, he met our telecoms poodle, the DCMNR and the Government. He genuinely asked for viewpoints and inputs and followed them up later by email or phonecalls from his people.

Pierre now has a shitty network, as his Aussie boss noted, he has a company with a debt of 4 billion (that’s €1000 for every man woman and childeen in the country), he has a plummeting amount of revenue from landline calls and he has a union with a considerable amount of shares in the company. How are you going to do it Pierre? We’d love to know. You’re pretty much in the position Phil was in 5 years ago so we’d love to know how you’re going to work this.

Pierre’s first big test and the biggest challenge for the PR Department will be the line rental increase. It’s either that or getting a big wad of cash from the Government. Money doesn’t grow on phone polls. There’s bound to be backlash. But us Irish will accept the situation and moan a little. I want to retire from IrelandOffline as soon as possible but I can’t see me walking away when there’s so much to be done. I had once written in a newspaper article that Isolde Goggin, Noel Dempsey and Phil Nolan are the only people who could turn Ireland into a broadband paradise. I think it’s down to the whim of one person now. It should never have come to that.

Features Requests for Roger Galligan of IrishBlogs and John Breslin of Journals.ie

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Howya men. I’m wondering would it be possible for two things from both of you. One would be a an OPML export of all the feeds you have in IrishBlogs.ie and planet.Journals.ie and the other thing which I think would have more importance is maybe a weekly or fortnightly update from you guys on what new blogs have been added to your public aggregators. It would be great to see who the new kids in the Irish Blog O’Sphere block are and maybe we can inform all our own readers of these new bloggers and get them some “welcome traffic”. I do understand you are both extremely busy but thought I’d throw this out there to you.

Please someone in Cork take a photo of the sky now

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Holy shit but it’s beautiful right now in Cork. I wish I had a working camera.

Two quick things on 16 Aug 2006

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Welcome to the Irish Blog O’Sphere Graham Neary. I’m not sure who he is but he linked to me so right back at ya. He’s trying to get onto IrishBlogs.ie it seems. No luck so far.

Everything you wanted to ask a Christian but were afraid to ask. Well, actually, Steven has decided he’s game to be asked questions we wanted to ask Christians but didn’t want to go to church to ask. Though I am not religious, I do have some questions that clarify half-baked notions I have. Play nice people.

Gag Order

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

MCD Legal Proceedings

Interview with Kieran Murphy from Murphy’s Ice Cream

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Following on from my interview with Julian from Bubble Brothers, I decided to move from drink to food. Kieran Murphy from Murphy’s Ice Cream was kind enough to do an email interview for this blog. Thanks Kieran. Next I’ll try and get a chocolatier and a cigar emporium owner. Please do not read this interview on an empty stomach as you’ll be dying for ice cream by the end.

Murphy's Bailey's Ice Cream

So why the ice cream business? Is this some kind of childhood dream come true?

I have always liked sweet things, and when I moved to Ireland, I missed good ice cream. At the time there was very little in terms of gourmet ice cream. It also is a happy business – no one NEEDs an ice cream. It’s a treat. People come in because they are happy or because they want to be cheered up. Either way, there are many more smiles than most other businesses. In a way it is a dream come true – after working in the corporate world, it’s a joy to be out of it, living in a beautiful place, and spending days doing work that’s much more meaningful.

You have two shops and a trade business, which is the main area of business, do you forsee a much greater expansion into supplying restaurants and shops? Will you move into other areas of taste bud temptation since you’ve posted some great recipes for hot chocolate?

The retail and trade business is a balance, and the Killarney and Dingle shops are supporting the wholesale at the moment. The split is about 80% retail and 20% wholesale. The biggest challenge for the latter is distribution. Ireland has a small population spread across a big area, and there are few distributors that cater to ice cream, which has to be colder than normal refrigeration.

As for new products – we’d like to go into ice cream cakes, filled ice cream chocolate truffles and possibly the sauces. We will work on those this autumn and winter.

What sets your ice cream apart from the rest?

We use almost entirely fresh ingredients, which is a rarity when it comes to ice cream. In addition, our recipe is high fat and high over-run (a lot of air whipped in), which means that it’s very creamy without being too heavy.

I remember watching a documentary before where some ice cream taster had a spoon made of gold. What’s the taste test for Murphy’s? Is it a taste test or is there some science involved too?

We don’t have a gold spoon, but taste is the most important test. We taste every single batch that comes out of the machine. Although we do regular scientific testing for food safety, there is no scientific test for good taste!

You mention you have 16 flavours in the shops. How many flavours do you regularly have though? Are there special ice creams for events like Valentine’s, Patrick’s Day and Christmas? Have you ever had requests to make odd flavoured ice cream? Such as? Any of them that you’ve considered producing?

We have literally made hundreds of flavours over the years. Out of the sixteen flavours, four change regularly. We don’t tend to do too much for special days since we think every day is special. We get suggestions of flavours regularly and we often make them. Some of the odder flavours:

1. Carrot, orange, and celery.
2. Mango chilli pepper
3. Goats cheese and caramalised fig
4. Bloody Mary sorbet

What about the non-sweet tooth or the diabetic, anything they can have besides a coffee?

Someone without a sweet-tooth would be a little lost in our shops! But you can’t be everything to everybody… A long time ago, we decided we would never sell anything savoury.

We’ve struggled to find a natural option for diabetics. We will not use chemical sweeteners. We have talked to the diabetic association and doctors, and the current thinking is against foods labelled “diabetic.� The feedback we get from the health professionals is that diabetics should monitor their sugar intake – they can eat a normal ice cream but will have to compensate for it…

I’ve seen it around the web a few times that you have the most expensive ice cream, can you explain? You even have a quote on your site about it.

We are expensive. It’s a fact of life for a small artesian producer that you will have to charge more, and we do. Our market is people who appreciate quality.

How does a company that makes something like ice cream or other foods get someone to distribute your goods? Is it a hard sell even when your products are fantastic? Is the market very competitive? How important are trade shows?

I talked about distribution above, and it’s very difficult. The multiples are difficult to get into and hard to work with. For us, the retail business gives us a base that makes us less dependent on that side of things. We will just let our distribution grow organically. As for trade shows, we haven’t ever done one. They are very expensive, and we’re not sure it’s worth the money. We’d rather find out smaller independent shops and work with them.

Why did you decide to blog? Have there been benefits so far with this? Any plans to further expand? Videos on YouTube etc?

I decided to blog because I thought it would be interesting to create a more interactive forum for customers as well as satisfy the huge amount of requests we get for recipes and tips of various sorts. A website is much more static. I like the fluidity of a blog and following where it takes you… It would be interesting to try podcasts or YouTube, but perhaps that’s a project for the winter.

As for benefits, it’s gotten us some press and customer contact. I’m not sure if the benefits balance the time required to blog, but it’s still early days, and I enjoy it!

What’s the best ice cream you’ve had, apart from your own? Ice cream excluded, the best desert you’ve had? Are you a big foodie in general?

Berthillon in Paris is probably my favourite, especially for fruit flavours. I also love the tartufo at Tre Scalini in Rome. The best dessert I ever had was a pumpkin crème brulee in Boston at a restaurant called Salamander. I don’t know if it’s still there. Usually I would go for the chocolate option, but this was divine. And yes, I would consider myself a foodie. Food was a great invention!

Lastly, pimp your goods. List some of the best things on your menu and give us some prices.

Some most popular things on our menu are:
1 scoop of Murphys Ice Cream: €2.90
Titanic Banana Split: €7.50
Chocolate Sundae: €7.00
Caramel Sundae: €7.00
Murphys Milk Shake: €6.00
Selection of Murphys Ice Cream: €7.00
Wiebke’s Cakes: €5.00

Cheeky Cheeky Bernie!

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Bernie seems to have spotted that I use my delicious space to store links for many of my upcoming blog posts or for the column I do for ENN. So yeah, if you want to know what I will next blog about before I do, have a gander over there. It’s a time machine! I think I’ll leave them public still. Also apologies to Simon for not spotting the links he sent to me on the service. I didn’t know this could be done and I only just spotted them now, 3 months later.

Bernie was kind enough to blog on my behalf about the fact that the Irish Tourist Board are paying for American Tourists to come to Ireland and podcast their experiences. It’s a pity the Tourist Board haven’t considered using the great podcasters we already have around these parts. Still, why not see can we meet these Americans and make them feel as welcome as possible while also giving some podcasting advice if they want some. Maybe the recent Podteched Scobles can give some advice too?

That’s the second cheeky thing Bernie has done this week, I can’t disclose the first one, but it had me laughing away.

and now back to irregular scheduled programming

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

You may have noticed that my blogging was light the past week and a bit and the reason was that I was studying for exams. Exams are all over with now. Please don’t ask how I got on. Anyways, I’m sure I’ll be back to more regular mischief making very soon.

Attention Disillusioned Lefty folks

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

With Leaving Cert results about to happen I have a feeling we won’t see you lads for a while. So best of luck! Best of luck to everyone else in the blog world who are also waiting on their Leaving Cert results.