Author Archive

Links for the day before the day that’s after the previous day

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

3rd Annual Nigerian Email Marketing Conference. Shame I missed it. Some good highlights including:

“The hotel was very, very upscale. The running water was a nice touch! – Dr, Collins Mdadiwe

The Scientology Episode Tom Cruise got canceled.

Installing reBlog on your server. This is a very very sweet blog aggregator.

Survey from Canadian version of IRMA counters many of their own claims. Via the brilliant Michael Geist.

Scoble interviews Microsoft lawyer Don McGowan. Very interesting interview and gives a great insight into how Microsoft works. You have to wonder how many wild and genius ideas Microsoft had to ditch because of the worries of litigation. MS has a legal Dept with 800+ staff. Jesus. Don does a fantastic and almost candid interview. It would be good to see more people like Don around the place. He gives very good advice too to anyone that finds they are not working for the good guy at times. Some of Don’s writing.

Dana Boyd paper “G/localization: When Global Information and Local Interaction Collide”

I beg to differ

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Blog Button

The personal is political and available

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

The saying goes “the Personal is political” but with the growth of Internet usage mostly via broadband, the personal is becoming available and could be used politically and maliciously.

When you mix mySpace, blogs, Facebook, Faceparty, boards.ie and even Gaydar (as one FF councillor found out) together you are handing your personal life over to anyone that can access Google and it’s begining to freak a lot of people out.

Parents:

MySpace and Beebo are in the news a quite a bit lately and we hear quite a bit of noise from concerned parents that these sites are preying grounds for all sorts of evil people. People on MySpace have been abused, stalked, kidnapped and murdered. Naturally people worry that kids are sharing far too much information with these potential people who circle MySpace like vultures.

Fred Wilson has a very good launching pad post on MySpace which quotes a really good post from hip Mammy Gotham Girl:

Did parents freak when Elvis came on the scene? Did they freak when the Rolling Stones came on the scene? Did they freak when they grew their hair long and rebelled? Answers to all of the above and more is yes, yes yes. Think about what you did growing up that your parents were scared of. They were scared because they didn’t understand the space and weren’t sure how to teach you the tools to navigate the situation.

Fred also points to Chartreuse:

Now because of all the horrible things which can happen to a kid on a bike a huge industry was created. They sell helmets, kneepads, tracking systems, and the like to make bikes safer or parents feel more secure.

Despite all this stuff most parents still just give their kids some rules and let them ride.

MySpace is just the modern bike.

Lots of horrible things can happen to a kid on the internet. And the industry will continue to grow based around protecting children from all that horrible stuff or making parents feel more secure.

But the truth of the matter is that most parents will just give there child some rules and let them ride

So MySpace is the new rock and roll the new Elvis and if parents rebel against it and do their best to not understand it then it becomes more damaging. Two mothers pointing out that understanding MySpace and what your kids do on it is crucial and allows you to lay down ground rules. There are rules but there needs to be some basics learned too so the kids can watch out for the weirdos who are much harder to figure out online.

Do we have a guide in Ireland from the Government or the ISPAI advising parents on the rights and wrongs of the Internet which gets updated for sites like MySpace and Bebo? I would think it is certainly needed. There’s plenty of people warning about the dangers but are they doing anything to educate the parents? You might even see more parents going online if these educational packs contained the basics of going online too. Perhaps this should be done in schools and the parents as well as coming for parent teacher meetings should have to come along for Internet education classes. Seaghan Moriarty might have some views on this.

Governments, Companies and Organisations
Even the CIA has been caught by the ghoulies lately when simple search was able to reveal so much about their agents:

The Tribune story, published on Sunday, outlined its search of a commercial online data service. Through that service, the Tribune found information for internal agency numbers, supposed secret locations, and over 2,600 employees. An undisclosed number of the employees on the list were working covertly.

Gavin Sheridan had some fun with the Irish Government and thanks to their robots.txt file found information they didn’t want us to find. If you actually Google for .pdfs and .docs on many Government sites you’ll find documents you shouldn’t find. I found a map of the eircom FWA locations which ComReg refused to provide on the ComReg site. After I made it public they removed the map. Luckily backups were made. While this information per se wasn’t personal, many of the word documents you find contain the details of who wrote them and the notes and comments they made. There is a large chance that private personal communications can end up online.

One that probably scares the shit out of companies more is blogging. Google fired a new employee for what he blogged about them which is slightly ironic since it is Google that is delivering all the dirt on so many. It’s not just Google though. Delta fired an employee as did Friendster. It’s not as if employees ever got fired before for off the cuff remarks but with traditional media you had to be high up in order to get media attention and then make a gaff like Cheney did when he told Patrick Leahy to go fuck himself. One blog post from a lowly employee can generate a lot of attention. For companies I would think that they don’t mind the personal going online more than the professional. Talk about your cat and your yeast infection but please don’t talk about the way we look after you financially. Delta fired that lady for being naughty in some pictures where she wore her uniform.

Political parties on their members “interactions” online.

Malcolm Byrne while apparently out (as in not closeted) was outed as having a Gaydar profile recently, Gaydar being a gay dating website. A national non-issue was made of the issue and Malcolm did very well out of it by actually building up his profile. His poltical profile that is. Many think he was lucky enough to escape this in a positive light but this isn’t 1983 anymore. Does his party or any other party have a policy though for their members advising them how to behave online and what exactly search engines can find? Do they even have an email policy or any kind of electronic communications policy?

Damien Blake (who is scarily the image of someone I used to know very well) and Liz McManus are two of a growing list of politicians who blog. It’s great to see them blogging and I wonder how much oversight their central offices have on their blogs? Do their parties have blogging policies which include what to blog and what to avoid blogging about as well as commenting on other websites? I’m pretty sure that Damien and Liz are well schooled in what to say and what not to say so the gaffs per blog are probably bordering zero but I would think a blogging policy is needed which would actually encourage the idea of blogging at the same time and give tips on how to blog best.

Your employer is watching you.
On the flipside to this are companies looking for information on employees and prospective employees. Michelle Conlin wrote an excellent piece in BusinessWeek online about all our personal details showing up online. She tells us how useful Google is for getting all the lowdowns on us that we ourselves (mostly) have put up:

Google is an end run around discrimination laws, inasmuch as employers can find out all manner of information — some of it for a nominal fee — that is legally off limits in interviews: your age, your martial status, the value of your house (along with an aerial photograph of it), the average net worth of your neighbors, fraternity pranks, stuff you wrote in college, liens, bankruptcies, political affiliations, and the names and ages of your children

Perhaps a little bit should be added to the Labour laws forbidding companies from Googling their employees or prospective employees but sometimes googling someone might turn up the odd axe murderer. Maybe a balance can be found?

So we should have guides for parents being given out by the Governments and ISPs and maybe thought in schools, we should have guides by political parties on how to behave and interact online and we should have guides for the general populace on how your new employer knows way more about you than you think, thanks to the Internet.

For all the stupid, and silly crap we did when we were “web juveniles” should there be some kind of record sealing of web history like they have for juvenile offenders or family law cases? You can have Google remove content from their database *only* if you own the website in question. They may take down other content but that involves getting a lawyer and probably some DMCA issues. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a guide on how to remove silly things you said or how to restrict what search engines could hoover up from your site?

The personal becomes available and uncomfortable

Coming up to the Blog Awards there was a vigorous discussion about personal blogging and anonymity with
Dermod, RedMum, Steven and the not so anonymous That Girl discussing it. I don’t blog too much very personal things, I let tidbits out now and then but when I do write online I generally use my own name and don’t remain anonymous. Even on webforums generally my username is damien or damien.m or dm or my surname backwards. There are lots of people who are allowed to be more creative and more “real” by being anonymous and this too should be catered for. Perhaps the Blogger Academy can create some guides for blogging anonymously and staying that way?

Teach a person to fish/blog/interact…

The greatest thing to understand about your data is that once it is out there it can never be reeled back in. That is the beauty and the horror of the Internet. If we teach those around us and coming online how much of what they say will forever remain on the net and how best to manage their private data and public data then we might have less fear filled statements about the evil Internet and more people and organisations can embrace it fully.

Tom Coates praises PXN8

Saturday, March 18th, 2006

Well done Walter and crew. Tom Coates tells how he has a thing for PXN8. That’s a pretty sweet endorsement. And like the stereotypical Corkman I am obliged my local law and genetics to point out that PXN8 is from Cork. Like.

Happy 100th to an tImeall

Friday, March 17th, 2006

an tImeall celebrates their 100th podcast. Very impressive I have to say. Conn’s speech at the blog awards was great too. I’m a day late for birthday greetings though. Ooops.

Patrick’s Day Pieces

Friday, March 17th, 2006

A very clever way of getting that domain that a domain reseller currently owns.

Speaking of which, have a look at the Big.com search engine. With a site like this I don’t have to wear glasses on my work computer. Simple idea but I think the search engine that’s uses is shite. I was not number one on google for god’s sake! 🙂

The World’s Bravest Man. No, it isn’t Piaras Kelly but maybe they’re related? 16th cousins or something.

This guy is looking for a billion page views. Another MillionDollarHomepage type idea. Best of luck to him. He needs to post pics of naked chicks or something I’d say.

In the same vein. Unusual business ideas that work. All it is really is knowing how people think and working your ass off. I wonder how much of all of this is having the personality to make people notice you in the crowd without looking like a nutjob?

Triple Award winner Twenty is live blogging from Ron Blacks. Go read.

Holks Alternative Irish Blog Awards. Loving this.

Bringing new people into the Blog O’Sphere

Friday, March 17th, 2006

Myself and James are having an interesting debate over on Eirepreneur about OPML and feeds. It starts an interesting debate on how to introduce new people to blogs and feeds. I like the idea of the open Irish directory but don’t like the fact that it is so cold and isolationist. I’d like to see each node in the directory having a quick content preview besides having to go off and click some more to then read and site and find you don’t like it.

I started off reading sites like BoingBoing and Slashdot which linked to other sites that supplied them with info and I followed those links, quickly becoming a fan of Metafilter and Memepool and so on. As my daily sites to read went up I found that an aggregator was called for. I started off with about 15 sites and as I found more interesting sites I added them and removed sites I fell out of love with.

If I was to try and get Irish people using an aggregator now I’d prepopulate it. Something like the IrishBlogs aggregator but more based on everything that is in the blogroll of every IrishBlogger(like an Irish Tailrank) and a small best of list created as a result of this.

The idea would be that when someone signs up they are asked for their favourite websites. These would then automatically be put into their aggregator. Then they’d be asked what areas interest them the most and from this some backend wizardry technology would go through everything in the Irish Blog rolls and make recommendations. The initial blogroll should be no more than 15 sites in total (plus the users favs) and the user then should be allowed to add more or remove some as they go along. I would have one feed displaying at most 10 feeds from the IrishBlogs aggregator as this could intrduce the user to something they would not normally look at. Call it the “wildcard” feed. Or maybe have this “wildcard” feed comprised of the most bumped posts from the day before.

The Google generation wants simple and they want results given right here, right now. Clicking these days seems too time consuming.

Saints, scholars and messy drunks

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

I’ve tuned into Markham’s blog now and then during his year of the big drought and today is his last dry day. Well done Markham. As he starts on the drink again it seems that it is rememberance day tomorrow. The Irish are Drunks Rememberance day to be exact. Kind of apt that Tiernan posted this link about an automated bar. Dick O’Brien who is much younger than I imagined he was 😉 also brings up the subject of alcohol and the Irish. If you look at the blog posts about the aftermath of the Irish Blog Awards it seemed every second post had someone hungover but at least we didn’t fight or smash a glass in the face of another fellow blogger. Even the feminazis as UI calls em didn’t glass Piaras on the night. We don’t need riots tomorrow for there to be blood on the streets, all we need is the general population getting pissed.

In the comments double award winner 😉 that girl suggests:

After all the hassle last year and the riots a couple of weeks ago I wonder will we need bloggers and cams on the streets of Dublin this weekend?

I used to work in an Accident and Emergency Department when I was in college first time round. There should be a photoblogger there to witness the violence, the stupidity and the difficulty of those that drink. Car crashes, family disputes, para-suicides and alcoholic comas and all down to alcohol. Shouting and singing is the background music with blood and vomit being the carpet of choice.

Markham has a great summary of Irish society and alcohol:

Irish people rely on drink so heavily that it’s pretty difficult to break out of the cycle of getting hammered. Drinking=social life seems to be the assumption. Bucking that trend puts you out of sync with a lot of people; you start having a routine that isn’t defined by closing times or hangovers, but by when you get tired and when the sun comes up, which sounds medieval if you’re not used to it. But it’s a better way to live, I reckon.

Markham will now operate from his new blog called Metropolis Blue. Happy Patrick’s day everyone! Also check out a blog about drink called the Pour.

Thursdayness – Some quick links

Thursday, March 16th, 2006

The Podfather points to a survey showing radio is losing to podcasts and mp3s. I’m sure mp3s and the availability of millions of songs via an Internet connection have made most of the impact and that podcasting has made a smaller impact. It must still be a challenge though for traditional radio and for those that adopt to podcasting they could get a whole new audience. I can’t listen to Pet Sounds on TodayFM most nights due to college but I’d listen to the podcasts on the weekend and being a podcast I don’t need to hang around a radio for it. For shitty daytime shows I would think podcasting them is a waste but for something like niche shows like Pet Sounds and discussion shows like the Last Word then they’d increase their audience.

More Blog Awards prizes were given away today.

Last night I finally listened to interview with Sligo Tourism Gal Aine Chambers on the Monday Dave Fanning show. I was shocked and impressed that at the very end of the piece she thanked myself and Letter to America host Jett Loe. Aine is a natural for the airwaves. She controled the interview well and that’s something else when being interviewed by livewire Dave Fanning who is very hard to keep up with.
Update: Aine is now also in the Sligo Champion. Bump Aine on Digg.com

Dave Fanning has a blog

Wednesday, March 15th, 2006

The Dave Fanning blog. We’ll need an aggregator soon enough just for Irish DJs. Welcome to the Blog O’Sphere Dave and hope to see you have fun here. Dave has got to have the perfect personality for blogging. We all know how much information he knows and the medium of radio with the time limits of ads and songs means Dave always appears not to be able to tell you everything he wants to. Blog it Dave!