Author Archive

Rant about changing the world – I blame Piaras

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

Piaras asked on his blog:

“For all our talk about blogs, RSS, podcasts or whatever the latest buzzword of the day is, imagine what we could achieve if we put the same time and energy into providing running water for everyone around the world.

Naturally I replied and it turned into quite a long-winded rant:

***

I don’t think the cause itself is as important in the short to medium term compared to making people actively do something about any cause. Anti-apathy Activism will impact the world more and at a faster pace. Running water is a noble cause and one that can have a dramatic effect on the lives of a few 100 to a few thousand people. I’m not saying people shouldn’t volunteer to do this, but there are various routes one can take to change the world and save lives. Going out to Africa and getting hands on is one way, but there are many others.

Imagine if the likes of Bill Gates went off to Africa before he started Microsoft and helped bring clean water to the people there. He’d never have made his billions, he’d be a humble intelligent man impacting the lives of thousands of Africans. He’d have saved lives. But his charitable foundation would have never happened. The foundation which is investing a lot of money into preventing malaria, one of the biggest killers in the world. Research that could save the lives of millions.

Imagine the person that made podcasts so accessible and univsersal that everyone in the world listened to them. And that a podcast on the plight of people in Africa managed to be delivered to half the desktops in the world. That one podcast could do more than 100 people building wells in Africa. I think people should see what they are best at, work on that but at the same time see how they can, via what they do, change the world for the better.

If you can encourage the people of the world to recognise that the world needs to be better and that they can actually make it better then no matter what they do, the world will get better. You first need to build this foundation though. Technologists can do it in various ways. They can build some famous application that makes billions which then allows them to create a trust fund like Bill Gates did and that Google are doing, or you can research a better form of wireless communications that can be used cheaply by people in Africa to talk to each other.

People like Robert Scoble and Jeff Jarvis are so good at what they do that they have the attention of a lot of very clever and influential people. Jeff is organising the Recovery 2.0 idea for better coordinating disaster relief initiatives via the Web. Scoble has the ear of an astounding number of the best tech minds around. If Scoble in the morning made a post suggesting some tech solution that could cut world hunger in half and asked his readership to create the application he had in mind, I would bet within a week the app would be rolled out.

Even people with selfish motivations can make things better. All those self-evangelising rockstar idiots on the TV have saved lives and changed the world ever so slightly and of course stroked their ego. I don’t mind such a trade-off. We just need a world to become more altruistic. Let people that say charity begins at home ignore African charities if they instead improve the lives of people here by being xenophobically charitable.

So, how can the Tech Camp people encourage the people of the world to get off their asses and do something? To realise that even something as boring as letter writing can make a difference? Humans in my possibly naive opinion are creatures who are inclined to help the group out and to go out of the way to make the group a better place. In the sound and fury of the modern world people probably feel seperated from the group. We need to make people realise that a drop in the ocean is more like the butterfly that can cause the typhoon.

Techcamp Sucked

Saturday, October 15th, 2005

and now that Ed and Piaras* each had a mini heart-attack as well as having the attention of the PoTB and IrishBlogs feeders I have to say the above headline should be the only time you will see the word sucks associated with TechCamp. TechCamp was fantastic. Finally a conference where some guy wasn’t pimping the shit out of a really really bad product while the audience played Bullshit bingo.

A pity I couldn’t stay for the whole event but I had to be back in Cork early for a prior engagement. I had hoped to chat with people about the Irish Blog Awards with the bloggers in attendance. Another time I guess. (more on the event should be posted next week.)

The Digital Rights Ireland talk was well received from the feedback with got from people. Not bad for our first public presentation. As time goes on and we do more of these I am certain it will become pokished and rock solid.

This was almost like an unconference that Dave Winer has spoken about. It was great that the chatting in the tea room, in the corridors and at lunch was so open and constructive. I really liked the picke and cheese sambos too. Must make some myself now that I’m home.

But yes. I’m very glad that I can say in a Vietnam Vet style way, while shaking someone “You don’t understand man, you weren’t there!”. I was at the first TechCamp and I’ll be at the next few too. Well done again to Ed and Piaras.

*Note Piaras is first on Google for the phrase Piaras.

Comment surfer

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Can anyone out there tell me is there a tool where you can search blogs for comments by people? An interesting hack/plugin would be a “Find other comments by Damien Mulley.” contained in the comments section of a blog I commented on.

Who’s the Irish Blog Link Slut?

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Tabloid headlines always get more clicks I find. But being serious for a minute. Or more. It might be a good social experiment and a blogporn thing to see who out of the list of Irish Boggerspheres gets the most linklove from others in the ‘sphere.

This is not the same as inbound links that services such as technorati provide. What would be needed is a search engine to go to every blog listed on IrishBlogs, see what is in the blogroll and/or linked from the frontpage and compare it to the list of bloggers from IB/PoTB.

It would also be interesting to see what the subgroups are within this. The cliques and factions if you will. Additionally it would be good to see what percentage of the blogrolls/links are to fellow Irish Bloggers. All this research could be presented at the Irish Blog Awards

I seem to recall some kind of Java navigator that John Breslin may have introduced to navigate FOAF files on boards.ie. It was a nice map thing where you clicked a username and it showed all other users who had this person as a friend and when you clicked on any of their friends it showed you who was their friend etc.

To me anyway it would be nice to see how the boggersphere is linked together.

Plonk Kerr

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Kerr Plunked
Kerr Fuffle
Kerr Ful now
FAI don’t Kerr a lot

Where were the good tabloid headings today? Ah come on now!

In case you missed it, television died yesterday

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Off to Dublin in the morning. Will be meeting some journos and then on to meet with the Digital Rights Ireland group about our little talk at TechCamp Ireland.

So, a few extra posts tonight and some thoughts.

Ok, in case you missed it, television died yesterday. Without exaggeration the iPod video is going to free people from rushing to their TV to watch an episode of tv, now you can record it and take it with you wherever you go. Bring that episode of Lost to a friends house and watch it, or watch it on the bus on the way to school. Yeah the PSP and the iRover had it too but iPod is for the non-techy. It is a consumer device for the consumer not a nerd. The new iMac is shit cool too with the remote. With iTunes used by so many and already reselling cheap episodes of Lost and Desperate Housewives it has already obliterated the Microsoft Media Centre. Bye bye MS.

The iPod whipped the music industry into line and has become quite a force. Remember what it did for podcasts when it added support? Google Video look out, you have serious competition now, not that you were much good anyway. So, it reshaped music downloading in a way, through nothing very innivative and it will do the same now for video. But I doubt it will stop at video. The bigger screen might hopefully allow EBooks and RSS aggregators and so on.

Adam Curry with his idea of plugging in the iPod going to bed, unplugging it in the morning with it filled with new radio shows and podcasts, can be added to with videos such as the best funny videos from wherever, the latest newsfeeds from your copy of bloglines, the local TV news from your home country and the latest pics from your friends Flickr account.

James Enck talked previously about how Ebay could use Skype as a delivery platform for anything electronic. Music, videos, software, services. So, could Apple do the same with iTunes? Anything and all could be shipped via iTunes, could it not? Not as distributed as Skype is a given, and a massive amount of servers would be needed too, unless they upgrade to a bittorrent like structure, which can be done. How many installations of iTunes are out there? How many desktops can Steve Jobs access?

Could iTunes and the iPod be the new Digital Lifestyle Aggregator? Right now probably not, since Apple like to lock people in using DRM but maybe in the future when the backwards thinking megamedia producers get more crap kicked out of them, then Apple might start becoming more open.

But, what’s stopping someone now from creating an iTunes clone that will work with the iPod Video? Apple built the route, build a better bus to get there, more comfortable seats, better AC, smoother tyres.

TV is dead. I won’t be missing it.

Jeff Jarvis (a hero of mine more and more) gives his own views. And here’s more on the iPod disrupting life as we know it

And the iPod porn enthusiasts have already started. I was right.

I miss the burps from burgers

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

It’ll be 6 weeks on Sunday since I had any meat or fish. If anyone knows me they’ll know I challenge myself now and then, such as when I gave up alcohol for a year (Oct 2003 – Oct 2004). It’s not a new idea you know. :)I wanted to see how long I lasted without any meat or fish or flesh and so far it has been easy enough. Except when it comes to eating. I don’t use the word hate much, I feel the word is too powerful for regular use, but jesus christ I’m almost hating pasta and pasta based dishes now.

Irish Mammys know how to cook when it involves roasting some meat from an animal in the oven and throwing veg around it. Try asking to make a meat free dish. Want spuds with that mash?

My body I thought might change but it hasn’t. I started taking the super-power vitamins in case my iron levels go down. Don’t think they have.

When do I go back eating meat again? I’m not sure. Do I miss it? Yeah, hell yeah, it’s so easy to eat with meat. And I really miss the burps from eating burgers.

iPod Video – Portable Porn on a massive scale

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Porn just went very mainstream and very portable. iPod video – download, convert, get the kleenex. The new logo should have one hand on the iPod (like below) and one down the pants.

newIpod.jpg

Neil Gaiman – Dublin – Nov 15th – Get free tickets NOW

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Neil Gaiman will be on Rattlebag. He’ll do some signings afterward. I can’t go, so go in my place.

Tuesday 15th November 2005. Rattlebag Public interview with Myles Dungan
Time: 7 pm
Venue: Studio 1 – RTE Radio Centre, Donnybrook, Dublin 4
Tickets: Free of charge but early booking is essential from 01 2083445

Midweek Links Oct 12th

Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

Blogging Prof Fails To Heed His Own Advice. Suggestions that his tenure may not have been renewed because of his blogging. “Academic bloggers interviewed say the most common problem they face is convincing their colleagues that their online activity does not come at the expense of scholarly research.”

IM Federation. Allowing the interconnecting of IM networks. Good plan. GTalk might join.

Looking at who visits me and what phrases they used in Google: 2nd in Google for “activism in ireland”.

4th for “Gay people adopting.”

Via Schneier Police say money-laundering conman is the greatest trickster they have faced. honestly, who here is saddened when someone robs a bank? Got to wonder why our mentality is like that.