Author Archive

Bobs and Bits and Bits and Bobs for July 30th 2005

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

The History of the Ctrl Alt Del key combo with a nice dig at Bill Gates. Bill was unimpressed in the video.

NY Times recommends cheap as in less than €10 wine.

Schneier on why shot to kill policy for suicide bombers is kinda stupid.

Promise TV – record a whole months worth of TV. Beats the pants off TiVo.

Eliminating verbal Pauses – Uhm this has somemmm good tips.

How to Screen Print a poster.

Productivity tips for avid blog readers.

Transparency International, Ireland Anti-corruption group.

EFF Ireland – not gone away you know

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Updated Aug 4th 2005. (See additional comments below)

Not so long ago I called for the re-ignition of EFF Ireland and Bernie also talked about it too. Since then there’s been nothing from it as far as I can tell.

I wonder how many people see a need for it and how many would commit to supporting it? What would be needed? Would funding be needed, resources, how would it be structured, what would be its remit? Lots of questions, but not even these questions seem to be asked by others.

There was a lot of good discussion at OpenTech 2005 about setting up a UK EFF and Danny O’Brien weighs in more here about the need for one and what can be done with some money. He talks about pledging a fiver a month via direct debit but only if 1000 others do the same. Good idea that.

What can you do with a monthly budge of 5000UKP a month? … we did some back of the envelope calculations after the talk, and agreed we could do something: Probably two staffers and an office.

The biggest lesson for me with NTK was that your best way to influence the agenda, and generate support, is to generate stories, and point people to the right experts. Just having someone at the end of a phone, handing out quotes and press releases, and pro-actively calling journalists to make sure they know what’s going on, putting them in contact with all the other orgs in this area in the UK, is half the work.

The rest of the job is actual activism (one person can do a lot, if they don’t need to cram all their white paper writing, research, and lobbying between contract coding sessions, and finishing their university degree) and bootstrapping more funding.

Good wisdom there, some that I may be able to use for other projects. So, if the money was there, could EFF Ireland work?

Update August 4th 2005:

Graeme the Irish Liberal says he’d be up for it.
The Freestater (sorry I don’t know your name) is also of the opinion we badly need something like the EFF. I must say I’m quite impressed with that post. Very very well researched.

Further Update: I started an EFF Ireland discussion thread on

Dick O’Brien has added his thoughts too.

BTW, I tried to open up comments and it didn’t work for some reason. I’ll commit to upgrading the site over the weekend to get them working.

Customer Service In Ireland and Consumer Protection

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Jarvis cites Craig Newmark and his attitude to customer care. Craig owns Craigslist who Ebay have invested in, yet he sees his main job as customer support and has left another guy be CEO of the company. This is a wonderfully progressive attitude and communication with the end users who at the end of the day pay your wages is such a transparent way of doing business.

Customer care in Ireland is very very patchy and consumer protection is a joke. Right now we have the Consumers Association which makes its money from selling its magazine and really has no input into the telecommunications market. It rarely if ever replies to ComReg consultations, yet they were given a position on the ComReg “Consumer Panel”. They have no teeth and they are without even a bark when it comes to telecoms.

Next we have the ODCA which is more into helping the consumer on things like pub prices during the Galway races. They have powers to fine but again they lack the teeth.

For Telecoms consumer issues we have ComReg, who as far as I can tell has never fined or charged a telco after they fucked over a customer. They do investigate consumer issues after the consumer hs first exhausted every avenue of negotiation with the telco. ComReg are more geared for dealing with telcos than with consumers.

So, will there be any hope with the new Consumer Agency the Government is putting together? The fact that it appears to be populated by political appointees such as “beauty technicians” really makes me think that while the Agency will have teeth, they will become blunted from too many expensive lunches and formal dinner parties.

So, who’s left? Ah yes, IrelandOffline, but we’re not representing people with any kind of Telecoms issues. We are looking after the broadband and Internet access area only though. So, what’s needed? TelcoWatch – a consumer group covering the whole telco area or maybe Telcowatch could just be an umbrella where various consumer groups that represent various telco issues could gather together under. You could have a mobile consumer group, a landline consumer group, a VOIP consumer group etc.

Do you know what would help though? If more companies were willing to directly communicate with customers. Bill Murphy from BT Ireland made himself into a legend of sorts when he answered all emails that were sent to him by consumers and customers. Sometimes you could email Bill at midnight and he’d reply within 5 mionutes.

His boss, the BT CEO Ben Verwaayen is the same. He too is happy for his email address to be posted on various websites and said in a BBC World interview that he gets a few hundred emails a day from customers and answers as many as he can.

Know of any other Irish CEOs to do this, know of any of them talking to their customers via blogs?

Myself and my Lawyer

Thursday, July 28th, 2005


Was there some kind of statement today?

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

I think I may have missed it in the but apparently some guys up in the North said something that meant something or something.

:Update as of August 2nd: Hello BBC Readers! May I suggest you all visit and bookmark Slugger O’Toole as it is the best website on the politics of Northern Ireland.

Sigur Ros – Dublin November 11th – Prebook Tickets

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Booked 4 tickets so far:

Fans who’d like to secure tickets to the autumn european tour can now do so on sigur rós’s ticket service in some cases, these pre-sale tickets are specially reserved seats for the fans. if the venue does not provide specially reserved seating, klink will provide wristbands to allow early entry into the venue to make sure you get a good spot.

Comments, Movable Type and WordPress

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Begin backpatting of a sort: So Tom Raftery puts me in the same league as Jonathan Schwartz and Seth Godin and some chap that runs an airplane company that makes “Jumbos”, whatever the hell they are. Thank you Tom, I’m honoured in a way.

My reasons for no comments are all to do with me being lazy and technically ignorant. I was getting hammered on a daily basis with comment and trackback spam. I implemented MT Blacklist but I found even with manually updating it daily, the spammers were outgunning the Blacklist updates.

So, my short-term solution was to block all comments and trackbacks and the long-term solution was to make a switch to a better solution, such as wordpress. Unfortunately I need to educate myself on how to move from MT to WordPress. Now, maybe it’s handy for me that this site is hosted with Blacknight and that Michele is such a WordPress proponent. Perhaps he will in the goodness of his heart offer to do the conversion for me, once I have all of this backed up. *flutters eyelids at Mr. Neylon*

You know, there may be some business for someone that goes around like a Blog handyman and fixes up peoples blogs and helps them to move to a different blogging platform. I’d be happy to give someone a few quid to do it for me.

GPS in Ireland – OpenEir

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

Following on from my recent post suggesting that we link to the OpenEir pages so that they are boosted in Google for the search phrase GPS In Ireland it now looks like Eirepreneur is coming second for that search phrase and fifth for the phrase GPS Ireland. So James, noticed any increase in traffic to the site?

“Oh what a world we live in, straight men…”

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005


The sight of the two boys, crying their eyes out, chained together with handcuffs, behind bars, surrounded by adults who were either powerless or afraid to defend them is much much more disturbing. This photo has the combined power of the reality of a photograph and disturbing imagery of an artistic composition.

It is a haunting image that has left me feeling very raw and will remain with me for a long long time.

That’s a quote from, they are talking about the above pic. Shortly afterwards the two boys, one aged 18 the other 17 were hanged because they had sex with each other.

The two youths — identified only by their initials as M.A. and A.M., were hanged on July 19 in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19.

Schneier on Suicide Bombers

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

Thinking About Suicide Bombers

Remember the 1996 movie Independence Day? One of the characters was a grizzled old fighter pilot who had been kidnapped and degraded by the alien invaders years before. He flew his plane into the alien spaceship when his air-to-air missile jammed, causing the spaceship to explode. Everybody in the movie, as well as the audience, considered this suicide bomber a hero.

What’s the difference?