Author Archive

Fuck the Recession, now give us our data and up our bandwidth

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I mentioned recently the Hack the Government day in the UK where people will meet in London and now Brighton on building better Government systems. I’ve been thinking recently about our own Irish Government and many of the totally useless systems they have or websites that appear to run on Windows ME. Years ago I wrote a piece for the Tribune about the idea of a Government API and being able to access Government (which really is ours) data. In the article I mentioned the OSI data and being able to access the Revenue Service too. Two of hundreds, if not 1000s of datastores we could access.

The Government is right now panicking and doing their best to get anyone to come to Ireland and hire Irish people to do any kind of task. At the end of the day these multinationals are doing nothing more than making Ireland their tech support hub. The runt of the litter really. While the pharma companies are doing genuine R&D and IP creation, for the tech multinationals it’s tech support or localisation. Robot work.

Open Government Data Session Tack-on Free For All
Photo owned by illustir (cc)

The more connected people and businesses are and the more data that flows between them, the more value that can be extracted from this network they are in.

I’m sure the above has been said by people before. There’s the idea of Metcalfe’s Law about the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system but I wonder if the bandwidth of the interactions between those nodes increases does this value go up even more? Exponentially? I think the value of those connections does go up.

Setting aside the National Broadband Fuckup which will limit bandwidth between people, the Government should be doing their best to make sure that people are shifting as much data between each other as possible. Freeing all Government data is one way of doing this. Encouraging companies to share data might work too. Boards.ie’s release of 10 years of data was a brlliant idea. And stop thinking about the killer app, the street finds its own uses for this data and the world will make the apps. The Government can supply the data and work with companies to build the access methods. I’m sure a very clever business could tender (for free) to build all these APIs in return for minimal charges for API access to the app makers.

I’m not gunning after Eamon Ryan here but he’s Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Minister or someone that looks after electronic resources too? It would be nice to move beyond the grandstanding about a knowledge economy and start working on things that can kickstart local companies taking existing data and creating something new with it. So Dear Government, fuck the recession, let’s start playing with our data.

¡MAMA MIA!
Photo owned by pacomexico (cc)

Fluffy Links – Wednesday February 4th 2009

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Champions of Equality. Niall Crowley who got shafted in no uncertain terms by Dermot Ahern and the Department of Justice is giving a lecture.

Going to the ladies tea party on the day of the Blog Awards?

A good number of people have regged for BizCamp Dublin now. March 7th it’s on. I may be working, if not I’ll be along.

Half-price foods and goods in Supervalu.

Eoin suggests freedom of speech doesn’t mean let the hecklers win.

Good blog post from Aodhán Ó Ríordáin on 10% salary cuts from Councillors while their expenses still go unchecked.

Alan from Toddle on the Tellyweb.

Congrats to Salim on Singularity University.

50 reasons why people aren’t using you website.

Elbow sings grounds for divorce with the BBC Orchestra.

Via You Ain’t No Picasso Jeff Tweedy sings Fake Plastic Trees

I love how the whooping and laughing audience shut the hell up once he gets going. They seem mesmerised. The power of music eh?

Fluffy Links – Tuesday February 3rd 2009

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Johnny calls for a new Irish Music Chart. Good idea.

Rick has badge envy. I have a special badge for Rick which he’ll get soon.

Nice chart from Joe on Irish Incubator programmes.

Last few days to get cheap nosh from some of the best eateries in Dublin.

Task Forces. Aren’t they the things that go along and shoot at people? A huge line-up of people who have no idea of what being redundant and scared is all about.

Vote for Rick at the Meteors and also vote for Vic (Barry) and Joe says vote for Mick too.

Yay. Now get prints of Eolai’s work.

Amazing illustration for an interesting company.

Maire Claire McKenna in Sligo who has just started a lovely little coffee company called Monster Cafe. She’s using a great little van called The Megavan which is rechargeable and fitted out with a fancy coffee machine.

Via TrendSpot: The Muppets do Peaches (Crude language and sexual references ahoy)

So maybe I didn’t answer this already – How I write

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

At TeenCamp Darragh asked something like how do I write for this site. It was something I was wondering myself. I’ve not really stood back and observed or done analysis of how I do these things. I actually searched the archive in case I wrote this before as the lines between thoughts in my head, comments on another blog, Twitter messages and previous blog posts are blurred. But here goes:

It starts with a line, sometimes a phrase and even just a word. Lots of times the killer punch is what goes down first and then I stretch that punch and twist it and then build around it. Without being all philosophically bullshitty about it, what I write is an entanglement of emotions and feelings and imagery and I try and turn that into text. The energy from these decreases in the conversion though.

I find that the outro is written first and as I write that, the foundation or the start of the post then comes into view. The message to me as I said, is a type of emotion or feeling and so I try and describe that first in the post and then move on to the parts around it. This message or takeaway is a blurry image in my mind and I find that I have to think about the words that best try and describe it and sometimes I get it right and sometimes what comes out on a blog post is a rough description of what is in my mind.

Then I take the lines I’ve just written and I move them around on the page. 6th line becomes 2nd line. No, it’s merged with the first line. No, it’s moved back into the 3rd. Things are chopped and changed until they “feel” right to me. As this is happening there is still back of the brain thinking and those new thoughts or sentences get thrown into the mix too and the line might go up top or down the bottom or in the middle.

UD-WFI Tagging Stickers
Photo owned by mathplourde (cc)

Then I walk away from it all. I go read something totally unrelated or watch a video or do something else. I then come back after getting some “external” stimuli and start adding to what I just wrote or add some new thoughts. This walking away can be minutes or hours though I find hours and days take away what really is a high at putting characters together to form words that express the images and emotions that my brain relates to the topic.

Towards the end of the writing comes the rhythm. It’s the internal rhythm in my mind but I find that when I read i want to read something that has a beat to it which keeps me driving through a piece. It’s the background beat to when you jog or dance or talk. Get this wrong and your brain trips on the text and you have to restart.

Then comes the rereading. I might read a blog post I’ve just written about twenty times, checking it over, looking for somethings to tweak. I rarely get external feedback. I never spellcheck using a machine. If I miss it, I miss it. This is me. I find external feedback corrupts (to a degree) the flow and what you’ve just written is no longer yours.

Yet with all of that I write some utter crap but now and then I’ve created a gem or at least something I’m proud of. It’s silly to think that what you write has to hit the mark each and every time. That just dampens the creative bits of your brain which is not good. You hit a home run now and then but you still need to swing that bat a lot to do so. Nobody starts off good and nobody will ever start off great or become so within a few posts.

RTÉ News: Immigrant Survey

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Got this and reblogging it:

In consultation with the Immigrant Council, I’ve drawn up a very short survey on which I’d like to base a TV news story.

It can be found and filled out at the following web address. http://www.rte.ie/news/immigrantsurvey.html

It asks how immigrants in Ireland are doing as the recession takes hold, how secure they feel in their employment and whether they expect to stay in Ireland or seek opportunities elsewhere.

We’ll use the results as a basis for a news story on the economic importance of immigrants to Ireland.

I’d really appreciate it if you could help me by forwarding this email to your members or if you could include the details in a newsletter. Any other suggestions you might have to distribute the details to the right people are welcome.

It’s important we get as broad a response as possible to make the results as accurate as possible.

Fluffy links – Monday February 2nd 2009

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

AchGo covered another data leak of customer details last week. This weekend the sunday Business Post covered it. What’s interesting here is that Airtricity has taken out insurance for their customers over the data loss. The banks never did this. The banks got their screwup investigated using taxpayer money and got a report written telling them what to do in future. A report the DPC woon’t make public, despite we paying for it.

Along the same lines, an interesting blog post on how the Dept. of Justice here in Ireland doesn’t seem to want to honour Freedom of Information requests.

Nice listing of car prices at an auction from Derry. Crazy prices. Sobering prices.

Suzy talks about the lack of anyone charismastic and uniting in LGBT politics in Ireland. Most of the organisations appear to be self serving to their board not even their “members”. I remember a comment from someone on the board of an org like this bemoaning the fact that they had to have AGMs and had to answer questions from their members.

iPhone Developer days in Ireland. Yay.

Nice writeup on Steve in the Irish Times.

New blog: Science Culture Bulletin.

Schizophrenia Ireland Changes Name to: Shine – Supporting People Affected by Mental Ill Health

Good coverage by TJ on the eircom and record companies deal.

UK hotels er, not quite.

Twitter were being asses methinks about the Daily Mail Twitter account.

Putin rocks. He clever.

Swan Song (for a nation) – Rae & Christian ft. Veba

Aim – The Girl Who Fell Through The Ice

Alice In Chains – No Excuses (Unplugged)

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Happy Sunday

Fluffy Links – Thursday January 29th 2009

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

By the time you read this I’ll be fast asleep and not have even gotten up to fly to London to attend this. But I’ll be away Friday from this blog, so now you know why. If you are in London this evening though. Some of us are meeting up for Mexican Food.

More sponsorship opportunites for the sold out 2009 Blog Awards.

Frost/Nixon review from Charles. I really thought the movie was very pro-Nixon. Frost was a chump in it.

The first Dublin fb Megaparty which will take place this Friday at The Purty Kitchen in Temple Bar. Details on Facebook.

PR/Marketing toolkit, built by Thomas.

A business bootcamp for school goers. Great idea.

Cookies...

An Bord Snip.

God is a bit of a dick.

Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret

least it wasn’t this.

Fluffy Links – Wednesday January 28th 2009

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Late in the day but here they are:

Walter is running an alternative to the Blog Awards. I very much support this.

Clown funerals. In Ireland. (Thanks Mick!)

Matching wine to Foodie blogs.

The Web 2.0 roadshow for Irish adland.

Dublin City Council have a blog for their City Development Plan.

Hack the Government day. (Their data)

The top pages on Facebook (by users) and their growth rates.

Via BoingBoing: Mark Lanegan and Kurt Cobain sing Leadbelly

No bloggers need apply

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Cos there’s loads of you after answering Sinéad’s survey on blogging. She now would like more normals to fill it in. (My dig, not hers) If you’re a non-blogger can you fill in this survey please? Thanks.