Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

A nod or two

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

I’ve been interviewed quite a lot recently about blogging in Ireland and generally I’m asked what blogs in Ireland I like or I’d recommend. Two I’m mentioning a lot in interviews are United Irelander and the Limerick Blogger.

United Irelander is a fantastic blog built like a daily print publication and carrying special sections depending on the day of the week. Words on Wednesday, Fun Irelander, Top 10 Tuesday, Monday Madness, Thursday Thoughts and now interviews on the weekend. It really is chock full of interesting sections and UI is really starting to get the heavy hitters coming on to be interviewed. UI deserves a medal alone for the HUGE amount of work put into this blog. The blog truely sums up the passions of blogging. I certainly don’t agree with the politics or general sentiments but look no further if you want an example of a blog with mass appeal. He just needs to drop his Enda Kenny fetish.

And speaking of passions. A blog from the home of Irish Rugby. The Limerick blogger since creation is a very strong blog putting Limerick on the blogging map and filling the void left by Alive in Limerick. It’s the blog of 2006 so far in my view. Who knew so much could be written about Limerick? The coverage of the European Rugby matches was superb and the daily insights into local Limerick news is a template that other cities and towns should consider using. Great to see the Mayor of Limerick recently writing something for the blog and hopefully we’ll see more guest contributions.

Big round of applause for these two blogs.

When you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Google searchers make me a more responsible blogger?

The most accessed image and corresponding blog post on this site is the one about my nape piercing. The pic of my infected piercing is horrible, so be warned. I now feel strangely responsible for providing better content and information for those that come to my site for the search “nape piercing” or “nape bar” two phrases which has the nape blog post in the first few results in Google and Google Image Search.

I’ve found the same for a few other posts in the past that I did. The main example is my broadband choices post which I keep updating when new information on broadband is released. 79 comments on that post so far and I feel it is only right that if Google brings searchers this way then I have to make sure what they come here for is good quality. It’s not like I feel loyalty to prove Google’s algorithms right but my god imagine a search engine that had that kind of influence? I’m sure many other bloggers do the same because of pride in their blog and a respect for links. The more links, the more respect people are giving you or are at least stating you are worth visiting.

Imagine if every business operated that way, the more business they got the harder they worked to make sure that the existing and newer customers were happy. It seems to me that as a product becomes more famous/used many manufacturers rest on their laurels instead of addressing new issues that crop with more “gamma” testers. Instead of saying “No, you don’t use it like that” they could say “Wow, never saw it being used like that, if we tweak it like that it makes doing this unforseen action a bit easier.” Of course it could be death by 1000 cuts and there could be too much feature creep. But imagine a customer services dept. which actually ran like a research Dept. Do businesses have that with blogs? At least partially?

And the blog title is taken from “Yes, Minister”, a great show on the civil service and how life really works. They attribute the quote to a Nixon staffer. I’m not sure does it have any relevance to this blog post but I wanted to use it in on the blog.

She should have hired Piaras

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Yeah yeah, before I get to the main meal, some appetisers.

Viva Voce play Cork on June 20th. Might trot along.

10,000 sheeps, the Mechanical Turk in action.

Funny story from the Google canteen.

Think of the Prodigy song “Their Law”. My first ever time linking to Bebo.

Remember that Simpsons episode where Homer and Marge join a country club or something and Marge can only afford to buy one blue suit and wears it daily and chops and changes it for each event? Joan must have hired the photographer for a few hours only. It’s the same suit she has on in every photo. She should have hired Piaras. He knows about this kind of photocall stuff.

Fluffy Bits for May 24th 2006

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Google blogoscoped links to the Top 10 Stock Photo clichés. Fantastic stuff.

Tom Gleeson dissects James Blunt’s song “You’re beautiful. This is a .wma file, download and listen, really funny. Heard this on TodayFM early early this morning.

77% of Americans are now online, it seems. Scary stats when you think only 38% of households in Ireland go online. An increase of 1% in 3 years.

The Ernst and Young 2006 Entrepreneur of the year shortlist is out. Details:

The 2006 Shortlist Finalists

Entrepreneur Company Business Activity Founded Location
Christopher Watson Chain Reaction Cycles Retailing 1999 Antrim
Barry Smyth Changing Worlds Ltd Mobile Technology 1999 Dublin
Anne Heraty CPL Recruitment 1989 Dublin
Michael J Flynn FLI Environmental Environmental 1989 Waterford
Kieran O’Connor FreightWatch Group Ltd Security 1998 Dublin
Brian Connolly OmniPay ePayment Processing 2000 Dublin
Stuart Steele Silver Hill Foods Food Production – Duck 1962 Monaghan
Martin McKay Texthelp Software Products 1994 Antrim
Declan Gallagher Gallaghers Bakery Bakery 1994 Donegal
Ray Grehan Glenkerrin Group Residential Development 1987 Kildare
Dermot McElroy &
Ciaran O’ Donoghue
IQON Technologies Computer Manufacturing 1994 Louth
Fergal Broder Lotus Automation Ireland Engineering 1989 Sligo
Anthony Woods Midland Steel Reinforcement

Supplies Ltd.
Construction Materials 1998 Laois
Mark Elliott & Noel Elliott P. Elliot & Company Construction & Property Development 1942 Cavan
Thomas Walsh Sap Holdings Ltd Mature Tree Production 1975 Tipperary
Richard Barrett & John Ronan Treasury Holdings Property 1989 Dublin
Aldagh McDonagh & Sandra Lawler Alternatives Marketing 2000 Dublin
Steve Brankin Asidua Ltd Software Consultancy 2002 Antrim
Colum O’Sullivan & Cullen Allen Cully & Sully Food Production 2004 Cork
Christopher Foley Dansk Window Systems Integrated Window Solutions 2001 Dublin
Dylan Collins Demonware Computer Games Software 2002 Dublin
Alan Scroope FreeFlow Software Development 2001 Kerry
Seamus McMenamin Masol Ireland Ltd Crane Manufacturing 1998 Donegal
Sean Gallagher Smarthomes Structured Cabling System:
Residential Market
2002 Louth

Sounds like PPARS

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Tristan Yates – How IBM Conned My Execs Out Of Millions.

Digitally Divided – Another piece on broadband

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

I wrote the below for the Irish Farmers Journal. It was published last week.

For the country that created the Celtic Tiger and now has every major technology company operating here, Ireland’s lack of action with broadband is starting to alarm the EU, the OECD and major ICT investors in this country including Google, Microsoft, HP and Dell. However, eircom, Irish telecoms regulator ComReg and the Department of Communications have the ability to completely turn this situation around but why have they not?

When they were sold off by the Government, eircom inherited a network which was built with taxpayer money. Eircom are no longer Government owned and feel under no social obligation to provide broadband to everyone. They have upgraded about 450 out of their 1100 exchanges and state it is uneconomical to upgrade the rest. Instead they have asked the Irish taxpayer to give them money to upgrade the remaining 600 exchanges. Most of these exchanges are outside the main urban centres meaning a lot of rural dwellers may never get broadband over their phone line.

While eircom cannot be forced to upgrade all of their exchanges, under EU rules they are obligated to allow other telecom companies to have access to their exchanges so that these companies can offer voice and broadband services to consumers and businesses. This access process is known as local loop unbundling (LLU) and there are serious differences in what the access seekers want and what Eircom are willing to give despite eircom receiving some of the highest access fees in the EU.

There has been an on-going debate between the access seekers, eircom and the telecoms regulator for the past 3-4 years about what level of access there should be. On the 25th of April BT Ireland withdrew from these discussions stating that no progress had yet to be made. If Eircom followed the lead of BT in the UK and fully opened up their network then the resulting broadband competition would decrease prices and encourage upgrading of more exchanges, allowing more people in rural locations to get broadband on their phone line.

ComReg regulates the telecoms industry and one of their aims is help foster competition but under their watch Irish consumers pay the highest mobile bills in the EU, pay the highest line rental costs in the developed world and the average household landline bills are the second highest in the EU.

With increasing pressure from telecoms operators about LLU, ComReg, in February 2005 directed eircom to open up their network using an LLU process ComReg formulated. Eircom appealed the ComReg directives and before the appeals process started, ComReg changed their mind and withdrew their directives, restoring the status quo. Another year of negotiations and we are now back to the regulator saying they are going to send directives to Eircom to make it happen. How do we know ComReg really mean business this time when they really meant business in 2005, 2004 and 2003?

If Eircom don’t want to give full access to their network and ComReg do not appear to have the fortitude to force them to do it then it is up to the Minister of Communications to intervene in this matter and direct ComReg to make LLU workable. The Minister by law is entitled to do this. So far in his tenure, Minister Dempsey has not sent any directives to ComReg despite constant pleas from consumer groups and telecom lobby groups. Opening up eircom’s network is a crucial piece in the overall broadband puzzle and has been a key recommendation in reports from the Information Society Commission, Forfas, the Oireachtas Committee on Communications and the EU.

Another piece of the puzzle is to use wireless technology to fill in the gaps where broadband via a phoneline is not available. Currently there are wireless licences for the main urban centres and they are given to Digiweb, Clearwire, Irish Broadband and a few other operators. There is just one National Broadband Licence which could supply wireless broadband to most of the significant rural population of Ireland.

ComReg awarded this licence to Eircom and for the past number of years this exclusive national licence has not been used to its full potential. According to the Oireachtas broadband report as little as 500 customers use this Eircom system. It is also quite hard to sign up to this service when you contact Eircom. Despite numerous representations to ComReg to review this licence and provide it to other suppliers who could use it, ComReg have not taken any action on this.

With the two most important means of bridging the digital divide between the urban and rural populations being overlooked by a regulator failing miserably to get a control of every area of telecoms, it is now up to the Minister for Communications – Noel Dempsey to intervene. Noel Dempsey is the last hope to bridge the digital divide and to make sure the urban and rural populations are treated as broadband equals.

Radio researchers and gay marriage

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

A few weeks back I got a call from a researcher in a radio station, one which I won’t name because I’m nice like that. (Yes, I laughed at that bit too.) They were doing a piece on gay marriage and had read my blog and wanted to know would I come on as someone opposed to gay marriage, like I had written on my blog.
“Er, I did?” says a puzzled me.
“Yes, you listed reasons why gay people should not marry.”
I thought for a few microseconds and then an energy saving light bulb went off in my head. He had read my post listing 12 reasons why gay people should not be allowed to marry. This is the one that starts off by saying “1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.”

I asked the nice researcher “Have you read it? You do realise that it was, you know, satire?”
“Oh, er, it was? Oh, I should really read these things.”
“Uhm, yeah, might be a good idea.”
“So, you’re not against gay marriage then?”
“Ok, so would you be for it?”
“I’m all for equality. ”
“Would you come on for that then?”
“I’d rather not, because I’m on your station on a regular basis talking about broadband or sometimes blogs. I get enough air-time as it is.”
“Oh right.”

See how easy it is to get on-air when you have a blog? As it happened I was on the station the following afternoon talking about broadband.

Rick and Shel – A new kind of road movie

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

They thought they knew each other but on a journey to find new business, they found themselves.

You need to read the above in the voice of that guy that does all the voiceovers of all those movie trailers. I actually tried to photoshop up a Thelma and Louise movie poster with the lads faces but the bloody photo editing application died on me. Also I’m useless at anything creative. Getting to the point though:

Rick Segal and Shel Israel are going on a world trip of a sort and want to meet up with people and businesses along the way. Rick wants to go looking at investment opportunities and Shel wants to research his next book. Doc Searls gives a good summary. David Weinberger gives a nod to road movie summaries too.

I think this could be a good opportunity for Irish business people to meet with two very clever and influential people. There’s a chance to bring them to Ireland (Shel is already coming to Cork soon) or else the eirepreneurs could hop on some cheap Ryanair flights for a meetup in London. Additionally why not come along to the latest Geek Dinner on the 7th of June and bend Shel’s ear about this World Tour.

Human interest story: Guy climbs Mount Everest despite being gay

Friday, May 19th, 2006

Ooops, what a fuck up.

IT@Cork Geek dinner – June 7th, any takers?

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Before the June 8th IT@Cork conference there’ll be a geek dinner on the evening of June 7th. Anyone wish to go? It’s a Wednesday evening. Shel Israel, his wife and Salim Ismail should hopefully be about too for this. Nothing too formal. Location and time will fit into place as we get more exact numbers. By the way, the Radisson Hotel has a health spa so bring along the spouse to the day event and treat them to the spa. If any semi-loaded company wants to pay for the meal, or a round or two of drinks then let me know.