Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Fluffy Links – November 2nd 2006

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

(Sssh I’m not really here.)

How to get laid at an Anti-Abortion Rally:

Love Stories 2006. Quite nerdy.

EMI chairman says the CD is dead. Sure is.

Entrepreneurship is making 12 dollars from selling one dollar to someone.

Best video ever. Someone took Madonna’s interview about her new adopted child and his father and turned it into a trailer for Borat.

Ciara is on a world tour. Subscribed.

Schooling Disgrace – IT really doesn’t matter

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

A new survey has reportedly found that one-fifth of the computers in Irish schools are unusable and many more will soon be obsolete.

I’m quite surprised there wasn’t more of an issue about this when the news came out last week. It seems IT in schools is beyond farcical. Seaghan Moriarty has been on about this a lot. One of the sole voices out there trying to highlight this issue. More information from the report:

Most of the computers also have old operating systems such as Windows 95, 98 or 2,000, for which Microsoft no longer provides technical support.

But it’s not just support from Microsoft, it’s the fact there is no money for the upkeeping of these computers. As Seaghan pointed out in one of his blog posts:

Ireland has not given any money (apart from broadband catchup) to Primary schools for a computer refresh, hardware, software or any technical support – since 2002

The money for broadband also came from industry more than the Government. The majority of schools get their Internet access via a satellite dish. This is not broadband. It’s higher speed Internet access. 512k for a whole school is madness. 1000s of schools in the Republic get a satellite dish while every school in the North get real broadband via copper or even fibre.

The Government repeatedly bullshits about the knowledge economy and yet are cheating kids out of a digital future by passing off useless junk. As mentioned in a previous post. More Tesco computers than Dept. of Education computers in our schools. How the hell can the next Irish generation compete with all these new emerging digital nations who will be cheaper and better educated in the ICT area than them? Blinkered vision. This puff piece in the Business Post is quite insulting when you see what they’re actually doing.

The full ICTE report is here. Perhaps some blogger who reads this and has time can go through it and highlight the main findings on their blog. I’d do it but I’m not really here this week. 🙂

Fluffy Links – November 1st

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Worst Case Scenarios. How to get out of them.

Food in NY. Yum.

Obama’s momentum is growing.

Father Clippit does a good long Mass. Three hours on a good night. Since his stroke.

High traffic sites versus number of employees. Craigslist is doing well for sure.

Norm MacDonald (an Eddie Vedder clone) after being fired from Saturday Night Live comes back as a guest and has a few things to say:

Going down the YouTube – Embedded website video players, powered by Bittorrent, on way?

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

(Ssssh. I’m not really here remember.)

It was predicted and now it’s happening. More and more videos are being pulled from YouTube. Comedy Central are the guys with the big lawyers this time. So the Daily Show and the Colbert Report which from this side of the Atlantic are only popular due to the likes of YouTube, are now biting the hand that fed them. Little surprise there. This seems to be the same cycle again and again.

Years back Napster was the source for music online. Go there, tell it what you wanted. “Fuck copyright” people said (as did Napster). Napster delivered whatever you wanted. It achieved critical mass and it got served. Metallica and the record companies totaled it. Only right I suppose since copyright has strong legal protection. Bless lobbying! The weakest point of YouTube is that it is centralised, just like Napster. Take out the centre and the network collapses. Now with Google being the daddy it becomes easier again since they’re all corporate these days. They don’t want to be sued out of their 4 billion in cash or whatever is their current cash stockpile. In fairness Google has managed to licence some content but not all. YouTube will never have all content and Google will never be able to licence all the worlds information. Despite their aims.

We’ll see licenced content more and more on YouTube and less and less of the unlicenced. I think Google just bought this years model when it should be considering investing in the tech that is coming down the road. They bought obsolescence. It’s the creative types that are going to route around this legal roadblock and Google should have known this. I’m sure it’ll be the premier source for music videos and the like and some licenced TV shows. Wow. It will also have all the user generated stuff sans any music or clips from movie studios or record companies. Borrrrring. Soon you just might see 12 year olds getting cease and desists for lip-synching to Shakira songs.

So where will this unlicenced content go? Well, where did the unlicenced stuff go after Napster? Kazaa and the likes. Distributed networks. They in turn got shut down or infiltrated and spammed and became less useful. Then came along Bittorrent. Even more distributed. Distributed networks and distributed content. If you want something from BitTorrent your computer will go out and take bits of a song or video from different people and glue all these pieces back together. A much harder system to shut down than anything previously.

So I’m thinking maybe that’s where video is headed. Imagine an embedded video player on your site than doesn’t get its content from YouTube but goes about the web and downloads various pieces from 100s of different sources. How many lawyers and lawyer letters to then remove that content? How many Governments and ISPs would they need to pressure and lobby? You might be able to go after 100 sites and 100 servers but 1000, 10,000, 1 million? It’s an arms race against creativity and innovation. I look forward to my embedded website video player powered by Bittorrent. If content owners were clever they might try and make a business model out of this. Instead they’ll try and block it.

Bonus link. Seems the Google deal included lots of money to buy off the copyright holders.

Proposal: An Irish Tech Brain Trust – Advisory Board for Irish startups

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

This post has been in draft since February so is a little stale now. I had some private chats with James Corbett and John Timmons about this. I don’t really have the time to put more work into this idea but I thought I’d throw it out and get my draft posts down under the 20 number. 🙂 So here goes:

James over on EirePreneur is talking about fantasy business teams and how the Entrepreneur OPML reading list he created would make a good advisory board:

I started asking myself similar questions recently after putting together a reading list for Irish entrepreneurs. It occured to me that the list was something of a fantasy business team. If I was to be struck by a flash of inspiration for the right business idea I can’t imagine having a better team than the 13 people on that list.

IrelandOffline has something we call a “Brain Trust”. It comprises of people we’ve handpicked and who we trust and we pass ideas to them that we would not disclose in public for a while. Sometimes these are new campaigns we are working on, or consultations we are answering or questions we want to ask and debate but not do so in a public forum. The IrelandOffline discussion forum on is great but from logs and conversations with the *buzzword warning* stakeholders in the telecoms industry, we know that people from ComReg, DCMNR, eircom, BT, Smart, Digiweb tune in daily to see what we are up to. That’s why we have an exclusive private mailing list where we can safely discuss some items. I have been in other groups that also use this idea of a private advisory team and it can be quite effective.

A Brain Trust comprised of some of the people on James’ list might be a worthwhile group for a new startup to seek advice from. While some people give out about stealth modes being so last year or Web 1.0, they are still important for a small company working on something where their only advantage is a great idea and keeping out of the public domain. If you’re a one person operation I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if you had this idea, blogged about it and then a week later saw another company with 10 dedicated employees do the same thing but faster. As well as that it might be better for some companies to keep their fuckups private if they are small and cannot manage their PR properly as they are spending all their time doing other things. Or in fact to not fuckup at all. One public fuckup early on could wreck your reputation. The Brain Trust could say “Listen mate, if you do that then this is going to happen. Why not try this instead?”

Advisory boards are good but generally want some kind of cut on future revenue. Me, well I like money but don’t think the type of Brain Trust I’m proposing should demand anything from a small startup. However, to prevent every kid with an idea from spamming the Trust, I would like to see some kind of small fee given to the Trust which could be used later on to perhaps help out a struggling company or used as some kind of defense fund or put a small investment in a company we all like. Hell it could be used to run a conference or showcase for all the companies that we liked. Just piggy bank the money for now. I’m thinking something small like €100 would do. The Trust members would not get any of this money.

So why would people want to be on the Trust if they get nothing out of it? Well, they themselves would probably learn a lot from their peers. It might also mean business for them where they could sell consulting services to the people that are seeking Trust advice because while the Trust would give advice I’m adamant we would not be redesigning a whole system for a guy with an idea for free. There’d be nothing stopping a Trust member from getting work from an advisee, once it’s disclosed to the Trust. Still, maybe it is a romantic notion but I would like to think the main motivator for the Trustees is to help foster local businesses and aid in the growth of indigenous ideas.

There’d need to be guidelines too for this Trust, like above about selling your services to someone. I’m sure they can be worked out in time. I’m sure people would give out that such a Brain Trust would be elitist and non-transparent. Yes it would be and there shouldn’t be any apologies for that. Issues about NDAs and so forth would have to be looked at too. Lots of stuff would need to be figured out. Maybe this can be the place to figure them out.

Fluffy Links – October 31st 2006

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

(I’m not here. Ssssh.)

T-Shirt Beta. I want one! Pity my size is sold out.

Universal gets Firefly fans to create a big online buzz to market the Serenity movie. Then fucks them over. So they repay the favour.

WordPress plugin to allow posting to Vox as well. APIs are really needed for Vox though.

The Fermoy by-pass – a ghost highway? Not a sinner on it.

I need to get this handy doormat that reminds you to take your keys and wallet and phone.

Handy message in a bottle notice for USB memory sticks.

Don’t copy that floppy!

Left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing…

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Left hand: Phantom FM, backed by Denis Desmond, have availed of paid banner advertising on for the past week or so in preparation for their launch at 12 noon today. The Phantom FM forum has been hosted at for a number of years.

Right hand: “MCD is taking legal action against the site for allegedly hosting a defamatory statement about Oxegen. The discussion forum was targeted by the Denis Desmond-owned music promotions company, after festival goers used it to complain about tent-burning and fighting at the festival in Kildare last month.”

Engage Autopilot – AFK

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Autopilot should kick in on this site in a few hours. I’ve scheduled blog posts to publish for the rest of the week and on Monday of next week. Everyone will still get their dose of fluffy links and there are a few other posts which will publish most days. It seems I’ll be more productive on the blog while I’m away then when I’m here.

Currently waiting for the audiobook version of Barak Obama’s first book to download from iTunes. Have his next book ordered from Amazon too. Thanks to Richard Delevan for the suggestion and welcome back!

Right. See you on the other side.

Digital bits – Arrests, bans, le CD est mort, hands off the future

Monday, October 30th, 2006

The owner of Greek Blog aggregator was arrested. Why? Because his aggregator aggregated a blog story which mocked some public figure. Ouch. Greece is in the EU and not part of China, right?

The Indo finally picked up on the story about Leinster House banning blogging.

In the UK the Institute for Public Policy Research is calling for a “private right to copy”. DRI over here wants the same I believe. This comes as the head of EMI says the cd is dead.

Levy stated that 60% of consumers now rip CDs to their computers for transfer to portable devices.

It’d be nice to see a survey done here in Ireland to see how many people rip their music.

Unlike the Telecoms Poodle, the UK telecoms regulator has balls and is happy to tell the EU to back off. Ofcom doesn’t want the EU to regulate TV over Internet or other emerging technologies. This TV without Frontiers thing from the EU is just a continutation of jobs for regulators. A new land to regulate. Job security. I’m sorry but who the hell are you to tell me to put watershed limitations on the content of my website?

Party Political Blogcasts – Competition to make your own political ad

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Simon McGarr is running a video competition for people to create political ads.


30 second or less video.
Address a political issue- in the widest sense. Could include voter registration, or a pitch for a certain party, policy or area

Suzy mentioned on her Newstalk stint the other evening that we don’t have any political advertising beyond the party political broadcasts. Probably a good thing but there are no rules for the Internet and what can and cannot be done. Simon’s idea could be the push onto the web that Irish politics needs. It’d be great to see style ads created “by the people, for the people”. A url on the screen would get people to visit political websites with the American style ads.

What would you have in a 30 second ad if you had no restrictions whatsoever?

In the run-up to the UK elections in 2005, Channel4 commissioned the boys that made the fake Volkswagen suicide bomber ad to create fake ads for the main parties. The idea was these are ads the parties would release if they could get away with it. By far the best ad has to be the one for the conservatives showing no-go areas in cities, kids rolling spliffs in dedicated smoking areas in school yards and teachers putting on riot gear in order to teach. Absolutely fantastic ad that preyed on the fears of a liberal government. You can watch the ad streaming from here or here is my attempt to put it on YouTube:

Via Kevin Burton is an attack ad lashing out at George Allen.

If you had the resources, what would you do? Anyone want to make one on road deaths?