Archive for the ‘business’ Category

Caption this

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Ulster Bank Moneysense

Ulster bank unveiled their MoneySense product. Great pic.

Time to ban dialup

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

I finished writing for the Tribune last week (on a regular basis) but my final piece wasn’t published so as recycling makes sense and all that, here’s my piece about banning dialup:

There’s a healthy debate currently going on in Ireland about broadband, the availability of it and the speed of it. Ireland is far from a broadband nation and a lot needs to be done to remedy this. However with all the talk of broadband we seem to be overlooking dialup. Many on dialup could easily move to broadband but they don’t. Dialup is expensive, backward, dangerous and it’s holding us back. It’s time to ban dialup and give people the choice of broadband or nothing.

Eircom estimates there are still around 200,000 active dialup users in the country. Shockingly 60% of these users could move to broadband. Many of the broadband providers are a bit perplexed about this. While it’s true some of the highest users of dialup want broadband and are desperately trying to get it, there is still a glut of people who could move over but won’t.

Recent ComReg figures show that the average spend by dialup users is over €30 per month yet the cheapest broadband packages these days cost €20 or even less. If dialup customers were moved over on to broadband they’d automatically make savings on top of all the other advantages broadband offers. Those who say they only want to go online for a few minutes each month too no longer have to use dialup. Three Ireland have now released a pay as you go mobile broadband package. A 24-hour 3Pay Broadband top up will be €5 with a 500MB download limit. A week’s connection will cost €10 with a 2GB download limit or a 30 day will cost €30 with 10GB download limit. Other providers are sure to follow this connection model.

It’s not just about money though. Wth so many viruses and hacking attempts online the average computer in order to stay secure is downloading virus definition updates at least once a day. These updates take seconds on broadband to download but can take 10-20 minutes on some dialup connections. Couple that with essential security patches for operating systems and applications and computers are busy fixing themselves up daily. Even with broadband, a naked, just out of the box computer is vulnerable to attack until properly patched. IT Security consultant Brian Honan points out the ever-long battle to stay secure: “Even with a broadband connection a PC shipped from a manufacturer or bought in a shop could take so long to download and update all the relevant security software and patches to the system that it could be infected by the time it has secured itself. Of course this is even worse for dial-up users.”

Honan also points out that operating system updates and patches for Microsoft Office can be as large as 200-300Mb which some on dialup might have ignored: “I am sure there are still a lot of PCs out there running Windows XP Service Pack 1 simply because Service Pack 2 was too big to download.” I carried out a speed test comparison that showed downloading a service pack on broadband took 25 minutes but took as long as 14 hours on dialup. That’s if the person on dialup can allow themselves to stay online that long.

Finally, broadband is good for our broadband rankings. Turning off dialup for those that can switch to broadband would mean we instantly add 100,000 broadband connections to Irish broadband figures and would see us reach or get close to the European Average for broadband after years of trying. Something that would give the under-fire Communications Minister something to smile about at last. With hardly any effort or expenditure we could get away from the bottom of the broadband leagues. People are stubborn though and will resist change, even when it’s good for them. We succeeded with plastic bags and smoking. Now we need a dialup ban. It’s better, cheaper and safer for all of us that go online.

Make (or encourage by vote rigging) Kieran wear his ice cream attire at the Awards

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

More here. Go on, we need more people to dress up in various attire.

Parlon’s construction crowd are now giving out about broadband

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

That’s cut 131, a few more to the 1000 mark:

Speaking in advance of ‘Construct IT Conference 2008’, Noelle O’Connell, Head of Training and Development at the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), stated that the unreliability of broadband services threatened to hold back IT innovations in the construction sector.

“ However, in the area of IT problems around the availability of reliable, high speed broadband services, particularly in certain parts of the country, continue to frustrate innovations.”

“This is a very straightforward example of the inefficiencies arising from broadband problems, yet it illustrates the sort of issues facing the sector.”

“Moving the tender process online is another innovation that is not possible without first class broadband infrastructure, particularly given the level of detail and technical supporting documentation associated with tenders for even the smallest projects. The same is true in other areas of construction.”

“Not every company experiences problems with broadband services. There are parts of the country, particularly larger urban areas, where a reliable service is available. However, a feature of the construction industry is its spread throughout every part of the country and it is impossible to introduce industry-wide initiatives and innovations if all the industry cannot avail of them”.

The Construct IT Conference 2008 looks at all aspects of IT and the construction industry and one of the speakers, Tom Parlon, Director General of the CIF, will point out that by embracing IT companies can make significant savings and improve efficiencies. Microsoft, the Data Protection Commissioner, 02, MoreSoft IT Group, Domus Newtworks and Google will also be represented.

Source: Direct press release.

One day the clues will come Gerry, one day

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Gerry McGovern says fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and foodstuff businesses, for example, are less likely to benefit from having a blog. “If you’re chicken-farming in Monaghan, I don’t think there’s much point in having a blog, because your customers probably won’t be interested in what you have to say.”

Nobody would ever read a bog about a tailor. Nobody would ever read a blog about vineyards.

Simon Coveney’s Private Member’s Bill tonight and tomorrow

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Simon Coveney from Fine Gael has put down a motion on broadband during Fine Gael private members time in the Dail this week. There was some coverage about it in the Sunday Indo business supplement this weekend. It will be debated by all sides of the house from approximately 7 to 8.30pm this evening and Wednesday evening too. If you ring his office you can go and watch from the fruit throwing visitors’ gallery as his guest. Number is 01 6183755

I disagree with the FG broadband policy and their attitude til now on broadband but credit where credit is due, at least they are getting attention to the situation. Ross’ Bill is a bit better though. If it takes death by 1000 cuts or 10,000 cuts at least it might get the Government and the utterly woeful Minister for Communications to realise he’s being watched and held to task. There’s no hiding from the dire situation anymore.

(The 12 year old juvenile only giggled once at the title. Ok, twice)

Eamon Ryan’s One day meeting on broadband costs taxpayers €50k

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

From a question about the International Advisory Forum on Broadband.

222. Deputy Simon Coveney asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the cost to the Exchequer of the International Advisory Forum on broadband to be held in Dublin later this month. [7197/08]

Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources (Deputy Eamon Ryan): The estimate of the cost of the International Advisory Forum on broadband is €50,000.

8 people will be the ones telling Ryan over the course of the day how to plan the future of broadband in Ireland. That money would nearly pay for the enabling of an exchange in a rural Ireland to get broadband. That’s 50k less for the provision of broadband.

Blog Awards 2008 – Goody bags, Qik and sponsorship

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

So the merchandise for the Blog Awards is looking a bit sparse at the moment. If you work in a company (or have a friend that does) that would like to have their merchandise or samples given out to a few hundred bloggers, give me a shout.

If you want to do video live stream on the night of the Blog Awards using QIK let me know. Qik have created a dedicated channel for us. I’ll also be giving out some cards to avail of the net access there since the Alexander charge for that at a high fee. You ideally need to have a Nokia N95 to do the live video streaming.

Oh yes, there are also two sponsorship slots available for the Awards, due to a sponsor pulling out and the other slot is for sponsorship of nametags.

Right now 360 people are registered to go to the Awards. And with only a week to go I had my first Awards disaster dream. Things are heating up!

Me today

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Busy at the UCC Journalism conference all day. Back on Thursday.

9:50 Opening Address, Speakers for Session One Take Stage
10.50 Mr Gerry O’Regan, Editor, Irish Independent.
“Why traditional Newspaper’s are NOT dead!”
10.10 Rick O’Shea, RTE 2fm. “Blog Will Eat Itself – Old Is The New New”
10.25 Questions & Answers
10.45 Closing Address, Session One
10.50 Break for Coffee, Speakers for Session One Leave Stage
11.20 Opening Address, Speakers for Session Two Take Stage
11.25 Dusty Rhodes, The Death of the Newspaper: The Digital Radio Perspective.
11.40 James Cridland, The place of traditional media in the Web2.0 world.
11.55 Michael Foley, Sunday Times, Sports writer. The implications of New Media for Sport writers
12.10 Michael Kealey, ‘Legal challenges for a converging media’.
12.25 Questions & Answers
12.40 Closing Address
12.45 Break for Lunch, Speakers for Session Two Leave Stage
1.00 Lunch
2.15 Opening Address, Speakers for Session Three Take Stage
2.20 Damien Mulley. Blogging.
2.35 Jill O’Sullivan, A new media newsroom – does one size fit all? – and global new media trends.’
2.50 Brendan Keenan, Independent Group PLC
3.05 PJ Gibbons, Editor, Social and Personal Magazine
3.20 Dr Rachel O’Connell, Bebo Chief of Security
3:35 Questions & Answers
3.50 Closing Address

How not to interact with bloggers if you’re a CEO

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

A CEO of an Irish company sent me a very long email recently telling me how I am to discuss his company in public in future. I found it quite inflammatory and abusive. He also called into question the ability of another Irish technology journalist in this unsolicited email and told me how I should not go down the path they chose. I am still wary of calling myself a journalist since these folks are professionals. I’m just someone with a gob. I asked said CEO could I publish his email on my blog and he has refused and questioned my inability to have a normal private conversation. Except a conversation is two way. Not abuse. No problem, it won’t be reproduced. Tom recently blogged about the fun he had with the CEO of Blueface.

There are good ways of interacting with bloggers and there are bad ways. Bloggers too are people and a modicum of respect for people would be nice if you are the one making contact with them. One way of getting their goat up is to tell them how they are to talk about your company in public. Another is to use passive aggressive bullshit of the type “I’m surprised that you of all people said that” or “of all people, you should know better”. Questioning whether someone is biased is another. As is taking swipes at a fellow technology journalist or someone in “the trade”.

Also if you are asked to stop emailing them. Do. Do not send another further email with more personal abuse. Finally putting all of these don’ts together in an email and marking the email as “personal and confidential” so the person in receipt of the abuse can’t reproduce on their blog or to others isn’t very nice at all. It’s not transparent.

It’s amazing that some business people think that being abusive to people will not come back and haunt them. Surely the Internet proves that the truth will out.