Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Fluffy Links – Friday October 31st 2008

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Pat Phelan is the champion. Net Visionary of the year. Well deserved. Congrats Pat. And congrats to so many other bloggers and Twitterers who did so well at the Net Visionary Awards last night. Michele took home two gongs himself. Good on ya.

Patrick Collison’s Wikipedia iPhone app gets a nod in the New York Times. Fantastic. Both the app and the fact that the NYT big upped it. Well done Patrick.

Inspiring piece by Jim Carroll about the future of music. Now is the big now.

Eamonn Gilmore yesterday said the Green Party are dead. Markham used to vote for them and pretty much agrees with current sentiment about them. (Two links in one week Markham, fiver please) Meanwhile former TD Dan Boyle tells bloggers to seek Anger Management therapy. That’d be my vote next time Dan and my promise.

Rick finally gets recognition.

You’ll now get banned from if you use legalese or threaten legal action. Big win for freedom of speech there. There are some Matlocks on there lauding up their legal knowledge and spouting legal advice who really ought to know better. Clowns.

Goodnight Mars Rover, Sweet Prince. It had a fantastic, utterly engaging and fun Twitter account. NASA has made space and science fun again and this was a prime example.

The Simpsons takes the piss out of Mad Men. Love it.

PQs – Parliamentary Questions – One way of getting politicians to tell the truth

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The examples of Fine Gael and Labour asking probing questions this week in the form of parliamentary questions have revealed that the National Broadband Scheme is going to be delayed, even more than we knew.

And now we also learn that the winning bidder who will be announced in November (which starts Saturday) is allowed to use satellite as a solution in 8% of the tender. Satellite isn’t broadband but then mobile broadband isn’t either.


To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if areas have been identified under the national broadband scheme as suitable for satellite internet access only; the percentage of the contract covered by this; the areas under the national broadband scheme that have been identified as being suitable for satellite internet access only; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


Subject to agreement with the chosen service provider, rollout of services is expected to begin shortly after the contract is signed. The chosen service provider will be required to complete the roll out of services within 22 months of the contract award. All requests for a broadband service in the areas to be addressed by the NBS will be met.

The areas already covered by terrestrial broadband service providers will not be included in the NBS. The map showing the areas to be addressed by the NBS is available on my Department’s website and attached for information.

No specific areas have been identified as being suitable for satellite internet access. However, it is expected that some areas will be impossible to reach using terrestrial broadband platforms. The winning service provider will be allowed to serve up to 8% of the buildings in the NBS coverage area using satellite.

And we also learn that the post code system will cost 15 million quid but might never brought about:


To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his policy on postcodes; the cost of implementation; the cost of consultancy on this issue to date; his views on whether the growth of GPS will make postcodes redundant; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The report of the board estimates that the cost of implementing, promoting and maintaining the postcode would be approximately €15 million.

A proposal concerning the introduction of postcodes went to Government in May 2007 and Government decided that, prior to the introduction of postcodes, further analysis to quantify the wider economic and societal benefits should be carried out. This analysis was recently updated and it will assist me to decide on how best to take the proposal forward. In this regard I fully accept that a postcode system can convey economic and social benefits, assist future competition in the postal sector and assist delivery of certain public services. I expect to bring a further proposal to Government in relation to the introduction of postcodes.

You can ask your local representatives to table questions and a lot of the time they’ll rephrase them to remove any leeway in the answers.

Free 2 Lambchop tickets for Saturday in the Tripod

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

First that wants em gets em. You need to collect them off me tomorrow Friday in Dublin City Centre.

Some of Ryan Tubridy’s best friends are icing

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Suzy has the goss on a very poor joke about the skin colour or Obama.

Eamon Ryan and his Skype story = Everything is fine

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Belkin Skype Wi-Fi phone - Starbucks
Photo owned by icherche (cc)

Eamon Ryan keeps telling this same boring story again and again about when he visited Korea and he couldn’t get his phone to work or Skype or upload files. He’s said it in the Senate, he’s said it in interviews, he told me this story on the phone, he told it at his broadband forum a while back.

(Aside: Joe asked me why I said nothing at the forum when journos and bloggers got a private audience with Ryan. My reason? I see no point arguing with a man that is so comfortable lying to anyone and everyone and happily swerves away from reality with such panache.)

Back to the rant 🙂 This Korean story to Eamon means Korea is in fact not as good for broadband. Great logic right? Take those Koreans down a peg or two and we’re looking a bit better. Step back into the swap there lads.

From his debate with Shane Ross the other day:

While it may be true to say that in Korea there is 100 Mb broadband connectivity to every home, it does not necessarily mean they have the applications or the benefits from that. Nor does it mean they have the economic strivers from it. These are some of the reasons we would be investing and we will invest in the development of our broadband future.

One of the problems I encountered at the conference was that my mobile telephone did not work.

I could not connect my mobile telephone to the network. I could not run Skype on the network. I could not send a single 5 Mb video file from the convention centre.

While it is useful to analyse and use international comparisons to determine what is happening in other countries and learn from them, we must remember that we have our own unique characteristics.

See, his argument is that his one experience of a shit connection at a conference means we shouldn’t trust dozens of studies and hundreds of news stories about just how good Korea is in terms of broadband. Which is fine because anyone that was at this Broadband Forum a few weeks back can now argue the same thing. By the power of Ministerial logic, because the WiFi in Dublin castle was shit, it means in fact that Ireland has no broadband at all.

Photo owned by [ v2milk ] (cc)

Eamon couldn’t of course leave it at that and went on and repeated the same lies of his and his Department which have been used nonstop:

In the past year and a half we have roughly doubled the number of broadband subscribers, which was the fastest rate of growth in the OECD. We have been particularly strong and fast growing in the mobile broadband sector, in the application of wireless hotspots and mobile broadband itself. We are also starting to see prices come down and speeds increase. In recent months operators have been increasing their standard packages from 2 Mb to 10 Mb or even 20 Mb. New companies are building fibre optic networks which are providing 50 Mb connectivity to the home. It is starting to happen and companies are starting to deliver.

Lying fucking Ryan.

Fluffy Links – Thursday 30th October 2008

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Some nice talks now lined up for BarCamp Cork. You coming along?

Wot Green Ink says re: John Gormley.

Business blog post of the month.

Alex Keaton rocks.

Was Nokia really spamming blogs? They seem (at least in the UK) to get blogs and blogger relations. said Christmas is canceled.

Christmas is canceled
So that’s that then.

Phones and candidates.

New Beirut track.

Guns N Roses – Chinese Democracy (It starts like it’s a song from The Darkness but gets better)

National Broadband Scheme delayed while coverage area unknown

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

There’s a very clever chap on who has spotted that Eamon Ryan is now changing his boiler plate replies on broadband and the National Broadband Scheme. Where once the Minister said all those in broadbandless areas would be getting broadband now he is saying something slightly different but it changes the whole nature of the National Broadband Scheme:

All requests for a broadband service in the areas to be addressed by the NBS will be met.

See that? But the NBS map has been changing constantly. Actively moving the goalposts that.

I asked for the below question to be asked of the Minister during PQs but it looks like it has not been asked/answered as yet but if it does get asked it might clarify the smog the Minister is creating on this issue:

Will the National Broadband Scheme cover all areas currently not served by broadband suppliers in Ireland, excluding satellite providers. What areas will not be covered by the National Broadband Scheme? given the maps have been redrawn since the intial map was released, increasing the areas that are not being served by broadband.

Meanwhile Simon Coveney finally (it wasn’t rocket science or complex math) caught Ryan on the rollout times for the National Broadband Scheme:

Deputy Simon Coveney: If contracts are being signed in November and if there is a 22-month roll-out period, can we safely assume that the Government target for universal broadband provision across the country will now be the end of 2010 rather than the end of 2009?

Ryan replied:

The national broadband scheme has taken slightly longer than we would have liked. My hope is that the detailed work that has gone into the preparation of the contract in advance, whoever the bidder is, will mean we will have swift roll-out and delivery on the commitment within it by mid-2010, which is the rough timeline set out.

(The bit not in italics is where he is lying)
Planning permission. Lots and lots of applications for planning permission in all these places. Hills, mountains, rough terrain. Masts and digging and all that. What sane company is going to apply for planning permission for masts BEFORE they win the tender? They have told this to the Department I am quite sure of, they’re not stupid. They have told the Minister of this too. If Dan Boyle is anyone to go by, Eamon Ryan, being the best guy in the whole wide world to know broadband (awww shucks thanks Bouncy) knows this too yet he tells the Dáil otherwise. He tells them somehow these companies can fast-track things? Oh would you come back down from the clouds Minister.

Ryan also lies about schools to Simon Coveney:

Deputy Eamon Ryan: Some 3,901 out of 3,936 schools have their local broadband connectivity installed, which is over 99% of them. Installation has typically been at speeds of up to 2 megabytes per second.

Of up to. Theoretical. Half of these are via a shitty satellite dish. Sat. A. Lite. Eam mon. There is no ugrade path to fibre with Sat. A. Lite. Sat. A. Lite is for Ethiopia. That’s in that hot place. It’s useless for a whole school. Useless for a whole classroom. Last resort Internet access and half the schools in the scheme get it.

Lots of delays lots of lies. Status quo. I’m going to bed before I go on a rampage. Another post about Eamon Ryan gets autoposted later today.

Missing the han

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Perfectly describes Will Smith.


Dan Boyle – hmmmm

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I’d started off writing a blog post about how I thought Dan Boyle was a cunt for voting against Shane Ross’s broadband bill. I’ve slightly softened my stand after reading the transcripts of the debate. Dan has so far proved himself to be a massive apologist for everything the Government has done of late including fucking over pensioners.

(If Dan Boyle decides to seek re-election in Cork South Central I’ll probably do my level best to make sure he doesn’t get enough votes to get in, even if I have to go through a lot of personal finances to do so. I got burned once by the lieing Green Party, I’d hope to make sure others are aware of the lengths they’ll go to in order to inflate their egos about being part of the Government.)

Photo owned by sophiea (cc)

Anyways, on to Shane Ross’s valiant attempt at his broadband bill. Shot down by the following people by the way, if you want to visit them and complain, this is who they are, a lame email won’t be enough I should think. Visit them.:

Boyle, Dan.
Brady, Martin.
Butler, Larry.
Callely, Ivor.
Carty, John.
Cassidy, Donie.
Corrigan, Maria.
Daly, Mark.
de Búrca, Déirdre.
Ellis, John.
Feeney, Geraldine.
Glynn, Camillus.
Hanafin, John.
Leyden, Terry.
MacSharry, Marc.
McDonald, Lisa.
Ó Domhnaill, Brian.
Ó Murchú, Labhrás.
O’Brien, Francis.
O’Donovan, Denis
O’Malley, Fiona.
O’Sullivan, Ned.
Ormonde, Ann.
Phelan, Kieran.
Walsh, Jim.
White, Mary M.
Wilson, Diarmuid.

So Dan gets up and backs up Eamon Ryan, you know, the guy that lies about how good things are when it comes to broadband. Just like the crazies in his Department.

While I think it’s really shitty to stand up and shout down a bill that was doing good, Dan was constructive at times and living on planet WTF at other times such as:

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is sufficiently energised in pointing his Department in the right direction in fulfilling this policy goal. He has enough commitment and knowledge of the subject to ensure the goals are met. It is not facetious to say that he knows in computing terms the plural of “mouse” is “mouses”. He is the one Cabinet member with a knowledge of how particular technology choices in this area work.

Mouse, mouses. Shuddup Chris Farley. In the next bit he at least pointed out he differed in opinion to Ryan and praised a lot of Ross’s bill.

One function for an overseeing agency would be to ensure broadband penetration is reached critically in each of those sectors. The Minister has indicated his personal priority as regards broadband in schools. I am confident there will be significant advances in this area. It must be recognised better broadband access for households has other implications such as encouraging home working and preventing unnecessary commuter transport.

The difference between technology platforms is an area I believe could be more tightly regulated. Will the majority of broadband service be delivered through cable or some other platform such as satellite? The Minister indicated that because the greater increase in broadband services is through mobile platforms, this seems to be policy direction. I am not sure that should be the case. There are still opportunities to have a cable-based system that will carry as much of the broadband network as possible while having the mobile broadband as an add-on.

The Minister is open to debate on the issue while at the same time progressing policy goals in this area. I would like to see Senator Shane Ross, who has taken an interest in this area, engage in further goading of the Minister, the Department and the Government on broadband services. I know the Minister has stated he will not accept this Bill but there is still a need for the Minister to explain what he intends to do in regulation and legislation, if necessary, in this area.

Schools? More schools have a satellite dish feeding them Internet access than proper broadband. Satellite is not broadband. Also Ryan has said 2009 will be when his Department will reexamine broadband in schools. I find it very interesting that broadband in schools is the new fad from the Department. Love how they’re talking about fibre? How many have fibre now? How many will have fibre in 2009? You don’t know. The Department doesn’t know because it’s made up. Pulled out of the air.

Two questions if answered honestly by Boyle and his party members would push things along:

  • Will you agree that mobile “broadband” is not in fact credible broadband and is more like mobile dialup?
  • Will you agree that these mobile figures should not be used by the Government to measure broadband subscriptions?

Were such an honest answer given, it would make progress in my view because there’d be less lies to hide behind and more motiviation to make progress. Unlike now.

Conferences – Spend your ticketmoney on building your own

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

There are some amazing conferences that are on around Ireland, the UK, europe, the rest of the world and some of them have some amazing prices too. Le Web this year in Paris is €1,495.00 – €1,794.00 depending on how early you register. The O’Reilly Web 2.0 moneyfest in Berlin was a few grand too. Even in Ireland you see conferences ranging from €250 to over a grand for a day or two-day event. That’s a lot of dough these days to pay to be lectured to isn’t it?

I do often wonder for the specialised but expensive conferences whether you’d be better off just hosting your own day-long event in Ireland without having to fly in the big names or the big guns. They’re certainly great to see and draw a crowd but when some charge from 10k to 100k for a speaking gig, it’s no wonder that the cost of a ticket to some conferences can be up to 3k per person.

And then these big guns don’t mix. They hide out the night before in their hotel room, maybe talk to the others presenting and then are probably protected from the mad crowds during the event. It all seems very mercenary.

Wouldn’t it be great to see some expert talk and give them live feedback? Not by one of those boring “backchannels” things but by someone putting up their hand and saying something. Not that it’d be allowed in a large conference. The speaker (not converser) is there to make a few points without engaging, ta very much. I’m not talking about Barcamps but a model like that. Highly targeted speakers and audience members and small too so that information circulates, not just flows from the powerpoint to the scribble pad of someone in the audience.

Second International Conference on Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever
Photo owned by molecularck (cc)

I guess it’s the “brown bagger” model in American companies where people to lunchtime training modules while everyone eats food supplied by work.

It’s ironic that many of us network better at big and international conferences yet there is so much shared knowledge in our own island and so many people we should be meeting and talking to who are only a few miles or event a few feet away from us. A strong local base is probably good for individuals and companies alike. That’s why those old school business networks like BNI do well, because they have the basics right. The delivery is probably all over the shop though and silly rules like having to give business to the person in your chapter is bad for you and them. Your rep and their weak business, if that’s the case. Focused conferences where everyone going brings something with them and contributes would be of extreme value I should think.

Think of it. You’re at a conference and some flown-in expert says something and you think “excellent, didn’t know that” and then they say something else and you think “D’uh, heard that ages ago” or you might actually be ahead of where they are. Now imagine everyone else in the room are like you. Does the room need the person at the front in this case?

Heading to the keynotes
Photo owned by DBegley (cc)

Renting a room for a day costs anywhere from 500 euros to 2000 euros and charging people a modest sum to go would cover all costs. In fact there’s probably a business in “buying” off-the-shelf conference packages from hotels for a standard fee. Ciara too has a guide on running a conference on a shoestring.

What conference would you want to have for your specialist area, do you think you can run it? I bet you can.