Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Twink – Still a crazy after all these years

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Link to her on liveline where she croaks and screams and just goes, well apeshit.

Nominated at Net Visionary Awards for IrelandOffline/Tribune work

Friday, September 28th, 2007

The Net Visionary Nominations are out and I have been nominated in two categories, Social Contribution and also Technology Journalist. I’ll get to the journo one later.

IIA Nomination

There were a few nominations for me for social contribution and I was told by one of the people that nominated me that it was my work with IrelandOffline over the past three years that got me their nomination and this is the reason I accepted the nomination. (Last year I declined as I was still working in IrelandOffline). I have been told by those behind closed doors (which in itself is a shame) that IrelandOffline was more than a thorn in the side of telcos and the Government and the pressure via public and private was enough to drastically speed up broadband rollout in Ireland as well as reducing line failure rates. It also taught certain regulatory groups to think twice before trying to pull their usual statistic scams.

With the Irish telco market being such a small space it is annoying that all those that helped IrelandOffline can’t be publicly thanked for their work but that might make their lives in eircom, Comreg, the DCMNR, the Taoiseach’s office, the EU and numerous telcos a lot more difficult. I accepted the nomination on behalf of all these people, not me and also on behalf of the committee members and chairpeople of IrelandOffline over the past few years, each one of which deserve their own award for the work they did, most of it probably went unrecognized. All those who also helped out via the forum and via direct contact also made a difference. Combined everyone helped the drip drip dripping which eventually wore away the calcified opponents to broadband roll-out. One person I will highlight though is John Timmons who did a huge amount of work in the background while bigmouth here got all the attention. I’m not sure would IrelandOffline have lasted as long as it did without John.

I’d like your vote so all the above people can be thanked and would like if you could spread the word too to your friends and readers if you have a blog. The broadband issue is far from over and the regulatory environment is still woefully bad and vindictive but the work done so far should be rewarded. You can go here to vote and choose who you want to vote for. Social Contribution is the one I’m down for. Check out the blogger and podcaster category too, you might know some people. Any of the public can vote too.

IIA Nomination

Yeah, a nomination for Best Technology Journalist. I’m only doing this for 9 months but it is nice to be considered. Vote for me if you like but I really would like your vote for Social Contribution. Thanks.

Fluffy Links – Friday September 28th 2007

Friday, September 28th, 2007

And we’re back. Thanks for missing us.

The Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, UCC now have a blog.

Jim celebrated his 6 months blogging this week. I must say the Irish Times staff that have started blogging have certainly made an impact on the blogging scene in Ireland and I’ve learned a lot from Jim and Shane and Conor and it is wonderful to see some personality on blogs from the mainstream press. More blogs from the Irish Times staff please! And of course Harry McGee from the Examiner is a fantastic read too.

Barry follows up on my ad post and points out an Irish blog that has ads. Porno ads.

HP have a photography competition for school kids in Ireland. Get your kids and siblings or yourself to submit photos!

Net Neutrality simply explained in a diagram.

Via BoingBoing is the new book from Oliver Sacks (Remember the movie Awakenings? He wrote the book.) The Amazon book page has videos of him talking about music and the mind. Great short videos. Fascinating stuff. Wiki entry on Sacks.

M.I.A. performing Paper Planes on letterman.

Catchy and clever song from a kid: My whole family thinks I’m gay

Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip: ‘The Beat That My Heart Skipped’

Bertie looks like an egg

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Yes. I was away and am stunned that at least 3 of you folks missed me. I was told I needed to get away so I headed off to Dublin for a few days and hadn’t time to be playing with the aul blog. Managed to see Feist and she was great, Halo 3 party was pretty much over when I got there but lots of drunken nerds being drunken nerds. After midnight the streets were full of Halo 3 fanboys who bought their games and a large percentage of them also bought consoles it seems. Yesterday I managed to get into the public gallery in the Dรƒยกil when Bertie had to do his weekly Taoiseach’s question time and then FG called a vote of no confidence. FF countered with a vote of confidence and Bertie went on the offensive in a meandering wittering speech.

Enda then stood up and I was impressed with his oration but the thing was too long. Eamon Gilmore then had his go and a go off the Green party too. It was fun to watch all the banter and also watch the political reporters at work too. They have their own gallery that is not glass enclosed and is closer to the chamber. They’re all seated on a long bench with kind of reminded me of the last supper. David Davin-Power was there and Harry McGee and Fionnan Sheehan, Shane Coleman and lots of others. You could see how much a bunch of politics nerds the lot of them really are by the way they got excited and elbowed each other and scribbled like mad when Enda or Eamon got in some digs. Gilmore yesterday made their day whe he showed that the biting comments from Labour leaders are not just a Pat Rabbitte characteristic. Court Jester Conor Lenihan yesterday made some smart alec remark as Gimore was doing his speech and he just shushed Lenihan and asked “Conor, don’t you know they don’t let the clowns out during the high-wire act.” Looking forward to more of that.

Right, blog posts are in my head and will be written soon. La Caverna restaurant in Temple Bar is great by the way, shame they can’t speak Italian though ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh yes, and Bertie looks like an egg when you see him walking around Leinster House, he’s hidden that gut well.


Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Whato chaps! While going for a reflective jaunt across the estate, I happened upon a post from a blogger who, while not taking umbrage with the way I carry and present myself, did helpfully point out that some of my inflections and tone could be on the coarse side. Rather.

It would seem that I am creating uncircumventable or near-uncircumventable language impediments into my communication flow which trouble him. Now, in plan english and in my natural voice:

Michele has an interesting post about people that use expletives in blog posts. Such as Twenty Major and of course myself. He doesn’t like them or use them at all on his blog, like many people, but I do use expletives as do many people around me, both friends and family. I don’t think Michele and I are going to agree on this or other things (bless lack of sycophancy), much the same way I think ads on personal blogs are vulgar and he, who liberally uses ads on his blog as liberally as I use expletives here, does not think that ads are vulgar.

There’s only one small part of the post that bothers me and kind of locks in on why I am against those that try and impose rules on how others communicate, either directly or in an off-handed alternative way:

other bloggers make use of expletives when they don’t need to.

I genuinely think attitudes like that are dangerous. The need is defined by the person that does the writing and communicating. If people are going to second guess themselves for the sake of others, I think this is unwelcome. Like I don’t think there should be a bloggers code of conduct, I’d worry that faux rules of civility would start to be imposed on others if we critique the choice of words someone uses, ignoring the overall message.

I don’t change the way I write from the way I talk. My blog posts are exactly how I communicate with others, expletives and all. I think if you expect people to change an essential, though small part of their character for the sake of constructed rules then it is the same as telling people to change their accent to something more “mid-Atlantic” because you find it harsh on your ear or brain.

Expletives are an essential part of all communication and language and if you remove some words, others will just take their place. That vacuum will be filled. You can express one word in 10 sentences or you can express 10 sentences in a single short sharp shock.

W.C. Fields said never trust someone who doesn’t drink, should you trust someone who has a disconnect between the way he blogs and the way he is in person? I talk about my natural voice when I blog and this is how I am in person.

What say you? Expletives, should we check ourselves before we wreck ourselves?

Update: Just to clarify a point in case someone got the wrong end of the Damien stick, I respect Michele and his opinion and if I didn’t I wouldn’t have given his post the time of day. We often argue and often agree and I like the fact that his post yesterday actually got my brain to work and to reflect on what I do. Also, one hundred euro reward for anyone that sends an mp3 of him cursing. ๐Ÿ™‚

Profile Ireland – Irish Tech Company Profiles

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

A while back I said I was looking to profile Irish tech companies. I now have a dedicated blog for this which is and over the next few weeks and months I will do a profile of a technology company every Tuesday and Thursday. First one just went out. So there you go. – Mashup resources

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Owen Gallagher has created a nice resource for those into the whole remix culture and video mashup thing. The site is also in the final of the 25k Northern Ireland Innovation Awards and secured him a place on the 2007/8 NCGA Kauffman Fellowship entrepreneurship programme.

Total Recut


Total Recut provides online resources and social networking opportunities for fans and creators of video recuts, remixes and mash-ups. Users can watch videos or showcase their own work in the galleries, download copyright free source material to use in their own remix projects, learn about remix culture and copyright issues, undertake instructional video tutorials and enter contests to win prizes or just for fun.

Owen is a damned fine mashup artist but I dunno am I allowed say what he has done previously or show it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Anyways, check out

Fluffy Links – Tuesday September 25th 2007

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

Today I’m going to ask McGyver to sign my Swiss Army Knife and then ask him who’d win in a build-off with the A-Team.

National Consumer Agency = fucking joke.

This Speed Nanny thing is catching. Anymore photoshoppers?

The perfect place for my secret lair.

Overheard in Cork. I pictured the Swearing Lady in this.

Why did so many people not go to BarCamp when they said they were? Can we blame Eddie O’Sullivan for that too?

We’ve got the Jesus Phone and now a Cross MP3 player.

Twitter T-Shirt.

Enough is enough:

De new face of Irish Rugby for the Rugby World Cup

Monday, September 24th, 2007

How many Irish men does it take to get a paddy out of a french loo? No, not a joke:

He overcame the massive obstacles the french put in his way, he got around their watertight defenses, he communicated with the rest of his team and he executed it all with perfection. Put him on against the Argies. The new face of Irish Rugby, take a chance on him Eddie.

Face of Irish Rugby

The Vulgarities of web ads – Why Internet Marketing/Advertising still sucks in 2007

Monday, September 24th, 2007

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I’m probably going to be launching a few new blogs in the next few months and I want them to start paying for themselves and from seeing what is out there in terms of revenue generation, I’m frankly appalled at the advertising offerings. Google might dominate contextual advertising and all online advertising (Yahoo! and MSN, what’s the story like?) but god almighty they are the ugliest blots on the web landscape, more like boils than interesting notices and they aren’t very contextual in reality either. I’m sure I’ll offend many people with my views on this but I really have issues with ads on blogs and especially on personal blogs and now I’m listing them ๐Ÿ™‚

My blog seems to rank well for everything but I got so sick of crowds approaching me to advertise on my blog that I stuck up an “Advertise here” page, which if people read, they’ll realise is me taking money off people and not giving them anything in return if I feel like it. While I don’t have ads, what I do have is a notice that appears above a blog post if the person has not visted my blog before. Just the once it will suggest that if they like what they see, why not subscribe. This is done by a wordpress plugin called “What would Seth Godin do.”

If you want to make money online you need some kind of revenue stream and unfortunately the easiest and laziest route to that is Google Adwords but in my view it also seems to be a route which encourages people more and more to start being “creative” with ad placements. Google used to be a lot stricter in their rules but obviously as the net population got used to the ads and started to ignore them, Google allowed more camoflaging techniques to creep in so they got better clickthru rates. I guess in their views deceptive does not equate to evil. I wonder do the 1000s that work on the Adword systems think they making the world actually better and take pride that people are being conned with the system they are working on? It’s a damned shame as the idea for these ads was supposedly to provide relevant information but why would you need to allow ads to wrap themselves into the genuine content so much if they were really relevant? I’d much prefer standard less profitable ads that I can choose on my commercial site and which look nice besides something obviously designed by an engineer of the Dilbert ilk.

Personal blog and business blogs/websites:

More and more I’m seeing personal blogs infected with Google ads. I agree with Robert Sweetnam on a lot of this. Why on earth if you have a dayjob and earn a living would you impose spam on your readers? To pay for the hosting? Hosting is cheap nowadays. My blog is a place for me to unleash and extract oddities from my brain and stick them on the web. If a friend called over for a cup of tea, I wouldn’t subject them to a charge to use the bathroom, or free usage in return for listening to an ad while they use the bathroom. Yet people do this on their personal blogs. I don’t expect them to have to see ads on my front door so I can pay my rent. If people come along and read my blog, great, I don’t think pushing ads on them is at all polite. True, there are plugins out there that remove Google ads for regular visitors but that still tells new people to the site they are not as welcome as others. I’d like people to feel welcome from day one. Welcome mat on door, come in and say hello and please do come back. Would you come back to a restaurant if the only started being nice if you came back a few more times?

And then there’s these “Get Firefox or fuck off my my site, oh and I make a dollar if you download it from me” ads doing the rounds. That’s telling people if they don’t wear the proper attire they’re not welcome to hear what you have to say. Your loss not theirs. Lovely.

In relation to businesses, why kind of message does it send out if you have your company reception full of advertising, why would you put ads on your own website either? I noticed that the IIA actually run ads on their website. That’s a shame.


Text Link Ads

Text link ads are designed to fool people into clicking links to gain website owners at the expense of making fools of their readers. I’ve seen some blogs that jam them in areas where you think they are navigational links. That’s complete deceptive and totally dishonest and is an awful way to treat visitors to your site and potential subscribers. It’s a total “fuck you” to them. Google doesn’t like them either because these are rigging the DNA of Google search which are links. You are being paid to change the rankings of sites by linking to them. It’s plain bribery. Google suggests adding nofollow and they’ll be happy but it still means you are running a switch and bait scam on visitors to your blog. That’s just bad manners. What impression are you giving to people by cheating them? And Google is well guilty here too. Look at these ads, for the general web user they are not going to realise these are ads before they click them.

Sneaky Google Ads

Content rewriters/link injectors

We’re slowly moving down the rankings gettting to the more sinister advertising that I’ve seen around. These ads are scripts or plugins that you write and they’ll rewrite your blog post or webpage and add links to words in your text and these links either go to ads or else cause popup ads right there on the page but these “links” are structured to look like proper links. They not only add tonnes of links to a single blog post and make it uglier but they also piss off people with useless popups, all for the sake of a few cents. This is just spyware on a page in my view and is pretty much an assault on a website visitor. Here’s an example of this:

Spyware like Ads

Pay Per Post and their ilk

Because there just isn’t enough ways to be dishonest and deceptive are there? These are the boyos who pay you to write nice things about products in order to boost the Google rankings of products as well as astroturf the net and making it look like there are a lot of people out there who love such and such a product. There has been a hell of a lot said about these guys but I find it very disappointing that people use this service to make a quick buck without thinking of the consequences. This is OUR web that is being polluted by these gangsters. This is the web version of perjury in my opinion.

So what am I going to go with?

Jeremiah Owyang says we have to get used to advertising and get over ourselves if we think it can go away. Funnily enough, if Google gets search to work much better than it is, advertising will surely decrease since the search results will always get us what we want. For me and for the blogs over the next few months, what I’ll go for is plain sidebar ads but as well as that I’m going have sponsorship for the blogs too. It’ll be way more work to get sponsorship but I think I’d rather have happy subscribers and well-treated new visitors than try any sleight of hand tricks for short term gain while losing long term readers.

You can of course just block ads on blogs but I don’t like that idea either since it just turns into an arms race and the spam arms race ain’t going well, is it?