Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

How do you give an asshole more traffic and more groupies?

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Link to him.
He or she* will get a lot of traffic by naming them too so if you are too lazy to use a link just use their name and you’ll build their audience. The Internet is funny like that. So if you truly dislike a blog or blogger then just ignore them. This is the attention economy and any kind of attention makes a site stronger. || Just in case people think this is a dig at Fergal or Team Tuppenceworth because that was the last post I made, it isn’t. I like the blog and respect them. Must stick em on my site blog roll whenever I unlazy myself to do it. This post stems from a private email conversation but I thought I’d stick my views on it links here.

*Does the word asshole have a gender btw?

Like rain on your wedding day…

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Hey snooty bloggers, stop being snooty, get over yourselves, cool it, stop being busy-bodies and stop telling other bloggers how to behave.

Perhaps one deemed appropriate by the “blogging community�? This to me is indicative of a snooty, “Irish Blog Establishment� attitude. Only a few weeks after the first ever Blog Awards and we already have elder statesmen turning up their noses at provincial oiks.


But seriously, he’s Ferghal’s right. If we go on an El Paso witchhunt for their personal attacks on people, we won’t stop there and might move on to someone else.

the whole “following your dreams” thing may be a cliche but it’s also an excellent way to live a life

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Neil Gaiman is a fantastic person and a fantastic creator of new things. I’d say in that order too. Yes, I’m a fan. Anyways, he was asked a series of questions by the Guardian and he’d posted all of them on his blog. For some reason this link to it doesn’t work. His blog has little (friendly) demons than tinker with it from time to time in order for fans to alert Neil. That’s my guess. Yes yes, I’m getting to the point. So Neil answered one of the questions asked “What is the most important lesson life has taught you?” and he answered:

That the whole “following your dreams” thing may be a cliche but it’s also an excellent way to live a life.

So how many people who read this here blog are following their dreams? Even in a small way? Man, some of you must have some fucked up dreams.

MJ picks this up and adds on to it:

What are the three most important things in your life?
Are you doing something for them right now?
If not, why not?

An bhfuil cead agam – Speeding fine dropped over Gaeilge

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

RTE news report on the guy that got away with a speeding ticket because the authorities could not deal with the ticket as Gaeilge. This additional bit is kind of shocking:

His solicitor also sought a translation of the road traffic acts and the District Court rules in Irish and discovered these were unavailable.

Christ lads! Cop on.

Labour and their great Interweb plan

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

Labour Party Ireland

On April 1st, 2006 at 1400 in Room Q119 in the Helix on the DCU campus in Glasnevin, Tom Duke of Technofutures told wide-eyed Labour groupies about how the Internet is going to be BIG for campaigning. This was no joke, this wasn’t a prank. This was the Internet. Serious business.

According to the Indo Tom told the crowd about the benefits of the world wide net:

The number of voters with internet access and changing population and housing patterns makes the internet a crucial campaign tool, he believes.

“As you’re getting closer to the election, the number of hits on the websites does increase as people go looking for the specific information they are seeking,” he said.

Fantastic. Did anyone else notice this phenomenon where, if something is in the news, people will look it up (also known as Googling to the technonerdwebheads) more than they normally do?

Tom Duke who hasn’t a blog or a findable one at least, said webdiaryNetblogging is also going to be BIG:

“We’re not at the same stage as the US just yet. The whole blog [internet diaries] thing is a big social phenomenon. The US does show what it will be like and blogs will become more important here,” he said.

Of course I’m being facetious because I’ve been working on a top secret Internet plan for the upcoming Irish Election myself. (Hi Cian!) All I need is a blog, motivation and a copy of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised and I too can create an Internet plan. Er no, not quite. In reality I have been monitoring the way the various parties work online and work with their koolaid drinkers online. It’s dire to say the least. Labour doesn’t have anything close to a good, workable website though Fine Gael in fairness beats them to having one that’s a total piece of shit. Most parties don’t get the net at all and it is reflected in their policies on communications and technology. I have yet to see any party with a policy on blogging and interacting online. How many TDs post to discussion forums? Liz McManus has a blog and fair play to her but why is she the blogging maverick of Labour? Shouldn’t it be the norm by now?

Some tips for Labour and the other parties:
RSS. Where are the feeds on ALL your websites?
Make sure all the websites are accessible. This means the W3 test and the Bobby test.
Where are the leaders blogs?
Where are the aggregators for all the Labour TDs?
Discussion forums?

There’s 5 free tips that will improve your rankings and transparency online. For tips on how to win new supporters and get more votes you can pay me to tell you.

Tonight is my stag night. Tomorrow myself and study will marry.

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

Upcoming exams. Hurtling towards me. Time to study Constitutional law, Contract law and introduction to the legal system. No, I won’t stop blogging but I will remove myself from the computer and from my batcave in the evenings to sit and sneer at arts students in the library.

An April’s Fool as a springboard

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

Whether an April fool or not, the El Paso incident has provoked some healthy discussion. Adam Maguire stated:

In the first negative development for blogging in Ireland, news is coming out that the El Paso Times is facing legal action for unsavory comments

I’d be of the complete opposite view. I think what happened (if it did happen) is a very good thing for Irish blogging. It isn’t negative at all just like Elton John being libeled was not a negative thing for tabloids. It might be a negative thing for bullies but not for bloggers and not for blogging.

To push for more freedoms and abilities online we need to know what our boundaries are. The (hypothetical) El Paso incident shows some of the boundaries and I think many could agree with Suzy that if you act like a dickhead then be prepared to be tackled about it. Bernard unfortunately discovered how restrictive the boundaries are even when he and many others felt he was in the right. We can work on pushing these boundaries so non-dickheads like Bernard can be afforded greater protection if groups with more money than morals want to prevent transparency.

I think it is good that bloggers can be taken to task for what they say on their blog and I also think that if we want more people to give official recognition to blogging (Christ I sound like a SFer) then like the Digital Rights Ireland libel document created for bloggers and web publishers, then perhaps us bloggers should also have a document created for those that have been hurt and damaged by comments on blogs. A guide on how to have defaming remarks removed from blogs and websites. Why should we hide this information from the general population?

I’m happy to be answerable. I think we’re not quite there yet for a blogging version of a press council or even some voluntary code or a union but I do feel that with bloggers able to take criticism and take complaints then something like this should be made available. We blog about transparency every day, we should help those that feel wronged. Or am I gone all Stockholm syndrome.

Meanwhile… That El Paso reply today reminds me of a joke about comedic timing which I can’t remember now but it goes something like:

A”Knock knock”
B”Who’s there?”
A”The most important thing about telling a joke”
B”The most important thing ab…”
A “Timing.”
B “..out telling a joke who?”

El Paso claiming it is an April Fools

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

El Paso are claiming they caught out the Sunday Times. Trouble is the Times were writing the story before that notice went up. Was the legal letter a prank too? I don’t think so. Were the nasty remarks against someone that was fictional? I don’t think so. Were the comments from the Gardai fictional? I don’t think so. So is El Paso going to continue going even after legal threats? The soap opera continues.

Sunday Times on shut down of El Paso Times

Sunday, April 2nd, 2006

El Paso Times shuts its doors after legal threats.

Last week El Paso Times announced it was being forced to shut down its operations after being served with “very serious legal documents�. It followed a series of vicious attacks on Cathy Maguire, a local singer-songwriter

Ireland’s Education disaster

Saturday, April 1st, 2006

This is a long rant, you have been warned.

I had a very long chat with Seaghan Moriarty of Digilogue on Friday about technology in Schools or rather the complete lack of it. I was coming at this issue with my IrelandOffline hat on and the fact that 60% of schools are getting “broadband” using a satellite dish. The connection is a 512k connection when the minimum dsl connection these days is 1mb. Broadband for boats, for schools. Imagine whole schools are powered with a connection many of us started our broadband lives with. The conversation quickly turned to deeper matters like the fact there are probably more Tesco freebie computers than Government sponsored computers in classrooms and the fact many of the computers are those old Gateway 2000 computers and still run Windows 95. What’s worse again is that most teachers are not skilled in ICT and so don’t know how to look after the computers in the schools. There is no tech support for schools either so each school must fend for themselves.

The bigger issue again though is that there is no proper curriculum for technology in the classroom. Seaghan said education seems to be one of the few areas where nothing has changed in 200 years. Take someone from the 1800s and put them in a class room of today and would they notice they have traveled 200 years into the future? Blackboard, teacher droning on, kids sitting, reading books and looking bored. The same would rarely hold for any other part of our culture. No other industry apart from maybe knitting jumpers has changed. What does this say about education in this country?

People might say that we’ve done very well with the traditional model of education. This is true, we have done, but technology now makes it possible to stimulate the brains in more ways and has been shown the more stimulated a brain, the better chance of educating someone. I find it hard in this day and age that lessons in the classroom are not enriched with video examples or web examples and that kids still need to lug books into school. It’s upsetting that the question part of education is not exercised and I mean the kids questioning, not the teachers trying to catch out the kids. We learn most when exercising our curiosity. Teachers should be finding ways of getting their students passionate and interested in various areas. They should be giving them the basics and then let the kids branch off and discover their own information. Teachers and students should have a pilot and co-pilot relationship. Pilots teaching their co-pilots the basic and once to a specific point in the journey they have the co-pilot take control and choose their destination. From then on in the teacher just gives guidance but the co-pilot has the control.

One of the key skills in the future is not going to be retaining information, but how to find information, how to filter it to be relevant and then how to combine it with existing knowledge and present it. Where’s that being taught in schools? It’s an extra curricular activity which to me is just madness. Why the concern though about a better form of education? Because there are dozens upon dozens of countries who have already seen the future and have made the necessary changes to be a strong force in the future global economies. These countries are going to be producing super-educated kids.

We are losing out in agriculture and manufacturing already and those other companies we are currently attracting will have no issue moving on to another country if they are cheaper and they offer a more skilled workforce. It is only a matter of time before this happens. The free third level education has allowed us to attract more international companies to this country as our workforce is currently valuable to them but these skilled graduates need more and more skills to keep the inward flow going. If primary and secondary schools are not future-proofing the kids then there will be even more pressure on third-level institutes to provide these skills. However these colleges will be trying to cram these skills into a 3-4 year period when graduates in other countries will have 10-15 years experience with these. We’re going to lose.

It seems madness in a way that the group I’m in (IrelandOffline) can make a national issue out of broadband and that we can get so much coverage on radio, TV, and print and yet something that’s massively more important does not get weekly attention. Broadband is important, don’t get me wrong and is crucial to the knowledge economy pipedream but education is ten times more important.

It’s annoying for me that until the chat with Seaghan and additional research I was not aware of the extent of this problem. I don’t think my head was in the sand either. The Government has failed us, as have the opposition for failing to make a huge issue out of this. Others have failed too including teachers and parents and those who have noticed the issue and failed to kick and scream. This isn’t about blame though, it’s about action.

So what would I do? I’d set up a group and have cross-section of all the stakeholders in it. It should be an umbrella group comprised of other groups such as teacher organisations, chambers of commerce type groups, student groups, academic groups, other organisations such as IrelandOffline. They should meet and agree on what needs to be done. Maybe create a plan and then share and pool resources to make this a greater issue. example: IrelandOffline campaigns for broadband but we could easily push how important it is for education. We could help write a document on why broadband for schools is currently failing and what is actually needed. A lot of these organisations need people to point to the clothing that the emperor wears.

I’d field candiates in the election in every single area where the Government are weak and where a change of power could happen. I’d do the same for all the shaky seats by the opposition parties. This is a cross party issue and every party needs to take notice. This should not be an empty threat. Do it and become the king makers. Areas that contain colleges could make a significant impact. Cork South Central where John Dennehy won by less than 20 votes is the perfect example.

Some might say I’m probably not seeing the “big picture” and there are other areas like social welfare and health to be considered too. Go create groups for them too. Education would get me going more than anything else, not that I haven’t opinions on those areas. I’d very much welcome other opinions on education and what is working and what is not and suggestions on how change can be brought about.