Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

An Irish Bloggersphere Bittorrent Tracker?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

As I’ve said before the new Video iPod will change it all. Like it did for Podcasting Apple and iTunes will be a massive provider of homemade content. TV as we know it wil cease to be. It’s already started with episodes of Lost available from iTunes at $2 a pop.

With broadband being so pervasive in all but the most backward of countries people will find it easier and easier to put up content on their website and have their friends (from around the world or even friends from just around the corner) download the podcasts or videocasts or whatever they created. If they are a popular blogger or the favourite child in a 1000 strong clan, the 50mb homemade rockgod video they created will soon start to eat up bandwidth on their server and their hosting company could get pissed.

Taking the service Prodigem have where they scan your RSS feed for enclosures and if they find anything create a torrent for it and applying it to the Irish Blog aggregation services, you could have a distributed media library for Irish culture. Homemade videos, live (legal) recordings of concerts, interviews with Irish emigrants, hell you could even have clips from RTE News if given permission.

I wonder could this get an Arts Council grant? To prevent abuse or copyrighted material going on to it, perhaps the content would also need to have a tag accompanying it, otherwise all the fun videos TCaL put on their site would also be distributed.

It would be good though to have a central distribution point of Irish podcasts and videocasts and whatever else is in store for citizen made and distributed media and use Bittorrent to save on server load.

Pimp my blog, kindly sponsored by

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

So you may have noticed that my blog has all been pimped and now has comments and everything. Am also on a new server. This is all thanks to Michele Neylon who bless him worked his ass off all last evening to get the shittiest Movable Type install to move over to WordPress. It wasn’t easy. Now if he asked me to mention the new Blacknight Blogger Offer I would have told him to get knotted (after he did all the work) but he didn’t. He didn’t ask for anything in return. So, anyway, I’d just like to say thanks and if you need hosting with a pre-installed WordPress option then talk to Michele.

A bloggosphere funded start-up?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

Kevin Burton needs cash for his Tailrank idea. Instead of getting in a VC he is selling “Golden Tickets” to access the Tailrank beta in order to buy servers.

So screw the VCs, let the community fund this start-up and let him keep his focus.

Tailrank in Kevin’s words is: “A tool for social discovery of cool news” or “A personalized recommendation engine for the Long Tail where you and your contacts control the ranking!”

I’ve added my 20 bucks to paypal. I’m not really concerned about getting a Beta account but more interested in whether this idea works or not and whether people send in the 20 bucks to get a Beta account or as a way of helping a developer get his idea working without having to get VCs involved.

It might be a worthy idea for the Irish Bloggersphere if all the various bloggers contributed either financially or resource-wise to some project that made our Irish Blogging Community better. As I mentioned before, one of the reasons that there will be an Irish Blog Awards is to further the community spirit we currently have and to keep it strong when the ‘sphere rapidly expands.

So, good luck with this idea Kevin!

New blog, now with comments

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

WordPress are GO! Comments are on.

But then the brain exploded right there in front of me…

Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Via Google Blogoscoped. Sorry, Gotta Go – a website of wav sounds to use when you are on the phone. Press the Knock on Door one or dozens of others to create an excuse for ending a phone convo.

Connectivity as a utility. I’d been thinking all along about broadband being classed as a utility. Interesting idea.

Google moving into classifieds. Woah. Bye bye yellow pages. Craigslist shows what the yellow pages should be all about anyway.

Microlending in African countries.

Sneaky ways of bringing in the Broadcast Flag.

Not able to see your fav TV show? Rent My DVR will sort it. Simply have someone record the show and send it to you. They charge of course.

Ideal for podcasters! How To Build a Telephone Recording Circuit from an Old Modem. One needs to solder and stuff. A job for Dave.

Esquire submits a document to Wikipedia to let the members edit it. Dozens of errors later, the collaborative work of the Wikipedians have corrected all the errors in the document. Wikipower once again. Esquire were impressed.

I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg

Friday, September 16th, 2005

Just watched My Own Private Idaho. Good movie with an odd ending. The kind I like. Inspired by Henry IV and Henry V apparently and I can see why. River Phoenix is brutally sweet and innocent and hurt in the movie. Keanu Reeves is Keanu Reeves. More wooden than a church pew. The movie ends on a song from the Pogues about the doomed life of a London rent boy. I’ve heard this song numerous times and never paid attention to the lyrics until now. I’m once again reminded of the absolute lyrical brilliance of Shane MacGowan. I think we haven’t appreciated his talent because he comes across as a stupid self-destructive paddy, something the noveau riche Irish don’t want to admit to as much anymore.

Lyrics to The Pogues – The Old Main Drag

When I first came to London I was only sixteen
With a fiver in my pocket and my ole dancing bag
I went down to the dilly to check out the scene
But I soon ended up upon the old main drag

There the he-males and the she-males paraded in style
And the old man with the money would flash you a smile
In the dark of an alley you’d work for a fiver
For a swift one off the wrist down on the old main drag

In the cold winter nights the old town it was chill
But there were boys in the cafes who’d give you cheap pills
If you didn’t have the money you’d cajole and you’d beg
There was always lots of tuinol on the old main drag

One evening as I was lying down by Leicester Square
I was picked up by the coppers and kicked in the balls
Between the metal doors at Vine Street I was beaten and mauled
And they ruined my good looks for the old main drag

In the tube station the old ones who were on the way out
Would dribble and vomit and grovel and shout
And the coppers would come along and push them about
And I wished I could escape from the old main drag

And now I’m lying here I’ve had too much booze
I’ve been shat on and spat on and raped and abused
I know that I am dying and I wish I could beg
For some money to take me from the old main drag

D&G Jeans – How low can you go? This low.

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005


Wednesday morning eyecandy. Not the type of jeans for Irish builders. – Citizen Journalism

Tuesday, August 16th, 2005

*Update* Comments are now open and working.

A few weeks back I registered and yesterday I already got my first snailmail spam about it from some crowd trying to sell me hosting. So, why did I register

Someone that I’ve read and listened to more than anyone else of late has been Jeff Jarvis. His thoughts on the New Newsroom are to me quite inspiring. Citizen Journalism seems to irk a few people and people worry about the mass amateurisation of publishing or the mass amateurisation of nearly everything.

Certainly the O’Reilly Family fear blogs and amateurisation of a market they rule with an iron fist. While the likes of Citizen Journalism or Participatory Journalism might add a lot more noise it will add a lot more voices too and maybe the new generation of editors will be the ones to pick and choose from all these voices and knit together a professional story.

We may as a total group be amateurs but humans have been professional communicators since the start. This is one reason why we evolved so well.

So then, enough of the build up.

What I want to be is somewhere which gathers stories from Irish people. Aggregates them, from the mundane to the explosive, from very local to national.

In order to do this, my current solution, which may radically change once I get feedback is a system of local contributors. Split into areas and split those areas into smaller areas and so on. So we have frontpage stories which are fed by contributions from the provinces, the provinces are fed from county sections, counties from localities etc. etc. It reminds me of the Powers of Ten idea in a way.

So we have the local kid talking about who vandalised the playground and taking pics and we have the local concerned citizen talking about some local planning controversy. At the same time in the greater area there may be some big yet local story, for example lots of Cork people pissed off over water charges and all discussing it.

Now comes the hard part. How do these very local stories filter into the area list, filter into the county list and into the frontpage news? Could it be done by having local “editors” vote those posts into a higher up level, or would it be done by page votes?

Could there be a “Mark as interesting” button at the top and bottom of the story that could be pressed to give the story a vote?

I would hope that would be the place to give anyone and everyone a voice. Everyone if they wanted to, would become a reporter. There are many issues though about libel and whether could get into shit for reproducing content that was damaging.

Another issue is whether would work like Planet of the Blogs and IrishBlogs and just aggregate content from blogs and categorize them using Tags as well as how users submitted their site. I would prefer this than a Slashdot style system where you post your story to the site.

So, am I a coder, can I do any of this? Nope. Not a clue of PHP, Ruby or anything else like that. I’ve discussed it with Mr. Breslin alright and I think it piqued his interest. Anyone else wish to comment on this? As usual, comments don’t work on this blog, so just link your thoughts from your own blog and I should pick it up.

Edit: I meant province not provence. D’oh.

Dick O’Brien talks about here.

Bernie says don’t forget to allow comments. Definitely comments would be there, forgot to include that above. I’m all for comments* and find that the comment sections in many other blogs inspire new blog entries on the original and reader sites. Comments are essential for a 2-way web.

* The irony of course is that comments here are busted. But to fix the comments means I have to set aside about 3 hours to work on this blog. I don’t have a block of that size for the next while.

Further Update:
The Dossing Times picks up on it too. Zepp (real name?) suggests that importing all blog posts from someone would be just as noisy and spammy as IrishBlogs and PlanetofTheBlogs. He rightly says that blogs are not news sources as such. I left a comment which I’ll reproduce here:

True, blogs are not news sources, but you can post news on your blog. Blogs are a communications medium. When you do have something newsworthy then possibly adding a tag like “newsroom” would alert to add that into the mix.

I wouldn’t have just sucking in any blog posts hoping news would be in them. It would definitely need filtering. Tags right now seem the best option. Maybe there’s a better one I haven’t thought of.

I like the idea of categories like IT and stuff too. Never had factored that in to the original idea.

Also, wouldn’t be a competitor to RTE news or the like. I’d like to see it as a place to maybe grow journalists and give a voice to the little guy in a way. I think allowing the kid down the road to talk about the vandalised playground is just as important as someone getting another story heard.

Hopefully too with people reporting so much online it will become an historical record of the most local of things.

Update August 22nd 2005: News/Media Forum Piaras made some worthy comments:

Would be very suss of something that just aggregates feeds because it’d end up as another Indymedia – some gems lost in a sea of waffle. I’d be worried about the lack of balance tbh.

The spamming thing is a worry alright. I can see that get sorted by having a flood control of a sort built in somewhere


James Corbett also commented on

The main reason I would advise Damien to implement in such a small pieces, loosely joined manner is because it would require very little work for any Irish blogger to contribute. Many of them already tag their blog posts and it would be simple to adapt to a group tagging consensus if necessary.

Yeah, tags and aggregating content look like the easiest way to go so far, but with possibly some kind of spam control put in place.


EFF Ireland – not gone away you know

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Updated Aug 4th 2005. (See additional comments below)

Not so long ago I called for the re-ignition of EFF Ireland and Bernie also talked about it too. Since then there’s been nothing from it as far as I can tell.

I wonder how many people see a need for it and how many would commit to supporting it? What would be needed? Would funding be needed, resources, how would it be structured, what would be its remit? Lots of questions, but not even these questions seem to be asked by others.

There was a lot of good discussion at OpenTech 2005 about setting up a UK EFF and Danny O’Brien weighs in more here about the need for one and what can be done with some money. He talks about pledging a fiver a month via direct debit but only if 1000 others do the same. Good idea that.

What can you do with a monthly budge of 5000UKP a month? … we did some back of the envelope calculations after the talk, and agreed we could do something: Probably two staffers and an office.

The biggest lesson for me with NTK was that your best way to influence the agenda, and generate support, is to generate stories, and point people to the right experts. Just having someone at the end of a phone, handing out quotes and press releases, and pro-actively calling journalists to make sure they know what’s going on, putting them in contact with all the other orgs in this area in the UK, is half the work.

The rest of the job is actual activism (one person can do a lot, if they don’t need to cram all their white paper writing, research, and lobbying between contract coding sessions, and finishing their university degree) and bootstrapping more funding.

Good wisdom there, some that I may be able to use for other projects. So, if the money was there, could EFF Ireland work?

Update August 4th 2005:

Graeme the Irish Liberal says he’d be up for it.
The Freestater (sorry I don’t know your name) is also of the opinion we badly need something like the EFF. I must say I’m quite impressed with that post. Very very well researched.

Further Update: I started an EFF Ireland discussion thread on

Dick O’Brien has added his thoughts too.

BTW, I tried to open up comments and it didn’t work for some reason. I’ll commit to upgrading the site over the weekend to get them working.

Customer Service In Ireland and Consumer Protection

Friday, July 29th, 2005

Jarvis cites Craig Newmark and his attitude to customer care. Craig owns Craigslist who Ebay have invested in, yet he sees his main job as customer support and has left another guy be CEO of the company. This is a wonderfully progressive attitude and communication with the end users who at the end of the day pay your wages is such a transparent way of doing business.

Customer care in Ireland is very very patchy and consumer protection is a joke. Right now we have the Consumers Association which makes its money from selling its magazine and really has no input into the telecommunications market. It rarely if ever replies to ComReg consultations, yet they were given a position on the ComReg “Consumer Panel”. They have no teeth and they are without even a bark when it comes to telecoms.

Next we have the ODCA which is more into helping the consumer on things like pub prices during the Galway races. They have powers to fine but again they lack the teeth.

For Telecoms consumer issues we have ComReg, who as far as I can tell has never fined or charged a telco after they fucked over a customer. They do investigate consumer issues after the consumer hs first exhausted every avenue of negotiation with the telco. ComReg are more geared for dealing with telcos than with consumers.

So, will there be any hope with the new Consumer Agency the Government is putting together? The fact that it appears to be populated by political appointees such as “beauty technicians” really makes me think that while the Agency will have teeth, they will become blunted from too many expensive lunches and formal dinner parties.

So, who’s left? Ah yes, IrelandOffline, but we’re not representing people with any kind of Telecoms issues. We are looking after the broadband and Internet access area only though. So, what’s needed? TelcoWatch – a consumer group covering the whole telco area or maybe Telcowatch could just be an umbrella where various consumer groups that represent various telco issues could gather together under. You could have a mobile consumer group, a landline consumer group, a VOIP consumer group etc.

Do you know what would help though? If more companies were willing to directly communicate with customers. Bill Murphy from BT Ireland made himself into a legend of sorts when he answered all emails that were sent to him by consumers and customers. Sometimes you could email Bill at midnight and he’d reply within 5 mionutes.

His boss, the BT CEO Ben Verwaayen is the same. He too is happy for his email address to be posted on various websites and said in a BBC World interview that he gets a few hundred emails a day from customers and answers as many as he can.

Know of any other Irish CEOs to do this, know of any of them talking to their customers via blogs?