Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Facebook stats for Ireland – 131,660 Ireland based people on it now?

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Using the live details from the advanced flyer option in Facebook, you can see some stats and facts on people on Facebook.

Update: This makes Techmeme already?
Facebook stats on Techmeme

From location Ireland we get the below stats. Remember too that these are stats on what people have offered, thus 131k people but only 89k or so have said whether they are male or female. You don’t have to specify a lot of the below or in the case of age, don’t have to be honest.

37,440 Men
51,900 Women

117,880 people between 18 and 35 years old
55,020 people between 18 and 25 years old
71,980 people between 25 and 35 years old
7,340 people between 18 and 19 years old in Ireland

About 1,160 people in Ireland who work at Microsoft
About 320 people in Ireland who work at Google
About 120 people in Ireland who work at IBM
About 140 people in Ireland who work at Accenture
About 80 people in Ireland who work at eBay
Fewer than 20 people in Ireland who work at Oracle
Fewer than 20 people in Ireland who work at SAP
Fewer than 20 people in Ireland who work at Oireachtas
Fewer than 20 people in Ireland who work at Vodafone
Fewer than 20 people in Ireland who work at Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister)

[ I don’t think numbers go below 20, still interesting that people from Taoiseach’s put it down on their profile ]

About 8,340 people in Ireland who are in college
About 400 people in Ireland who are at University College Cork
About 2,160 people in Ireland who are at Trinity College Dublin
about 1,300 people in Ireland who are at UCD Ireland
About 640 people in Ireland who are at NUI Galway
About 180 people in Ireland who are at DIT Ireland

About 30,880 people who are single in Ireland
About 11,320 people who are married in Ireland

Fun Combinations:
About 1,840 liberal men older than 25 who are single in Ireland

Now go find your own stats too.

Update: UK Statistics.

Update: Irish Times coverage.
Irish Examiner coverage.

How the Green Party and Eamon Ryan are doing more damage to broadband than FF ever did

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Eamon Ryan – Hatchetman for Fianna Fail
Eamon Ryan – Thief of future of rural broadband
Eamon Ryan – Doing more damage than Fianna Fáil ever did
Eamon Ryan – Making people appreciate Noel Dempsey as a Minister
Eamon Ryan – Bad for your broadband health

Pick any of those headlines, they all apply.

It’s bad enough that a once respectable politican joined a Government with the devil and took the Fianna Fail boilerplate for broadband excuses and perverted them to new lows and along the way had an Irish Times journalist join in further damaging Ireland by making misleading claims to the public about broadband but recent actions from Eamon Ryan have shown that he has done more damage to broadband in Ireland than any Minister before him.

Eamon Ryan has now killed the weak future that broadband in rural areas once had. He’s done this by dishonestly pushing the National Broadband tender further and further into the future while also this week removing the little funding that broadband rollout had and also quoted OECD figures which were NOT OECD figures to make him look good. Not only has Eamon done a hatchet job on broadband funding, he has knived the back of the rural population in Ireland with his actions. If Eamon was Minister in absentia, he’d be doing less damage. It’s terrifying to think it but the old Fianna Fáil and PD Government were better for broadband than the new greener Government.

People said give the Greens a chance, give them time, wait another while. It’s obvious now to me that we’re witnessing Stockholm syndrome from the Greens. Come next election I’ll do as much as I can to ensure that locally here in Cork anyone but Dan Boyle will get my vote and the vote of as many other people in Cork South Central as I can. This is not merely selling out, this is the murdering of a broadband scheme just for power.

Wants – Who would you like to see talk in Ireland?

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

So far, no conference has beaten Reboot for the amount of inspiring people I listened to and met. For a fantasy conference, who would you have give a talk? Doesn’t have to be tech people.

My wants:
For me I’ve love to see Ewan McIntosh being brought over and giving a talk to the people in charge of the education system in Ireland. Ewan has some great ideas for using technology to engage the bored kids in schools.

Tara Hunt. Citizen Agency and so much more.

Steven Johnson. He wrote Emergence. He’s a genius and he’s also behind

I finally met JP Rangaswami in person last week and he’s more magnetic when you meet him. Very engaging and very charming. Would love to see him talk to an Irish crowd. Might ask BT Ireland to invite him over. 🙂

I’d love to see Shel Israel back in these parts but not as such to give a talk but to have a conversation about, well him really. Mr. Naked Conversations has some great stories to tell.

Walter Murch.

Russell Davies. No T. The guy that amongst other things runs the Interesting conference.


Fred Wilson. I never thought I’d be reading the blog of a venture capitalist and actually be excited about seeing new content arrive in my feedreader every day. If he came over I’d actually like to see him talk about music more than the business he’s in.

Who’s your want list?

Update: Funnily enough I’m subbed to everyone bar Murch and Kos.

Rigging the Irish Election Part 5 – Election day

Friday, October 19th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 5 – Election day – Traffic Module

Election Day

Before election day, each cell member will create a list of people in their constituency that they know. This includes those they are meant to be influencing as well as any more they think they should be calling. On election day the Traffic module, using the same idea as the Voice Module in part 3, will call each cell member and ask them do they want to connect to X, Y,Z and chat to them about voting, it will base the calling list on exit polls at the various polling stations. Before you connect it will tell you where their polling station is and any other information too. It will also highlight one or two facts that can be used to sway them. The automated system will also have an option to “Ring me back later” and “I’ve done enough, please see can someone else phone the rest”.

The same system will also ring during the day and will call out a text message it wants to send out to all your “friends” on behalf of you. It will ask you do you want this sent out. You press a button to say yes or no. Alternatively you can write a text and text it to a special number hooked into the Traffic Module. You will then be called by the Traffic Module do you want to send it to all your friends, once confirmed, it will be sent out to everyone.

Later in the day, the system will switch and start targeting anyone in any area, again depending on exit polls. A much larger database will be used for this and it will be crosschecked with the databases of contacts from every cell member and any number there not called will be be put on a “do call” list. Cell members and volunteers will be called at home and connected to these numbers, again with some profile data given out before the call is connected. After the call ends, a callback will ask if the person appeared to interested in voting or whether they had or not, depending on the election it will ask whether that person requires to be collected and brought to the polling station. Again, all automated.

This is Part 5 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

That’s it for now. Maybe I’ll come back to this topic at another time with more cynicism.

Rigging the Irish Election (All five parts). (PDF doc)

Rigging the Irish Election Part 4 – Embargo day

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 4 – Embargo day

Media Embargo

The day before an election sees a ban on election reporting and advertising in the media. This does not apply to the online world and in reality can never do so since you might be able to embargo Irish websites but not websites outside of the country. The Embargo module will be used to leak a sensational story about a competitor which can be perpetuated online but cannot be covered in print or on radio and TV. Every gaff and inconsitency from a candidate should be lined up and ready to go. One page fact sheets on the parties should will be sent out to all cell members and sympathetic bloggers which contain information on “flip flopping” and scary facts on parties. The Embargo module can suggest create draft blog posts to cell members with blogs and can be lined up from 10pm before the embargo. The module will also send automated emails and text messages out to people with details on controversial stories with the return address of the cell members. With a traditional media blackout, it means that there is no ability for a candidate to counter these claims until the morning of an election.

Advertising should be ramped up on Embargo day too since people will probably be going online that day for election information. Ads connected directly to the candidate can be released as well as ads not connected to the candidate at all. This is for ads linked to search results. However Google and the other online ad companies list which sites are part of their advertising networks and so you can line up 24hour only campaigns to start on embargo day with ads tailored to youth sites, health sites, babycare sites and so forth. These ads would concentrate on issues which will influence these audiences. Politics sites themselves should be avoided for advertising as they are full of politics junkies and their self-indulgent fantasies.

This is Part 4 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election Part 3 – Manipulate the media and blogs – True Voice

astroturfing via SMS

The E.A.B. system’s True Voice module makes it much easier to manipulate call-in shows, letters to editors and blog comments. True Voice is of course connected to the Tracker system and the Reach system. The True Voice module itself is split into various submodules which allow the easy manipulation of opinions. First it has a detailed database of the contact points for every media outlet both email, post and text number and can send opinions to all of these outlets automatically.

The True Voice application can randomly generate hundreds of opinions ranging from semi-neutral to very pro-candidate and pro-party. An easy drop down list allows you to generate opinions on specific topics but an AI like engine can also take a human typed opinion and from it create dozens of opinions along the same lines but rewritten to be practically unique. It can do this for text messages, for emails and for letters to the editor which are printed out and posted. The module generates fake names and locations but it also relies on real email addresses so that if a media outlet replies, they will not be told the email account does not existing. The True Voice system will rely on gmail, yahoo, Hotmail, and addresses. It is intelligent enough to not use the same email address when sending opinions to news outlets again and again. Meaning the Last Word won’t see John from Sligo emailing in every second day.

The SMS module:
It is scarily easy to fake text messages from anyone. The SMS protocol is as insecure as the email system. As a result True Voice randomly generates mobile numbers which look valid and send messages from these numbers to the various call-in shows on Irish radio and TV. For some shows that send an auto-reply, a bank of numbers of real numbers are instead used. These numbers are taken from sim cards purchased from all 3 mobile phone companies from dozens of outlets around the country.

The Email module:
Like the SMS module, this takes the autogenerated opinions and sends them into the call-in shows as opinion. In addition this sends letters to the editor of all the print publications.

The Voice module:
Using new phone technology, this system will ring volunteers through an automated system, will explain what the show is about and what opinions are needed and then will give the option of connecting to the show or declining the invite to give an opinion. “Press 1 to connect to Right Hook or press 2 to decline”.

The Web module:
Something like the text module but instead for leaving blog comments and also comments on discussion forums. The Tracker module will alert the system as to what blogs and discussion forums are currently discussing your candidate. Since those wiley bloggers are a clever lot, the web modules will have a list of IPs/proxies that can be used so as not to bring suspicion to the automated system. The web module will have a database of discussion sites available as well as up to half a dozen usernames which can be used on that each site. While opinions are autogenerated, it will still need a human to press the publish button here to ensure that what is being posted appears to be natural and is being posted in the most appropriate area.

This is Part 3 of the Rigging the Irish Election series. You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

Facebook will kill your kids – Ah no it’s just another bullshit survey from Sophos

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

Panic panic panic. First, think of the children. Then think of the implications of them sharing stuff. Oh my god, there are evil people on the web, evil people who don’t exist in the real life, despite the fact that most kids that are abused are directly related to their abusers.

In most cases, Freddi was able to gain access to respondents’ photos of family and friends, information about their likes and dislikes, hobbies, employer details and other personal facts.

Like stuff you see on a blog or normal website so then? Employer details, like LinkedIN so?

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, has this to say about the experiment: “What’s worrying is how easy it was for Freddi to go about his business. He now has enough information to create phishing emails or malware specifically targeted at individual users or businesses, to guess users’ passwords, impersonate them or even stalk them.

“While accepting friend requests is unlikely to result directly in theft, it is an enabler, giving cyber-criminals many of the building blocks they need to spoof identities, to gain access to online user accounts, or potentially, to infiltrate their employers’ computer networks.”

But am sure they have a security solution they can sell us for all of this. The real danger though is this story in the Indo where civil servants are prying into our data and passing it on to the highest bidder.

The Irish Independent can reveal the brother used the key information, which is held by the Government, to burgle one man and attempt to extort money from three businessmen. The mole worked in the Data Protection Section of the Department of Family and Social Affairs and broke the Official Secrets Act by passing on the details. He later admitted to officials that it is common practice amongst civil servants to check up on the financial status of friends, family and acquaintances.

This is the same department that did this:

Two years ago the Sunday Times revealed that at least 72 civil servants accessed the social welfare details of Dolores McNamara, the EuroMillions lottery winner. The department’s system logged over 125 hits on McNamara’s files after she scooped a €115m jackpot. Her social welfare details were subsequently published by a newspaper.

Why isn’t Sophos warning us about that? Afraid of pissing off those with the purse strings?

Rigging the Irish Election Part 2 – Profile your candidates and the opposition

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election – Profile your candidates and the opposition – Tracker

tracking candidates

Software solutions exist which allow you to monitor the web for people. Sites like track TDs and candidates and monitor the web for what is being said about them. The engine behind PoliticsInIreland can be used as a white label Web monitor for existing TDs as well as candidates. The Tracker Module of E.A.B. does something along the same lines as PoliticsInIreland but also has a manual input for non-Internet tracking which still comprises the majority of coverage, especially in local papers and local radio. The Tracker system builds a profile of a candidate which includes a timeline. Auto and manual tagging also allows you to read their views on all the policies of a party and issues the public care about. Some manual intervention is needed to point out the inconsistencies from a candidate and how their views change over time.

Radio and TV: The Tracker system records all news current affairs radio programmes on national and local radio. It does the same for news and current affairs TV shows. These are all kept for 3 months before being archived out of the system. All of these shows can be tagged manually and the timelines also can have notes attached to them. If they are tagged, they are kept in the main system and linked to the party and candidate profiles.

Papers and pamphlets: Local papers, freesheets and even pamphlets will not be in electronic form. Here volunteers will either scan in articles from or by candidates as well as their pamphlets or else they can post them off to someone else with a scanner. When scanned in using a local version of E.A.B. Tracker, the images are uploaded to a central E.A.B. server which runs character recognition software and creates an electronic text version of the articles. Again, all of these can be auto and manually tagged and are linked to the profiles.

The Tracker module and the profiles it creates is linked to the Reach module and so it will automatically send updates on candidates to each cell member. When policy inconsistencies and gaffs are spotted a special alert is sent out. The Tracker database can also be used to supply sympathetic media outlets and bloggers with “attack” information on opposition candidates.

Part 1 of the Rigging the Irish Election series is here.

By the time you read this …

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I’ll be in a meeting with some nice people from the EU in ComReg Headquarters. I’ll be sharing it with the NON-Independent ComReg Consumer Panel, who, going by past experience will be telling the EU how great Ireland is for broadband and prices because ComReg told them that. ComReg also gave them 1500 euros each when they were told how great telecoms in Ireland is. As they do for every Consumer Panel half-day meeting.

  • At the meeting I’ll be explaining how fucked over customers of 3 Broadband have been and how ComReg, the National Consumer Authority or whatever they’re called and others blindly ignored all the issues and how ComReg are now telling people that they don’t regulate broadband.
  • I’ll be pointing out how ComReg since 2001 (when they were the ODTR) required all telcos to have complaints procedures in place for all of their services and how all providers were meant to supply ComReg with these procedures but have they? No. Do Comreg inform consumers how they can lodge a complaint and what the procedure is? No.
  • I’ll be pointing out how the ComReg spectrum people in there are complete muppets and their rules on frequency, such as the ComReg donut rule make sure small wireless ISPs are unable to give broadband to people because of stupidity of the highest order.
  • I’ll be pointing out that the Government are still lying about broadband, even with an “honest guv” Green Party Minister in charge, I’ll be pointing out how his Department is bankrupt and I’ll be pointing out how their solution (national broadband tender) to the last 25%, which they say is 10% is a total farce.
  • I’ll also be point out what a limp, flaccid Data Protection Commissioner we have who allows the likes of Carphone Warehouse to get away with harassing 1000s of people and even those with ex-directory numbers. Yes folks, they repeatedly called ex-dir people and still called when told not to. The Commissioner said “ah sure it was their first offense.” My own extended family were getting 3-4 calls a day from these fuckers but sure they didn’t know any better says the DPC.

WTF: Mickey Martin looks like chump as Irish Taxpayer money given to UK companies?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

A seriously What The Fuck moment. So after all the hype from Enterprise Ireland and the Govt and so so many more folks, that investment fund of 175 Million that EI had to dole out to the large VC companies is now being spent on investing in UK companies? Delta got 15 Million of essentially OUR money and stuck it into their own fund and now part of that is being invested in a UK company from what I read from the link above.

I’m sorry but that’s utter bollox. While I don’t like the EI fund anyway for a few conflicting reasons:

1. I’m truely wondering is the handout mentality a good thing for Irish Companies.
2. I really think giving massive sums to VC funds means the money is just another pension fund for the Govt and given the ultra conservative criteria from EI it encourages the VC funds to only invest in sure things. Sure things are not YouTube or Facebook. In my view the 100M should instead be split into tiny pieces and invested for equity in small startups.

I don’t think any Irish money should be invested in anything but Irish companies.

Some quotes:

Making the announcement the Minister said:

“I am delighted to announce the creation of the new €100m Delta Partners fund. This fund will significantly increase the availability of early stage capital for Irish companies. I would like to congratulate Delta Partners on their success in attracting such significant investment in bringing this fund to first closing.”

Ian Paisley, who Micky Martin does a great impression of by the way, will not be happy with the Govt now saying UK companies are actually Irish.

Enterprise Ireland invested €15 million in Delta’s fund as part of the state agency’s new €175 million seed and venture capital scheme.

It has agreed funding deals with a number of venture capital companies, which are expected to announce details of new funds in the coming weeks. The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) is also understood to have invested €15 million in the Delta fund.

The bloody pensions fund us investing it them too, arghhh. In the States they do some clever social justice stuff using pension funds. They will only invest in companies that respect privacy properly, will only invest in companies that promote full equality etc. etc. With the clout of the EI money and the pension fund money, surely it should be invested in Ireland or is this a sign that EI and the Govt believe that Irish companies are just not worth investing in?