Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Oct 2007 EU Report on broadband – Ireland still not near the EU average

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Report here.

But that won’t stop Evil Eamon Ryan telling more lies or ComReg or eircom or all the rest. Wait for the excuses. “Data is too old” “Data does not take into account 40,000 new mobile connections” “But but our growth rate”. “The Rural broadband tender will solve it all”

Data is from July 2007. Same time period as all the rest.
Mobile broadband so far has been a sham, it’s wireless dialup, not broadband.
Ah yes, growth rate. Here’s the headline girls: ” Proportionally growth was highest in Denmark (7.7 lines per 100 inhabitants), Luxembourg (7.1 per 100) and Ireland (6.7 per 100).”
We’re being outgrown on these rates by two countries already ahead of us and already with fantastic penetration rates.
The Rural Broadband Scheme/National Broadband tender is failure before it starts.

Also, look at the EU penetration rate:

Average penetration (number of subscribers per population) has grown from 14.9% to 18.2%

The EU penetration graph is like an accordion stood on its side. With the top part being stretched up, with less stretching in the middle and feck all at the bottom. The top performers (not us) are actually growing faster than us and away from us. It’s a shame the EU report does not show the growth rate for every country.

Some graphs:
EU broadband report

EU broadband report II

Rigging the Irish Election Part 1 – Create cells of organisers

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election in 5 easy steps

Irish Election pic

This is a cynical and satirical blog post series on how to skew opinion and create a movement which will get your candidate elected or get another candidate to lose an election. It will outline methods using existing technologies and techniques used by other political animals in other countries, which the technology backwards Ireland has so far failed to use. While a cynical look at mass manipulation of people and the media, it does outline the massive power of technology and how it can be used to abuse the political process if people are not award of how this abuse can be carried out.

Each part in this series relies on a software platform called E.A.B. which is a little like the SAP Customer Relationship Management enterprise application. The E.A.B. system is essential for each one of the five parts in the plan to rig the Irish Election.

1. Create cells of organisers – Reach

Irish politics has shown that there is a core set of voters in each party that will vote along party lines no matter what. There really isn’t much to do with these core people apart from making sure that they get out to vote when the time is right and also to help perpetuate propoganda when required. Die-hard supporters are far too rabid and transparent to be used for most of the steps to persaude voters to vote for your candidate and are best avoided. Those swing voters that got the Labour Government in to power, the swing voters that got Bill Clinton and George Bush are also the ones that need to be targeted. However in an environment where everyone is cynical about politics, trying to engage these people directly will more than likely be futile. Like bloggers influenced by their peers to go and buy technology, these people need to be influenced by people in their social groupings that they rely on (whether they realise it or not) when it comes to decision making.

The E.A.B. system’s Reach module allows the creation of cells of subtle volunteers, who in turn are in charge of influencing 50 people in their social grouping who would be classed as swing voters. These 50 people are all profiled and their constituency and social status are logged in the database. Also whether they are registered to vote. This is the important differentiation compared to the traditional systems. Previous to this it is all about working the streets and estates of a constituency trying to influence people with posters and flyers and knocks on the door. But by using the swing voter’s existing friends to influence their decisions, it is more powerful but at the same time much harder to track, unless of course you use modern technology. The Reach system can then track how many swing voters are being influenced.

When polling data is fed into E.A.B. it can identify areas of weakness for the party and the candidate and can alert the cell members to stealthly increase their campaigning. The Reach module automatically sends out data to all the cell members than can be used to influence their people. The data includes intelligent, independent style essays on health and the economy and other issues that concern the electorate as well as issues that the electorate should feel concerned about. Issues that the party and the candidate has the best solution for. All these essays would each match the plans of the party and the candidate. None of these essays would ever be linked to the party or the candidate. It is understood they would remain private but can be used as thought pieces in conversations and communications with swing voters. They can also be rehashed to be used in blog posts. As well as serious essays, the data sent would also include summaries of embarassing episodes on the opposition parties and local candidates, inconsistencies with previous statements from the opposition, spin to be used to combat negative publicity for the party and candidate they’re supporting and it will also include jokes, pictures and videos which make a mockery of the opposition and which can be passed on to friends.

(Image ripped off from

Views on Microsoft HealthVault and the future of “activity datastores”

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Microsoft Healthvault

I wrote an article for the Sunday Tribune this Sunday that talked about Microsoft HealthVault where I said that were I a consultant in the HSE, I’d be worried. If medical records go fully electronic and you can upload all your records to a single site and throw in all your medical bits and bobs like prescriptions and the like and then allow any doctor or health provider to access this data then … screw you HSE.

Portable Health Records? Bye bye waiting lists

Why bother waiting 12 bloody months and paying 6 or 7 or 900 euros to see an Irish consultant when you could consult with someone with the same or better expertise? So what if she happens to be in another country? If any consultant can access your medical records and test results, should geography matter? I know when I met with some consulants previously, they chatted with me and that’s it. No examinations or anything. Their underlings do any physical interaction if any is needed all. For me it was some blood tests and that was it. 400 quid and a prescription for tablets. Very much like House MD where the guy doesn’t actually interact with patients if he can.

House MD just like a real consultant

Consultants will always be needed of course but when the greedy bastards are looking for so much, it might be nice to see them behave and charge less if a lot of their industry can be farmed out to other places in the world. Farm it out if it is better for the patient. Outsourcing can work two ways of course and this would mean that the consultants we have could specialise further and if done right, we could become the world leaders in certain areas of medicine and people can teleconnect to Ireland to get access to the best consultants just as we can connect to Sweden to get access to the world leaders in some area.

Microsoft HealthVault looks like a good solution and even the privacy wonks seem to be ok about it. You control who can upload data to your vault and you control who can access the data. The big issues so far surrounding this free service for patients is that it looks like you’ll need to use Microsoft Apps to access or amend the data if you are a healthcare professional, not too much of a worry. Though being Microsoft, they won’t be using open protocols to do this and I’m doubtful there’ll be an API for third party developers which allows much innovation. The other biggy is that the data goes in, but you can’t exactly export it all out and move it to another service like the Google Health service (does not yet exist but any year now it might be released) and other services from IBM et al. Of course, if we had both a proactive Health Service and Data Commissioner we could enact a law that says all stored data has to be able to be moved easily to another storage provider or you won’t be allowed to be a provider.

Making “interest” from our Health Data

The analogy I used in the article was the ability to easily move from bank to bank. If we can move our money from a money bank, why not move our health data to a health bank? I’m sure HealthVault and the clones will add more features over time to negotiate discounts on tablets and meds for you and everything else that uses the service, naturally with Microsoft getting a cut too. And just like a bank, we should be able to make money from what we store in it. Microsoft will make money from the data from charging access (by charging for the applications that access it) and also from those discounts for what you get, as well as ads when you do medical searches via the site. Why should Microsoft or whoever make all the money? It’s our data they are profiting from, share the wealth guys.

I don’t have high hopes of the Dept. of Health or the DPC pushing for free movement of data but perhaps commercial necessity will force the storage providers to do this if one of them offers to export your data out of their store in a standard format.

It’s not just Health Data though

If we have control of our health data, we should also be allowed to have control of all our financial data and even our surfing data and we should be allowed to leverage this to make money from it. Google stores a lot of data on us via all their scattered services, imagine if we could demand all that data from them and then move all the usage and search stats to Microsoft Live or Ask or Yahoo! or export all our Facebook profile and usage data to Google? A marketers dream. I’m not a fan of marketers and the marketing industry but were I a marketer I’d be lobbying my ass off at for it to be a basic right that people can have access to their “activity” data and be allowed to move it from one place to another. Free trade, free speech, free movement of the person and their activity data. I think this is where Attention Trust comes in. They want to do something like that. Allow you to control all your “attention” though I like calling it activity. So maybe eventually we’ll get money as we surf. I’ve already suggested that service providers will get a kickback from Google for offering something like free broadband,but perhaps eventually those kickbacks will travel up the chain to consumers.

This is what I said previously:

Take the last few points above, I can forsee the possibility of a potential deal with mobile operators to provide a free web connection (not data) in exchange for a revenue share with Google. Google could even offer to connect direct to the mobile networks and look after all the external bandwidth costs.

If we control our data, we control who markets to us and we control prices in a way too.

The Google Phone (again) now with GrandCentral and Jaiku and what if Cubic Phones got into the mix?

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

News came out in the past few days that the Google Phone/GPhone was not afterall going to be a hardware device and that Google was working on something like a competitor to Windows Mobile. Told you so. 🙂 Anyways, with the Jaiku deal announced yesterday, I thought I’d re-examine the Google Mobile software suite that I think they’re developing and add in thoughts on recent acquisitions.

First GrandCentral. With the purchase of this company, it means Google can now offer a single number for your phone or even a different number per country so people can phone local numbers but connect to you no matter where you are on the planet. You are free to create rules for that number so at certain times of the day, only family can call and everyone else is diverted to your desk phone or to voicemail. Certain numbers you can just block forever. Blocked number rings in? Send them to the spammer voicemail. Client number ringing in? Send them to the business answering service. Will this be one of the features on the Google Mobile Operating System? It should be.

Now to Jaiku. Dave Winer said that Scoble rang him and said the Jaiku deal was not about Twitter but about Facebook. Bollox to both reasonings. The Jaiku purchase was not about Twitter or Facebook or the threat from either, Google is working on something else to combat Facebook. Jaiku, in my view will be integrated into this Google Mobile Operating System/Suite that I believe will be able to work on a whole slew of phones.

Jyri himself from Jaiku pointed out how Tim O’Reilly thinks that the mobile phone addressbook could itself be the killer app for Web 2.0. Jaiku already has software for Nokia phones that does this. You can see who on your addressbook is on Jaiku and you can see their status. This is what it looks like:

Jaiku address book

Now, imagine having a phone where all your contacts will also show a status (blank if they not using Google Mobile Services/GMail). Scenario: Ok, Jim is in a meeting right now, so I won’t bother calling. Fiona is also in the meeting but her status says she will reply to IMs, so you IM her from your phone. Change your own status to say you are in Denmark now, only important calls can be taken. Paul is on holidays so he says ring Jim. Julie is driving home, contact her after 5 instead. Gah. Notice how simple status messages are proving to be more and more important? This so reminds me of the inch speech in Any Given Sunday.

Jaiku is also perfect for saying where you are which can tie itself into the geotag information on Google maps. Tell Jaiku (or whatever it will be called with Google) where you are and it can tell you what are good places to eat nearby and it might even tell you if any business contacts are nearby.

Now for the Cubic phones. The key thing about them is that they have a sim card so sit on a normal mobile network but they also sit on a wifi network. Imagine the Google Mobile Operating system running on Cubic phones? Google is giving it away, so flash the Cubic phone to run it. You see your address book on your phone and a special icon next to those people who you can call totally for free and likewise they can see you are in a wifi zone so can call your from their PC or wireless device. Why do you need a €700 phone just for WiFi? The Cubic phone is cheap as chips, gives you WiFi and cheap roaming too and when on WiFi free calls to anyone on GTalk/GMail or on the Cubic service. Cubic already have deals with WiFi networks but imagine if Google, an investor in FON also said, “any phone with the Google Mobile OS can use FON for free calls and data”? And all without any lock-in with operators. I’m sure Google is hoping and praying that there’ll be lots more Cubic Telecoms in the not so distant future as they mess with the existing mobile cartels. I do too.

Google buys Jaiku, please let them make use of it

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Congrats to Jyri and the gang in Jaiku, the better microblogging service out there. Announced on his Jaiku, Jyri told the world that Google now owns Jaiku. Let’s hope they won’t fuck it up as much as they fucked up Dodgeball and all the rest. I don’t want a valuable service like that ruined but it will be interesting to see what they will do now when they have Google resources behind them. Another part of the Google social networking service? More details on their blog.

Using GMail to spam filter and virus clean your non Gmail email accounts without changing email application

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Using GMail to spam filter and virus clean your non Gmail email accounts (,, etc) without changing email application.

As well as being a very good online email application, GMail is fantastic for filtering spam and warning you about viruses in your email. You can avail of this service even if you have an or or account and still use Outlook or Eudora or whatever to check the mails. And all for free.

Google has allowed you to download GMail mails from your GMail account for years now and you can also forward emails from your own domain to your GMail address and use it to filter emails for spam as well as viruses. Handy out. Recently they’ve allowed Gmail users to access other email accounts and load them into your Gmail account and again filter the emails for all the crap they get these days. This is what I do for an account that I’ve used for years and which gets 100s of spams and viruses a day.

I’ve been telling people recently about how this is possible and after looking around for a guide online, I can’t find anything apart from the old ones that say “forward your address and then download to Outlook”. I told a good few people I’d write them instructions on how to do this, so here’s a quick guide:

I. Sign up for a GMail account.
II. Set up your or account so GMail downloads email from it.
III. Set up GMail to allow you to download mails from it.
IV. Set up Outlook or Thunderbird or Eudora to download mail from GMail

I. Sign up for a GMail account.

Go to and sign up. Remember the email address and the password.

II. Set up your or account so GMail downloads email from it.

  1. Click Settings from the top of any email page.
    GMail Settings
  2. In the Settings list, Click the Accounts tab.
    GMail Accounts 1
  3. In the Get mail from other accounts section, click Add another mail account.
    GMail Accounts 2
  4. Enter the full email address of the account you want GMail to access, then click Next Step.
  5. Gmail will populate the Username and POP Server fields, based on your email address. Enter your Password.
  6. The next screen will give you a few options. Choose what you want but I’d leave them all alone.
    GMail Accounts 3
  7. Click Add Account and that’s your or account being accessed by Gmail.

Now that GMail is checking your email and filtering it for spam and viruses, you will need to download that email from GMail.

III. Set up GMail to allow you to download mails from it.

This bit is easy enough.

  1. Click Settings from the top of any email page.
    GMail Settings
  2. Choose the Forwarding and POP tab.
    GMail Accounts 4
  3. Click the “Enable POP for all mail” option.
    GMail Accounts 5

Next up is changing the settings in your existing mail client to download mail from GMail and not from the existing account as that would be futile, now wouldn’t it?

IV. Set up Outlook or Thunderbird or Eudora to download mail from GMail

The gist of this is that you should change your username and password in your mail account to be the new one you created with GMail and change the server details in your client to the settings for GMail. Google has a very comprehensive guide for most mail clients and you should check the settings against that.

Basically under POP3 settings in your mail program you need to change the server to: and change the port number to 995 and specify that your server requires a secure connection (SSL).
For SMTP or outgoing mail you need to change your server to, change the port number to 465 and again specify that your server requires a secure connection (SSL).

Don’t forget to still use the existing email address for your reply to and from etc.

250,000 eircom modems can have their password guessed – How will eircom react?

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Update: 250k modems actually. Front page of Irish Times.

Some potential other headlines:
Ireland’s largest WiFi network now free to all
eircom security flaw affects 150k broadband users
Jimmy Hendrix loving programmer creates massive security hole
All along your bases – Hendrix Lyrics makes hacking easy

So news is out that you can guess the WEP key for the eircom modems that a lot of people have. Something like 100k-150k or maybe more. It seems the WEP key (which is like a long gibberishy password) is generated based on Jimmy Hendrix lyrics and the network ID of the modem itself. After the discovery and proof of concept, there’s now a website which allows you to plug in the the network ID of your neighbours and it’ll provide you with the WEP key. How helpful. (I won’t be linking to it)

So how will eircom react? Will they have the website, posts and blog posts about it taken down? Will they contact all their customers and tell them to change their default key? I’d hate to be working on their support lines once the mainstream press covers this, as I’m sure they will. Time will tell I suppose. – 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. 😉 Anyways, check out

Blogging for business – Nice quote

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

When I started blogging, it never occurred to me that later, for economic reasons, I wouldn’t be able to stop

from Hugh MacLeod

Auctomatic launches!

Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

Congrats to Patrick, John, Kul and Harj for the launch of Auctomatic. Let the selling begin!