Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Send anonymous hate messages powered by Fine Gael

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Fine Gael has a Valentine’s app on their site that allows you to send a message to anyone’s email from anyone’s email without any kind of verification. You can then put some text into it which again is not checked. So RTÉ’s Newsdesk sent me an email. More genius from the social media muppets in there. See how it can be done with this email I got:


Connections – James Burke and his technology detective stories

Saturday, September 4th, 2010

I remember watching James Burke‘s Connections series years ago and found it again on YouTube today. Many of the shows are there, split into 10 minute intervals. Connections brings you on a journey through time, back and forth, showing us how small discoveries were crucial to future inventions. Burke suggested the episodes were technology detective stories in the first episode and he certainly was right. Perhaps the modern equivalent of James Burke for me is Steven Johnson with books like Emergence, Ghost Map and Invention of Air. As usual, trying to get a copy of this British TV show is difficult from or Amazon UK, is a little easier from US websites and is so much easier from torrent sites. I’m sure he’d have some wry comment about that himself.

New eircom mobile network (eMobile) to launch in October?

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Because adding a question mark means when you’re proved wrong you can say it was just an inquiry, not solid fact.

Adrian Weckler covered the pending launch of the new eircom mobile phone network this autumn.

A little digging and we see that they are kitting out new stores all around the country. The planning permission on a store on Patrick’s Street/Opera Lane in Cork states it’s for eircom. A quick search on Recruit Ireland finds the job listings. The perks pretty much tell you it’s eircom. What’s interesting is that the jobs start at the end of the month and you’ll get three weeks training. That would mean that the new staff are ready to go at the end of September.

The TIF conference (big telco industry back slapathon) is early October too. It would be good to have that launched at or before it and soak up the buzz.

The name didn’t fit right with me, so I dug more. Corporates already work with Eircom Mobile. hasn’t been registered though. Lots of other ones are however.

Lots of playing on the CRO website for business names and we see that eMobile is a business name for eircom. is owned by eircom but has been for a long while it seems. And then there’s the emobileie account on Twitter. But eircomMobile exists too.

So I think we’re on track for an October launch and a possible name is eMobile. Or maybe e-Mobile. But it could also be Eircom Mobile. I’d prefer eMobile.

Blogging ideas – Matt Cutts suggests what is good content

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Matt Cutts from Google did a presentation in Paris a while back and during it made some suggestions about what can make good content for a blog, content that might get you some quality traffic:

  • Provide a useful service – Blog about legal issues for example
  • Do original analysis/reporting
  • Provide great information/tutorials
  • Blog from a creative niche
  • Write code and open source it
  • Live Blog
  • Make lists
  • Create controversy
  • Network via your blog
  • Start an event/conference

Here’s his 107min presentation:

Best trailer for a conference ever? Dotconf

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

The young lad Traynor’s accent is spot on there!

Newswalls and all that

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Some thoughts on The Times and their paywall as relayed to a journalist recently, though in a slightly expanded and modified form.

Isn’t it sad that it’s 2010 and only now are papers doing something in this always-on multimedia world to up their game? Now we are told we’ll get some quality content after all the years of decline in quality and readership. Something is needed to bring back quality, maybe it’ll be the idea of paywalls that will bring it back and then maybe a different model to retain quality will happen. This recent presentation from Hal Varian from Google actually shows newspaper revenues have been under attack since the 50s.

Google Newspaper media share

Google has never been a threat. Terrible content has been. Looking at the media these days, you can’t tell which news site you’re on as every story is the same. Far too many pieces are just copied and pasted from press releases, especially the breaking news sections of sites.

It’s been a race to the bottom for years with newspapers cutting back on journalists and editors, relying too much on using news feeds that all other papers use and taking less and less risks to break stories. No longer have newspapers been setting the news agenda but covering it with a slight timeshift.

Paywalls won’t work if you are hiding the bland content that is also on so many other websites out there. The internet has been designed to route around “damage” or blockages so if you are blocking your content that’s based on a press release, it will be available elsewhere.

Initial reports from the Times are that there are “value adds” behind the paywall. More images, more insight, access to journalists etc. This is value and it is unique and I think people will pay for that.

Instead of charging for this content, other alternatives would be to sell historic data, to give free access to the main site but analysis type reports which can be used to enrich a company would be sold. Imagine having the Irish Times create a report on the state of technology in Ireland and opinions from their most experienced journalists on what are areas to punt on? Charge a few hundred euros for the report. Same for all the other industries they cover and tie it in with pass historical records from their archives.

There’s also way more money to be made from advertising if they made it more targeted and more automated. Instead of charging for banner impressions which makes both sides lazy, they should be working with advertisers on a cost per conversion model. Get direct custom from a newspaper site, pay more.

There are also sorts of additional streams too like business conferences, sport events with their pundits and the sports stars they know. Bands make less from album sales and more from touring these days apparently, a working business model, why not the same for newspapers? Too much hard work. I watched a documentary about UK dockers and in particular the Liverpool ones who resisted the cargo boxes for years and the shipping world passed them by. The print model worked for a while but it’s very odd that it really has not changed in decades despite all the warning signs being there.

Update: Paul McAvinchey’s thoughts on paywalls.

Google outside your gaff, taking pics while logging your WiFi traffic

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

You’ve probably all heard about the crap Google got into in Germany when it was found out (after initial denials by Google) that they were doing more than taking pictures of cats in the windows of homes. They were also (and they never informed the public of this) scanning all WiFi networks, logging on if they could and taking snapshots of whatever traffic was passing through the network. So bits of emails, images from websites etc. were logged against your GPS coordinates and your WiFi network name.

In February I asked Google to remove where I live from their Streetview database as per instructions from the Data Protection Commissioner. Being a human and not someone that spends big money with Google, I was ignored. I’m sure if they made money from me I’d be listened to and get a free Nexus too. So now I need to ask the same for my Wifi networks? Great.

CeBIT 2010 - Google Streetview
Photo owned by Patrick H~ (cc)

The issues here are still being found out, for example in Germany the authorities investigating this serious privacy breach asked for the data that was collected but handing over the data breaches data privacy laws! But do they breach the Data Retention Directives? where countries including Ireland can demand an ISP store data on Internet usage. It’s great data for a Government to have. The location of every WiFi network in Ireland and the name of the network. What if someone was uploading an MP3 when being scanned? Could IRMA go after Google?

This is not like the screaming hysteria around Facebook where people sign up to Facebook and then give it data. This is Google coming into your neighbourhood and scanning your WiFi, aggregating it and other data around your location and then storing it in a database or databases. Where are these databases?

This whole story shows that even if this was an error in code it shows that now 30 countries are affected by it. Chinese hackers got into Google systems, imagine if they got this data or they themselves injected code in it. The arrogant grandstanding by Google, hiding behind their “do no evil” mantra, letting us know that they know better is not good enough in this situation. When technology like this, where a simple error can affect the privacy of potentially millions of people then maybe it’s up to the local data protection entities to examine the data gathering process to make sure it’s clean and safe.

IIA’s Digitise the Nation

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

The IIA are running a week-long event called Digitise the Nation. It takes place from the 16th to 21st May 2010. The idea is everyone chips in and does a little to get people using the web more effectively. Workshops, discounts, art using tech etc. etc. While an IIA initiative, I’m told they’ll highlight non-members too that run events for it.

Lots of ideas on the Digitise the Nation page. Here are some more that were sent on:

* In Dundalk, we have a member who is filming from the Museum and streaming to 5th and 6th class students as basis for history homework and projects.
* Kavaleer (award winning digital animation business based in Digitial Hub) showing primary school students how digital art is created… showing children how cartoons are made and inspiring the next generation of Brown Bag Productions and oscar winning “Avatar” creators
* Received a call from Barge Heritage group who are bringing barges to Dublin on the same week and want to learn how to run a podcast, live-streaming as they are upstream on the Liffey and canals
* Two girls with their own computer training business have successfully approached their local “Golden Oldies” community group and are showing them how to make skype calls and send emails

Contact the IIA if you want to suggest some ideas or run an event.

Irish Times iPhone app

Monday, April 12th, 2010

Via JC
Hopefully we’ll something more exciting for the iPad app. Better than viewing it via Safari on iPhone but not by much. €1.59 for the app. Cheap as chips. Offline storing of the stories too. Good!





Workshops on Design Thinking

Saturday, March 20th, 2010

(Disclaimer: I’ve done work for Innovator and IntertradeIreland in the past)

Innovator are doing a few workshops on “Demand Led Innovation” around the country in the next few weeks.
Some details here.

This practical two day workshop using design thinking principles will guide you on looking at your company and markets in new ways and show you exercises on how to transform your business, allowing you to generate new revenue models for existing and new markets.

250 euros for two days, two staff can go along. More details.

Now they’ll be using the Civil Security sector (Travel security) as the industry used to develop new business ideas but the principles work for all industries. I’ve chatted to them about this and already have come up with some ideas around training and communications. Think about all the ways you can make it easier to get through airport security and less stressful, from training security staff to be more efficient and polite, to making signs that take the guesswork out of things, to iPhone Apps and even Twitter apps to pre-prep those who’ll be flying out. There’s a pretty big market for that. A lot of the time too it just iterating an existing product for a new customer or maket type.

Hoping to get to this myself.

Creating Dharma Beer 03
Photo owned by MacWalsh (cc)