Archive for January, 2008

Carrigaline Educate Together School

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Looks like Carrigaline might be getting an Educate Together school. As far as I know these schools are non-denominational schools. The more the merrier. Claire Wilson is also invovled with one in Greytones. Pre-enrollment is this Saturday from 2-5pm.

Fluffy Links – Monday January 7th 2008

Monday, January 7th, 2008

Michael Nyman is stung via Facebook by an ex-lover.

The viral marketing for Cloverfield is brilliant.

Bill Gates last day spoof video.

Write on the backs of things.

David Lynch complained about movies on phones, this is his complaint being watched on my iPhone:

The iPhone by David Lynch

Monday, January 7th, 2008

In case you are one of the 7 that didn’t see this:

Update: My video reply

Property Owner? Empty properties? Why not let a startup move in for free?

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Update:This was meant to go out on Monday. I really need to get my dates right! Anyways, it’s out so might as well keep it out.

Well, in return for equity or delayed payments. So when we were in the Valley (and his readers go “Oh Christ, here we go again”) some of the advice we got was too be as frugal as possible and that in the Valley some lawyers and accountants would often provide their very important services to you in return for equity. Lots of gamblers over there too and I think everyone is good at spotting potential riches if they team with certain people.

With property tanking and lots of talk of it there might be a lot of empty property in 2008. Property owners and estate agents might have to work that extra bit harder to get buyers and tenants in. Maybe instead of the apple tart in the oven trick that they use in houses, they could have a few energetic companies in what otherwise might be an empty building. The buzz from these companies might encourage everyone else to move into that building. Maybe this will encourage more property developers to build co-working facilities and incubation centres? With everything else being equal of course, it will then come down to other marketing techniques.

Then there’s the idea that developers/owners might enjoy the highs and the gambles of the old property market and might ant to try their hand at investing. I mentioned it already in this post of predictions and you never know.

Get out and push

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Web2Ireland, PaddysValley, OpenCoffee, BarCamp Ireland, PodCamp, TechLudd, Ireland Inc., Startup Ireland, whatevernext? Too many yet not enough. All great ideas and all will make Ireland better. But…

Despite all the groups and all their aspirations it’s the same ding dong at the end of the day: There are a core number of people that shut up and do and far too many that talk and do no more and then bitch and whine when they don’t like what they are being spoonfed. Look at the overlap with all of these groups above. No, not with those that attend their events but those that do any kind of work organising them or even help out in a small way. The numbers are tiny. They barely increase year on year. I said the same about the same old faces at BarCamps. It’s time to get out and push.

I’ve put my time into the BarCamps and the PaddysValleys, broke my arse for Paddy’s Valley (at a time when I never realised it but I was seriously ill) and so now my lot is done. I’m retired until such a time as all the talkers start becoming doers. No I won’t join your group as it means me getting fed up with inaction and doing the heavy lifting, no I won’t spend hours on conference calls giving up my time for the benefit of others who don’t have time to organise their own stuff. Get out and push.

I think it’s time that people gave back without having to be asked. I’m also starting to think that those that do the work til now maybe have to start being more strict with their generosity because it seems the Joe Drumgooles, the Conor O’Neills, the Fergus Burns’, the Ken McGuires, the Keith Bohannas, the Paul Walshs, the Elly Parkers, the James Corbetts etc. are spoiling people here by always coming forward and are almost expected to do all the work. However I also think anyone that stands up and wants to do something either via an existing group or a new one should be encouraged and let them talk less and do something. So yeah, get out and push and maybe let the others rest for a while.

And how do you get out and push?
You can start in the morning by signing up to the next BarCamp to give a talk or to volunteer a worthwhile chunk of your time to the organisation of it. You can start your own BarCamp anywhere. You can do it without demoing your product or talking up your companies services. Maybe take the ShareIT idea I started and do one for your local area. Why not contact your local Enterprise Board and offer to give a free talk at one of their events? Why not actually use an OpenCoffee event (Which you can start locally) to give a quick tutorial on something. Or the list at the start of the post has groups that all need volunteers and people that do. Join one and get out and push. Don’t have the time, neither do any of the people I mentioned but they make time. Get out and push.

Salim Ismail and Paddy’s Valley

Friday, January 4th, 2008

Finally getting around to thank Salim Ismail for his help during Paddy’s Valley. There’s going the extra mile and there’s running a marathon. Salim showed us around Yahoo! Brickhouse on one of the days and they showed off upcoming projects some of which are still in stealth I believe. Then introduced Jerry Yang to the group. As you do. The next day we got a tour of the Yahoo! Sunnyvale campus and some of the lads gave a micro-pitch to one of the main acquisition guys for Yahoo! Beat that! Salim also turned up for some of the pitch evening on the Tuesday night and drove up to Palo Alto to hang out with us one evening. In a culture of being friendly and transparent and welcoming travelers, Salim went much much further. He’s a really decent guy for helping us so much and I think Brickhouse really chose well when headhunting Salim. The next time himself and his colleagues come to Ireland there’ll be a lot of kegs emptied. Hooray, another post that was in draft for weeks and is now done!

Update: He’s going to be coming to Cork on March 2nd.

Fluffy Links – Friday January 4th 2008

Friday, January 4th, 2008

I’m in Dublin til Sunday. I have a little free time. Email or call me if you want to meet up.

This is madness. People berated DistantRambler for being flippant about her cancer.

Some nice collaboration going on here. Crowdsource using old business plans and other documents.

More linkage to Sabrina. She’s a fan of Etsy and links to some Irish Etsy sellers.

Check out John’s interview on Morning Ireland.

Nice summary of Seesmic.

Have a sconce at Tech for Teens.

Cheap cheap car.

Fun stickers for things.

Want an air guitar?

Nice comeback by Santa Letterman.

Via Suzy: Caucusing Is Easy

The Wire Season 5 is on the BitTubes

Friday, January 4th, 2008

That is all.

Robert Scoble and Plaxo: Data Thieves

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Update: And if done in the EU we’d ave you mate.

Update again:Jeremiah is now allowing people to direct questions to Plaxo via his blog. Well done to him. Let’s see how they react to probing questions

Update: Jeremiah basically gave Plaxo a free pulpit where they tried to justify their actions using a smokescreen about a “Data Trust”. Total and utter bollox. Looks like they are going to roll this out and are unrepentent.

We’re going to have a conversation with Facebook (that is starting now) and will roll this feature out.

There’s a minor, gnat on a rhino’s arse issue going on around the tech blogger and twitter communities at the moment about data and Facebook. It will not change the world or unsteady it. If you are bored by this (and you should be) I’d suggest you skip this post. If you’re hardcore tech gossip nerd, then read on.

I really do like Robert Scoble and I don’t think he is malicious or someone with criminal intent. Saying that, I do think what he did today is very wrong.

So to begin: A while back Robert Scoble friended anyone on Facebook that wanted to be his friend, like he still does on Twitter. It was the in-thing that all the coolnerd kids did for a while – Friend the Scobleizer. Grand I suppose. Trouble is that the Facebook API allows any application to access the data of people I’m connected to. It can suck down their name, date of birth and other bits and pieces but NOT email address.

But then Robert decided he’d use a new unreleased tool from Plaxo to get the data on all 5000 people connected to him AND their email addresses too. Name, location, date of birth, full contact details. Alarm bells yet? Facebook’s security through obscurity meant I had limited protection if data identity thieves wanted to get my details. But now Robert has an automated tool that took disparate information and combined them. While many are happy for their data to be scattered about the place, it is through technnology and aggregation that all these pieces which were once scattered or loose are now firmly joined. This issue is about how weak identity it, but it is also about the fact that this is simply data theft in my view and Robert Scoble, a guy I have a lot of respect for is the one with the crowbar coming into my world taking things I stored on Facebook without permission. Robert broke into Facebook to get information he was not allowed.

I gave Facebook permission to store my data, I give it to Google. They give me some lightweight guarantees that they’ll be careful with it. Plaxo and I are not friends and they have not asked to hold or transport or fondle my data. Robert gets rewarded in ways with our friendship by being able to access data but this doesn’t mean I wanted him to harvest it. I’m ok with some of this information being exported but en masse? People are talking about this being a gambit for Data Portability. That’s utter bollox. That’s a smokescreen. You can campaign for data portability without stealing. You can tell me my identity is not secure without accessing my bank account. This is not some proof of concept on how insecure Facebook is either. This was a commercial move by Plaxo. If Google did this or Microsoft they’re be war.

I’d like to know what Robert is doing with my contact data and what Plaxo is also doing it it and what they are doing with the other 4,999 names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and email addresses. I really hope they destroyed it right away. I’d also like to know whether Facebook will notify authorities about my data being stolen from them and see are there better ways to protect the data I invested in them?

I agree 100% at what Nick Carr said today too. Dare to a degree too.

Dunbar revisited 147.8++

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

I’ve written previously about the Dunbar number, a number which is apparently hardwired into our brains and creates an upper limit to the amount of people we can comfortably interact with in our lives. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and the way we obviously structure relationships in our brain. We have so many aides now to help us store more information about a person and I suppose we don’t need to include that in whatever profile we have for those 150 people in our noggin. I’m wondering if we can increase the 147.8 towards 250 or 350 or 450 and still manage to have good relationships with them? I wonder are we doing this already anyway?

150 we can manage BUT only in communities where we all want to be that connected and are willing to work for it. Apparently Dunbar saw that groups of a large size like 150 spent 42% of their time social grooming in order to keep that group size alive but language brought that number down so there was not as much effort. Please Jesus tell me that poking and quiz spamming on Facebook is not social grooming. 🙂 Nice though that communications and sharing (in a sense) can help lessen the effort to maintain cohesion.

We don’t remember phone numbers anymore do we? Phones do that. Emails? Well email address structures are almost a standard now and the GMail contacts list helps us there too. Facebook and other social networks help too with all the fluffy details about a person: Birthday, education, stripper name etc. The world is becoming so connected too that our number of friends is probably increasing over generations so I wonder is part of our brain physically evolving too so that the number goes up? If language brought that 42% down a bit, what about social networks and technology? We can interact more efficiently now and store details of the interactions, leaving more space in that brain of ours.

Shel Israel in a recent post also was thinking about pushing this number up:

When I wrote the book outline, I estimated that the largest of these global neighborhoods would be no bigger than 150, a number I derived directly from Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point–a book you should still all read. But, technology has allowed that number to get larger. Perhaps 500 “friends can actually communicate with each other. But most neighborhoods are much smaller perhaps less than 15 members.

I tried my little experiment a little while back with Facebook where I messaged everyone I was connected with and tried to have proper conversations and tailored each message to the person and what I already knew about them. It wasn’t easy at all and by the end I was just sending almost generic messages to people but they were still ok I suppose though a lot shorter than the first that I sent. I learned a little about each person too. Funnily enough though I wonder do we have to seek out news from people now with all these activity walls and blogs. I have been in this conversation (of a sort):

“Any news? ” Yeah I was in Dublin today, bought some new shoes ” “Ah yeah, read that on your twitter or was it your Facebook or I dunno, one of your outlets” “Ah yeah, Facebook, how was the play, saw your review on the blog”…

So it does look like we are pushing that number up. I’d love though to see some kind of interaction chart for all of our online lives and personas. If Tumble blogs ran stats AND also logged the way we interact with our friends, it’d be great. GMail has frequently contacts listed, iTunes and our iPod and LastFM measure what we play most, it would be good to measure all forms of communication with people and chart it. We could see then are we seriously pushing that 150 limit. So why doesn’t someone create a Dunbar app for my phone, my email, my blog, my Facebook and my feedreader? Google would buy you easily.