Archive for February, 2009

Fluffy Links – Tuesday 10th February 2009

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

After years of me recounting how Ice Cream Ireland outranks Ben and Jerry’s if you search for Ice Cream on, Ben and Jerry’s are buying the ads for those keywords now.

Minister Ryan got caught out badly it seems.

Gary talks about Web 1.9. Is the web regressing or evolving when the numbers in a system go up?

New blog. Villa 81.

Want to get RTE TV when abroad? Paul shows you how.

Hard times on Wexford Street.

Times journo writes scatching article on Wikipedia page about him. Except. There never was a page.

The Girl Effect.

Get the whole of the New Yorker on DVD. For cheap.

Man crush for Tom Jones. Woah.

Dear Nerds.

Snow brings the fun.

Gay Street has changed.

Darts! Even the Darts players are wearing makeup because of HD TV. Tarts jokes may begin.

New RTE News Studio

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I got a tour today of the new RTE News Studio. The real one, not the one that doesn’t exist and cost 5 Million euros according the Daily Mail.

With just a few minutes to go before the launch of the studio during the 1pm news, some final tweaks were happening:

It’s really interesting to see how a news show is put together both in terms of the research and the editorial but the technical aspect too. This new studio will be the studio for the RTE 1 and RTE news shows, News2Day (kiddies news), The Week in Politics and more. I hear with this new studio there are talks about doing some new shows too, including perhaps a business show. If that turns out to be true, I’ll certainly tune in. I’d love to see more business coverage.

This new studio is bigger than what was there before and the background in the studio is walled with Barco screens instead of bluescreens. Videos can be placed on all three walls and the newscaster can actually look at the person in the link now instead of a green screen which makes it a little easier to work with. With the Barco screens too it means they can load new templates into the system and change the look entirely. The screens have been in place about a week so it’s early days yet when it comes to the graphics and imagery that RTE will be using. They showed us some mockups of the Leinster House background and a few more too and they look pretty damned smart. Not of this tabloid redtop wooshy crap that you see on Sky News.

It cost around €1.3M which came out of the surplus RTE had last year before the cuts happened. Money is so tight now that even Colm Murray isn’t allowed go to Cheltenham to cover it. Someone sponsor him! The money for this is a capital investment and this studio is going to last a long time. The Barco screens took a big chunk of that. I don’t know what the fuss is from some quarters about their “tax money” being spent. Anyone that’s been to the TV centre in RTE will know it’s falling to bits, probably held up with sellotape. Infrastructure needs to be maintained. At least now the News studio will survive if the rest of the place falls away into dust.

What fascinated me was the studio does not have cameramen or a stage manager. As the photo belows shows, there are three static cameras looking at the presenters. In addition there’s a remote controlled camera that looks a bit like a Dalek. Then you might notice a track up by the lights. There’s a camera on that which is able to swoop in and around the set:


The staff have been planning the new studio for months though they only started the labour on it on Dec 19th. Fast going. A lot of breathing outs and smiles today after the 1pm broadcast went without a hitch.

Here’s a pic of John Finnerty at the desk:
RTE News Studio

Fluffy Links – Monday February 9th 2009

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Enda says lets talk about the net.

The topic of TeenCamp last about two minutes and the rest of the “chat” was devoted to more random topics like Bebo, Facebook, voting etc etc. What I want to know is why aren’t conversations like these happening more often and on more mainstream stations?

Want to be a sponsor at the 2009 Blog Awards?

Val is on RTE next week. Woo. Go Val!

New blog: My life as a teacher in Thailand.

Ireland’s superman. 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days. Holy hell!

More on Kieran Rose and his running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.

Twitter word cloud of the Ireland Vs France match.

50% off paintings in the Nora Dunne gallery.

Some good vids on Shepard Fairey.

The design and build process of Apple. Highly interesting.


In case you didn’t hear what the FF press people suggested was an Obama moment. Suzy has it. And confirmation it was unscripted.

Jesus is what?

Roadcrew – the comic. Now and then it’s even funny.

Been invited along to a new play called Ages of the Moon. Written by the guy that wrote Paris, Texas. Here’s a vid about it:

Via Conor – Peter Doherty singing on the Late Late Show:

Bullet the

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

40 Fights Between Husband and Wife – Music vid to promote a book

Friday, February 6th, 2009

What a clever way to market this book. Colm Liddy emailed me today asking for a Fluffy link for this but it’s worthy of a full post.

About the book:

It’s a humourous account of married couples, all across the planet, throughout the course of history, having rows about everything that couples have rows about

Buy the book here.

Blog Awards 09 – Sponsorship Opportunities

Friday, February 6th, 2009

The Blog Awards are around the corner and many companies have made enquries about what they can sponsor or cover. So what’s left?

The Grand Prix “Best Blog” prize is open for sponsorship. Final award of the night. Biggest award etc.

Every winner gets a bottle of champagne. Sponsors of these get their name on the bottle with the Blog Awards logo. Get their pic taken with all the winners.

Goody bags:
Every year we do goody bags. Your gear or that of your client. Given about 15 people broke their melt last year packing these bag for people, if you want to have items put in the bags you can either pack them yourself or pay 100 euros to have someone pack them for you. A minimum of 350 pieces need to be supplied for the bags. No flyers. No discounts.

We have a raffle midway through the event. If you have something substantial for a raffle then we might raffle it off. Sorry, but if you are going to offer Manky Toys, we have a sponsor for them.

Other opportunities:
Perhaps something we didn’t think of. Let us know.

Email contact < at > if you want to get involved. Not my personal email, please.

Also, please see more details about sponsorship and what sponsors get in return. The event at the end of the day is not very commercial and is run at cost with all door takings going to charity.

2000 BMW Williams FW22
Photo owned by al_green (cc)

Fluffy Links – Friday February 6th 2009

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Want to create a mosiac of all those who follow you on Twitter? Twitter Mosiac.

Brilliant. An API to search New York Times articles.

Garda Dongdong.

Ireland’s first Data Protection Conference.

Winter driving tips for us inexperienced Irish.

Via Conor. Customers choose the price of the menu. Interesting idea. I hope it works. He’s got the press attention at least.

Tough Guy challenge. In pictures. Oh my.

Get your face printed on M&Ms.

Fun with still pics.

Google makes the music die?



Jimmy Eat World – The Middle

Tree attacks bus in Dublin, rips off the roof

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Picture of it.

Update: And here.

Fluffy Links – Thursday February 5th 2009

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

PR work experence tips from Bespoke Comms.

Love this, music using printers.

Gartenberg’s 3 laws of tech consumer gear.

Ughh puketastic. T for Two. Special t-shirts that when combined make a heart.

The future of news.

Over 35,000 people sent us stills and video of the heavy snow across much of the UK. This was a record both for the sheer number of pictures and almost certainly for the size of the audience response to a news event in the UK.

Love this wedding cake.

Get all your data out of the Google Cloud.

Stephen Fry gets stuck in a lift. He tells Twitter, world goes mad. I like this from the article though:

He also said Twitter gave celebrities a direct link with their fans – a thought that “terrified newspapers”.

Think about the power of blogs and Twitter and all the yaddyaddas and then add celebs or well known people to the mix. 100,000 people follow Stephen Fry on Twitter. When he has a bad customer experience 100,000 of the most connected people on the planet now know about it. If they tell their networks, whether that’s 8 people or 1000, you can bet that a million people will know about it soon after.

New Villagers video.

Via Alexia: Florence and the Machine cover Beirut’s Postcards from Italy

Fuck the Recession, now give us our data and up our bandwidth

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I mentioned recently the Hack the Government day in the UK where people will meet in London and now Brighton on building better Government systems. I’ve been thinking recently about our own Irish Government and many of the totally useless systems they have or websites that appear to run on Windows ME. Years ago I wrote a piece for the Tribune about the idea of a Government API and being able to access Government (which really is ours) data. In the article I mentioned the OSI data and being able to access the Revenue Service too. Two of hundreds, if not 1000s of datastores we could access.

The Government is right now panicking and doing their best to get anyone to come to Ireland and hire Irish people to do any kind of task. At the end of the day these multinationals are doing nothing more than making Ireland their tech support hub. The runt of the litter really. While the pharma companies are doing genuine R&D and IP creation, for the tech multinationals it’s tech support or localisation. Robot work.

Open Government Data Session Tack-on Free For All
Photo owned by illustir (cc)

The more connected people and businesses are and the more data that flows between them, the more value that can be extracted from this network they are in.

I’m sure the above has been said by people before. There’s the idea of Metcalfe’s Law about the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system but I wonder if the bandwidth of the interactions between those nodes increases does this value go up even more? Exponentially? I think the value of those connections does go up.

Setting aside the National Broadband Fuckup which will limit bandwidth between people, the Government should be doing their best to make sure that people are shifting as much data between each other as possible. Freeing all Government data is one way of doing this. Encouraging companies to share data might work too.’s release of 10 years of data was a brlliant idea. And stop thinking about the killer app, the street finds its own uses for this data and the world will make the apps. The Government can supply the data and work with companies to build the access methods. I’m sure a very clever business could tender (for free) to build all these APIs in return for minimal charges for API access to the app makers.

I’m not gunning after Eamon Ryan here but he’s Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Minister or someone that looks after electronic resources too? It would be nice to move beyond the grandstanding about a knowledge economy and start working on things that can kickstart local companies taking existing data and creating something new with it. So Dear Government, fuck the recession, let’s start playing with our data.

Photo owned by pacomexico (cc)