Author Archive

Berlin with HP- 2008

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

I’m off to Berlin for a few days. Going to the HP Connecting Your World Berlin 2008 event. You can follow it via their blog, on Twitter (stupid name), on Flickr and on YouTube.

HP Berlin

Oddly the font for this event reminds me of the Bettlejuice Cartoon.

This video is not connected at all.

Online Marketing – Fail

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Here’s a little ditty or two.

If you are creating a web service where you expect to sign up people that go online and spend a lot of time online and you don’t have integration with Facebook, Bebo, YouTube, Blogs or any of the new media out there, then you will simply ignore the most active and prolific people online. It’s like setting up a lemonade stand on the outskirts of town when you are able to set up a stand in the city centre for free or put up a big poster to announce your location.

If you rabbit on that online marketing is all about Facebook, Bebo and YouTube and ignore email marketing then you’re not seeing the elephant. How many people have an email address, how many have a Facebook account? Do not underestimate the power of either. 120k active Irish people in one place.

I’ll go back to writing this Online Marketing Course now…

The meme
Photo owned by jenjie (cc)

Radiohead – Super Collider

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Via You Ain’t:

Super Collider by Radiohead at Malahide Castle.

eBay Ireland Boss sets up Broadband Lobby Group

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

In summary:
1. There is a new non-aligned and impartial broadband lobby group in Ireland. It had a working title of the “Broadband Crisis Advisory Board”
2. John McElligott from eBay had serious reservations about the International Advisory Forum on Broadband since two members had far too many ties with eircom, he later declined an invite to join by Eamon Ryan himself.
3. John McElligott wrote a 17 page report about broadband which cuts through the crap and should really be adopted by the Government. He slams mobile broadband figures being used to excuse our performance.
4. He also seems to have pissed off senior Civil Servants in DCENR and ComReg and they seem to be be conspiring with each other to see who else he was talking to about broadband.

Back in February Simon Coveney TD sent in an FOI request about the International Advisory Forum the Government were putting together. A bland enough request for documentation was asked for and given:

All documentation, including communications, relating to the setting up of an International Advisory Forum on Next Generation Broadband Networks by the Department, including but not restricted to, communications to potential and current members of the Forum. Also including, but not restricted to, any discussion about the terms of reference of the skill set required or any guidelines relating to the calibre of members the Department wished to acquire.

Part 1 of the request (PDF doc) threw up some interesting stuff, though on first glance of the first few pages, it doesn’t look it.

But on page 12 it gets interesting. The head of eBay in Ireland, John McElligott has emailed the DCENR after it appears he was asked to be on this International Advisory Forum. He asks why the DCENR omitted the fact that one of the people on the forum was previously on the board of eircom:

Dated December 18th 2007

Ken, how does Brian Thompson’s bio omit the fact that was was on the board of eircom when it was sold? Omitting such matters of potentially key importance will not increase the credibility of the group.

Now, there are some other bits and pieces too. On page 24-30 is the revelation that another advisory board is going to be launched after pushing from John McElligott:

Dated December 19th 2007

Thanks Ken:
Are you able to tell me about the NAF? Is this the customer body along the lines I proposed?

Reply:Dated December 19th 2007

No, the NAF is separate from the proposed customer body. We have been working on a draft policy paper on NGN/NG Broadband for some time now. We have read many international reports and visited other Ministeries with a view to defining the optimum role for the Government in facilitating the roll out of NGNs. The role of the NAF is to critique the draft policy paper in advance of going out to consultation. The NAF will be made up of EU, US and Asian experts on telecoms and telecom policy and will also include the CEO of Forfas. Minister would like you to come on board an an Irish industry/customer representative. Once the report is published for consultation, we would see the customer body that you have proposed responding with appropriate comments. We could establish the customer body early in the New Year so that it has met and considered customer issues in advance of publication and be somewhat prepared before the paper is published.

and more back and forths:
Dated December 24th at 13.32

In response to your recent emails: We are taking a two stage approach to the polic paper. The National Advisory Forum is being asked to consider and critique the initial draft. The paper will then be published for consultation with all stakeholders, including customers. Minister would welcome your participation in the Forum. An early responose would be appreciated.

If, for whatever reasons, you would prefer not to participate, Minister would welcome your contribution as a customer and we will revert to you at that stage. I wish to emphasise again the confidential nature of this matter.

Dated December 24th at 15.49


Thank you for the note. I will revert to the Minister with a reply in the New Year.

Per my notes, I have concerns regarding the independence of a number of the proposed forum participants. I’m not sure if such credibility risk is in anyone’s interest, least of all the Department.

On page 43 and 44 we get a better picture of this proposed customer group:
Dated December 19th 2007, sent to Minister Eamon Ryan direct:


Per our discussion, please find attached some options for individuals who could be part of a Customer-based broadband group:
A number of online entrepreneurs (e.g. a leader from one of,,,,
A few of the large online multinationals. These are Google, eBay, Amazon and PayPal
A Bank (e.g. AIB Internet Banking, Banking 365, etc.)
Online travel company (,,
Government Departments that genuinely offer online services (e.g. Department of Finance –
A University or IT or both
Consumer Representative, though only if they have a fact base from their members e.g. NCA

Other points related to its “constitution”, which we believe are necessary to ensure success include:
* Create a body similar to the Motor Insurance Advisory Board where clear terms of reference and ambitious timetables are adopted for the implementation of the recommendations
*This group would be charged with getting to the bottom of what’s really needed to achieve the rollout of high quality broadband and plot a path to delivering this. It should identify the real issues holding up progress to date and describe plans with how to deal with them. The goal is that we end up with a connectivity infrastructure that is truly competitive. Perhaps is could be called the “Broadband Crisis Advisory Board” or BCAB.
* This group should ve very small, say 10 people. It should be convened by the Minister, with representatives from government, various agencies, education, and the commercial sector. It should be representative of the voice of the consumer, and they should be technology neutral.
* Our technology decision-making will be led by industry for a, many which are already in place. The BCAB should only refer to these where substantive issues relate to competitive issue and (c) above.
* The BCAB should represent the voice of the customer – those of us who use the infrastructure provided by the tech sector. It should also be non-partisan. Therefore, it should not include representatives of eircom, the ALTOs or ComReg, though they will likely present their views to the BACB. Recommendations from the BACB impact these parties.

Roll on to Part 2 of the request.

Nothing much up to page 18 though on that page it states:

John McElligott
eBay Ireland.
Invited on 19 December 2007, much querying on his part.

Page 19 has letter from Minister Eamon Ryan (dated January 21st 2008) asking John McElligott to join the forum. He eventually declines on Feb 8th.

Roll on to part 3 of the FOI PDF
Page 2 to page 24 of this document is great.

First we’ll go to around the page 21 mark:
A letter dated January 6th 2007 sent to Eamon Ryan and Micheál Martin

Thank you for the invitation to participate in the National Advisory Forum, which I received via Kenneth Spratt. I am considering being part of this, and will return to you with a decision in due course.

I would be delighted to participate in the forum if I felt it would make a difference. However, given what I have learned regarding the Forum to date, I am not yet convinced it is the right group. I have three specific concerns regarding its constitution:
1. Does the specific background of certain proposed Forum members inspire the desired level of confidence?
2. Are we missing the perspective of some leading markets which are our neighbours?
3. Can we boost the “customer perspective”?

Some colour on these three points:
1. Some of the proposed Forum participation may result ina reduction in external credibility. For example, one proposed participant has recently compeleted a study on models of separation – which was funded by eircom. Another participant is a former Chairman of eircom. Curiously, these two facts were omitted from the otherwise lengthy resumes I received. I am not in any way indicating that these participants would be in any way prejudiced or partial in their forum participation. However, given out need to establish credibility, I could well forsee a circumstance where the Forum’s credibility could be challenged.

2. Two of our closest neighbours (the UK and Netherlands) are stellar examples of leadership in Connectivity. Yet, curiously, the Forum has minimal participation of direct industry experience from these markets. This may be an oversight as (a) Political leadership is acknowledged to have contributed to UK leadership and (b) Northern Ireland has seen significant success, and it’s “only up the road”.

3. There may be a lack of “customers” in the forum. Per our meeting last month, I recommend adding more than just myself.

To this last point, I am currently convening a group of Irish eCommerce and eBusiness leaders to lobby in 2008 for greater progress in this arena. To date, the response to my outreach has been enthusiastic. Several of my peers believe that Market Failure is costing them dearly, and fear that current, lacklustre NGN plans will mean that Ireland continues to lag in the online sphere – possibly permanently.

Next up, is the email turning down the offer to be on the forum and annoucing the new broadband lobby group has been set up:
Dated February 5th 2008

Per our communication, I will refrain from participation in the NAF.

Two developments from my side are:
1. We eBay have engaged on this issue with a very wide range of stakeholders. Based on these discussions, I am happy to send you my thoughts on what can be done to address our issues. I intend to do this by the end of this week.
2. Today we convened a meeting of serveral business comprising a “Broadband Customer Group”. This group included 12 companies including (i) local eCommerce players and (ii) US Multis with an interestin this. We had a very fruitful and forthright discussion. In due course, we may reach out to you as a group.

On February 8th McElligott sent Minister Ryan and Minister Martin a 17 page document about Broadband in Ireland. It’s a fantastic document, well worth reading.

Part 4 of the FOI PDF contains mostly crap about hotel costs except for one email. An email where the an Assistant Secretary in the DCENR bitches about the head of eBay Ireland and his attitude and mention how they have been talking to ComReg about him too:

Dated January 7th 2008

I don’t understand John McElligott’s reaction to the invitation to sit on the Forum. Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to invite him as he’s clearly not comfortable with the idea. Now that he’s setting up a lobby group perhaps his contribution might best be made during the public consultation stage. We have no other lobbyists on the NAF ( we didn’t consider him to be one in the formal sense when we invited him) and to include one will lead to calls from others to be included. I understand he has sent a questionnaire to ComReg, they’re to send me a copy and find out who else received it.

We’ll prepare a response for the Minister.

A fun week

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I’m a little hoarse. I’ve been talking shite all week. I was in Waterford on Tuesday to give a full-day Business Blogging Course which seems to have gone quite well and I was in Galway on yesterday to give two half-day business blogging courses to about 28 people in total. A lot of travel, a lot of mileage but this lad kept me company and helped out on the days. I hope we see a good few more business blogs start now as a result.Tom and Mary in Waterford and Adele in Galway deserve much praise for putting the events together and subsidising the courses too for everyone.

Met Ina today who gave a far too brief (because I had to leg it back to Cork) tour and history of Galway and a history of Galway that’s not just on the default tourist books. We also had a lovely lunch in Nimmo’s. Ina should consider doing a blog on the secret Galway that exists that the tourists never see and many locals may never have known. The story of the Russian links to a Mausoleum in a wood in Galway was fascinating.

Diver going off the board
Photo owned by Boocal (cc)

Also met John Breslin today at Open Coffee Galway and he gave a tour of the DERI facility. Love the stuff they’re doing with sensors. Got some insider stuff about which is exciting and will be revealed in time. Also met Ross from who was in Galway for the week. Also met James. Hello to all the open Coffee peeps too! Been a fun week but now I think I’ll crash before my short trip to Berlin next week, back in time for Dublin and Prince, then London for Interesting, then a business blogging course in Dublin on June 24th, then Darllight on the 27th and some talk on the 30th. Remember I said blogging will be light? It might continue to be.

Fluffy Links – Thursday June 5th 2008

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Brilliant Lisbon poster hack. Expect it robbed by a daily newspaper and not attributed.

Belated Happy Birthday OFTR. The clip of the kid. Scary.

Via Seán O’Sullivan, slides Pack 1 Pack 2 Pack 3, from the recent Telco 2.0 event in Dublin.

A book thingy for those that read books, yeah, that niche market.

Career 2.0

Six Business Starting tips.


A European Web Analytics Association in the making?

Welcome to the Internet Metallica, you’re not very welcome it seems.

Watching the watchers changes from Sousveillance to Fitwatch. Good rebrand.

Fecking around with Google to have your own definition of something show up in the definition section in Google search.

This has been doing the rounds, forget the Wii Fit:

RTE’s Prime Time to field Lisbon questions via YouTube

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Prime Time will be taking questions from folks about the Lisbon Treaty via YouTube. They will play the best ones for a high-profile EU politician (to be confirmed tomorrow morning) and have him/her answer those questions.

The special ‘interactive’ segment will air on next Tuesday’s Prime Time and the full version will be posted on RTÉ.ie/Lisbon.

I believe this is an exclusive. Well done to RTE for doing this and giving people the chance to ask questions. Hopefully if it’s successful we might see more of this happen with a very conservative RTE. I’m sure the progressive people in there would be able to do more with a positive reaction to it. It’d be great to see the Prime Time segment go up on YouTube too!

Dublin Midweek Movie Club

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Barry has set up a group in Facebook called the Dublin Midweek Movie Club:

For those who love to go to the cinema, but don’t always have a buddy to go along with.

The aim of the group is to meet up on a Tuesday or Wednesday night and go see a movie together in one of Dublins central cinemas (Cineworld, Savoy & Screen – for now). The group meet a few minutes before screening and then after the film have a bit of a chinwag over a drink/coffee.

New members and non Facebookers welcome!

Nice idea that. Wouldn’t it be also nice to see a website about Movies or something like that to get involved too? 🙂 Were I a cinema on those quiet evenings I’d make an effort to get that trade.

Photo owned by Natasha Tylea (cc)

Wanted: People to install WordPress without robbing others blind

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

From talking to more and more people at the Blogging courses, there seems to be a few cowboys in Ireland who are charging from €550 to €1500 to install a default version of WordPress and for those new to the blogging world, they don’t know if that’s fair or not. It’s not. I’m looking to compile a list of those who want to earn an easy bit of money to install WordPress on websites for those on the Blogging Courses. I’d prefer to make this list public so everyone can benefit and I have to do less work since I’ll just say: “See this page”.

If you want to be listed, add your name here, with rough prices and what you can do or if you prefer not to list prices that’s grand but I will be telling people that anything over €300 for a standard default install or upgrade is not value for money. We’re talking 1-2 hours work at most unless their webhost have all sorts of “fun” setups.

If people also want to be listed for designing themes and so forth. Let me know and I’ll make a list of them too. And no, this is not an invite to debate the security issues of Wordpess and the advantages of other platforms. 🙂

This image got returned for a search for WordPress, fair enough:
Cartel conmemorativo de la Feria de Córdoba
Photo owned by jlastras (cc)

Do not go Gentle into the Darklight

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Worst blog pun ever. And there have been many. Derek McChancer told me to pimp da shit out of the Darklight Film and Art Festival and not just because I’m on one of the discussion panels. (I’m talking about privacy on Friday morning)

Anyway TRON!!!!
Tron is being shown as part of Darklight.


Screenings on Sunday 29 June


Steven Lisberger//U.S.A//1982//96 mins

Irish Film Institute, 2 p.m.

An unmissable big-screen outing for the original CGI classic! Computer programmer Jeff Bridges hacks the mainframe of his evil ex-employer… And finds himself beamed inside the computer by a power-hungry master control program! Tron is a true cult sci-fi classic, a visionary work of considerable beauty, a true style icon – and one of Darklight’s very favourite movies.

This screening of Tron will be introduced by Professor Ken Perlin.
We are delighted to be joined by effects wizard and Oscar winner Ken Perlin, Professor Of Computer Science at New York University; Ken worked on Tron, and since then has been developing new computer graphics techniques widely used in the motion picture special effects industry. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy a rare audience with a true FX pioneer.

tron cycles
Photo owned by blackdudemedia (cc)

Check out the Darklight blog to get more updates and gossip.