Author Archive

The Top Ten Reasons why Rick O’Shea should come back to Facebook early

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

He’s taking a week off. Why am I reminded of “The Contest“?

So, why not give reasons, silly and otherwise for why he should come back early to Facebook. The sillier the better. Rick will read them out on Friday on his show. Or maybe he won’t. What do you think Rick? Oh and Rick, don’t read the comments please as it’ll be a nice surprise.

Any comments like “It’s shit, he shouldn’t go back” while true, are redundant for this argument. Meanwhile if you are on Facebook. Please read this note.

Rick, this is for you:

Update: Facebook Status from Suzy. Rick on Facebook

Rigging the Irish Election Part 2 – Profile your candidates and the opposition

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Rigging the Irish Election – Profile your candidates and the opposition – Tracker

tracking candidates

Software solutions exist which allow you to monitor the web for people. Sites like track TDs and candidates and monitor the web for what is being said about them. The engine behind PoliticsInIreland can be used as a white label Web monitor for existing TDs as well as candidates. The Tracker Module of E.A.B. does something along the same lines as PoliticsInIreland but also has a manual input for non-Internet tracking which still comprises the majority of coverage, especially in local papers and local radio. The Tracker system builds a profile of a candidate which includes a timeline. Auto and manual tagging also allows you to read their views on all the policies of a party and issues the public care about. Some manual intervention is needed to point out the inconsistencies from a candidate and how their views change over time.

Radio and TV: The Tracker system records all news current affairs radio programmes on national and local radio. It does the same for news and current affairs TV shows. These are all kept for 3 months before being archived out of the system. All of these shows can be tagged manually and the timelines also can have notes attached to them. If they are tagged, they are kept in the main system and linked to the party and candidate profiles.

Papers and pamphlets: Local papers, freesheets and even pamphlets will not be in electronic form. Here volunteers will either scan in articles from or by candidates as well as their pamphlets or else they can post them off to someone else with a scanner. When scanned in using a local version of E.A.B. Tracker, the images are uploaded to a central E.A.B. server which runs character recognition software and creates an electronic text version of the articles. Again, all of these can be auto and manually tagged and are linked to the profiles.

The Tracker module and the profiles it creates is linked to the Reach module and so it will automatically send updates on candidates to each cell member. When policy inconsistencies and gaffs are spotted a special alert is sent out. The Tracker database can also be used to supply sympathetic media outlets and bloggers with “attack” information on opposition candidates.

Part 1 of the Rigging the Irish Election series is here.

By the time you read this …

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

I’ll be in a meeting with some nice people from the EU in ComReg Headquarters. I’ll be sharing it with the NON-Independent ComReg Consumer Panel, who, going by past experience will be telling the EU how great Ireland is for broadband and prices because ComReg told them that. ComReg also gave them 1500 euros each when they were told how great telecoms in Ireland is. As they do for every Consumer Panel half-day meeting.

  • At the meeting I’ll be explaining how fucked over customers of 3 Broadband have been and how ComReg, the National Consumer Authority or whatever they’re called and others blindly ignored all the issues and how ComReg are now telling people that they don’t regulate broadband.
  • I’ll be pointing out how ComReg since 2001 (when they were the ODTR) required all telcos to have complaints procedures in place for all of their services and how all providers were meant to supply ComReg with these procedures but have they? No. Do Comreg inform consumers how they can lodge a complaint and what the procedure is? No.
  • I’ll be pointing out how the ComReg spectrum people in there are complete muppets and their rules on frequency, such as the ComReg donut rule make sure small wireless ISPs are unable to give broadband to people because of stupidity of the highest order.
  • I’ll be pointing out that the Government are still lying about broadband, even with an “honest guv” Green Party Minister in charge, I’ll be pointing out how his Department is bankrupt and I’ll be pointing out how their solution (national broadband tender) to the last 25%, which they say is 10% is a total farce.
  • I’ll also be point out what a limp, flaccid Data Protection Commissioner we have who allows the likes of Carphone Warehouse to get away with harassing 1000s of people and even those with ex-directory numbers. Yes folks, they repeatedly called ex-dir people and still called when told not to. The Commissioner said “ah sure it was their first offense.” My own extended family were getting 3-4 calls a day from these fuckers but sure they didn’t know any better says the DPC.

WTF: Mickey Martin looks like chump as Irish Taxpayer money given to UK companies?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

A seriously What The Fuck moment. So after all the hype from Enterprise Ireland and the Govt and so so many more folks, that investment fund of 175 Million that EI had to dole out to the large VC companies is now being spent on investing in UK companies? Delta got 15 Million of essentially OUR money and stuck it into their own fund and now part of that is being invested in a UK company from what I read from the link above.

I’m sorry but that’s utter bollox. While I don’t like the EI fund anyway for a few conflicting reasons:

1. I’m truely wondering is the handout mentality a good thing for Irish Companies.
2. I really think giving massive sums to VC funds means the money is just another pension fund for the Govt and given the ultra conservative criteria from EI it encourages the VC funds to only invest in sure things. Sure things are not YouTube or Facebook. In my view the 100M should instead be split into tiny pieces and invested for equity in small startups.

I don’t think any Irish money should be invested in anything but Irish companies.

Some quotes:

Making the announcement the Minister said:

“I am delighted to announce the creation of the new €100m Delta Partners fund. This fund will significantly increase the availability of early stage capital for Irish companies. I would like to congratulate Delta Partners on their success in attracting such significant investment in bringing this fund to first closing.”

Ian Paisley, who Micky Martin does a great impression of by the way, will not be happy with the Govt now saying UK companies are actually Irish.

Enterprise Ireland invested €15 million in Delta’s fund as part of the state agency’s new €175 million seed and venture capital scheme.

It has agreed funding deals with a number of venture capital companies, which are expected to announce details of new funds in the coming weeks. The National Pensions Reserve Fund (NPRF) is also understood to have invested €15 million in the Delta fund.

The bloody pensions fund us investing it them too, arghhh. In the States they do some clever social justice stuff using pension funds. They will only invest in companies that respect privacy properly, will only invest in companies that promote full equality etc. etc. With the clout of the EI money and the pension fund money, surely it should be invested in Ireland or is this a sign that EI and the Govt believe that Irish companies are just not worth investing in?

Fluffy Links – Tuesday October 16th 2007

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Rick has banned himself from Facebook for a week and so is full of creative ideas, like a cinema blog. Meanwhile can everyone txt and email in to his show pointing out really cool stuff (make it up) that just has to be seen on Facebook this week. Can’t make it too easy can we?

The Irish School of Motoring has a blog. Stick me on the blog roll! What a great domain –, wonder do they have any unusual subdomains. 🙂

Gay Priest gets found out because of his Interior Decorating. Of course.

After many a long year, the Golden Spiders have released their criteria.

Fantastic post from Joe on Getting an R&D Equity grant from Enterprise Ireland. Brilliant comments after the post too. Loving Joe’s transparency about his business.

UCC are doing some good Chinese movies on Wednesdays.

Via Shel. Nice map of top level domain extensions relative to population.

Shitty vid with annoying fanboy at start and end but still, wow. Bruce Springsteen & Arcade Fire live: “Keep the Car Running”

Via You Ain’t No Picasso: Seabear – Teenage Kicks:

Seabear – Hands Remember:

Free el cheapo wine – Ideal Christmas presents for relations you dislike

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Off you go and register, they aren’t allowed to spam you and if you do you can blog about it and get free extra traffic too!

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.

Cork Slow Food Weekend Oct 19th to 21st, 2007

Monday, October 15th, 2007

It’s FilmFest time so it must be Slow Food Weekend time too. Got this by email:

Friday 19th
Slow Food Evening: Babette’s Feast at Kino Cinema

Cork Film Festival, Emmet House, Emmet Place, Cork, Ireland
Email: Tel: + 353 21 4271711 Fax: +353 21 4275945.

Cost €15

Saturday 20th
Mystery trip out west to an artisan producer, coach leaves Imperial hotel at 9.30am returning at 3pm. (Cost tba)

Dine-Around: meet Long Valley at 5pm followed by dinner in Jacques, Ivory Tower or Café Paradiso
Pre-bookings with Simone at Interior Living,11 MacCurtain Street, Cork

Tel: +353 21 4505819 €35 for Dine Around

Sunday 21st

St. Patrick’s Street Slow Food Festival Market
11.00am – 5.00pm

This year’s Slow Food Festival Market has over 40 local producers lining the pavements of Patrick’s Street.

The Dine-around looks good. Mmmm, food.