Author Archive

Amiina play Dublin again on October 29th

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

(They supported sigur Ros before)

Go see them if you like their music.

Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Privacy as we know it is dead and we can’t get it back. This delights corporations and Governments but at the same time they only enjoy you having lack of privacy. Will google say where your GMail is stored, will they say what exactly they are telling advertisers about you? No. Will the Government disclose what they are planning to do with your taxmoney or to do with your freedoms? No. In fact they are trying to destroy the whole idea of Freedom of Information, even the Information Commissioner says so. So all this privacy does not mean global transparency.

Civil Liberties

Some thoughts on aspects of privacy:

We don’t disclose your details to third parties but …

Google of course does not disclose ALL your data to advertisers or others and what they mean is, they won’t disclose your name and address or IP address but with their fantastic processing power and sharp minds, the following scenario is a nice sleight of hand from them:

Well, we can’t tell you who he is or what his exact address is but we can say that he seems to spend a lot of time looking at this map location on Google maps. He has done searches for “playgrounds near East Douglas” so there is a strong possibility he is there, which corrolates with the map. He has a satellite dish on the house since he has searched a few times on how to tune in extra channels on the sky box. He’s married and his wife’s birthday is probably around June 5th since he googled for “wife birthday present” on June 1st this year and last year and then Googled for a florist too as well as “lines of poetry that a wife will like”. He has a 1985 Golf GTi, judging by his searches for parts information and tips on fine tuning engines. Oh look, that looks like a GTi on the map doesn’t it, just there?

I’m sure my example will probably have more people from Google Dublin harass me once again, lovely company to deal with.

“Give me six lines written by the most honorable of men, and I will find an excuse in them to hang him.” – Cardinal Richelieu. The more you know about a person and their every goings on, the more you can work with moulding the public conscious about them. Look at how the Phoenix Magazine works or the other tabloids. Imagine handing over all your once-private details and telling them to write a few headlines. Imagine a bent cop or someone in the social welfare office doing this. Donegal shows it happened as does Dolores O’Mahony. we don’t need tabloids anymore, a few bitter bloggers scouring everywhere for information on people and plenty of innuendo on a person can go out. We all accept identity fraud happens, can we accept it is easier than ever for some headcase to get all nutso and make you the subject of a gossip blog?

You don’t have to use our service you know

Ah yes, the general arrogant and ignorant attitude of a monopoloy and a diversion from the actual issue. The fact that people are slow to move from using one service to another means that monopolies often use lack of action of a customer as justification for doing whatever the hell they want. “Our prices are more expensive yet most people are still with us, this shows we offer a great service and our customers want us to do whatever we want.” Being the monopoly should make you realise that the amount of data you have all in one place is quite an honour and a burden and you should proactively work on making sure it is safe as well as being transparent on how you are handling it and what you do with it. I haven’t seen any corporation or company or Government acknowledge such a thing. Telling a customer to piss off when they complain about the service, free or not is sad and will bite you in the ass one day.

The kids have ruined it all for us

But maybe it doesn’t matter afterall? The Bebo generation has done more to mess with privacy than anything before them, even corporations and Governments. Photos, antics, comments, tonnes of personal information stuck up on Bebo, on Facebook, on mySpace on blogs scattered around the earth. Not caring where it is and not caring about trying to reel it all back in. The adults are going ape over this but the kids just shrug and go “what are you going to do like?”. Perhaps if all this information is out there from everyone, nobody will give a damn about the personal life of anyone. It’d be nice for politicians not to be closeted for a start and it would be nice if businesses didn’t have to fire staff for being stupid because god knows it’s not some rare quality. And then there’s the whole breakups being done publicly on blogs.

Britney and money shots have changed it all too

Britney Money shot

Sex tapes? Pammy and Tommy started it all. Then there was the Paris one, the Colin one, the Britney one and the who cares anymore? one. Nudey pics, everyone really. It also seemed to become a sport for Paris, Britney, Lindsey Lohan and so many more of the female celebs to exit a limo legs first and apart, showing off what should not be shown off. Now we’ve all seen too much and so when Vanessa Hudgens from High School Musical had nude pics of her taken and then got online, Disney, the most prudish of companies, didn’t fire her. A star of a kiddies movie franchise (High School Musical) did NOT get fired over this. She would have been blacklisted a few years ago but not now. Disney came out and gave her their support.

You can’t be blackmailed if everyone knows your business, right?

A friend of mine told me he saw some docu on privacy, on Google Video as it happens and a detective in the docu pointed out that the information you can grab off Bebo today, he would have had to pay a few grand for in the 80s. Same goes for Facebook and loads of other places. But if that information, lots of it which can be used to blackmail people is in the public domain, will blackmail exist in the future? How about if it was known someone had an STD? Bad for them right, but good for any future sexual partners? Judges in the Norris case way back when said public health issues (filthy homosexuality) overruled privacy issues so that’s why they could jail men for having sex with men. This is an interesting twist. If we’re all going to be contestants in 24 hour reality shows, perhaps the information overload and scandal overload will mean people can’t be embarassed and made fun of? “So what, you failed your driving test twice.” “Wow, nudey pics of me, how rare when nude is the new black.”

But if we can’t be blackmailed we can’t lie either or exaggerate or truth bend

And that’s good right? I got a D in Honours Irish, not a C like I said. No, I worked as a general office clerk, not a team leader. Yes I was convicted of driving down the wrong way of a motorway after builders flirted with me at the Galway Races. Is this good? Surely lack of privacy is making us a more honest society? There are no secrets, only information we do not yet have. Except for those databases in the hands of the private companies and the Governments of course. Is privacy allowing them to be not so honest with things? Behind their big safe walls while we, the people, disclose everything?

Phone cams and the net have created a new wave of civil liberties

A black kid gets her wrist broken by a white security guard in her school because she dropped a cake. The school has her charged. The video a student takes on his cameraphone hits the net. Case closed? Student being tasered. Cops being bad cops, Governments clamping down on their people in Asia. For the greater good? But what about when the video a guy takes of a fellow male student crying for some unknown reason hits the net and a million people laugh at him and make parodies. Like that Star Wars kid. How do you allow one and stop the other? Or do we need to wait until humans are a little less cruel?

Lifestreaming means we leave digital crumbs online as we go throught he physical world.

Great for missing kids. Not so great if you’d rather be left alone. How do we opt out of an always connected, always recording world? We can’t, unless we want to move to the country, deep deep inside rural Ireland. Will we have “digital recording free zones”?

The backlash, will we have our own Victorian Era for privacy?

There’s always a backlash with these things, will there be one for privacy? Will people do their best to protect their kids and prevent them going online and using Bebo and whatever else is there? Will they have specialist services running to monitor mentions of their kids and auto-legal-letter anyone that mentions their kids? Will there be something like the DMCA but for concerned parents worried about the privacy of their kids? I bet there’s money to be made in that. A lot of it. Encourage the liberalisation of prrivacy. Create a service, ready to roll out when the backlash happens that is built for cloaking all information and preventing it getting out. Sell to an anti-virus company, privacy will be their next business and DRM will be back with an almighty vengeance. Make sure that your kids can’t pass photos from their phones to others without going through your pre-approved monitoring system. Same goes for moving stuff from their home computers and laptops to the net. Have software running that scans for what could be potential nude photos. Install all this, spend a fortune and have your kid route around it all within minutes because they are more savvy about this stuff than you and always will be.

What’s the future of privacy?

Probably one where we have a lot less of it and where Governments and corporations will have it in abundance. To protect it you will probably have to take out privacy insurance the same way you have to take out private health insurance now. The Governments don’t seem to bothered about your privacy do they and the corporations are helping to make the public believe in the perverted mantra that if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about. Oh right, was I meant to end this on a happy note?

Not hugely Fluffy Links – Wednesday October 3rd

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Dart safety notice gone wrong.

So it seems eircom knew since March about that wifi issue.

Some excellent covers of Radiohead songs.

Germany says no to Google and DoubleClick.

Update: Via Matt:

go to
type the words tedious wanker into the search box
no quotes
See what happens

Oh and Matt wants to start lolhorses.

The latest Dove ad:

Seán on Irish Bloggers…

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

In a convo with Seán:

Watching you guys is not good for me! Every time i see a legal notice or threat its a huge party!

Pretty true alright after today.

Monster Ireland spam Irish people, follow it up with legal threats

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

It seems the mess after employee John Burns, Monster’s Business Development Manager in Ireland, spammed IT@Cork members is getting better. Now Monster has apparently threatened legal action against Michele Neylon for blogging about it. Also, someone from a Monster IP address is going around the place defending spamming and personally attacking anyone that talks about Monster. Heya Monster. Guess what? Also those bloggers who are talking about this all have good Google rankings. If more people link to Michele or Tom’s posts with “Monster Ireland”, oh, I dunno, that would be even worse PR for Monster, would it not? Spamming Tom or Michele is bad, but both of them? Oh dear. That’ll be bothersome.

Also, I submitted Michele’s post to Digg, if you want to bring it to the attention of that hoarde of nerds. 🙂 Climbing up the DIGG ranks too.

Update: Now with audio and more twists!

Welcome to the Internet and people that don’t take shit.

Update: They’ll be writing songs about it next. Oh yeah, they have.

Update: And now there’s a music version of the Voicemail.

The new Irish voters and the potential revolution if they’re tapped

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Come the next election, the new kids on the block in terms of those who will vote for the first time, will be a generation who have not known what a world without the web is. It was there before they were born, like the sky. Imagine a generation where radio and TV were new and imagine trying to get your head around it while the younger ones figured it out in seconds. This is who we are. The web is here and is already strongly influencing the next generation of voters where they spend more time on Bebo than reading newspapers and listening to the radio. Friending, IMing, knowing exactly the moods and thoughts and intimate photos of their friends is the de rigeur. It is time for our generation to adapt to them, they won’t adapt to us and they seem to be making that obvious more and more.

This new generation doesn’t care about privacy, doesn’t care about the way things were done, they are used to doing less and getting more for it and they don’t carry the fears we still have from mass emmigration and unemployment to what people think of them. This is the generation that doesn’t care if they lose their Bebo password, they’ll just create a new profile and start again, they don’t really care about losing their mobile or changing number, they’ll simply use the knowledge of the group to get back most numbers. Their own lives seem to be structured like the net, if one node with information goes down (i.e. lose a mobile) the rest of the Net will keep going and they can restore from that. Fascinating to see and I doubt many people can figure out how this works, nevermind those in the political environment.

We saw what a total bag o’crap Rock The Vote was and we saw that voter turnout is still appalling despite old wrinkly people trying to lecture people using YouTube. We need people like Danah Boyd over here, we need anthropologists and sociologists to come onto the web and mix with the digital kids and figure out how to energise them and get them interested in the political and democratic system over here. Nuke all the childish “Yoof” wings of the parties to start with. They’re a new generation trying to be the old generation and already serverely disconnected from what their own generation want and are interested in and they grow more disconnected each day they live the youth wing life. They are mini-me versions of the existing people we all despise.

Perhaps people should figure out how to turn the influence experienced in small tech communities on Twitter and other areas into every day life, where people will trust the judgement of others and listen to their breakdowns of party policies. If 20 people buy nokia tablets because of one or two people, can that be transferred into having party neutral “analysts” that others can tune into too? Can a local politician use their blog to engage more and more and build up a following there that they couldn’t using traditional media? And then turn that readership into leaders of small cells of people that can assert strong influence on voters? Pyramid scheme politics?

I’m not sure what exactly will be the way to do it, but the way politics is done will have to change because even if the existing parties fight for the status quo, someone will come along and tap into the new generation and the disaffected and suddenly they’re a powerhouse.

See, even babies can use the iPhone:

Loretta Lynn – Little Red Shoes Lyrics

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

They were my secret shoes. I wrote a song about those shoes, “Put My Little Red Shoes Away,” in 1999. I’d trade every pair of shoes I own to have them back

That’s a quote from Loretta Lynn’s second autobiography from 2002 called Still Woman Enough. Her first autobiography became the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter.

As well as “Put My Little Red Shoes Away”, she wrote another song in a later album called “Little Red Shoes” which is actually a beautiful spoken word piece on her Van lear Rose album from 2002. I heard this on Pearl’s show on Phantom on Sunday morning and it stopped in my tracks. These are those words, shame there’s no video for it:

I was 11 months old
I was just starting to walk
And Daddy always kept a big stick behind the door just in case
Somebody was to come in that was drunk on moonshine,
You know, and Daddy had to do something about it
Anyway, this woman, we called her old Aunt Boyd,
She come in and she was telling
Mommy about her, uh, husband, she thinks is going out with this woman in
So she reared back with that big stick showing
Mommy how she was going to hit this woman in the head with it
And when she went back with it, she hit me in the head
And Mommy said I cried for 5 days
And she said I, that fifth night,
I had a great big knot that show up right in the middle of my forehead
And, you know, the only thing I remember,
I don’t remember no pain, but I just remember Mommy
And Daddy carrying me in this old quilt that Mommy had made out of overhalls
The knots kept getting bigger and bigger so she took me to the doctor
And that stuff called mesitor, something like that
Mommy said it made both ears flat to my face and I ain’t got very big ears
And told Mommy that I would, that I was going to die
And that happened like four times so I didn’t walk till I was almost 5
It was… It was kind of a mess…

Oh I forgot about the shoes,
Well shoot, I hadn’t… I’d never had a pair of shoes
And Mommy had went…
Took me to the hospital, you know, to see what that was…
If they couldn’t do something
But they wouldn’t keep me because Mommy and Daddy didn’t have no money
They just tell ‘em to take me home and let me die, you know,
Because there wasn’t nothing they could do about
That kind of disease, I guess
And, um, Mommy told Daddy,
Says “Ted, you take her down the street, you carry her down the street…” and said,
“…let me try this store here,” and Mommy went in and told them the story that I was dying,
That she had to carry me twelve miles to town
And twelve miles back and that I had no shoes
That place, I think it was Murphy’s 5 and 10 and they’re still there in Paintsville, Kentucky
And I think that they told Mommy that they wasn’t in business to give shoes away
Mommy told Daddy, says, “Carry Loretta on down a little farther,”
Said, “and let me stop in another store…”
And Mommy went right back to the same store
When the guy’s back was turned she stole these little red shoes
And I remember on the big’old bridge that went across the river
It went way up high and was…
I’ve always been scared of that bridge that took me across the big Sandy River
Mommy pulled them out from under that yellow jacket that she was wearing
And she was putting them red shoes on me
And I thought them was the prettiest things I ever saw in my life
And Daddy started crying
And I wondered why
And he said, “Clerie, we’re not going to make it home,”
And Mommy put the shoes on me
And Daddy took off running and run all the way ahead t’Butcher Holler with me
And Mommy never had a chance to carry me any farther
And that’s almost twelve miles that Daddy run with me
But Daddy knew that the cops was going to get us
He left Mommy standing and he took off in a dead run
I remember him running but I didn’t know what for

And I remember asking Mommy,
“Mommy, why is Daddy running?”
I remember her hollering,
“To put your little red shoes away, honey, when you get home.”
Can you believe that?
So I wrote a song called “Put My Little Red Shoes Away,”
You know, they’re my little red shoes and I don’t want
‘em to get… to be dirty…

Fluffy Links – Tuesday

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

Eddie in shock at suggestion of resigning.

Daithí had the pleasure of doing the first Blawg review from Ireland. Nice one.

Good to see the O’Dellinator back with a great “makes sense to us who don’t speak lawyer” post on that Monica Leech defamation case.

Just wow.

Dedicated to Apple fans.

And is this Nokia ad.

We’re all gods?

Bitter Pill blog is now a book. Congrats!

Check out the Promenade blog if you like technology and music.

Oooh. Another Irish website awards. To be held on a Balcony.

But as Stephen points out, there aren’t many interesting websites in Ireland,

I can’t gaurentee there are that many interesting websites coming from Ireland.

it’s free in so don’t throw your toys out of the pram when nobody nominates you.

Here’s the requirements:

Simply put, we are looking for five innovative, qookie, unusual, creative, experimental websites.

Buffalo Tom on Letterman

Buffalo Tom – Late at night mixed with My So called Life:

Replace McWilliams with this guy -A Random Walk

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Someone that has a clue, doesn’t need to make up stupid words and says it how it is. Which newspaper will pick this guy up and have him give another view on Irish finance?

Facebook – Trying to be friends with 400 facebook “friends”

Monday, October 1st, 2007

So many people are saying that this whole Facebook “friends” thing is diluting the whole genuine friends thing, since really we’re just adding contacts some of whom are friends and many of which we will never communicate with again, kind of familiar strangers, which kind of goes against the idea of Facebook being a social platform, does it not? I now have about 400 “friends” on Facebook and so I decided if I could maintain regular and social contact with these people. Tara Hunt by the way has a great post on how “friends” and “contacts” are handled by different social networks. As I was writing this post, TechCrunch announced that Facebook is going to redo the way “friends” are ranked. Good.

Facebook blog posts

Each day I tackled one letter in the alphabet and messaged those surnames, asking how they are and trying to be chatty. Trying to be original is tough let me tell you. I must say I was impressed with the feedback I got and some people were very forthcoming about what they were up to and I learned a lot about some people I didn’t know much about to start with. The response rate was higher than I thought too and during the day (office hours!) replies were almost instant.

It’s still early days but I would hope that I can maintain regular contact with some of those who started as familiar strangers. Facebook is still an odd mix but I am finding some interesting people on it, I’m even getting press releases on it and learning more about my own friends by the way they interact with others on this platform. I have also found though that it is very hard to constantly reply to messages and some were coming in thick and fast via the system and unlike GMail, it is much harder to go back through the inbox when you get a lot of messages and check if you messaged person Y back or not. A search feature would be nicer and a longer inbox. For some reason too I lost messages during an upgrade which was annoying.

What has surprised me a lot too has been the status updates. I’ve gotten some unexpected feedback from just writing things in my status messages. This might prove better than sending people messages. Broadcast requests are one use of the status update and they work. You do get a nice enough uptake and it is not seen as spam compared to messaging everyone in Facebook and not being able to BCC them so someone replies all and spams everyone else.

Anyway, I’ll keep going with what I’m doing. Might be interesting stats collected for the Facebook debate on October 17th in London, of which I am a panelist.

Cartoon by Hugh Macleod