Author Archive

Guest Photographer: John Smyth aka North Atlantic Skyline

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Today’s Guest Photographer is John Smyth aka North Atlantic Skyline. Please visit his site and consider subscribing

(caption: Oil tanker leaves Galway Harbour at dawn this February))

There was a time when most of the trade through Galway Harbour was either fish, cattle or sheep, which meant you could just find the harbour by following your nose. Nowadays, there are hardly any exports, but plenty of imports, nearly all of which would make the average eco-warrior weep. All of the coal for the county is landed (and stored) on the Docks, steel for the construction industry and thousands of gallons of bitumen to tar roads [that’s what carried about in those Cold Chon tankers]. But mainly it is oil, and lots of it – about 35 million litres can be stored at any time at the harbour. Every other day, an oil tanker is guided in Galway Harbour to keep the county’s insatiable appetite for oil sated.

So what would happen if the flow of oil was interrupted ? We’d probably muddle along just fine for a few days, but what about a few weeks. Well, we’d be banjaxed. Or rather, we would be, if it wasn’t for the National Oil Reserve Agency or NORA.

NORA is the agency charged with ensuring that Ireland keeps a strategic reserve of oil at all times. Right now, the country has 105 days of oil in reserve. Strictly speaking, the reserves are like a set of IOUs that the state will call in when there is a crisis – NORA doesn’t have a set of storage tanks to call its own. Just under 40% of the reserve is abroad – oil that other countries promise to sell us in case of emergency ( let’s hope they don’t have an emergency at the same time, eh?). The rest is stored by Ireland’s only refinery (Whitegate in Cork), by commercial oil importers or by very large consumers of oil, such as the ESB. Again, the reserve is basically a percentage of the oil that NORA can call upon.

NORA’s brief is based on Ireland’s commitments to the International Energy Agency, namely to maintain emergency oil reserves equivalent to at least 90 days of net oil imports, and to have ready a programme of oil demand restraint measures equal to 7 % and 10% of national oil consumption. Ah yes – restraint. Not something that we are too good at here in Ireland. Mind you, NORA doesn’t control the price of oil during a crisis, so restraint may well be self-imposed.

Think you could run NORA ? Well, they are advertising for a new boss right now, so why not apply (an ability to siphon diesel out of a tank would be an advantage). The lads in charge of the water supply in Galway need not apply.

Nokia Event in London – NGage is back once again, again.

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Flying out with Bernie to London this afternoon for the Nokia GoPlay event. I still have not been told exactly what is happening but the NY Times say NGage is back but as a gaming system for current phones instead of a physical device. Michael Gartenberg is over for the event too, it seems. Would love to meet that genius analyst.

Update: And it seems a fight with Orange about a new music download service.

The hotel is the Royal Horseguards:
Royal Horseguards

Itinerary for tomorrow.
Wednesday, 29th August 2007

07:00 – 07:30 Breakfast
08:00 Depart hotel for Conference
08:45 – 09:55 Registration and morning coffee
10:00 – 11:00 Press conference (WEBCASTED) – Olli Pekka Kallasvuo + Anssi Vanjoki + Kai Öistämö

11:00 Experience area open -Press Interviews -Media Mobile office open
12:30 – 14:00 Lunch available for delegates – Jonathan Brooke entertaining
14:00 – 15:00 Go Play panels – Music & Games (WEBCASTED) –moderated by Mark Selby
16:30 Venue closes
16.30 Transport back to hotel.

19:30 – 00:30 EVENING PROGRAM at Ministry of Sound (MOS)

Golden Spiders does blogs and other categories

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Nice to see that the Golden Spiders have recognised blogs as something worth having an award for. Last awards crowd to do it too. So now we have the Blog Awards, the IIA Netvisionary Awards with a blog category, the Digital Media Awards with a blog category and now the Spiders. It’s great to see it happen. Someone asked me today via email what do I think and I welcome it. The more recognition the better and competition between awards shows makes all awards shows better, in my view. I hope they don’t charge people to submit their blog.

What a long bloody day

Monday, August 27th, 2007

My day in bullet points:

  • Interview on EastCoast FM about Facebook.
  • Train to Dublin.
  • Met Mark from Sublime Wines who wants to give YOU my readers free wine in exchange for reviews of the wine. (More later this week on this).
  • Met friend who works as intern for Hilary Clinton.
  • Got tour of the Dáil.
  • Met RTE TV personality for a cuppa. 😉
  • Got train home.
  • Limerick guys physically attack trolley guy on train, a few mins before ..
  • Interview on train with 98fm about facebook.
    • Blogging is going to be light all week as I am away at the Nokia event.

Guest Photo Post: Treasa from Winds and Breezes

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Since the feedback from the guest blog posts a few weeks ago was so postive, I thought I’d have some of the photobloggers in Ireland do guest posts showing off some of their favourite photos. As some may be aware and some may not be, one of the main motivations for starting the blog awards was getting more attention to bloggers and especially photo bloggers. Of all sections in the Awards, this is the section that kills me the most because so many people each year deserve the Award for best photoblogger. Anyway, I asked a few photo bloggers to contribute this week to the blog but of course I asked more than 5 because there are so many amazing photographers to choose from, so this guest photo post idea might last longer than a week. 🙂

First up comes Treasa from Winds and Breezes and also of Dancing Shades of Light. If you like her stuff, don’t forget to visit the site and also subscribe too.


Damien has been kind enough to flatter my ego by asking me to guest photoblog on, the blog where everybody knows your name. I see it as the closest thing to a blogbar which we have and I am pleased, nay proud, to have a couple of pictures hanging here for a while.

Of course, that meant I had to select two and do the blog equivalent of a PowerPoint Presentation about each of them. I think they had to be my favourite photographs but that’s a moving feast so let’s just say that they are my two favourites at this present point in time that fulfill a number of criteria:

1) there’s something to say about them and
2) that something isn’t terribly boring. I try.

Obviously (to me, anyway) one of them was always going to be this photograph.


Francois Colussi, PureMagic Kitesurfing, in Sutton, County Dublin, sometime last year.

This is one of my favourite photographs of all time. It’s a bad photograph because it utterly corrupted me to spending a fortune on printing services. The six by four print was not enough. I had to have a ten by eight. When I got the ten by eight, that wasn’t enough either. I had to have a 20 by 30. And since I did that to this photograph, other photographs have gotten the same treatment so it was the start of a slippery slope which costs me a fortune at It’s on a mug. Everytime I look at this photograph, it reminds me of summer. And since we didn’t get a summer this year…that’s no bad thing.

For my next trick, we have this:


Sunset at the Pointe du Raz, Finistere, Brittany.

I think every one has a soul food place, somewhere they can go to escape the harsh realities of life and just feel a lot better in their own skin. Being awkward, my soul food place is the Pointe du Raz, Finistere, Brittany. It’s not exactly convenient when you’ve had a bad day at work.

This is one of the busiest – and most dangerous – sea corridors around Europe. The fact that you can see four lighthouses with your eyes sitting where I took this photograph is a testament to that. Every single time I’ve been there, however, it’s been as calm as a millpond.

There are two places I go every single time I go to Brittany. This is one. Somehow, I feel at home there. Wish I knew why.


Treasa blogs at Winds and Breezes and also at Dancing Shades of Light

Fluffy Links – Monday August 27th 2007

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Rough Itinerary for Paddy’s Valley is out. Big news is we are going to Mobile Monday and also E.I. is going to give some classes on how to pitch to local investors. Googleplex visit on the cards too.

Are you going to BarCamp Galway? What is it? Well it’s a conference where people talk about technology and stuff around technology. Everyone is welcome. why not give a talk too?

Craiglist listing results in house being stripped as if locusts came visiting.

The one with the waggily tail. Is this nice for the house or not?

Crocks and Uggs have mated. End of civilisation!

Delirium from the Sandman tattoo.

10 books from Patrick O’Brian for only 20 squid.

Induce out of body experiences. Weird.

Via Random Reflective Rantings: Miss Teen USA 2007 – South Carolina answers a question

Michel Bauwens speaking about peer to peer philosophy, but not in regards to file sharing, he rocked at Reboot:

Subscribing to blog post comments – On the way!

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Frank got on to me aaaaages ago about enabling an option so people could subscribe to the comments in individual blog posts on this site. Valid point. Frank suggested I use the Subscribe to Comments plugin and this weekend I finally finally got round to try and get it to work. This blog operates on a very old version of WordPress so there wasn’t many plugins that would still work, though the one Frank suggested said it would work fine. Yesterday evening I installed it and it rewarded me by killing the whole blog. I managed to get it back by logging in and deleting the plugin. So I think I may need to upgrade to a newer version of WordPress, just for that, which seems a waste really. I use the new version of WordPress on and frankly I prefer the older version. Nevertheless subscribing to comment is on the way.

One more day to get cheap Hughcards/Business cards

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

I got some Hugh Macleod business cards a small while ago and the crowd I got them off are having a sale on the Hughcards and loads of other cards too. I think the sale ends tomorrow. I might actually get some more cards myself.


This is the offer:

A. if you place an order for 100 streetcards, we’ll upgrade you to 200 cards


B. If you place an order for 250 streetcards or more, we’ll Matt Laminate them for FREE


C. If you place an order for 250 streetcards, we’ll upgrade you to 500 cards

Simply choose option A, B or C and email us once you’ve placed your order, quoting which offer you’d like… this offer applies to all re-orders too, if you would like to re-order past designs please email: reorders at If you can find your original order number, that would be terrific, but if not, we’ll find you on our system somewhere – we have all streetcards orders since day one.

You can get the Hughcards direct from here.

This is the back of my new cards:
Hughcards wolf

Latest Facebook threads and groups

Friday, August 24th, 2007

More Facebook obsessiveness.

Don’t forget to join the Electric Picnic blogger meetup group on Facebook.

Discussion in the Paper Round group: Why does the Irish Examiner all but ignore technology stories?

Irish Ex-pat business people networking group.

Group for Irish business people, business people in Ireland (there is a diff) and Irish ex-pat business people from around the world to mix, network and hopefully do business.

Currently 160 members from Ireland, Europe, Thailand, the UK, States, Australia, Bahamas and South Africa.

Ad Company Exec is new ComReg Commissioner

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Is ComReg getting into media and online regulation?

The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan T.D., today announced the appointment of Mr Alex Chisholm as a Commissioner of the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), for a four year period with effect from October 2007.

Mr Chisholm is currently the Commercial Director of SkupeNet Ltd (Ireland). His career to date is a combination of regulatory, corporate and entrepreneurial achievement and includes working as a senior policy maker in the Department of Trade and Industry in the UK.

Mr Chisholm has also held a number of senior executive roles in media, ecommerce and software, for the last seven years at CEO level. His experience includes managing organisations through change, especially in media, communications and technology markets.

Mr Chisholm joins Mike Byrne (Chairperson) and John Doherty as Commissioners for Communications Regulation at a time when ComReg has been given new and enhanced enforcement powers to support competition