Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Goodbye telecoms resellers, hello barriers to entry – ComReg consumer moves will give eircom more business?

Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

Many will remember the whole fuss last year when eircom cut off Smart telecom after they didn’t pay their bills. About 45,000 people were without a phone service. Well now ComReg want to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again and fair play to them for doing so. They want to put in conditions that will make telcos step forward if they might see a potential disconnection of their service and also make the potential disconnectors tell ComReg. In other words, if these conditions were in place last year, Smart would have had to tell ComReg and eircom would have had to tell ComReg that a disconnection was imminent. The conditions mean that a kind of backup/migration process needs to be in place for this cutoff. All good, right? This is what ComReg say on the matter:

While the Commission for Communications Regulation (‘ComReg’), as regulator of the sector, cannot have any operational responsibility for service delivery to consumers, it does have certain powers, which are discussed in this paper, which can go some way to mitigating the worst impacts of service disruption or, at least, creating greater certainty as to what happens in the event of service disruption.

this paper sets out proposals as to when and in what circumstances ComReg and consumers should be notified of potential service disruption. It proposes that all operators should use reasonable endeavours to minimise service disruption and that all operators should have a disruption minimisation plan.

Now consider one of these new policies:

If ComReg has prior notice of the possibility of cessation of services (as is provided for in proposed conditions 18.5, 18.6, 18.7, 18.8 and 18.9), ComReg can take appropriate steps in advance of any cessation to ensure consumer protection. For example ComReg may feel it is appropriate to take steps to warn consumers of the possibility that service might be disrupted, ensure that consumers retain a publicly available electronic communications service for a period and facilitate as seamless a change over to alternative suppliers as possible. It is essential for consumer protection that ComReg has as much visibility and control of the ceasing of the service as possible to ensure, where possible, some protection to those consumers receiving the service is provided.

Playing advocate here, a little. What if you were the little telco who could and due to some screw up your cash flow is shite this month but past history shows you are doing well and always pay your bills, though a little late. You are now eating more and more into eircom’s market and then they notify you and ComReg that they are cutting you off. With this rule ComReg could come along and force you to switch all your customers over to eircom. Right? Or they don’t but all your customers and the public are now learning that you are on shaky ground. Reputation ruined?

And from the language used, it seems that if you have a pay dispute with your landlord or with the E.S.B., ComReg have a right to know about this as it *could* impact on business too. Should ComReg know about every money aspect of a company?

I remember the story of a large supermarket chain who would not pay their suppliers to the end of the month and then used to stretch it a bit more and more and as a result they were able to squeeze more discounts out of the suppliers who feared bankruptcy. Clever. Couldn’t the same happen here with eircom or another large wholesaler allowing a (minor to them) debt build up and then pulling out the rug?

With the fact that this can happen, this will surely discourage new entrants to the market? Reminds me of the bond that Bupa and Vivas need before they can operate, something VHI does not need. Or will this make the existing and new players financially and functionally more stable?

I genuinely commend ComReg wanting to make sure people retain a proper phone/broadband service but I wonder will this get twisted/corrupted?

Being more like the Valley – Kill off E.I. and CEBs?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

A return once again to the whole idea of making Ireland more like Silicon Valley. If we didn’t have Enterprise Ireland helping out companies and we didn’t have the County Enterprise Boards doing the same with feasiblity grants and so forth, would this be better in the long run? Would it make companies be more aggressive at turning a buck faster, would it allow companies to concentrate more on their product developments instead of spending their time filling out forms and drawing down scraps and attending courses that are completely useless to them?

I’ve read a lot of blog posts and heard a lot of private commentary about how time consuming Enterprise Ireland funding is and whether it is worth it in the end. I’ve also seen the attitude of some (and experienced it with some Paddy’s Valley applicants) that E.I. is some kind of piggy bank and should hand over cash without question when the paw is stuck out. Why the hell should E.I. pay for people to go to Silicon Valley just because it’s a good idea?

However, if E.I. was removed from the picture, would angels and smaller fund V.C.s move into the vacuum? Would you have more VCs in the market then and would there be more of a chance of good companies getting funding insted of ok companies who know how to deal with red tape? Or would everything here just die? In an odd twist it seems the imminent success of the Collison brothers and Auctomatic is being used to slag off E.I. – The lads did not get turned down by E.I. as some have misinterpreted, they just decided to follow a different path for funding (and glory 🙂 ) and went off and got Y Combinator funding in the States.

With less of a safety net with E.I. and Enterprise Boards, would this be better or worse?

Guest Post: Damian O’Broin from Ask Direct – Why do you do what you do?

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Damian O’Broin works with Ask Direct. He is the second guest blogger this week:


Why do you do what you do?

It was never supposed to be this way. By my 37th birthday I should’ve been nicely settled in some professorship position having already bagged that Nobel prize for physics.

And failing that, surely I’d be sitting in my Dalkey mansion, counting my gold discs and leafing through the scrapbooks of critical acclaim from rock jouros the world over.

But no, here I am trying to keep a small business going with one hand, while trying to change the world by raising piles of money for progressive causes with the other. Hmmm. So why do I do what I do?

To explain. I run a fundraising and marketing agency for non-profits. I have no marketing qualifications. But I have read one of Seth Godin’s books. Ireland has no recognised fundraising qualifications. Although I do have nearly 15 years experience in non-profit communications, which I suppose counts for something.

The short answer, if it doesn’t sound too twee, is that I want to change the world. There’s a million things that make me angry, upset, outraged. And a million more that I know we could do better, quicker, fairer.

And I enjoy my job. On several levels.

I’m honoured to be able to use what talent I have to help organisations I believe in – groups like the Irish Hospice Foundation, Women’s Aid, Friends of the Earth and Barretstown – to raise more money and win new supporters. And conversely, that means I don’t have to sell my soul to The Man.

I love the challenge of constantly trying to produce work that’s better than what we’ve done before.

And I love the thrill of running my own business. Building and creating an enterprise that will – hopefully – grow and develop and provide for my family for years to come.

So it’s not a vocation. It’s a job, a career. Not that different to any other trade or profession. And there are times when I think I’d get lots of satisfaction from carpentry or organic farming – if I wasn’t such a city-boy who can’t cut a mortise joint to save his life.

So why do you do what you do?

Do you do what you want to do?


Don’t forget to subscribe to and visit Ask Direct.

Indo gets tired of waiting for Blogorrah, starts own blog

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

Though it is a Sports blog. Nice to see the Indo get into blogging though and good to see a fair bit of content on the blog already. Welcome to the Blog O’Sphere Peter Bills. I note by the subdomain that we can probably expect more blogs too.

Fluffy Links – Tuesday August 14th 2007

Tuesday, August 14th, 2007

New Blogs on the Block for this week. And last.

Silly season? Nawww. Overdosing on espressos.

Net neutrality in the UK? UK ISPs want a cut if the BBC wants to stream TV. Slippery slope or some such hand-waving thing.

Doggie sperm banks. It was only a matter of time I suppose.

Greatest movie ever? :

In one scene, a cute, topless girl is roughly tied down on a table by evil female Nazi experimenters who begin draining her blood and, as she screams in agony, they brand her like livestock with a coal-hot steel swastika,” our source said. “And every girl in the Nazi concentration camp is topless.”

The Penny Gap. Charging someone a buck for someting they paid nothing for before is not as easy as increasing the dollar a month service to two dollars.

This is Generation Now and they don’t care about privacy.

The Defrag conference looks good.

Plaid – Itsu

Rilo Kiley – Money Maker:

Boost your search rankings, with a WordPress lean, direct from Mr. Google

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Matt Cutts is the guy inside the Google search engine bunker who talks to the outside world. He was at the recent WordPress meetahon and gace a great talk on ways to get Google to love you even more. Read his blog post and notes, read a written transcript and thanks to onemansblog, here is a video of the talk:

Guest Post: The Swearing Lady – Anonymity

Monday, August 13th, 2007

I’ve asked a few people to write blog posts for my blog this week, the first of which is “The Swearing Lady” from the blog Arse End of Ireland. She was shortlisted in many a category in the blog awards this year and if you’ve not read her, do and subscribe to her too. Oh and her birthday is this Wednesday, so wish her an early happy birthday. This is her guest post:


You have no idea how much it upsets me to introduce myself as “The Swearing Lady”, but that’s how you lot know me, so it’ll have to do. It’s my own fault, naturally. When the blogging bug hit me, which it did with the optimistic wallop you get when applying for a large bank loan, I needed a name and I didn’t think too hard about being saddled with it. Like said large bank loan, I forgot that a blog is for life.

Anyway, I blog over at Arse End Of Ireland, which is a bitter little bite of the blogosphere indeed. The point of the exercise was to spew forth the nastiest quips I could secret behind faux-comedy without having to leave the house for the stand-up experience, which I’ve heard costs you a fortune in Jameson. And for a while it worked really well. No one knew me, because The Swearing Lady isn’t my real name. The lesson I should have been learning is that anonymity is the blogger’s best friend, and that the honesty that’ll earn you the respeck’ of thousands comes only from no one knowing where your local SuperValu is (obviously this doesn’t refer to tech bloggers, of which there are more than there are grains of sand in a seaside sandwich. Or journalists, who all have blogs for some charitable reason). For those of us who bitch, who confess or who wage war from behind a monitor, being a Scarlet Pimpernel will save you from just being scarle’. It’s much sexier as well. Remember when no one knew what Amy Winehouse looked like? It’s like that.

See, there may come a time when people notice your blog and stroke their beards and go, “I am quite, quite captivated”. They start complimenting you and emailing you and asking you for interviews and demanding you join them in podcast sessions and quoting you in the local paper. It is in this instance you’ll need to worry about that anonymity and the effect the gnashers of fleeting fame is having on its wee little arse. Is it worth having the discreet veil you’ve pulled over your identity raveled away by sudden interest and the love of a half-arsed audience? Fuck no! And not just because you’ll have lost the freedom of obscurity and you’ll no longer be able to decry the Irish Independent as a tosspot paper without upsetting half of your journo readers. It’s because…

Your mother will find out.

No more talking about how the boy-next-door gave you crabs, then (but that shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re a writer of exquisite talents, because no one wants to read about your itches)? No, the real problem is that you won’t be able to pass the homestead without Maman wondering aloud what you’ve said about her this week and looking pleased as a priest in front of a plate of Jaffa cakes.

“Am I in it?” she’ll ask.


“The internet!”

“I fucking hope not.”

You thought I was going to warn you all about court cases and defamation charges, didn’t you? You thought I’d say that the freedom to write came from slithering away from the long arm of the law. Not a bit of it. Being able to blog without feeling like you owe your family a few seconds in the weak limelight of a 25-subscriber webpage is an experience so heady I’ve forgotten it now, like Keith Richards and a time before he was a breathing cliff face.

Hold on to your insignificance, brethren. Mammies will pull pride out of anything.


You can read more from The Swearing Lady here.

Blognation Ireland launches – helmed by Conor O’Neill

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Blognation Ireland is now live and first post from Conor O’Neill gives a great roundup of Web 2.0 companies in Ireland. Congrats Conor.

Irish Tech Company Profiles – 17 Profiles so far

Monday, August 13th, 2007

A while back I posted that I was looking to do some profiles of tech companies. After emailing every Business Innovation Centre, every City and County Enterprise Board and sticking it on the blog, I got 17 replies. You’d think there’d be more people interested in that. Shame really. I’m not sure exactly what else I am meant to do to help get tech companies some attention but this seems to have failed a little. Still, the next time I hear tech companies bitch about lack of coverage and I know they got my email and didn’t bother filling in a simple form, you can imagine what I’ll say. One lovely “go to” person in one of the groups linked me to a fucking website and suggested I contact each one of her companies. Should I have also written their marketing plan?

Anyways, here are 17 of the companies so far who I will profile in the next while:

Beecher Networks Ltd
iQ Content
Magnetic Time
Tourist Republic
Stealth Shield
CREMe Software
Time Warden Ltd.
Hosting 365

Want to be added? Fill in this form.

Fluffy Links – Monday August 13th 2007

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Mashup Camp, Trinity College Dublin, September 12th and 13th.


Global Map of Digital Inclusion.

Firefox plugin to turn your GMail into an online drive.

The Facebook datastore API.

Way back when, IBM were one of the first companies to encourage staff to use the web, then to blog and now to use virutal worlds. Each time they release guidelines and this is the one for virtual worlds.

Hugs. Or should that be *hugs*

Supermarket 2.0

According to PC live, ISME are encouraging companies to invade the privacy of job applicants by reading their blogs and facebook profiles. While not illegal, is this fair?

Be Kind, Rewind – New Gondry movie. Oh yes:

The Faint – Agenda Suicide: