Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category

Blog Awards 2008 – Category suggestions wanted

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

The 2008 Blog Awards will be in February, not in the usual month of March. As a result planning for it is starting earlier this year for it. I’ve been getting feedback all through the year so I’lll be removing some categories and I’ll be adding others. If you want to suggest a category please do but do remember I’m looking for a category/niche where there are least 20 blogs covering that area. Otherwise I’m not sure it is worth creating a category but perhaps the next year there might be numbers for Blog Awards 4.

These are the existing categories for the Blog Awards:

* Best Blog
* Best Blog Post
* Most Humorous Post
* Best Photo Blog
* Best Arts and Culture Blog
* Best Political Blog
* Best Group Blog

* Best Personal Blog
* Best Use of the Irish Language in a Blog
* Best Contribution to the Irish Bloggersphere Replaced with another award along same lines
* Best Technology Blog/Blogger

* Best Designed Blog
* Best Sport & Recreation Blog
* Best News/Current Affairs Blog
* Best Specialist Blog

* Best Newcomer
* Best Business Blog
* Best Music Blog

These will be in the Irish Web Awards instead:
* Best Podcast
* Best Podcaster
* Best Videocast

Suggested new categories:
* Best Youth/Under 18 blog
* Best Food/Drink Blog
* Best Arts and Crafts Blog
* Best Popculture blog
* Best blog from a journalist

Science Week Ireland blogging competition Day 2 – “What invention do you want to see most in the future?”

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Another day, another Wii. Yesterday saw a load of entries and they’re all worth reading. Some of them are dripping with nostalgia and brought back a lot of old memories.

Today the question posed is “What invention do you want to see most in the future?”.

Already out of the blocks early this morning is Roosta with Giant Fighting Robots.

Daragh – Star Trek-like Transporters.

Simon wants room temp superconductors.

Gerry wants Rocket backpacks.

Kevin wants a Provigil prescription.

Darran wants free energy. Not love. Well. Maybe…

Rumble Strips wants calorie killers and self-cleaning houses.

Treasa wants a Bueqonit.

Liam wants a DNA analyser/fixer.

David wants a hyper-book.

Brian wants a big bloody feat of technology engineering, not something namby-pamby. Right on!

Red Mum wants a transporter.

Bernie wants a CarSynch.

Raptured Ponies want Super Strings.

Johnny K says he wants a product that will guarantee healthy teeth and gums.

Joe wants an ultracheap data plan for world travel.

Conor says a medical diagnostic machine.

Joe says a landmine detector.

Adam says wireless electricity.

And since people keep asking me, not the Science Week people, prizes are awarded next week after all the postings.

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?

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

Who’s your nanny? In memory of Blogorrah – Lovelygirl pics courtesy of Speed Nanny

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I got sent these today as part of a PR promo for a device called the speed nanny. Nothing like promoting child safety like having the name of the product displayed on a low cut top of a model while she straddles a fast car. Stick in a few kids wondering what the feck is going on and you have perfection.

Speed Nanny 1


Satellite positioning combined with intelligent software gives drivers critical safety information when they need it most; when approaching accident risk locations such as dangerous junctions, bends, schools and pedestrian risk zones as identified by the Irish Road Safety Authority.

But if I read this right, it’s a handy device for warning you where coppers normally operate speed traps:

Speed Nanny monitors your speed and location as you drive and provides an alert approaching dangerous bends or junctions, school or pedestrian zones or a Garda identified accident risk zone. Accident Risk Zones are the stretches of road where Gardai are particularly concerned that people do not speed. The objective of Speed Nanny is to assist drivers in reducing their risk of accident and of inadvertently getting penalty points on their licence.

Speed Nanny 2

Speed Nanny retails at €199 is available by calling 1850 930 304 or from The girl on your hood is extra. Oh that last sentence could be misinterpreted. I should change that.

Update: Via Nat the ledge:
Nat is a ledge, no fucking seriously, he is

Update: More from Green Ink:
Speed Nanny 3

And from Gamma Goblin:
Speed Nanny

The Vulgarities of web ads – Why Internet Marketing/Advertising still sucks in 2007

Monday, September 24th, 2007

This is a post I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I’m probably going to be launching a few new blogs in the next few months and I want them to start paying for themselves and from seeing what is out there in terms of revenue generation, I’m frankly appalled at the advertising offerings. Google might dominate contextual advertising and all online advertising (Yahoo! and MSN, what’s the story like?) but god almighty they are the ugliest blots on the web landscape, more like boils than interesting notices and they aren’t very contextual in reality either. I’m sure I’ll offend many people with my views on this but I really have issues with ads on blogs and especially on personal blogs and now I’m listing them 🙂

My blog seems to rank well for everything but I got so sick of crowds approaching me to advertise on my blog that I stuck up an “Advertise here” page, which if people read, they’ll realise is me taking money off people and not giving them anything in return if I feel like it. While I don’t have ads, what I do have is a notice that appears above a blog post if the person has not visted my blog before. Just the once it will suggest that if they like what they see, why not subscribe. This is done by a wordpress plugin called “What would Seth Godin do.”

If you want to make money online you need some kind of revenue stream and unfortunately the easiest and laziest route to that is Google Adwords but in my view it also seems to be a route which encourages people more and more to start being “creative” with ad placements. Google used to be a lot stricter in their rules but obviously as the net population got used to the ads and started to ignore them, Google allowed more camoflaging techniques to creep in so they got better clickthru rates. I guess in their views deceptive does not equate to evil. I wonder do the 1000s that work on the Adword systems think they making the world actually better and take pride that people are being conned with the system they are working on? It’s a damned shame as the idea for these ads was supposedly to provide relevant information but why would you need to allow ads to wrap themselves into the genuine content so much if they were really relevant? I’d much prefer standard less profitable ads that I can choose on my commercial site and which look nice besides something obviously designed by an engineer of the Dilbert ilk.

Personal blog and business blogs/websites:

More and more I’m seeing personal blogs infected with Google ads. I agree with Robert Sweetnam on a lot of this. Why on earth if you have a dayjob and earn a living would you impose spam on your readers? To pay for the hosting? Hosting is cheap nowadays. My blog is a place for me to unleash and extract oddities from my brain and stick them on the web. If a friend called over for a cup of tea, I wouldn’t subject them to a charge to use the bathroom, or free usage in return for listening to an ad while they use the bathroom. Yet people do this on their personal blogs. I don’t expect them to have to see ads on my front door so I can pay my rent. If people come along and read my blog, great, I don’t think pushing ads on them is at all polite. True, there are plugins out there that remove Google ads for regular visitors but that still tells new people to the site they are not as welcome as others. I’d like people to feel welcome from day one. Welcome mat on door, come in and say hello and please do come back. Would you come back to a restaurant if the only started being nice if you came back a few more times?

And then there’s these “Get Firefox or fuck off my my site, oh and I make a dollar if you download it from me” ads doing the rounds. That’s telling people if they don’t wear the proper attire they’re not welcome to hear what you have to say. Your loss not theirs. Lovely.

In relation to businesses, why kind of message does it send out if you have your company reception full of advertising, why would you put ads on your own website either? I noticed that the IIA actually run ads on their website. That’s a shame.


Text Link Ads

Text link ads are designed to fool people into clicking links to gain website owners at the expense of making fools of their readers. I’ve seen some blogs that jam them in areas where you think they are navigational links. That’s complete deceptive and totally dishonest and is an awful way to treat visitors to your site and potential subscribers. It’s a total “fuck you” to them. Google doesn’t like them either because these are rigging the DNA of Google search which are links. You are being paid to change the rankings of sites by linking to them. It’s plain bribery. Google suggests adding nofollow and they’ll be happy but it still means you are running a switch and bait scam on visitors to your blog. That’s just bad manners. What impression are you giving to people by cheating them? And Google is well guilty here too. Look at these ads, for the general web user they are not going to realise these are ads before they click them.

Sneaky Google Ads

Content rewriters/link injectors

We’re slowly moving down the rankings gettting to the more sinister advertising that I’ve seen around. These ads are scripts or plugins that you write and they’ll rewrite your blog post or webpage and add links to words in your text and these links either go to ads or else cause popup ads right there on the page but these “links” are structured to look like proper links. They not only add tonnes of links to a single blog post and make it uglier but they also piss off people with useless popups, all for the sake of a few cents. This is just spyware on a page in my view and is pretty much an assault on a website visitor. Here’s an example of this:

Spyware like Ads

Pay Per Post and their ilk

Because there just isn’t enough ways to be dishonest and deceptive are there? These are the boyos who pay you to write nice things about products in order to boost the Google rankings of products as well as astroturf the net and making it look like there are a lot of people out there who love such and such a product. There has been a hell of a lot said about these guys but I find it very disappointing that people use this service to make a quick buck without thinking of the consequences. This is OUR web that is being polluted by these gangsters. This is the web version of perjury in my opinion.

So what am I going to go with?

Jeremiah Owyang says we have to get used to advertising and get over ourselves if we think it can go away. Funnily enough, if Google gets search to work much better than it is, advertising will surely decrease since the search results will always get us what we want. For me and for the blogs over the next few months, what I’ll go for is plain sidebar ads but as well as that I’m going have sponsorship for the blogs too. It’ll be way more work to get sponsorship but I think I’d rather have happy subscribers and well-treated new visitors than try any sleight of hand tricks for short term gain while losing long term readers.

You can of course just block ads on blogs but I don’t like that idea either since it just turns into an arms race and the spam arms race ain’t going well, is it?


Friday, September 21st, 2007

The Next Q+A is on October 19th, which is a Friday at a new venue: The Vaults, Connolly Station.


One of my favourite indy nights in Ireland, always fun and nice to see it turn into something like Freakscene. They now also have a Facebook Group too. Doubt I can make the next night as I have too much travel that week. Ah well. I’m just going to have to move to Dublin. (Oh no cry the Dublin OCCers)

Demetri Martin on Social Networking

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Cheers Dan!

Bolton Trust celebrates 20 years with conference on ‘Indigenous Entrepreneurship’

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Got a press release on this yest, never heard of this Bolton Trust crowd, but they’ve been around a while. Might be worth going to:

Entrepreneurs to Celebrate 20 Years of the Bolton Trust

The Bolton Trust, which was established in 1987 to encourage and promote new business enterprise in Ireland, will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a one-day conference on ‘Indigenous Entrepreneurship’ on Thursday 4th October 2007.The conference will be held at the Docklands Innovation Park on Dublin’s East Wall Road which is currently home to some 70 companies.

A number of speakers including Frank Ryan, Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland and two of Ireland’s best known entrepreneurs, Chris Horn and Liavan Mallin will address the event. Also attending will be architect and broadcaster, Duncan Stewart, who was involved with the foundation of the Bolton Trust. President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, will close the Conference with a presentation to four of the Trust’s founding members and afterwards will meet with delegates, speakers and members of the Trust.

To register attendance for the conference, contact Cairín O’Connor at 01 2401377, email info at or visit the

About The Bolton Trust

The Bolton Trust encourages and promotes new business enterprise in Ireland. It is an independent voluntary trust actively committed to assisting people to create sustainable business. The Bolton Trust was established at the height of Ireland’s ‘brain drain’ in 1987 by staff of the Dublin Institute of Technology to promote an enterprise culture and to offer young entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their business ideas in Ireland. The Trust currently has over 200 members. This membership is largely drawn from the various disciplines of DIT, Ireland’s largest third-level technological Institute and also from Ireland’s entrepreneurial community. Visit the website:

And now number 1 for the phrase … “star trek porn”

Friday, September 21st, 2007

I thought ranking first for “Irish Sluts” was interesting but noooo, this is more interesting alright. Number 1 on google that is.