Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Dunbar revisited 147.8++

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

I’ve written previously about the Dunbar number, a number which is apparently hardwired into our brains and creates an upper limit to the amount of people we can comfortably interact with in our lives. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now and the way we obviously structure relationships in our brain. We have so many aides now to help us store more information about a person and I suppose we don’t need to include that in whatever profile we have for those 150 people in our noggin. I’m wondering if we can increase the 147.8 towards 250 or 350 or 450 and still manage to have good relationships with them? I wonder are we doing this already anyway?

150 we can manage BUT only in communities where we all want to be that connected and are willing to work for it. Apparently Dunbar saw that groups of a large size like 150 spent 42% of their time social grooming in order to keep that group size alive but language brought that number down so there was not as much effort. Please Jesus tell me that poking and quiz spamming on Facebook is not social grooming. ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice though that communications and sharing (in a sense) can help lessen the effort to maintain cohesion.

We don’t remember phone numbers anymore do we? Phones do that. Emails? Well email address structures are almost a standard now and the GMail contacts list helps us there too. Facebook and other social networks help too with all the fluffy details about a person: Birthday, education, stripper name etc. The world is becoming so connected too that our number of friends is probably increasing over generations so I wonder is part of our brain physically evolving too so that the number goes up? If language brought that 42% down a bit, what about social networks and technology? We can interact more efficiently now and store details of the interactions, leaving more space in that brain of ours.

Shel Israel in a recent post also was thinking about pushing this number up:

When I wrote the book outline, I estimated that the largest of these global neighborhoods would be no bigger than 150, a number I derived directly from Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point–a book you should still all read. But, technology has allowed that number to get larger. Perhaps 500 “friends can actually communicate with each other. But most neighborhoods are much smaller perhaps less than 15 members.

I tried my little experiment a little while back with Facebook where I messaged everyone I was connected with and tried to have proper conversations and tailored each message to the person and what I already knew about them. It wasn’t easy at all and by the end I was just sending almost generic messages to people but they were still ok I suppose though a lot shorter than the first that I sent. I learned a little about each person too. Funnily enough though I wonder do we have to seek out news from people now with all these activity walls and blogs. I have been in this conversation (of a sort):

“Any news? ” Yeah I was in Dublin today, bought some new shoes ” “Ah yeah, read that on your twitter or was it your Facebook or I dunno, one of your outlets” “Ah yeah, Facebook, how was the play, saw your review on the blog”…

So it does look like we are pushing that number up. I’d love though to see some kind of interaction chart for all of our online lives and personas. If Tumble blogs ran stats AND also logged the way we interact with our friends, it’d be great. GMail has frequently contacts listed, iTunes and our iPod and LastFM measure what we play most, it would be good to measure all forms of communication with people and chart it. We could see then are we seriously pushing that 150 limit. So why doesn’t someone create a Dunbar app for my phone, my email, my blog, my Facebook and my feedreader? Google would buy you easily.

Fluffy Links – Thursday January 3rd 2008

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Alan is looking for email marketing success stories. Got any?

Check out Dan Dennison’s work. Hire him if you want. The Tribune said he was one of 50 to watch this year. As well as Nialler and the girls.

Fantastic tips from the Sindo Value Ireland.

The Segala guys are in Cork on the 7th. You about?

There are a few places left on the Free Blog Training Course.

Hello Kitty contacts. Sheesus.

The Beeb now has a tech blog. Yay apart from the partial feeds.

Absolute Zero and Absolute hot.

Soup for you. God I’m hungry.

2007’s Best Emerging Green Technologies.

Via Michael Gartenberg:

6 of 22 Blog Awards Categories left for sponsorship

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

A few categories are left for sponsorship:

  • Best News/Current Affairs Blog
  • Best Music Blog
  • Best Crafts Blog
  • Best Popculture blog
  • Best Food/Drink blog

and of course Best Blog.

Prices and details of other sponsorship opportunities are available here.

Wait, did Mozilla just become a data broker?

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

So the next data wars are about who holds all our attention data, right? Right now Google is doing their best to grab on to this data by logging everything we do via all their services but they’re also giving us our search history, helping us find what we searched for before. Not for us really but for them and when that’s pointed out they do the whole big bad wolf “the better to see you m’dear”. M’yeahright. Sure it helps their search results but it also helps them profile you so they can serve better ads. Yes, they have profiles on us and while they are truthful in that they anonymize our surfing and search data after 18 months, what about the profiles? What about giving us back THAT data?

Then there’s Facebook who too are logging all our interactions with people and profiles. What are they deriving from all of that, would they care to share? No, I doubt it.

Google call this data derived data and while they are truthful about allowing you to export some of your data and just LOVE talking about not holding “user data hostage” the information those magnificent men in their googling machines derive is not given to us and they really don’t want to give that gold away. Lots of excuses why, of course:

“It’s general Google policy to try not hold user data hostage, and we on the Reader team try our best to abide by that. In this case, exporting of attention data is a rather murky concept since there doesn’t seem to be a commonly accepted format for it.

It also depends how to define attention data. You mentioned feed rank, but that’s something that’s computed based on your usage patterns, and thus could be considered derived data, not raw attention data. From what I can tell, at its lowest level attention data is every single action that you have done in an application”

It was in a past blog post here where I said that if we controlled our activity data, we could actually make money from search engines and the likes of Microsoft HealthVault, so there’s potential there. So I was quite interested when Mozilla announced Weave, their system which will store your Firefox preferences on their servers and when you install a new Firefox on a new computer, it can go to the Mozilla servers and download all your preferences and bookmarks. Great. And…

They are building APIs to allow access to it by yourself and others. Very interesting. Lots of great privacy and sharing options means you have full and granular control of your data. They are going with the slow and safe route but you can be sure that when all the bugs and issues are ironed out, your search data and surfing data will suddenly become available to share too. All opt-in too. Read more on their thoughts here. It seems they are taking the Amazon philosophy and encouraging clients and applications to be built on their services, meaning the complexity is up to outside developers while they’ll just offer neutral data moving and storage services. Good call.

This is a massively positive step for the ideas of Attention, the Database of Intentions and Vendor Relationship Marketing. Good one Moz. Think IE8 is about to get another code rewrite?

Fluffy Links – Wednesday January 2nd 2008

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

Grannymar goes back over her year.

I already pointed to this photo but John Braine doesn’t like trolleys.

Check out Pat’s post on Opera Telecom. Link to it too so more people can group together and talk about them.

Attention seeking hippies at it again. No, not the Amnesty Interference people, this Tipperary Peace Price people. Giving a prize to the person in all the world headlines. Katy French not big enough for them? Great PR.

I love Neil Gaiman’s New Year Wishes.

How to get your political ad shown for free – Pull it.

The Wikipedia entry for blogs with a few words removed.

The French give a taxbreak for making video games in France. Expect Snooty Waiter 1, 2, 3 to come out on the Wii in a year or two.

Gruff Rhys – Candylion

Super Furry Animals – Juxtaposed With U

Sneaky Social Selling 101: Make (tainted) money from Facebook Groups via Sgroups

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Alexia coined the phrase and I like it so much I bought the company, er, no I mean I liked it so much I stole the term too. I have a few groups I created on Facebook, one of which is the Dear L Drivers group. I didn’t look at it for a whole while and next thing there’s 600 people in the group. I’d love to see 1000 or 2000 people in the group and getting them to engage with each other. But. The evil side of my mostly evil brain was thinking “Couldn’t these groups be used by spammers or sneaky sellers to make money?”.

For example, imagine if a car parts company offered me money to to send a message to all members with some special deal they were offering? Does Facebook say no to this? Imagine if some insurance company offered to buy into the group and take it over and offer cheap insurance to the most young members of the group? What could Facebook do about it besides close the group? Not worth suing the insurance company. There’s probably something in the terms and conditions to prevent this, maybe a law nerd can check it out? I can just see the Pay for Post opportunists coming along and doing something like this. Build something up and then flip it. Isn’t this the business model of so many web apps these days? Build up a massive audience and make money by selling it to Google and the like?

Just look at all the groups that instantly pop up in Facebook surrounding a news event. Within minutes/hours there was a group for Benazir Bhuto and her murder. It currently has 800+ members. I wonder will we see spam groups or “sgroups” start popping up more and more just to get the attention of people in Facebook who love nothing better than to join a group on something that’s in the news? Big event, get people signed up and then sell them out. Or how about creating a “silly” or “fun” group on Facebook such as the I Use my Cell Phone to See in the Dark Group which has over 400,000 members. Imagine flipping that? How much would people pay for access to those people? I wonder are Facebook going to start offering some revenue share deal with these groups actually? That’s one way of stopping potential abuse. Many of these groups have been created by bored college students. But college students are idealists and would never sell out for beer and pizza money so we’re safe there…

But but, we can do positive things too. I freewheeled about this over and Twitter and JP Rangaswami came back with a few very salient points:
Am I really the owner?

“Who owns the group?”. The administrator? The initiator? I would have thought “its members”

Your group or community won’t last long if you sell them off:

as Julius Henry said all those years ago, I wouldn’t want to belong to a group who sold me as a member.

But he also points out that buying or hiring a creator is about their potential:

Ah but. “a salesman is only as good as his NEXT sale”. So when I buy a creator, it is for what she WILL DO, not what she DID.

And that there is a positive way to make money from a group/community you brought together. Get yourself noticed and get experience in looking after a group like that and don’t sell out, don’t do sneaky ads, instead use your skills to gather a community for a company or other interested party. It’s harder to do than just selling out though but I hope it becomes the norm. They’re now refering to people that do this as “community managers” which is a term that bothers me a bit and it’s not just me!

So, being an evil and making money is still a choice. With pay per post tanking, I really do wonder will their people start ruining Facebook too?

Completely Wrong Predictions for 2008

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

2008 is going to be the most boring year in tech ever. Everything is about iteration. Yawn yawn yawn. More iterations on touchscreens. More freer mobile devices, yet they won’t change at all much. More WiMax vapourware from Intel more strawgrabbing by Microsoft. More social networking fandangos. More people shilling social media to “enterprise” without knowing if or how it works and whether it’ll benefit a company. Invention itself though will seem stunted or neutered as the once anarchy filled web with so much variety cross-fertilises into one grey lump.

2008 will see a matching of two distinct groups, both desperate for attention. Presidential candidates in the States will join up with desperate startups and do something “innovative” for Politics 2.0. It’ll be all noise and nothing of substance. Again.

There’ll be even more privacy breaches in Ireland and more spam and more unsolicited calls and yet again the limp and lame Data Protection Commissioner will do nothing but write an end-of-year report on how great they are. Liars. Nobody will really give a damn either, until someone starts seriously abusing our data and it starts to affect more and more of us then bits will get into daily conversations and we’ll hear “Why isn’t something being done to protect are data?” replacing the urban legends about African immigrants getting free cars and petrol to drive their kids to school. For a while at least.

57million ego channels and nothing on
Videoblogging or video journalism will take off. Sky News and the BBC are doing their damnedest to make sure that happen. While Seesmic is shit (for now but I hope this changes) it’s actually boosting video blogging and encouraging a good internetworking of the Europeans and the Americans. This will continue as QIk will also contribute to this as well. Hopefully we might see a LiveTube site that gives us a Videodrome-like service that shows all the live shows on right now and who are viewing them as well as creating timelines that mix news stories and the video reactions to them.

The Irish Times will open up
While some won’t want to see the paymodel go away after defending it for years, the paywalls at the Irish Times will fall away and traffic will go up and up, making this quality paper rightly go up in rankings for all things Ireland. The Irish Times will internally consider buying or asking Kieran Murphy from IceCreamIreland to do a weekly piece for their food and lifestyle blog. Nothing might happen though.

Property investors take a gamble
With the sagging property market, the people who had fun investing and wheeling and dealing in property will miss the cut and thrust and will look elsewhere. Some clever startups might encourage some of these guys at a racemeet to invest in a few startups. Some will only invest because a formal rival has invested and once again there’s a competition. While not taking an active role in their investments (thank goodness) they will at the same time tell all and sundry about the business, generating more buzz. 15 years later EI will release a report suggesting that it might be a good idea to look at property investors and developers as potential investors in technology.

RTE will also start figuring new media out
Get ready to see a blog or two on RTE but it will be a conservative move to start with. Start seeing stupid sonsofbitches use the blog comments to vent about anything at all to do with RTE. Start seeing the comments being moderated. RTE will start allowing video replies to news items. Again, heavily moderated but it will be a welcome start. There are some keen and progressive minds in RTE so when this move happens, it would be good to see this getting welcomed and praised instead of nitpicked.

Blogging will get a mainstream regular slot
Be it RTE Online,, Newstalk or TodayFM, one of them will do a regular thing on “blog reactions” to news items. Something like what Slate does already. All it takes is a proactive blogger to get off their ass and sell the idea.

Online generated number 1 in the music charts
Using the momentum that started with the Waits for Christmas, someone will get a song to number 1 in Ireland just from hype created online. The unknown (til then) artist will be like the Ron Paul for Irish music. We Irish are good at pissing off the Brits by voting the Wolfe Tones as the best song ever and we’ll bring it all back home by getting an unknown artist to number 1 just because we can and we want to screw around with the system. Further proof that you give an Irishperson rules and they’ll work out ways to break them.

Ones to watch in 2008

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

So here’s my list of ones to watch in 2008. Here are the ones from 2007.

In no particular order:

Robin Blandford.
Robin’s a genius. I could stop there but his energy and his drive and his creativity mark him out from the pack. He’s currently at Reuters and he’s doing some interesting things there and they’re sending him off to Singapore in the next while. I’m sure he might spend a little longer in the company but one day he’ll probably have a startup or two or three. Maybe one day two he’ll come back to Ireland and work here when the environment can handle multi-talented people like Robin without them getting bored.

Fergus Burns
I’m having more and more chats with Fergus this year and more and more email chats with him and the folks in Nooked. Hardest working man in tech? He’s certainly in the running. Known all over the world, not just Ireland and the UK, he’s a networking machine. Many doors in Silicon Valley for the Paddy’s Valley group were opened up to us because of Fergus. Towards the end of 2007 Fergus deservedly won the Netvisionary of the Year and bloody right too. I have a huge amount of time for Fergus because he has a huge amount of time for everyone and unlike our own Government organisations, he opens up his rolodex and makes connections.

The Paddy’s Valley 20
Or at least a small amount from the group. There are some very intelligent and creative people that headed to Paddy’s Valley and I think over the next few years we’ll see some shining stars appear from that crew. More work, more graft and more scars and we’ll see success from this group.

Patrick Collison, John Collison and all at Auctomatic
They’ve already done what most Irish startups are talking about. Good idea, good product and good backers. All before lunchtime. Keep watching them in 2008.

Richard Hearne
He’s the S.E.O. God in Ireland but he’s changing direction slightly in 2008. I’ve met Richard a good few times now and the man isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade yet he’s not a crank. Richard doesn’t suffer fools gladly so couple that with his great talent and intelligence and how understands the web and how humans work with websites and viceversa and you know why I think he’s one to watch. Sub to his blog, see what he’s up to and try and work with Richard in 2008 if you can.

Conor O’Neill
Argolon, LouderVoice, OpenCoffees, originator of the Paddy’s Valley idea and planner who couldn’t make it in the end which was a bloody shame. His balls got him a lot of attention in 2007 but lets hope it’s his community spirit and his great products that get him attention in 2008.

Alexia Golez
My partner in crime when it comes to fights over on Twitter. We have frank, personal but not too abusive disagreements about disagreements on Twitter. She’s the Ken Starr to my Bill Clinton indescretions. Another person that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. No happy happy clap clap from her. If you want someone to deconstruct your web application or IT Project, this is the person for you. I didn’t make it to the FOWA event in Dublin in 2007 but I heard from a few people that she made a few presenters sweat. She’s currently working in Microsoft and I do wonder whether she’d be better suited in a smaller company that appreciates her talent more. Hire her for some nixers. Ahhh, enough of that bullshit, she’s only on this list cos she’s the token female.

Martha Rotter
I’m sure the Microsoft haters will once again talk about conspiracies here as I point to a second Microsoft person in my list. Good, I love baiting losers. Martha is an evangelist, a proper evangelist that you don’t see much on this side of the Atlantic. She shows a passion and understanding of the products she shows off, can engage you in a very techy discussion about whatever, knows how to network and will go to the ends of the earth to follow up on any queries you have, even when it’s barely linked to the area she works in. I really do think that Irish people should see how Martha does her work and then just rip it off. ๐Ÿ™‚ Check when the next Microsoft roadshow is and then book a place to see Martha present. It’ll be worth it.

Marcus Mac Innes
One of the Paddy’s Valley groupies. I knew a little about him and his project (Pixie, pronounce it Pixie, he get’s slightly violent if you say Pix dot ie) before the event but knew nothing of the guy himself. Marcus has this great laid back attitude, good business sense and is a mischief maker too. Nice mix. Looking forward to seeing what Marcus and does in 2008.

Pat Phelan
Fuck’s sake, Pat, get out of my lists will ya! Pat is here again because I have a strong belief that he’s going to make 2008 interesting for himself and all the rest of us. See what I already said about him in 2007.

Cian O’Flaherty
Another chap from the 2007 list. Expect more to come from Cian in 2008.

Paul Fabretti
He only got into this list because of the grandmother rule, you the one that the soccer team uses, if your gran was Irish she can get a soccer jersey. Or something like that. He moved jobs in 2007 and it was through Facebook that he got his job. Impressive. As social media takes off so then we hope Paul’s career will too. Still, he needs to work on the Paul Fabretti global microbrand a little bit. ๐Ÿ™‚ No pressure now with all of us watching him.

Paul Walsh
The most connected man in the digital and web media in the UK. And Irish. Paul Walsh and I have our ups and downs on issues. *cough* Sheriff badge *cough* and he never fails to cause a stir and polarise people, however Paul is another man generous with his time and his rolodex and always seems to want to help others. How come most of the Irish that do that are NOT in Ireland? Anyway, hopefully we’ll see Paul being a little more selfish in 2008 and putting Segala first. I’ve tested out the content labels product from Segala and I think maybe with a different spin it could take off. It certainlu makes the web a lot cleaner and easier to use. It could be used to turn Google into a spam free resource.

Fluffy Links – New Years eve 2007

Monday, December 31st, 2007

An Post opens back up in April?

Handy list from Sinรฉad on her top 2007 albums. I am still of the belief that The National’s “Boxer” album is woeful self-indulgent tripe. Yet everyone else disagrees. *shrug*

Why are they boycotting Bock?

Like we need more ammo to think Glen Handard is a dick. He compares himself to a shamen and shits down on Ireland.

Love this photo.

Everything you wanted to know about VRM and data storage.

A sign saying watch out for the sign!


That’s how low he can and did go:

Little Fluffy Clouds:

The Irish yet again miss another obvious opportunity

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

So this writers strike in Hollywood/America. No shows can be made if they don’t have writers. Heroes, Lost and loads more are going to be delayed. While Letterman has done a deal with his writers, the main strike is going to go on and on. Where is the IDA on this? Why are they not showing ABC, NBC and CBS what we can offer them. Let’s export all the quality shows we have out there and even create spinoffs.

Fair City L.A.
Fair City is SHIT
Bella, Leo, Jimmeeeeeeh and whoeverthefuckelse is on that show take a trip out there. And fit in. But all written and filmed in Ireland. The setmakers already make it seem like Carrigstown is realer than real so L.A. should be just as easy to copy on to shaky wooden frames.

But there’s more!
But hell, with P.S., I’m an eejit doing so well and Irish accents being all hot again, let’s give them quality stuff. Glenroe. Dinny and Miley and Fanny and Biddie and endsinYie and their Billy Barry kids with D4 accents.

Then to feed their habit, let’s unleash Bracken on them. No, not the fella, the show.

And the game shows
Where in the World (book still available for 200 sterling) and Head 2Toe should be exported out to Lala land too. (Aside: I would have thought Fustar had some Theresa Lowe stuff but alas no.)

We have tonnes of stuff that we could ship over. What else could we send over? We’ve not even started on the quality from TV Three.