Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

I know her through my fridge

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

How do you know your best friend? School, neighbourhood, college, work? That’s how I know most but not all of my friends. With the fast rise of the Internet and the social aspects to it, more and more of the population are meeting and building friendships thanks to sites like,, Gaydar, Bebo, mySpace and all the various blogs out there. Of late it seems that Facebook and Twitter are the new social spaces to hang out on, such is the nature of trends.

Jyri Engestrom from Jaiku has done a good few talks now about the idea of “social objects” and how Flickr, mySpace have all done well from making their services very social. Flickr for example allows comments, allows you to comment and communicate with others and see the photos of others who comment on photos. Relationships and communities have formed as a result of Flickr making it easier for people to communicate and having Flickr as the talking point for the initial converations.

See, that’s the thing. We are communicators. It is in our DNA to communicate. From cave paintings to smoke signals to architecture, it’s all about communicating in the present or to future generations. It makes sense in a way to design a product that facilitates conversation and communication even if that is not the core function of your product.

Cave paintings

Matt Webb presented his idea of “products are people too” at Reboot this year and I think he was spot on. Design a product as if it is a person and consider how it fits into the rest of the environment.

For a business, making your product a “friend” of people and not just an object could benefit you greatly. Think about those car enthusiast sites that are out there and all the meetups they have on a regular basis. All evangelists for your product and a nice cheap/free tech support and R&D division too. If you have a product, why not build a discussion forum around it, make a Bebo profile for it and a Facebook profile? Put it on Twitter and send announcements out via that service. Consider the Nokia 770 lemmingisation of Irish bloggers and Twitter users recently. About 25 Nokia 770s have been bought so far, all because of one person at a meeting where some very connected people were at. This device was trusted by one person, who happily showed it off, we trusted the person who trusted their review and communicated out to the world about it. While Nokia didn’t encourage us to communicate out about it, we did anyway because of the nature of bloggers, but they are a teeny tiny subset of net users. If you enabled everyone to communicate their liking for something, it’d be powerful. However Nokia do have support forums for the N770 and lend support to hobbyists doing all sorts of fun with the device.

Why buy advertising on Bebo and Facebook and even Google ads when instead you can pay nothing for a profile and have those connected to you generate some buzz or have a discussion forum around the product and create a community who become friends. Friends that consider your product as the mutual friend that built their friendship. Like conversation snippets like “Hey, isn’t your buddy an electrician? I’m looking to get some work done.” you might also start having conversations like “Hey, I see you are a member of the Electrolux Fridge Facebook group. I assume they’re good?” In fact even before asking, your friends will assume they are good and need persuading otherwise. I’m sure companies would kill to have their product thought of in that light.

Fab fridges on facebook

Kind of on the same topic, the smoking ban could have been a great marketing moment for the tobacco companies if they were clever enough and made the outside smoking areas places to facilitate chatting with strangers and new people. Massive opportunity missed. More on smoking and marketing in a future blog post.

Anyways, while Facebook, Bebo, MySpace and so forth are “free” you still need a person to update them, the same way you need a sysadmin of some sort to look after open source software. The human touch is a good thing though. In regards to discussion forums, if you don’t want to build your own, you can always create one on a site like which already has a massive audience who all could become potential customers. offers “commerical interaction” forums which are a great way of interacting with your customers.

The big issue here is some idiot PR company (no I won’t link 🙂 ) will come along and offer to “Facebookise” a company or “Beboise” a company and convince the company that once the profile is set up, the work ends. Nopes. Same rule for blogs, you need to keep at it and on a regular basis. There seem to be some PR and morketing companies around in Ireland that try and convince companies that Second Life and Bebo is where it’s at and while free, there is no work involved. All these new social sites and ideas also mean more work. Course these are the same companies that create fake profiles on discussion forums and talk up new companies and services, pissing off everyone and instantly getting the sites negative publicity.

Anyways, in conclusion, making a product a social object and creating methods for people to talk about it or talking about what it has done (for example with Flickr, it hosts photos and the photos are the talking points) could be a fantastic way of building your brand and building trust. Having a product more like a friend or familiar stranger is one way of doing business.

Fluffy links Wednesday August 8th 2007

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Vote for Keith!

Via Una (of course) are details of a nice service if you are too lazy to set up your own tent at Electric Picnic. Speaking of which, anyone want a ticket for Electric Picnic? I have a spare.

I know it’s geeky but this API for the Wiimote so you can design a webpage for it, is sooo cool.

So Irish workers are happy workers? Really?

Oh god. I wonder are our tax people as bad at sharing their passwords?

Via Jim Carroll, let your fans be your VCs.

How bad are British Airways for lost luggage?

BA was the worst large carrier in Europe for losing bags, with one in 36 passengers affected. The special flights were used by BA to clear a backlog of 22,000 items of luggage that were not transported on flights with their owners.

And from the not got a clue Dept. Business school wants applicants to send in Powerpoint presentations.

Nicely put by Tim Worstall, maybe the Govt wants airlines tickets listed inclusively with tax so we can’t see how much the Govt swipes? Perhaps all receipts from retailers should have that added in? Petrol, beer, ciggies.

A review of the Homer Sapien:

Trailer for Volver, got it yesterday on DVD:

This Google phone thing

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Nope. I am very doubtful they will bring out their own mobile.

They are certainly working on software applications for phones but they will almost definitely NOT make a hardware phone that will compete with the iPhone or any pricey phones. I’m sure they have loads and loads of concept phones that they’ve designed though. Eric Schmidt is on the Apple board so no Google phone will happen until that changes. As Pat Phelan keeps on pointing out, the vast majority of the world cannot afford the Jesus Phone or any clones of it. Most have simple, very simple mobiles.

In fact at the end of this year 50% of the world population will have a mobile phone but most of these will not be running Windows Mobile or the Symbian operating system. Google knows this well so I assume their innovations on the mobile side will be via simple and tiny software that can install on any phone or via specially designed gateways. The Western World will get their 3g connections and broadband speeds on their phones, so Google will be releasing software for this but they will also be working on applications that will use a tiny amount of resources on very basic phones if they are serious about accessing all the world’s information and not just the western world.

Google I’m sure will probably give away designs for cheapo mobiles, like they have done with power supply designs. Let others be hardware companies.

Areas I see innovation happening with Google and mobile will be:

  • Accessing your corporate network via a mobile gatway to the Google Search Appliance. The box you put on your network to index all the data on your intranet, will come with an option which will allow your staff to access data using their mobile phones. Either via a GPRS or 3G connection or possibly even via SMS. Summaries of the searches will be sent back with the option of downloading the document to your mobile, if you have the bandwidth.
  • Accessing your home computer using Google Desktop Search. Potentially a security nightmare and more of a fuss being made than the corporate edition but nonetheless, this has strong potential of being release.
  • Integrating both of these into a search option on phones so it will search your computer, Intranet and the web you get back results as well as ads tailored for the mobile.
  • With the above, I’d expect Google to buy (5 billion ads in 18 months) AdMob or else build out their own improved version.
  • Take the last few points above, I can forsee the possibility of a potential deal with mobile operators to provide a free web connection (not data) in exchange for a revenue share with Google. Google could even offer to connect direct to the mobile networks and look after all the external bandwidth costs. Click to call will be offered too. Shame their WiFi in San Fran is shit.
  • Expect them to do a deal with the up and coming Wifi phone companies to have Google apps on these phones. Revenue shares or direct subsidies could very well happen.
  • FON. They’re supporting FON for a reason you know. As WiFi phones take off, they’ll do another deal like the mobile deal above with FON for revenue share and pay for the bandwidth.

Fluffy Links – Tuesday August 7th 2007

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Irish Blogger Barbeque in Limerick.

Coming to the FireFox talk in Cork on Wednesday? Register if you want to come along.

Speaking of Cork, Cork people will find this funny: KnockaTV. Not what you think.

PC Live now also have a blog.

I see the VCs behind Imagine Telecom have themselves been bought into. Had anyone heard of Esprit Capital Partners?

More on Ubuntu.

Kevin Mitnick’s business card.

A union for bloggers. Hmm.

It’s our car now, Dave. Kinda.

Via Patrick Collison. You may need to know about Steve Ballmer’s “Developers gorrila dances of old” to fully get this:

How Facebook will outdo Google and become the No.1 search site

Monday, August 6th, 2007

1. Keep allowing outside apps to suck in the web.
2. Keep locking in data.
3. Get users to produce more and more content inside the Facebook walls. Buy content creation companies.
4. Index all the data. Buy search tech to make it better.
5. Buy an ad company for ad tech to make Facebook ads as good as Google ads. Right now they’re very 1997.
6. Connect profiles to the ad system, allowing ads far more targetted than Google’s, increasing the cost per click and making more money per ad.
7. Turn on outside search so you offer all the web plus inside Facebook too. Reap the rewards of an ad system that’s based on 30M user profiles and which outguns Google and Microsoft’s ad systems.
8. Buy Yahoo!
9. Remind Jerry Yang of his company trying to buy you, as you send him out to get you coffee in Starbucks.

Fluffy links – August 6th 2007

Monday, August 6th, 2007

Going through Facebook and I find the Pat McDonnell Paint Sales Ltd Facebook Group which is populated by students from a University in Maryland.

You can now buy a “green pc” for 99 bucks and 12 bucks a month subscription. Free with your ISP in a few years, I bet.

Gerry suggests outsourcing politics and tribunals to execution friendly China.

I’d love to see Cannibal – The Musical in kilkenny but it’s on at the most awkward time of year for me.

Mary is going for the IIA Board. It should be televised and done in the style of Miss World.

This is oddly cool. Demolishing a building by removing one floor at a time. Starting on the ground floor.

Ambient findability:It’s a trap!

If you’re Irish and you know it clap your hands and meet Paddy’s Valley

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Paddy’s Valley are looking to find Irish ex-pats who they can meet up with when in San Fran/Silicon Valley from December 2nd to December 9th. If you are living in San Fran/Silicon Valley or know Irish people who are, please put them in touch with us.

It also got me searching to see is there an Irish ex-pat business people group on facebook and while there seems to be hundreds of Irish groups for everything, I couldn’t find one specifically for Irish ex-pat business people or at least one that explicitly stated it. So I created one. If you’re on Facebook then please join it.

Now if I were a restaurant or food company – 30 Irish Foodie blogs

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

I’d be inviting these 29 or so bloggers to come to my restaurant or evaluate my food products or come to my food fair. James, you’ll be making an OPML file no doubt? Deborah is wondering whether there should be a Food Blog Category at the next Blog Awards. Not a bad idea and if there are still 30 active food blogs, then yes, it might be workable.

Of course maybe it should also turn into a Ready, Bloggy, Cook?

Fluffy Links – Friday August 3rd 2007

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

In case you missed it, The Bitter Pill is back and in fine form.

Rob teaches y’all how to hack the Blogger template to add Digg and Reddit widgets.

For all those interior design buffs, some nice LCD lumin lights.

Beautiful and amazing rice paddy works of art. Been around the blogs this week but finally looked at the page yesterday. Wow.

This is just amazingly weird. An award winning author is far too candid on his break-up.

Wine tasting videocasts. This guy is hyperactive! All good and he is on Twitter and Facebook and all the rest.

If you like David Beckham and wanted to see that photospread with his missus.

And now for some Sopranos music videos:
One is about the relationship between Johnny Sack and his wife set to INXS:

And then Sopranos mixed with Daniel Bedingfield (Graphic violence alert. Violence inducing shite music alert.):

and then there’s this:

Ah lads. Stop – The Culture of Gov Orgs afraid to use the paddle

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Earlier this week I was on the Last Word, as was someone from the Data Protection Commissioner. They have been on a big PR run of late, getting themselves lots of attention for raids and investigations they carried out. Investigations that rarely end in prosecutions due to their catch, warn and let go policy. If they catch you once and give out to you, you get away with it but they’ll get you if you do it again. Their latest press release was about warning a restaurant that SMS spammed their customers without permission. The DPC said it was ignorance on their side and they were not aware it was the law. I pointed out that their current policy means that companies know they can carry out a massive assault on customers and harass them like hell up until the DPC comes in and says stop. Professional, multimillion euro companies. Such as TalkTalk. Read all about it in the Data Protection Commissioner’s report for 2006.

TalkTalk rang 1000s, perhaps 10s of 1000s of people pushing them into signing with them. They were so nice to stop once the DPC told them to. Now read the text of this. These people had stated on many occassions they did not want to be contacted again and they were ignored. The opt-out registry was also ignored. I personally know people who would get 3-4 calls per day from them:

Talk Talk (previously known as Tele 2 which was taken over by Carphone Warehouse and re-branded Talk Talk) was making marketing phone calls to individuals who had already expressly told Talk Talk that they did not wish to be contacted, or who had exercised their right to be recorded on the National Directory Database opt-out register.

And so what did the DPC do? Fuck all:

Given that this was Talk Talk’s first offence (albeit a number of offences were committed at the same time), it was decided to give them one opportunity to take remedial action and to put new practices and procedures in place as an alternative to prosecution.

Examples need to be set and set for more than just a PR stunt. If this were a negligence case, a court would not be so forgiving. “Next time we’ll check the brakes.”

Another example, this time from my old nemesis ComReg who are doing a bit more lately that I’m happy about, but as usual the follow-through is not so good. So after 10 years of complaints ComReg finally reported that eircom were giving preference to their retail customers over reseller customers when it came to fixing the phone service. No? Really?

However, they had a reason why this happened :

It is understood that the problem related to the systems Eircom used to log repair requests from other operators, which meant that these requests were not being escalated if they were not resolved within the initial time period promised to the other operator.

So what happened next? Nada. Nothing. SFA. Now, if you look at ComReg’s history of eircom investigations, they have a half-hearted investigation, find eircom did do what was reported but it was down to a mistake, a bug in a database or a incorrectly implemented system and nothing more than that. eircom calling old customers who left to BT and enticing them back when they were not allowed to or the customers said do not call. “Bug in their database”. Same thing again a little while later. “Different bug in the database” and so on and so forth. With an organisation like eircom being so big, I bet they could have a new bug every day for the next ten years which would accidently allow them to screw over their competitors. How about punitive encouragement from ComReg to have eircom implement a better quality control system for their operations? Such as “do anything like this again and we’ll find you 5% of turnover”. That’s surely the best encouragement for eircom with their past history of bugs?

And of course then there’s the Comptroller. Via 73Man is the attitude that all those involved in the PPARS, e-voting and other over-spending debacles suffer enough as it is without getting further punishment:

But then he is asked about what fitting negative sanctions could be assigned to underperforming public servants when they cock up royally but their political masters move on or are not returned:

In many cases, the public berating of the people involved in controversies is punishment enough, I believe.

Nice culture we’ve got going here isn’t it? But they’ll throw some bin charge protestors into jail no problem.