Archive for the ‘irishblogs’ Category

Landed. Home. Tired. Talk soon.

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

My journey to my own bed is almost complete. 1000s of miles have been covered and now I have just a few more inches to go and fall asleep in my own bed and wake up readjusted to this timezone. New York is fantastic. Talk some more in a while.

Wishlists – More bloggers, more RSS and more rss evangelists

Monday, November 6th, 2006

(Ssssh I’m not really here, remember.)

This post is totally reworked from a draft post I wrote just after the 2006 Irish Blog Awards. A good deal has happened since but the pace of change and adoption of blogging and RSS hasn’t been fast enough in my view. While it’s not quite the time for a year in review, this is kind of one. I think so far in 2006 we saw a lot more business bloggers join into the Irish Blogging Community and a heck of a lot of politicians joining in too, thanks in large part to the Labour party who really do seem like they want to be part of this new way of communicating.

In July 2005 Tom Raftery had a post about Irish CEOs blogging and it would be nice to re-examine this because they still are the exceptions in this country.

At the start of 2006 I put a list of things I’d like to see for 2006. I never actually made this public. The list was:

  • At least one political party with a blogging policy in place and the ability for their councillors, senators and TDs to start a blog from the party’s main site. Additionally their news section should have RSS feeds.
  • At least one telco/ISP with one of their top people blogging and interacting with customers. Maybe Irish Broadband can address the 100s of complaints about their service with such a blog? Maybe BT Ireland’s head of billing can interact with the public and address the catastrophic failures of theirand again all their news available as RSS.
  • At least one Newspaper editor blogging and interacting with the public.
  • At least one Irish Football Club Chairman blogging and doing podcasts.
  • I’d like to see the majority of job sites running RSS feeds. If they won’t we’ll just do it for them.
  • I’d like to see movie reviews on offered in RSS format.
  • I’d like to see the majority of PR companies have staff blogging.

Some things have happened like FF, SF and Greens with RSS feeds and some have remained the exact same. I believe one of the journalists from one of the broadsheets is going to start blogging very soon. I know another journalist who’s blogging (though anon for now) but not about the stuff they cover at work.

Just to stress this, I do not think everyone should be blogging and I do not think that blogging should be hyped as the be-all and end-all for everything. I do think however that most websites should have RSS feeds. I would very much like to see the benefits of blogging and RSS made clear and that people should be given the opportunity to see them. A recent chat with a junior Minister turned to blogging and they said “Everyone keeps telling me to blog but my web people said it was a waste of time.” Jesus! Maybe a cheat sheet is needed about what use blogging is and what use it is not.

Should more be done to promote blogging and RSS?

I guess on one hand you can take the viewpoint “tough”, if they don’t want to know about blogging and RSS feeds then it’ll be their loss or maybe stop pushing this on people if they don’t want/need it, but on the other hand, the more people that use blogs and RSS the better for breaking down the barrier between people and between consumers and producers. A lot of the time when you explain what it can do, people want to try it. Lots of people have told me they’d love to blog, they’d love to get their story out there but they’re not technical enough or need to wear armbands for a little while.

How would you go about promoting RSS and blogs more? The press of late is really taking notice of blogs and using them for sourcing stories or taking something on a blog and expanding it. That’s one area. Do you target the general web population or go for the key influencers in a group? Before Shel Israel and Robert Scoble signed their book deal they got their publisher to start a blog and perhaps in areas where we can influence people, we could do the same.

Who are the influencers in the business community? Hit the PR companies, the PR/Marketing/Corp people in the big companies and the tech people who build the sites? Those that build websites nowadays that have a news and press section without RSS feeds, should we smack them over the head? Should we teach journalists so that they use RSS feed aggregators and get them to ask those distributing the press releases to have them in an RSS feed? Should we encourage them to post the stories their editors rejected and might have been confined to the dustbin due not to bad quality but simply down to space restrictions? How does one evangelise RSS and blogging in Ireland?

Fluffy Links – November 6th

Monday, November 6th, 2006

(Sssh I’m still not here.)

I’m not sure what this sign meant. But the comments on what people think it could mean are hilarious.

The “View Source” key. Clever idea.

Ikea are also clever souls.

Make your own dot-matrix wrist cuffs.

How to keep good posture at the computer.

Crypto humour.

Beware of the Homosexual. 1950s ad. Scary.

We let Google dodge taxes, wouldn’t it be nice if they gave something back?

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

With Google using Ireland to save 100s of millions of dollars every year, wouldn’t it be nice if they repayed Ireland by making some of their services useful? From an Irish Times article:

An effect of the arrangement is that Google Ireland, the operating company, made an after-tax profit of only €2.74 million on a turnover of €603 million. It had operating expenses of €359 million which are understood to include the royalty payments to the other Irish company. Google Ireland paid Irish corporation tax of €1.6 million.

Yes, wow, they employ people. How good of them. O’Briens employ more people in Ireland than Google right now. With Ireland being their European HQ, you’d think they’d make Google Maps Ireland kind of useful. The minute you look outside the main towns on the map, it all pretty much goes blank. C’mon guys, your bottom line is far far more padded as a result of setting up shop in Dublin, how about using some of your resources and your PhDs to have maps that actually, you know, work? would also be better than going to the UK site to see a map of Ireland. Or how about wirelessly enabling a small town in Ireland? The interest alone on your tax savings could pay for that. How about having Irish versions of Google Mobile? “Do no evil” is one of your philosophies, maybe you should add “Don’t be a scrooge”?

Fluffy Links – November 3rd 2006

Friday, November 3rd, 2006

Orbital – The Box

A really cool touch interface.

For the ladies only. You WANT to see the side effects.

Jesus Loves You. 30 foot writing on a hillside says so.

Barack Obama on the Daily Show:

Full 54min documentary on Blade Runner:

Fluffy Links – November 2nd 2006

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

(Sssh I’m not really here.)

How to get laid at an Anti-Abortion Rally:

Love Stories 2006. Quite nerdy.

EMI chairman says the CD is dead. Sure is.

Entrepreneurship is making 12 dollars from selling one dollar to someone.

Best video ever. Someone took Madonna’s interview about her new adopted child and his father and turned it into a trailer for Borat.

Ciara is on a world tour. Subscribed.

Schooling Disgrace – IT really doesn’t matter

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

A new survey has reportedly found that one-fifth of the computers in Irish schools are unusable and many more will soon be obsolete.

I’m quite surprised there wasn’t more of an issue about this when the news came out last week. It seems IT in schools is beyond farcical. Seaghan Moriarty has been on about this a lot. One of the sole voices out there trying to highlight this issue. More information from the report:

Most of the computers also have old operating systems such as Windows 95, 98 or 2,000, for which Microsoft no longer provides technical support.

But it’s not just support from Microsoft, it’s the fact there is no money for the upkeeping of these computers. As Seaghan pointed out in one of his blog posts:

Ireland has not given any money (apart from broadband catchup) to Primary schools for a computer refresh, hardware, software or any technical support – since 2002

The money for broadband also came from industry more than the Government. The majority of schools get their Internet access via a satellite dish. This is not broadband. It’s higher speed Internet access. 512k for a whole school is madness. 1000s of schools in the Republic get a satellite dish while every school in the North get real broadband via copper or even fibre.

The Government repeatedly bullshits about the knowledge economy and yet are cheating kids out of a digital future by passing off useless junk. As mentioned in a previous post. More Tesco computers than Dept. of Education computers in our schools. How the hell can the next Irish generation compete with all these new emerging digital nations who will be cheaper and better educated in the ICT area than them? Blinkered vision. This puff piece in the Business Post is quite insulting when you see what they’re actually doing.

The full ICTE report is here. Perhaps some blogger who reads this and has time can go through it and highlight the main findings on their blog. I’d do it but I’m not really here this week. 🙂

Fluffy Links – November 1st

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Worst Case Scenarios. How to get out of them.

Food in NY. Yum.

Obama’s momentum is growing.

Father Clippit does a good long Mass. Three hours on a good night. Since his stroke.

High traffic sites versus number of employees. Craigslist is doing well for sure.

Norm MacDonald (an Eddie Vedder clone) after being fired from Saturday Night Live comes back as a guest and has a few things to say:

Going down the YouTube – Embedded website video players, powered by Bittorrent, on way?

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

(Ssssh. I’m not really here remember.)

It was predicted and now it’s happening. More and more videos are being pulled from YouTube. Comedy Central are the guys with the big lawyers this time. So the Daily Show and the Colbert Report which from this side of the Atlantic are only popular due to the likes of YouTube, are now biting the hand that fed them. Little surprise there. This seems to be the same cycle again and again.

Years back Napster was the source for music online. Go there, tell it what you wanted. “Fuck copyright” people said (as did Napster). Napster delivered whatever you wanted. It achieved critical mass and it got served. Metallica and the record companies totaled it. Only right I suppose since copyright has strong legal protection. Bless lobbying! The weakest point of YouTube is that it is centralised, just like Napster. Take out the centre and the network collapses. Now with Google being the daddy it becomes easier again since they’re all corporate these days. They don’t want to be sued out of their 4 billion in cash or whatever is their current cash stockpile. In fairness Google has managed to licence some content but not all. YouTube will never have all content and Google will never be able to licence all the worlds information. Despite their aims.

We’ll see licenced content more and more on YouTube and less and less of the unlicenced. I think Google just bought this years model when it should be considering investing in the tech that is coming down the road. They bought obsolescence. It’s the creative types that are going to route around this legal roadblock and Google should have known this. I’m sure it’ll be the premier source for music videos and the like and some licenced TV shows. Wow. It will also have all the user generated stuff sans any music or clips from movie studios or record companies. Borrrrring. Soon you just might see 12 year olds getting cease and desists for lip-synching to Shakira songs.

So where will this unlicenced content go? Well, where did the unlicenced stuff go after Napster? Kazaa and the likes. Distributed networks. They in turn got shut down or infiltrated and spammed and became less useful. Then came along Bittorrent. Even more distributed. Distributed networks and distributed content. If you want something from BitTorrent your computer will go out and take bits of a song or video from different people and glue all these pieces back together. A much harder system to shut down than anything previously.

So I’m thinking maybe that’s where video is headed. Imagine an embedded video player on your site than doesn’t get its content from YouTube but goes about the web and downloads various pieces from 100s of different sources. How many lawyers and lawyer letters to then remove that content? How many Governments and ISPs would they need to pressure and lobby? You might be able to go after 100 sites and 100 servers but 1000, 10,000, 1 million? It’s an arms race against creativity and innovation. I look forward to my embedded website video player powered by Bittorrent. If content owners were clever they might try and make a business model out of this. Instead they’ll try and block it.

Bonus link. Seems the Google deal included lots of money to buy off the copyright holders.

Proposal: An Irish Tech Brain Trust – Advisory Board for Irish startups

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

This post has been in draft since February so is a little stale now. I had some private chats with James Corbett and John Timmons about this. I don’t really have the time to put more work into this idea but I thought I’d throw it out and get my draft posts down under the 20 number. 🙂 So here goes:

James over on EirePreneur is talking about fantasy business teams and how the Entrepreneur OPML reading list he created would make a good advisory board:

I started asking myself similar questions recently after putting together a reading list for Irish entrepreneurs. It occured to me that the list was something of a fantasy business team. If I was to be struck by a flash of inspiration for the right business idea I can’t imagine having a better team than the 13 people on that list.

IrelandOffline has something we call a “Brain Trust”. It comprises of people we’ve handpicked and who we trust and we pass ideas to them that we would not disclose in public for a while. Sometimes these are new campaigns we are working on, or consultations we are answering or questions we want to ask and debate but not do so in a public forum. The IrelandOffline discussion forum on is great but from logs and conversations with the *buzzword warning* stakeholders in the telecoms industry, we know that people from ComReg, DCMNR, eircom, BT, Smart, Digiweb tune in daily to see what we are up to. That’s why we have an exclusive private mailing list where we can safely discuss some items. I have been in other groups that also use this idea of a private advisory team and it can be quite effective.

A Brain Trust comprised of some of the people on James’ list might be a worthwhile group for a new startup to seek advice from. While some people give out about stealth modes being so last year or Web 1.0, they are still important for a small company working on something where their only advantage is a great idea and keeping out of the public domain. If you’re a one person operation I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if you had this idea, blogged about it and then a week later saw another company with 10 dedicated employees do the same thing but faster. As well as that it might be better for some companies to keep their fuckups private if they are small and cannot manage their PR properly as they are spending all their time doing other things. Or in fact to not fuckup at all. One public fuckup early on could wreck your reputation. The Brain Trust could say “Listen mate, if you do that then this is going to happen. Why not try this instead?”

Advisory boards are good but generally want some kind of cut on future revenue. Me, well I like money but don’t think the type of Brain Trust I’m proposing should demand anything from a small startup. However, to prevent every kid with an idea from spamming the Trust, I would like to see some kind of small fee given to the Trust which could be used later on to perhaps help out a struggling company or used as some kind of defense fund or put a small investment in a company we all like. Hell it could be used to run a conference or showcase for all the companies that we liked. Just piggy bank the money for now. I’m thinking something small like €100 would do. The Trust members would not get any of this money.

So why would people want to be on the Trust if they get nothing out of it? Well, they themselves would probably learn a lot from their peers. It might also mean business for them where they could sell consulting services to the people that are seeking Trust advice because while the Trust would give advice I’m adamant we would not be redesigning a whole system for a guy with an idea for free. There’d be nothing stopping a Trust member from getting work from an advisee, once it’s disclosed to the Trust. Still, maybe it is a romantic notion but I would like to think the main motivator for the Trustees is to help foster local businesses and aid in the growth of indigenous ideas.

There’d need to be guidelines too for this Trust, like above about selling your services to someone. I’m sure they can be worked out in time. I’m sure people would give out that such a Brain Trust would be elitist and non-transparent. Yes it would be and there shouldn’t be any apologies for that. Issues about NDAs and so forth would have to be looked at too. Lots of stuff would need to be figured out. Maybe this can be the place to figure them out.