Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Blackout Ireland Day – ISP Association of Ireland yet to say a thing

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Why has there been silence from the representative group of Irish ISPs? The ISPAI has yet to say a thing about the eircom/IRMA deal. Does this mean they are not against it? Others have been very vocal about this horrible deal. Silence does nothing. Silence in times of adversity is bad. Speak up and speak out ISPAI, you are quick enough to ring the bells when it comes to the Data Retention laws and get coverage from your friends in the Irish Times.

More on Blackout Ireland.

HP-Upline is shutting down, move your HP backups to Putplace, get discount

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Via the Putplace blog:

We are putting together a discount plan for HP-Upline users. In the meantime you can user the invitation code “joe” to get started with a free plan for three months.

Sign up.

The business case for freedom of speech

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

As the Business Post and Metro newspaper mention, eircom are now going to block websites, starting with The Pirate Bay. Case by case basis from here on in. Once IRMA go to Court asking for a site to be blocked, eircom will not challenge it.

So first they’ll start with the Pirate Bay. Then comes Mininova, IsoHunt, then comes YouTube (they have dodgy stuff, right?), how long before we have because someone quoted a newspaper article or a section of a book? And don’t think they’ll stop there too, any site that links to The Pirate Bay and the others on the hate list will probably be added to the list too. Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?

This is bad on many accounts. 99% of people are being punished for what a tiny percentage of people are doing. Sometimes this can be justified. Handgun bans etc. I don’t think a website is a loaded weapon though.

Pirate Finger Puppet (from Logan)
Photo owned by _cck_ (cc)

I’m sure the business case for eircom was they didn’t want any more costly High Court actions with McDowell biting at their legs on the command of the music industry but this is going to open up a can of worms with IRMA demanding more and more attacks on how people surf the net, this is what it is in my view an attack on our freedom to read, our freedom to write, our freedom to move around the web. All so a very rich but rapidly becoming poor group of luddites can feel better for seeing the future and trying to fight it.

And of course the costs of communications with IRMA and of the filtering is going to be passed on to the consumer. The cost of blocking a single site will be almost nothing I suppose but as more sites get added and as the arms race between the pirates and the ISPs escalates, then it’ll become complicated and complicated costs more. So again the majority get to pay for the inability of the music industry to work with the modern world and the pirates who want to bring all digital content to the masses without any technological or monetary restrictions.

I really don’t like the idea that I can’t be trusted to surf the Internet unsupervised. I hope the other ISPs fight this.

Fuck the Recession, now give us our data and up our bandwidth

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

I mentioned recently the Hack the Government day in the UK where people will meet in London and now Brighton on building better Government systems. I’ve been thinking recently about our own Irish Government and many of the totally useless systems they have or websites that appear to run on Windows ME. Years ago I wrote a piece for the Tribune about the idea of a Government API and being able to access Government (which really is ours) data. In the article I mentioned the OSI data and being able to access the Revenue Service too. Two of hundreds, if not 1000s of datastores we could access.

The Government is right now panicking and doing their best to get anyone to come to Ireland and hire Irish people to do any kind of task. At the end of the day these multinationals are doing nothing more than making Ireland their tech support hub. The runt of the litter really. While the pharma companies are doing genuine R&D and IP creation, for the tech multinationals it’s tech support or localisation. Robot work.

Open Government Data Session Tack-on Free For All
Photo owned by illustir (cc)

The more connected people and businesses are and the more data that flows between them, the more value that can be extracted from this network they are in.

I’m sure the above has been said by people before. There’s the idea of Metcalfe’s Law about the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system but I wonder if the bandwidth of the interactions between those nodes increases does this value go up even more? Exponentially? I think the value of those connections does go up.

Setting aside the National Broadband Fuckup which will limit bandwidth between people, the Government should be doing their best to make sure that people are shifting as much data between each other as possible. Freeing all Government data is one way of doing this. Encouraging companies to share data might work too.’s release of 10 years of data was a brlliant idea. And stop thinking about the killer app, the street finds its own uses for this data and the world will make the apps. The Government can supply the data and work with companies to build the access methods. I’m sure a very clever business could tender (for free) to build all these APIs in return for minimal charges for API access to the app makers.

I’m not gunning after Eamon Ryan here but he’s Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a Minister or someone that looks after electronic resources too? It would be nice to move beyond the grandstanding about a knowledge economy and start working on things that can kickstart local companies taking existing data and creating something new with it. So Dear Government, fuck the recession, let’s start playing with our data.

Photo owned by pacomexico (cc)

No bloggers need apply

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Cos there’s loads of you after answering Sinéad’s survey on blogging. She now would like more normals to fill it in. (My dig, not hers) If you’re a non-blogger can you fill in this survey please? Thanks.

National Broadband Scheme Launch

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

The Department of Communications invited me along to the launch of the National Broadband Scheme yesterday after I emailed them and asked them to invite me. Like the people who nominated themselves for blog awards, I was shocked and surprised at getting invited.

And the scheme? Lovely use of numbers to talk about this major investment. Minister Eamon Ryan talked about how all these new people on broadband will lift the whole economy in these dark days

He talked about his own web company he ran from his bedroom on dialup 10 years ago and I thought that’s exactly the speed some people are getting now and will still get with a mobile dongle at the edge of a broadband scheme area. Working from home is great though, pants being optional is fantastic. Wearing suits all day must be a killer for the Minister.

Anyway, if the vision of a nation of small businesses operating online is to come true then they’ll need something a damned sight better than a 3G dongle. I know some businesses do operate using one but they can basically handle email and very light web surfing. An office with 5-6 computers though? And only allowed one connection? Or do they pay for 1 per computer? 100 euros a month for a connection that a business in Dublin can get for 20 euros.

If you can’t get a 3G signal then they’ll give you a satellite dish and you still pay €19.99 per month for about 1Mbps down and a 15 Gig download limit. 8% of those under the scheme will get this and I’m sure given the cost of it, Three and the Department will do their best to give you a dongle when a satellite dish might be better.

This is the reality of rural life and broadband. Let’s see what Dave’s story is like in a year or two years or three years.

And for those in areas that the Department said are already covered? Yesterday the tone was polite but they were still saying “tough shit”. The Department said that they can’t subsidise people where there are line of sight issues with Irish Broadband or Digiweb or line failure issues with eircom. These apparently are technical issues and are up to the providers to sort out. The Department said the EU won’t let them subsidise, which again I’d argue is not correct. Once a statement from said ISP says they can’t supply to that person, then they can be subsidised. That’s what I read in the docs the EU sent to the Department.

So, for those who will still be shafted, one way of getting broadband is to find a friend who is in an NBS area and will be getting a dish not a dongle. Then have this friend either order another connection for the barn next door or get your friend’s neighbours not interested in a broadband connection to order one. A satellite installer will happily move it and reinstall it to your place.

Read more about NBS here.

ComReg and eircom go to Court

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Or it looks that way. Looks like eircom didn’t like this recent ComReg decree on leased lines and so are going to Court about it and (put a cushion on the floor for the jaw) Comreg are going to defend.

This quick clip shows the previous relationship they had:

TeenCamp – First vid

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Ben in a “should give up the day job” presentation:

TeenCamp Tomorrow

Friday, January 16th, 2009

TeenCamp is just hours away. Temple Bar, Dublin from 1pm onwards. Pop in.

Enda in D’Echo.

Photo owned by borrowed time | demi-brooke (cc)

Can we get James to be an intern in Apple?

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

(Spoon feeding Steve his vegan yoghurt or whatever interns do)

James Foley is a UL student who dreams about working for Apple. He asked me to help out to try and get him an internship in Cupertino next year. I’m sure there are some that read this blog that might know someone that knows someone. So can you help?

So as you know at this stage, U.L makes a big deal about sending it’s students on work placement during their degrees. Most people doing my course (Business) get placement with local firms, some even venture as far as Dublin in search for work. But I really want to make use of this opportunity, I want to work somewhere relevant to what I want to do after college. I want to work for Apple, and have made it my number one priority this year to get an internship there starting in January of 2010.

Why Apple? It’s a company I have a genuine passion for, every computer I’ve had since I was a child has been a mac and I think that working for a company where culture and design are held in such high regard would make the early mornings and late nights all that much easier. There are probably people out there that are more qualified than me, that know more about the software and silicon that make computers work, but I honestly don’t think anyone else wants this as much as I do. I want to learn how to make great computers, how to write great applications and to help innovate and turn really cool ideas into really cool products.

So, can we help the guy? Be nice to see Irish people work in the Valley and *cough* get us contacts.

Photo owned by BALLISTIK! (cc)