Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Burn bovine burn

In an effort to teach kids about science the chemistry teacher Neil Dixon demonstrates with powdered milk the dangers posed by one of life's more unusual hazards: exploding custard factories.... Check out the pictures on this link. Powered milk causes hugh explosions and fireballs.

Today is hallowe'en. There are bonfires all over the country (except Cork City. I don't know why. I can however confirm that bonfires are being set up in the county). Lidi and Aldi sell cheap powered milk.

Put 999 on speed dail tonight as you'll need the extra seconds.

Thanks Alex

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Famous last words: I'll live forever

Sinéad talks about six word stories. I thought I'd try a story.
Famous last words: I'll live forever.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Get your Cix

It appears that Tom Rafferty and Verbo have the data centre announced at BarCampIreland is moving further along.

The Cork Internet eXchange (a.k.a. CIX) is getting ready for your data. Yes, they have the (backup) power.

Now then, where should I send the C.V.?

take care,

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Let them buy cake

The Cake Sale is a band featuring a loose and expansive collective of mostly Irish musicians and writers who co-ordinated and fuelled by Bell X1’s Brian Crosby created a 9-song CD of the same name on Oxfam Records.

All profits will go to support Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign and our overseas programme work. Songs on the album have been written by Dave Geraghty, Emm Gryner, Paul Noonan, Glen Hansard, Ollie Cole, Damien Rice, Conor Deasy and Matt Lunson.

Lead vocalists for the project include Lisa Hannigan, Nina Persson, Gary Lightbody, Gemma Hayes, Glen Hansard, Josh Ritter, Conor Deasy and Neil Hannon.

The album release date is now Friday November 4rd, and the first single is out now...

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

drunk driving is nothing more than willy-waving

That's my favourite quote from this article in Media Guardian by Kira Cochrane. And yes this post is part of the Stop the Carnage Week.

In fact she goes further, she asks if it would have been better if Richard Hammond had died in that jet car accident rather than survive and be granted a bigger contact by the BBC and becomes a bigger stat. Let's face it, it hardly bodes well when speeding and crashing is promoted like this.

In fact she condemns the entire Top Gear programme for the way they "deify and fetishise speed. In the recent past, the show has tested brakes by aiming cars at cardboard cutouts of Richard Brunstrom, the Chief Constable of North Wales. Why? Because Brunstrom has had the temerity to promote Arrive Alive, a charity that campaigns for more speed cameras."

This attitude has more than a little to do with the death her older bother (when he was a child) from a car hitting him at 43 mph in a 30mph zone. Not that much speed kills. Also her little brother was hit.

"We were building a snowman, perfectly content, when a car hurtled down (it can't have taken more than a few seconds for it to slip silently from the top of the hill to the bottom), losing control on the ice and smacking into Frazer. As he lay in a deep bank, blood spreading around him, I screamed for our mother. I was certain he was going to die.

Fortunately, the snow was sufficient cushion to save him. Frazer was only cut and concussed. We heard later, though, that before we had gone out to play, the teenager driver had been speeding up and down the hill repeatedly, skidding each time at the end of the cul-de-sac, trying to impress one of the neighbourhood girls."

And this is where "willy waving" comes in. Most of the accidents on Irish roads come down to one thing : stupidity.

Not just on the part of drivers. I would like to have a chat with Fermoy Town Council and Cork County Council about their placement of speed zones for no apparent reason. More stupidity which leads to people ignoring the speed signs when they shouldn't.

What kinds of stupidity? Let look at low speed incidents.
stopping and turning with out warning i.e. not signaling (thanks Michele)
reversing without looking (usually in a parking place, but I've bee hit be cars coming out of parking places in South Mall when I'm stopped at the lights)
not looking when moving (let me look down here and change the radio station at this busy junction as opposed to the pretty behind bending over)

There is also :
the high speed overtake on the narrow road with oncoming traffic
the driving too fast for the corner
the driving too fast to stop
the trying to impress the mates / the girls
the impatience at trying to gain 30 seconds

and in between is the one I meet on the roads the most.. the 40 miler. The car travels at 40mph regardless of speed limits. So you're stuck behind in a 80kmpk (50Mph) zone, and the takes off ahead of you in a 50kmph (30mph) zone. I honestly suspect this guy leads to some of the incidents above.

I'll request one thing. If someone tries to impress you with their "No Fear" driving style, tell them to "Fear Off".

take care,

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The keywords are...

If you don't mind me asking.... what are you wearing?

Now normally a conversation is private and unrecorded. A whisper in your ear.

Now that whisper is going through a microphone, over a network (cell or IP) and in to a speaker. Then in you our ear.

Which means the whisper is tracked. Bruce Schneier points out that the Mark Foley scandal in the US shows that our intimate conversations can be saved and made public later.

"Everyday conversation used to be ephemeral. Whether face-to-face or by phone, we could be reasonably sure that what we said disappeared as soon as we said it. Of course"..."phone taps and room bugs, but that was the exception. Privacy was the default assumption."

"This has changed. We now type our casual conversations. We chat in e-mail, with instant messages on our computer and SMS messages on our cellphones, and in comments on social networking Web sites like Friendster, LiveJournal, and MySpace. These conversations -- with friends, lovers, colleagues, fellow employees -- are not ephemeral; they leave their own electronic trails."

"We know this intellectually, but we haven't truly internalized it. We type on, engrossed in conversation, forgetting that we're being recorded."

This is where blogging is different. You are talking to the public, not to a private person. Some people expose their heart to the world in their blogs. But they do so knowing that, potentially, the world could be listening.

Maybe we can use that power for good.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Quotable Quotes

Guy Kawasaki posted a series of quotes about America (following a bunch about France), however I love this one...

"In modern America, anyone who attempts to write satirically about the events of the day finds it difficult to concoct a situation so bizarre that it may not actually come to pass while the article is still on the presses." Calvin Trillin

Remember Bertiegate and the UCC crisis. Things just get weirder and weirder over here, what happens there? Oh yeah... Just watch the Daily Show and the Colbert Report to find out how weird things get.

take care,

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Food glorious music

On Tuesday Cork saw the visit of
Rick Segal and Shel Israel. Pat Phelan arranged a bloggers dinner in A Taste of Thailand. http://www.tomrafteryit.net/last-nights-bloggers-dinner/ has a much better picture than my little phone camera got. And of course Donncha and his camera where there.

I arrived late (thus missing the Roam4Free launch and the Talkster deal (hint hint)) but I got there while the dinner tables were being moved around the place. It's interesting to hear Shel tell a story, then read it. Needless to say the delivery is so similar that the world of gossip columnists has missed a master to the VC world.

Rick also regaled us (then the room goes silent to listen to a conversation at one end of the table, its masterful. When he subtly alters the volume to ensure everyone can hear, it's marketing) with his MusicIP business. The business side is interesting, but its struggling a little with my MP3 collection. Still the 4.5 days worth of MP3s will take a while to digest (and that's only a fifth of the pile).

Thanks Pat for arranging this; the food was wonderful. Walking afterwards was the hard part!
And thanks in advance to Tom, who seems to be arranging the next one.

still digesting,

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Browsing my buzz

I'm posting a little less because I'm worried about my net addiction.
Net addiction is worrying. I know this because I read about it on the Net Addiction website. They even run a Net Addiction recovery blog.

Am I the only one who see the problems here. I mean for obvious reasons the net addiction blog is not heavy on posts, but still...

They have a lot of links to related elements (e.g. gambling addiction = Internet gambling). However for info-junkies like me the existence of a net addiction site is just plain wrong. It's like having an open bar at an alcoholics anonymous meeting

must click,

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It ain't easy letting go

There are some sad songs which stay with you. "Its not easy letting go" is a track from Candi Staton's album "His Hands" (I know the title sounds like a gospel album, but its actually about an abusive relationship; i.e. His hands that hurt me).

It comes to mind as we broke up on Sunday night / Monday morning. Quietly. Almost calmly. Sad songs and all that. I'm not adding details here.

I'm trying to figure out if I should be going to some of the events that we were meant to go to together. We'll see.

Still I have a lot on my hands at the moment. As usual I'll catch up with my heart some time when I can relax. I'm guessing December at this rate.

take care,

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Go Kommando

As some of you know (and care?) the 51st Cork Film Festival is now on.

This year they have a fringe festival. The Kommando Film Fringe is a contest. Can you a 3 minute film in 24 hours?

Actually I think the 3 min limit is the maximum. Show up at the Triskel Arts Centre at 12 noon on Saturday October 14th. Find out what the theme of the movies are and then show up at 12 noon on Sunday 15th (24 hours later) with your finshed DVD.

There's a contenst and a winner and all that, but I'm wondering of any of the Cork video bloggers would like to try this baby out?

See you tommorrow?


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A punk blogger?

Sandi Thom burned a lot of people with the marketing. However I think I've the real thing here (as she is unsigned as of 9am this morning at least.

Terra Naomi is an LA based singer and has a lot of YouTube subscriptions. It's gotten to the point that "Say it's possible", the song in the link above, has cover versions of it sprinkled through YouTube. That and a virtual summer tour (really lots of videos) with lots of tracks. So there is talent in there.

Do we have a winner here?

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update : She is a blogger afer all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

State of Marriage

This is more of Suzybie's thing (actually found it there) but The Green Party of Ireland propose to allow same sex marriages, well civil partnerships actually.

Considering that at this moment there is a legal case being brought (actually ongoing but I'm not too sure what the legal title is) by Katherine Zappone and Ann Louise Gilligan to get their Canadian marriage recognised it's going to force parties to declare their position.

Well, given the state's defense of the case (as reported by Suzy), we can see that the current government is strongly in the negative.

take care,

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It's over?

It's scary when Dilbert gets it right.

In this case Scott Adams using the Dilbert Blog is talking about then an idea or a business is doomed to fail.

In short, if everyone likes it; it's doomed.
If 90% hate it, but 10% love it; ca-ching.

Does this work in politics... actually yes and no.
Only 10% (if that) will care enough to try and convert the the rest to care. Getting that 10% is the hardest part of changing opinion.

However, if you only get 10% of the votes... oh well.

So is 10% a tipping point on envrionmental issues. I think so. 10% doesn't sound like much. But a 10% change can make a huge difference.


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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Waiting on the telephone

Pat Phelan blogged about the InstantMoto a while back now. The InstantMoto is a vending machine, for Motorola mobile phones and accessories.

I'm surprised that the big three haven't tried doing this with their "pay-as-you-go" type phones before now. After all, you don't need much. And vending machines keep better hours than most mobile phone shops.

On the other hand, this machine also does the "monthly-bill" type phones too. Not too sure if it talks you through the packages or just has one standard one stuck in there.

Still this type of thing would be really useful for evading detection (if with the credit card payment system). What do I mean? Stolen (or cloned) credit card and you now own a phone with no digital trail to you. Use for a month and dump. No shop assistant to remember you. Fingerprints probably long gone by the time the fraud is detected.

Useful for all the wrong people.

Or do I just have a devious mind?

take care,

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Monday, October 09, 2006

Let's go have Paris

Strange as it seems the Irish idea has caught on in France of all places.

France sets date for public smoking ban
in public places.

France? Where coffee and a cigarette is considered a suitable breakfast?
You've got to be kidding.

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Friday, October 06, 2006

We all make mistakes

However they are rarely commited to film. Bond films that is.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Over, under and through

Michele is looking forward to being able to avoid the weekend traffic snarl up that is Fermoy.

The new M8 Rathcormac-Fermoy Bypass is a toll road costing €1.60 for a car each way.
I know that the people who drove the M50 car-park think it's cheap. The problem simple. This isn't a newly forged pass, the old road still exists, and is cheaper so the toll removes any advantage of the bypass.

For residents of Rathcormac, there is no advantage on taking the new motorway, so they take the old road (the old N8). This old road has wiped out the Watergrasshill by-pass (which is now part of the toll road). Needless to way, this quite town suddenly has a lot of new traffic. To make matters worse, the way to avoid the town involves a series of badly thought out turns and roundabouts. If you're driving a truck, I suspect some of the turns would damage building on that route... so traffic goes through.

For those in Fermoy, it's an interesting story. There isn't a very noticeable change in traffic. After all, if you drive the route twice a day, it's so much cheaper (on petrol and tolls) to not use the toll road.

Tomorrow evening is going to be the big test. Since I have to go in to Fermoy I'll see first hand how well the road is treating the town.

take care,

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Cats and blogs

TheBearOfDoom asked me what I'd like for my birthday.

How about this little cat?

take care,

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Running up that poll

Given the chances of an election soon, I'm wondering if it would be worth running myself.

No, not running away. I mean running for office. Seanad Éireann to be precise.

To qualify for the University Constituency, I need 2 nominations from registered Senate voters, and to be seconded by a further 8. Unless of course some party wants me. Then again would I want to be a member of a party that wants me?

I'm not the only one thinking about this. Dan O'Sullivan is planing to do it too. My campaign have two strings.
1) Letting graduates from colleges outside the NUI and Trinity pair be eligible to vote in the elections (which is crawling along at the moment). As a DCU graduate I feel this one myself. Constitutional change is necessary, in theory. But it's surprising what loopholes can be found.
2) Stopping an Seanad from sneaking in laws like the Data Retention one. Or at least making sure the blog sphere knows about it.

This is probably a silly idea, but I thought I should ask.

take care,

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hypocrites closing the curtains

As some of you know, I'm cagey about using my full name on this blog. Why? Because I know it will bite me on the ass some day, after all, I know some of the managers at work read this.
However I try at least to protect myself slightly. After all I can't be fired for saying X if I don't bring work in to it. Right?

But what if "who you are" and "what you do" are interlinked? Say a minister? This has nothing to do with Bertiegate. This has to with the proposed privacy bill and Data Retention.

In the case of data retention (or to give it it's birth name; Directive 95/46/EC; the transposition of which into national law was the intended objective of the Data Protection (Amendment) Act 2003)), the act will potentially blast apart protections from the Data Protection Act as it allows years of data to be collected on you, just in case you commit a crime. Yes it came up at Barcamp.

A large database of your data already exists? Admittedly in separate databases. Your tracker in your pocket, your mobile phone, records locations and calls. Your billing information (who you called and when for how long) are held in the telecoms company or your payment. Deep in the database is what towers the call (or text or MM thingy) was transmitted through (sometimes with signal strength) so you position can be calculated. Newer networks record your location in much finer detail.

This information has been used legally in the case of bombers. It's been used, technically illegally by a defendant buying his data to prove he was not in a certain location at a certain time. It has of course been used illegally by the authorities to discredit people.

You IP information is also available. Not Intellectual Property (aka copyright, which I also have to post about) but Internet Protocol... what e-mail you received and sent. What blogs you read. What you bought on your credit card, or using your value club card. Lots of information.

SO of course you should be notified if this information is leaked or the security of the database is broken? Ah, no. A provision in the law which requires companies to warn customers whose data has been compromised (similar to the Californian law) does not exist.

So the privacy bill is a good thing?

No. It doesn't protect the public. It's designed to protect the celebrities and the powerful from the public and the media. Say for example one of Ireland’s leading broadcasters was drunk on Grafton Street on Saturday night, regaling his ‘audience’ gathered nearby with a few songs after taking a microphone from a busker. And it was recorded and uploaded to something like YouTube. Under the proposed law you could be sued.

"Those with the money, the inclination and lawyers at their beck and call will be able to frustrate and injunct journalists who probe into their lives, and will be able to do so behind closed doors. Journalists, at the very early stage of story, working on a hunch or a tip-off and with no concrete idea of where the tale will lead them, will have to convince a judge that their story is important enough to merit an invasion of their target’s privacy. How will they know?"

For example, say a journalist get a leak from a tribunal about unusual payments in to a politicians bank account. Even a leak backed up with phone call records. They can be sued for a breach of privacy even if it's true. (Defamation is if the story is false, privacy can be used to sue of its true).

So it's one law for the rich and powerful, and one law for the rest of us.


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As Smart said to Eircom

I think that Hugh Macleod has the Eircom - Smart relationship summed up in this cartoon.

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Not smart

Smart Telecom suspended trading on the AIM today to stop it's share price failing down to zero after infrastructure owner Eircom disconnected around 45,000 of its customers.

It's feared that an additional 17,000 Smart Telecom customers could be left without any broadband or phone services -- including emergency calls -- as Eircom begins the next stage of disconnecting Smart customers from its network because of debts owed to the incumbent. reported ENN

Subscribers still have their emergency calls, for the moment. And according to Pat Phelan of Free Roaming subscribers who pay line rental to Eircom can still make calls.

The basis of the dispute seem to be that Smart owes Eircom €4 million. A large amount, but I would have thought at it's spare change to Eircom, and probably less than a month of adverts for the weather on RTE. The sudden cutoff without any public warning is worrying. Does this mean that Eircom is in a lot more trouble that it lets on? (It would explain the slow roll out of broadband.

Or maybe they were trying to free up bandwidth for the highest bandwidth day that Inex has seen yet. On the other hand, how many billions have been lost to the Irish economy because business which rely on communications (both voice and data) had all access pulled out form under them.

I can almost smell a lawsuit...

take care,

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Monday, October 02, 2006

After the bar is over

Barcamp Ireland is over, and a lot of fun. (and guess what I got).

You would think that a web conference would be geeked up to the rafters. In fact this was lass geeky than my usual lunchtime (where the great and the codey gather to solve the worlds problems and ponder the soup). It wasn't. The schedule changed several times over the day, so lots of the wrong conference took place, but no one seemed to mind because nearly everything was interesting...

Or at least the chats in the bar afterwards...

Many people to say hello to, Keith does a better job than me... if nothing else to name check and link to the great, the useful and the entertaining.

I will blog about some of the topics in detail over the week. See, I do keep some promises.

Roll on Barcamp Ireland 2!


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