Monday, February 25, 2008

A vase full of spanners

"I feel like a plumber at a flower show " -- Glen Hansard (of the Frames) on attending the Oscars and winning the Best Song Award for "Falling Slowly" from "Once" which he wrote and co-stared with Markéta Irglová.

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Moving house

Gentle reader,

I'm almost there with one of my new year resolutions. I resolved to be master of my own domain. And the site is almost ready. It needs a little tweaking, and an about page... but it's nearly there.

You might want to update your RSS feeds and bookmarks. Soon I won't be an idiot any more. Soon I'll be me.

take care,

Initial reactions to Eurosong Ireland 2008

RTE has details of all the performers (which might go away once the winner is chosen)

Donal Skehan
Double cross my heart
Out of key? Seriously it sounds terrible.
From the reactions, I wonder if the backing track transmitted was the same as the one heard in the studio.

Dustin Hoffman
Douze Points for Ireland
Wasn't expecting a "dance remix" performed live. The audience is booing? Terrible... didn't stop laughing one. I do like the backing singers. Much piss was taken in this song. I can't help wondering if it's the overall winner based on the reaction.

Time to Rise
Losses it a little on the higher notes... but I love the song.
Beautiful song, not quite the power ballad. Don't know if it is quite right for the Eurovision... but its the best one so far.

Leona Daly
Not Crazy After All
Oh wow. Better. Sam Brown sings the Beatles. I love this one. And the strip halfway through is... yes. My favourite.

Liam Geddes
Nervous start, but rapid improvement. He's talented. But somewhere a musical is missing some generic filler. Bland.

Marc Roberts
Eurgh. Ah no. Old sound. I mean the song sounds dated. Pleasant but unmemorable.

First reactions is...
04 Leona Daly should win,
03 Maya for second
02 Dustin will use this entry and fodder for ages.

But listening to the recaps... 05 Liam Geddes was so much better during the rehearsal. No idea why the judges think Donal should win based on that performance.

Oh well, roll on the results...

And the results are in

Not going through : Marc Roberts, Maya, Liam Geddes, Donal Skehan or Leona Daly.

Lord help us, Dustin won. It wasn't even the best of a bad lot.
Still, will spectacle beat any musical ability?
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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

they walk in the city hand in hand

Given the sheer amount of absolute guff being talked about Dustin entering as Ireland's entry in to the 53rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia. I wonder if I should open ears to non-English songs.

Given that the Polldaddy Poll on All Kinds Of Everything clearly shows that Dustin is the favourite (but has anyone heard any of the other songs?) maybe I shouldn't mock. It's not that bad, the digs are very good.

So I'll show you Jenni Vartiainen from Finland (home of Lordi) with a little ditty entitled Ihmisten edessä. It's a song about a girl who has fallen in love with someone, and the lyrics tell of their first evening when they walk in the city hand in hand.

Oh sorry I missed something there. The someone is another girl.
You can't tell from the video.

take care,

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Write on

True, the news is a little stale - the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike is over. And the deal isn't that good. Based on the reaction of Harlan Ellison I think the following quote applies...

"From a screenwriters point of view, the correct rendering should be, 'Film is a collaborative business: bend over.'" -- David Mamet from his 1989 essay 'Film is a Collaborative Business'

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

4 Ds of Information loss – Divorce

There are 2 types of divorce in this world, amicable and complete shafting. This is a quote from Ellybabes' BarCamp presentation on Death and Divorce in the Digital World.

In the case of a divorce, data is just property. As such data has a legal standing. Data also has the "advantage" in that it can be copied. That is also its disadvantage. While you can claim that you should own the only copy of those saucy pictures from that dirty weekend or Valentine's Day, there is not guarantee that your partner hasn't already taken a copy. Or deleted it in spite so neither has a copy.

Every problem which Ellybabes raised in the initial presentation still applies.

However there is an additional wrinkle. There are legal presidents for a divorce. But what if the couple isn't married by choice, or because they legally can't marry yet. If one partner of an unmarried couple dies, then any children, or blood relatives of the deceased partner often has a stronger legal right to the property (physical or data); if an unmarried partner leaves, he or she may not have a legal claim to any property for which the other partner claims ownership.

Is there a solution? Other than ensuring you have a copy of all your data and share neither accounts nor passwords, no.

Unless you love and trust them of course. Which is how this topic began...

Sorry that it's so short, but there isn't really a solution other than not sharing in the first place.

take care,
William Knott

With kind thanks to John Looney of Google (for the tech and social angles) and Simon McGarr of (for the legal questions and answers) and for all the people quoted above for providing their perspectives.

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Are you going to be part of Irish Blog week

The first week of March is, well busy.

It all starts on March When the The Irish Blog Awards ceremony take place. Seats are somewhat limited so remember to register for the Irish Blog Awards It costs only ten Euros a head and all cash taken at the door goes to three deserving charities - Brainwave, St. Francis Hospice and the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Ireland. Preceding this are quite a few meetings and groupings. Make them if you can.

March 2nd. Very early on March 2nd we have WebCamp - Social Network Portability this time in Cork. I'm trying to figure out logistics and if a bus should be hired, but I suspect that its all aboard the first train from Dublin to Cork for an awful lot of tired bloggers and blog awards party people.

also on March 2nd (this time at a mercifully later hour) Alexia is organising a bloggers dinner in Cork. Should be fun, even if Dear Waters isn't there.

Then on March 3rd and 4th the international BlogTalk 2008 Conference takes the floor again in Cork

Then after a small breather, on March 8th Creative Camp starts in Kilkenny.

Its going to be busy...

See you there?
Will Knott

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

4 Ds of Information loss – Demotion

Demotion is something of a kludge. I wanted a word which started with D. So "Demotion" covers being fired, leaving a job, redundancy and in a limited case... death. Simply put, demotion covers anything to do with leaving a job or letting someone's job go.

But loosing information? Yes.

It's not yours

Everyone know that, unless you own the company, the computer at work is not theirs to own, in much the same way that the company car does not belong to them, and that the telephone provided by the company does not belong to them. Yet in the same way that a company rep can fill the company car assigned to them with their stuff, many people customize their work computer and fill it with at least a little of their data.

Which isn't a good idea. While a representative can request a little time to remove any personal belongings from the company car, the same shouldn't be expected from the company computer. I know of one case where the staff left their desks to a meeting in the canteen, and upon being told that the company was laying them off, returned to their desks to find that they were locked out of their computers. Anything not on removable data was trapped in there.

With the ubiquity of USB Flash disks and cloud computing, no one has an excuse to have their personal information on the machine. But what if it's not just personal data.

All your database

How would you feel if your boss asked you for every email address and phone number you had accumulated over the course of your employment? This is what happened to Junior Isles. He worked for 9 years as a journalist and helping with putting on conferences for PennWell. When he left to set up a rival company, PennWell issued an injunction on the three requiring them to "return all the claimant's property including any information in paper form or stored on any computer". Isles had uploaded the details of hundreds of contacts into Microsoft Outlook on his desktop when he joined the company. Under UK law a journalist can retain his journalistic contacts. Every time he got a new contact, he added it to Outlook. PennWell claimed that these numbers were company property. Isles went to the high court. He lost.

Had Isles kept his journalistic contacts separate from his other work-related numbers, he would have been able to take them with him. His mistake was to mix the numbers up with non-journalistic ones - those with whom he worked setting up conferences - which should have remained with the company.

The technology used is no defense either. Be it on paper, SIM card, cloud or PDA. It means that legally your employer owns the details of your LinkedIn or FaceBook account if you mix personal and company contacts. And if you do, well its your own fault for doing it.

An untried and nested consequence of this is a small company using cloud computing. Using Google Docs, GMail and a VoIP solution such as Skype, it is possible to create a reasonably cheap office environment. If an employee uses and does all his or her work on these systems using their own personal id, then, legally, the company owns their electronic identity and not the person. The lesson is if you find yourself in such a situation, create a new id. Or use multiple profiles on the same machine. Either that or make sure your contract specifies that you keep all data stored in such accounts when leaving the company.

But let us assume that you have correctly separated (and kept separate) work and play. Lets assume that you leave the company with all your data intact. It is still possible for the company to loose data.


When someone leaves a company, everything that the person learned in there goes with them (which is why you have "no competition" clauses in contracts). Frequently when a person leaves a corporation, everything that the person created is also destroyed. The corporate e-mail account is erased. The machines used are re-formated. This means that unless someone searches for the data and takes it off the machine, its lost.

Even is the data is carefully stored away, its not always possible to get everything back...

What use is building a great home-grown billing system if it's not documented by the implementer? All over the industry are people who make themselves irreplaceable by refusing to detail what their data means.

I'm sure many contractors have been given a tarball of 'code' that someone wrote before moving on, and asked to 'make it go, it just needed some final tweaks'. Alas, without a database schema, some insight into what was being attempted, it's invariably easier to start from scratch again.
-- John Looney

Password unavailable

If someone leaves in an ordered fashion, then data is somewhat recoverable. If someone walks away unexpectedly from the company, there is some recourse. When an employee dies, well you can't ask them for their old passwords. While a company should have some "back door" (or even an alternative "front door") in to their systems, some companies may face similar problems as next-of-kin due to security and procedures of third party providers. Besides. Can you remember a password you last used a few months ago?

While not everything is cut-and-dried, remember to keep work and play separated.

Take care,
William Knott

With kind thanks to John Looney of Google (for the tech and social angles) and Simon McGarr of (for the legal questions and answers) and for all the people quoted above for providing their perspectives.

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Obama the musical

I love talented mashups...

and so imagine turning a political speech to music. And what do you know, is a talented mash up artist (which has clearly replaced re-mixer sometime since 2006). So please find the Yes We Can Obama Song by which took Senator Barak Obama's concession speech after loosing the New Hampshire primary, and turned it to music.

take care,
Will Knott

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