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Eamonn Ryan Strikes Again

MinisterRyanPhoto

Minister Eamonn Ryan TD

Eamonn Ryan needs a reality check.

Speaking from Shanghai he quotes from the Comreg quarterly report that broadband subscriptions experienced

an increase of 19% on the same period in 2009

and that

This success is down to progressive policy on the part of Government and significant investment by the private sector. In the last three years almost €1.5 billion of public and private monies has been invested in Irish broadband.

I’m curious:

  1. How much of that €1.5 billion came from public monies?
  2. Why is he trying to take credit investment by private companies? Private companies invest in order to make profits – that is their reward, not a big pat on the back by Eamonn.

From the same Comreg report:

Mobile broadband subscriptions (512,381) have been the biggest net broadband contributor since Q1’08, increasing by 9.7% in Q1’10

What a cheek! To call mobile (3G) “broadband” is insulting. And how many of those subscribers are using 3G internet because of the shite rate of broadband penetration in Ireland? Of a total of 1,615,032 internet subscribers, 512,381 – 32% – are mobile. They can’t all be sales reps!

Let’s compare Eamonn Ryan’s auto-back-patting exercise to some recent figures on broadband quality by Ookla

They tell us that Ireland ranks:

  • 48 out of 152 countries on download speed (behind information age giants like Andorra, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria, Portugal, Iceland, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Poland, Malta among othes)
  • 62 out of 152 countries on upload speed (behind Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Ukraine, Rwanda, Belarus, Faroe Islands, Macedonia, Uganda, Armenia, Honduras, Azerbaijan and others)
  • 61 out of 63 on Quality of broadband (besting only Egypt and Bahrain)

So who is bullshitting us? Eamonn or Ookla? I know what my best guess is (not at all influenced by my previous post on Eamonn’s efficiency on broadband – which, by the way, looks unchanged today!)

Shame on you Eamonn!

Country Download (Mbps) Upload (Mbps) Quality
South Korea 33.12 19.13 82.05
Aland Islands 24.55 16.46
Latvia 23.98 12.47 86.76
Andorra 22.1 7.83
Lithuania 21.41 13.36 88.39
Japan 20.19 10.46 87.15
Sweden 19.9 7.95 81.73
Republic of Moldova 19.53 7 87.98
Romania 19.21 7.7 84.7
Netherlands 18.42 3.69 84.14
Bulgaria 17.54 8.95 75.04
Portugal 14.64 1.58 85.13
Switzerland 14.52 1.65 85.7
Germany 13.95 1.27 77.01
Denmark 13.53 6.59 85.21
Iceland 13.26 7.34
Finland 12.46 2.1 71.8
Liechtenstein 11.79 0.89
France 11.65 2.26 83.67
Belgium 11.5 1.23 79.43
Czech Republic 11.33 4.45 87.01
Hungary 11.32 3.41 78.69
Ukraine 11.1 4.94 77.26
Austria 11.09 1.66 82.26
Kyrgyzstan 10.75 6.09
Slovakia 10.44 3.22 85.08
Norway 10.15 4.2 82.2
Russia 10.12 5.66 85.97
United States 9.93 2.16 82.09
Singapore 9.58 1.1
Estonia 8.88 2.79 77.39
Luxembourg 8.43 1.8
Canada 8.07 1.22 83.66
Ghana 7.95 8.36
Mongolia 7.84 5.27
United Kingdom 7.52 0.9 82.57
Slovenia 7.5 4.07 85.22
Greece 7.19 0.67 62.91
Isle of Man 6.93 0.75
Taiwan 6.82 1.28 82.96
Poland 6.8 1.65 84.11
Monaco 6.77 1.83
Kazakstan 6.62 2.1
Australia 6.6 0.89 79.38
Malta 6.23 0.63
United Arab Emirates 6.07 0.95
New Zealand 5.99 1.24 76.93
Ireland 5.9 0.96 62.34
Georgia 5.82 2.38
Spain 5.81 0.71 78.75
San Marino 5.68 0.9
Macedonia 5.56 1.51 82.24
Faroe Islands 5.16 1.53
Chile 5.13 1.17 85
Croatia 5.11 0.71 77.72
Maldives 4.85 0.85
Turkey 4.79 1.17 75.06
Macau 4.77 0.57
Trinidad and Tobago 4.55 0.91
Italy 4.45 0.81 82.47
Israel 4.2 0.65 82.86
Thailand 4.11 0.94
Jersey 4.1 0.57
Greenland 3.94 1.67
Montenegro 3.74 0.75 67.35
Saudi Arabia 3.68 0.57 65.98
Jamaica 3.66 2.03
Belarus 3.65 1.58 86.45
Brazil 3.65 0.7 80.85
Aruba 3.64 1.21
Guernsey 3.64 0.4
China 3.53 1.77 69.28
Cyprus 3.29 0.67 83.17
Gibraltar 2.93 1.08
Vietnam 2.93 0.96
Qatar 2.92 2.22 83.29
Azerbaijan 2.87 1.03
Kuwait 2.85 0.7 70.61
Bermuda 2.81 1.43
Guam 2.77 0.95
Serbia 2.72 0.72 78.58
Cayman Islands 2.7 1.05
Uganda 2.68 1.47
Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.55 0.85 79.7
Kenya 2.51 1.15
Bahamas 2.47 0.94
Tunisia 2.39 0.89 84.77
South Africa 2.36 0.73 81.95
Guadeloupe 2.35 0.4
Panama 2.35 0.68
Grenada 2.34 0.42
Martinique 2.32 0.36
Albania 2.29 0.96 76.82
Costa Rica 2.27 0.55
Rwanda 2.26 1.96
St. Vincent and Grenadines 2.23 1.15
Armenia 2.2 1.08
Mexico 2.16 0.49 78.17
Morocco 2.1 0.26
Philippines 2.09 0.88 68.3
Anguilla 2.05 0.68
Nicaragua 2.02 0.6
Argentina 2.01 0.48 84.04
Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 1.98 0.59
Malaysia 1.97 0.74 75.27
Bahrain 1.95 0.47 30.13
Mozambique 1.87 0.78
Barbados 1.82 0.42
Puerto Rico 1.8 0.53
Uzbekistan 1.78 0.66
New Caledonia 1.76 0.5
Virgin Islands, British 1.72 0.42
Netherlands Antilles 1.68 0.63
Antigua and Barbuda 1.65 0.6
Dominica 1.63 0.34
Jordan 1.62 0.56 65.83
Saint Kitts and Nevis 1.62 0.65
Colombia 1.61 0.38
Syrian Arab Republic 1.58 0.5
Ecuador 1.53 0.8
Palestinian Territory 1.53 0.67
Honduras 1.52 1.07
Paraguay 1.49 0.8
Saint Lucia 1.45 0.37
Namibia 1.42 0.71
India 1.35 0.68
Tanzania 1.35 0.67
Pakistan 1.33 0.54 81.52
Algeria 1.31 0.46
Cambodia 1.17 0.81
Laos 1.16 0.91
Indonesia 1.12 0.36 65.63
Sri Lanka 1.12 0.27
Bangladesh 1.11 0.89
Egypt 1.1 0.24 44.49
Uruguay 1.09 0.21
Peru 1.08 0.2
Botswana 1.02 0.3
Virgin Islands, U.S. 1.02 0.59
Oman 0.95 0.17
Brunei Darussalam 0.9 0.2
Haiti 0.9 0.56
Iraq 0.88 0.33
Yemen 0.82 0.24
Dominican Republic 0.81 0.35
Bolivia 0.76 0.35
Papua New Guinea 0.76 0.22
Venezuela 0.76 0.23
Mali 0.74 0.31
Turks and Caicos Islands 0.74 0.45
Cote D’Ivoire 0.72 0.26
Sudan 0.72 0.19
Northern Mariana Islands 0.71 0.22
Guatemala 0.7 0.47
El Salvador 0.66 0.36
Afghanistan 0.62 0.24
Lebanon 0.62 0.1
Iran, Islamic Republic of 0.61 0.21
Belize 0.6 0.3
Nigeria 0.55 0.2
Nepal 0.4 0.19
Zimbabwe 0.36 0.14

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Average Salaries in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

From a written answer in the Dáil on March 2nd. (Averages calculated by yours truly):

Agency Current Number of Staff 2010 Pay Budget Average per staff
Competition Authority 42.2 €3.614m €85,640
National Consumer Agency 44.4 €3.646m €82,117
IAASA 12 €1.243m €103,583
Science Foundation Ireland 53 €4.723 m €89,113
Personal Injuries Assessment Board 74 €5,695m €76,959
FÁS 2055.4 €112.33 m €54,651
Labour Relations Commission 46 €4.011m €87,196
Health and Safety Authority 192.3 €13.504m €70,224
NERA 116 7.94m in 2009 comprising €6.55m in pay and €1.39m non-pay €68,448 (€56,466 and €11,983)

If you were to be fair the cost of employing someone (employers PRSI, up-yer-bum levies, etc) account for about 10% of the average per staff member) but the averages are pretty bewildering.

For example, FÁS (which employs LOTS of clerical staff) still manages an average salary of almost €50k, so are they:

  • overpaid
  • highly skilled
  • management heavy

Compare this to the average per staff in a company in the private sector who doesn’t get within an asses roar of that!

Pretty sweet huh? Even with your pension and pay levies!

Wankers!

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Minister Eamonn Ryan’s Web Strategy

This really says it all. From the Minister with responsibility for IT:

broadband.gov.ie screenshot

broadband.gov.ie screenshot

MinisterRyanPhoto

Minister Eamonn Ryan TD

That is the official website of the Irish government for disseminating information about broadband to members of the public. As Minister Eamonn Ryan proudly states (in his welcome message on the old site courtesy of archive.org):

Broadband is an important tool for everybody in the 21st century

Couldn’t agree more Eamonn – glad you’re on the case!

According to figures released to Fine Gael Senator Paschal Donohoe in response to a parliamentary question, the broadband.gov.ie website received 67,694 unique visitors last year. It is a shame negligent incompetent to allow that amount of traffic to just die – as any web dude or even SEO snake-oil vendor knows you do not allow links to disappear, let alone a complete site!

So how much does this crock of shite cost you? Well Paschal Donohoe has it all (bear in mind that these are only running and maintenance costs):

Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
Websites Unique Visits 2009 Maintenance (not development) Cost (EUR) Notes (03/02/2010)
www.dcenr.gov.ie

116,286

79,914

Main website for Eamonn Ryans department
www.egovernance.ie

1,022

Mostly links back to the main department web site. The site itself is broken (try doing a search, see what happens when you click for help) or it has no content.
www.minex.ie

4,558

Dead – web site not found (DNS error)
www.broadband.gov.ie

67,694

“Web site under construction”. No content at all.
www.digitaltelevision.ie

23,082

Abandoned? Last press release was 24 July 2008 – 18 months ago!
www.explorationandmining.com

91

a “website (is) designed to provide an overview of the regulatory regimes governing the exploration and extraction of minerals in Ireland and Northern Ireland”.
According to their site map there are 6 (six!) pages of content plus a further 5 (“All Rights Reserved”, “Contact Us”, “Disclaimer”, “Privacy & Security” and “Sitemap”).
www.makeitsecure.ie

27,889

According to Eamonn Ryans welcome note and archive.org the last update was June 28, 2008. It also seems that much (all?) of this website was funded by commercial sponsorship too.
www.gsi.ie

44,538

The Geological Survey of Ireland. The copyright notice at the bottom says 2007, but archive.org says there was an update in February 2008.
www.gsishop.ie

5,530

A storefront for GSI publications. Links to the main site at http://www.gsi.ie/gsishop/, therefore was last updated in February 2008.
www.gsiseabed.ie

4,415

There’s a web site there, but no content (apart from the helpful word ‘index’). According to the latest archive.org snapshot I was able to get the site was last updated in August 2006.
www.planetearth.ie

7,817

Geological Survey of Ireland: “2008 was the International Year of Planet Earth. This website remains live in 2009 … to promote the role of earth science in society”. Given that statement I didn’t bother checking for the last update.
www.jetstream.gsi.ie

409

15,600

There’s a site there, but no content. According to Google, there were up to 180 pages there at one time or another – all of which seem to be still available. There are lots of pretty pictures and PDF maps there for your enjoyment. In the past year (the subject of the table) Google found just 26 pages.

So who is visiting these broken sites? And how should it cost so much to maintain sites that nobody visits? And why are so many of them unmaintained or broken?

Maybe you should go back and ask, Paschal – the only question I have is:

How do I get on this IT gravy train?

Update 12/02/2010:

Damian Mulley has a story of a €4 million government website on his blog – I’m too stunned to comment.

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Good Riddance

JODsm
Following announcement of his resignation, Taoiseach Brian Cowen paid tribute to Mr O’Donoghue’s “commitment and integrity” in his position as Ceann Comhairle.
Let’s just remind ourselves of the “committment and integrity” that he brought to the position:

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Pope says condom use in Africa will increase prevalance of AIDs

Pope BenedictThe eedgit hadn’t even arrived in Cameroon when he came up with this beauty:

You can’t resolve (AIDS) with the distribution of condoms… On the contrary, it increases the problem.

Of course the potty old fart is completely missing the point. From the WHO page on Cameroon:

Life expectancy at birth m/f (years): 50/52

Healthy life expectancy at birth m/f (years, 2003): 41/42

I met a guy last year who spent an enlightening 6 months in Cameroon. Over a few beers the topic of women, sexuality and AIDS  came up. His point:

If you expect to die in your 40′s – why would you use a condom?! Hunger is the problem for these people, not AIDS.

There you go Benny, problem solved (as long as life expectancy remains at those pitiful levels.)

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IRMA slanders Blacknight (or do they?)

Soooooooo stupid (and verging on slanderous) they are that they have taken to writing to Irish ISP’s (not just those that provide Internet access, but also hosting companies like Blacknight).

The generally understated and considered Michele Nealon of Blacknight.ie must have been a bit pissed off with this – as he has posted it for you all to have a look at. Let’s have a look at it shall we (legal interpretation is free of charge):

Re: Illegal filesharing on the Blacknight network

Is this slanderous? Me thinks yes, but let’s read on…

Pursuant to the Copyright and Related Rights Acts…

A paragraph telling you what the Act is. I am a bit confused because you can get a copy of the act on Irish Statute in it’s entirety without some wannabee ambulance chaser paraphrasing it. Basically they are saying “…if you have been notified that you are facilitating copyright infringement and do nothing about it, you can be prosecuted under the act…”. My question: is this a notice that Michele is facilitating copyright infringement? Is there smoke without fire?!

Irish and European Law…

More of the bleedin’ obvious: Irish and EU law allows the courts to injunct people found guilty of breaking the law. NO SHIT HELEN! (Of course the message in the letter is specific to copyright infringement, but that is the gist of it.)

The Supreme Court…

When implementing an EU Directive, member states should interpret their national laws in such a way as to achieve the goal of the directive. (Will Helen Sheehy, of Sheehy Donnelly Solicitors, ever get to a point? No wonder Michele was so pissed!)

In this context…

“We think we can get the courts to inject ISP’s to remove and/or restrict access to copyrighted material.” You can think what you want, but the courts will decide pal!

In attempting to protect its rights…

“We tried to go to court and get an order directing ISPs to give us the names and addresses of people illegally sharing copyrighted material, but it was fuck all use and a complete waste of court time and resources.” Perhaps you should consider what is a waste of time and money – i.e. this piece of correspondence.

You will be aware…

“Eircom agreed to take it up the ass from us.”

The settlement agreement provides…

(You all know about this, but I wonder what the relevance of a third party agreement is to Blacknight… perhaps I should finish reading…)

It is the position of our clients that by this agreement eircom (sic) have agreed…

Surely you should ask Eircom that…? (P.S. Helen – Eircom is a proper noun – Capitalise It!)

Please confirm that Blacknight will also work with the record industry … (and) operate a similar graduated response and that it will disconnect the subscriber in default of compliance.

Comply with a private out-of-court agreement between two companies that have nothing to do with Blacknight? Why?

We should add by way of elaboration that it is not intended that there be any disclosure to our clients of the identity of the persons(s) denoted by the IP addresses at the time in question

Of course not – that would be illegal under privacy laws and it is illegal to encourage someone to break the law. Apart from that a person is not denoted by an IP address any more than they are denoted by their telephone number or by the name tag on their underpants.

In the event of a positive response to this letter…

Good luck with that!

In the event of a negative response to this letter, section 40(4) of the Act will be invoked against Blacknight and proceedings instituted.

We are writing to other ISPs in similar terms.

While we……..

Yours (blah, blah, blah…)

Let’s see – section 40(4) of the Act:

…where a person who provides facilities referred to in that subsection is notified by the owner of the copyright in the work concerned that those facilities are being used to infringe the copyright in that work and that person fails to remove that infringing material as soon as practicable thereafter that person shall also be liable for the infringement.

Am I missing something here? At no stage in this letter did Helen Sheehy say that Blacknights facilities were being used to infringe copyright… or did she? In fairness the heading of the letter (“Re: Illegal filesharing on the Blacknight network”) could be construed as such, in which case the letter is clearly slanderous. If this letter is not a notice under section 40(4) of the Act, then what proceedings can be instituted.

I would imaging the courts might take the view that sending out a form letter to every ISP in Ireland and claiming it conforms to section 40(4) of the Act is a waste of time and a simple ambulance chasers trawl. In any event, the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000, is part of criminal law and as such, the normal rules of evidence, reasonable doubt and presumption of innocence apply…

…or were you missing that day Helen?

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FAST Redress Act of 2009 – birth of the “Fly List”

Liquids on a Plane by Cory Doctorow This almost writes itself!

We all know of the utter stupidity of the TSA’s Terrorist ‘watchlist’ (and I won’t rehash the arguments here). People caught on it include:

… and many more…

Of course in “Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious 101″ any eedgit learns that a name based watchlist is about as useful as a mans tit… and as a real insult to our intellegence they add (in their hilariuosly titled blog page “Myth Buster“):

TSA doesn’t have a watch list

and

TSA is a customer of the Terrorist Screening Center, a component of the FBI (…) responsible for (the) list

But call a spade a spade – if you’re turfing me off a flight on the basis of a list I don’t give a bollix who’s list you’re using.

So what happens if you find out your on a list? Well up to now not very much. Apparently it takes about 1 to 11/2 months and that is only because the ACLU sued for citizens to have the right to do so. But enter The FAST Redress Act of 2009 which obliges the Homeland Security secretary to 

  1. establish a “timely and fair” process of appeal and redress,
  2. (create) an Office of Appeals and Redress, and
  3. maintain a “comprehensive cleared list” of people who have been inappropriately included on terror watch lists or databases

Ladies and gentlemen – THE FLY LIST!!!

Now I wonder who will be charged with maintaining yet another list for the Department of Homeland Security? Let’s hope the responsibility isn’t given to the fuckwits who create the necessity for the Fly List in the first place!

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Eircom bend over and take it “sans Vaseline”

Take note: Eircom are taking it up the ass potentially on your behalf…

(In case you been living in a hole for the past few months, this is the latest in the ongoing case between Eircom and EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner – the four main players in IRMA – the Irish Recorded Music Association – over alleged illegal downloading of copyrighted music.)

On January 28th Eircom agreed a settlement of High Court proceedings with four record companies over music downloads. The record companies have been alleging that Eircom were liable because they were doing nothing to prevent the “abuse” of their networks (including your Internet connection) by people illegally downloading copyrighted material (mostly music MP3′s and movies).

The Internet can be compared (in this case anyway) to the plain old telephone service. Eircom provide you with a telephone line and you use it to talk, fax even check your email. If someone uses the telephone to make death threats or to make libelious statements then is the person who made the statements culpable or the person who provided the telephone line?

Don’t like that analogy? What about the air all around us then? Air allows sound waves to travel between someones mouth and another persons ears. Who should be prosecuted in this case? God? And if you are an atheist copyright holder – where’s your remedy then?

Here’s the beef in the Irish Times article:

…the record companies will supply Eircom with the IP addresses of all persons who they detect illegally uploading or downloading copyright works…

Now I may be no high-flautin’-fancy-pants-lawyer, but aren’t there rules under which “evidence” can be collected? Linking an IP address to an alleged offence is no more an indication of guilt than perhaps being in an area when a bank robbery is committed.

Your IP address is like your telephone number. No more, no less. If you want to send information from one computer to another (for whatever purpose) you need to know it’s IP address. If you want to telephone someone, you need their telephone number.

Linking a conversation to two telephone numbers does not tie it down to two people. In the same way, your IP address belongs to a PC (or a modem), not to an individual. The Gárdaí know all about this. Linking questionable content (like child porn for example) to an IP address is not enough to prove a case. They’ll get a search warrant perhaps but no prosecution – and rightly so. Our constitution has a presumption of innocence, and let’s not forget that copyright infringement is a criminal act.

But, unlike your telephone number, your computers IP address can change quite frequently. Imagine how useful called ID would be if your telephone number changed all the time? Indeed, under the Eircom “agreement” it could be the case that you are approached by Eircom over the “abuse” of their network because the last person to have that IP address happened to download a few MP3 tracks.

(Un)coincidentally enough, in the U.S. similar bullying tactics have been used by the RIAA (the American equivalent of the IMRA) and (shock horror) who holds the main interest in the RIAA? Why non-other than EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner!

Ray Beckerman (a lawyer in the U.S.) has a blog page which deals with the U.S. angle in some detail – it is well worth a read. Is is particularly interesting to look at the different ways in which the RIAA deal with alleged infringement cases: for example in 2007 a single mother from Minnesota was ordered to pay USD 220,000 for sharing 24 songs online while the RIAA were having less success in tackling people their own size, as has been the case with some US Universities.

So if you are approached by Eircom with this kind of “evidence”, remember you have substantial legal rights and don’t need to take their word for it (and certainly not the word of EMI, Sony, Universal or Warner.) Let’s see some hard facts please. And let’s have some proper legal scrutiny of this crap.

So here is what will happen in this joint approach aimed at ending “the abuse of the Internet by  P2P (peer to peer) copyright infringers”!

Eircom will:

  1. inform its broadband subscriber that the subscribers IP address has been detected infringing copyright;
  2. warn the subscriber they will be  disconnected unless infringement ceases and
  3. disconnect the subscriber in default of compliance with the warning

Eircom (stupid as they are) have recognised a pretty major hole in this agreement. Therefore:

The record compnaies (sic) have also agreed they will take all necessary steps to put similar agreements in place with all other internet service providers in Ireland.

This is a pretty typical tactic for the recording industry and mirrors similar tactics made in the past (see Beckerman’s site). They know that they have major problems with the burden of proof in individual cases, therefore they make loads of threatening noises in the hope that the victim will bend over and settle.

They had wanted Eircom to install software from a US firm that would detect the unique “fingerprint” of copyrighted music files being sent on its network, but Eircom claimed (rightly so) this would not be technically feasible.

In fairness if your internet connection is being filtered in any way, or if you find certain protocols or web sites are “broken” then in my opinion, you do not have a proper Internet connection and have redress under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, 1980 under the heading “fit for the purpose”, “merchantable quality” or “misrepresentation”.

Now a question for homework:

Do you think a Eircom will actually boot paying customers off their network or do you think that some poor sap will be held up as an example?

They better start thinking quickly because the Alternative Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTO) group  (whose members include BT Ireland, Magnet Networks, NTL, Chorus, Smart Telecom, Budget Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Colt Telecom, Complete Networks, Digiweb, ESB Telecoms, Verizon and 3 Play Plus) have already released a statement signalling their less-than-enthusiastic response:

“While we obviously do not condone illegal downloading or any illegality on or over the internet, we firmly disapprove of any draconian measures that would compromise the privacy, speed or services offered to broadband users. We do not need measures to further impede the development of next-generation broadband in Ireland”

and

“We’re not party to the agreement with Eircom – we don’t know the details of agreement…”

And as we know only too well, Eircom aren’t the company likely to do anything that might affect their market position…

Funnily enough, Eircom’s News page has no mention of the “agreement” (no link provided because their crap website makes it impossible to link to them) while the IRMA have it screaming from their “Breaking News” page.

For more reaction, off to IrishBlogs.ie with you

To mark the utter futility of all of this expensive High Court messing, check out the link to TOR - a free and Open Source programme that will guarantee your privacy and make the whole the argument between Eircom and the record companies meaningless.

For fucks sake, haven’t we had enough of pissing money up against the wall by now?

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More dot-com style bollix – “How Much Is Your Blog Worth”

I know this is somewhat old news – but in these days of economic disaster and wailing and gnashing of teeth over the predicament our financial systems have left us in, I just couldn’t help it…

My blog is worth nothing

My blog is worth nothing

Tristan Louis did some back of an envelope calculations on a deal between AOL and Weblogs Inc. in 2005 worth some $25 to $40 milliion and came up with the suggestion that a blog is valued at between $560 and $900 per site that links to it.

Of course this is not news to most of us – anyone with a passing recollection of the dotcom era will remember some grossly stupid deals that employed similar methodologies to value deals without any clue as to how these numbers were actually going to be realised. “My blog has 1,000,000 readers” and “I have a mailing list of 1,000,000 people” were used to suggest that you were just around the corner from being the next Richard Branson. One such deal that comes to mind was the reportedly $10,000,000 purchase of the domain ireland.com by the Irish Times about 10 years ago!

(In case you still think that this business model actually works, we are happy to recommend Steve Morsa Realty’s Domain Division. As they point out – “A Memorable DotCom Web Address: The Difference Between Success and Failure on the Internet”. No mention of having to work your tits off when you set up a business of course – it is all in the domain name.)

The reason behind all this is that now you too can value your blog using the same methodology employed by Tristan Louis and hence make thousands (or millions – drool!) selling it on.

Just for comparision we plugged in “GoAskMeBollix.com” and voila – $0.00. Bollix – stuck with the day job for a while longer I suppose!

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JC Decaux and Dublin City Council – where’s our bleedin’ bikes?

JCDecaux Metropole at St. Stephens Green

JCDecaux "Metropanel" at St. Stephens Green

Just in case anyone is letting this one slip, your intrepid correspondent is here to remind you:

It’s been about one year since JCDecaux applied for permission for around 120 advertising structures in return for 450 bikes. About 70 of the applications received planning permission. Similar deals have been done in Paris, Lyon under the JCDecaux brand Cyclocity.

Since the scheme was announced for Dublin, there has been a lot of debate and controversy. It became clear pretty quickly that Dublin is to get a fraction of the bikes that other cities in the scheme had received.

A discreet JCDecaux Metropole

A discreet JCDecaux "Metropole"

Next was the revelation that Dublin City Council were not going to release details of the deal with JCDeceaux citing issues of “commercial sensitivity”. At the same time it was revealed that the deal is tied in to an agreement to remove 48 poster signs, of which an unspecified number are illegally erected – without planning permission. (Just to be clear – the Dublin City Council Development Plan states that “as a general principle, outdoor advertising will only be permitted in commercial zones. It will not be permitted within residential zones, historic or conservation areas, or amenity areas”.) There have also been serious questions raised about the value for money of the deal and about the way in which Dublin City Counsel dealt with their obvious conflict of interest in adjudicating on planning applications in which they had a vested interest.

Since then the advertising signs have been erected (under the brand “Metropoles” and “Metropanels”) and JCDecaux has been selling space on them. For anyone who has an interest – here is the “Metropole/Metropanel rate card.

Notwithstanding the above criticism, the signs have since been critised for dangerously impeding the visibility of motorists and pedestrians and by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland for not taking the needs of blind pedestrians into account.

I can’t help thinking however that perhaps JCDeveaux and Dublin City Council might have averted some of this criticism by erecting the bicycle stands and bicycles before or at the same time as their advertising boards. After all how difficult can it be:

Just buy us our bleedin’ bikes!

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