23 May 2014

And Hello from Carlow

Author: will | Filed under: Ireland, Irish, photo

Have you ever gone to Google Maps to see your own house from satellite and discovered something, well, weird nearby. Well this is what happened to someone I work with (his parents house is near this shot).

Proof, if proof was needed that the Irish Ploughing Championships needs a new specialist section. Or possibly a way to make a fortune for advertising on fallow farmland…

Here, Carlow says "Hello". The link if you want to look for yourself is… 53.31855,-7.56631 

Orphaned works are that special case in copyright law. You can tell, roughly, when they were created, but you can't find the owner.

It effects books, newspaper or magazine articles, or films that are still protected by copyright but for which the copyright holders cannot be located. The creator dies, the publisher shuts down, the distributor left.
But the copyright remains.

Its come up since the Irish Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has put out a call for comments about the changes for EU legislation (at http://www.djei.ie/science/ipr/copyright.htm )

Sadly, since its the Irish government, its released as a pdf file, but laws shouldn't be copyrightable. The deadline for comments is Wednesday April 23 2014.

Comments go to the "Orphan Works Consultation, Copyright Section, Intellectual Property Unit, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation", not me.?

Embedded Link

DJEI – Intellectual Property Unit: Copyright and Related Rights
Public Consultation on Transposition of the Orphan Works Directive and the Use of Orphan Works under Irish Law. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation invites submissions to the public consultation on the transposition of the Orphan Works Directive (2012/28/EU) into Irish law.

20 Mar 2014

We need to talk about Paddy's

Author: will | Filed under: brand name, Ireland, Irish, opinion

Podcasting does odd things to time. You are listening to a up-to-the-second broadcast, but its a few days old. That's why I'm talking about March 17th now. The Morning Ireland (yes I listen to the second most depressing Irish broadcast, I need the updates live, and the details via download) presenters were, as an aside commenting that they would get in trouble for calling "Saint Patrick's Day" by the more commonly used name "Paddy's Day". The English don't have Georgie's Day, the Welsh don't have Dave's Day and the Scottish don't have Andy's Day (unless Andy Murray is playing tennis).

A note to American readers, March 17 is not "St. Patty's Day". Patty is the feminine of Patrick. St. Patricia's Day (or if you prefer St. Patty's Day) is August 25th, and features dried blood coming back to liquid form. Which is slightly creepy.

The thing is, Paddy's Day didn't loose its "saint" by accident. March 17 is both the feast day of Saint Patrick, and the international day of celebration to be Irish. To be a "Paddy". Think of it as an Irish Pride festival.

Paddy used to be, and sometimes is, a derogatory term for "an Irish person". The nickname of "Paddywagon" for an American Police van was a commentary on just how many Irish men had joined the US police forces. Somewhere along the day we claimed it back. "Paddy" is rarely used as a derogatory term,  "Mick's" and "Tadhg's" are usually used in the way "Pommies" or "Yanks" are used, but it used to be worse. Paddy's Day would be the equivalent of the US's Black History month using the name starting with a "N" and ending with a smack to the mouth, but we embraced it. We made it out own.

And on the run up to March 17th, hundreds of landmarks around the globe were coloured green to celebrate this little country.

Paddy's Day is not about Saint Patrick. Its about being Irish and Proud. And maybe a little bit of snake banishing.


Embedded Link

In pictures: The world goes green for St Patrick’s Day
The Great Wall of China and Downtown Disney Orlando joined a host of major landmarks and iconic sites around the world in lighting up green yesterday.

28 Dec 2012

Just saying that this is Dublin

Author: will | Filed under: Dublin, Ireland, Irish, video, YouTube

"I still believe in Bewley's"… I think that's the only line you would need to change to do a version of this in any Irish town or city. I still believe in Sir Henry's, I still believe in King John's, I still believe in Eyre Square…

So take a walk through very late night Dublin City, with salty (NSFW) language and a fundamental truth, "there are ten good reasons to go, but a thousand tiny ones not to, and you can't tell which is which anymore."

Malware is a useful catch all term, but sometimes things are nastier than viruses and auto-deleting thingamajigs.

For example; Ransomware put simply it is a nasty program which put itself on your machine and refuses you access to it unless you pay someone.

There is a version doing the rounds in Ireland purporting to be from An Garda Síochána (The Irish Police force) saying simply pay up since we found naughty files on your computer.
The give-away is that its in both Gaeilge and English, or rather badly translated versions of both. Like it or lump it, but since, legally at least, all Irish laws are written in Gaeilge and translated in to English then the Gaeilge should be correct. In practice however the laws are written in English first, translated in to Irish and sometimes translated back to make sure the meaning hasn't changed.

So its a fake. That and the fact that the Irish Authorities prefer to prosecute after a forensics team have paid a visit to your hard drive (for the moment).

Its also fairly easy to remove this version, there are nastier ones which encrypt on the go (so go and back-up your datas now).

The steps are taken from Jimmy Collins' blog (link below) who I used to work with in a computer security company that I'm not going to mention in case it gets both of us in trouble.

"The infection itself is quite simple to remove. After booting into safe mode and checking the usual places like the Windows folder I came across a suspiciously name folder in ‘C:ProgramData’. It was a randomly named folder with a name like ‘ajklvnksnvsdfvfv’.
Inside, a 158mb HTML page, and all the necessary images, and CSS files etc. There was also an .exe in the root of the ‘C:ProgramData’ folder, the name of which I can’t remember, but it was name similarly to the folder with the HTML file, images etc. (I didn’t have a USB key handy regretfully).
Deleting these files and folders removes the infection, so it doesn’t seem too complex in the methods it employs to evade detection."

Still it would give you quite a shock to be suddenly presented with this. Automatic shutdowns rarely have an appeals process which works in a reasonable time.

Play safe out there…

This is a Loose Bloggers Consortium post on the theme of “Panic”.
To find out that the others in the consortium think, check out, …
Delirious, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox OCD writer, Padmum, Paul, Ramana, The Old Fossil, Grannymar.

Embedded Link

Beware – Ransomware
So this evening I was sitting at home when I get a panicked call from a friend in some distress. When he eventually explained what he was seeing on his computer screen at that moment, I immediately suspected a Ransomeware infection.
Ransomware, for those who have been living on the third moon of Jupiter for the last few years, is a type of malicious software that basically holds your PC for ransom. The user is prompted to pay a fee to ‘free’ thei…

11 Mar 2010

The Greening of the Xbox

Author: will | Filed under: do we really need this, game, Irish, Microsoft

I’ll be honest, I love my XBox 360. The halls of Rapture have been responsible for the loss of many an hour. But the XBox live system has a few drawbacks.

To begin with, since nothing purchasable has a refund (you can re-download something you’ve bought, but you can’t get your gamer points back), not having previews is a problem. Game demos are one thing but the likes of themes and gamerpics (essentially a profile picture for the XBox live system) are not available as a preview.

But people have worked around it. The Theme Xbox site is essentially a collection of videos. These videos are previews of the XBox themes, usually premium themes. I don’t know if the creators of the themes are slipping codes to the people doing these videos or if they are paid for themselves, or if some of these videos are by the theme creators. All I do know is that is has saved me from spending some gamer points on something I’d regret within seconds of paying for it.

In case you are wondering, the difference between a theme and a premium theme currently is that the “friends” section is customised in the premium theme, and he standard theme uses the XBox 360 defaults.

However, the date brings scary things to the fore. For example here is the premium St Patrick’s Day theme. (I just hope these links inside XBox.com work when you’re not logged in to XBox.com)

And Microsoft seem to have created a collection of avatar items for St. Patrick’s Day. Like Leprechaun outfits for him, for her and a spare leprechaun “prop” to steal the gold out of your pocket. Just like having the MS points taken.

Ah yes, more Orish than the Irish themselves.

Why do we do this! Couldn’t we have someone do nicer things? Even if you hate River dance, its is at least not “Orish”. Avatar items of the Riverbance dancer outfits for example? Or have someone create a cooler Irish theme. Something like a Secret of Kells theme? Or a Newgrange theme? Or a Rock of Cashel theme? Something that doesn’t look like its meant to be coated in a layer of cheap, tacky “kelly” green plastic. Why not Buntratty Castle medieval outfits? Irish right?  I can almost see Newbridge Silver or Waterford Crystal making a theme and avatar items just to show that Ireland can be classy.

So how do I create my own theme?

And where did this post come from; well, I’ve been mostly posting to Culch.ie, and ntil recently I’ve been unable to sit down and write a lot. I now have the time again.

There will still be photos coming (I have a lot of the AMC to do yet), but the tagling for this blog is… “Musing about technology, culture, people and the places in between”. So I should do just a little bit on technology, culture and more people.

I have a few words on WordPress (and WordPress Camp), Google Buzz, a Massive Hadron (not a typo) and Weedle to come.

23 Sep 2009


Author: will | Filed under: humour, invention, Irish, story

We all have to make sacrifices due to the economic climate he thought guiltily seeing the lost goat posters on the lamp posts.

Essentially this is a one line short story (I’ve tweeted it already) that came to mind after listening to Regulars by Frank Oreto on Pseudopod.

Pseudopod is a podcast series specialising on new short story form horror stories. However this one could have fitted in my lapsed “SouthQuays.com” project.

The plan for South Quays has changed in detail, but it was going to be a fiction blog based on the lives of people on the South Quays of an un-named Irish city. Originally the stories were going to be based on a “house of negotiable favour” as the term itself comes from a polite Victorian term for something frowned upon (i.e. he moored himself to her south quay) and I came across the term in “The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters“. Neo-Victorian fiction I know, I can only assume the author reused the term as it sounds right.

But it moved in my head at least from a single perspective to a wider one. In the last fifteen years Ireland has changed, and the landscape changed with it. But people, on the whole, don’t. The lives lived on the turn of most centuries are similar in loves and needs.

But things have changed.

The hermit no longer needs to be in a cave on the mountain. He can be in an apartment, sealed off from the outside world and living alone. His body found years after his death due to complaints about the smell from neighbours or unpaid bills calling the bailiff around to find the corpse.

People still fall in love and get married, but the details of the courtship and the wedding has changed. Also instead of boy meets girl, boy meets boy is also acceptable.

Immigrants have always come to the country, now their reasons have changed. And emigrants leave (again) and farewells take place.

Which is a better fit than the stories generated by the Wondermark Electro-Plasmic Hydrocephalic Genre-Fiction Cenerator 2000 (also available in automated form).

I’m looking in to getting it going again either this weekend or next weekend. Since I have to do a new WordPress install (I borked the last one after moving servers) I could make it an multi-user version if anyone wants to join me on the South Quays.

take care,
Will Knott

14 Jul 2009

A little walk with snaps

Author: will | Filed under: conference, Cork, Cork City, Dublin, Galway, Ireland, Irish, Limerick, photo

Saturday July 18 is World Wide Photowalk day. Thousands of images will be taken on the day and uploaded to Flickr with an overall winner chosen by photographer Scott Kelby.

Now I’m uploading to Pix.ie, so I won’t be in the contest part, but I will be wandering the streets of Cork wielding a camera. Its not just Cork, there are photowalks taking place in Cashel, Tipperary, Dublin, Galway, Limerick City and Adare in County Limerick,

Some of these are booked up (the maximum on a photowalk is being limited to 50. (Try herding a group of ADD afflicted photographers dawdling with a camera in one hand and traffic rushing towards them. The 50 limit is probably a touch much). But if your nearest one is full, you can set up your own (New York has at least five at the moment.)

Then again, meeting a bunch of fellow photographers (or messers with cameras) and wandering around with them is a lot of fun. You’ll pick up things. You’ll also discover views of your city or town that you haven’t considered before.

To be seen by the organisers upload your photos and tag them with “skpwalkcork” (or skpwalkdublin or what ever is listed in the instructions for your intended photowalk. The SK stands for Scott Kelby.


Because you never know what you might see on the streets.

Will Knott

Today is Yesterday was (this post got stuck in draft) the day that the Leaving Certificate English paper 2 didn’t happen. The cause, this is really for my non-Irish reader (waves at Aunt Mary); a steward running the exam on Wednesday opened and put out paper 2 instead of paper 1 by accident in a school in County Louth.

This error has effected 51,800 students, and cost the steward his job. Admittedly, no one died. Only study plans are disrupted.

The funny thing is that this isn’t the first time such an error has happened. But this year the consequences are that the second paper is being sat on Saturday with a back-up English exam.

What occurred is a perfect storm of events…

Firstly, the timetable of exams changed. Until recently English papers 1 and 2 were sat on the same day (morning and afternoon). Since both exams are, well, tough and require a lot of writing it was felt that spreading the exam over two days would be easier on the students hands, if not on the students themselves.

If the error had occurred in the past, only the 15 students who received the wrong paper would have been effected.  True they could have informed fellow students that the paper featured “macbeth, deception, bishop, keats, walcot, larkin …” to quote the tweet, but most (lets face it, there is going to be a little comfort cramming between exams at least) of the study would have been completed long before the exam. Having a full day between exams meant that the important information could get out there and get spread widely.

Secondly there is the nature of the exam itself. Paper two of the Leaving Certificate is regarded as one of the toughest tests in the pre-university examination system. In out system exam marks mean points, and points mean University places. The English syllabus means that the students have to study eight poets and guess as to which two or three would be on the paper.

Had this been the Mathematics exam, then the information would be harder to spread. After all knowing the type of maths question does not limit the study as much as dropping 6 out of 8 poets. Equally has this not been one of the “big three” exams of English, Irish and Maths, the reason to spread the information would have decreased.

So you have a high pressure exam, which most if not all the leaving certificate students will be sitting, where the important details of which can be summed up in three or four words; the names of the poets. Words which quiet easily fit in the space of a single SMS message. Or a tweet. So a small amount of information can cause a huge amount of damage.

The third part of this is the fact that social media played a part. And yes I’m counting the leaving certificate discussion section of Boards.ie as social media. In fact it appears that the public dissemination began on Boards.

The timing is interesting here. Boards only started seeing this information close to 4pm. This implies that the information only started leaking around then. What is likely is that those 15 students started passing the information as soon as the afternoon exam (home economics as it happens) was over. Given that the steward reported the loss of confidentially around 4pm, when parents of the children informed him, this sound about right. Even if the steward had reported the breach immediately (and maybe kept his job over it) the spreading of the information would have followed the exact same time line.

Or to put it another way, the Department of Education found out the same time that everyone else did. Posibbly a short while earlier.

At least one, mostly likely two or three of the children waited until they got home, and got internet access to talk to each other. This spread the word. Needless to say, it spread very quickly amongst a number of interested students. Then wider.

Now a lot of students cut back on social computer use (e.g games) during the exams. After all its only two to three very important weeks for which they have worked two years for. Discussion was rife.

And the department of education picked it up very quickly.

There is a backup exam in case of leaks. Normally what would happen is that effected schools would get the backup paper. For a single school a delay is tolerable as the second exam of the day could be delayed by the same amount. In this case, because of social media and the internet, every school in the country (and beyond, the leaving certificate is not only limited to Irish schools, but I can’t think of any places that use it) was effected. The issue changed from containing the problem to distributing the exams to all the test centres.

So the exam was rescheduled. Not everyone was in the loop. I’ve heard stories of students studying for the English paper after it had been rescheduled. Which probably means that they had shut down all connections for study reasons.

What does this mean for the Department of Education.

1) All leaks are now national leaks. Unless the leak is a mistiming (exam starts and ends early) then assume all the information is out there. Students can only be quarantined in special circumstances, for example the Jewish students who cannot sit the exam on the Saturday for religious reasons.

2) Different colour coding for papers. All the morning exams have a different colour cover from all the evening exams. When both papers were on the same day, there wasn’t an issue, the colours were different. When the exam because consecutive mornings, then it became an issue again. Using more colours, maybe 4 colours with alternating colours for different mornings and evenings. A quicker, cheaper fix might be have the second paper being on the following afternoon. Or the following week. One would make mistakes unlikely, the other would give more recovery time.

3) Sign-off. The steward needed to get two students to sign-off the opening of the paper. Firstly these students are not disinterested parties, assuming malice, they would want this information. Secondly, these student have no training on the proper procedure. If the head of your exam asks you to sign something so the paper can be passed out, you’ll sign it. I know I signed off an exam (only 2 of us sat the paper) so I didn’t realise that I was signing a procedural document at the time.

In short, the current “the procedures have been followed” process have absolutely no purpose. Insisting that a teacher or someone equally fire-able by the Department sign off would at least make the checks viable.

So is this going to happen again?

Yes. You see, human error is likely. The consequences differ widely every time, in this case a lot of inconvenience for all the students this year. Next year, it could be something small.

Annoying, yes, but stuff happens all the time. Next ear we will all year about the steps taken to avoid this from happening again. Or at least, the steps to make if less likely.

And the odd on winning the lotto are?

take care,
Will Knott

Michael O’Brien, former councillor and Mayor of Wexford(correction May 27) Clonmel attended the RTÉ programme Questions and Answers on 25 May 2009 and, after Minister Noel Dempsey, the sponsoring minister of the Ryan Commission report in to Child Abuse allegations spoke, Mr O’Brien spoke to the minister and to the panel.

I’ve done the transcript of the video clip below mainly because audio indexing does not work that well for video clips. And video clips have a habit of disappearing off the web.
The other reason is that this clip seems to be the turning point for a lot of discussions. And possibly some action.

—Start of transcript

Mr. Chairman, I’m surprised at the minister there now.

First of all Mr Minister (directed at  Minister Noel Dempsey) you made a bags of it in the beginning by changing the judges. You made a complete bags of it at that time, because I went to the La Foy commission and ye had seven barristers there, questioning me and telling that I was telling lies, when I told them that I got raped of a Saturday, got a merciful beating after it, and then stuffed…

… he came along the following morning and put holy communion in my mouth.

You don’t know what happened there. You haven’t the foggiest, you’re talking through your hat there. And you’re talking to a Fianna Fáil man, a former councilor and former mayor you’re talking to, that worked tooth and nail or you, for the party that you’re talking about now. Ye didn’t do it right, ye got it wrong.

Admit it.

And apologize for doing that. Because you don’t know what I feel inside me. You don’t know the hurt I am.

You said it was non-adversarial.

My God.

Seven barristers.

Throwing questions at us.


I tri.. attempted to commit suicide, there’s the woman who saved me from committing suicide,  on me way down from Dublin, after spending five days at the commission. Five days I spent at the commission. They brought a man over from Rome, ninety odd years of age, to tell me I was telling lies.

That I wasn’t beaten for an hour, non-stop by two of them.

By two of them.

Non-stop from head to toe without a shred of cloth on my body.

My God minister.

And could I speak to you (comment directed to Leo Varadkar, Fianna Gael), and ask your leader, would you stop making a political football of this.

You hurt this when you do that.

You tear the shreds from inside our body.

For God’s sake, try and give us some peace.

Try to give us some peace and not to continue hurting us.

That woman will tell you how many times I jump out of the bed at night with the sweat pumping out of me. Because I see these fellas at the end of the bed with their fingers doing that (gestures) to me. And pulling me in to the room, to rape me, to bugger me and bate the shite out of me. That’s the way it is.

And you know what?

You know what, sometimes I listen to the leader of Fianna Fáil. I even listened to the apology. T’was mealy mouthed, but at least t’was an apology.

At least t’was an apology.

The Rosminians said in the report, they said they were easy on us. The first day I went to them. The first day to Rosminians in my home which is Ferryhouse in Clonmel, ’cause its the only home I know. He said “you’re in it for the money”.

We didn’t want money.

We didn’t want money. We wanted the pr…  someone to stand up and say “yes, these fellas were buggered, these people were ra…”

Little girls. My daughter, oh sorry, my sister. A month old when she was put in to an institution. Eight of us from the one family, dragged by the ISPCC cruelty man. Put in to two cars, brought to the court in Clonmel. Left standing there without food or anything, and the fella in the long black frock and the white collar came along and he put us in to a van.

Not a van, a scut truck, I don’t know what you call it now. And landed us below with two hundred other boys. Two night later I was raped.

How can anyone…

You’re talking about constitution. These people would gladly say “yes” to a constitution to freeze the funds of the religous orders.

This state, this country of ours, would say “yes” to that constitition if you have to change it.

Don’t say you can’t change it.

You’re the governement of this state. You run this state. So for God’s sake stop mealy mouthing. ‘Cause I’m sick of it.

I’m sick of it.

You’re turning me away from voting Fianna Fáil which I have done from the first day that I could vote. Because. And you know me. You know me Mister Minister. You’ve met me on a number of ocassions. So you know what I’m like.

— End of transcript

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