Road page

T’is the season of Christmas parties. OK, this year, subdued Christmas parties, but the “be careful on the road” message still applies.

Twenty years ago, the transport  accident  commission of Australia created its first television safety campaign. The video below is an edit of 20 years of campaigns. Be warned if you thought that the “The Faster the Speed, the Bigger the Mess” advert for the Republic and Northern Ireland was bad, 20 years worth will have you in tears.

Drive safely this Christmas,

via Brandflakes for Breakfast.

More BTW

Jason Roe is doing it again.

I mentioned one of his BTW (Blogger, Tweet-up, Whatever) events before, and I think this s his fourth.

The idea is that us lot shouldn’t only communicate behind screens, since Ireland isn’t that big a place. So meet up and actually hold someones hand. Or at least give a real wave rather than a “*wave*”

The new BTW is going to be in the Kudos bar is the Clarion Hotel in the ISFC, Dublin on September 3rd at 7pm. That’s room for 150 people.

Register on his site, then come over and say “hello” in person.


Howl at the moon

It all started shortly before the Irish Blog Awards. That was the reason that Jason Roe was on the site, which caused the first insults.

The widely reported insult against bloggers which is being heard across the globe. I have been warned not to play in to Michael O’Leary’s hands and promote his apparent need for publicity (despite the ire its caused) over the company’s levels of customer service.

So much so that the search for their opposite is now on. LeCraic has the details behind the search.

Well according to O’Leary’s PR spokesperson, Stephen McNamara, we are “idiot bloggers” or “lunatic bloggers”.

Not to worry, as the company starts to limit their presence to online only, and as a lot of people type the URL in to Google (rather than the address bar) the negative rail against bloggers may bite them yet. Its is all very well being the name hat most people think of when they search for cheap flights. But they search, frequently when they don’t intend to (after all, Yahoo is a top search for term in Google, and vice versa).

However they didn’t say they won’t correspond with all bloggers – nor that all bloggers are idiots. But it sure is implied.

and the crowd said

After the Blog awards I’ve come to take the Jack Kerouac approach. If we are the insane ones… we are a lot of fun to be with.

The only people for me are the mad ones,
the ones who are mad to live,
mad to talk,
mad to be saved,
desirous of everything at the same time,
the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing,
but burn, burn, burn,
like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…

Burn brightly,

Will Knott

That’s not a man bag, its a school bag

The Crabling Otter that is Darren confessed that he carries a man bag. Needless to say Granddad is disgusted (so no surprise there). However I have a bag with me now. Its a backpack (no single strap stylish bags for me) filled with bits and pieces of my pack rat existence, and its a school bag again. I also have a Hermès Kelly bag, but more about that at the end of the post.

A selection of programming language textbooks on a shelf. Levels and colors adjusted in the GIMP.Image via Wikipedia

The bag is filled with the usual important bits and pieces. USB Memory stick, the non tech part of a MMC memory card, cables, book, screwdriver, multi-tool and pliers, cables, headphone bits, cables, book, pen and paper and of course cables. And books. And bits and pieces for my class.

One of the guys in my class asked my why I didn’t blog about, well, the class (yes I’ve gotten new readers, and I’ll link to them when I get them blogging) and I couldn’t see why not. I’m studying Software Development in Fás. And yes, I’ve been programming for years, but given that my background was in mathematics, and most of my working life was making databases do things that they shouldn’t do, I’ve not studied computer languages properly. Yes I’ve inhaled manuals due to a particular project requiring it, or simply because I wanted to, but not formally. I think my pfd collection shows that.

And yes I will blog if I get any formal certification along the way. And no I’m not referring to a diploma from Miskatonic University (got to love Lovecraft), which in also in my PDF collection along with my e-text books and paper models.

Which brings me to Hermès and the Hermès website which thanks to a link on the Paper Forest site I found out is offering a downloadable set of paper model Hermès Kelly handbags. The real one is a very expensive hand bag named after Grace Kelly (hence the name). These paper bags are an official release from the Hermès web site and comes in eight versions including a plain blank one for customisation.

I wonder if I can write code on it?

take care against paper cuts,
Will Knott

Sure, who wants that intenet thing

“Iarnród Éireann (IÉ) feels that it wouldn’t be in the public or the company’s best interest to install the current wireless technologies on its fleet for customer use due to the limited lifespan of said technologies.” — Iarnród Éireann’s own F.A.Q.

Current Iarnród Eireann (Irish Rail) intercity rail networkImage via Wikipedia

Now a state body such as Iarnród Éireann (or Irish Rail) if you prefer) being behind the times when it comes to technology is not too surprising, but given that there are huge drops in not only 3G broadband but GSM coverage along the main Irish rail routes the company has a potential killing on their hands.

Even if a current mobile broadband carrier offered to install the local technology on even their First Class (City Gold) carriages and you’ll find that the number of business users would increase. I mean, you have just given a very valid incentive to pay for a “City Gold” ticket! Remember that “cloud computing” is an option used by a lot of companies. For that to work an internet connection is needed. On a almost three hour train trip from Dublin – Cork you can get a lot done. A similar time (usually with a change of train) exists on a Dublin – Limerick trip. Sligo takes even longer. When you have a captive audience, use them.

What would you pay for a “single trip” password to use the internet connection on the train? Either sell the “scratch card” style access for the rest of the train or offer it in the same way that you used to have smoking carriages.

As for the five year limit… you CAN have multiple wireless services on the same train. You are missing out on a chance to make a lot of money Irish Rail (and the mobile carriers are missing out by by leaving “coverage holes” on the route).

Buck up boys. Buck up.
Will Knott

Crawl around the town

A long time ago, at MashpCamp I thougth about combining a Google Map with the geodata of pubs and a ratings system to generate a “Rate-my-pint” type application, which I’m sure a brewery could use for customer support and ensure that their product is being served properly. This is probably more useful.

Original mixed-media painting by Manfred Url (www.manfredurl.Image via Wikipedia

I have no idea who made the Dublin Pub Crawl map, but I’m impressed. Essentially it’s a Google map with route calculations which allow you to create your own own pub crawl through Dublin City. However I’m not too sure how to get the data off the computer and in a format which would survive a “12 pubs of Christmas” tradition.

Choose an area, like Temple Bar or Dublin 15, pick some pubs you’d like to include, if you like. And you can edit the maps and add other pubs.

Like those outside of Dublin?

I suppose it’s all about how intelligent the routing code is, but would adding a bunch of Cork, Limerick and Galway pubs just mess things up, or make the map more useful for those who don’t want a pint of plain in the pale? And it it works, then we could have “centres of excellence”, in drinking.

take care,


Organising a meet up in a blog

I’m not making fun of anyone, but I’ve seen something like this before…

  • “I’m thinking of going to the pub tomorrow. Anyone else going?”
Patricks BridgeImage via Wikipedia

And there is silence. So I’m looking at how to do something like this. Random event organising 101. This equally applies to parties, board meeting, Barcamps, foocamps and political protests.

Step the first: Who are you?
Think about it. An anonymous blogger like Twenty Major could organise a well attended sortie (or boarding raid) but since no one really knows what (s)he looks like, (officially) then it wouldn’t quite work. If someone organises get-together, particularly a get-together of random blog people then they either need to know what you look like (hence the avatar on so many social network sites) or you need to wear something distinctive. For example…

  • I’ll be holding a red rose.
  • or I’ll be wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini.
  • or I’ll be in a giant gorilla suit.
  • or all three just to be really distinctive.

Or simply show them a picture of what you look like. For example, this is my ugly mug. Sometimes it’s not necessary. If its a “flash protest” then there is every chance that you’ll be handing out the signs. If it’s a flash freeze on Grafton Street you need everything else.

Step the second: Where is this?
“OK lads, I’m going for a drink. Want to join me?”

Great! Where? Hello? Unless you actually tell someone on your blog where this meet up is taking place, no one is going to know where to go (or start). So a location is needed. Things you need to consider about your location; is it suitable. The Dail Bar is, well, members only. The Church of the Consumption is not well known for its pints of Beamish. The IKEA store in Belfast is not the place to arrange contemporary drama. And Patrick’s Street isn’t the place to stage a musical (yet). Just make sure that everyone knows where the get-together is. Given that this is going on the internet, I don’t think I’d have a party at my parents house.

Also you might need to give more details. Saying “meet me in The Office” will have a bunch of people arriving at your desk, and another bunch arriving at the amusingly named bar called “The Office” (and knowing my friends, I see a bunch watching “The Office” on the television). Be exact. A same thing for saying “I’ll meet you at Kelly’s”. I suspect every city (and quite a few small towns) have a shop of some sort called “Kelly’s”.

So back to this meet up. Since I don’t drink (and I’m Irish too, stop being shocked), I first thought of a meeting in Ó Conaill’s Chocolate Shop. But they close early. Well I did consider a meeting in Cork Coffee Roasters on Bridge Street, but its a bit small (he typed hopefully). So what about Sin É, on Coburg Street, Cork City?

Step the third: What time is it (on)?
“See you all on Friday”

Sounds great, but when exactly. Unless you

  • work there (so will be there all day long)
  • live there (so will be there all night long)
  • telecommute from there (its possible)

then there is a chance that you need to give both the time and day. The date won’t hurt (as things show up in searches). So 7pm Friday April 18 2008.

Step the forth: Why?
There is a story behind the meet up. Sometimes the story is one of years of friendship, so “no reason” simply means “no special reason, but it would be great to get together again”. In my case, I’m in Cork City for an interview and to call in to the Fás Jobs Ireland Munster 2008 so I’m going to hang around. Contact details are in the “about” section if you want to call first.

Step the fifth: what?
Sometimes this is optional. Sometimes this is essential. In the above case of the flash freeze, detailed instructions are essential. In the case of going for a meal, detailed instructions aren’t really needed. In practice, the “what” is always remembered. Usually it’s what you want people to do.

So… thats me, drinking coffee (you can get something else if you like) in Sin É, on Coburg Street, Cork City at 7pm. Am I going to see you there?

take care,

Route by route, map by map

The idea struck when Carl availed of a cheap flight to Cork and took his Sat Nav GPS device with him. He also took a camera so there will be more photobloging soon. Given that I was going to meet him a few days later at TechLudd he lent me the device for the trip.

cork airport rocketImage by Will Knott via

This Cork-Dublin trip was the first time I had actually used a GPS Satellite Navigation system the way it was intended and I’m wondering if I might suggest a few things (and this might warrant giving away a business model, but I think only Apple could use it. If so, I want one). If this already exists… tell me about it please.

Driving along with both a Sat Nav and an MP3 player (full of podcasts) talking at me it occurred to me that having an integrated unit which would pause the audio to give directions would be wonderful. I think it could work in much the same way that the iPhone or some Nokia devices pause playback when a telephone call comes through the device; integrating a hands free phone would be useful for pedestrian use around a city anyway.

In fact it might make sense to integrate a hands free phone in to the device (see the Nokia and Apple angle folks?). Given the cost of these things, and how tempting they are to thieves, it makes sense to have a reason to put it in your pocket.

However the nasty part of owning a Sat Nav is not the annoying voice (it can be fixed) but, as Adam explains, the cost of the maps. So how about incremental updates via “the cloud” and wireless access?

Imagine the scenario. You want to drive from Cork (say for the Learning Festival this fortnight) to the Ice Cream Ireland book launch at the end of April. Later to the 3D Camp event in Limerick in June. Then to the Open Coffee Club BBQ in Terryglass, Co. Tipperary in either June or July. And maybe even a quick trip to London in July, or San Francisco in April. If you want up-to-date Sat Nav maps you would have to check for an update, and buy a map for the entire country (if its available). But what about an incremental update.

In April you plan your trip from its starting point (Cork) to your destination (Killarney) and the Sat Nav calculated both the route, and what map data is available. It could then use that calculated route to check if there has been an update in that area (say 20 miles within the calculated route) by checking in to the “iTunsMaps” or “KlubNocia” online store and see if there is an incremental map update (or 2) and offer to sell you the maps updates on the calculated route for 1.99 (be it Dollars or Euro).

You are not getting the whole map, but a single route. Similar to buying a single track and not the album. And you are choosing to update the route based on the age of the stored route (and the update naturally).

In addition, a pedestrian probably wouldn’t need the whole country map while he or she is in one city (the quick trip to San Francisco). So downloading a city Sat Nav map (with points of interest, an event guide for that week and free wi-fi hotspots) could cost the same as a single album would.

Straining the point, the current map sales model is akin to being forced to buy a 50 year anthology every time you want to hear a single track.

Given the advances in mapping database systems (yes geographic databases of geography do exist, its Sat Nav data) such modular updating could be useful. You could even automate it for a road trip (and hope the connection lasts to let you know that the old road is now a dead-end with a wall across it)

So guys. Think it could work and is a viable model for a business?

take care,


My access over the next few weeks is going to be sporadic so I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and I hope to post properly soon.

take care,

I’m Mandy, fly me (after I complain about you)

I’m coming a little late to this party so excuse the recap.

First off, what on earth was 10cc thinking when they wrote that title of the post in 1976.

The time line seems to be as follows…
On June 1 2007….
Irish A list blogger and all round rights guy Damien Mulley went to the reboot 9.0 conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. On his return, the company handling the luggage for Cork Sky Handling Partners Ltd, formerly known as “City Jet Handling”, lost his luggage.

Mulley being Mulley complained (with extra crunchy profanity).

And so it seemed to be over.

On June 20 2007…
Around lunchtime (and quoting starts here) he …”started getting email confirmations from dating sites, including gay ones saying [his] account for their site has now been created. Seems someone was creating profiles saying [he] was looking to meet men and had rather interesting profile descriptions. One of the emails disclosed the IP address where the person submitted the details from:

inetnum: –
descr: City Jet Handling Dublin.

City Jet Handling is the former name of Sky Handling Partners. ”

IP spoofing not withstanding, it seems a little dumb to not cover your tracks.

Damien gives a fuller description on this post, which may have to be pulled because Handling Partners Ltd’s lawyers have served him with a take down notice.

If this was an attempt to harass Mulley, it’s backfired a bit. This news has spread out so much that a Google searchshows lots of details on the incident, from the humorous, to the business, including the telecoms business, the media to the legal. The other reason it might not work is that you don’t silence an openly gay man by adding his profile to a gay dating site.

It’s going to be interesting.

take care,

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