28 Apr 2009

qik qik roam roam qik

Author: will | Filed under: Cork, mixing, mobile phones, network, news, Open Coffee Cork, opportunity

I’ll admit that I don’t travel that much. If I did then I would be looking in to getting a MaxRoam chip and account. MaxRoam is the brainchild of Pat Phelan and Cubic Telecom, and its a sim chip that lets calls be routed through local numbers and VOIP for the international sections of the call.

It also means that you can have multiple local phone numbers in different cities around the world.

But, until recenty it was mostly for voice (not sure about texts). About two weeks ago they struck a deal with Qik. This deal, called Qik Roam, is a Qik-branded SIM that users can user for cut-price calls and data.

The announcement goes…

The partnership with Cubic Telecom will see Qik give its users the opportunity to purchase Qik-branded SIM cards enabling them to stream video live from all corners of the planet – without coming home to an astronomical phone bill. The Qik SIM also provides massive savings on voice calls, email, web browsing and texting while they travel. Under the tagline “Go mobile, not broke,” Qik is offering its users a simple, inexpensive way to share live video no matter where they are.

This is something I should have posted sooner, but other things got in the way. I know Pat through the Cork Open Coffee and I haven’t met anyone with as much passion as he has.

Hoping things get even better,

Will Knott

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Pat Phelan of MaxRoam is still playing Santa. Or is it a New Year’s blowout? He is offering a Nokia N79 and a 37 inch LCD HDTV. All you have to do is drop over and leave a comment and wait for the courier.

Maybe not wait. There are no rules or regulations or any thing like that, but they will be given away on the evening of the first of January.

Just remember if you got a phone for Christmas send your old one to The Jack & Jill Foundation

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23 Dec 2008


Author: will | Filed under: 2008, blogger, bloggers, charity, creativity, mobile phones, Writing

I want to tell you a story, about Catherine Brodigan.

She put together the “Homepages” book. Homepages is a unique collection of stories and photographs, the first of its kind in Ireland. The nation’s best bloggers hold forth on the theme of “home”, covering everything from pets and expat life to parenting and the Kellogg’s Variety Pack. By turns hilarious, heartbreaking and thought-provoking, it promises a captivating read and showcases some of Ireland’s best undiscovered writing talent. All proceeds from the sale of each book, compiled on an entirely voluntary basis, go directly to Focus Ireland, who provide services and support for people who are homeless across Ireland.


The book can’t be bought in any shops, but is available on a “print-on-demand” basis for €14 from Lulu.

Also on the charity theme, the Elfish Damien Mulley is asking that people donate their mobile phones (and their chargers) to the Jack and Jill Foundation who recycle said mobile phones. He is asking that people pass a note in the jiffybag leave a comment on his offer post making sure you add some referer details (as in “WillKnott.ie sent me”)  and put their phone with the recharger bits in a jiffybag and send them to their freepost address: The Jack and Jill Mobile Appeal, Freepost, Ratoath Road , Finglas, Dublin 11.  You see, he’s offering a prizes for your kindness  (Damien is blaming Pat Phelan for this).

For everyone that donates one or more mobile phones to the charity, they’ll be entered into a draw for three prizes (First, second and third out of hat) – a Nokia 5220, a Voyager 815 bluetooth headset and an Elextex rubberised portable keyboard for phones. The blogger who gets these people to donate phones will also be entered into a draw for a Nokia 810 Internet Tablet.

Now, I’ll admit, that as much as I want to play with one, I don’t need the Nokia tablet. So I’ll ask that if you donate, you add your details and a note saying that you found out about this through who ever the first commenter on this blog post is.

So go out there and help someone. It’s the Christmas spirit thing to do.

take care,

Will Knott

Update: This post was updated as I included the wrong information to win your prize.

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If you sit down for a group meal at 5pm, is it a lunch or a dinner? Some insist that it’s not a dinner until 6pm.

But no matter. If you sit down with good company and good food, then it’s a good time.

Our master of ceremonies, in theory, Joe Scanlon lead the meal. The story is that Joe left the Cork Open Coffee Club for a few moments and on his return discovered that he was the one organising the meal.


He did a good job.

lights in Market Lane hats2
He selected the (surprisingly dark) Market Lane on Oliver Plunkett Street. Good food, and in the company of (deep breath, in seating order) John Handelaar, Ciara Crossan, Walter Higgins, Joe Scanlon, Randy Jordan, Margaret Jordan, Catherine Wilson, Marion O’Sullivan, Matt Kane, Michael Kane, Aedan Ryan, Pat Phelan, Damien Mulley, Enda Crowley, Gordon Murray, Sabrina Dent and myself, a good time was had by all.

And given that there was an outbreak of santa hats, Walter, thanks to this Pixenate, or rather Twixenate project to add Santa hats and snowflakes to Twitter avatars efforts. This last shot is for him. (I think he took the joke well).


and finally, I am apparently a jammy git. There was a little raffle. Sponsored by Dell and Puddleducks. I won a Dell Inspiron Mini 9 netbook. There will be unboxing photos (and probably a Loudervoice) review once I get it.

Ciara predinner chats
So a very happy thank you,
Will Knott

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28 Aug 2008

Just effin do it

Author: will | Filed under: cancer, photo, Pink, pinkforoctober

Yesterday I blogged about the obstacles with doing the pink portraits event as a way to raise funds as an Irish twist on the internet’s Pink for October.

A Pink for October LogoImage via Wikipedia

However the words of the worlds most unlikely guru, Pat Phelan of MaxRoam came to me.

When asked about doing a business idea he said “Just [effin] do it”. (I’m censoring)

The application has been dropped in. I’m waiting for PinkForOctoberIreland.org to resolve. I might end up meeting the four horseman of the internet, but I’m going to do it.

It may end up being a small quite pairing off of photographers and models rather than an officially sanctioned flash mob of people getting wonderful portraits taken, then those prints get donated to the Irish Cancer Society shop for display and sale. But something is going to happen.

Want to help?

Want to join in?

If this is unofficial, I want photographers and willing models. If you want to be part of this, then comment below, and I’ll contact you when the site is ready to accept people. While I’m looking at making this a sanctioned and not illegal event on September 20 2008 (I’m trying to get the use of Daunt Square as it is almost beside the Irish Cancer Society shop on Castle Street, the collection would make a great photosynth), there is nothing to stop a blind date between a photographer and a model. The web site will allow that.

You don’t have to be in Cork. If you are willing to create an event (and ask your town/city/conty council for permission. Do it. This is a charity event (where no money changes hands at the event) so it possible that the authorities will permit it. If you are willing to briefly pair up, (I can see more photographers agreeing than models) then something a little less official is always possible (blind date style). However a local organiser or administrator or coordinator is needed.

Even if approval is not given, its an excuse for a photowalk.

Don’t get mad: Volunteer.

If you’re willing to help out with a Joomla based site: Comment below and volunteer.

If you’re willing to pose for a photoblogger and then buy a print of that session from an Irish Cancer Society shop: Comment below and volunteer.

If you’re willing to take portraits of the above volunteers, modify the shots, create prints and donate them to an Irish Cancer Society shop: Comment below and volunteer.

If you’re willing to organise a meeting of photographers and models: Comment below and volunteer.

If you’ve been touched by cancer and are willing to be interviewed by a blogger : Comment below and volunteer (or blog about it yourself).

If you want to see a difference, you need to make  difference.

Let’s see if we can change the world,
Will Knott

update September 3 2008. The 2008 Pink for October Ireland portraits won’t be happening. Details in this post.

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The way we interact with technology changes from year to year (and on occasion, something comes along and changes an interface overnight, like TwitterFone). Given that one of the creators of Twitterfone, namely Pat Phelan, posed the question “Have we over innovated?“, its surprising.

The wheel was invented circa 4000 BC, and has become one of the world's most famous, and most useful technologies.  This wheel is on display in The National Museum of Iran, in Tehran.Image via Wikipedia

The answer is no. I think that Robin Blandford, Damien Mulley and Alexia Golez all agree that we have more innovating to do. Part of the perceived problem is that the innovators produce something for the general person; but the general person doesn’t want it. The bleeding edge early adopters might love it, but not their less technology loving friends and relatives. The early innovations tend to be the “engineering model” with a few unfinished features, bugs and complicated instructions. A remote control which has an individual button for every function the device can do is not the most user friendly of interfaces. The early adopters will flock to it and understand it. But if it isn’t obvious and fast and easy to use, I know my Mum will hate it, and the chances are that the device won’t survive to a second model. Its an innovators dilemma.

The true irony of this dilemma is that its caused by a mixtre of a lack of communication, and too much. After all, some innovations were things that the users didn’t know that they wanted. An “unknown unknowns” sort of thing. This is a want, which is so convenient that it rapidly becomes a need. Sometimes this is generational (e.g. mobile phone uptake), sometimes this just swoops in out of the blue and everyone joins in (grandparents and grandchildren on the Wii). But sometimes they are consigned to the “ideas before their time” bin. Being able to “vote out” unnecessary parts of the solution, means that the idea has less of a problem.

The other type of solutions is the “What if?” caused by the “Why not?”. The “Why doesn’t this exist yet?” type problems. Which is usually what is thought about when people talk about a lack of innovation. The slow incremental kind where the steps seems obvious only after the product comes to market. And these steps are being sped up due to communication.

Now an idea or observation can become a idle tweet, which sparks another’s blog post, which sparks a small blog storm, which sparks a business plan, which sparks a gathering of minds and ideas, which sparks improved ideas and a flurry of research work, which (might) spark a business plan but is more likely to spark a business start-up first. And each step in an itteration of the idea, refining the initial notion with practicalities and possibilities. Due to the wonder of social networking at it’s finest, this allows people who know brightsparks to become involved in an interesting idea and produce something. Because ideas are easy, but the skills to do something specialised are, well, specialised, and few people have them. But knowing someone who knows someone who might be able to help you is a practical possibility due to the sped up communication of social networks. Then your idea moves from notion to production.

But you have to produce something which enables others to know some of your ideas. You have to give in order to get. You have to spend time or talent to get attention. To get communication. And you have to join the conversations, otherwise you are considered the unwelcome gatecrasher that will be ignored. But if that gatecrasher helps out, then he or she is no longer an unwelcome gatecrasher, but a welcomed guest. And this new guest may point out that part of the solution yo are trying to make already exists, so there is no need to reinvent that wheel (or how to avoid being sued by that wheel’s inventor).

Open source projects and wikipedia works this way. Individuals who may never physically meet work on a project in their spare time. And it works for businesses, where one entrepreneur meets another on line, or a third party brings them together virtually and then physically. Perinatal ideas get defined through this virtual iteration and idea refinement so that not only is a full bodied idea born, but the creation process creates a bit of interest in the idea itself. Enough interest, and there might be interested funders.

Can we over-innovate? Only if we are willing to accept it as (science) fiction, but science fiction frequently sparks the research to become science fact. Is innovation over? Not as long as others can spark ideas and collaboration. As for a visual representation of this collaboration, see the video below.

take care,
Will Knott

One of the little things that happen at the Cork Open Coffee are the demos. On April 27 the attendees got a pre-release demo of Pat Phelan‘s new project … Twitterfone.com

TechCrunch40 Conference 2007Image by netzkobold via Flickr

The idea is rather simple. Ring a local telephone number (currently US, UK and Ireland) and leave a 15 second voice message. Be careful what you say (or cough as Michael Arrington discovered), and your message is converted to text in a tweet on your twitter account. In addition a recording is also available (via a tinyurl), which is handy if your message doesn’t fit in to 140 characters of less. Yes we talk that fast in Ireland.

Its a useful service, especially if you are in a crisis situation and can’t talk for long.

I’ll be honest when I say that I’m dying to try it out, but given the sudden tidal wave of registrations it might be a little while.

And Twitterfone’s look is a Sabrina Dent creation.

take care,
tweet safely,
Will Knott

5 Mar 2008

40 shades of greed

Author: will | Filed under: do we really need this, fluffy

Pat Phelan raved against the “Paddy tax” levied by O2 for their sale of the iPhone in Ireland when compared against the comparable deal in the UK. The devil is in the details of the minutes and the data limits of the plan. And it seems that Alexia Golez has found another instance, again by O2.

The real kicker is that a “Paddy Tax” has been around for years. I wouldn’t subscribe to a magazine subscription because, unlike my UK counterpoints, the subscription increased the cover price in Ireland. Similarly go in to a shop which displays prices in both sterling and the “Euro in Ireland” price… and a quick currency conversion proves that the sterling price is actually cheaper. Even the big UK supermarket chain, (OK Tesco) tends charge a higher price for the same goods Ireland when compared to the price in the UK. Comparing shopping baskets simply shows that despite all the talk of a lack of price fixing… a paddy tax applies.

There is however one exception to all this… the price of the shopping basket seems a little lighter when viewed from the German side.

and on a “Fluffy” note, someone (don’t know who yet) Damien Blake has set up PaddyTax.com. Lets see if it will document all instances of the tax, and not just the “technical” one.

take care,