Archive for August, 2007

September Is Web Month In Ireland

conor 22nd of August 2007 by conor

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say this considering the number of events that are happening around the country next month. The variety is just as important as the count with some which are entirely new to us. The anchor will be Web2Ireland Week from 10th to 14th in Dublin. I’m really buzzing about this and we’re thrilled to announce that blognation is a media partner.

The week kicks off with the very highly regarded Mashup Camp and University in TCD. This is the fifth to be held worldwide and is run by David Berlind and Doug Gould.

MashupCamp 5

This is an unconference-style event that’s dedicated to bringing together the Internet software mashup community for a face-to-face collaborative meetup where new relationships are formed, old relationships are nurtured, ideas are shared, multiple balls are moved forward, and innovation happens in real-time.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a Mashup;

Mashups are most often characterized by the way they draw upon functionality and/or content from two or more sources to produce a new creative work. For example, if a birdwatcher “mashed up” her own database of birdsightings (by GPS coordinates) with the functionality and content of Google Maps, the resulting visual presentation where the locations of birdsightings are interactively overlayed on top of a map could be considered a mashup.

They are starting with Mashup University which is specifically geared towards hands-on training whereby new and experienced mashup developers can get classroom style instruction on how to build mashups using the technologies from API providers and mashup enablers.

This is followed by Mashup Camp itself where the attendees define the agenda by discussing ideas for mashups. People network, contribute, and rub shoulders with each other. The Camp is also a great place for the various mashup API and technology providers to meet face-to-face with developers. Some of the suggestions for this Camp include “Mobile UI development and iPhone optimizations” and “Mashup Adoption Issues Across the Enterprise”.

It really looks like a superb opportunity for the Irish web development community to meet and come up with interesting ways of working on things together. Attendance is a paltry €25 for developers.

If you are attending MashupCamp, the RubyIreland folks have extended an open invitation to you to attend their regular meetup from 7pm-9pm on Tuesday 11th in the Morrison hotel. They retire to La Taverna Di Bacco in the Italian Quarter next door afterwards. It’s always a very sociable and entertaining night. Also keep an eye out for a CodeJam they are planning. It may happen in September too.

On Thursday the 13th we have several events happening. The first is a meetup of the Paddy’s Valley attendees at 5pm in Ely HQ. This is a trip being organised to Silicon Valley by a bunch of Irish start-ups to raise their profiles, meet with their peers and idols and do a few elevator pitches. There are currently over 25 people signed up to travel from Dec 2nd-9th. The meet-up is a way of getting to know each other, discuss the itinerary, address concerns, swap Valley contacts and hopefully attract even more attendees. If you are undecided about going this is one way to find out more.

Immediately following this in the same location is the combined DemoBar and FOWA Road Trip. This is starting to look like one of those evenings where, if you don’t turn up, you’ll be kicking yourself for months after.


DemoBar is an opportunity for 10 web start-ups to demo their wares to the assembled crowd in, yes you’ve guessed it, a bar. This crowd will consist of your peers, Irish and UK investors, the press and government agencies. Those who nail it will be helping their businesses (or nascent businesses) hugely. Details for signing up are over on the Web2Ireland site and it is sponsored by Microsoft.

FOWA Road Trip dovetails beautifully into this. Ryan Carson and the crew are travelling around Europe, meeting with like-minded web professionals and other people in the web app industry. The FOWA conference itself is always packed with industry players and Road Trip is just one of those fun nights where you can talk shop, network and maybe bend Ryan’s ear a bit.

If you still have energy left after those four days, then head on over to the Morrison hotel on the Friday morning for OpenCoffee Dublin. It’ll be a useful way of winding down, talking about the week and maybe help with planning what comes next which is…

Barcamp Galway

BarCamp Galway on September 22nd. We really have taken BarCamp to our hearts here. It kicked off in Cork last September and was followed by Waterford, Dublin and Belfast. The guys is DERI are hosting this one and there are already 55 people signed up. Given some of the very cool research the DERI guys do and the buzz behind SIOC, I think you can expect some really special presentations. This is followed a week later by…

PodCamp Ireland

PodCamp on September 29th in Kilkenny. This is the first unconference dedicated to podcasting to be held in Ireland. All of the leading practitioners will be attending and there is a real sense of evangelism about the event. I fully expect to see a burst of new podcasters after this.

If I’ve missed out on anything else happening in September, let me know in the comments.

Company Index: Carson Systems

Comment posted by James Gallagher
at 9/11/2007 1:56:33 AM

On the bright side, I’ll at least be back in Ireland while it’s happening. Might even make it along.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 8/24/2007 10:33:03 AM

Unfortunately I got an email this morning about Mashup Camp being postponed.

They did not have enough signups, which is not surprising given the total lack of engagement with the Irish blogging and development communities.

Given sufficent time and energy into organising it, the re-scheduled one will be a big success.

David and Doug were brutally honest in their email to those who had signed up and that will stand to them in the coming months.

Looking forward to it already!

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 8/23/2007 12:17:18 PM

I haven’t heard anything. I hope not!

Comment posted by Owen
at 8/23/2007 11:42:35 AM

Did I hear some rumour about mashupcamp being postponed to Nov ?

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 8/23/2007 4:55:39 AM

No news yet Grace. To apply for a slot just mail web2ireland DOT editor AT gmail DOT com with basic info on your company/product and a short elevator pitch.

Comment posted by Grace
at 8/23/2007 4:52:20 AM

Hi Conor
Any news on who’s demonstrating at the DemoBar/FOWA booths. How do we apply?

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 8/22/2007 2:08:33 PM

I like the sound of that John and the timing is perfect.

Comment posted by John Breslin
at 8/22/2007 1:52:55 PM

Also worth mentioning“>Game On:

The Digital Hub in Dublin, home to the largest concentration of leading Games companies in Ireland, is also host this September to GAME :ON – a Cyber Games Festival, the highlight of which is the Irish Final of World Cyber Games on Saturday 15th of September. But don’t worry if you are not a “Cyber Athletic”, there are other ways to get involved – a virtual treasure hunt, a “Talk Digital” seminar with games industry leaders discussing gaming and social networks, digital film shows, and a chance to visit The Digital Hub GAME :ON exhibition and check out some of the latest computer games.

More details to be announced on

I will probably be giving a talk on gaming and social networks on September 10th, so will hopefully pop along to Mashup Camp that day too…

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 8/22/2007 8:44:03 AM

I think it is the best yet. John Breslin should know.

Comment posted by Robin Blandford
at 8/22/2007 8:19:31 AM

Love that BarCamp Galway logo!

Who’s responsible?

Web2Ireland DemoBar + FOWA Roadtrip + Web2Ireland Week

admin 21st of August 2007 by admin

DemoBar details

- check Facebook for event details
— Thursday September 13th – 6.30pm – Ely HQ
- for one of the 10 demo slots – please send an email note with company summary details
- for sponsorship opportunities – please contact us

For more information on the rest of Web2Ireland Week – check here

Facebook is on Fire

conor 21st of August 2007 by conor

I did a post on the sexy work Nooked is doing in Facebook over at blognation (picked up by SiliconRepublic) but given Ben’s recent question regarding FB developers in Ireland, I thought it was worthwhile to point out what a lucrative area it is to be in.

The big story last week was on TripAdvisor and the will they/won’t they buy Where I’ve Been for $3m. Even if they aren’t, no-one is blinking an eye at the valuation. Those who are managing to get lots of users of their FB apps are highly attractive right now.

The clincher for me is that Facebook’s own venture backers are investing in FB application developers. They see the Facebook Platform as something which benefits both FB and the apps guys rather than just being a land-grab by FB. Social Media in the US which develops FB and MySpace apps just received $1m in funding. When Jeff Clavier is involved in an investment, it is always worth watching.

Looking forward a few months, it seems clear that MySpace are going to come out with their own platform. Bebo will be roadkill if they don’t too. Those who are active in the FB application space will be ideally placed to exploit these other platforms. I’m convinced that Irish companies with expertise and a track record in building successful FB applications must be on the radar of European investors.

Zimbie Keeps You Notified Via IM

conor 20th of August 2007 by conor

Zimbie comes from research carried out by the TSSG (Telecommunications Software & Systems) Group in Waterford Institute of Technology. TSSG is a hotbed of research commercialisation and I’m always interested to see what they are doing.

Zimbie Homepage

The first question you ask with any new product or service is “what does it do?”. When I first encountered Zimbie via an email from Sean Lyons and looked at their site, I wasn’t really able to tell. It appeared to have something to do with alerts, IM, RSS and blogging. Once I talked to Sean about it, I understood it and liked a lot of what he had to say. Zimbie is about delivering time-sensitive information via IM. The first implementation is focused on RSS and they are using blogs as an example.

Over the weekend I went to try it out and got a few surprises. The first is that it is not a web-service at all but PC software you install. First you start with their Jabber-compatible IM client and then you add the RSS “plugin”. You configure that with the RSS feed you want to deliver to people. Then you logon to GTalk and others can add that GTalk user as a friend and start getting RSS notifications from your “bot” via IM. Phew. I had to read a 15 page Word Doc and watch a video before I got it working!

Zimbie IM Client

I can think of lots of great uses for RSS-to-IM, but new blogpost notifications is not one of them. A trivial example might be something like the sadly neglected site I created which allows Twitter users to report gas/water/road problems in County Cork. You tweet that there is a crash on the N8, Zimbie monitors the RSS feed and delivers that message via IM to anyone who is subscribed so they can find an alternative route home.

I worked in enterprise software for several years and I always felt there must be a simpler way of doing what the woefully misnamed SNMP did in many scenarios. Build RSS into monitoring software like Nagios and Zimbie could deliver filtered notifications to multiple sysadmins with nothing more installed at the receiving end than an IM client. The other examples on the Zimbie site make sense too: latest news/sport/business feeds, changes in stock markets and updates on car or property sites. I would have killed for a service like it during the recent election.

However I have doubts that the current implementation is going to get much traction amongst early adopters. Many of us have MSN, Yahoo and GTalk Messengers installed but disabled and which we have replaced with GAIM/Pidgin, Miranda, Trillian or Adium. The thought of installing another client (all 28 Megs of it) particularly another Jabber one will be a deal breaker for many. I think that creating Bots as plug-ins for GAIM/Pidgin would garner a lot more interest and give immediate cross-platform capability.

A client-based install makes sense in an enterprise environment but in consumer web I have to wonder if a web-service like Feedcrier would suit a lot more users? Is a hybrid approach possible?

I would love to see all those notification and update programs that seem to be included by every recent software install replaced with a subscription to the relevant RSS feed. This would be via feed reader for low-priority things like JRE updates and via Zimbie for important updates like security fixes.

I’m going to continue watching Zimbie closely as it is early days for them and there are lots of directions they can take based on the same core technology. Even within RSS there is so much happening in the semi-real-time notification area that they have myriad opportunities for exploiting niches.

Company Index: Zimbie

Comment posted by Zimbie Beta Trial
at 9/11/2007 3:56:26 AM

[…] […]

Comment posted by Ernest
at 8/27/2007 6:19:45 PM

For commercial grade IM interactive agents/bots that have been deployed in the financial and media industry for years – check

Comment posted by Zimbie
at 8/27/2007 4:59:04 PM

[…] Zimbie Keeps You Notified Via IM […]

Comment posted by Wellboy
at 8/21/2007 7:56:04 AM

Well boy!

I use phpBB on the forums and installed the RSS2 plugin which basically allows you to view the forum as an RSS feed.

I then installed Zimbie to run an IM service that watches the board… I used the IMPRESS plugin which meant I didn’t have to write a line of code!

Now anyone can add the to their buddy list and be notfied of new threads on the board… could be very handy for people wanting to seed message board forums etc.

Zimbie has a lot of potential… looking forward to MSN support in particular!


Comment posted by Wellboy
at 8/21/2007 7:52:52 AM

Well boy!

I use phpBB on the forums and installed the RSS2 plugin which basically allows you to view the forum as an RSS feed.

I then installed Zimbie to run an IM service that watches the board…

Now anyone can add the to their buddy list and be notfied of new threads on the board… could be very handy for people wanting to seed message board forums etc.

Zimbie has a lot of potential… looking forward to MSN support in particular!


Comment posted by Kieran O’Sullivan
at 8/21/2007 6:56:47 AM

Yes, we have started our next development phase where we plan to add support for the other main IM protocols, (MSNP, AOL, Yahoo). We also intend to create an enterprise version of Zimbie where the application runs in server mode managing multiple bots in a scalable fashion. We can currently run in a non-UI mode but we have yet to add an admin interface to this.

Thanks again,


Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 8/21/2007 6:47:55 AM

These are exactly the kinds of niches I was hoping to hear about.

I think the blogging example actually under-sells what Zimbie can do.

Are there any plans to run it as a windows service so that the bots can run un-logged-in and unattended on a server or a VM?

Comment posted by Kieran O’Sullivan
at 8/21/2007 6:43:44 AM

Hi Conor,

Thanks for the mention. I would just like to add that the rss service to bloggers is really just an example of the type of IM service that can be created using Zimbie. The application is essentially designed for developers to quickly create IM services using the framework provided. Services can be created from simple auto-responses to fully developed applications, for instance we are supporting projects here with Waterford City Council where they have a buddy interacting with the Regional library database for end users to query over IM. Also a partner in Germany (PSI) has integrated Zimbie with a flood warning system to notify operatives over IM.

Best Regards,


Web2Ireland Week – September 10th to 14th

admin 17th of August 2007 by admin

A lot of events happening in mid-September in Dublin – so we’ve grouped them together into “Web2Ireland Week”

The line-up is….

Mashup University – Monday 10th/Tuesday 11th
Mashup Camp – Wednesday 12th/Thursday 13th
Paddy’s Valley Meet-up- Thursday 13th
DemoBar and FOWA Road trip – Thursday 13th
OpenCoffee – Friday 14th

Will keep you posted on all the events over the next few weeks….

Simple Means Sales for DownloadMusic

conor 17th of August 2007 by conor

In the launch story on Monday I said that I expected to see more and more combined Web/Mobile applications appearing in Ireland. On Wednesday I talked to Johnny Beirne of and got a valuable lesson in Long Tail businesses.

On the surface this is a simple online music store built on a standard osCommerce platform. Johnny launched it nearly a year ago with a mission to bring independent and unsigned Irish acts to a much wider audience. In the initial months sales were light and he focused on building the relationships to artists. Then earlier this year he added the ability to buy songs via SMS and the site took off at an amazing rate.

This simple feature hides a lot of depth and understanding of people and demographics. Quite simply, the average indy music fan is probably a teenager or young adult who may not even have a credit card. Enabling them to buy tracks via SMS lowers the barrier to entry enormously. Even for those with a credit card, sending a simple SMS is even easier than using PayPal.

However it even goes beyong that. Johnny is a music fanatic and attends many gigs at which his client bands are playing. In many cases the bands hand out flyers with the SMS codes for their songs printed. In some cases they are even calling them out from the stage! As Johnny says “this is real social networking”. At Cork OpenCoffee this morning we discussed the fact that none of the interesting mobile applications are coming from the operators. Johnny has some clever ideas for leveraging user interests/purchasing on his site with the real world networking at gigs via the ultimate social device, the mobile phone.

As DownloadMusic is fully registered with IRMA, each download counts towards the charts and their sales have enabled 10 Irish bands to get well into the charts. He gave a recent example of a band that had 177 downloads in one week on his site but only 10 on iTunes. This brings up an important aspect of the Long Tail. Just because a mega-site like iTunes has your songs doesn’t mean you’ll get any more than one or two downloads. Because DownloadMusic focuses on a very specific niche they can highlight bands and drive downloads.

They have also partnered with Eircom, the main telco here, to provide music to their users and have an Eircom branded Flash music player. It will be interesting to see if they start extending out into MySpace or the Irish obsession, Bebo.

DownloadMusic Eircom Player

Many think that Web2.0 is about technology and Ajax and tagging. I don’t believe this at all, it’s about people and enabling them to do interesting, useful and fun things together that they couldn’t previously. understands this innately and their passion for making independent music more accessible can easily translate to a wider European audience.

Company Index: Opportune Media

Comment posted by Joe’s Blog » Blog Archive » Fluffy Links
at 8/26/2007 1:34:41 PM

[…] blognation based around independent Irish artists but also makes novel use of […]

Comment posted by Ken McGuire
at 8/18/2007 4:08:40 PM

Working on the ground level with unsigned Irish bands (outside of the 9-5) I’ve got to say I’m impressed with the way is operating and assisting unsigned acts in the country.

Sure enough, the bands won’t make a fortune from the sales generated from the site but it is putting their tracks into the hands of fans immediately and the connection with IRMA is perfect. It combines the best of freely and readily available technologies to boost a band’s profile and reputation, something of a revolution for the Irish music scene.

Have hosted some of the bands in the eircom flash player above (most recently The Aftermath with their new single available on I’ve been able to chat to the bands about their participation with and I’ve yet to hear a bad word. It has become a simple and cost-effective way for a band to introduce their music to main stream media heads and as you pointed out, they’re charting as a result.

Long may the growth of it continue.

Facebook apps?

admin 16th of August 2007 by admin

Are you working on a Facebook app? Are you looking to add FB functionality to your already existing app? If you are can you either leave me a comment on this post or email me directly at I am very interested to see the reception that Facebook is getting in Ireland. Paul, no need to reply — I already know you’re a convert ;)

Web2Ireland welcomes MashupCamp to Ireland

admin 16th of August 2007 by admin


Mashup Camp is coming to Ireland.

Started in February 2006 in Silicon Valley and now on its fifth edition, Mashup Camp — the world’s first and still the only event that’s dedicated to the advancement and social networking of the software mashup community — is coming to Europe.

Mashup Camp’s founders David Berlind and Doug Gold invite you to join them at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland for a two day crash course in mashup development (good for beginners too) and then for another two days of “unconference” style discussions, networking, hacking, contests, and entertainment. Mashup University which includes an introduction to mashup development and how-to presentations from API and technology providers, starts on Sept 10th and then Camp (the unconference part) runs for two days staring on Sept 12th.

For more information and to register for Mashup Camp and Mashup University, visit

This promises to be a busy week – Web2Ireland Demobar on the Thursday night.

Nooked Powers Big Brother on Facebook

conor 14th of August 2007 by conor

As someone who believes deeply in open systems I have been an ardent critic of Facebook, however I have admired many aspects of the site from a business perspective. The two most obvious ones being the recent launch of the Facebook Platform and prior to that, the introduction of the News Feed feature.

Ignoring the multiple iLike invites I get daily, I have been intrigued by some of the applications being installed by my FB friends and none more so than by Nooked CEO Fergus Burns. The one that really caught my attention yesterday was the Big Brother application. A bit of checking on the BB site showed that they announced it only two days ago.

Big Brother on Facebook Announcement

Channel 4 creating an application like this strikes me as an incredibly smart move. The demographic for BB viewers in the UK is a strong match to that of existing FB users (as opposed to johnny come lately’s like me). But I was stunned to see that the application has already been installed by 5000 users!

Big Brother on Facebook

Looking again at the application, I spotted something very important down the end: “Powered by Nooked”. This is a real coup for Fergus and the team in Sligo and fits strongly into the their “Widget Marketing” strategy.

Stu Phillips recently did a post wondering if RSS Advertising is dead. It appears that FeedBurner is really struggling with monetizing their feeds. They should have read a small post on the Nooked blog from two years ago where they pointed out that the Feed was the ad. On Facebook I noticed that Fergus and others were adding fashion applications, once again powered by Nooked. This means they are building relationships to retailers which provides strong revenue generating opportunities. Their recent re-coining of RSS to stand for Really Simple Shopping is starting to bear fruit. They could call it RSS 3.0 but a certain bearded gentleman might take issue with that.

Last year I struggled with where Nooked were going with the RSS marketing idea but now I finally see the potential of using RSS and widgets for e-commerce. Of course they face a lot of well-funded competition in this area but I can see how they are working to mitigate this: keep the initial focus on Europe, partner as much as possible and understand that content is critical.

Nooked’s other big news recently was the hiring of John O’Shea as CTO. On reading his very impressive profile, two things leaped off the screen; this is a platform guy and this is an API guy. I don’t know what the guys are building but with John on board I think we can look forward to something which moves Nooked into the major leagues.

Company Index: Nooked

Comment posted by Big Brother Blognation — adamstiles
at 9/2/2007 4:32:37 AM

[…] Today I noticed that Conor has written an excellent piece Nooked powers Big Brother on Facebook. […]

Comment posted by Fergus Burns
at 8/15/2007 5:42:58 AM

Hi Conor

Thanks for the mention and the kind words

A lot more goodies in the bag…

Talk Soon

blognation Ireland Launches

conor 13th of August 2007 by conor

I’m thrilled to report that the blognation Ireland site has gone live. As I said in the opening post:

blognation Ireland launches today to bring you all the latest news from the world of Web2.0 and mobile in Ireland. 2007 is the year when activity in web development has been at its most exciting here in a long time. Our aim is to raise the visibility of this local activity to a much wider global audience.

The Irish site is part of the blognation network which is building up to be the biggest tech news site on non-US Web 2.0 startups around the globe including EMEA, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Canada

Feel free to send me any news about your web or mobile application, no matter how early stage you are. conor.oneill AT blognation DOT com

If you like the opening story, please consider DIGGing it.