Archive for September, 2007

FOWA – Web2Ireland Meetup

admin 30th of September 2007 by admin

How many Irish web2.0 companies attending FOWA this week ? Want to meet up on Wed evening – before the main party ? Leave comments below on who’s going, etc.

Vodafone using Xiam to track your mobile behaviour

conor 30th of September 2007 by conor

Xiam Technologies announced last week that Vodafone Ireland and Orange UK have signed up to use their MPOS (My Personal Offers System) technology to serve ads on their Mobile Internet portals.

It looks like this is the next logical progression in context sensitive advertising where mobile actually has a leg-up on web advertisers by knowing your history in addition to your current activity. They claim to have:

  • One-to-one Targeting Technology
  • Advanced Profiling Techniques which targets advertising to specific market segments and individuals
  • Ad targeting using Demographic, Contextual, and Behavioural profiling
  • Real-Time Intelligent Recommendations

Your mobile operator knows pretty much everything about your history and activity including your location. Of course it is pitched as a way of providing you with accurate information but it'll be interesting to see if this technology is used on a subscriber opt-in basis or whether you suddenly find yourself shocked by spookily accurate mobile advertising.

I'm a privacy sceptic; everything I do on the web or the phone is based on the assumption that I have none. In fact I like getting targeted accurate advertising instead the generic rubbish that Yahoo Mail generally tries to push on me. I'll happily swap my attention data for good discounts on products and services I like. But I'm not sure that is a mainstream position. How do you feel about ads based on knowing lots about you?

Company Index: Xiam Technologies

Comment posted by technokitten
at 9/30/2007 2:23:55 PM

Looks great in principle, and should work a treat. However, the relevance and context will all be around what the advertiser is looking for rather than what the customer is looking for. So it just means that those loan, insurance and credit card ads are better targeted rather than directing stuff to me that I am actually interested in. And that boils down to where the money is unfortunately.

There are also plenty folks around who are paranoid about their personal privacy. And on top of that, when you are paying good money to a company for a service, you don't expect to be tracked (without express permission) so that they can make even *more* money from you. A balance needs to be found and I'm very interested to see if they manage to find the balance or whether the dollar signs will win.

Keep us posted!

RTE News on Twitter

conor 27th of September 2007 by conor

This may be old news but I've just discovered that there are now RTE Twitter accounts. I actually found out about it whilst testing the new tracker functionality.

There is:

Whilst there are a reasonable number of RSS feeds on RTE, I'm a fan of adding some news sites to Twitter and Jaiku so I get instant IMs for stuff as it happens. It is not clear if these accounts were created by RTE or someone else since they are just using TwitterFeed for it. Given that they are using RTE logos, I hope it is an official effort.

It did however highlight a flaw in the new Twitter feature. I set the alert for #cork but it sent me an RTE news story with the word cork. This is a really bad idea and I hope it's an early bug.

Comment posted by Darran
at 10/18/2007 11:50:46 AM

There is LOADS of services like it on twitter:

The BBC is very open about their content.

Plus it's not as if I'm claiming it as my own or trying to pass it off as someone elses. I could easily use the user name for evil and complain about RTÉ News!?

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 10/17/2007 5:49:27 PM

Then I'd be very wary about using their logos. Good intentions don't count if they get litigious on you.

Comment posted by Darran
at 10/17/2007 5:24:29 PM

Sorry Conor It isn't official and you'd be waiting for anything official from them i'd say.

MAXroam goes live

conor 27th of September 2007 by conor

After a big build-up of media attention peaking with an article in the New York Times, Cubic Telecom's MAXroam went live this morning. Using the great line of Travel Global, Pay Local, these guys are going for the jugular of the incumbent mobile operators and their roaming charges.


The core package is a MAXroam sim, €5 free calling credit and 1 free incoming number from USA, UK, France or Ireland for €29.99. Of course you can only use an unlocked phone with this SIM. I was able to get my phone unlocked by simply ringing Vodafone. If you have a Nokia N-Series this may take a few days as the request is actually forwarded to Nokia. Many mainstream phones can be done by the Cubic guys themselves. In fact, I unlocked an old 6230i for Roam4Free using one of many free sites on the web.

A sample of the costs is as follows. If you register an Irish number with them and then travel to France, receiving a call costs 21c and making one costs 33c. Irish people ringing you pay local charges. Add a French number and the costs to you are still the same but now your French contacts call using that number and pay only local rates. You can have numbers from up to 50 different countries on the one SIM or even 50 different numbers within one country (particularly useful for the USA).

I was one of the early users of Roam4Free V1. In that case you had a fixed Estonian number which gave you and your callers great discounts but it caused a big mind-set issue for callers and I gave up on it. The Cubic guys have promised a replacement SIM for all those V1 users. MAXroam is a major step forward and is a complete no-brainer for anyone who travels even semi-regularly. I'm eagerly awaiting mine in the post.

Comment posted by andy
at 10/3/2007 9:37:52 AM

who is the person with enough time on his hands to check blogs every few minutes?

Comment posted by andy
at 10/3/2007 9:36:37 AM

It appears you sent the first, and asked for a reply

So don't try and smear me as obsessive.

Comment posted by Pat Phelan
at 10/3/2007 9:31:00 AM

you have way too much time on your hand mate. 3 emails to me today, might be time to close this particular chapter
Conversation is closed, sorry

Comment posted by andy
at 10/3/2007 9:24:06 AM

and, for example, although there is discussion on his blog of a number of global SIMs, including one that is the same as Maxroam, when I posted a German one in response to a comment by a German, it was removed within a few minutes

by the way, my email was not abusive – I even pointed out to him that I had defended Maxroam on another forum against a load of made-up nonsense posted by a reseller of another product

Comment posted by andy
at 10/3/2007 9:18:24 AM

Just why is it that Mr Phelan emails me, soliciting a reply, then ignores it?

He's done this a couple of times now.

And then told the rest of the world that this was abuse by me.

Comment posted by Pat Phelan
at 10/1/2007 7:18:34 PM

Coughs loudly buts sincerely thanks Andy for that update
Any further work we schedule, we might notify Andy first to cut out the middleman.
Its wonderful to have such a fan of MAXroam keeping an eye on things for us, we may be even able to take a few hours off this week if Andy is available Saturday evening as the Police are playing Dublin.We have the tickets ,would be a shame to waste them ,how about it Andy?

Comment posted by andy
at 10/1/2007 7:12:42 PM

but a correction/rider has been added in the last hour or two

Comment posted by andy
at 10/1/2007 4:23:25 PM

looks like most of the tariffs went up by a third

Comment posted by andy
at 10/1/2007 9:30:38 AM

Conor, there's no need to make it ridiculous, hinting that only a minority of users will not benefit, when anyone roaming in Europe can get similar or better tariffs from the main networks.

As for Mr Phelan's remarks, why not devote time to getting your published tariffs correct, rather than spending your time on the internet resorting to personal insults on other people's behaviour?

Comment posted by Pat Phelan
at 10/1/2007 6:48:00 AM

ahhahh the lovely Andy pops up again
it might worth me offering him a job but it appears he is already busy being an armchair general.
Well that's four days of it now Andy on a full time basis and every bit of it raising the MAXroam profile
Keep up the good work buddy.

Create mobile Irish Channels on Twitter

conor 26th of September 2007 by conor

One of the biggest drawbacks of Twitter compared to Jaiku for micro-blogging is the inability to do decent filtering. In Jaiku you can create channels around topics of interest e.g. #podcamp, #irishopencoffee.


Recently Chris Messina started doing his own version of channels or tags on Twitter by simply marking words in his Tweets with a # symbol. I think the idea was to create a groundswell of support so that it would get baked into the product just like the @ convention. Stowe Boyd became an (almost unreadable) early adopter.


Today Twitter effectively launched support for this without mentioning it and for IM and Mobile only. In fact what they launched was the ability to track any tweets anywhere which mention a particular string e.g. NYC. As an example I can't think of anything worse, as you could be overwhelmed with incomings. However, if you do it for these pseudo-channels like #Cork or #BarCampGalway or heck #IrishDogRacing then you have something very powerful and useful.


The spam issue will have to be addressed when it becomes a problem. I hope they extend this to the web-site too as it could genuinely be a big step forward in functionality. Of course, being a Twitter feature, I haven't actually got the notifications to work yet!

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 10/5/2007 12:26:49 PM


Twitter has a UK number but not an Irish one. Therefore some UK mobile users can send for nothing if they have free texts. In Ireland we pay cost of international text. On my Voda account that is 21c but I believe on Meteor it is approx 16c.

Jaiku only has a Finnish number and that is 21c from Ireland for me too.

Comment posted by cpokane
at 10/5/2007 11:52:38 AM

I know this might sound ridiculous, but I really haven't seen the potential of twitter until recently. The marketing potential is huge.

One question: how much do mobile operators charge you to send texts through twitter? Is it the price of standard Irish texts or do the mobile operators charge you for texting a UK number? I know it might sound like a ridiculous question, but any info would be greatly appreciated.

It's a great blog incidentally.

Comment posted by A Frog in the Valley Twitter supports #tags
at 9/27/2007 4:18:53 PM

[] blognation Ireland Blog Archive Create mobile Irish Channels on Twitter: Recently Chris Messina started doing his own version of channels or tags on Twitter by simply marking words in his Tweets with a # symbol. I think the idea was to create a groundswell of support so that it would get baked into the product just like the @ convention. Stowe Boyd became an (almost unreadable) early adopter () Today Twitter effectively launched support for this without mentioning it and for IM and Mobile only. In fact what they launched was the ability to track any tweets anywhere which mention a particular string e.g. NYC. This entry was written by Sylvain and posted on 2007/09/27 at 04:16 and filed under blogs, social networks, asides, publishing, lang=en. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. « Montreal's own Tungle impresses the Demo 2007 Crowd []

Comment posted by James Corbett
at 9/27/2007 11:51:38 AM

I was only joking about the pup by the way, I don't own one myself. I've also subscribed to a few tags and only one (maxroam) has yet brought any results. I find it hard to believe the other (common words) haven't been tweeted yet. Hmmm.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/27/2007 11:20:29 AM

I was going for niche with that one.

Unfortunately, as with so many things associated with Twitter, this is just not working for me. I added tracking for about six different terms on one account and sent Tweets with another account containing those terms. None of them were detected.

Yet when I set a tracker on the term #Podcamp, it found someone who tweeted with the word Podcamp (sans #). It looks like instead of supporting the # convention they are actively not supporting it. Very disappointing.

Comment posted by James Corbett
at 9/27/2007 11:02:49 AM

Didn't know you were a fan of dog racing Conor! Interested in a very promising puppy? ;-)

Comment posted by James Gallagher
at 9/27/2007 5:54:27 AM

I've become quite a fan of Jaiku over Twitter recently. I've been using Jaiku a lot more recently popping comments in here and there (hadn't used comments until recently) mainly to get some contact going with people I figured I'll encounter if I make it along to a BarCamp or Open Coffee event. Channels are neat, I enjoyed the way #barcampireland was used.

iPhone Day at MAXroam

conor 26th of September 2007 by conor

Today is launch day for Cubic Telecom's MAXroam, and one lucky customer today will have an apotheosis of geekdom by getting an unlocked iPhone with their MAXroam SIM. CEO Pat Phelan told me that they had had some last minute technical niggles that prevented launch on Tuesday. Good luck Cubic!

Company Index: Cubic Telecom

Comment posted by Markus Goebel’s Tech News Comments
at 9/27/2007 1:37:56 PM

Maxroam went live

Cubic Telecom's Maxroam went live today and I really like the prices for this international SIM card. Making a call to wherever in the world costs ?0.35 if you are in Germany. There is no difference between countries. The entire world costs the ?0.3

Amazon Web Services Evangelist in Dublin

conor 25th of September 2007 by conor

The buzz around AWS continues to increase and I'm noticing more mentions in Irish tech blogs all the time. One of the highlights for many people at BarCamp Galway was Walter Higgins kicking off 19 EC2 instances running Pixenate. This incredible scalability available for mere pennies is a killer argument for many unfunded start-ups around the world.

Last September I saw Jeff Barr at d.Construct and his presentation on AWS was a real eye-opener, I simply wasn't aware of anything outside EC2 and S3. His co-evangelist Mike Culver is coming to Dublin and will hold an event on October 30th to preach the message and bring everyone up to date with all their most recent developments.

Mike intends to do a three part presentation

  • Their view of where things are going
  • The services themselves
  • A live demo

Given that they should have several actual users of AWS in the audience, I'd love the demo to be about some of the more cutting edge things they are doing or even to include audience participation from the likes of Pixenate or PutPlace. Hopefully they will also have some news on built-in support for MySQL persistent storage and whether will eventually have all the same services available as

I would love to see Amazon extend their Startup Project events outside of the USA too. These are networking events where start-ups can learn about Amazon Web Services, how to attract VCs, and how successful start-ups have built their business using AWS' solutions. They strike me as the perfect business complement to the more technical events.

If you intend coming to the event, please RSVP over at the page so they can get some feel for numbers. The current room holds about 30-40 people. Anyone looking at application scalability needs to be there! Finally, check here for the other events that Mike is taking part in whilst he is here.

Company Index: Amazon

Lessons for Irish Start-ups from TC40?

conor 22nd of September 2007 by conor

I was lucky enough to attend TC40 as a guest of Cubic Telecom last week and came away buzzing with energy and ideas. Whilst the echo-chamber of Silicon Valley was at maximum volume, there were still many useful things that Irish web start-ups could take from the two days.

I'll admit that I came away suffering badly from greener-grass syndrome. Seeing Geni having a $100m valuation or a single-city dating site with 6m uniques per month gives you a sense of the scale difference between there and here. I talked to one Dutch entrepreneur who felt he had to go to the USA to build his site and has never looked back. I talked to several who are thinking about it and discovered that an old friend of mine has made the move too.

Enterprise Ireland told me that this is the first year since the crash that the numbers of Irish moving their bases to SV has become noticeable. However the consensus was that a move to the US should never be done just to get access to capital. It must be your target market and whatever USP you have in Ireland must remain one in the USA or you will find it impossible to rise above the noise. Access to developers is a major problem once again in SV so keeping the engineering function in Ireland (or moving it to Eastern Europe or India) is the way to go.

Jeff Clavier announced a new fund at the event and it struck me as the ideal structure for an Irish one. A mix of Jeff himself, institutional investors and other angels have come together to create a small seed fund of $12m with investments ranging from $100k to $500k. I'd much prefer that EI took this approach with their leverage money and pulled together a team like that. Imagine a fund with Brian Caulfield, Chris Horn, Peter Conlon and Jerry Kennelly on board!

In fact the Getting Funded panel was worth the trip on its own. I hope they make a video of it available on the web as it should be compulsory viewing for anyone doing a start-up. In particular, Sumant Mandal from Clearstone was completely honest about investing being an emotional activity not a logical one. If you believe in the people and/or the product, then the numbers come afterwards.

A Finnish entrepreneur asked the one question on the tip of my tongue – would you guys invest in a business based outside of the US? The initial answers were sure, if the business was compelling enough but as they talked it through, it became clear that the chances of them doing so were minimal.

This was reinforced by some opinions expressed by Marc Andressen. Here is an incredibly successful entrepreneur and investor whose most recent success was the $1.6B sale of Opsware, a company that many people thought was toast five years ago. His questions about distribution to most of the start-ups were very incisive and highlighted major flaws in their plans. However he showed his own blind-side when he admitted that he couldn't see the point of Cubic Telecom's MaxRoam since he rarely left California (and possibly isn't that concerned about mobile phone bills!). As European start-ups we need to realise that people in the Valley rarely look outside of the Valley.

New York, on the other hand, is a different place entirely. I had a short but revealing conversation with a semi-competitor of LouderVoice based there. They were fully up to speed with the European scene and were able to offer informed opinions on companies over this side of the Atlantic.

Given that TripIt and Yap made it on to the stage this year, I look forward to seeing at least Touristr and MySay on the stage next year.

The main lesson learned was that an Irish start-up with a great product can go to Silicon Valley, wow the crowd, get enormous press coverage and show more marketing savvy than any other company presenting. Watch those Cubic guys, I wasn't the only person there who believed they were watching the launch of a $1B business.

Company Index: Cubic Telecom

Comment posted by Igor Jablokov
at 9/27/2007 2:26:38 AM

Well, those trucks are usually reserved for natural disasters, national emergencies, etcI doubt music concerts nor nerd fests fall under those jurisdictions. :-)

They do tend to show up at 3GSM or CTIA, when it's obvious that you'll otherwise have a meltdown given the density of devicesall trying to show you why you'd want to watch television on a screen the size of a postage stamp, that in turn drains your battery within 30 minutessigh. Goodness, I think we could derive a better killer app for 3G than that. ;-)

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/27/2007 2:15:46 AM

That's really useful to know.

I've been hearing about the complete collapse of mobile comms at outdoor concerts here because of tower overloading. Our cunning plan to get mobile reviews of the music acts fell apart as a result.

I'm a bit shocked that they can't get Vodafone or O2 to sponsor these concerts and drive up with a few trucks!

Don't get me started on well-meaning EU politicians.

Comment posted by Igor Jablokov
at 9/26/2007 7:09:20 PM


(1) The low cost repeaters would have died since they support 2-3 devices max. Our chairman was at TC40 as well, is responsible for building most of the US wireless towers, and had interesting comments he muttered under his breath. I'll be sure to relay them if we ever meet up for friendly drinks. :-) That said, it would have been difficult for the organizers to solve this disconnect without changing the venue (which was superb otherwise); what you really needed there one of those base stations in a truck to support the density of devices in that room. In retrospect, they did a terrific job MCing the event around whatever (few) glitches presented themselves in their first ever conference.

(2) I'm sure the EU politicians mean well in being so protective of your biometric data, so I sent a request to our general counsel on how we could add folks on the other side of the pond to our closed betas. Will post if I hear anything positive.

Thx for your continued feedback!

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/26/2007 2:37:09 AM

Joe, I'm with Jeff on this and I think he has the track record of success to back it up.

Igor, I pointed out on Facebook that you can get a mobile repeater/booster for less $200 on eBay! The lack of infrastructure support for that panel was the low point of the event.

Forget the EU, I'll sign a waiver just to give Yap a go. Hopefully ourselves and the Brits won't be too hard to understand!

Comment posted by Igor Jablokov
at 9/25/2007 6:10:36 PM

WellI'll take that as good natured ribbing if you eventually noticed that we weren't just a bunch of college kids mashing off the shelf parts. ;-) We prefer folks that have done *real* engineering on our team, so you can talk DSPs with them any time of the week. :-)

Re: twice the fun in presenting, wouldn't need that if we had bloody wireless coverage or their audio cables didn't give way. Although Jason and Michael did a fantastic job MC'ing and being flexible because of these external factors non inherent to our demo, we do owe them *many* thanks for a quick recovery.

Yep, realize that context shift between the app and the browser's annoying. Some surprises are in store that will negate thatit should also work with your bluetooth headsets. We'll definitely let you guys play with it as soon as we canwe'll need to spin up an unsigned version, EU language model, and be sensitive to your privacy policies though. Not sure they'll take kindly to our capturing audio files over there for processing here.

Comment posted by Joe Drumgoole
at 9/25/2007 4:31:56 PM

Conor 12m is too small. With 12m you don't have the ability to follow the money on your successes and you are spread too thin to sustain a lot of failures. I would want to see a fund of at least 100m to be comfortable that it was sustainable as a VC fund.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/25/2007 3:23:51 AM

Hey Igor – I don't doubt the complexity at all, I worked in DSP in a previous life. The more the demo progressed the more it impressed me. Even if you guys did get two chances ;-)

Only one flaw in the demo. Don't tell people that you can use Yap to TXT whilst driving if one of the examples you give is opening up a web-browser during a session. Cops are not going to like that one.

Yours was one of the few apps that I went to install after TC40. Any chance of a beta invite? Does it work outside of US on a Nokia N70?

Comment posted by Igor Jablokov
at 9/24/2007 6:05:00 PM


Don't underestimate how difficult the Yap platform was to invent, as it does not simply move audio files about. Our folks previously worked on iPod and ViaVoice prior to this as it required non-trivial skills to bring to market, with quite a number of patents that fell out of the experience. So we'll look forward to some unique Irish startups next year. ;-)

That said, MAXroam was certainly impressive & I'm looking forward to using it as we drive our solution into international markets.


Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/23/2007 1:35:15 PM

See you there Jan!

Markus, I know the guys had to push very hard to launch in time for TC40. They are only just back home. I'm sure all the information you need will be up on the site soon.

Comment posted by Markus Goebel’s Tech News Comments
at 9/23/2007 9:16:52 AM

Cubic Telecom and Maxroam compared to other offers

Now it's nearly a week since Cubic Telecom presented their new product Maxroam at TechCrunch 40 (TC40), but still they don't reveal their real prices which should be found here. Still Maxroam says Rates published soon while Cubic Telecom's websi

MoMoDublin Demo Night

conor 22nd of September 2007 by conor

The guys from Mobile Monday Dublin meet up regularly and their next event is this coming Monday 24th September in the Hairy Lemon pub.

They have three companies demoing:

  • Mobile Aware – who provide Mobile Service Infrastructure. They will be showing a number of live mobile services powered by them including bookmakers, travel and banking sites.
  • Sentry Wireless – who enable mobile operators and MVNOs to offer a service that allows their customers to easily monitor and regulate mobile phone usage.
  • Mobile Complete – whose Direct-To-Device and Virtual-Device technologies address the mobile product and consumer purchasing lifecycle

Having seen the enormous success of DemoBar last week, I now realise how important these demo events are, no matter how informal. It's something that I'd love to see at more OpenCoffees too.

Completed Irish Web2.0 Research Projects

admin 20th of September 2007 by admin

The Enterprise Ireland Informatics Research Showcase 2007 is being held on the 3rd of October in the Dublin. These 2 Irish Web2.0 products are on show and looking for ‘commercial exploitation’:

Make instant messaging work for you;
Product Name: Zimbie (Waterford Institute of Technology)

RSS feed and information aggregation;
Product Name: FeedHenry (Waterford Institute of Technology)

Register for the event.