Archive for September, 2007

Profile – MySay [see them at DemoBar]

admin 11th of September 2007 by admin

MySay

Location: Dublin

Team/Founders: Ivan McDonald/Sean O’Sullivan

mysay.com provides a voice service for communities of all sizes and shapes: teams, audiences, families, work colleagues, classmates, online social networks.

It’s very simple: you phone a number and can hear what members of your community have had to say, and you can leave an update yourself, so that they can hear you. Whatever you say is instantly available on the web.

You grab and customize a widget that we provide and stick that in your social network page, or your blog, or your own website. Then whenever you leave an update over the phone, people can instantly hear it on the web, and they can “phone the widget” to join in the conversation.

Skype Announces Three’s X-Series in Ireland before Three

conor 11th of September 2007 by conor

Many of us have been waiting excitedly for the arrival of Three’s X-Series in Ireland. The success of their mobile broadband modem here delayed things. I just spotted on the Skype blog that the launch has occurred. Unfortunately no-one seems to have told Three Ireland! The Irish site is devoid of any mention of it on the front page.

Of course I couldn’t stop myself taking the the UK URL for X-Series and changing .co.uk to .ie. There in all its glory is everything you need to know.

X-Series Silver is €14.99 per month and X-Series Gold is €19.99 per month. Gold gives you:

  • Unlimited Skype to Skype calls
  • Unlimited data for internet access
  • Unlimited access to Slingbox &/or Orb

For me, the Skype bit is the clincher. But you can also use other VOIP services like Truphone. I think it may be time to wave farewell to Vodafone after all this time.

Comment posted by Bluefrog
at 9/13/2007 10:57:29 AM

An Open Letter to Robert Finnegan – Managing Director of Three
Hi,

I read with interest and not a little anger a piece on techcentral.ie about X-Series in Ireland at http://www.techcentral.ie/small_busi…e_mobiles/view.

As an X-Series Gold customer I can tell you that I and a number of other customers I have been corresponding with on boards.ie are extremely disappointed with the service.

Having attempted to deal with your customer services representatives in India for the past month without success I am now trying one last time to communicate with Three about these issues before I seek the intervention of third parties. Incidentally, the complaints form on your site gives the impression when submitted that something has gone wrong as one is presented with a ‘Page Not Found’ message after submission and this situation has persisted since early August despite I and others having brought it to the attention of Three Ireland on numerous occaissions.

In what sense can you make the claim that X-Series or indeed Three Ireland’s ‘Unlimited’ broadband addon provide unlimited access? As I intend to post this correspondence on boards.ie and also send a copy to COMREG I am sure there will be great interest in your response.

Why exactly have third party applications which don’t use port 80 been blocked recently and with no notice to existing customers. Is it a cynical move by Three to improve the experience for the very vocal USB modem customers by freeing up extra bandwidth at the expense of mobile broadband addon phone customers? This may be a harsh assessment but what else are customers supposed to think when Three are still actively advertising the USB broadband service on TV knowing that this service still faces huge issues in the area of SMTP, FTP, VPN etc.

The Irish X-Series Orb registration process requires a UK phone number and is therefore unusable by Irish customers as it stands. Even if I could actually register with Orb I would not be optimistic about my chances of being able to use it as every RTSP stream I have connected to seems to drop after a period of 2 to 3 minutes rendering it essentially unusable.

The Skype client which is in fact a rather crippled relation of it’s PC cousin doesn’t support text messaging and only seems to work in 3G areas. However, a third party application called Fring which integrates a Skype client supports text messaging and can work for voice even over GPRS. I have been in touch with Skype to express my disappointment with the quality of the service they are associating themselves with in their partnership with Three Ireland.

The MSN client also seems to be crippled in terms of the functionality if offers in comparison to the official Microsoft Symbian client with a very reduced feature set. It too only appears to work in 3G areas while once again, Fring would allow access even over GPRS. Since Three have recently blocked Fring that is obviously not an option.

What seems to have emerged from my own investigations is that those on higher data tariffs with Three Ireland have actually less access. How do you explain this?

Is it Three Ireland intention to cripple the services so much that they know customers could never even vaguely approach the limits set in your ‘fair usage’ policy – a policy I for one have never actually seen.

In addition your customer support staff in India seem ill equipped to provide any more than platitudes when called about service issues.

I would refer you to the following threads on boards.ie which I hope you will find an enlightening read.

http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showt…p?t=2055147970

http://www.boards.ie/vbul

Comment posted by Bluefrog
at 9/12/2007 4:43:26 PM

Well the promise was exciting unfortunately the reality is rather less so. Port blocking, requiring a UK phone number to register for Orb, Real streams that break after less than 5 minutes and no SMTP have pretty much crippled this service.

For more see
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055147970
and
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2055142078

Comment posted by Ken McGuire
at 9/12/2007 7:32:34 AM

This is great news, great timing too as I’m swaying more towards ditching O2 for three after close-on ten years with the same operator. So many more opportunities to tie in web based activities with Three (or so I feel). 20 bucks a month for unlimited skype calls and data access is a good deal.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/12/2007 4:11:49 AM

Three really needs to get its act together here. I’m hearing lots of complaints about their broadband modem compared to the O2 one. I’m stunned that Clon had 3G but we don’t. Tourism related?

I think both Bandon and Dungarvan were pretty dire places in the 1970s. As was Kilkenny which a lot of people would find hard to believe. All are top spots now IMHO. But let’s not get started on Athlone, Athy and Mullingar :-)

Comment posted by Paul M. Watson
at 9/12/2007 3:59:31 AM

“10 Towns Ireland Could Do Without” and Bandon was one. Heard on the Ray Darcy show this morning. He mentioned Dungarvan too, which is bollocks (lovely restaurants there.)

Comment posted by Anthony
at 9/12/2007 3:56:19 AM

Looking at 3’s coverage map, it would appear that both Bandon and Timoleague don’t get 3G coverage! Clonakilty, yes; Kinsale, yes; but not us! the joys of rural living linger on…..

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/11/2007 3:41:16 PM

I think I read about people doing that in the UK a few months back. They didn’t like the phones available or already had a 3G one. Would make total sense.

Comment posted by Paul M. Watson
at 9/11/2007 3:32:26 PM

Thanks for the link mate, been looking forward to this.

Any idea though if I can just get an X Series SIM? Love to pop it in an iPhone.

Comment posted by Anthony
at 9/11/2007 11:19:39 AM

Thanks for that, Conor. I saw the Skype blog, but like you, got nowhere! But now that you’ve cracked the code, it seems all good news.

O’Donnell Sweeney Eversheds sponsoring DemoBar

admin 10th of September 2007 by admin

One of Ireland’s leading legal firms, O’Donnell Sweeney Eversheds (ODSE), are sponsoring Web2Ireland Demobar.

ODSE

O’Donnell Sweeney Eversheds acts for many web2.0 companies in Ireland. They handle all the common issues faced by companies operating in this sector include licensing, outsourcing, managing IP and financing ongoing expansion.

Tony McGovern and Peppe Santoro are the partners who lead this part of the practice.

Profile – Glowday [see them at DemoBar]

admin 10th of September 2007 by admin

Glowday

Location: Dublin (Shortly moving to Hothouse Incubator)

Team/Founders: Daniel Becker and Garry Kelly

Product:
GlowDay power embeddable surveys, from simple one question polls to
complex multi page questionnaires. Surveys are delivered either as
widgets or hosted pages. Survey Designers have full control of layout
and presentation and can include images and videos for added impact. A
survey can be shared for others to use or improve. Results can be
analyzed and compared to results gathered by others. Our Service is Free.

Intelligent Eating with My Diet Friends

conor 10th of September 2007 by conor

This site, which is about diet and not just dieting, concentrates on the content instead of the technology. I’ve been monitoring progress in the open beta for nearly a year and they are almost ready for launch. The tagline of “Eating well together” captures the intent of the site perfectly.

My Diet Friends Header

My Diet Friends is run by husband and wife team Haydn and Roos. The idea behind the site was originally motivated by the serious illness of Roos and their journey to find a healthy approach to eating that could be an integral part of their lives rather a short-lived fad diet or worthy but tasteless meals.

They have put together a deep content site which mixes editorial and member contributions in addition to competitions, polls and shopping. The latter is particularly interesting as it was user initiated. Very soon after the site went live they started receiving enquires from people asking how they could buy some of the products which were mentioned on the site.

The main way for users to contribute is via their Diet Blogs on the site and by commenting on the both other user’s blogs and the editorial. I have seen lots of positive feedback between users there. One small criticism I would make is that the main section content does not have an identified author so it is not clear if it all comes from the editors or if they “promote” member stories to the various content sections.
The editors also have a “related news on the web” section and a small blogroll. I’d love to see more content syndicated from and by users themselves. This could done whilst retaining editorial control of the front page. There is a main RSS feed for the site but it doesn’t look like there are any more fine-grained ones. This is probably not an issue for the bulk of the users.

The site itself uses the standard scoophost platform but Haydn is eager for users to get involved in modifying many aspects of the site that they don’t like or think they can improve. Whether that’s the GUI, widgets or SEO, they are open to being led by the users so that they can concentrate on their area of expertise – content (not surprising, given that Haydn is a journalist).

So many sites in Web2 take the approach of “here’s our empty site, please fill it for us” whereas My Diet Friends says “here is a lot of well researched, carefully considered pieces we have written, we’d love if you could work with us to our mutual benefit”.

My Diet Friends Beetroot

There is a wide range of people who would find a site like this useful; those who might not know how to cook, find it difficult to make judgements about a balanced diet, fear the repercussions of eating the wrong food, or who may just want to diet. They do have a programme that they call The Core Diet which consists of a repertoire of 40 recipes that you can constantly use to bring your diet back into line in a sustainable way and which will keep you healthy. My favourite line from Haydn is:

Intelligent eating is knowing how to balance out the crap

Trying to lose weight whilst remaining healthy can be a very solitary activity and sites like My Diet Friends fill a genuine need. You get guidance, support, great content and a sense of belonging to a community. In fact, it is what real social networking is all about.

Company Index: My Diet Friends

Comment posted by haydn
at 9/10/2007 8:28:44 AM

Scoop is what powers http://www.kuro5hin.org/ which is one of the earliest social media sites and very tech orinted originally – and of course it is a GPL site so built by community for community. It seems to be very modular and can be built on relatively easily but because its core users are tech folks they’ve been happy with where it’s come from. So the answer is it could be developed in interesting ways probably without APIs. It is open source anyway and well documented.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/10/2007 8:16:05 AM

You touch on a very important point there Haydn. All sites claim that they are “interested in user feedback” but few do it very well.

Until recently I was really impressed with what the Twitter guys were doing. The use of the informal @username convention became widespread on the site so they added formal support for it. They seemed to monitor user behaviour quite closely and work with it. Sadly in recent times they look to be focused on fluff which may be a function of receiving a serious investment injection.

In your case, does the use of Scoop help or hinder things? Does it have APIs or developer support so that technical users could build things for My Diet Friends or do mashups with other sites (e.g. weight trackers)? Given the sedentary nature of many developers, you probably stand a good chance of getting plenty of them using the site!

Comment posted by haydn
at 9/10/2007 7:38:03 AM

hi Conor and thanks for writing about us. There is indeed a way to promote stories to the front page through voting but we have not implemented it yet. It’s one of those things where you think the community should decide on how it might work so we’re just holding off until we understand the technology better and the community. The articles can carry the writer’s details too but we wanted to build the content first without having our names spalshed across the site.

You are right too about our attitude towards content and technology. We do content pretty well and we hope the community will draw in people who want to do the technology and push it in ways that enhance the community. We’re completely open to cooperating with people who know the tech side – it seems to us social media should involve people in all aspects of the site not just in providing content.

PitchCamp next Thursday

conor 7th of September 2007 by conor

We finally have the PitchCamp details. These are the details (with some useful tips for those who are missing this session but can make later pre-Paddy’s Valley sessions.

  1. Starts at 2pm on Thursday 13th September in Ely HQ on Hanover Quay Dublin
  2. A panel of 4 will be present to listen and advise
  3. You will have ten minutes to do a pitch followed by 20 minutes of feedback
  4. There won’t be a projector/screen but they are happy for you to bring laptop or thumbdrive with demo/collateral to use. It might make most sense to speak for perhaps 2-3 minutes to give the elevator pitch and then drill into the detail sitting down using a laptop
  5. Effectively they are trying to simulate the scenario in DemoBar or at Paddy’s Valley where you probably won’t get to present a deck
  6. The panel have mentioned some points to consider:
    • Start the pitch by saying where the business is in its lifecycle so that the tenor of the subsequent conversation is a balanced one and nobody is overselling
    • Outline the company’s situation today
    • Business model (how is it monetised)
    • Describe the complication or problem that the industry / customer faces, that your product solves and why has it arisen?
    • What is the proposition that the company is proposing to solve the problem etc…
    • This should lead in to a discussion on how unique is the company’s proposition versus competition and how does it break down into a competitive advantage across product, pricing, distribution etc….
    • Any market validation from customers is always highly regarded by VC’s.
    • Have a fix on your finance requirements for the short to medium term
  7. Nice deck on Pitching
  8. And of course, Mr Kawasaki

Seedcamp – videos and updates…

admin 6th of September 2007 by admin

The FT blog has coverage of Seedcamp – check out this video – as well as this blog post

Not sure if many Irish entrepreneurs applied – see previous posts – but none made the shortlist of 20.

Ken McGuire profiles DemoBar lineup

admin 6th of September 2007 by admin

Ken McGuire does a great job of profiling the companies “demoing” at DemoBar

DemoBar lineup

Ireland finally gets SkypeIn numbers

conor 6th of September 2007 by conor

This has been a long time coming but the Skype guys have just announced that we can have our own SkypeIn numbers here. It normally costs €53 for a full year but SkypePro subscribers (like me) who already pay €2 a month get a €30 discount.

They offer numbers with Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Waterford and Other (076) area codes. You can also pick from a selection of numbers rather than having one assigned randomly to you.

The reasons for having one are pretty simple:

  • People can call you from ordinary phones at local rates in many cases
  • You can answer those calls no matter where you are as long as you are on Skype
  • No extra fees or per-minute charges to receive the calls on Skype

Whilst I’m happy to see this coming and use Skype every day, I believe that SIP based non-proprietary solutions will eventually win the day.

Comment posted by John Murphy
at 12/3/2007 10:31:49 AM

Sorry to disappoint – Galway is not on the list..I guess it is ocer to Blueface after using skype for 3 years!

Comment posted by Technology and People – No Dublin Office but need a Dublin Number? Skype In will do nicely
at 9/12/2007 4:00:04 AM

[…] which has given us a London number for over a year now (+44 2081 23 2081 ) for just over 30 Euro. Conor reported today that SkypeIn finally has Dublin numbers available. So after signing up, our new Dublin office is 01 44 33 123. We’re fairly open about who we […]

Comment posted by Ken McGuire
at 9/7/2007 12:33:26 PM

Thats great news :) Line rental and phone company out the window come the 16th of this month, all bills cleared, been waiting for the day Skype got around to Irish SkypeIn numbers. Some number (and handset) shopping to be done!

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/7/2007 9:21:50 AM

I think we are going to see a lot of SIP-oriented announcements in the coming months and not just on the desktop.

I do wish Gizmo was a slicker product as it can easily give Skype a run for its money based on core features.

Back to bashing Google – I can’t wait for GrandCentral to work in Ireland so I can link up land-line, mobile and Gizmo seamlessly! I guess I’ll need SkypeIn for it to work with Skype?

I’m going to check out Wengo.

Comment posted by Donn
at 9/7/2007 8:56:37 AM

Conor, I hope you’re right about SIP based non-proprietary solutions eventually winning the day but to be honest I think it’s going to be quite a while before that happens. I am definitely in favour of applications that use open protocols though.

I started using Wengo a while ago which I really liked and thought it looked like a very good alternative as you could use different protocols and contact people who have google chat, yahoo, hotmail etc. accounts, obviously you can’t contact other skype accounts because of their closed protocol. Unfortunatley I’ve been having problems with Wengo recently which I haven’t looked into yet but hopefully things will progress for them and we might see a serious contender at some stage.

I’m sure there are a lot of other alternatives available but I haven’t looked into it for quite a while.

Comment posted by Linkage – 07/09/07 at Sean’s Blog
at 9/7/2007 6:31:28 AM

[…] Skype finally gets its Irish SkypeIn numbers. […]

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/7/2007 5:48:49 AM

I use Live Local (or Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail Local MSN Maps as I call it) all the time too. The maps are far superior to Google for Cork. It has some great features too which I’ve only recently discovered.

Comment posted by Alex Leonard
at 9/7/2007 4:56:04 AM

Ah finally! I was wondering how long it would take for that to happen. Nice one. I might actually consider getting a Dublin number for our clients to call.

Couldn’t agree more about Ireland always taking a little longer to get everything. I guess our 3-4 million population just isn’t as appealing as some other countries. That being said, I’ve generally found local.live.com to give much better mapping for Ireland than Google Maps. It’s improving but quite slowly.

Comment posted by Conor O’Neill
at 9/6/2007 1:20:18 PM

We tend to get things a bit after the more populous countries :-(

For example, outside of the big cities, Google Maps is a joke here. This is in spite of the fact that the European HQ is in Dublin and Google pushes over a billion dollars each year through the Irish division to save on US taxes.

Comment posted by Nicole Simon
at 9/6/2007 11:56:09 AM

wow interesting, if you had asked me before i would have guessed you already had that available!

Hosting365 sponsoring Web2Ireland DemoBar

admin 5th of September 2007 by admin

Hosting365

Hosting365 is Ireland’s largest hosting company – with a Managed Services facility in Dublin 12. They power some Ireland’s leading web applications such as daft.ie, as well as many web2.0 startup’s. Hosting365 provide managed internet infrastructure – which scales from a basic server to complex hosting depending on your application requirements and usage growth.

From Ed Byrne, General Manager, Hosting365

“Hosting365 are delighted to be involved with Demobar, and we hope to see the Web 2.0 space flourish in Ireland. “