Monday, January 31, 2005

Apple is best brand of 2004

Marketing website has awarded Apple it's Reader's Choice award for the brand that made the biggest impact in 2004. It beat out Google, who won the last two years, as well as Ikea and Starbucks. Pundits are attributing Apple's brand success to the iPod.

Net Nanny on RTE Radio 1

Tomorrow at 7.30 pm in the second-last episode of RTE Radio's Net Nanny, on which I server as resident "Internet expert". This is a prgram aimed at people with little or no knowledge of the internet who want to learn what it's all about and what it can do for them.

In tomorrow's show I give my top technologies for the internet in 2005. Listen to find out what they are! (You won't be surprised that Wi-Fi is in there somewhere!)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Floating Wi-Fi

We're sitting on Declan's boat in Puerto Calero using the Marina's free Wi-Fi. Now that's civilized :-)

Apple Music Event in Dublin

While Alex and Shane are sunning themselves, ahem - working in Lanzarote - I braved the cold Dublin weather this evening and went along to the Apple Music Seminar at the Temple Bar Music Centre. It was a showcase of all Apple's Music and Audio products.
There was an excellent turnout, about 400 people and a queue to get on the list ( just shows you the interest in this stuff ).
The demos were excellent and just showed that with a G5 Powermac and Logic Pro 7 - you could basically have a studio mixing setup for about 5k that would have cost 50k plus a few years ago ! i think the days of needing a record company to subsidise "expensive" studio time and pay for access to "expensive" recording and mixing equipment are coming to an end......

Just one other note - there were many people at the event tonight with powerbooks ( as you would expect ) and not even the briefest hint of Wi-Fi ! So - I think that this day and age - Apple especially, should only hold events of this nature in venues that have Wi-Fi......... this would a) make the attendees have a better experience and b) show venues that they NEED to have Wi-Fi to attract seminars of this sort and companies like Apple.....

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Ireland AM tonorrow

Friday morning on Ireland AM we'll be covering sites to help you with your best man speech, as part of a special wedding show on TV3.

The sites are
Get suggestions based on the groom's character traits. Funny one-liners, anecdotes, etc.

UK/Ireland wedding site with a good section for best man, including what not to do and "best man from hell" stories.
Upload your speech and get it rated!
Online speech generator. Put in the names of the bride and groom, some key details, and if generates a speech for you (not free, but great if you're getting desperate!)

Wardriving in Lanzarote

Driving around lanzarote on a mini-wardrive turns up a collection of signals, but nothing really interesting. There's a whole lot of Zyxel APs which seem to be private access points connect to DSL lines, and a few encrypted office connections. Only two places (A 5-start hotel and a marina) seem to have public Wi-Fi -- both unauthenticated and neither working really well. I need a GPS receiver to show you guys little maps! Anyone who wants to donate a GPS receiver, let me know!

No real WiFi in Gatwick

In Gatwick airport waiting to catch our plane to Lanzarote -- I can see 3 t-mobile hotspots from here but they don't seem to work. Shane had the same problem with an Openzone hotspot in central London last night. Why do hotspot operators everywhere have so much downtime? This kind of thing is going to hamper the industry's efforts to get taken seriously by business users...

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Friday alert

Watch out for a special Friday Ireland AM slot show @ 8.35, covering site to help you with your wedding speeches.

Ireland AM sites

Today on Ireland AM we covered iTunes, the new online music store from Apple (you can use it on Windows, too). iTunes is a free download, and allows you to store & organise your music collection on your computer. If you have a CD writer, you can also create custom CDs.

The best bit is the iTunes music store, which allows you to easily (and legally) buy individual songs or whole albums. A track is only 99 eurocents, and a whole album costs EUR9.99. Cool!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sundance Festival provides Wi-Fi

This year's Sundance Festival provides Wi-Fi for all festival go-ers and a specially formatted PDA schedule tracker for Wi-Fi enabled PDAs - well done - let's hope other conferences and festivals take note.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Wireless power coming soon

Finally, it looks like someone's come up with a practical inductive wireless power solution for mobile phones and other small devices. Splashpower says it will have devices in the market "during 2005". No word on whether it will work with larger devices like laptops.

More Wi-Fi reports from around the globe...

Further to Alex's post about Wi-Fi in Prague, my mate Richie has sent in a report of Wi-Fi in Falmouth, England.

He says that of the 19 or so listings in JiWire for Falmouth - most of them are "Dog and Duck" style boozers that are not really suited to using Wi-Fi - cracking open your laptop is probably akin to asking for a cranberry and mango vodka :-)

Anyway - he did find one place that seems good - "The Packet Station" .

He is now trying to decide if he should go for the BT 4000 minutes for £40 UK - pity there is no BITBUZZ in Falmouth ;-) ...... more roving reports soon..

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Minty MP3

If you can't afford an iPod, why not make your own Minty MP3?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Tasty iMacs

I got to play with an iMac up close for the first time today, and it's very very tasty. (Click on the Gallery links at the bottom of the iMac page for pretty pictures).

The one we have is the 17" model, but my friend Ross told me about the 20" one he has at home. Since it needs only one cable (for power) he keeps it on his kitchen counter and is thinking of getting rid of his TV altogether. With the optional bluetooth module, you can use a wireless keyboard and mouse, and with WiFi you can be broadband-connected as well.

Of course, once you drink the Apple Kool-aid, you have to start getting all the accessories, too. Specifically, the Airport Express, so you can stream music straight to your speakers and print wirelessly. Mmmmm life without wires.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

How to get an iPod Shuffle....

If you already own an iPod, but you really want to get an iPod Shuffle as well ..... then this hack is for you........

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

No European email please!

Wired reports that Verizon in the US have been rejecting all email from Europe. After all, we're all spammers here! Considering that most experts say that most spam originates in the US, this is a bit rich...

Prague unWired

I spent last weekend in Prague, and although I was technically banned from bringing a computer of any description, I went with the intention of scoping out the WiFi situation in our new EU neighbour.

Prague is a thoroughly modern city, with a metro and a tram system that makes Dublin's Luas look like a lego train. I was expecting it to be as (un)wired as any EU capital. To start with, our hotel (the lovely Seven Days) had free wired broadband throughout, as well as a nice G.loop system that allow you to dial into an internal modem bank through the hotel's PBX, without incurring phone charges. There's also a few DSL providers (with lower price points than Ireland; packages start from EUR20/month) as well as cable internet. I expected this to be a good sign for the state of WiFi, but alas not. My entire stay there, I only say one WiFi hotspot (a free access point in a student travel information centre).

Of course, this doesn't mean that there isn't any WiFi... just that I couldn't find it. The ever-useful Jiwire lists 68 hotspots in Prague, more or less in line with Dublin. These are mostly in 4-star hotels, with service provided by T-mobile and Widenet. I was actually in a couple of the hotels listed, but didn't see and point-of-sale material around.

I was tempted to decry this lack of obvious WiFi in Prague until I remembered Nancy Gohring's recent report which said exactly the same thing about Dublin. It seems that the WiFi industry has the same problems in every country: how do you let people know your service is available? One of the biggest ongoing jobs in running a WiFi network is constantly refreshing the point of sale material (table tents, banners, stickers etc), and dealing with the fact that location partners (e.g hotel managers) may not care as much about this as you do. I guess the industry everywhere just needs to try harder!

Economist calls for Open WiFi

The Economist magazine has a story calling for manufacturers to publish the specs for the WiFi devices. This would (in theory) promote more innovation and cool things, by allowing people to tinker with WiFi devices. Sounds good to me!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Macs mights get cheaper here?

The Evening standard reports that there's growing fury over Mac prices in Europe being out of line with the US (even factoring in VAT and the exchange rate). Steve had previously raised this issue in Weird Web last week.

RTE Radio 1 - Net Nanny

RTE Radio 1 - Net Nanny

As you may know, I'm the "tech expert" for this new RTE radio show. The third episode is on tonight at 730pm, but on the website you can still get last week's episode covering broadband, where we had a great scrap between David McRedmond (eircom) and Dermot Jewell (Consumer's Association).

Tonight's show covers dagers on the net, including protecting your kids online. Well worth a listen!

Monday, January 17, 2005

Media Lab Europe: good riddance

Just to offer a politically incorrect counterpoint to Steve's post below bemoaning the loss of MLE... I say good riddance to 'em! This seemed to be an ill-conceived attempt by the Irish government and Media Lab to capitalise on the dot-com bubble, a few years too late. After all, MIT's US lab continued to attract the best researchers, and the Dublin facility seemed to produce few significant results of note -- and certainly not €250m worth.

We should also remember that Media Lab originally had plans for an Asian facility, but the plans were scrapped well before it was up and running once it was obvious that few corporate funders would throw money at such a project post-bubble.

It's worth noting that back in April 2003, even the Sunday Business Post was sounding the death knell of MLE, claiming that it and the Digital Hub had "run out of steam" after going through €250m of funding.

Best quote: "We're not falling short of any targets," said Media Lab Europe back in 2003.

Tomorrow's Ireland AM sites

Tomorrow morning on Ireland AM I'll be covering recruitment sites on the web... tune in at 0745 for
Probably the world's largest recuitment site, with online search and over a million jobs worldwide. Pretty good for Ireland, too. (Useless trivia: Monster Ireland used to be based in our office building).
Sometimes it's good to have a local focus; several Irish recruitment agencies have really good sites, including this one.

Job hunting based on "social networking" -- meet friends of friends online to get personal introductions to job vacancies. This is the sort of thing that would never be possible without the Internet...

Prague WiFi coming soon...

I spent the weekend in Prague and will write up about the WiFi situation in the next day or too... check back!

You can't Bluetooth - those phone Pics are not yours!

It appears that disabling bluetooth on cell phones to stop people from bluetoothing their photos and videos around is becoming commonplace among operators.
Well in the US, users are fighting back and are suing Verizon.
It looks like the suit hinges on whether Verizon misled the customers and implied the phones had full bluetooth functionality.
This lawsuit probably won't get anywhere - but I think it is the start of a long battle of free distribution ( bluetooth etc ) of "self-created" media vs. pay distribution ( 3G etc ).

Glenn has some thoughts on this too....

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Homer Simpson closes Media Lab Europe

......ok it wasn't Homer, D'oh.
But it may as well have been - the closure of Dublin's Media Lab Europe, is a total shame and a complete wasted opportunity ! We'll leave it to you to decide who is to blame, if not Homer.

Here at WeirdWeb, we think those lovely surroundings should be turned into a massive Wi-Fi cafe !

Ummmm ..Donuts + Wi-Fi

Homer will be thrilled!
According to Glenn Fleishman over at Wi-Fi Networking News - Dunkin' Donuts are looking at rolling out Wi-Fi in their stores, obviously they are jealous of McDonalds and Starbucks!

I don't think there are any Dunkin' Donuts left in Ireland, are there?

At least we have Kylemore and Coffee Society !

Friday, January 14, 2005

Karlin thinks of other uses for Mac Mini!

What about using it as a footrest?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wi-Finder Extreme

For those of you who are always on the lookout for hotspots - this is a clever new gadget:

The CanaryWireless Digital Hotspotter

Alternatively, you could just look at

50,000+ WiFi Hotspots

The JiWire WiFi database now lists over 50,000 hotspots worldwide. Not Bad, eh? This thing might catch on!

See Ireland list:

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hacker penetrates T-Mobile systems

A hacker on the T-Mobile mobile network in the US had access to customer records, Social Security numbers,and
private e-mail for at least a year ending last October. Trophies included
celebrity cell phone snapshots, and a trove of restricted Secret Service
documents stored on an agent's Sidekick.

Makes you wonder what would happen if someone got into an Irish mobile network... scary!!!!

Shane alert!

Woo-hoo, we have a special treat for you all... Shane Deasy will be doing a TV3 Ireland AM special spot on healthy eating websites this Friday at 8:35. I'll be back Tuesday as normal with a special on the new iTunes music store ofr Ireland.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Why is IRISH MAC mini the most expensive?

Mac mini european prices:
France: €499
Italy: €499

IRELAND : €519 !


Apple intoduces new MAC mini and iPod Shuffle

With the usual showmanship , Steve Jobs delivered the much anticipated keynote address at Macworld. New Products include the iPod Shuffle and the Mac Mini.

We like the Mac mini - very clever move by Apple - all those iPod owners who fancy trying a mac, can now use an old monitor and keyboard and experience a great computer for 499 dollars (519 Euro !)

Monday, January 10, 2005

President Bush: The First MP3 president?

It's been revealed in a newly published photo essay that President Bush is the proud owner of an iPod. I wonder what he has on there? Bill Clinton's Audiobook?

WiFi phone launched

Vonage in the US have launched a WiFi phone for voice over IP calls. This is pretty cool as it allows you to make cheap calls from any WiFi hotspot!

See the story (and picture) here:

Time to book your summer holiday! selection of summer holidays, with €30 off if you book online
Reviews of popular resorts by real people! Find out what "close to the beach" really means...
Online edition of the global guidebooks -- free
A guide to the best (and worst) seats on different airplanes.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Today the sites are about Tsunami relief organisations.

Just one of the Irish charities collecting for relief work in the affected areas.

View dozens of charities worldwide and compare them for efficiency and responsiveness. (also, make sure you don't give to a rogue charity)
The official website for the list of missing and found people in Thailand. Check if your friends are safe!
A constantly updated weblog with latest information about the disaster; relief organisations; what you can do to help; and links to missing and found persions' list.