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Archive for the 'Ireland' Category

Reeling in the years… Irish soccer legends special

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

While clearing out the fire damaged wreck that is my house I came across a couple of old photographs of me and my brother with Irish soccer legends Paul Mcgrath, Jack Charlton and Ray Houghton. I think the photographs were taken in the Forte Crest Hotel (not sure if this hotel is still in existence) in Dublin Airport just before the Irish team were about to set of to Italy for the 1990 World Cup.

I’m in the green looking a bit scared. Apologies to big Jack for him missing half a head in his photograph.

As usual the Irish soccer lads were very accomodating towards the fans in terms of photos and signatures. Check the photos out below, click on them to open up bigger versions :

Is 02 mobile broadband worth it for a fiver a week?

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

I’m a laptop user these days, so to keep with the whole ‘work anywhere’ gig I’m trying to perfect I decided to invest in one of the mobile broadband offerings from 3G, O2 or Vodafone. Truth be told 3G were out before they were even in… I’ve heard a lot of negative things about their overall (speed, reliability & customer care) service, in both the online and offline worlds so I wasn’t going there. As for Vodafone well reliability is meant to be top notch, however it’s €30 a month and has a data cap is 5GB which 02 beats on both counts, so I said I’d look into 02 more…

While I was researching the mobile broadband offering from 02, one of the most important things for me was speed, reliability too of course… but that’s a given. I needed decent download speed but perhaps as important (well not quite) for me was upload speed as being a developer I’m uploading this, that and everything via FTP on a daily basis. 

Speed for the 02 mobile broadband service is currently listed as 7.2Mbps for download and 2.0Mbps for upload although they must have upgraded upload capabilities within the last few days because when I ordered last week upload speed was listed as 1.4Mbps, which is good in itself. Those speeds where more than adequate for my needs. I was aware however that these listed speeds are the theoretical max speeds one can achieve given absolutely perfect network conditions, so I wasn’t expecting to get anywhere near them in reality. The truth however is that higher theorectical speeds generally mean higher ‘in the wild’ speeds too so considering it has a 10GB data cap and after a little checking on it’s reliablity I said I’d give 02 mobile broadband a go.

I bought it online (by the way - no sim pin number is included when the modem is bought online for security reasons - you need to call, email or post in their support forum to get it) and it cost €49 for the E270 (the E220 is less powerful upload speed wise) modem and then €20 a month as part of a 12 month contract. I got it the other day and am very happy with it so far, below is some snapshots I got from Speedtest.net. The 1st one is the max I’ve achieved so far while the 2nd one is what I got earlier today.  

Both are decent results in terms of download and upload speed. I found 2.5-3.0MB is usually average territory for download speed, while upload average is about 800-900kbs mostly. Quality of service is good too - I’ve made about five long Skype calls since getting this lad in and no problems at all, call quality was as good as DSL based calls. By the way Blacknight have a nice VOIP simulation test at http://www.irishisptest.com/runmyspeed.php which you can use to check how your Internet connection will perform (roughly) using VOIP. As far as I’m aware VOIP call quality has a lot to do with Ping speed (as well as upload/download speed obviously), which above is 159ms and 162ms respectively from left & top which is good for mobile broadband. Call quality on Skype etc. may be a bit hairy on Ping speed of I’d say 270+.

Although I haven’t had it long I’m very happy with it to date, I’ve heard it can be very location dependant (I’m based in Santry, North Dublin) though so depending on where abouts in Ireland you are it might not work as well for you as it is doing for me. On that note check out the Speed Test Thread on the 02 support forum for a load of Speedtest.net result snapshots from various parts of the country. You’ll notice that some of them are not that flattering, but most are decent and considering that mobile broadband is still really new in this country ‘decent’ for five euro a week should be good enough for most people. Word on the wires is that they have plans to upgrade to 14.4Mbps sometime in the next year or so which when it happens should really stir things up.

I wonder though will us Irish ever have it as good as our UK counterparts, the variety of packages and special offers for home, mobile and other broadband services is massive, for instance (and since we’re talking about 02) check out this deal from 02 in the UK which offers free home broadband when you buy mobile broadband.

Apparently the software that comes with the 02 modem does not accurately track data usage, I’ve yet to notice but Shane O’ Sullivan has written a tool which logs in to the 02 website and gets your 100% accurate figures.

Another recent review which includes figures from a couple of different locations around Ireland by Conor O’Neill.

Keith Bohanna’s review of 02 mobile broadband from September 07 includes more sample speeds from various different locations, notice the sometimes huge differences between location A and location B so do your research before investing.

Potential Trapattoni related headlines over the next while?

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

It’s finally settled, Trapattoni is in the FAI hotseat after about 111 days of searching. Along with him comes a fresh challenge to the pun kings of Ireland, namely the tabloid sports writers. What will the headlines be like over the next two or so years? Here’s a little taster of what you may see in newspapers like TheStar, TheSun and TheMirror:

 ‘Shut your Trap’ - Guaranteed to be used, perhaps when the smack talk begins between himself and rival managers in Group 8, or perhaps in response to Stephen Ireland if he dishes out more made up stories.

 ‘Trap Rap’ - If Trapattoni gets disciplined by UEFA, Fifa etc?

 ‘Through the Trap door’ - Perhaps in reference to getting into South Africa via the playoffs?

 ‘Trap-ped in Group 8′ - Perhaps in reference to failing to qualify?

 ‘Offside Trap’ - If Ireland or our opponents score a controversial late goal?

 ‘Trapa-phoney’ - If Trapattoni turns out to be completely useless?

 ‘Crapa-ttoni’ - As above.

 ‘Snapa-ttoni - Perhaps if Trapattoni loses the head and does a Jack Charlton/John Aldridge USA 94 job?

 ‘Trapa-stoney’ - If Trapattoni ever admits to smoking pot… perhaps in a heart to heart interview with ‘Dobbo‘?

 ‘Gio-canny’ - If he makes an inspired substitution?

 ‘The Italian Job’ - Going from his name to his nationality, of course I’m sure we will see it thrown in a couple of times too. Hopefully it will be in the context of Trapattoni engineering a big result for us and not in the context of a defeat by the Italian team.

‘Godfather’ - If he becomes loved by the Irish public?

‘Don Trapattoni’ - As above.

OK well I’m kind of clutching at straws now so I’ll leave it at that but there’s a few other good ones floating about the net, send in any I’ve missed. By the way if there are any budding tabloid headline writers among us check out http://www.rhymezone.com/ to see what you can come up with yourself.

Perlico prove the power of Viral marketing

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Perhaps old news in the blogosphere at this stage, but I wanted to give Perlico a mention for their recent viral marketing campaign involving a duck quacking on their IVR (Interactive Voice Response) telephone system. Yes a duck quacking, you read it correctly. Ring 1890 88 66 07 and wait to hear option three. Before any of the options are read out you do of course have to listen to their marketing lines about how much cheaper than Eircom they are.

The marketing team at Perlico obviously knew that people would talk (and write) about this because it’s a bit off the wall however I’m not sure they were expecting over 70,000 calls to their sales number in just over three days. The 70,000 figure comes from Mark Cleary, Perlicos COO. Cleary says “Since this launch, based on the volumes of calls, the campaign has been a phenomenal success. In just over 3 days we have received over 70,000 calls and added a significant number of new customers as a result which make this one of the most successful viral campaigns in Ireland.

Cleary also says “This campaign started off entirely by word of mouth which helps to demonstrate the power of the Internet and Email as a viral marketing approach. The duck quacking IVR has now been featured on several radio stations across the country and the call volumes continue to increase by the hour”

Of course we all knew the power of the Internet and Email as viral marketing approaches, right? right? Fair play to Perlico, their marketing team deserve a raise for this.

Spin 103.8 meta jacking

Friday, August 24th, 2007

Since I’m still suffering from last nights work social to get drunk with my now ex boss one last time before he left our ICT team and since I’m off to the fight tomorrow (no not in the Swiss Cottage - in the point depot!) and hopefully the big Dublin & Kerry game in Croker on Sunday I’m just going to take it ham & cheesy tonight and relax with a few beats and update my blog.

For this update and in true Richard Hearne style (see Unison & Continuum) I’m going to ‘out’ someone for not playing by the rules. The unfortunate ’so and so’ on this occasion is popular Dublin based radio station Spin 103.8 who appears to be conducting some good old fashioned meta jacking on their offical website located at http://www.spin1038.com/. Meta Jacking is the process of putting your competitors names in your meta keywords and or meta description tags in the hope that if someone searches for your competitors name your website would come up in the results too. Spin have done this by including the names of rival radio stations such as 98FM, FM104, Today FM and some others in their meta keywords tag, similar stuff is being done with their meta description tag too. Although I’m not a lawyer I believe I’m right when I say that this is a form of trademark infringement and could potentially result in a day in court for the Spin 103.8 legal eagles. The meta keywords tag as lifted directly from their home page is below:

  1. <meta content=“Spin 1038, Spin south west, Spinsouthwest, Spin, Dublin Radio, FM104, 98fm, Today FM, entertainment news” name=“description” />

I’m wondering who does their search engine optimisation because even putting aside the legal issues this sort of technique doesn’t even work. It may have worked somewhat years ago but these days meta tags aren’t given much value at all by the search engines so it’s actually a complete waste of time. Your thoughts are welcome, additionally I wouldn’t mind a couple of trackbacks :-)…

kick it on kick.ie

Adwords - Bidding on a competitors name

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

Was doing a search earlier today for a Dublin based company called Sureskills who provide a variety of IT Services & Training. Logically my first step was to search for ‘sureskills‘ on Google as I wasn’t sure of the exact URL. Google being Google returned their site #1, however I noticed that one of Sureskills competitors namely New Horizons Ireland was running an Adword ad triggered by the keyword ’sureskills’. This is obviously an attempt by New Horizons Ireland at taking business directly from their competitors and is completely allowed under the terms and conditions of Google Adwords. If however a competitor of Sureskills tried to plug the term ’sureskills’ into their actual ad text well that’s something that can find its way into court quite quickly.

I found another example when I searched for ‘Webtrade‘. Webtrade are a web dev/design company (who I actually interviewed for a couple of years ago) based in Rathfarnham, Dublin. In this case however not one but two competitors are bidding on Webtrades’ name. Not quite sure where I stand in regards to the question of ethics in relation to bidding on competitors names, the more striking question for me however would be the value (or lack of value) of bidding on competitors names. If someone is searching for a specific company, for example Sureskills, is it likely that they will click through to a website that isn’t that of Sureskills? Perhaps it’s useful for a competitor to simply get their URL/ad seen anyhow just in case the searcher might visit them after being on the Sureskills website?

Incidentally you may also notice a lot of companies actually bid on their own names. Examples of companies which I’ve spotted doing this recently include Vodafone, PaddyPower & Clearscape. These companies are doing this perhaps as a counter-measure to anyone else bidding on their name. Whatever the reason the technique of bidding on your own name is advocated by one of Irelands leading PPC experts and thus may be worth some consideration.

12 Lorcan Crescent, Santry, Dublin 9, Ireland +353 87 9807629