Oct 16 2011

Tablet (Computers) and Online News

Category: Internet,Mobile ComputingTeknovis @ 10:45 am

I read an article yesterday claiming that tablet users consume more online news. See Tablets Drive Deeper News Consumption [STUDY].

Yes – I am definitely one of those people!

The thing that really annoys me about certain news websites (RTE, The Irish Times, BBC) is that their RSS feeds only contain the first line of the news story, and then I have to browse a very heavy desktop page to read the rest of the story. I wish that they would provide either a full feed, or a second feed with the full articles!

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Dec 11 2009

Record Traffic For Irish Budget 2010 Announcement

Category: NetworksTeknovis @ 8:15 am

I noticed that INEX had record traffic levels last Wednesday afternoon of approximately 8.7Gbits/s according to the INEX traffic statistics.

I assume that this record was due to people watching the Irish Minister for Finance announce the annual budget for 2010 online thanks to RTE.

Hourly Graph (aggregate/bits) (Copyright INEX)

Hourly Graph (aggregate/bits) (Copyright INEX)

I described the previous INEX records in Record Traffic For Irish Budget 2009 Announcement and Record Traffic For Second Irish Budget 2009.

Yearly Graph (aggregate/bits) (Copyright INEX)

Yearly Graph (aggregate/bits) (Copyright INEX)

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Dec 05 2009

The Irish Times Mobile Edition

Category: Internet,Mobile ComputingTeknovis @ 4:56 pm

The Irish Times has finally launched a mobile edition of its website! It is about time! Previously, I had to get all of my national news from RTE when I was using my PDA!

I read the news on it last night, and I thought that it rendered very well.

You can read more about it in ‘The Irish Times’ on your mobile, and you can view it here: m.irishtimes.com.

It is interesting, but not surprising, that The Irish Times chose not to use a .mobi domain.

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Jun 05 2009

RTE Player in UCD

Category: NetworksTeknovis @ 5:12 pm

A friend of mine who works in UCD was trying to use the RTE Player on her laptop this week. (Yes, it was work related :o ) She had mixed results!

She could view the RTE Player web page, and any of the video content, using her wired connection in one building. However, she could only view the RTE Player web page, but not any of the video content, using her wireless connection in another building. The video panel would time out after playing the advertisement. That was annoying!

I did a quick search on the Internet, and the only related information that I could find was New RTE player also blocked?. However, this thread seems to be full of inaccuracies, as I normally find on Boards.ie :( In particular, the following statement appears to be incorrect:

The new RTE Player opens a direct connection to the RTE Server on tcp port 1935

fmsv1.rte.ie:1935

I can view the RTE Player video content perfectly from my current location, and I know that I am not allowed to access TCP Port 1935. I also am behind a proxy server, so that cannot be the cause either. My friend was able to access fmsv1.rte.ie, so obviously the site is not blocked.

However, I still do not know what is causing the problem :|

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Apr 21 2009

RTE Launches On-Demand TV Player

Category: Internet,TelecomsTeknovis @ 7:37 pm

Today RTE launched its on-demand video player, which is unimaginatively called RTÉ Player. I have not had a chance to try it yet, but I already watch a lot of RTE current affairs content on demand. Perhaps my biggest misgiving about the new player is the fact that it is browser based, rather than utilising a separate standalone application.

For more details about this story see RTÉ launches catch-up TV service.

The BBC launched a similar on-demand video player over a year ago called the iPlayer. This caused excessive network usage at that time for BT, and this resulted in extra charges to end-users. This highlighted the increasing problems in the relationship between content producer and content distributor. Ultimately, they will both need to work together! To read more about this see Jaw Jaw, Not War, War.

The next logical step in the roll-out of IP based video on-demand is to supply end-users with set-top boxes. Indeed, this is already being considered for the iPlayer according to BBC, ITV and BT plan to bring iPlayer-style services to TVs. I wonder will RTE do this also!

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Apr 10 2009

Record Traffic For Second Irish Budget 2009

Category: NetworksTeknovis @ 4:27 pm

Last October I described the format of the Irish budget, and how it is broadcast online by RTE, in Record Traffic For Irish Budget 2009 Announcement. At that time INEX had a record throughput of approximately 5.3Gbits/s.

Last Tuesday the Irish Minister for Finance had to announce a second annual budget for 2009 because he got the first one wrong. (I will not comment on his incompetency on this blog ;) It appears that this caused a new record throughput of approximately 7.2Gbits/s according to the INEX traffic statistics.

I should have thought of putting a copy of the Day Graph here earlier in the week :(

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Mar 25 2009

Irish Government Censorship

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 10:49 pm

A very interesting story about Government censorship has been unfolding in Ireland over the last two days. Indeed, if not for the Internet then the story would have been successfully squashed by now!

It all started with a practical joke in which paintings of the Irish Prime Minister, who was naked, were hung in two popular art galleries in Dublin. The national broadcaster RTE provided coverage of the story.

Here is a screenshot of one of the paintings in case the video gets removed:

Painting of Brian Cowen (From RTE News)

Painting of Brian Cowen (From RTE News)

Initially this was just an example of Irish humour, but it quickly took a sinister tone. First RTE was pressurised into removing the video from its web site, and it was subsequently forced to issue the following apology:

The Government then continued to flex its muscles today by sending the police into a radio station that covered the story. The police were demanding the name of the artist. More information about this can be read in Gardaí visit radio station in Cowen painting inquiry.

The police identified the artist in one of the fastest investigations ever undertaken, and they are currently preparing a prosecution. The police also seized five other similar paintings. More details of this are described in Teacher questioned over Cowen paintings.

My opinion on all of this is that it is outrageous that the Government is putting so many resources into trying to bury this story. I am also delighted with the responses of the online community, and I hope to play my part also :o

I am also really surprised that the Governemnt, or even the Prime Minister, did not seize the opportunity to turn it into good publicity.

For more coverage of this story from the Irish blogging community take a look at the recent posts by Maman Poulet, Damien Mulley, and Caricatures Ireland. This last web site has a very good caricature in The Taoiseach has no clothes and RTE has no balls: the Brian Cowen Nude Caricature.

Brian Cowen Caricature (Copyright Caricatures Ireland)

Brian Cowen Caricature (Copyright Caricatures Ireland)

The t-shirt version of it looks great in Get your b*ll*ck-naked T*oiseach t-sh*rt.

I also think that this is yet another example of how a small story becomes a huge story when somebody tries to censor it! A perfect example of this is all of the other caricatures that are now appearing on the Internet, such as the caricatures in Photoshop Cowen extravaganza. I think that some of these are very funny, while others are not. However, I think it is vital in a democracy that they are all available to the public!

I have been following this story, and the associated outrage, all day on Twitter. I must admit that I really liked the real-time nature of this, although it was a distraction :o

It is also very interesting to see how the global media is covering this story. The story is covered in the UK in Naked taoiseach paintings removed, Cowen artist ‘could be charged’, and Guerrilla artist hangs nude paintings of taoiseach Brian Cowen. France is reading about the story in A poil, par Robert Solé, and the US is reading about it in Ireland: Nude Premier Paintings Appear. Perhaps the most ironic, or even worrying, coverage is by the Chinese in Naked Irish PM portraits removed. I am sure that it is also being covered by many other news agencies of which I am not aware!

The story has also made it into Wikipedia, where it is known as Picturegate. Perhaps the Irish Government will try to remove this next!

I wonder how this story will continue in the following days!

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Mar 19 2009

BBC News Web Site Archive

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 7:50 pm

I read an interesting article on the BBC News web site last weekend, and today I wanted to email its link to a friend. Unfortunately the link was no longer present on the homepage, so I used the search facility. This was a very frustrating experience, partly because I could not remember the title of the article. So after about 20 minutes I gave up :(

This made me think that it is a pity that the BBC News web site does not have a calender function to search the archive. For example, the RTE News web site contains such a calender.

RTE News Archive Calender

RTE News Archive Calender

After a quick search on the Internet I realised that I was not the only person who thought that a calendar function would be useful. Indeed, I found a very nice implementation of such a calendar at BBC News Front Page Archive. It was here that I found the article that I was looking for ;)

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Feb 26 2009

Jason Roe Versus Ryanair

Category: Aviation,InternetTeknovis @ 8:36 pm

Last weekend I read an article by web developer Jason Roe in which he described his discovery that under certain circumstances the Ryanair web site would revert the cost of flights to 0.00€. The full article is Ryanair no credit card fee + 0.00 flight bug.

I did not think that the discovery was in any way special, because it is relatively easy to replicate situations like this on many web sites. I would not even call it a bug, because it only occurs when the web site is being used in an abnormal way. I do not think that Jason Roe was trying to imply this either.

However, the tone of the responses that were posted by some of Ryanair’s staff are astonishing! For example, the first Ryanair response is:

jason!
you’re an idiot and a liar!! fact is!
you’ve opened one session then another and requested a page meant for a different session, you are so stupid you dont even know how you did it! you dont get a free flight, there is no dynamic data to render which is prob why you got 0.00. what self respecting developer uses a crappy CMS such as word press anyway AND puts they’re mobile ph number online, i suppose even a prank call is better than nothing on a lonely sat evening!!

I cannot understand what motivated this! Why did Ryanair not respond with the same explanation but in a pleasant manner? To make the responses even less understandable, I do not think that Ryanair develops this software itself!

I should also add that I have had many experiences with Ryanair before, and this is the first time I have ever seen such negative behaviour. So I am not a Ryanair basher :o

Surprisingly, this story has gained enough momentum that it was covered by The Irish Times today in Ryanair turns on blogger who found website glitch. Indeed, it is currently the most read story on the web site! I particularly like the quote by the Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara:

Lunatic bloggers can have the blogosphere all to themselves as our people are far too busy driving down the cost of air travel.

It seems to me that if the Ryanair employees had abided by this in the beginning then there never would have been a problem!

Update

RTE covered this story, and included an interview with Jason Roe, on the main national television news!

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Jan 23 2009

All Ireland Broadband

Category: eGovernment,TelecomsTeknovis @ 7:46 pm

Yesterday the Irish Minister for Communications announced details of the all Ireland broadband Internet access roll-out scheme. The essence of this is that every part of Ireland will have broadband Internet access by 2010, thanks to an investment of 223€ million by the Irish Government.

At the moment 10% of the population do not have broadband Internet access, and these 10% live in areas that represent 33% of the area of the country.

Three has won the contract to supply this broadband Internet access, and it will do this using 3G technology. I might be incorrect, but I think that BT actually installed, commissioned, and operates the 3G network in Ireland for Three.

More details about this can be read in Plan to bring broadband to entire country by 2010.

The Irish Minister for Communications seemed quite ecstatic when he was announcing this yesterday. He seems to have the opinion that this will enable significant numbers of new companies to develop, and that these companies will employ many people, and this will lift Ireland out of recession. Yes, really!

I have a more sceptical view :o

From the maps that I saw in the television interviews it seems that the areas in Ireland that will benefit from this scheme are all in really rural locations (mostly the West and South-West). The population densities are very low in these areas! Also, the existing levels of business activity in these areas is extremely low! I do not think that broadband Internet access will change any of this!

So ultimately I think that this scheme means that the majority of Irish tax payers will subsidise a very small minority. I also think that people who live in these rural areas must accept that they cannot expect to have the same levels of service as people who live closer to metropolitan areas. (This of course works both ways.)

Damien Mulley also got some air-time to comment on this government initiative on the RTE news yesterday. I am not sure why, but I feel that he gave a more positive response to it in the television interview than he does on his blog article National Broadband Scheme Launch. Maybe I am wrong about this, because I only saw the television interview once.

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