Nov 22 2008

Internet Censorship in the EU

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 5:19 pm

I am a big fan of free speech, and I really dislike censorship, especially at state level. I feel this way about both the Internet and the traditional media.

I think that freedom of speech in relation to the Internet is quite good in Ireland at the moment. Everybody here can legally view any websites that they want. At least I am not aware of any blocking of illegal sites. As far as I know, it is even legal to view child pornography in Ireland! (However, it is illegal to intentionally store it, and that is what people get charged with in court. Yes, this does create a great technical argument!)

Unfortunately, many other EU states do impose blocks on certain sites in order to censor them. For example, I think that most EU states have bans on web sites relating to, or glorifying, Nazism. Of course it is fairly easy for me to have this view in Ireland, since we never experienced the atrocities that most of the EU experienced within the last 100 years.

I have two main problems with Internet censorship:

  • It is often technically infeasible or pointless
  • It often creates a huge artificial interest in the censored subject

TechCrunch has an article called German Politician Blocks Local Wikipedia which demonstrates both of these points perfectly!

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Nov 06 2008

Entrepreneurship in an Economic Downturn

Category: EntrepreneurshipTeknovis @ 11:27 pm

Entrepreneurship is something that I have always been interested in, and it is something that is now part of my everyday work! So it is certainly something that I intend writing about here!

I think that Ireland has improved significantly in relation to entrepreneurship, but there is still a huge way to go! We are currently experiencing an economic downturn (as is most of the world), and this is likely to increase the number of start-up companies. Unfortunately, it also makes it more difficult for these start-up companies to receive the necessary initial investment :(

I read an interesting article on TechCrunch today titled Teen Bloggerpreneur Jessica Mah’s $500 Startup: InternshipIN. The article describes how to start a company for $500! Yes – just $500! It seems impossibly small! The start-up company is based on a website called InternshipIN, which is designed to provide a single portal for university students looking for internships. I think the most interesting aspect of this is the spirit in which it is being created, and it certainly will be interesting to see if it succeeds! Jessica Mah’s blog provides more details (and it is a good read).

Closer to home, I read that Pat Phelan (overall winner at this years IIA Net Visionary Awards 2008) is on a panel at a Digital Media Island event. Therefore, he asks the question “How can we foster start-ups and innovation in Ireland today?“, and some of the answers are very interesting!

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Nov 06 2008

US Election Website Traffic

Category: InternetTeknovis @ 6:26 pm

I read three articles on TechCrunch today regarding Internet traffic on election day of the US election.

I do not expect that websites outside of the US experienced significant increases, because there is less interest in the US election, and the time differences made it a bit impractical!

Finally, Twitter also had an extremely busy night, as described in OMG, That Was A Big Day. It is a pity that this post does not give some more general statistics. For example, are any of these statistics new records?

I think that it is very impressive that all of the major websites that experienced heavy traffic were able to cope with it. I particularly like Twitter’s approach:

Our technical approach over the last several months has been to find the weakest point of the system, fix it so it’s no longer the weakest, move to the next weakest point, and so on.

I also notice that the new president is a Twitter user! It will be great if he can continue to find time to maintain his online presence!

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Nov 03 2008

Facebook Grows (and Costs Soar)

Category: BusinessTeknovis @ 8:11 pm

ComScore released a press release today covering the UK Web Rankings for September 2008. Several news sites are commenting on the fact that Facebook has overtaken the BBC to occupy the fifth spot. Indeed, this was the most significant change in the list. I guess that this is not surprising, given the universal appeal that Facebook currently has!

I find this especially interesting, because I read an article on TechCrunch over the weekend claiming that Facebook may be trying to raise more capital in order to cover their soaring costs. To put this in context, Facebook have raised almost $500 million in 2007 and 2008 already. So what are they doing with all of this cash? Some of the more interesting costs cited are:

  • $2 million per week for additional storage
  • $1 million per month on electricity
  • $500,000 per month on bandwidth
  • $10 million per month on payroll

So where are Facebook trying to raise this extra capital from in this time of economic cautiousness? Dubai!

It will be very interesting to see if they succeed in raising more capital, and at what price! I am certainly not dying to get a piece of that action!

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