Monday, June 30, 2008

Interesting use of IVR

Interesting use of IVR

They still have to have the overhead of the premium sms service (trust me it’s an ‘overhead’, carriers take a ton of money for this service – check out more info on CSC’s in the USA here , but you are pretty much being screwed globally on price breaks for premium sms billing applications).

Either way might give some people ideas about how to make money out of IVR – love how they use the women’s voices to say “thanks for buying my wallpaper” audio files, men are such suckers.


CSC - what you should know

I’ve put together information to help answer client questions around common short codes (CSC's) over the last few years (in particular around licensing of USA short codes) and I thought it might be of interest to a few people who may be thinking about implementing a campaign using this 'contact' methodology tool.

There are a number of areas to consider when it comes to mobile marketing in the USA. There are fuzzy rules and regulations from CTIA and Neustar, the carriers themselves and unofficial guidelines from the MMA , there are regular changes to the mma guidelines so best to check in on a regular basis.

A lot of this will change over time as it has in other markets as the market matures(Australia and the Europe for example) . In addition some of the pricing and revenue sharing opportunities from premium sms will come have to become more reasonable over time.

At the moment it just plain sucks here in the USA. Industry pundits wonder why SMS marketing is behind global's really simple - USA carriers suck in their pricing models.

At the end of the day the carriers have the final right to rule what traffic they do and don’t carry on their networks but if you follow the documentation you should be right most of the time. mBlox is an aggregator I've worked with in the past and puts out a very good document detailing each of the individual carrier changes as they happen so make sure that you get onto this mailing list.

As you already know in order to conduct a mobile marketing campaign in the USA the CTIA (The US Cellular Carriers Association require each company to register and deliver from a 5 digit Common Short Code or CSC’s. These CSC’s are 5 or 6 digit numbers in the range of 20000 to 99999 and once registered will be accepted as commercial traffic originator across all US carriers.

The CTIA have assigned Neustar as the registry of these common short codes and they can be applied for from this website

The license fee for these CSC’s are as follows;
Randomly allocated CSC of 5 or 6 digits $500 per month
Selected (or Vanity number) of 5 or 6 digits $1,000 per month

Generally companies will try and register a CSC that fits with the branding of their product name on an alphanumeric handset 73774 = PEPSI
Or a derivative of it such as 62288 = NBCTV

You can search here to see if the CSC you think would best suit your company is available here

Technically if a number is already taken by company X you cannot purchase or buyout the CSC from company X as it actually belongs to Neustar, however we have seen the transfer of some shortcodes as larger companies came in to the market only to find someone already using the one they wanted.

Also keep in mind you might want to be searching for either a single CSC or for a variety of CSC’s to represent each of the various business units (or break them out to individual licenses to maintain delivery integrity).

Something to be aware of is that CTIA/Neustar didn't release 6 digit codes until the spring of 2006…..

It’s not an official list but a good list to see what other short codes are out there is
This list was put together by a company frustrated with the lack of validated information available and is updated on a regular basis.

Regardless of whether you proceed with the 5 or 6 digit number the one thing to keep in mind when applying for a CSC is to make sure it is applied for by you directly and in your company’s name. I've worked with another client who in the process of signing up for a mobile marketing campaign allowed the aggregator to apply for the short code in the aggregators name….only to find when they chose to move their SMS traffic to another aggregator that they were refused.

A CSC is a valuable piece of marketing property, make sure you treat it as such.

If you would like to book some consulting time with me to answer specific questions check out


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hey Prince you pratt !!

Hey Prince you pratt !! - love how much effort you went to for the hologram on the cover of your Planet Earth cd. Must have cost you an absolute fortune to do this and taken a lot of time and effort.....
..... but did you realise that no where on this cd case is a list of the actual song titles. You may be a musical genius, but in your old age you're becoming a pratt and forgetting your fans, you know the ones who actually buy your cd's....!!


Saturday, June 28, 2008


There was a dream.


Greenpeace crashes coal meeting using phony organisation

Greenpeace posed as a pro-coal organization to become a sponsor of the 2008 McCloskey Coal USA conference, which was surprised but allowed them to deliver a brief anti-coal message, officials said Friday.
When The McCloskey Group figured out who the Institute for Energy Solutions really were, they decided to let Greenpeace have their booth under the phone name and make brief remarks, organizers said.


What a cool idea- set up a fake 'group' then offer to sponsor at the conference (apparently only $8500) and get to deliver your message (and free press) from within the actual conference.

If you go to the fake groups website website you actually get

Having said that the coal-is-dirty website is pretty average - you would think for something with such a cool 'launch' concept would have better 'message'.

I mean I'm not pro-coal or pro-whatever but as long as there are humans living on the earth then we are going to need energy in some form or another - until we learn to exist as non energy beings floating around the universe as gaseous electron clusters (eg no food, clothing or housing requirements) then you are going to need energy in some form or another.

eg. I dont think anyone gets the irony that Greenpeace is 'delivering information' on the website that is running somewhere on a web server that is using electricity...... 'boom tish'

Anyway I just wanted to post here saying what a clever concept in getting your message out there.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Are you QRious?

It seems Australia might actually lead the USA in QR code adoption (oops does this mean it's time for me to move home?)
Telstra are directly installing a QR reader into their handsets and getting behind a big marketing push about their functionality.

For those of you who have no idea what QR is head over to

For those of you interested in what telstra is actually doing check out
or go over to in 4 days from now and check it out.

If anyone in Australia wants some consulting on concepts time of how to leverage this QR push from Telstra get in touch as I have a ton of documentation on successful projects and have been working with QR and other 2d bar code concepts for a while (use the search function of this blog on the above left for some free ideas).


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Advertising Mashup

Following up from the JC Penny debacle post

Check out this cool television concept from Australia

No I haven’t had a chance to watch the ABC television series yet but looks cool – what a great concept.

“As of last night, 6100 spoof ads had been edited, scripted and uploaded to the website by viewers of The Gruen Transfer, the 10-part series which has been watched by more than 1 million viewers each week.
The number of ads made for a range of fictional products - a beer, an anti-ageing cream and a bank - and the number of times they have been watched, 280,000, has surprised ABC programming chiefs.”

Anyone want to set the wheels in motion for a USA based version? Looks like the perfect concept for Current?

P.S. Thanks Laurel - always full of cutting edge tips.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

JC Penny... you are the problem

JC Penny, wake up !! ... you are the problem - not your marketers. I think the commercial is fantastic.

It's a shame they made it for such a staid company like JC Penny.

If a client wants to 'sue' their vendor then the client needs to take responsibility for vendor selection as JC Penny obviously made the wrong choice in partners.

Pesonally I think the reason why JC Penny is finding fault with this advertisement is exactly whats wrong with the JC Penny brand - old foggeys who dont have a clue.

Listen to your marketing consultants....this is exactly what the brand needs.


P.S. check out some of the copycat videos - if this isn't dialog with your target audience I dont know what is

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Friends or Foe

Great article in Slate today about how friends of America can do no wrong......and foes well..they're just plain foes

Who's Africa's Worst Dictator?
Hint: It's probably not Robert Mugabe......

(of course that doesn't cover Saddam Hussein who was a friend and was even sold some of the 'tools of war' by the USA that he was later accused of using and then Invaded/Hung for being a foe, but thats another story).

Go support Slate and do something good for the nations IQ.


Vigin Eye

What a neat piece of visualisation.

This application provides an overview of all web comments, articles, press mentions about the Virgin group of companies.

Although it sweeps a little fast for my liking and it wouldn't work for smaller entities without as much press I think there are definately possibilities of implementing something similar for personal APML tracking.

Whats APML? :) ...... what am I google? go find out and tell me what you think.

Dean Collins

Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 100 Australia web 2.0 companies

Hopefully this might interest some people on this list

Some of these have pretty significant international customer base and are growing rapidly.

What this does show is that Australians are certainly punching above their weight in application development and there is a huge wealth of talent. if you are looking to outsource your development team and dont want the 'language' issues Australia with it's lower cost of living and advance understanding of the market makes a great location to base your 'inhouse offshore' team or development partner selection.

1. mig33
2. Confluence
3. Red Bubble
4. 3eep
5. Engagd
6. MyVirtualHome
7. Booking Angel
9. Scouta
10. RetailMeNot
11. vibEngine
12. Enhanced Media Platform
13. Rememberthemilk
14. OurWishingWell
15. StreetAdvisor
16. TheBroth
17. Plugger
18. Tangler
19. COZero
20. SwapAce
21. Particls
22. VastPark
23. Ripple
24. MeBeam
25. Loc8
27. Builtwith
26. 2vouch
28. Supervirals
29. BugMeNot
30. Pikistrips
31. dLook
32. Mojikan
33. Menulog
34. Blogarate
35. PickupPal
36. Powerhouse Museum Collection Search
37. Peepel
38. Feedity
39. Genbook
40. CushyCMS
41. Vquence
42. Ador
43. Uvouch
44. Popnets
45. Quotify
47. NationMaster
48. Adimade
49. Cagora
50. Omnidrive
51. Zaabiz
52. Minti
53. HooJano
54. Top Bargains
55. Norg Media
56. Buzka
57. Saasu
58. 88 Miles
59. Loconut
60. Docoloco
61. Kwoff
62. Chin Swing
63. Flogd
64. Invoiceplace
65. MyCyberTwin
66. Not Good Enough
67. Gooruze
68. Tiinker
69. MyCosm
70. Global Surfari
71. Raveabout it
72. RAYV
73. AustraliaForum
74. Blocklayer
75. eWise Systems
77. RocketReader
79. Publicity Wheel
80. The Fame Experiment
81. Pikifx
84. Buttonator
85. Oziwi
86. Ovosuite
87. Confer
88. Pxcream
89. Facts Online
90. Booze Counter
91. Factbites
92. The Roar
93. Service Seeking
94. SuburbView
95. Writetomyblog
96. BEE
97. RosterLive
98. Chop or Champion
99. Spyk
100. Buggerall

One interesting omission was BluePulse – I assume they were omitted as now seen as USA based (which I think is a shame, considering their roots started in Australia so I think should be included).

Check out this link for a overview of BluePulse -

Dean Collins

Presidential Legacies

I met Thomas Friedman 2 years ago at a Yi-Tan weekend retreat and I have to say at the time I really was surprised with how many things I disagreed with what he said, especially considering how much of his book The World Is Flat I really liked.

There were a few lessons I learned over the weekend that I use/repeat often though so couldn't have been that much of a let down - anyway that's neither here nor there. I wanted to share with you his latest opinion piece which I think is pure perfection.

Two years ago, President Bush declared that America was “addicted to oil,” and, by gosh, he was going to do something about it. Well, now he has. Now we have the new Bush energy plan: “Get more addicted to oil.”


"It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.”

Clinton used his last years in office trying to create something monumental like Arab-Israeli peace, looks like we know what Bush is going to spend his last 6 months doing.


Animal Rights

I think my preferences for being the top of the food chain are obvious with my appreciation of this funny picture - please send all hate mail addressed to me c/o "the chef" :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Telco immunity

You know I was thinking when watching this video that it's too easy to blame republicans...this is just the way they are - I'm wondering when watching this clip ....where are the democrats that are supposed to be providing the checks and balances?

Whats the deal with that?

lol - love the clip at the end


When Boys Play With Toys......

Well this is my final draft of the full Net Neutrality article. Even if you read the shorter magazine version it's worth a read as it has a number of points edited out of the short version.

This will be my last post on this topic – hope you feel I added some value to the discussion.

Feel free to forward on this link to anyone you think this might make a difference to.


When boys play with toys….
Dean Collins

Andrew Cuomo is a politician most Australians wont have heard of but today he is trying to radically change the internet that you connect to every day.

As the attorney general of New York State the recent collusion enacted between his office and the three largest ISP’s in the USA (Verizon, Time Warner, Sprint) will affect you personally sooner rather than later.

This along with the recent efforts of Australian Federal Senator Stephen Conroy, demonstrates the dangers of what can happen when boys play with dangerous toys that they don’t understand the ramifications of.

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” …. William Shakespeare
To get an understanding of why this is happening and how it should be driving hoards of protestors onto the street (but isn’t and how it’s happening under your noses without most web users even being aware of it happening) it would help to get an understanding of “The Players” in this performance and an understanding of what is motivating their actions;

The Politician:
A rose by any other name – The Politicians role is simply to be re-elected. Anything else you see them doing is simply an effort to raise their profile and be “seen to doing something,.. or rather anything” in order to be re-elected.

The Lobbyist
The Machiavellian of our performance – working for the highest bidder, this unseen mandarin has a cunning way of pulling the strings in the background, with a simple whisper into the ear of a politician “think of the children” they are able to bide their masters bidding.
Motivations of “The Lobbyist” are simple: A house in The Hamptons (or Byron Bay for the Australian version)

With their world being dragged from the modest 14.4k Hayes Modem to the DSL/WiMax/Fiber Optic permanently connected “always on demand” high speed internet we now find ourselves in, the ISP’s lot is a thankless task.Their biggest burden being a tossup between the hapless luddite who calls help desk 3 times a month with their latest issue or the P2P downloading teenager burning up bandwidth by downloading the latest & hottest content that they just must have to fill their brand new 1TB hard drives. Dropping newsgroup servers will save them at least 1.5TB of disk space for each and every day (with a 30 day retention rate this can add up to quite a large amount of content they no longer need to store).

The Carrier (motivations are different to the ISP even if they are often part of the same parent company)
The carrier once upon a time was king. Before “The Carter Act” you couldn’t even connect a ptsn telephone to the network that you didn’t buy from them.
Each and every month the latest ‘ransom’ bill from the carrier would arrive and you paid and paid and paid because there was no other choice.
Now with voip, the carrier is chasing smaller and smaller telephone bills each month (here in the USA $19.99 a month gets you unlimited calls to all landlines and cell phones nationally).Now with Skype using P2P networking, these figures are taking an even bigger hit.
Carriers thought television was the answer, sure everyone was paying less for their phone bills but television that’s where the real money was at…. now with Netflix on demand and Joost, people are once again using the carriers networks as dumb pipes paying the lowest common fee possible for connectivity.

So what exactly was the collusion that happened last week, and why did the internet change overnight without you even noticing it.

I couldn’t explain it any better than Cuomo himself so here is his quote

“NEW YORK, NY (June 10, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced landmark agreements with Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint to shut down major sources of online child pornography. For the first time, three of the world’s largest Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”) have agreed to block access to child porn from two significant sources”

Seems pretty reasonable right – child porn bad…must prevent (“think of the children” being whispered into the ears of politicians far and wide) Sounds like something similar that we have been hearing from Australian politicians….”must spend your taxes on the ‘great Firewall of Australia’…..think of the children” didn’t a press release like that come out of Senator Conroy’s office recently?

Even though countless technical people have clearly stated that the Great Firewall of Australia wont work and have clearly demonstrated how your average 13 year old can bypass a proxy, and that the millions of dollars spent to block ‘bad’ sites using your tax dollars were just wasted before they even finished being spent.

But lets face it educated discourse like that doesn’t make anything but the geek press, the mainstream press report “Ooo Ahhh vote for Labor….they ‘care’ about the children”.

Here is where the USA and Australian ‘endeavors’ differ. The USA schemes are far more nefarious, (I think it has something to do with the cost of real estate in The Hamptons being more expensive than Byron Bay and the better class of lobbyist in the USA).

For the skeptics (and the tin foil hat brigade) go and watch this video first

So last Thursday Verizon made the following announcement that they were dropping over 1000+ newsgroup hierarchies. They would however continue to carry managed “big8” newsgroup hierarchies.

Yep you heard that correct they were killing off 99.7% of all newsgroups and would no longer be providing access to them.

So you might think 99.7% of these newsgroups were carrying child porn, bomb making information and terrorist plans to rule the world, nope. (see below)

“Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups--out of roughly 100,000 plus newsgroups that exist. In his press release, he took credit for the companies' blunderbuss-style newsgroup removal by saying: "We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers...I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry."

Ok so I cant exactly work out what Cuomo is gloating about most, that he found 88 newsgroups, so approximately less than 1 newsgroup in every 1500 had some child porn image (quick someone upload some porn NY AG’s website so we can have his website taken off the Internet for good as well) please read this again – not 1 in every 1500 posts!! it was 1 unproven picture in every 1,500 newsgroups. The evidence collected was not provided (e.g. was the picture in question young just “possibly sub 18 years old” or really bad kiddy porn) Remember this was a news conference NOT a court case.

Eg if a newsgroup has 500 posts a day (not uncommon for groups like microsoft.public.word ) and the New York Attorney generals office reviewed 30 days worth of images they found 1 possible child porn image per 17 million newsgroup posts.

Wow – way to go Cuomo. Gee you really earned your pay check this month.

Ok so this doesn’t really affect you right?

Lets face it no-one uses newsgroups apart from computer geeks and perverts right – I mean groups like symantec.customerservice.general, us.military, microsoft.public.excel, are breeding grounds for underpants wearing, late night reading, child perverts).

So lets put this into a perspective that the average reader will understand.

Andrew Cuomo found 88 bad images and killed 992 out of 1000+ Usenet hierarchies in collusion with the 3 largest ISP’s in the USA.

Ok so put another way, lets say you went into work on Monday morning, and out of the 1000 websites you had saved into your favorites folders only 8 out of 1000 were deemed Cuomo friendly. All the other 992 of them were wiped off the internet never to be seen again.

Would this affect you?

This cataclysmic death to a major portion of internet content has occurred, not through rule of law, not due to the highest court in the land handing down it’s decree but simply through ‘editorial decision’.

The New York Attorney General and 3 guys sat down in a room and thought this would be a good idea.

And like a velvet encased sledgehammer let rip on the internet in one foul swoop, not really understanding all of the ramifications but like little boys not thinking they cried in unison “think of the children” and it was done.

Or was it?

The question not being covered by the press is why is this happening?

The rest of this article is speculative and I’ll probably be sued for libel but here goes.

What’s in it for “The Players” – why did The Politician sit down with The Carriers and markedly change the internet as you know today almost overnight with no real public discussion or dialog?

Andrew Cuomo – gets press, and to be seen to be doing something, (probably being advised by lobbyist who have ‘ulterior motives’ and he’s too stupid to know the difference).

The guy would hardly know a nttp server from a content cache but here he is blindly wielding the power to make it happen.

I mean lets face it, when your predecessor was “Client #9” it’s hard to be taken seriously by anyone.

So if The Politician doesn’t have anything to really gain then lets look at one of the other Players.Verizon are leading the pack so lets pick on them – What’s in it for them?

Heaps of reasons; far too many to detail, and all speculative - but here’s my interpretation.Usenet is an ancient ‘spooky’ space on the internet that no one but geeks and porn swapping perverts visit, by blocking 99.7% of UseNet’s under the guise of getting rid of kiddy porn Verizon are able to establish a precedent that ‘managing’ internet access for the betterment of society is a good thing.The thin edge of the wedge has been struck.

By setting a precedent that ‘management by editorial decision’ is allowed The Carriers have finally killed the albatross around their neck called “Net Neutrality”.

This pesky issue of Net Neutrality has been preventing The Carriers from making the “real money” they ‘deserve’.

For years they’ve been trying to go to Google and say – Hey Larry and Sergey, you guys made $20b from people visiting your search website on ‘our’ networks – pay us some protection money or a few packets might get lost along the way.

Larry and Sergey says back – “no way man, net neutrality means a level playing field for all”.

Or does it anymore?

According to the ISPs: “We're limiting our own Usenet groups, not blocking others". according to Cuomo's office, it's ok for ISP's to disconnect 99.7% of Usenet groups from customers without any explanation BUT that if you want to pay $15 to one of the other Usenet providers overseas it's all cool to go and look at child porn on their servers that’s a-ok.

I can read the headlines tomorrow “New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says that looking at child porn is a-ok with him as long as you pay for it”I cant work out what is more laughable that he's strong arming ISP's to drop Usenet and he thinks this is a good thing OR that he feels he's gotten enough press so going after the hard work of actually blocking child porn is a waste of his efforts and too hard.

When exactly is this guy up for re-election again???

So in affect Net Neutrality has been struck down in the name of “fighting kiddy porn”.After that it’s easy to start blocking off entire country domains, I mean no one in the USA has any good reason for reading Arabic blogs in Iran correct?Ok now lets move to something that some people will care about, but with 2 sets of prior acts Verizon will be covered.

Lets start to block all P2P traffic, I mean P2P is only used by people swapping pirated music and video’s – yes some 5% of the population may complain but most of them will be kids and not voters so we should be able to contain any publicity backlash.

I mean yes Comcast tried earlier this year to ‘delay’ P2P packets but they made the mistake of not ‘cloaking’ their moves under the guise of fighting kiddy porn. Should have gone with “Fighting Terrorism” guys, you can get anything passed using that as your motive.

….now lets move onto the juicy bits. – That pesky Vonage Voip traffic is travelling over our users networks and Verizon don’t make any money from this, lets start blocking that traffic.….You like watching video’s from Netflix using their Roku internet set-top box, cool we’ll just have to charge you for this.

…..Listening to a radio station that isn’t in the Time Warner ‘family’, sorry this is tier 2 internet class traffic so the audio might be a little jittery from time to time, sorry about that

…..If you want to hear from people who are far better at explaining this I’ll ask you yet again to check out

Like I said, it all started with some dumb politician who had probably never used Newsgroups before and had some carrier stooge whisper into his ear about ‘think of the children’……the rest is history.

As a society we should be strong enough to accept that any technological solution to a societal problem will never work and any politicians who suggest otherwise are either too dumb to be making that decision (e.g. swallowed a story from a lobbyist) or is acting in coercion.

But what do I know; I’m just a disgruntled geek.

Dean Collins

(pdf version available here
feel free to pass this document on to people who you think might understand why this is an important issue. If you want to post online/in print either in full or edited in anyway you see fit all I ask is you forward me a link).

viral marketing for chemistry careers

Wow someonebody out there has amazing creativity - they should do an entire series of these videos as a really offbeat educational project.

You totally dont get what they are actually marketing until right at the end - well done.


Mobile RSS?

Can anyone recommend a windows mobile application (or mobile web page application) that I can read RSS on?

I use windows live on my desktop to read my rss feeds and I heard that there was a mobile version so that I can read the same rss stored on window live on my cell phone?

I've heard rumours of it, there is even a mention of it on Wikipedia but I've never actually seen it running on any cell phone.

I'm looking for suggestions of alternatives, I really like windows live but unless i get mobile reader access soon I have to drop it as I just find reading rss on my cell to convenient to ignore it any more.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Tunes

Mercedes Skye is the only singer I could think of to run for this "Fridays Tunes".

Her attitude to putting herself out there and publishing content on YouTube epitomises what a free and level playing field for the Internet is all about.

I wonder if she knows that the death of the net neutrality last week means that someone coming up behind her in a few years wont have the opportunities that she enjoyed.



Digital Media Magazine Article

This is an opinion piece I wrote for an online & print technology magazine in Australia called “Digital Media” – the online version was just released today, I thought it might interest some of you.

I’ll probably post the much longer piece on my blog at (lol - I’m a blogger not a writer) at a later time as well because for the sake of brevity a lot was edited out of this piece.

I don’t think people understand Net Neutrality was struck down last week in the name of preventing kiddy porn, this is the “first act” in a play which will radically change the internet we all benefit from.

Dean Collins

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Adobe AIR is flat...?

Is it just me or have people reading this been ‘unimpressed’ with the ‘volume’ of adobe air applications released?

When Adobe AIR was first announced last year I expected every man and his dog to be building apps like this – I’m yet to hear of anyone in NY building a small independent app or see anything on offer that blows me out of the water the way I thought I would.

Are people all ‘developed’ out after writing Facebook apps, browser toolbar apps, etc etc – is a ROI now a critical factor on creating for the sake of creating or is there some limitation in AIR/Silverlight/Firefox(or whatever their proprietary chromeless runtime was called that i said was always going to be a dog) I haven’t read about?


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Attorney general says looking at child porn is a-ok with him

"ISPs: We're limiting our own Usenet groups, not blocking others".

So according to Cuomo's office, it's ok for ISP's to disconnect 99.7% of usenet groups from customers without any explanation BUT that if you want to pay $15 to one of the other Usenet providers it's all cool to go and look at child porn on their servers thats a-ok.

I cant work out what is more laughable that he's strong arming ISP's to drop usenet and he thinks this is a good thing OR that he feels he's gotten enough press so going after the hard work of actually blocking child porn is a waste of his efforts and too hard.

When exactly is this guy up for re-election again???


Sunday, June 15, 2008

The great Firewall of Cuomo

Imagine if you went into work on Monday and only 8 out of every 1000 websites you saved in your browsers favorites folder was deemed 'cuomo' friendly?

What would you do then?

Will it be too late before you take time to notice?


And so now it begins......

Verizon Cutting Access To Entire Alt.* Usenet Hierarchy

"Verizon has declared it will no longer offer access to the entire alt.* hierarchy of Usenet newsgroups to its customers. This stems from last week's agreement for major ISPs to cut off access to 'newsgroups and Web sites' that make child pornography available. The story notes, 'No law requires Verizon to do this. Instead, the company (and, to varying extents, Time Warner Cable and Sprint) agreed to restrictions on Usenet in response to political strong-arming by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat. Cuomo claimed that his office found child porn on 88 newsgroups — out of roughly 100,000 newsgroups that exist.' In response, Verizon will cut its customers off from a large portion of Usenet, as it will only carry newsgroups in the Big 8."

This is plain and simple bullshit - you are either offering internet access (yes the whole internet or you aren't)

It's the commercial companies right to offer a 'cut down version' of the internet but if they do they should lose all exclusive rights allocated to them by the federal government so that Verzion no longer have any federally awarded benefits of sole exclusive provider or any other common carrier status mandated subsidies etc. Your tax dollars are paying for their interpretive editorial decisions.

To be able to make what amounts to an 'editorial' non court mandated decision to cut off parts of the internet makes Verizon no better than China. In fact it makes them worse than China because at least China is upfront about their censorship, Verizon are hiding behind the guise of 'protecting the children from kiddy porn',

Yeh ok but what about the other 99.5% of the alt. groups you just killed? Yep alt.startrek.creative. very dangerous stuff.

What this means in practice is that, thanks to the New York state attorney general, Verizon customers will lose out on innocent discussions.

Verizon is retaining only eight newsgroup hierarchies, even though over 1,000 hierarchies exist. That means not carrying perfectly innocuous--and, in fact, very useful--newsgroups like symantec.customerservice.general, us.military, microsoft.public.excel, and fr.soc.economie.

Please forward this post on to every political figure with a brain (apart from Andrew Cuomo) who makes decisions concerning Verizon's rights to common carrier status - they cant have it both ways.

P.S. If you dont think Net Neutrality is the biggest issue affecting information publication and distribution in your life I challenge you to watch this short video and tell me you dont care


Way too cool anyone know if there is a New York based UAV club?


Saturday, June 14, 2008


photo by jimieye
We were just discussing how copyright has been stretched and twisted so many times that it really just isn't designed properly to handle internet communications -- and a good case in point may be the funny little spat we covered a few weeks back between Prince and Radiohead. If you don't recall, Prince performed a cover of a Radiohead song at a concert. Someone in the audience videotaped it and put the video on YouTube. Prince's representatives demanded that the content be taken down under a DMCA request -- raising all sorts of questions. After all, Prince didn't own the copyright on the song. That's owned by Radiohead, whose lead singer wanted the video back online. Prince didn't own the copyright to the video either, since he didn't take it. So how could he use the DMCA to take down the video?

But, it's not that simple, apparently. As Ethan Ackerman details, as lawyers began to think about the situation, the more confused they got, noting that maybe there was a right under anti-bootlegging laws.

Love it - especially seeing Prince is being a prat lately (though I still love his music).


Friday, June 13, 2008

Unlimited data.....drives product decisions?

Interesting spin on the iPhones unlimited data plan;

Does anyone know if AT&T have 'fair use limits' on the iPhone contracts?

Do you really think that AT&T forced Steve Jobs not to include video recording capability into the iPhone so that AT&T wouldn't have to pony up all the bandwidth that Qik users are now going to chew up?

- Oh and trust me they are going to chew up bandwidth, I've seen a heap of people fall in love with this application and use it to 'death' - it's only that it's been restricted to the N-series nokias that it hasn't seen wider deployment.

Not that what they are shooting is any good...though i have seen a couple of tech conference sessions that I thought cool that was worth watching etc.

So the question is who will be the first suspended iPhone user for streaming 24x7 of their tropical fish tank.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Voip Users Conference Call Friday the 13th 12 noon USA EDT

I just wanted to give you a quick heads up that I’m going to be speaking on the Voip users conference call tomorrow Friday the 13th, 12 noon USA EDT (-4 gmt)

The indial number will be +1-724-444-7444
Call ID 22622

Download the real time chat client at Talkshoe ( or log in using IRC #voip-users-conference on

Tomorrow I’m going to be talking about the new Vdex-40 ip-pbx appliance from . I’ve been playing with this unit for the last few weeks and I think it’s got some really nice aspects for a ‘mainstream’ non geek asterisk solution.

This is the first Asterisk appliance to have dual cpu’s. This along with flash memory storage and hardware based codec’s and echo cancellation, 4 FXO ports directly built in (e.g. connection for regular telephone lines) and SIP support for up to 6 voip providers and 35 SIP extensions makes it quiet and dependable solution to implement Asterisk into any small to medium business.

For those of you on the list that are commercial voip dealers/distributors there is a limited number of ”not for resale” in house-demo units available at 40% off rrp. Please don’t pass this URL to end clients but details and requirements can be found at

If you want to purchase/install vdex-40 units for your own clients and are in the USA/Canada then go to this form and the TAA guys will get in touch with you, the sooner you get listed on the TAA Dealer List the better as they are farming out all retail enquires to their dealer list depending on original location of the end user query.

If you have any questions feel free to forward them to TAA sales guys at but otherwise look forward to talking with on tomorrows call.

Also if you cant make tomorrows call it will be available as a mp3 from about 24 hours after the call (you should also browse through some of the other past calls as well, eg. I also ran this talk back on May 9th

Dean Collins

P.S. The call went great - for anyone find this post after Friday the 13th you can download the mp3 here

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Windows Live Regional Debacle

ARRGGG - trust me reading below is the short version.

There are 4 different locations on your pc and browser (and I think even the login preferences though I could never tell if this made a difference) that determine your ability to download the "form feed" application for the toolbar.....without which ie7 loses functionality compared to ie6.

Besides it's not like it is a piece of 'geographically sensitive' content in the first place.

It's definitely a love hate relationship with me and Microsoft.


Hello Dean,
My name is Lene and I am a Subject Matter Expert within the Windows Live Toolbar department.
Your e-mail was escalated to me and I would like to assist you with your issue on getting the Form fill button.
I know how importance this feature is to you.
Please change the Regional and Language Settings to USA. To change the default system language, you may follow these steps:1. Open the Control Panel. 2. Open Regional and Language Options.
This should resolve your issue. Even though you followed the steps below because your language is set to Australia you will be unable to download "form fill" as it is not available outside the USA.
We appreciate your continued support as we strive to provide you with the highest quality service available. Thank you for using Windows Live Toolbar.

Hello Dean,
Thank you for writing back to Windows Live Toolbar Technical Support. My name is Arlene and I understand that you need assistance in getting the Form fill button. I realize the importance of this matter.
Here are some steps that have proved successful for some of our customers. It is possible that you may have performed some or all of these steps previously, but the key seems to be the order in which they are performed:

Clear the Windows and Internet Explorer Temp files by using the Disk Cleanup Utility. To do this, follow these steps:
Click Start, and then click My Computer.
Right-click the disk on which you want to free space, and then click Properties.
On the General tab, click Disk Cleanup.
After the program has finished determining how much space you can clear, select the check boxes next to the files that you want to remove on the Disk Cleanup tab. Make sure that you select Temporary files and Temporary Internet Files.
Click OK.
Click Yes to continue with this action, and then click OK.
Install the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility to prepare to remove any leftover parts of the toolbar or the add-ins. For more information about the utility, visit the following Web site:;en-us;290301
Visit the following Web site:
In the File Download box, click Save.
Save the file to the desktop.
Locate the Msicuu.exe file on the desktop, and then double-click the file.
NOTE You may not see the ".exe" part of the file name.
Click Next to start the installation.
After the installation is complete, you can move the installation file to the Recycle Bin.
Run the Windows Installer Cleanup Utility. To do this, follow these steps:
Click Start, point to All Programs, and then click Windows Install Clean Up.
Select the programs that you want to remove, and then click Remove. Select Live Toolbar, MSN Toolbar, and any toolbar add-ins that you can identify.
Click OK, and then click Exit.
Make sure that Windows Installer no longer detects the Toolbar and the Toolbar add-ins.
Remove any traces of these items from the registry. To do this, follow these steps.
IMPORTANT This article contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, visit the following Web site:
WARNING If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk.
Click Start, click Run, type regedit , and then click OK.
Expand the folders.
Locate the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft folder.
In the Microsoft folder, make sure that the MSN Toolbar and MSN Apps folders are not present. If these folders are present, right-click each folder, and then click Delete.
Locate the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \Software\Microsoft folder.
In the Microsoft folder, make sure that the MSN Toolbar and MSN Apps folders are not present. If the folders are present, right-click each folder, and then click Delete.
Install the latest version of the Live Toolbar. To do this, follow these steps:
Start Internet Explorer.
Visit the following Web site:
Click Download.
In the File Download box, click Save.
Save the file to the desktop.
Locate the downloaded file on the desktop, and then double-click the file.
Click Next.
Follow the prompts to install the toolbar. You may want to add or remove certain add-ins.
After the installation is complete, you can move the installation file to the Recycle Bin.
If you want to keep the toolbar, step 6 is the last step. If you do not want to keep the toolbar, remove it. To do this, follow these steps:
Click Start, click Run, type the following command, and then click OK: control appwiz.cpl The Add or Remove Programs dialog box opens.
In the Currently installed programs list, click Windows Live Toolbar, and then click Remove or click Change/Remove.
When you are prompted, click Yes to confirm that you want to remove the program, and then click OK.

We appreciate your continued support as we strive to provide you with the highest quality service available. Thank you for using Windows Live Toolbar.


Sen. Craig's New Music Video

I have no idea who National Banana are but this is a great example of what internet video should look like, great stories -good production values, but most importantly with fantastic story telling techniques.

Check out some of these other video's


Monday, June 09, 2008

Live Mesh in the Flesh

So after posting this a few weeks ago (check out the comments, lots of discussions and links there - you should also check out this YouTube video also ), I've been waiting with baited breath for LiveMesh to be released to general public.

So i was playing with microsoft live toolbar this weekend (form fill has disappeared again), and noticed LiveMesh was an option on the Live toolbar.

Woot, didn't even realise they were giving access yet.

So far it's a little disappointing, only computer file synchronisation (come on Ray you had that with Groove back in 1998) but the promise of mobile synchronisation is tantalisingly promised with the 'mobile icon' already in the devices list.

Some neat add-ons in that you are supposed to be able to log into 'mesh' from any browser and access the devices desktop (will be interesting to see how that works for mobile - could be an interesting competitor to Dashwire )

A couple of beta negatives that I noticed straight away;

1/ you can only sync files - not entire folders
2/ You have to upload files 1 x 1, eg you cant 'select' 4 or 5 at a time to upload (very tedious).
3/ The naming space for files is limited.....very disappointing in that some of the name is often left off.

Like I said, if this does what it's supposed to do eg. syncing live favourites between multiple machines, syncing outlook preferences and spam/block lists between machines, syncing desktops and wall papers etc between machines then it could be the best thing since sliced bread.

At the moment, its barely a 2 out of 5 on the geek meter.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

"How you doing.....?"

It was a simple enough question, "Howyoudoing....?" in that brooklyn drawl.

The answer spinning around in my head was "well I'm torn, on one hand I hate the obtuse racial profiling you are are demonstrating on this fine Sunday afternoon but on the other hand I appreciate your efforts to police and clean up marcus garvey park of drugs and anti social behaviour...."

I couldn't think of anything so I just said "cool" and kept on walking my dog.

The policeman went back to watching his partner frisking the 3 black youths they had lined up against the wall. Yes I didn't see why they chose these 3 particular people to stop and frisk, I'm sure the police personally had a good reason to be doing so but it didn't remove the 'hate' in my throat for a society that allows 3 people hanging out in a park to be searched and for the middle age white dude to just walk on by.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Comcast face 3 civil suits over P2P meddling

Comcast may have agreed to end its practice of using forged TCP reset packets to hinder the P2P traffic of its customers, but the cable provider isn't out of the woods yet. Three class-action lawsuits were filed against Comcast this week in California, Illinois, and New Jersey, alleging that the company deceived and misled consumers by advertising that it offered "unfettered access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer."

For those just catching up, complaints from suspicious customers began surfacing last fall about Comcast using questionable methods to block BitTorrent traffic on its network. In October, the Associated Press decided to
perform its own independent tests to see if the allegations were true, and found further evidence that Comcast had been sending "fake" TCP reset packets claiming to be from its customers attempting to use BitTorrent, therefore timing out their downloads and seeds. In November, the Electronic Frontier Foundation released a report detailing its own investigation, confirming that BitTorrent performance was being selectively degraded by unexpected TCP reset packets.


Yep what can I say, play dirty expect to get sued by people who are paying for your product and not getting what they expected.

I'm about to place a bet with anyone who wants to take me up on it,

"P2P/traffic shaping/QOS etc will be what breaks up the current USA monopoly for cable companies"

I think in less than 3 years from now the FCC will report that the current monopoly of exclusive delivery regions is unworkable, that for too long cable companies have abused their monopolistic control over connectivity and that this is the catalyst that is used to 'break' current distribution agreements.

The FCC will come in and announce a period of open access that will encourage new entrants to rapidly deploy a mix of fiber and radio services - BUT the new structure will allow ANY carrier to block/manage/control access to the Internet in anyway they see fit THOUGH because of competition end users who find this an imposition will be free to go to their competitors.

Issues of 'cherry picking' and neglected areas will then ensue but this can be solved in a similar process to the way telephone calls are 'subsidised' in Ohio/Wyoming etc (basically all Internet connections pay a 'tariff' which is then used to provide subsidies services to areas that would be more expensive.

If the USA government was smart they would control through legislation and minimum connection speed mandates etc but here in the USA this government intervention is seen to be as bad as communism which is why Asian countries like Korea get government mandated connectivity which improves over all education, commercial efficiencies and lifestyle benefits......and the USA doesn't.

Either way time to start investing in smart smaller dsl/fiber 'data rbocs' (as they will be valuable 6 years from now when they start being acquired by the majors) and shorting Time Warner/Comcast etc who can only go down from current penetration levels.


Friday, June 06, 2008

tATu - Friend or Foe

Well what do you know Tatu are still around (and if you check out the mood music box you'll find a couple of their old tracks as well).

Not sure how many new tracks they have but it sounds like they are still sounding pretty good (and someones been practising the piano).

Also check out the video for their song "30 Minutes", looks like some of their subject matter is getting more 'intelligently adult'.


Extreme Ski Gliding

Holy cow - man this looks like fun, lets see if ski patrol can catch me when I'm wearing a paragliding rig, way cool.

Anyone have any other similar videos?


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Headless advertising

He or she has been gorily removing heads from well known advertisements such as this year’s blockbuster movie “Sex and the City” the movie.

Kissing couples, beautiful models and aspiring celebs have all come under ‘the East London decapitator’s’ knife; their beautiful heads replaced by bony, blood drenched stumps. His artworks are defined by the media as culture jamming or sub-vertising, which Wikipedia describes as, ‘the practice of making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements in order to make a statement,”
Apart from the inaccurate physiology I think this is cool :)
Counter culture at its best.

(btw if you like this you might want to check out one of NY's own culture jammers )

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Time Warner Cable Broadband Tiers Lead to Fears

..... lol only fears of their shareholders.

Is Time Warner Cable crazy? As I review the pricing plans unveiled today for the broadband and cable provider’s tiered levels of service, I can’t help but wonder that. Earlier this year, the company said it would experiment with tiered pricing in Beaumont, Texas, and now has set up a pricing plan that ranges from $29.95 a month for something I’d call “barely broadband” at 768 kilobits per second with a 5-gigabyte monthly cap to $54.90 per month for 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap. Overage fees will be $1 per gigabyte, and customers will be able to monitor their bandwidth consumption via the company’s web site.

I’m off to another provider the moment that pricing arrives here in New York - thats insane.
Hope you are reading this Verizon etc etc, I’d be planning my next rollout to every location that Time Warner announces this new pricing scheme being implemented - lol like shooting fish in a barrel sometimes.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Iron Jawed Angels

Anybody who says there is nothing good on tv should be made to watch this 'made for tv docu-drama'.

Iron Jawed Angels is nothing short of perfect.

Hillary Swank is a hugely powerful actress who shows a depth of talent that makes Million Dollar Baby look like a walk in the park.

"Iron Jawed Angels" is an HBO historical biopic/docudrama which turns the lens on Swank who delivers a sterling performance as Quaker, suffragist, and women's right activist Alice Paul during her campaign to secure the 19th Constitutional amendment. Director Katja von Garnier, who gave us the wonderfully hip girl-power cult flick "Bandits", takes on the daunting task of delivering an entertaining film about a somewhat dry, esoteric subject and a relatively unknown character (as history goes) and succeeds. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes intense, spritzed with humor and drama, and packed with zingers and maxims, "Iron Jawed Angels" may be a chick flick but no man can deny nor should fail to appreciate the grace and beauty is delivers.

Take a look at all the 10 out of 10 ratings in the imdb comments -

We just 'happened upon it' but you should seek this movie out and watch it right now as it's a hugely powerful story about what it took to get women the vote here in the USA.

Any female who 'neglects' to vote after watching this movie just doesn't get it.


BTW just came across this music video clip of Sarah McLaughlin's song Possession which is featured in the movie.

There is also this preview but it's not as moving