Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday - Odds and ends

More election related sites and stories.
Firstly, you can Make your Vote Count in the UK by campaigning for a better system than first past the post, PRSTV maybe ?. An article offering voters advice on Electoral fraud from They Work For You (where you also check a report card on your local MP) via The Skakagrall. Seems that voter and postal fraud isn't limited to the mainland UK with the BBC reporting on a PSNI investigation in Dungannon. Slugger O'Toole's got an interesting piece "Dirty Tricks Department Caught Out?" on the Alliance Party who have reported the UUP to the Electoral Commission over an alleged dirty trick campaign. The focus of the complaint surrounds a leaflet recently distributed in key Alliance Party areas. The leaflet (front and back) has some interesting connections with the printing company responsible for several noted UUP leaflets.

Fancy searching a book for that particular quote or fact - well Google to the rescue with their new Google Print service. Keep an eye on the Bush Administration's policies on their effect on environmental and public health at BushGreenwatch.

Not quite a epolitics game but a very well done page with a Social Security Calculator so you can see the actual changes to your income from the Bush Administration's latest changes. This is a neat little idea with a lot of application to other areas as it doesn't require the development time of a game merely a good graphical designer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

IEEE Multimedia paper online

Some of our latest research has now hit the IEEE digital library!

HCI Design and Interactive Sonification for Fingers and Ears
Fernstrom, M. Brazil, E. Bannon, L.

We examine the use of auditory display for ubiquitous computing to extend the boundaries of human-computer interaction (HCI). Our design process is based on listening tests, gathering free text identification responses from participants. The responses and their classifications indicate how accurately sounds are identified and help us identify possible metaphors and mappings of sound to human action and/or system status.

A bit of a review of epolitics

Apart from Cartography of alarmism which shows the predicted result of a risk of an attack on a nuclear power station using a hijacked aeroplane in Southwest England. Scary image and topic, wonder what the result would be for Sellafield ?

That leads nicely back into a review of some older but relevant epolitics articles that I'm not sure I've posted these before. Here's one on Labour's campaign pledge email which is something that we'll be seeing soon as the standard for political parties. The Hansard Society has two interesting pieces on "What part did the internet play in the US elections?" (a workshop with commentaries by Brian Wheeler, Tim Ireland, Tom Steinberg, Bill Thompson and Mick Fealty) and on "MPs and Blogging: a modern way to communicate?" (a report). Hillwatch, a Canadian group has an interesting comparison of Canadian and American Political websites entitled "Political Web Sites: Strategic Assets or Virtual Lawn Signs?". Advertising on the Internet is a tricky thing with everything allowed as shown by the Conservatives latest attack ads which won't make the cut for broadcast but are perfectly acceptable for use on the Internet. Here's a article on "Political Advertising: All's Fair in the 'Wild West' Aura of the Net" from the US which has seen the rough edge of this topic. Here's an interesting essay on "Can weblogs change politics?".

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Podcasting hits the UK Election trail

Well I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the Lib Dems are the early adopters of technology in the forthcoming UK Election with the first Podcasting (see also explanations here, here and here) of the election. The cast was of Charles Kennedy on Iraq. Found this gem here at Robin's blog with a related view of how the trend has affected US politics from the BBC.

Podcasting is somewhat related to Internet Radio with the added advantage of a RSS feed so it allows you to have an audio stream with metadata so dates, titles, and descriptions are embedded within the stream. Another advantage is that the user can download it at any time like a standard file so they're not stuck to listening to it live like a Radio stream. Does this mean that all political speeches will now be added to party websites and be available to be searched for by topic / speaker / time / location / etc ? Down the road perhaps but not just today I think. For those interested in making Podcasts I recommend this article and also this one.

And for the really advanced stuff like recording interviews or conference calls from Skype (for developers), you can then investigate SkypeCasting.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Monday's Review

The three current FG web based campaigns with policies and proposed solutions: on the rip off culture that exists in Ireland. on how the State is enjoying your ignorance of the current tax system all at your expense ! on the problem of anti-social behavior in Ireland.

The latest from open source American activism with AdvoKit which is a Web application for Voter ID/GOTV campaigns that aims to facilitate the efficient collaboration of large numbers of people, volunteer recruitment and Voter ID/GOTV.

The Blair Ditch project which is another campaign aimed squarely against Tony Blair. More on blogging with Vote for Blogs: diarists sharpen their pens in the online election from the Times and It's uncut, leftwing and Pooterish from the Guardian.

From the world of Sci-Fi, next Saturday on BBC we'll be treated to the return of the Daleks, well one at least to the new Doctor Who series.

Friday, April 22, 2005

More movement on the UK election front

More innovations occurring over the water for the UK Elections with allowing you to comment on the various parties manifestos.
Tracking the voting behaviors of the back benches to see how they voted on the issues so you can find out if your local representative voted Yea or Nay on your issue/s.
Stopping the dog whistling mastermind. Refugee and immigration groups are calling for Lynton Crosby to be banned from New Zealand. Mr Crosby is credited with developing the 'dog whistling' technique in Australia (on the issue of immigration) and he's currently employed by the English Conservative party working on that issue and is partially credited with the simplification of their manifesto to five issues which are continuous being pushed. The various lobby groups in New Zealand are trying to prevent him from being employed in a similar role for the forthcoming New Zealand elections.

On the technical side we're got some movement regarding Ruby on Rails, with some interesting blogs on the subject. Including some nice AJAX work and a nice new approach to uploading.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

UK and Ireland Google Maps are Online

Here's to the latest tool for campaign planning:
Limerick city center
as an example (follow the link to see the Map).

The service is available at Google Maps UK and you can also check out Google Local UK.

So the next question is where are we getting our postcodes and then we can really see some targeted marketing!

To take it even further we've got some US examples of tailoring of Google Maps such as offering an overlay of the Chicago Transit Authority map on the Chicago Google Map or scrapping Craigslist for rent ads placing them on Google Maps. For the really technically inclined, check out this link.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Even more Limerick Leader coverage

Here's another picture of the successful Vote No campaign team
Click for larger image

and here's a scan of the another Limerick Leader where the picture was published post the success of our campaign.

Results of the SU Referendum

A disappointing turnout was the result of the poorly promoted Student Union (SU) Elections and the referendum to ban Coca Cola, the lack of interest in the Student's Union resulted in two posts being filled unelected, a third position receiving no nominations and only a single election for the position of Communications & Campaigns Officer (CCO) occurring. The previous CCO was noted for such front page headlines as "Student Atached on Campus", as it is this position which is in effect the editor in charge of the Student Union's only regular publication, 'An Focal'. The Student Union management of the election was at best, ill informed and at worst, inept whilst the establishment of a commission to oversee the referendum was commendable, the removal of any genuine powers from this body resulted in a castrated and shackled commission who forever needed to seek higher approval for any decisions it sought to make. Judging by the turnout and attempts or lack therein of by the Student's Union to promote the elections and referendum, questions must be raised regarding the nature of the Student's Union and whether it is really a open democrat body representing the student's of UL or rather a closed shop which contains a small number of sabbatical positions for the SU's favoured cliche and assorted friends, associates and lackeys. Student democracy and student activism is encouraged by a vibrant and active Student's Union which allows for the growth, stimulation and engagement of the student body as a whole without such invigoration the student body as a whole can only become more disengaged from the activities of a Union which exists to ensure their welfare but also to express their views. Tracking the decline over the last five years in the interest and participation within the Student's Union, one can see that by following forward this trend the Student Union as a whole will be in need of some serious attention within the next two years to prevent its unfortunate demise due to its irrelevancy to the student body.

Here's the graphics to go with the results.
The Overall Picture

The Missing Slice needed for Quorum

Total Yes votes to required Poll for Quorum

Total Votes to Valid Electorate (Student body)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Saturday Election Fever

More on targeted single issue campaigns in the UK Election with Scottish environmental groups now getting into the act and calling for changes regarding climate control. Clean and simple interface with information on the issues and the ability to email or send a letter to your MP by selecting your area, not as well laid out as possible but not bad. Again we see the influence of sites such as the first generational sites like which has now been superceded by the second generational site and approach of again all of these are related or linked in some part to or

Read Tim Ireland's latest defense of

Take the UK's 2005 political survey which is based on actual opinion poll data and give some much clearer results. Taking the approach used in this survey and getting Chris Lightfoot to apply it to a large segment of the British population gives this result.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Mobile Phones with Cameras are great

Here are a couple of shot's I'd forgotten to put up earlier starting with Michael O'Leary's excellent talk here at UL yesterday evening, I really won't like to be Bertie after hearing all the things he had to say about him and the second terminal in Dublin !

Here's one of Dan and the rest of the SQRL lads who opposed the Coke ban in UL (at least I hope they did!), the results should be out by eight or so tonight.

Hits, Misses and Targeted shots in the UK Election

Today's bits from the UK Elections bring us Labour's personalised promises, which is a bit coarse and uses your choices of your Age, Gender, Children's Ages, Postcode, Home Ownership and Employment Status. In my opinion this is way too rough unless they're heavily leveraging the postcode for a general socioeconomic background but go and try it and see if you get the policies and promises that concern you.

You can now customise your very own Conservative poster with the choice of text and one of several of the handwritten fonts the Conservative's have taken to using for this election.

More on the archival of campaign material with all your ever wanted from the US Elections and similarly for the UK Elections. Nothing like being able to relive these epic ads such as the Republican's Wolves ad on domestic security but this is only for the US ads as the UK ads are only presented as a set of stills with a detailed transcription of the advert itself.

New Welsh and English CC Licenses

Got a head's up on email that the English and Welsh Creative Commons Licenses (More Info on UK projects) have been issued and that the Irish one will be getting a make-over soon. A big thanks and credit go to Darius Whelan and Louise Crowley from the UCC Law Faculty who're continuing the good work on the Irish license.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Latest UK Attack ad - viral style

Robin Grant's got his eye on the ball and here's one of his latest posts discussing the Conservatives Latest Attack Ad, the important aspect of this ad is its distribution only via email so that it completely bypasses the existing legislation on party broadcasts and allows for a grass root type viral spread of the ad by Conservative supporters.

See the ad here. It'll be shown on 440 separate screens in approximately 80 cinemas starting this Friday -15th or at least that's what the Conservative's web site says!

Vote No to Banning Coke at UL

Here's a picture from the Vote No campaign team
Click for larger image
and here's a scan of the Limerick Leader/Chronicle article where the picture was published.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More Jihad Names

Due to a split, after all they are Unitarian's! Here we go again
My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Brother Immaculate Flame of Tolerance.
What's yours?

Voting and Elections

The Guardian's 2005 Election Blog and taken from it is a nice piece on a banned campaign ad of a smirking Tony Blair and some rather unflattering lyrics.

The report of the New Standards of Elections meeting from the Electronic voting in Massachusetts site. On a related note from Dave Aragon on the topic of human error in voting systems. Also see presentations on "Oversight of Elections or Techology", "Statistical checks on electoral integrity, spoilage and election technology" and "Towards national standards for elections".

Monday, April 11, 2005

More on the UK Election coverage

Digital politicking will put the snap into 2005 election which is a broad stroke article on the issue of ePolitics and eCampaigning in the current UK election. Written by Robin Grant (who has many more links and more in depth info on the elections at his blog).

The Lib Dems have launched their election blog.

The BBC's angle on the tactics of tactical voting with a related article on the same topic of Tactical voting over at the Scotsman. Its especially useful for Scottish voters as they've included a supplement including a map of the new Westminster constituencies, summaries of the different party policies. They promised to follow this with candidate information such as where they stand on the issues so looks like the ordindary Scottish voter will be well informed when it comes to voting, tactical or otherwise.


My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Neutron Bomb of Quiet Reflection.
Get yours.

Monday Mornings - where's the coffee ?

Survived Dublin and made it back in time to go out with Sith, Cheez and Zooney for a bit in town on Saturday night.

Sunday was really good with 6 hours on the water at Castleconnell getting the full safety 1 low down from Mike Jones (of ULAC fame and ULKCer).

Coke is the topic of the week with the lads and myself preparing to defend the civil liberties and freedom of choice on campus as external political activists come down here and try tell us to ban coke !

Other interesting links of the Day are:
Real Money in Virtual Economies - The Future of User-Created Content - This debate is one of the new emergent areas that will be a hot topic in business in the next couple of years, "virtual property markets and their intellectual property issues". (Audio debate)

Advertisers: Game On - So when you saw that product placement inside your latest video game and wondered, how much did they pay for that ?

New public access creative license for BBC archival material - Seems the BBC has decided to open up its archival material based on a license derived from the Creative Commons approach and give public access to footage from the different archives but the real change is that the footage can be used to create new items/programs for anything from school programs to music videos. All this will be online from Wednesday.

Net campaigners seek out the narrow-minded vote - More on the self-organising campaign model and how we'll see more of the use of single-issue campaigns (as if the UK hadn't already highlighted their use!). Maybe Rheingold's (of Smart Mobs fame) Flash Mobbing may make it into Irish tactical campaigning, only time will tell as bulk smsing is already pretty common for elections. The Times, did a nice piece on the new buzz words for the UK elections - one of my favorites is the 'dog-whistle' campaign which is a single issue campaign which slips under the radar for the most part but for a certain segment of the voting population acts as a dog whistle - the focused beaming of a message to a select group such as Howard's various whistles aimed at people who would have issues with gypsies and asylum-seekers. Another new term is blogjacking, which is the hacking of a candidates blog as happened in North Norfolk to a Conservative candidate. Worm Polls are replacing the swingometer as these are the tracking of an audience reaction to speeches in real time.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Friday's bits and pieces

Nice one from EFF on How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else), I'm sure somebody will find this useful!

Off to Dublin for pints and dinner.

For fun check out Google Help : Cheat Sheet

Also found a nice group blog at Crooked Timber, good posts and lots of blogger links.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

UK Elections heat up

Found an interesting blog called The Skakagrall which is covering some interesting aspects of the UK general election.

Gems include: to help beat the Tories.
Strategic Voter 2005 to vote for Peace.
Backing Blair to support the strongest non-Labour candidates. (Weird but yes its Backing Blair and yes its opposed to Labour.)
Vote-2005 forum for the Vote-2005 UK Election Prediction forum.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Jeans and Cowboy boots - O'Leary to give guest lecture

Throw out your shirts and ties and get ready for Ireland's aviation cowboy, Michael O'Leary who's calling to Limerick to give a lecture at the Kemmy Business School in their distinguished lecture series.

Time: Wed 13th Apr 2005 17:00 - 19:00
Venue: UCH, UL

Given the previous lectures such as Kevin Roberts on Lovemarks, I'll definitely be attending as while I don't like all his attitudes I do respect the business man who's added the Ryanair dimension to European travel.

Back again to using games for Political Campaigning

Harping back to one of my favourite little topics, electronic games for political campaigning. There's another little gem entitled "Political Sims: Interactive Games Do Serious Politics".

The article talks about a gaming project underway at BreakAway Games which may facilitate future democratic uprisings. The game's called "A Force More Powerful" and its development is being sponsored by The International Center for Non-Violent Conflict. I'm glad to note from the article that at least in the USA that its spurn a conference deciated to "Serious Games" and even deciated games companies in the area such as Persuasive Games who developed The Howard Dean for Iowa game.

Legislating for Bloggers in San Franciso

It seems that the whole electoral issue over blogs and blog related campaign income is still alive and in the USA as the Federal Election Commission was still considering the issue that the San Franciso Board of Supervisors raised the stakes and have decided they will legislate for blogging and require that bloggers register with the City's Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs that exceed a thousand dollars.

For more on this story see the article by Michael Bassik at the Personal Democracy Forum