Eircode Limits Be Gone!

If you are not in the know, Ireland just got its first post code system.

However it is of little use to any member of the public or even transport businesses. Already FedEx, DHL, UPS etc have all said they will not be using it.

No only has it cost the tax payer (i.e. Suckers like me and you) 28 million, but its contracted out to a private company for administration. This means their commercial interests are served first. Thus, if you are an Irish Citizen, not only have you paid for this bad system, you cannot use it more than 15 time a day! Say Whaaaaat?

Yes, well the company behind it, really want you to keep coming back to their site, so later on they can say in a press release how successful they are because they got XYZ no hits. Thus proving Eircodes are a success. Well bollix to that.

Drag the link below to your browsers bookmarks bar. When you visit http://finder.eircode.ie and get the search limit warning, simply click the bookmark and YOLO limits be reset to 0.

Reset Eircode Finder Limit

N.B. This is not illegal, you are resetting your browsers cookie here. If they don’t know how to track properly, how are they supposed to get a post code system right?

You could also get rid of limits by deleting the EircodeFinder cookie they set on your browser (For tracking purposes, even if you do not consent, something which is against the law. They are tracking how many times you use the service)

If you really want to know, http://www.openpostcode.org/ exists, it was given to all the people of Ireland for FREE, as in FREE BEER.

Yup, it may have cost 2 million or so to implement, but we would know, because its open and transparent, where we are, the sequence we are in etc etc, way more useful…

Why a Yes vote is important

Vote YesI’ve been listening to the media and the debate on Irish radio and TV for what has felt like an eternity on the Marriage referendum. Safe to say I’ve been typically pissed off with the arguments against and sometimes for as well. In a nutshell, it appears to me there is a fundamental mistake as to what is being voted on. So here it is, my reasoning on why you should consider voting YES.

Our constitution is our supreme legal document (Save and except for EU things). All laws must be constructed and construed with consideration to it.

A government creates laws; all laws they create must adhere to the constitution. Governments come and go, but love it or loath it, our constitution stays. It should breadth and reflects the times of the society it represents, but this is sadly not always true.

The current constitution references marriage as between a man and a woman. Therefore, any legal interpretation of marriage stemming from this, means man and woman. Thus this is the crux of the problem.

The much-advertised Civil Partnership laws are exactly that, laws created by our government for the people of the day. It is on the same par as say, the Irish Water Bills, the Litter Bill, Public Order Bills etc. This means, that any government in the future be they right or left leaning is free to amend or repeal the Civil Partnership laws without reference to you the voter. As we have seen throughout the term of this government, it’s very possible to push through laws even if there is a lack of public support. Why, well because they have a majority in the Dail, so if all the TD’s say so, it becomes law.

Now, I don’t know about you, but having the prospect of another government come in and change the Civil Partnership laws (Or indeed, decide to nullify them) is not something I think is right. I don’t think a section of our society now, or at sometime in the future should be subject to whims of the government of the day.

Who is to say what could happen, maybe if the laws are slowly chipped away, a bit this year, another two years later, people in these partnerships (Irrespective of preference as the law covers straight and LBGT), could be in a situation where they have less rights than the do now. If you think this would never happen, we can easily look east and see the tide of anti LBGT laws that are sweeping Russia. But we’re not Russia I hear you say. And you are right, however we do know our right conservatives will eventually get more power, so why should they be able to change a law they don’t like without reference to the people.

So when you vote yes, you are telling this government, and future governments, you cannot, and will not enact a law to change marriage without coming back to us, the people. It is really that simple. You stop any left/right government from messing with people’s rights. So it is not just a vote for now, it is also a vote in our countries future. And this has to be forefront in your mind too. Our constitution dates from the 30’s, it may very well survive you, so you have to consider now and the future Ireland when voting.

As for marriage, well, this changes the legal definition of marriage. Not any churches or religions definition of it. But won’t all the gays be wanting a church wedding? Well no, the constitution, the same document, protects the freedom of religion in our country. Marriage in this context is purely a legal instrument here. Yes, it does mean that a married couple irrespective of genders will have the same rights. When this comes to children this is true equally. However there is one important thing, everyone neglects to mention. When there is anything legal over a child, the courts will always take the best interest of a child first and foremost over anyone else’s rights. That’s the way our courts protect children.

So, now I hope you understand, this is a legal question, a question over now, and the future direction of our country. So please, consider your children, or your future children. Do you want to move forward towards an open equal society, one where big decisions are always left in the hands of us, the people of the country? If this is the case, please, do vote Yes.

* Disclosure, even though I pay Irish taxes, and am an Irish citizen by birth, and a passport holder, I am not permitted to vote. As many before me, and many after me, I live in Europe now, but for some reason our government is happy to take my money, but not extend the vote to me. One of only 3 countries in Europe to do so. If I could I’d vote yes, so if you are a No voter, you could do me a favour and vote Yes, so I have my say 🙂

Apple moments for APP.net

As expected, yesterday’s tech news was largely dominated by the Apple iPhone announcement. But what was interesting to see was the effect the announcements had on the app.net social network.

For those of you whom are not aware, APP.NET is a Twitter clone that is user funded. Recently closing a kickstarter style project to raise 500K to get the service bootstrapped.

The method we used was only monitor newposts (Similar to tweets but longer) and send the resulting post to Rush Hour for analysis in real time. Development time was circa 40 min last Sunday to integrate with Rush Hour. We do fail on some posts, but theses are just a handful and well within the +/- 3% deviance we permit ourselves at this stage.


We’re still building Rush Hour and as such consider all these numbers below as provisional. While we’re pretty confident we are seeing everything, beta means bugs, things get missed, twisted etc. So please do take these numbers with a pinch of salt.

Service Usage

The hours up to the event were pretty normal usage for app.net. Keep in mind, its users are early adopters and limited in numbers. The last reported figures being north of 17,500 (https://github.com/appdotnet/api-spec/wiki/Frequently-Asked-Questions#wiki-howmanyalphausersarethere)

During the day excluding UTC 17:00 and UTC 18:00, the time of the Apple event, the average posts per hour (PPH) were approx. 492. Including the posts made during the event, the average PPH increased to 593. This is a rise of circa 20.5% in activity.

Taking the same hours from the previous day, there was an approximate combined total posting of 1266. During the apple event, the combined postings was approximate 3418 postings. That’s an incredible increase of 169.98%.


What we also measure is user engagements. The previous day, the average over the same hours was approx. 944. During the ever, engagements increased to 2582.5. This is an increase of 173%

We also see that user-to-user engagements, (Better known as mentions where a person @’s someone to engage in a conversation) increased by 64.7% from the same period the previous day. During the hours on Tuesday, there were an average of 702.5 user-2-user interactions while during the event, the average increased to 1156.5.

The top users other users were engaging with during the event were;



App.net is still quite new, and therefore the client base is quite small, approx. 75 different clients/scripts using it. In keeping with the general daily trend IFTTT (If This Then That) seems to be the client of choice for most appnetters. Thus indicating that users are cross posting to other social media and not considering App.net as their primary social conversation point.

Aplha (Main website of app.net client)

Other Points of Interest

Hash tag usage perhaps was the biggest increase. There was a 366.66% increase in tag usage from the same period the previous day. Top 5 hash tags during the two hours were;


Link sharing however increased only by 7.5% during the event from the previous day. Top 4 links shared during the two-hour event were largely unrelated to the Apple event.



What we can see here is clearly the effect an Apple event has on a social network. It would be interesting to compare these figures against those from Twitter and Facebook. Alas, having been requested by Twitter to cease and desist from performing analytics on their service, we are unable to give you a comparison to a more popular service.

What we can tell for app.net is that its fledgling service is doing okay with its community. While the figure of 17500 registered users in August is disclosed, our analysis indicates that approx. 11.4% of these were active yesterday, 8.9% the previous day. While this figure may seem small, from our previous research on Twitter, this would hold to be a reasonable engagement rate. What is really positive that only after a few weeks in service, there appears to be a loyal community being built up around the service, with an engagement rate not dissimilar to other larger social networks at further period in their development.

Irish Web Awards & IT@Cork Nominations

Well, I’ve been very busy of late converting Druid DNS over to Oggim DNS. That’s going well during the day and I am glad to say its coming along very nicely at present. Still have lots of work to do on the UI, but the port to Zend Framework is going very well.

At the same time I am busy writing Rush Hour, our brand spanking new whatever analytics package (which is moving leaps and bounds now). Out of the blue I got two rather surprising and humbling emails. Continue reading “Irish Web Awards & IT@Cork Nominations”

Tweetrush detects its first million tweets in one day

Its been a busy day for both Twitter & Rush Hour powered Tweetrush. Thats right, the first million barrier has been busted. Check out the Tweetrush stats for 27th August 2008.

While congrats go to Twitter for coping with the extra traffic while the DNC was on, congrats also go to Gnip, our feed provider and the Rush Hour team for desiging such a stable system considering the traffic and data we get and analyse. Its no mean thing to do, and I see the DB’s that are involved so its certainly a lot of fun.

I’m off line for a few days while I attend a family event, however I promise to respond to all RH mails when I come back. In the meantime here is a another great article on a use for Tweetrush.

Tweetrush.com is live …Thank You to…

Well, what an exciting few days it has been here. TweetRush.com, the first Rush Hour proof of concept site is up and running along and so far seems to be holding fast. I’m taking a break tonight and actually sleeping for a change but rest assured all mails and tweets will be answered.

What is TweetRush about? Well its a demo of a new product we’re building that aims to take the pain out of stats for web app builders and is based on actions and events. But more on that will be released as we get closer to things getting out the door.

We put TweetRush up to get an idea of how well the engine would perform against a high volume site. Sure there are few issues mostly around the fact that we don’t get a direct Twitter feed, but over all its not bad. We hope once all is calm, to establish a good contact with Twitter and maybe a XMPP feed and see what we can both come up with. Do remember, this is still a work in progress 🙂

Now Rush Hour and the Tweet Rush spin off are not just my babies, but also  James, Walter, Grzegorz and Slawomir babies too. We have all equally put a massive effort in to get this far. Its been great to be part of a very talented team. There is also Adam, but he was busy doing marriage or something crazy so we excused him for a while, no escaping us now Adam now that you know we mean business 🙂 Without all of these great people involved we would never have gotten this far at all.

I am also delighted to say we featured on TechCrunch, thank you for the exposure Michael Arrington! Thats another first I think for all of us on the team. Well since then, we’ve been inundated with greetings and well wishes as well as many questions too. Site accesses have gone through the roof (and a big thank you Donncha for the advice on what to expect DB wise). All feedback has been great to get, allowing us to enjoy the moment, but also to look deeper into our application and the Tweet Rush implementation to see what else we can do to improve its accuracy as well as seeing what peoples expectations are.

Finally there are four other people I must say thank you to as without them, nothing would have happened either. Patrick Buttimer of Eirteic Consulting for being just absolutley great.  Justyna for being there and not walking out after I deserted her for weeks to work on systems and code. She’s a babe that rocks! Damien, of Mulley Communications, the PR was excellent, and support through the highs and lows, nerves and all has been second to none. Finally the growing legend that Pat Phelan of Twitterfone/Max Roam/ … (endless list of great businesses) is. His advice via tweet tennis (Is that a new term Damien?) and help in reaching people has been great. A real genuine gentleman.

Okay so sleep beckons now, I’m really hoping nobody diggs us now, being TC’d is enough for the one day 🙂 More to come on Rush Hour later after I sleep.

P.S. For the PHP peeps, of course Tweetrush was written in PHP using the Zend Framework 🙂 Seriously it rocks.

Interesting Graph

Stas from Rush Hour Engine
Stats from Rush Hour

These stats were captured via the impending Rush Hour engine that myself and a few others have been developing. More info on where they come from later in the week, or eary next week. For the moment, lets just say big DB’s rock, even bigger machines rock harder and see if we can guess where they come from.

For every action there can be an equall reaction!

Impresive MySQL stats

So I’m doing something that relies on MySQL a lot. Last night I had to test a rebuild process that we would use if there was a failure in our systems. Worst case secnairo would be we would have lost about a weeks data and need to reinsert the whole lot.

So I wrote a quick and nasty PHP script with multiple nested foreach() loops, yeah I know what your thinking, but as I said, it was a quick and nasty script. Basically all this script done was parse a directory full off XML files and based upon the content, perform multiple SELECT, INSERT or UPDATE based on the data per element in the given XML file.

So, on my little iMac (24″, 4GB RAM, 1TB Drive) the following are the stats from the completition of the script.

Total Processing Time: 4975.59566307 seconds.
Total DB Inserts: 1,961,000
Total Selects: 12,035,743
Total Updates: 10,465,071

This all translates to;

Inserts Per Second: 394.12
Selects Per Second: 2,418.95
Updates Per Second: 2,103.28

Keep in mind, I was watching a movie at the same time and that there has been no optimisation carried out on the server at all (Although the DB is fairly well normalised). Table format was MyISAM.

Now imagine what MySQL could do on an optimised Linux server with custom optimisations to make it faster. I am quite impresed given the workstation I was working on and the complexity of the queries we are doing. Pat on head for MySQL. Well done.

If you use MySQL….

If like me you use MySQL yet don’t pay for commercial support (There is nothing wrong with that!), there is another way to contribute. A MySQL developer finds himself in an bad situation and needs a little bit of help from us all. Normally I would not bother with such things, but then again, I do use MySQL a lot and I am dependant on it and this guy helped devlop it! But there is also a kid involved, if it were your kid, you’d do anything to save them. Anyhow, if you can give a donation as little or as large as you like, every little bit helps. Think about it, if every WordPress blogger gave just $1 dollar, the medical fund would be rasied very quickly. Decision is yours, just my little nudge :). Ta

Network Manager & Open VPN Servers On Port 443 Fix

Now, after yesterdays post, I decided to play a bit more and set up an Open VPN connection to a remote site. Luckily the site was running the excellent IPCOP with an Open VPN service, however it was configured to run on port 443.

Searching high and low in the Network Manager applet on Ubuntu Heron, I could not find an option to connect on a specific port number. Bruised, I dumped my Open VPN config into /etc/openvpn and brought up the link manually. Continue reading “Network Manager & Open VPN Servers On Port 443 Fix”