Rodrigo’s new laptop skin

Rodrigo writes about his new laptop skin from

Rodrigo's laptop, with skin

Rodrigo is a regular attendee and speaker at conferences and exhibitions – and this gives him another way to get the message out!

Warning! The introductory price on laptop skins (EUR 18/USD 23) including shipping anywhere in the world ends soon!

Changing mobile operators to Meteor

I changed my phone account from Vodafone Ireland over to Meteor. I’m expecting to save maybe EUR 300 or 500 a year on my EUR 1200-a-year account. I am generally pretty happy so far. They gave me a shiny new phone with lots of features (the Ericsson w800i, which is more of a ‘groovy’ phone than a business phone). They even rang me to tell me I’d won a gift voucher in a draw as a result of my purchase.

I am making this change mainly on price grounds. Vodafone is just too expensive for what I’m getting. They have good customer service (though Meteor is OK, but not as good), loads of shops, great ads and a 3G network. They also work hard at getting and retaining business customers. They have more business-oriented handsets than Meteor (although they are still not as good as the ones available in the UK, and the prices are high considering the amount I spend on calls). But I just don’t need all that stuff. I’d rather a decent, basic service without too many frills.

Meteor has also been given added credibility through being bought by Eircom. Everyone is confident in Meteor’s future now, something that wasn’t true two years ago.

I still see a gap in the marketplace however and the existing operators are ignoring it at their peril. Meteor are obviously moving up-market to cater for customers like me. O2 and Vodafone are moving towards the middle market. But the operators are leaving a big gap for the entry of a cheap-n-cheerful operator providing a basic product for people who want a simple service. Easymobile attempted it in the UK. It wasn’t so successful there, mainly because there are already a large number of low-frills products in the market (Virgin Mobile – a company I have worked with in the past, Carphone Warehouse, Tesco Mobile) and as a result Easymobile are having a tough time establishing themselves.

In Denmark, however, it’s a different story. The low-cost offerings of Telmore and CBB ultimately resulted in a restructuring of the Danish model which forced Orange to close its operations there and go home.

One way or another someone is going to get into the marketplace and offer this sort of deal. They’re going to make a lot of money, if they manage their costs well (a low-cost operator shouldn’t have to carry the burden of operating shops and giving out subsidized handsets). It’s just a question of who figures out how to do it.

There’s also a longer-term game which nobody has really figured out – the low-cost, high-service operator. As the market matures and handset prices get ever cheaper, even high-end customers won’t want to pay a premium for what is basically a commodity. Reliability, efficiency and economy will become the watchwords of the industry, rather than free handsets, fancy customer service and retail stores.

Disclaimer: I consult around the mobile telecomms area to companies in Ireland.

Filesharing and Digital Rights Ireland

Digital Rights Ireland was in court on Tuesday to hear Justice Peter Kelly’s decision on filesharing. We had written to the parties to ask that our concerns be taken into consideration. In the end, the decision, which was reported in and on the DRI site did not go the way we would have liked. I am very concerned that people’s private information is being handed over without any detailed consideration of their right to privacy.

There are still arguments to be made and there will be future opportunities to make our case more strongly. However it is worth saying loudly that dealing with these types of issues in the courts is expensive. Digital Rights Ireland is dependent on supporters’ contributions to keep the battle going.

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FON-branded, my laptop style brand is moving along nicely. There’s a steady stream of orders and interest. We have all the usual problems of growth – space, logistics, capital and so on. But the product is good, and it’s getting better as we learn more about what the marketplace wants. Thanks to everyone for their support so far!

The picture is my laptop with a FON-branded skin. The FON logo and colours are so cool! (Picture is taken with my new SonyEricsson w800i phone, which is why it’s not the greatest quality photo ever.)

Noirín’s Big Apple iBook by

Noirin's laptopBecause she was feeling a little bit of Powerbook envy, Noirín decided to upgrade her ibook into a Big Apple with a unique laptop skin. She thinks the result is fantastic.’s designer cropped the photo Noirín took on her digital camera a little and added some film strip edges to give the photo a little drama, then produced this beautiful laptop skin. When the laptop is switched on, the apple logo glows through. Here’s some more photos that Colm took. The picture doesn’t reall capture the quality of the printing though. The resolution is really high.

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Welcome to the world! We’re now up-and-running helping people bring a bit of style to their humdrum grey laptops! Because we’re still making sure that everything works perfectly, we’re selling laptop skins for 18 euros (about 22 US dollars) for the next few weeks, which is one-third off the usual price of 27 euros. That price includes custom text or graphics, printing, laminating and all postage and packing. We have some great designs, but you can also send us your own design.

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IE Domain Registry – the government consults

The government has its proposals for regulating and possibly taking control of the IE Domain Registry (MS Word document containing links to relevant sections) out for consultation at the moment. Responses to the consultation have to be in before 20 January 2006. The relevant text is also reproduced at the bottom of this post.

I have now been actively involved with issues around the governance of the IE domain for longer than anyone, and my personal opinion is this. I am very sad that the Irish Internet community in general and the boards of UCD and IE Domain Registry Ltd. in particular have allowed things to end up in this sorry state where an outside regulator has to be given powers to enforce its will on the system. As a community we should get together and sort this out. We shouldn’t have to wait for the government to come in and regulate our mess for us. Government involvement will ultimately result in more red tape, slower progress during a time of rapid technological change and higher costs.

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