> Since I may well have started the rather spiky ball rolling on this
> with my enquiry as to what the blackout was supposed to acheive if
> people are simultaneously not supposed to use their dialups, I feel a
> certain obligation to respond:
>There's absolutely no obligation. In fact, from reading both of your emails,
I think I might prefer it if you didn't any more, because it appears that
you paid little or no attention to my previous posts, our press release, or
our website. You mention making sure we have all the facts in your second
email, which I have bundled in my reply - you would do well to heed your own
> Yes, I cruelly slagged IO's proposed activity. I don't believe it will
> have any effect
>You're wrong. In less than 24 hours since we announced the protest, we've
developed national and global attention on the Internet. From that, we
acquired new members and new users on our forums today, offering their
support. To me, that's an effect, that's an achievement. It may not be to
you, but I organised this protest, and I see building a community of
dissatisfied Internet users - as against lone users and dispersed groups -
advantageous to our campaign.
> and I certainly don't believe in "Well, we're doing
> /something/" as a defensive argument, either.
>What do you suggest? Should we all sit on our hands and hope that Eircom
will hand out DSL to us on a plate? No, I'll be fair, how about this -
should we all sit around while the ODTR, Eircom, the OLO's and government
try and work it out between them? Like they have for the past four or five
> I believe your organisational skills - which must be present,
> since you managed to persuade some political people to attend your
> meeting in Dublin
>I didn't, Martin Harran, Elana Kehoe and the other members of the committee
arranged those meetings. I'm a relative newcomer to IrelandOffline.
> - would be far better directed at local representatives.
>Read the website.
> You know and I know that brand loyalty
>Brand loyalty doesn't matter tuppence on most Irish websites. Most Irish
websites are personal homepages. Most Irish business websites are
brochureware that get about a half dozen enquiries a month, if that. And
there are simple ways around this anyway - you can add a line of text
directing users to your website proper. You can fire the blackout splash
screen up in a popup window, or add a banner, a button, or even a text link.
Like it says on the site, we only expect people to join in with our protest
if it is viable for them.
You'd know that if you read the website and contributed to our community
from within, rather than from without in such a cynical manner. If you
believe in what we represent - and I have difficulty in understanding why
anyone in their right mind would disagree with our core aim of affordable
Internet access for all - we will listen to you. If you don't, why are we
even discussing this? Start your own campaign, do it "right", stop wasting
> STOP THE NAME-CALLING IF YOU WANT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY.
>Off-topic. Your righteous indignation at my sense of humour is noted, and
> saying "At least we're doing /something/" is no defense when what
> you're doing is, to all intents and purposes, a waste of resources.
>The only resources wasted thus far are mine. I believe that IrelandOffline
can have an effect, and if I choose to use my time and energy to voice my
beliefs, that's my lookout, and no-one else's.
> And I /do/ think it's a waste of resources, and will only
> serve to damage any business based here that participates.
>How many small Irish businesses do you truly believe will be irreparably
harmed by the removal of their website for one day? How many if they don't
connect to the Internet? I'll tell you - none. Any business that finds
itself in trouble after joining in on this protest is in enough trouble as
it is. You're thinking ridiculously short term. *If* this protest is in any
way successful, if it brings forward the rollout of services, it will save
these business a fortune in telecommunications bills. It will make them more
competitive. It will make them more efficient. I hardly think of that as
damaging. If anything, it will improve their businesses in the short-medium
to long term.
> I think the way forward on this, as stated previously, is lobbying
>Read the website.
> IO can help this by providing contact information for representatives
> on a per consitituency basis
>Read the website.
> providing sample letters for people to print off, sign and post,
>Currently being prepared. We're not miracle workers. We have businesses and
lives to run. We're doing our best, which is, as I say, "better than
nothing". If you want to see this kind of stuff immediately, make a donation
to the group to cover our costs and our lives and I don't doubt that some of
us will quit our jobs and take it up full time.
> providing local coordination for letter-writing campaigns
>I'm not sure local co-ordination is required. We're approaching this from a
national level. "Write your TD a letter" seems pretty clear to me.
> arranging meetings - as they have already done - between the relevant
> parts of the government and concerned parties, and promoting -
> as you say you are doing - awareness in the business community of what
> they're missing out on.
>All moot. All arranged, or being arranged.
> The blackout is at best a temporary media-grabbing event with no
> foreseeable long-term benefits
>The Blackout is temporary media-grabbing event that is part of a wider
strategy. If you think IrelandOffline is a one hit wonder, you know
absolutely nothing about our organisation. I don't think IrelandOffline
would have been described as "a well-organised and increasingly vocal
pressure group" by The Register before we organised the seminar. We're not
fly-by-nights. We're still here, months later, with a growing membership and
growing media coverage. "Techie scepticism" was always expected, and has
been tolerated, but it grows wearing when it flies completely in the face of
> and, to be honest, doesn't reflect too well on IO, either.
>I disagree. I think it reflects wonderfully on IO. IrelandOffline is
standing up for the people, and that includes people like you, because if we
*are* successful, I would be very surprised if you turned down a DSL modem
based on your misguided principles.
> I'm afraid I'm perhaps too cynical to share your view on this. I think
> the media are, by and large, the only people who will notice this.
>Of course, and that's why everybody in Ireland reads the papers, watches the
television, listens to the radio, and then completely disregards everything
they've read, seen and heard, right?
> I don't believe the phrase "embarass the government into action" has any
> plausible meaning in this context; look at how well the protests
> against the DMCA (in particular, the Skylarov case) have done in their
> attempts to embarrass the US government into overturning that
> particular piece of legislative nonsense. It is far more likely that
> the activity will be put down to an outspoken bunch of computer
> literates with too much free time on their hands.
>And with your attitude, that's exactly what will happen. And that's
/exactly/ why I came to ILUG to defend IrelandOffline. Techies, nerds and
geeks may be sniggered about behind their backs - and even that is partially
untrue, as those groups are becoming pretty "cool" these days - but they are
also very much respected for what they do. That's why IrelandOffline would
like the support of these groups - if techies scoff and pschaw
IrelandOffline's efforts, what do you think the non-computer literate people
are going to think? They're going say we're an "outspoken bunch of computer
literates with too much free time on their hands". You're fulfilling your
own prophecy with your negativity.
> I also don't believe the "Education breeds discontent" line of
> thought. People have been aware for quite some time now that we are
> being fleeced for telephone service, but have simply resigned
> themselves to the fact that this is the way things are. They're
> educated, they're discontented, but they're still voting for the
> people who won't change the status quo.
>That is patently untrue. To prove it, ask 10 people some simple facts that
you know about telecommunications and Internet services; ask them what
broadband is; ask them what flat-rate is; ask them how much the Internet
costs in the UK. If you ask Joe Public, for the most part the answers will
be: "I dunno, ISDN?"; "I dunno" and "I dunno". Yes, people are aware of
being fleeced, but they're not aware of the scale, and they're absolutely
not educated on the true facts. They don't know that in the UK, most users
aren't billed per-second for Internet connectivity. They don't know that a
medium-level user in Ireland is paying ten times the price for a service
that's ten times slower and ten times less reliable.
> I don't mean to dampen your enthusiasm; I just think it needs to be
> redirected in more practical directions. As I've said in the other
> email which you've no doubt seen by now, making it easy for people to
> lobby their representatives is far more important to getting this mess
> sorted out.
>Like I said, we're doing that. Read the website.
> Might also be worth bearing in mind that despite the government's
> selling of the country as a European Silicon Valley of some sort,
> we're still so heavily dependant on non-technical skills such as
> farming that your average politician is highly unlikely to be asked
> about telecoms deregulation over, say, foot-and-mouth compensation or
> increased headage payments. When you're educating others, make sure
> you've got all the facts on them, too.
>We don't have all the facts. Without a telecommunications licence, there is
no way on earth we could have all the facts. For the most part, we live on
rumour and supposition, just like the rest of you, only slightly more
reliable because of the contacts we've built up. However we are using those
facts to the best of our ability, to educate all the key parties involved,
including consumers and business people. The simple fact of the matter is
that if we can educate those people, telecommunications deregulation will
/become/ an issue, and will be asked about on the doorstep. And with an
election on the way, it's the doorstep that counts.
Once again, if you think we're doing it wrong, the best way to achieve
change is /not/ to tell us we're doing it wrong, but to tell us how to do it
right. Tell me something that I haven't argued successfully against a
thousand times, and then I'll respect your scepticism, I'll implement your
ideas. All of your suggestions thus far have been discussed a million times
though. Tell me something new.
And read the website.
Adam Beecher - Acting PRO, IrelandOffline
Users Bringing Affordable Internet Access To Ireland
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