In My Life…

Perhaps it is that I am now on the cusp of my fourth decade as Daragh O Brien that I am getting a bit sentimental. Perhaps it is the early onset of a mid-life crisis that has me pondering how I have come to this point in my life as the person that I am. At least I hope it is an early onset mid-life crisis; the alternative means I’d need to get the finger out pronto and start achieving things.

Maybe I’ve been listening to too much Talking Heads and I am wondering “who am I and how did I get here”, a question we all ask at least Once in a Lifetime. Perhaps I’ve too much Beatles going through my head when I think of the title for this post.

So who am I? It seems that I’m a nice guy, who people respect and trust to do important things. Like being a husband, or a friend, or a manager of complex and sensitive projects. I’m someone that people come to for advice and to try and help them solve problems. At least, that’s the sense of me that I have gotten in the last week or so since I crossed over into a new demographic. My friends or family will surely comment below and deflate any ego that I may have here (that’s why they’re my friends and family).

I seem to have wound up a noted (and possibly respected) contributor to the global community of Information Quality Management professionals. I am a teacher. I am a student. Above all else I am one who seeks to learn and seeks to understand the why and the root cause of significant outcomes.

I may even play my music on the run, who knows.

From my point of view, my life as it is now is a significant outcome. And how did I get here? How have I travelled from being the nerdy jock (I vividly remember in my 5th year of high school running from captaining a national league basketball team in crucial game (that we won) to captaining my high school debating team in a national semi final debate) to being the person I am today?

It has been, in the words of Pete Townshend, “an amazing journey”. I’ve meditated and pondered on this for a few days. I realised I was doing that when the answer popped into my head – a bit like spam from the Universe.. “You have won a nugget of enlightenment and a soupcon of self-awareness. To claim your prize…”. The answer isn’t quite what I would have expected if I had expected to have asked the question and had a concious expectation. I know that that last sentence is a bit Rumsefeldian and could rank as a known unknown (you know I’ve said it but you are buggered if you know what it meant). I apologise.

Who I am now and what I am achieving boils down to a few small things, and one or two big ones. Most surprisingly to me is the layer of connections between things I am and I do now and experiences, events and people from my past. And the overwhelming urge I have is to say thank you.

I could start right back at the beginning with my parents in the early spring of 1975 (I’m a January 1976 baby). But that would make me the Kevin Costner of blogs with a production rich in detail but lacking in toilet breaks. ‘Dances with Nerds’ how are ye. 😉

Instead I’ll start at the now and work back. Right now, I have a network of friends and acquintances all of whom have helped shape me as much as my family might have had. I have ‘strong ties’ and I have ‘weak ties’ and a sizeable number of ‘middling ties’. Not all of these people are my generation. Some are older. Some are younger. All of them are precious to me as people because of the gifts they have given me.

Interestingly, many of these people have come into my life and hung around in circumstances that link them to some big stresses and traumas in my life. For example, the friend who encouraged me to first publish writings on the Web and who constantly challenges my thinking on things in good ways is a guy I met through a mutual friend who I went out with for a while in college.

Through that person I started hanging around in the office of the college newspaper that Simon wrote for. That relationship ended….hmmmm… awkwardly. Due to other baggage in my life I didn’t take it too well and became a less nice person for a while and, in hindsight, abused people around me as much as I abused myself with drinking and acting the bollox and basically not being someone you could rely on.

However, the friendship with Simon endured because we had hit it off. Simon eventually went on to set up Tuppenceworth.ie and encouraged me to publish my first piece there back in 2001 – “The Celtic Tiger Ate My Chocmallows“. I then went on to bore Tuppenceworth’s readers with guff about the impact of poor data quality in the electoral register elections and referenda in Ireland back in 2002 – a theme that has dominated this blog since last summer.

I think it is unlikely that Simon and I would have become such good friends if we hadn’t had that link. Although we share many interests, I was a proto-hack’ in college – immersed in the shallow end of college politics, debating societies and the petty chicanery that that entailed. Simon was more honourable than that and would probably have (rightly) dismissed me as yet another gobshite if we hadn’t had the chance to share a few million laughs in a tiny office under the stairs in the Arts Block.

So thank you to that mutual friend who linked us, now long gone.

Anita was a young woman I also met in College through two muppets I had known from school (one from primary school and the other from high school). Anita and Simon. met, fell in love, and I had the pleasure of being a groomsman at their wedding a few years ago. Now they’re awaiting the arrival of their first child.

And all because Anita met two guys who knew me and as a result bumped into Simon who I hung around with. So, thank you to Trev and Sully for seeking me out as some sort of Oracle of knowledge about how college worked. I think I pulled that off for about 20 minutes and then it just became coffee and smokes in the common areas a dozen times a day.

The best man at the wedding was Fergal. He is another guy who challenges my thinking. He has written some stuff with me and has presented at an international conference on Information Quality with me. He has helped me refine my understanding of the law as it applies to the management of information quality – a theme that I keep coming back to in lectures, articles and conference presentations and which is taking me to the UK (again) and possibly the US later this year to present. He is Simon’s best friend since childhood. While Fergal was a debater from another college, without Simon vouching for me as a friend, he probably would have dismissed me as just another L&H gobshite hanger-on and gotten on with his life.

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Information Quality in Ireland

Two quick nuggets on IQ in Ireland…

Firstly, the IQ Network are reporting that  we have had a Court ruling that may have implications for Information Quality… we’ll track them and keep you posted.

Secondly… The electoral register is still snafu’d despite the efforts of the Minister for the Environment. Again, expect to see more on that here and at www.iqnetwork.org. The Sunday Tribune had some good stuff on this over the weekend, so I’ll be linking to that and posting a commentary.

In rememberance of those who have gone before us

A disturbing thing happened to me this evening.

I was out for a few drinks with an associate and his wife (who suffered through an evening of nerdvana as we discussed data quality and Dr Who). Nothing too disturbing there.

 However, at one point in the night I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror of the bar we were in. What I saw was a round and smiling head perched atop a suit, a shirt and tie and a v-neck jumper. But what pushed my mental gears into over-drive was the tell-tale clip of a Parker pen in my suit jacket pocket.

All men fear that one day they will turn into their fathers. I seem to have bypassed that by turning into my grandfather.

 And, much like Marcel Proust’s madeleine cakes, it was the little detail of the Parker pen that gave me that “oh shit” moment.

For all that he gave me, and all that I should have taken while I had the chance, I thank my parental grandfather.

For the rest… I thank god that I only inherited a genetic dress code from my paternal side, and that my love of music and playing music I can still share with my maternal grandfather.

Have any of you dear readers had similar moments of “o jaysus I’ve turned into… “?

Sorry I’ve been away

the DobBlog has been neglected of late. I have been busy upgrading and tweaking the website of the IQ Network (www.iqnetwork.org), a Community of Practice of the IAIDQ run in partnership with the IAIDQ (www.iaidq.org).

Please toddle over there to take a look – the IQ Network has a very full calendar of events for 2007 in the pipeline and we’re looking forward to another year of delivering value to our members.

Our first event is on the 22nd of February in DCU… see www.iqnetwork.org for details!

The Tuppenceworth Paper Round (a slight return)

Oh good grief, Hendrix is probably spinning in his grave…

Simon over at Tuppenceworth has announced he’s been invited to take part in Leviathan this Thursday. This is a nice ‘attaboy’ for the gang at Tuppenceworth from David McWilliams et al. Or else it is a trap given the number of journos who’ll be in the room.

Just in case it is a trap, I thought I’d trundle out the Journo Code of Practice – the Code of Conduct of the NUJ – for Simon to recite in the manner of Indiana Jones in “Indy and James Bond save the world“ or whatever that movie was called.

The full code of conduct can be found HERE. For the purposes of this post, I’ll only focus on the salient points…

From the Code of Conduct:

2.) A journalist shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the press and other media in relation to the collection of information and the expression of comment and criticism. He/she shall strive to eliminate distortion, news suppression and censorship.

The reaction of some journalists to the Paper Round (ie ‘whatwouldbloggersknow’) is contrary to the spirit if not the letter of this section of the NUJ code of conduct. The Bloggers in the Paper Round were operating in another medium (not print or traditional broadcast) but they were open about how they collected their information and presented fact-based criticisms based on what they found, as well as inviting comment and a right to reply. Comments on the professionalism of bloggers vs that of professional journalists missed the point entirely – a better response more in keeping with the Code of Conduct might have been to get involved, help refine the methodology and publicise the process.

The fact that much of what the Paper Round found given the reliance of some newspapers on advertorial or reguritated press releases could viewed as “distortion” or “news suppression” is worthy of mention. However, point number 9 of the Code of Conduct smacks one more blatantly between the eyes, given the prevalance of advertorial:

9.) A journalist shall not lend himself/herself to the distortion or suppression of the truth because of advertising or other considerations.

Given the findings of the Paper Round in relation to Opinion pieces masquerading as ‘real news’, imagine my surprise when I found the following in the NUJ Code of Conduct:

3.) A journalist shall strive to ensure that the information he/she disseminates is fair and accurate, avoid the expression of comment and conjecture as established fact and falsification by distortion, selection or misrepresentation.

Based on my reading of the Code of Conduct (and I am just an ignorant blogger), the Tuppenceworth Paper Round raise some interesting questions about the state of Irish journalism and print media in particular. I am heartened that it would seem that the Tuppenceworth approach is actually in alignment with the spirit of the NUJ code of conduct in that they published facts and provided a right of reply.

Those in print media who interpreted the Paper Round as an attack on journalists by bloggers missed the point. Those who attacked bloggers, or the paper round, in print may have acted in breach of their own code of conduct.

More worryingly for me is the question of, if journalists and print media aren’t producing a ‘product’ for the public (the customer) or one that conforms to their own Union’s code of conduct just who is the piper calling the tune?

Perhaps in 2007 the NUJ might collaborate with Tupp’worth to devise a more structured methodology for measuring standards in Irish journalism and the quality of what is actually printed in Irish print media against both the expectation of the consumer (Seamus Q Newspaperreader) and the NUJ Code of Conduct.

In the meantime, I hope that Simon over at Tupp’worth makes use of the Code of Conduct if he is ambushed. 

And as for the DOB-log… from January I’ll be adopting the NUJ Code of Conduct for all posts and comments on this blog. If it’s good enough for the journos, it’s good enough for a humble blogger like me.

Electoral Reg (A slight return)

OK. In an attempt to make this interesting to the kids, I’m ripping off Jimi Hendrix lyrics.

The Sunday Business Post reported over the weekend that up to 170,000 people may have been taken of the Electoral Register in error. Apparently politicians of all hues are trading war stories of bungled clean ups on the electoral register. Apparently, amongst other things, entire housing estates have been taken off the register and dead people have resurrected and re-registered to vote. The Minister in question, Dick Roche, has even had to acknowledge that he knows of an incident of a disappearing housing estate in Wicklow (wouldn’t it be ironic if it was up on Turlough Hill muses the author, mixing his Irish geography).

The Fianna Faíl TD for Meath, Johnny Brady, has commented that:

  • huge numbers of elderly voters have been removed from the Register in his area
  • no letters were left to inform people they were being taken off the Register (or at least people don’t recall getting such a letter).

According to Mr Brady “Some of the field officers who called to houses decided that if they were not at home, they were taken off”. This suggests a degree of inconsitency in the approaches between local authorities… in my earlier post on when the people came knocking I pointed out that they hadn’t spoken to me, but as of today I’m still on the Register. Therefore it would seem that different rules are being applied in Meath and Wexford.

Divergences in work practices in maintaining the Register is one of the contributing root causes to the whole original mess. Anecdotes of Local Authorities using the Obituraries in the local and national papers to identify dead people were mentioned in dispatches not so long ago.

And the treatment of the dead is clearly one of the key root causes for the original shambles… with 30% of Waterford’s voters being members of the daisy pushing brigade. Of course, this discrepancy is matched by the inconsistency between the numbers on the register now and the population as measured by the Census.

Good grief. What a mess.

Way back in the summer I wrote that the proposal to rebuild the register by going door to door would not address the actual deficiencies in the register. The key approach should have been to tackle the root causes – such as wildly varying work practices in different local authority areas and then to push out cleansing of the register. This should have been done in a clear and transparent manner.

However, at this point it is important to bear in mind that often the answer you get to a problem isn’t necessarily the answer you want. The Opposition parties seem to have had an expectation that there would be no collateral damage in the clean up of the register. A cliche involving eggs, omlettes and breakage springs to mind. Rather than engage in debate based on anecdote the Opposition parties should try to ‘speak with data’ and to identify clear examples of where people have been taken off the register in error and get evidence of what process or inaction on the part of the Minister or Local Authorities lead to the error.

For example, Gay (Gabriel) Mitchell (Fine Gael TD) reported his personal experience where he wrote to the Local Authority officers responsible for the Register to tell them that there were two people resident at his address with the same name (his son is also called Gabriel). However only one Gabriel Mitchell was left on the Register. Why? Did Deputy Mitchell forget to include the respective dates of birth? Did his letter fall through the cracks?

Dick Roche attempted to clean the register by running en masse a broken process. Throwing people at it to perform door to door checks did not address key root causes (like the fact that you can’t change your name on the Electoral Registration form – it only allows for changes of address). When you throw into the mix that the door to door checkers:

  1. Don’t hang around long enough to talk to people (in my personal experience)
  2. Call during the day when people are at work (might that explain why entire estates in the commuter belt of Dublin have disappeared off the Register?)
  3. Seem to have an inconsistent practice as to how to deal with people who don’t answer the door

then this whole process is a phenomonal white elephant that may have served to make a bad situation slightly worse.

However – with regard to people who have been taken off the Register in error… there is a question of personal responsibilty here. If they wish to be registered to vote then they should check the register at their local libraries or Garda stations or online (if they are in the 50.7% of people who have internet access) and get themselves registered.

If you are not in you can’t win. If you’re not on the register you can’t complain about the government you get. And by my reckoning that’s what we have at the moment.

Customer focus in the mee-ja

The PaperRound over at Tuppenceworth has stirred up a hornet’s nest of phlegm and brimstone from at least two sources – the Indo article by Niall Byrne that I mentioned previously and a mysterious comment from ‘Soontobe’ on the Tuppenceworth Blog.

The team over at Tupp’worth may take issue with my view that the Paper Round study was a valiant first attempt at to measure how closely the Irish newspaper industry meets the expectation that papers contain news and as such is a form of Information Quality Audit of the Irish print media. However, if we consider the Paper round in that light, the responses, particularly the comment from ‘soontobe’ show a significant disconnect in the mindset of Irish print journalism from core principles of quality.

The basic gist of the responses seems to be along the lines of ‘how dare bloggers criticise journos because bloggers don’t know anything, don’t have real lives and aren’t skilled enough to write for print media‘. We’ll ignore the fact that I know a of number of bloggers who write or have written for print media – Karlin Lillington anyone?

I will, however, pay attention to what this type of response means.

  1. A study was done by a set of information consumers who had, I assume, paid for their newspapers and hadn’t stolen them and were therefore customers of the Irish print media houses.
  2. This study (admittedly unscientific in its rigour but better than nothing) showed a very mixed bag of results across the papers examined.
  3. These findings were published (along with the methodology)

In a Quality management context, what has happened here is that a group of customers have identified that their expectation of the product purchased is not being met and have produced some data to support their opinion.

Quality management advises (or rather mandates) that the focus of all processes and quality measures should be the consumer of your goods or information. Leading companies such as Toyota take the view that a customer complaint is an opportunity to improve their product. Where a customer or group of customers comes to them with actual DATA to backup the frequency or volume of defect, it is the equivalent of Christmas in a Quality manager’s world.

So, where sit the journos or the ‘journo-aligned’? Have they said “gee, thanks for doing this, now we have something to throw back at our editor when they insist on doing a half-page black and white piece on Claire Byrne’s orange dress”? ehhh…no. Have they said “good grief, what has happened to us? When we were in journo-school we wanted to be Woodward or Bernstein, or at least Robert Redford”? ehhhh…. no.

What has happened is a response that, to return to an automotive analogy, would be like General Motors telling you to f*ck off and stop bothering them about your dodgy gear box because you knew f*ck all about building cars or running a big company (with optional comments about your level of gratitude and parts of the male anatomy).

Which is not too dissimilar what GM used to do until the 1980s when they woke up one morning to find they had lost more money in a year than they had made for most of the previous decade. They don’t do that anymore, but have still had their arse kicked by Toyota and other Asian Tiger auto companies.

Quality is about meeting or exceeding your customer’s expectations. If the customers of Irish newspapers (or papers that are sold in Ireland with Irish-ish content) expect a bit of journalism as opposed to press-releases dressed up as reportage or opinion then the paper round has shown that we are a long way from quality in many cases.

Unless of course the people who buy the newspapers aren’t the customer. By “buy the newspaper” I mean, of course, the individual buying one copy of the paper. But what if some people have confused that with people who buy the newspaper?

If you are a consumer of a product that is increasingly failing to meet your expectations because a more powerful group is exerting influence to have their expectations met, then you will switch product or supplier. In the auto industry this happened when cash-strapped students spurnned the gas-guzzling, sometimes patchy quality cars produced by Detroit and opted for the lower cost, more reliable and more fuel efficient Japanese imports in the 1970s. The oil crisis of the 1970s accelerated that trend. By the 1980s, many of these students were trading up and simply bought the newer model from Toyota or Nissan because they knew it met their expectations of quality and cost-effectiveness better than a Chevy or an Oldsmobile.

In the Information Age, those of us who seek an alternative to the print media sources will increasingly look to the Internet, where peer comment and review and a wide array of varying opinion allow Citizen Blogger to make up their minds. Credibility and status will come not from the weight of a backer’s bank account but from the how consistently the information provider meets or exceeds their reader’s expecations in terms of incisiveness of comment, depth of analysis and the ability to take a story and peer behind the press release to question what is actually happening.

The fact that this is currently being done mainly by hobbyists is irrelevant. Increasingly organisations are looking to blogs and wikis as ways of improving interaction with their customers. It is inevitable that eventually people will be paid to perform blogalism, either through a corporate entity or through advertising on their sites that pays them more the more people visit. At which point…other than the medium what is the difference between a blogger and a ‘traditional’ journalist?

A specialist blogger in a niche area who provides reliable, well written, well researched pieces giving a different angle on topical issues will get hits and will become part of a network of ‘go-to’ people for opinion. We can see this happening already with extremely co-incidental similarities between blog posts and pieces printed in some newspapers which I’ve posted about here a while back). But how does this differ from a specialist investigative reporter?

Conclusion

If the critical comments posted on Tuppenceworth and elsewhere are indicative of the response by one or more ‘print meeja’ people to the Paper Round then the industry is in a much worse state then the survey shows.

Either there is a fundamental disconnect between the journalists view of their work or role and the expectation of the newspaper reader, or the reactions are suggestive of the existence of a more powerful ‘customer’ group who have more highly prioritised expectations of the content and editorial policies of our media. If the former is the case, then there may be some hope, as it may be that the Paper Round pricks the slumbering customer-focus of the tired and cynical hacks and prompts some push back on advertorialising and press-release reporting.

If the latter is the case then the the role and mandate of those pioneering ‘blogalism’ will become increasingly important as Information Consumers seek out sources of news and information that more closely match their expectations of reporting.

The fact that, despite our growing population, a report at the 57th World Newspaper Congress in 2004 showed a decline in newspaper circulation in Ireland of 7.8% would suggest that there is a shift taking place (source : Wikipedia, accessed 19:04 UTC, 28 Nov 2006)

When Johann Carolus printed the first newspaper in 1605, chances are the towncriers of the day dismissed him as a hobbyist who had no place disseminating news.

 

Update—

Just read over one of the later PaperRound posts on Tupp’worth.. some interesting points made. http://www.tuppenceworth.ie/blog/index.php/2006/11/24/sunday-independent-12th-nov-2006/

Electoral Register… a reprise

Bertie Ahern has waded into the fray on the Electoral Register issue.

Some of his comments are, in my personal experience, bizarre. For example, he says “There are still some people who did not answer the door when people called“. I was working from home the day the people called. During the day. When normally my wife and I would be at work. But I was working from home. So when the door bell rang I walked from the kitchen to the hall door (about 30 feet).

By the time I got to the door, the callers were walking out of my driveway to the next house. Total time on doorstep was about 15 seconds. I stood at the door, with the door open, for about five minutes as they walked around my estate. Surprisingly very few people were in when they called, during the day, in an housing estate inhabited by commuters and people who work. Even though I was standing in plain view and to get out of my cul-de-sac they had to walk right past me on the way out none of them thought to stop and ask me anything. So even though I was in, we’re probably logged as a no answer. However, we never received a letter from the Local Authority to verify any of our details.

If people refuse to check the website”… don’t get me started on the bias in that statement. According to the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), Ireland ranks 32nd on the top 32 countries for Internet penetration. As of Sept 2006, the ITU puts us at 50.7% penetration… just behind such technological hotbeds as Estonia (no offence to people from Estonia). Many of those who don’t have Internet access are in the less well off social demographics, the ones most needing effective representation so their interests are met in Government policy. Is it a case of ‘refusing’ to check the website or is it a case of being unable to check the website? For people to be criticised for not following a process, they have to be actually able to follow that process. For shame Taoiseach, for shame.

Of course the Bert is correct..  you can’t force people to go on the Register. And the efforts by the Opposition to point to the removal of people ‘in error’ as being grounds for legal action and a ‘very bad thing’ is, to be honest, somewhat lazy opposing. Given the methodology that was being deployed it was inevitable that some people would be taken off the Register and there has to be an element of personal responsibility here which should compel people to get off their couches and, if they don’t have internet access to go to their local library and check the Register to make sure they’re on it and get their name on before the deadline.

What the Opposition should be focussing on is the absence of any real leadership or activity to address the obviously broken processes that have allowed the Register to get to the state it is in. They should be looking to the cost of non-quality here (how much extra has it cost to do the clean-up, what is the plan to address root causes and avoid that cost in future). For example, could the fact that remain on the Register indefinitely and do not have to re-register periodically be a possible root cause? What about the fact that you can’t change your name on the register without risking being registered twice as the only form available only allows you to change your address.

The fact that at in at least one Local Authority the Obituary pages of the papers were being used to remove deceased persons because they were unaware that they could get the information from the Central Registrations Office is astonishing. What else is going on under the covers?

That would show leadership and credibility in an opposition that should be showing its credentials as planners for the future rather than pursuers of trivial non-issues, collateral damage in pursuit of the objective which was to remove people from the Register to reduce the risk of spurious voter registrations being used to pervert the outcome of the next election.

As it stands, I’m left having to agree with much of Bertie’s defence of Dick Roche. It disturbs me that I can’t find greater affinity with the Opposition on this issue.

The current cleanup will not solve the problem. Personal responsibility to ensure you are registered is not obviated by Government actions. Just because the tools are on the Internet does not mean that people can use them. Deletion of valid voters is a risk in any Electoral Register clean up – the issue is if there is a mechanism that is sufficiently publicised for people to get re-registered. And an Opposition that wants us to see them as potential Government need to attack something meatier than a the non-issue of collateral damage and should target the fundamental lack of vision that seems to underpin the Government’s approach to this whole issue.

Tuppenceworth…

Simon over at Tuppenceworth is getting a bee in his bonnet about the standard of Irish journalism. I have to agree. I am a Director of publicity for an international association for Information Quality professionals. Over the past year I have submitted a number of commentaries on issues such as the Electoral Register.
Not ONCE has there been a journalist who has contacted me back on any topic, not even to say thanks but no thanks. It seems to be easier to trot out the easy soundbite than to actually research a topic (such as the Electoral Register issue – despite what Dick Roche says it is still an unmitigated disaster area and will NOT be clean come election because the fundamental root causes have not been addressed) and be in a position to ask hard questions.

For example – with Electronic voting, journalists have swallowed the line that the e-voting systems have been fully tested because that was the response to a Parlimentary Question (dail reportage). Of course, the question was badly put… if didn’t ask how many machines actually passed the tests… (answer is approximately none of them).

Furthermore, no newspaper I’ve seen in the last month has picked up on the link between the State Claims Agency report on Injuries arising from Treatment errors in the Irish Healthcare system and the number of articles that appeared in Oct and Nov of this year about people who’d had horrendous harm inflicted on them by unnecessary surgery because their patient information had been mixed up with someone elses… I’ve got an article on that drafted that links to the situation in the US… any takers?

I look forward to a day when I can pick up a respected newspaper and not be accosted by obvious press-release fodder, commercial features or limp-wristed reporting. Hopefully some journalist will pick up on the story at Tuppenceworth and run with it…

…now wouldn’t that be ironic?

Update….. Indo picked up on the Tuppenceworth story but not in the way you’d like. Apparently if you don’t like the message and can’t directly attack the messenger you should attack the credibility of the medium the message travels in. Which is ironic given that it is the credibility of print journalism that the Tuppenceworth Paper Round calls into such stark question.

So long away…

the DOB Blog has been on an unintended hiatus in recent months. This was due to a total breakdown in customer service from the american company that I had registered my old domain (www.obriend.com – rip) through.

I have had this new domain (obriend.info) for a couple of months, but haven’t had the time to plan and implement the data migration from the old blog to the new blog. Luckily tonight I’ve a touch of insomina so at 3:40am on the 15th November, DOB Blog was reborn with all the old content (and user names for those of you who have posted previously).

I am playing around (again) with templates and my favourite of the day is this one… I will probably make some minor mods to it but it is clean and simple (but needs to be checked for accessibility).

Well, here’s looking forward to some more heavy blog activity….