January 2004 Archives

January 31, 2004

BBC staff advert in The Daily Telegraph

Today BBC staff placed a full page advert in The Daily Telegraph to assert their belief in the continued independence of the BBC, and to pay tribute to the work of Greg Dyke whilst he was Director-General. The full text of the advert was as follows: The independence of the BBC The following statement is from BBC employees, presenters, reporters and contributors. It was paid for by them personally, not the BBC itself Greg Dyke stood for brave, independent...
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January 30, 2004

BBC staff place advert in The Telegraph

The Times are reporting the collection raised by BBC staff today to place an advert in tomorrow's edition of The Telegraph after what has happened to the corporation this week. According to The Times the text for the advert reads: "Greg Dyke stood for brave, independent BBC journalism that was fearless in its search for the truth. We are resolute that the BBC should not step back from its determination to investigate the facts in pursuit of the truth....
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January 29, 2004

My boss has resigned

Up to this point I have not commented on the Hutton Inquiry. I felt it was inappropriate of me to either publicly criticise a colleague, or to open myself to the accusation that I was just a BBC staff whiner being critical of the government. After the events of today though it is impossible for me not to write. I have just been to a hastily called Divisional Meeting where the events of the last two days were explained...
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January 27, 2004

Lycos withdrawing from community sites

I haven’t found much analysis of this besides one webmasterworld thread and CNET news.com article, but Lycos announced that they were withdrawing from the free web community space yesterday: “After February 1, 2004, Lycos Communities--including Chat, Message Boards, Clubs and Image Galleries--will be discontinued. All text, photos, messages and other content relating to Lycos Communities will be removed from the Lycos Network and will not be saved. If you would like to find information on how to save your...
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January 26, 2004

So is Coca-Cola good for music or not?

"The record industry realises that digital downloads are going to be huge but it needs to work with third parties that are whiter than white, and which better brand can you think of than Coca-Cola?" That unchallenged quote comes from John Hazell in Sean Hargrave's "Brand New Music" article in today's New Media Guardian. The entire thrust of the article is mostly 'gush' at how wonderful it is that a major global brand has got involved in legitimising digital...
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January 22, 2004

The future of the BBC is mobile, according to 'the kids'

Tessa Jowell recently announced a consultation of children as part of the Charter Review process. Contributions can be made via the DCMS website by people aged between 8 and 17. Ariel, the BBC staff newspaper ran what it described as a "snap poll" of some children from a group of schools, and published some of the results last week. Some of the quotes are fairly predictable, for example, children enjoy EastEnders, and on balance they find the news 'for...
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January 20, 2004

When lack of standards compliance makes the news

Yesterday I noticed a feature in The Independent which had escaped my attention before - "Sport On The Internet" by Andy Oldfield. Shamelessly it was the word "blogging" that attracted my eye. He was examining the presence of the World Rally Championship and Rugby League World Sevens on the web. Along the way he took in Motorsport Mayhem from the Blogging Network, praising the concept, but questioning the potential popularity of the pricing model. And observing that: "...many blogs...
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The instructions in translation from the French can be a bit clumsy. I'm also not sure about the language preference being indicated by a French flag for French, and an American flag for English. And I know that Kartoo did the concept ages ago. But I'm just being picky. Musicplasma, the visual music search engine, is awesome....
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It's Tom Baker's 70th birthday

The title says it all...today is Tom Baker's 70th Birthday. Recently one of my colleagues bumped into him in a coffee shop near Bush House, and managed to strike up a conversation. When Tom found out where my friend worked, he exhorted in that booming voice of his: "The BBC? huh! Death Row!". Honestly, they should have a camera crew on him 24/7 to preserve him for the nation. If you've never read his autobiography - "Who On Earth...
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January 19, 2004

Broadband Britain arrives. At my house.

In 2003 I set myself the new year's resolution of having broadband installed by the end of January. A mere 13 months late I finally got my connection up and running this weekend...and was, to be honest, slightly underwhelmed. Firstly, my creaky old home PC resolutely fails to boot if there is a USB modem attached to it - thus the much vaunted "always on-ness" isn't quite happening here. Secondly, I now have yet another e-mail address. I can...
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January 16, 2004

Lost Doctor Who episode recovered - but how will we 'recover' websites in the future?

The BBC announced yesterday that they had recovered one of the missing episodes of Doctor Who from the 60's - "Day of Armageddon" from the William Hartnell story known as "The Daleks Master Plan". It has been handed to the restoration team for "treatment", which hopefully means Vidfire & DVD release. There now remain 108 Doctor Who episodes that are lost. The recovery rate is low enough (erm..well there is this one, and "The Lion" from 'The Crusade' in...
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January 15, 2004

Our boys not equipped to face Iraq's WMDs

Thursday's Daily Mail editorial titled "Betrayal of our fighting troops" quotes the revelation from the National Audit Office that: "troops were indeed sent into battle without proper protection from chemical or biological attack" I can't help thinking that the complaint would carry more authority if anyone could produce evidence that the chemical or biological weapons they required protection from actually existed....
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January 13, 2004

'New Fines War On Bus Lane Drivers' cries Evening Standard

Before the death of Harold Shipman knocked it off the front page for later editions, today's Evening Standard was leading with the headline "New Fines War On Bus Lane Drivers". The article, dubbed an exclusive, by the paper's Local Government Correspondent Ross Lydall, revealed that: Fine for drivers caught in London bus lanes have soared by almost 50 per cent in 12 months By which, judging from the figures quoted, I believe he means that the volume of fines...
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Children, the Internet, and media sensationalism

A major story in the UK yesterday was the release of a report by the NCH - Child abuse, child pornography and the internet [PDF file: 201k]. This was widely reported as including the staggering statistic that child pornography crimes have "rocketed" by 1,500 per cent. (BBC News / Guardian with comment pieces from Rachel O'Connell and the report's author John Carr / Independent). The reasons I use the word 'staggering' are because unlike The Independent, I don't think...
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January 12, 2004

A consumer complains about the use of copy control technology

I hate Copy Controlled CDs with a vengeance, and bought one by mistake today - Interpol's The Black EP. I've handed over money to buy a CD which features one track I have already got, one I haven't, and four 'alternate' version of tracks I have already got, only to find I can't use the item as I see fit. I mostly listen to music in two places. At work, using iTunes on my laptop - and I can't...
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January 9, 2004

TV without TiVo is 'broken'

This piece from November 2003 just got pointed out to me on an internal BBC blog - A life where TiVo has always existed - a brilliant short critique of how a three year old perceives television only experienced via TiVo. My favourite quote: She gets quite confused when we are watching a non-TiVo TV, and she asks to watch "a kids show", and we have to explain that this TV won't do what ours at home does. We've...
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