February 2004 Archives

February 29, 2004

BBC staff who blog

It is a funny co-incidence that I stumbled upon this piece by Steve Outing today - "When Journalists Blog, Editors Get Nervous". Two quotes below: "Personal employee blogs, it seems, are land mines for media employers. The nature of the Internet is why. A simple family blog written by a reporter might contain a reference to trouble at work, or discontent with a boss. It's so easy for such an item -- meant for a tiny group but accessible...
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February 27, 2004

You might have to tape that for me

I sometimes feels like I live in a world where everybody I know has Sky+ or TiVo. And everyone, except me, has an iPod and has revolutionised the way they consume media. That the piles & piles of CDs and vinyl in my spare room are just so much clutter, and that the whole media landscape has moved so fast in the last few years that we are constantly playing catch-up. But then suddenly I get burst out of...
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Which country are you spying on?

This country quiz is doing the blog rounds at the minute. It is brilliant stuff. Apparently it is for people who are "Tired of all those quizzes that promise you the world and then only deliver you 2, 3, 4, or 5 final possibilites? Here at the Blue Pyramid, we don't feel like the world is small enough to be divided up into so few different types". Which is why the author believes there are only 64 countries in...
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February 25, 2004

How to confuse WAGN ticket inspectors with your Oystercard

One of the great things about Oystercard is that it is an electronic cashless London-wide method of paying for multiple forms of public transport. One of the terrible things about Oystercard is that it is an electronic cashless London-wide method of paying for multiple forms of public transport. I couldn't begin to imagine how complicated their roll-out project planning has been, but there are inevitably strange and difficult leaks at the edge of the system. One is my local...
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What is a ticket? And how does it apply to over-booked flights?

Maybe I should have watched more airport reality shows and been prepared for this, but I was astonished late last year to turn up at Heathrow and find I couldn't get onto the flight I had tickets for, because it was over-booked. I am fairly sure major airlines have better legal advice than me, and that I had in fact only puchased some sort of "permission to try to fly you if we have space" voucher. However I naivly...
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February 21, 2004

The Alarm back in the UK singles charts? Then anyone can do it...

"Ageing post-punk band The Alarm have scored a top 30 UK chart hit - with a stunt disguising themselves as an unknown younger group." So runs an article on BBC News. My first thoughts were "Brilliant - respect to them", but, excuse the pun, the alarm bells started to ring when I read these two lines from the report: "the band, from north Wales, are at number 28 after selling more than 4,000 copies of 1970s-style punk single 45RPM."...
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February 20, 2004

Typo awards hero status to Verisign

Verisign triumphed as the ISPA Awards Villain of the year yesterday, although I'd like to draw particular attention to the nominations for the RIAA and The Home Office for idiocy above and beyond the call of duty. Unfortunately, a typo on the ISPAs site is currently announcing that "The ISPA Council considered Verisign should receive the Internet Hero Award 'for their presumption that they own the internet and the domain name system hijacking scandal'". D'oh!...
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February 19, 2004

Martin Belam presentation for the Association of UK Media Librarians

I gave a talk & presentation earlier this evening for the Association of UK Media Librarians, looking at how traditional librarian and information science skills were being applied to the internet at the BBC. It was admittedly a fairly superficial skate over some projects within the BBC New Media department. I mostly concentrated on elements of the work I've previously published about BBCi Search, but added some input from Steve Hunt's excellent IA work on our last homepage redesign...
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February 18, 2004

Congestion Charging one year on: "The sky did not fall on London's head"

Yesterday it was the first anniversary of the Congestion Charge arriving in London. The Evening Standard published a news piece that quoted the Mayor's research that the first 11 months Congestion Charging have: Cut delays by 30 per cent Reduced the number of cars entering the zone by 30 per cent Slashed [the Evening Standard's word not mine] delays by 60 per cent on buses serving the zone Seen 110,000 a day pay the charge Resulted in only "some...
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February 16, 2004

BBC Charter Review responses about BBC.co.uk

I've had a bit of time this evening to look more closely at the published responses so far to the BBC Charter Review Public Consultation exercise. I was particularly looking out for references to the BBC's internet operation. My initial idea was to skim through and try to put together a balanced selection of pull-quotes about bbc.co.uk. I quickly found that this was going to be more work than I had imagined. The consultation specifically asked 'How should the...
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DCMS publishes BBC Charter Review responses

As a member of BBC staff I didn't think it appropriate to submit my thoughts to the DCMS Charter Review consultation - although I suppose as a Licence Fee payer and a voter I probably should of. The DCMS has had over 1,300 responses, and on its website has now published a selection. I've only looked through some of them on one page so far - 'H' - but it is fascinating stuff. Already I've come across such diverse...
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February 14, 2004

Spain to introduce pioneering electronic ID cards

This could be massive, Spain is thinking about putting out digital ID cards. "Spain will introduce pioneering electronic identity cards to help boost internet security by giving people unique digital signatures, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said on Friday. The 150 million euro ($192 million) scheme, due to be rolled out from 2005 after a pilot version at the end of this year, will replace current identity cards with a version that looks similar but carries a small chip packed...
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February 13, 2004

Lycos ditches portal to focus on social networks

So now Lycos ditching its free community tools begins to make sense... In two dramatic announcements this week, Lycos U.S. said it will shed its portal strategy to become a vast social network http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/3311971 Executive Vice President Mark Stoever is quoted as saying: "This is totally an untapped space. We'll enter the market already in the leadership position because of where we've been. Lycos will be the first to bring together the entire spectrum of ways people connect online."...
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February 9, 2004

Blunkett claims ID cards could have prevented cockle picker deaths

Never let it be said Home Secretary David Blunkett is one to pass up an opportunity to champion his schemes in the public domain. Today, in the wake of the deaths of cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay, he claimed ID cards could have prevented the deaths, and would: "ensure that anyone who was here couldn't actually present themselves for any other service or for work without identifying themselves properly" Yes, that's right. The man in charge of law and...
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February 7, 2004

Reclaim Our Cinema - the EMD Cinema in Walthamstow gets an unofficial refurbishment

It is now around a year since the EMD cinema in Walthamstow shut - and at the time it made E17 the only London borough without a cinema. It was purchased with the intention of converting it into a church, but thankfully planning permission was refused. However, it is now a Grade II listed building being left to rot. There is a campaign website to reclaim our cinema, and it has recently been unofficially refurbished. There is also a...
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February 6, 2004

BBCi Connector in The Guardian

This week's Guardian web watch was plugging the BBCi Connector - its an app a very close friend of mine did the original product development on 18-or-so months ago. I have always thought it was a fantastic sevice for the BBC to have on the bbc.co.uk site - it combines the immediacy of IM, without generating the signal-to-noise ratio that messagebaords do, and the transient nature makes it less of a problem for archiving. The BBC has also put...
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BT Fault Line works a treat

BT Fault Line - 0800 800 151 Credit where credit is due - I normally moan about services rather than praise them. Last night my connection dropped on the computer, and my frantic scrabble around the spaghetti junction of wires between my PC and the phone socket eventually led me to conclude there was no dial-tone regardless of how I wired everything up. No dial-tone???? I had a Kurtz* like moment of horror - I couldn't get online. TiVo...
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Today is European Safer Internet Day

February 6th is the European Commission sponsored Safer Internet Day "The aim of this very important day is the celebration of children's rights to a Safer Internet by highlighting to everyone that it is the responsibility of all sectors of society to become involved and promote this worthwhile cause."...
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February 3, 2004

Open Day at BBC Research & Development

I had a fantastic day long tour around the BBC's amazing Research & Development department today. They are a group of around 180 engineers, physicists and mathematicians based in a beautiful collection of old buildings at Kingswood Warren. I got to see demonstrations of a lot the things that are outlined in the white papers published on the site, including the wireless RoamCam, which I first saw back in May 2001, when it was just a cumbersome prototype. This...
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