July 2004 Archives

July 30, 2004

House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on UK ID Cards

So the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee has been having a look at David Blunkett's plans to make us all own biometric data enabled ID cards. It doesn't make good reading, despite some of the headlines being that it is critical of the Government's plans. In fact on the whole it approves of them - the opening paragraph of the report's conclusion states that: "We believe that an identity card scheme could make a significant contribution to achieving the...
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July 29, 2004

Making sure that the battlefield is digitised

On my TV at 22:49 this evening... Manisha Tank (Business Today presenter, BBC News 24): "The way that we handle defence has had to have changed over the past couple of years because of the nature of warfare. It's changing, the enemies are different. How is that impacting on firms such as Boeing, EADS for example." Nick Fothergill (analyst, Banc of America Securities): "Well they're all trying to combat this thing called asymmetric warfare, which is basically fighting unseen enemies...
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Murder by Playstation?

I haven't read the story (the print is very small in this picture), but from the strapline I assume it isn't about someone being bludgeoned to death with the blunt instrument of a Playstation console. ....but don't even get me started on their new gimmick of recycling links that were going round the internet like wildfire a few months ago as front page promoted "features". Sheeesh....
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Privacy Awards and ID Cards

Oh the irony (or should that always now be d'oh the humanity?) of these two stories being published within an hour of each other - Privacy foes named and shamed and UK 'not ready' for ID card scheme One, a quick round-up of the UK Big Brother* awards from Privacy International, announced that Margaret Hodge had been named and shamed as our worst public servant, and was only able to honour the efforts of David Blunkett by renaming the Lifetime...
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July 26, 2004

The shop in the corner of your room that is always on

"I don't use the internet, partly through fear of discovering rare record sites - I'm capable of spending far too much money on records" My Media, John Peel, MediaGuardian I'm glad I'm not alone. John Peel hits the nail on the head as to why I have been a slow adopter of music downloads, and devoutly follow a strict breed of ebay abstinence....
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July 21, 2004

“Search Within A Search” article in ei magazine

I have an article in print in this months ei magazine - “Search within a search”. I didn’t write my own blurb, which makes the whole thing sound like an exciting adventure with the BBC’s only producer.... “It was what the brains at the BBC’s new media and technology department least expected when they started a routine statistical measure. While measuring search usage, they discovered a way to decipher search queries from a two-million-page website to help provide better,...
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July 16, 2004

A fortnight after Graf - and what it might mean for the homepage and for external spend

So some of the dust has settled internally after the Graf report, and we start to look forward - today we had a departmental meeting in White City, in the building that will be our new home from January. One of the areas I have a responsibility for in my new job is the delivery of the bbc.co.uk homepage - so the criticism of it in the DCMS review is naturally of keen interest. It was though written before the...
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July 15, 2004

Government advice on ID Fraud

The Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee has launched a new website dedicated to worrying people about identity fraud. One bit of key advice it gives on its Protect Yourself page is: "Never carry documents or plastic cards unnecessarily." However, on its What Is Being Done page it reassures us that: "In November 2003, the Home Secretary announced the Government's decision to begin the process of introducing a national identity cards scheme, which will enable people to prove their identity...
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July 14, 2004

"Whitewash (Part Two)"

Well, as the first newspaper in London to get to put into print a post-publication analysis of the Butler Report, the Evening Standard was pretty damned unequivocal in its response: Whitewash (Part Two)...
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London Phone Codes "Change"

Today's print Daily Mail screams that London is getting its umpteenth telephone code in so many years. Using digit graphics in case you don't get the point. As has been admirably pointed out by 2lmc amongst others, the London code hasn't changed - and Ofcom themselves were pretty clear about that being the case. It remains the three digits 020. When the code changed last time it was just that for convenience all the exchange numbers started with a 7...
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OFCOM plan to use the web as their guidance communication channel

I'm starting to plough my way through the consultation document OFCOM have issued about their draft new broadcasting code. I was immediately heartened by one thing that features in the proposed introduction: "To further assist those who work in broadcasting, as well as viewers and listeners who wish to understand broadcasting standards or make a complaint, non-binding guidance to accompany the Code will also be issued by OFCOM on the OFCOM website (www.ofcom.org.uk) and will be regularly reviewed. Members of...
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July 11, 2004

Java powered interactive tube map for Orange phones

My copy of London Underground's Tube magazine dropped through my door this weekend. As usual it has some interesting articles about the tube itself - one on individual station designs at platform level, and one on Caribbean tube workers in the 1950s and 60s - but mostly comes across as a rather dull corporate brochure aching to be an in-flight magazine.However it did have one really neat promotional item - advertising that you can download a free java powered interactive...
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July 8, 2004

BBC News 50th anniversary - Political coverage

On Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending the last panel session held at BBC Television Centre to celebrate the 50th anniversary of BBC television news, an examination of how the news reporting of politics had changed over recent years. The panel was hosted by Jeremy Vine, and consisted of John Cole, John Sergeant and Andrew Marr, all at one time (or currently) BBC Political Editor. The panel kicked off by showing the now infamous clip of John Sergeant discussing...
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Close, but no cigar...Jack Schofield on browsers, phishing and security

In today's Inside IT article Jack Schofield had my heart soaring when in answer to worries about increased phishing attacks on Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser (notably Download.Ject) he said: It's always handy to have an alternative browser, and I frequently recommend Mozilla Firefox (www.mozilla.org/products/firefox). Unfortunately he then blotted his copybook with the very next sentence: Regrettably, many of the sites where security is important, such as banking sites, will only work properly with IE. Perhaps instead of implying that IE...
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DCMS and Digital Radio

According to this story in yesterday's Independent, the DCMS is shortly to publish a report in which Tessa Jowell says "Later this year, I will be reviewing the take-up of digital radio and considering how long it would be appropriate for...broadcasting services to be provided in analogue form" The article goes on to quote Chris Kimber, Head of Interactive at BBC Radio & Music, extolling the virtues of interactivity based around radio output: "Only 10 years ago, radio was a...
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July 5, 2004

DCMS Assessment of BBC Online's use of RealMedia and Search

So the Graf report was finally published today, and like many BBC Online employees I have spent much of the day scurrying through it to assimilate as much information as I can. However, I suspect that unlike the majority of the media - who naturally leapt on the obvious headline of site closures (as already heralded by Mark Thompson last week) - I headed straight for the chunky "BBC Online review - module 1: Assessment of BBC Online's use of...
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Here is an illustrated summary of the BBC News 50 Year celebrations

Studio TC1 at Television Centre has been taken over by BBC News for two days to celebrate 50 years of television news broadcasts. There is a small exhibition with information panels and artifacts from BBC News history, including the script written by John Simpson in his notebook just after he had been hit by friendly fire in Iraq. Each day there are a number of panel sessions being held, and this morning I was fortunate enough to attend the first...
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July 4, 2004

Yahoo! and MSN both tweaking their search

New designs left, right and centre in the search world over the last couple weeks. Or rather Yahoo! and MSN have done their hardest to ape the cleanliness look that Google pioneered. My first look at Yahoo! was impressed not so much by the design, but by the fact that they expose sites with RSS feeds in their search results, with an option (if you are logged in) to add them straight to your My Yahoo! RSS Reader. As...
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July 1, 2004

There will always be a corner of Walthamstow that is Dukla Praha

I left town late this evening and only got to Walthamstow just in time for the kick-off of the Czech Republic-Greece Euro2004 Semi-Final. I rushed to my local, the College Arms, to be astonished to find it was standing room only. For some time they appeared to be operating a policy of only employing beautiful Eastern European women as barmaids - but I didn't realise they were all Czech, or were going to bring all their friends down for...
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The BBC's digital future - one day on

"The digital future is an exciting one. The public can look forward to a time of unrivalled consumer choice. New devices and communication channels will compete to deliver the right content to the right customer, whenever and wherever he or she wants it. All this is good for individual consumers, for our society and for the wider UK economy. The BBC will play its part in building the infrastructure and content on which this new digital world will be...
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