September 2004 Archives

September 28, 2004

Technology in Tony Blair's Party Conference speech

Tomorrow's newspaper headlines will be full of protest, Iraq, and hunting when they discuss Tony Blair's keynote speech to the 2004 Labour Party Conference. Naturally it was the references to technology that pricked up my ears - and there were two in his section on "ten things a future Labour third term can do for Britain's hard-working families". At number seven: "ending the digital divide by bringing broadband technology to every home in Britain that wants it by 2008" That...
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BBC advertising in Baghdad

This weeks edition of Ariel, the BBC's in-house newspaper, has a news feature on us being the first international broadcaster to take up advertising space in Baghdad. It took me a moment to realise why the advert looked unfamiliar - I wonder if the original design brief included the fact that the branding elements, the tipped-up generic BBC logo and the blocked channel/station ident, would need to be flipped right-to-left?...
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September 26, 2004

Marc Smith from Microsoft Research at the BBC

This week the BBC's New Media & Technology department had a visitor in the shape of Marc Smith from Microsoft Research. We often have these types of presentations in Bush House on a Friday, we call it a "Learning Lunch". The BBC supplies the sandwiches, a speaker provides the learning and hopefully a group of people from the department pick up something new and get stimulated by it. Mostly these are internal staff presentations - in fact my own "A...
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Eboracum Ahoy! A visit to York

I managed to grab a brief holiday a couple of weeks back, and travelled with wife and mother-in-law in tow to York.    Part of the reason for choosing there had been that it fitted my wife's requirement that we should go somewhere with plenty of hauntings, so of course we went on the obligatory Ghost Walk of York. We chose one of the less sensational ones, The Haunted Walk of York, which was really good and I can recommend...
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Doctor Who and Rose in crisis

Surely I can't have been the only Doctor Who fan whose heart sank when they saw yesterday's headline in The Sun - "Chris and Billie In Crisis" - automatically assuming that it referred to some terrible production issue with the new series involving Mr Eccleston and Ms Piper?...
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September 21, 2004

London Bus fares rise by 42%. Or become free. (Depending on how you do the sums. Or how old you are)

Not a great day in the media for London's Transport as the annual ritual of the fare increase announcement enjoyed its latest instalment. Punitive rises all round it seems this time round. Well, until you have a careful look at the small print, which has some better news: Free travel on buses for all under-16s from September 2005 (probably not such happy news for bus drivers though!) Free travel on buses for all under-18s in full time education from the...
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Carling Cup free-for-all on Five Live

Tonight was the second round of the little loved Carling Cup, when all the Premiership teams (except those who have qualified for European football) join in the "fun". You know a competition is on its last legs when even teams like Bolton, Preston and Sunderland are resting their first team and making up to ten changes from the players they put out on Saturday and Sunday in the league. This evening made for a great listen on Five Live though,...
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Open House at Loughton Station

This weekend was Open House in London, and I booked to go on a tour of Loughton Station on Sunday morning. The present station at Loughton is the third to serve the area, and was built in the late 1930s at a time when the Underground was taking over what had been an overground suburban railway - so it is unique in mixing the architectural and functional styles of the two.    The tour was well-run, and we were lucky...
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September 17, 2004

EastEnders vote in The Sun

The last time something I worked on was in the papers it was the Evening Standard, which managed to print the alphabetical press release teaser of the top twenty in the Five Live Sporting Century vote as the definitive countdown of the final results. Today it was the turn of our EastEnders vote - which made it into The Sun's TV section under the banner headline "Polls Apart". According to the paper: "EASTENDERS stars are furious over a new TV...
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Gramophones and Grooves on Radio 4

This week I've been really enjoying a five part series broadcast on Radio 4 - Gramophones and Grooves - an exploration by David Owen Norris of 19th century sound recordings. It is astonishing to think that these sounds have survived on those fragile early formats for over one hundred years now. The shows included end of the 19th century popular tunes and the spoken word of course, but I also really enjoyed the ethnographical recordings - whether it was the...
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September 16, 2004

Accident at Walthamstow Bus Station

If you are looking for information about the recent 97 bus crash into the McDonalds on Hoe Street, you can find that here. There was a serious road accident at Walthamstow Central on Monday evening - and it caused Selbourne Road to be closed. It meant all the bus routes had to be diverted away from Walthamstow Bus Station. It left the brand new building lit up for use yet completely abandandoned and empty, still chirping out the automated reassurance...
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September 15, 2004

Can you be right wing, pro-hunt AND pro-violent protest?

I'm looking forward to both The Telegraph and the Daily Mail tomorrow. Violent protests are usually pretty clear cut from their point of view - the domain of left-wing agitators who stand against civilisation. Think the miners. Think the poll tax riots. Think of the sacrilege of a green mohican on Churchill's head. Think that every time violence erupts it is blamed on violent protesters not ill-treatment by the police, even if the police have illegally detained hundreds of innocent...
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Not The Big Read, but two smaller reads

I don't know, you wait years for a national interactive literary vote like The Big Read, and then two come along at once - both of which my team have worked on. Nominations are currently open for the Women's Watershed Fiction vote: Woman's Hour invites you to nominate the novel which has spoken to you on a personal level. It may have changed the way you look at yourself or simply made you happy to be a woman. As a...
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Doctor Who back on the cover of the Radio Times

Well, sort of....
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September 13, 2004

Battleship Potemkin and Pet Shop Boys at Trafalgar Square

Tonight I went to the ICA curated event at Trafalgar Square which saw the Pet Shop Boys with the Dresdner Sinfoniker providing a live soundtrack to Sergei Eisenstein's "Battleship Potemkin". It is the second time I've seen the film on a big screen, and it just looked fantastic. I'm sure I shall no doubt review the event at length for my collective portfolio when I get a chance, but in the meantime here are some pictures that give a flavour...
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September 12, 2004

Cause and effect?

I was travelling home tonight exactly a week after the murder that took place at Wood Street station on September 5th. There has been quite a palpable sense of shock and anger in the community. Still nobody was feeling worried or uneasy tonight at Walthamstow Central, as it was full of police officers seeking anyone who may have witnessed the attack which took place just one stop further down the line. There was something ironic about the fact that they...
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September 11, 2004

One angry man and fifty-five bored residents

On Monday I spent a very depressing evening at the latest Walthamstow West Community Council meeting - not least because it started with the observation of a minute's silence for the victim of a murder at Wood Street Station, just down the road from where we live. The main business of the night was the third attempt for the community to spend its' budget. After a lengthy intro into the voting process, the chair conducted a test vote into how...
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September 10, 2004

BBC Four A-Z-o-tron

The BBC Four web site got a design facelift and spruce up this week - and part of the project was a mini-CPS to allow the team to automatically generate subsets of their A-Z index for genres like music and documentaries. It was a great example of a how a quick idea being well specified can consequently be delivered rapidly - which I was very happy with. However, I learnt a valuable lesson as a manager of these kind of...
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Cult Comics on

More great work from the boy eyedropper on the BBC homepage today promoting the Cult comics mini-site - which in itself is well worth a visit - not least for the streamed audio adventures from Big Finish featuring 2000AD characters, including Simon Pegg as Johnny Alpha...
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September 9, 2004

Watching England away

I wasn't literally with the away fans on Wednesday for the England - Poland match, but I was away from the confines of London where I have watched all but a handful of England's games in recent years. In fact I can only think of the match against Tunisa at France 98 (watched alone in a hotel room in Marseille having failed to obtain a black market ticket), the away game against Sweden in 1998 (watched in a pub in...
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September 6, 2004

Walthamstow West Community Council meeting

I got mailed today by Waltham Forest Council to remind me that the next Walthamstow West Community Council is on 6th September 2004 at McEntee School. The mail included as attachments the agenda and supporting papers, and the minutes from the last minute. One black mark though for Waltham Forest's EGovernment is that I couldn't find those documents on their web site. That's a shame, as it makes the community council feel a bit like a closed club. It...
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September 3, 2004

Bad news day at

Some stories are so big and so horrifying as they unfold that we go into "breaking news" mode on the homepage Normally the image and the "promotion" slot are dedicated to marketing television and radio shows, content across, and to reflect events in the national calendar, like St. Georges Day or Christmas. However on days like today the promo space becomes the exclusive domain of the news agenda. It is always quite difficult for us, because our entire...
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