October 2005 Archives

October 30, 2005

Al's Records, Walthamstow and Islington

As the music industry still struggles to come to terms with the way the internet has smashed through their business model, it is always nice to see something that demonstrates that the business model has not always been set in stone. Instead of trying to legislate and prosecute for the status quo, the industry should be working out how to adjust the model to keep the content publishing companies in business, if they are still to have a place. Whilst...
Read the full post.

October 28, 2005

Most Haunted Live at Tower Bridge

So I'm currently watching Living TV's "Most Haunted Live", hoping for a glimpse of my wife in the background. Tonight's show is from her place of work, and one of her duties is being the film officer. This means she has to accompany crews around the building, checking they stay safe and keep to the terms of their contract. Which for Most Haunted means spending the evening lurking around in the dark hoping to hear strange noises. Staff there don't...
Read the full post.

Accessibility Help Across The BBC Site (Almost)

We made a site-wide template change at the BBC today, to add an "Accessibilty Help" link to our new My Web My Way section in the left-hand navigation of the page. Coupled with the 'Text only' link in the top left-hand corner of every page with standard navigation, it means that the links most needed by people with accessibility issues should be virtually the first thing they come across on any BBC page. Well, it was sort of site-wide. When...
Read the full post.

October 27, 2005

Record Sleeves Reproduced With Permission From Universal

Now here's something I've never seen before. In Walthamstow's little heart of American retail - The Mall - River Island has a shop window display that features various album sleeves scattered around the floor underneath the showroom dummies. Plastered across the whole of the window is a transparent sticker declaring in bold text: Record sleeves reproduced with permission from Universal Perhaps Universal were worried someone might download the shop-window and file-share the sleeves? I noted though that River Island had...
Read the full post.

BBC TV Portal v1.1

I wrote a little while ago about how we had launched a new TV portal page at bbc.co.uk/tv. At the time I pointed out how advanced for the BBC the client-side code was in terms of ditching tables, and moving as close as possible to a pure CSS approach within our current framework. That wasn't without problems, and there were also some issues with the design when people visited the page with javascript switched off. It also broke in quite...
Read the full post.

October 22, 2005

The software used to access the BBC homepage: Beta software, edge products and conclusions - part 6

This is page 6 of a 6 page article - 1 2 3 4 5 6   Download a print version of this article Beta Software and Edge Products I was surprised to see quite a small penetration of the current beta software. With both Vista and IE7 out in the wild I expected to see a reasonable amount of use. Perhaps they just don't just have the buzz around them that open source does? IE7 has 0.04% browser share...
Read the full post.

The software used to access the BBC homepage: Browser share - part 5

This is page 5 of a 6 page article - 1 2 3 4 5 6   Download a print version of this article Internet Explorer Requests To The BBC Homepage As with the Windows Operating System, Microsoft have done an excellent job of migrating all their users onto the latest version of the software. Over 90% of requests for the BBC homepage from an Internet Explorer browser came from the most recent stable release - Internet Explorer 6. Versions...
Read the full post.

The software used to access the BBC homepage: Browser share - part 4

This is page 4 of a 6 page article - 1 2 3 4 5 6   Download a print version of this article Browsers Visiting The BBC Homepage The browser market amongst those requesting the BBC homepage still shows a vice-like grip from Microsoft products, but both Firefox and Safari represent small but significant deviations from the Internet Explorer norm. All the versions of IE together make up just under 86% of requests to the BBC homepage, with Firefox...
Read the full post.

The software used to access the BBC homepage: Windows, Mac, Linux and legacy OS share - part 3

This is page 3 of a 6 page article - 1 2 3 4 5 6   Download a print version of this article Windows Operating System Share Concentrating on just Windows alone we can see that Microsoft have done a very thorough job of converting their user base to the most recent iteration of the software. Windows XP accounts for just under 70.5% of the Windows requests, and Windows 2000 a further 17.4%. That means in total around 88%...
Read the full post.

The software used to access the BBC homepage: Operating systems - part 2

This is page 2 of a 6 page article - 1 2 3 4 5 6   Download a print version of this article Operating systems visiting the BBC homepage The complete dominance of Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6 is no surprise. Just over 70% of requests to the BBC homepage come from machines running Windows XP, and IE6 took 78% of the browser market. In the operating system sphere the stranglehold of Windows is nearly complete - a...
Read the full post.

The software used to access the BBC homepage

This is page 1 of a 6 page article - 1 2 3 4 5 6   Download a print version of this article Studying the software that visits the BBC homepage It started with a casual enquiry from a colleague - "I wonder how many Firefox users visit the BBC homepage?" - and before I knew it I was involved in a lengthy statistical analysis of the browsers and operating systems that request the BBC homepage at http://www.bbc.co.uk. Our...
Read the full post.

Analysing The Software That Uses The BBC Homepage

I've just published an article looking at the type of browsers and operating systems used by people to access the BBC homepage. It started out when I tried to answer the casual question "How many people use Firefox to view the BBC homepage", and evolved into a statistical analysis of 32 million requests made for the BBC homepage in the space of one week during September 2005. I was looking at the user agent string submitted by those requests, which...
Read the full post.

Belam Senior On BBC Radio

My dad, Cllr Bob Belam, appeared on the Robert Elms show on BBC London yesterday, talking about London's forthcoming 20th New Year's Day Parade in his capacity as ex-Mayor of Waltham Forest. If you are interested you can listen again on demand (until next Friday's show appears I guess). You need to fast forward to ten minutes into the show....
Read the full post.

October 21, 2005

Trafalgar 200 on the BBC Homepage

Today the BBC homepage has had a special promo and semi-permanent panel to mark the celebrations for the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. The editorial team took an approach to the topic that I hadn't seen on the page before - using the main promo area to promote the BBC's Trafalgar related content, and using the panel underneath to focus solely on external web content, including links to the official Traflagar celebration site, the Sea Britain 2005 festival site,...
Read the full post.

October 20, 2005

More eBay Goodness

My rapid selling off of seemingly every collectable I own continues apace over at eBay. At the moment you can bid for a Björk CD and Video box set for Jòga, or perhaps my BOSS Dr. Rhythm DR-550 Drum Machine, or my old Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard.       The star of the sale so far is without doubt my Depeche Mode "Songs Of Faith and Devotion" 4CD promo box. It includes one compilation disc - Singles 86->93, that is...
Read the full post.

Oxford Circus Underground Timewarp

There is currently some refurbishment work going on at Oxford Circus Underground station, and as you descend towards the Northbound Bakerloo and Victoria line platforms you suddenly drift back in time over 15 years. The work has exposed two panels of adverts that must date from back in 1989, since one of them is advertising a New Year's Day Andy Sheppard gig from 1990....
Read the full post.

October 14, 2005

BBC Homepage Coverage of the South Asia Quake

The BBC homepage has been providing an additional panel this week for in-depth coverage of the unfolding earthquake disaster in Asia. The panel was launched on Monday, and carried links through to the Have Your Say section on News, as well as a special reaction site prepared by the BBC's Asian Network. It also carried a link through to Wikipedia's growing resource on the Kashmir Earthquake. On Tuesday the panel was changed, and once again featured a direct link through...
Read the full post.

John Peel Day on Flickr and the BBC Homepage

Yesterday was "John Peel Day", which shared top-billing on the BBC homepage with Margaret Thatcher's birthday on the homepage. The Radio One site has got heaps of content from around the day - and you can listen again to the John Peel show. One thing that really caught my eye was the prominence given to gathering together photos from events all around the country. If you've got photos of your the gigs you've been putting on, we'd love to see...
Read the full post.

Audience Reaction To The BBC Homepage Nighty Night Promo

A while back I wrote about the promotions for Nighty Night that have been running on the BBC homepage. The humour of the programme is of a strongly adult nature, and not something we would normally link to from the homepage, as it isn't suitable for a family audience. However as we are currently streaming the programme 24/7 over the net the editorial team have experimented with promoting it after the watershed, between 9pm and 4am. When the promotions were...
Read the full post.

October 13, 2005

"I Used To *Really* Love H&M" - Reaction To H&M's &denim Romeo & Juliet Campaign

'There's enough comedy in advertising today,' says Jörgen Andersson. 'And jeans are not about laughs, jeans are love and soul and tears. That's what we're trying to emphasize with this tragic and beautiful Romeo & Juliet story.' I went to see Serenity on Monday, and before I got to enjoy that I was assaulted by the seemingly endless Dave LaChapelle directed "advert" for H&M's &denim range. The reaction in the cinema was one of horror. There is a hideous moment...
Read the full post.

October 12, 2005

Today on the BBC Homepage

Literally. D'oh! The absolute URL of the BBC homepage includes the string /today/ in it. The absolute URL of Radio 4's Today homepage includes the string /today/ in it. For a brief period this morning our ancient legacy server-side rewrite rules got a bit confused, and so you got the latter instead of the former at bbc.co.uk....
Read the full post.

October 8, 2005

England Have Qualified For The 2006 World Cup

Despite the firestorm in the press this week, and the frankly wretched performance this afternoon, England have assured themselves of qualification to the 2006 World Cup Finals. If they win against Poland on Wednesday they will qualify automatically as group winners, but even if they lose, minus the suspended David Beckham, their record is sufficient to qualify them as one of the two best placed runners-up in the European groups. There is no doubt that the four England performances so...
Read the full post.

New TV site for BBC.co.uk

A couple of weeks ago the BBC launched a new version of the TV portal page at bbc.co.uk/tv. I didn't write about it at the time because I was rather too involved in making sure it got out of the door on time - which was quite a tight squeeze in the end. The old page had a very traditional BBC approach to a portal page - there was a little bit of everything, and equal weight given to all...
Read the full post.

October 7, 2005

Leyton Orient 3 Mansfield Town 1

Having written the other week about wanting to spend my Saturday afternoons watching Premiership football on dodgy satellite, last weekend I opted to follow up my trip to watch Leeds United with a visit to see my other team, local lads Leyton Orient. I haven't been for a couple of years, but I went on Saturday with my dad. The Matchroom Stadium née Brisbane Road ground has been mostly rebuilt in the last five years, and so we sat in...
Read the full post.

October 6, 2005

Covering Hurricane Katrina at the BBC

I was at a fascinating session on Monday lunchtime about the BBC's coverage of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in the south of the USA. The panel included two of the BBC's main correspondents who had covered the events, Jon Sopel and Gavin Hewitt, as well as Fran Unsworth, the BBC's Head of Newsgathering. It was great to get a perspective on events from the reporters themselves, and also to see some of the coverage they filed, which I...
Read the full post.

To Be BBC.com or Not To Be BBC.com

There has been a minor stir in The Register and at Revolution about the fact that following an FOI request the BBC has admitted that it spent £212,000 on transferring the bbc.com domain from Boston Business Computing to the corporation back in 1999. It sounds like an awful lot of money - but then you have to bear in mind that back in 1999 a business plan consisting of "we've registered a wacky domain name, and are going to do...
Read the full post.

October 5, 2005

Ronnie Barker on the BBC Homepage

The internet is awash with tributes to comic Ronnie Barker who died on Tuesday, and the BBC site has its' fair share both on Points of View and Have Your Say. I wanted to pay a slightly different tribute though, to the picture editor on the BBC homepage yesterday. Like newspapers with pre-prepared obituries we've always got a stand-by situation for important world figures, and a stack of pictures we would use in case of their death. Sometimes, like with...
Read the full post.

More Signed Items On eBay

I've put some more signed items up for sale on eBay this week - you can pick up a signed copy of Depeche Mode's "Some Great Reward" album, or of Japan's "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" single. I've also got a signed copy of the Food Xmas Party cassette up for sale. It was only available at one gig in Brixton in 1991 and features two rare tracks by Blur, and is signed by all four members of the band.      ...
Read the full post.

London Transport Fare Rises

Yesterday marked one of my annual blog rituals, when the Evening Standard spins the announcement of fare rises on London's transport system into a story of economic doom'n'gloom that even the pessimistic Daily Express would be envious of. (I'd apologise for repeating myself, but due to the great currybetdotnet server disaster of 2005 none of the earlier posts are currently online.) Today the Standard screamed: KEN'S HUGE FARE RISE Usually the trick on these occasions is to use the percentage...
Read the full post.

October 4, 2005

Airfix Dumbs Down. So Does Subbuteo.

A fantastic article in the Daily Mail today bemoaning the "dumbing down" of Airfix, as they update their range to introduce snap together models of futuristic craft from the 45th century targeted at 8 to 12 years. I used to enjoy putting kit aeroplanes myself at a tender age, although the effect of my craftmanship was usually spoiled by the fact that I then insisted on painting them in whichever gaudy colour of paint had taken my eye on my...
Read the full post.

October 3, 2005

Daleks, Depeche and DRM

I noticed the Media Guardian site had a Dalek illustrating a story today, about how the entertainment industry was failing to protect copyright. More than half of the CDs, DVDs and computer games sold in Europe have no form of copyright protection on them, new research claimed today. I assumed the Dalek was there as they were going to talk about the pre-transmission leak of opening episode 'Rose'....
Read the full post.

To work at the BBC you have to be gay, black AND/OR a woman

And thus with one quote in The Sun Rik Mayall finally disabuses me of the notion that I was going to somehow leap from my current new media world into the murky world of TV. *Sigh*. Just one thing though - the quote in the article is "You have to be black, homosexual and a woman to work at the BBC" yet the headline is "To work at BBC you have to be gay, black or a woman". Maybe...
Read the full post.

Coloured text in the BBC.co.uk homepage promotional space

Sometimes it is the small technical changes that can make the biggest creative difference. The BBCi homepage redesign in 2002 featured a much commented on piece of work by Paul Hammond, the 'patina' effect. The homepage could be a variety of colours, and the exact shades of the colour on each element on the page varied over time according to how often you clicked on it. Apart from being a great way to subtly personalise the page without users having...
Read the full post.

Read more about…