May 2007 Archives

May 31, 2007

Official News blogs - Bloglines subscriber numbers and OPML file

Yesterday I was writing about the newly launched Media Standards Trust site, and the excellent blog roll of blogging journalists they had on their site, which I have made an OPML file for. The same page had an equally useful blog roll of 'official' blogs from major news sources in the UK, including the BBC, Sky, Channel 4 and The Guardian. Again, I thought an OMPL file listing all the RSS feeds of these sites might be of use. I...
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May 30, 2007

Blogging journalists - Bloglines subscription numbers compared to newspaper blogs

In the last month an organisation called the Media Standards Trust launched a beta version of their web site, promising to: "find ways to foster the highest standards of excellence in news journalism and ensure public trust in news is nurtured" I think it is an interesting initiative, in an era when journalism faces greater and easier public scrutiny and fact-checking, and faces the ethical and commercial issues of how to deal with a growing mountain of digital content created...
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May 29, 2007

Testing the dinosaur of image copyright law

Scientists have discovered that apparently predatory dinosaurs could swim, in a story covered by Wired's Science blog last week. They used one of my Flickr photographs to illustrate it. The photograph was on Flickr with a Creative Commons License, and Wired have credited me, which is fine. Well, probably fine, unless you are the Natural History Museum. I suspect that they will feel that they ought to be getting the credit and the link-love for their animatronic dinosaur, rather then...
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Daily Mail survey asseses how "Web 2.0" their readers are

Whilst I have been doing my lengthy analysis of how "Web 2.0" British newspaper web sites are, it looks like the Daily Mail have been looking down the opposite end of the telescope - trying to analyse how "Web 2.0" their readers are. Last week whilst I visited the site a survey popped up, with some very interesting questions, aimed at establishing the audience's attitude towards the social aspects of the internet. Question 18 specifically addressed which kind of web...
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May 28, 2007

Madeleine McCann and Alex Meschisvili - a culture contrast

The disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal hasn't made the TV news bulletins or English language press here in Greece, but as I still follow a lot of what goes on in the media in the UK, I have seen the acres of coverage devoted to the story at the other end of the continent. One trend that seems to be emerging in these high profile media scrum "Diana moments" in recent years is the intimate involvement of suspects or...
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May 27, 2007

Joseph and the BBC's amazing technicolor nightmare vote

I see that the BBC has got itself into a bit of a pickle over the online voting for the school choir competition that accompanies the current 'talent' search programme "Any Dream Will Do". Often when these kind of issues occurred with an online vote it would happen because the television or radio production team had consulted with the new media department about their plans too late in the day. After all, if you are not au fait with the...
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May 25, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: RSS links on The Guardian's new homepage

It never ceased to amaze me how you could spend nine months working on the redesign of a site, using every ounce of your professional experience, attempting to solve as many of the problems you knew were in the existing solution - only to be drenched with email screaming "What have you done, idiot!" within hours of launch. Certainly at the BBC you would have been able to play buzzword complaint bingo, as you could guarantee that within 24 hours...
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May 24, 2007

Cheats never prosper. Well, not unless they are religious football cheats.

Some people say that sport and politics shouldn't mix. Personally I find sport and religion to be a worse combination. I hate to see religion being dragged onto the football field, whether it is the idiotic sectarian chants of Scottish football fans, or players crossing themselves as they enter the pitch, or pointing to the sky after they have scored as if some divine intervention was responsible for their talent and actions. Divine intervention seems particularly out of place in...
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Newspapers 2.0: What metadata can tell you about a newspaper

In the late 1990s metadata was the buzz word in search optimisation circles. By tweaking your <meta> description and keywords tags, you could manipulate the way your page was listed by the search engines of the time. The trick was basically to stuff the meta tags with as many search terms you could think of, and hope the less sophisticated retrieval techniques of the time pulled your pages up for those phrases. [1] Once Google's PageRank algorithm came along, the...
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May 23, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: Bloglines newspaper blog RSS subscription figures

Yesterday I was looking at the most popular RSS newsfeeds from British newspapers. Well, at least the most popular ones according to the subscription figures given by the Bloglines online RSS reader anyway. This is a crude measure of popularity for all sorts of reasons. It only measures public subscriptions in one online RSS feed-reading service. It doesn't take into account any demographic skew between the user base of Bloglines and the readership of the newspapers concerned. It doesn't measure...
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May 22, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: Bloglines newspaper RSS subscription figures

I've been looking across a range of eight British newspapers to see the extent to which they have adopted so-called "Web 2.0" technologies like social bookmarking, blogging and the publication of RSS feeds. One thing that has been missing from this analysis so far is any attempt to gather any metrics about their usage. Newspapers are rather precious about their web statistics, as illustrated by the spat between The Guardian and The Telegraph over who had the most visitors earlier...
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May 21, 2007

Last Rounds project featuring some of my photographs of Tube stations

I'm always pleased to see my public Flickr photos being re-used to help new websites, and a little while ago I was approached about using some of my pictures on the "Last Rounds" site. It is a website that concerns itself with public transport and the pursuit of beer. Seeing as that wraps up three of my chief areas of interest, how could I refuse? The Last Rounds project began in response to the new later licensing laws in England....
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May 18, 2007

6.5% have "Fast internet" in Greece - but not me

I wrote earlier this week about Greece and the take-up of the internet and gaming amongst the younger generation here. Their use of the internet is a marked contrast to the rest of Greek society, which has the lowest internet usage amongst the 25 countries of the EU. I had to laugh at this story from state broadcaster ERT this week - "Digital Greece with Fast Internet" As per data presented by the Minister of Economy and Finance George Alogoskoufis...
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How much did shingles cost in 1963?

When Vannevar Bush proposed the memex idea back in the 1940s, he surely didn't envisage that the global marketplace the internet has become would make retrieving certain types of information so difficult. One area fraught with problems is trying to get historical pricing information. In researching my piece about Rhino re-inventing the concept of the EP, I wanted to find some sort of data about the relative costs of 45rpm singles, EPs and LPs during the 1950s and the 1960s....
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May 17, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: Homepage RSS information locations

As part of my study of how well British newspaper websites are adopting the technologies fuelling the so-called "Web 2.0" boom, I looked at whereabouts on their homepages they provided information about their RSS feeds. As we have seen, all of the eight newspapers that I surveyed offered content in the RSS format. Seven of them indicated this in some way on the homepage - only The Mirror's site made no reference to the service on their online front page....
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May 16, 2007

Games and Social Networking driving more young Greeks to use the internet?

I merited a brief mention in this post on the UrbanGreeks blog about internet activity in Greece - "Internet: The Nerdy Kid That Nobody Wants to Play With". I get quoted about my ordeal trying to get even a basic phone-line from OTE, the state monopoly provider here. "My experience of trying to get a connection set up here didn't do much to counter theory [that OTE are a major bottleneck to internet access]. Once the paperwork is done it...
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May 15, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: RSS features on British newspaper sites

One of the areas I was looking at in my survey of "Web 2.0" features across British newspaper websites was the RSS options offered by the sites. I though it would be useful to put down in tabular form a comparison between the features available on each site. The first table looks at how the feeds are formatted and promoted, and how easy they are made to use. I must note that although I've listed a number of feeds per...
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May 14, 2007

Questionable eBay adverts on Google "Jewish cemetery" searches

One of the issues Google has had to deal with is how to rank sites that can be considered by some to be "hate speech" and offensive. The Google position is quite clear - they don't interfere with their algorithm, and the computer decides who gets ranked where. This has been a particular problem with anti-Semitic content on the web, and when you perform searches around the topic of Judaism and the Jewish people, Google puts a little disclaimer into...
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May 11, 2007

Newspaper 2.0: Blog features on British newspaper sites

Having surveyed the blogging efforts of eight of the major newspapers in the UK, I though it would be useful to make a comparison chart of the different features they offer on their blogs. The first thing to note is, of course, that they do all have blogs, or at least various degrees of blog-like things that they call 'blogs' - even if in the case of The Independent it is very half-hearted indeed. I've looked at the common navigational...
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May 10, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: Social Bookmarking links on British newspaper sites

Over the last couple of weeks I have been looking at the Web 2.0 features on British newspaper websites. One of the main areas that I was interested in was to find out which newspapers were providing social bookmarking widgets in the way of buttons and links to services like Digg and Of the eight newspapers that I reviewed, I found that only two, The Sun and The Independent, seemed to have resisted the temptation to add these kind...
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May 9, 2007

Dead Sudan goat showcases a more topical BBC homepage

Finally last week one of the longest running "And finally..." stories in British media history was put to bed - the married Sudanese goat choked on a plastic bag and entered the dead animals hall of fame. The original BBC News story - Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat - seems to have been a virtually permanent fixture in the BBC's most popular and most emailed charts for ever. World Editor Adam Curtis was moved to write about it, and...
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May 8, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 are British newspaper web sites?

Over the last two weeks I've reviewed eight British newspaper web sites in depth, trying to identify where and how they are using the technologies that make up the so-called "Web 2.0" bubble. I've examined their use of blogs, RSS feeds, social bookmarking widgets, and the integration of user-generated content into their sites. I've reviewed the Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail, Guardian, Independent, The Sun, The Telegraph and The Times. On the whole I have found that most newspapers...
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May 7, 2007

Today's burning question: "What will the weather be like on the UK's Bank Holiday?"

I've set off today for a 10-day road trip around Crete, to explore the eastern half of the island which I have been calling home for a year, but haven't really explored yet. Thanks to the joy of scheduled publishing and the ./tools/run-periodic-tasks cron job, you shouldn't see any interuption to my blogging on currybetdotnet - although it does mean that the spelling mistakes I only ever seem to pick up after publication will be sitting there live for a...
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May 4, 2007

The Times RSS feeds are broken

When I reviewed The Times web site the other week, I was generally complimentary about it, and the site's overall provision of RSS feeds, even if I was a little bit unhappy that they were not using the standard orange RSS icon. However, my qualms about the blue "Newsfeed" logo are nothing compared to something I discovered this afternoon when doing some more research on newspaper RSS feeds. The Times RSS feeds are broken. Badly. I don't know whether this...
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I'm back in the closet on Facebook

At almost exactly the same moment as it happened to Dave, Facebook suddenly exploded into my inbox from several directions, with a plethora of invites from ex-colleagues, friends and family. As a consequence I thought I ought to set up my page properly. I couldn't really imagine that I'd use it very much, and I expect it will languish unloved like my Vox or my MySpace profiles. Though I did at least try out Vox long enough to publish some...
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May 3, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 is The Sun?

Over the last two weeks I have been looking at some of the major British newspaper websites, and examining the extent to which they have incorporated so-called "Web 2.0" technologies. Today I want to look at the last of the newspapers I am surveying - The Sun. RSS feeds The Sun's most recent redesign placed a prominent RSS icon with the slogan "News to you" in the masthead navigation on every page of the site. This link takes the user...
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Daily Express RSS feed 404s

Often when people first start out blogging they are advised that making their content available as RSS feeds is a great way of potentially growing their audience. It took British newspapers quite a while to learn this lesson, and it is only in the last year or so that all the major newspapers have started offering RSS feeds. Some of them are still a bit clumsy about letting people know where they are. Last year I noted that The Guardian...
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May 2, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 is The Guardian?

Over the last week or so I've been looking at how British newspapers have adopted some of the technologies and services that make up the so-called "Web 2.0" phenomena - things like RSS feeds, blogs, user generated comments, and social bookmarking widgets. I've looked at most of the major papers so far: The Express, The Times, The Mirror, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Independent. Today I want to look at a newspaper that is generally thought to punch above...
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May 1, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: How Web 2.0 is The Independent?

Over the last week-and-a-bit I've been studying how British newspapers have adopted so-called Web 2.0 technologies and services on their websites - things like RSS feeds, blogs, user generated comments, and social bookmarking widgets. So far I've looked at The Express, The Times, The Mirror, The Telegraph and the Daily Mail. Today I want to look at The Independent, a paper that has recently been much criticised for their lack of investment in their web site and adopting a cautious...
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