June 2007 Archives

June 29, 2007

BBC search plugins for Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2

Download BBC search plugins for Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2. I've been going through a round of updating software since I've had my main PC hooked up to the net for the first time in 18 months. It has been a mixed bag, with some software like iTunes 7.2 misbehaving, and others working perfectly. As part of this I've finally upgraded my web browsing experience to Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2. One of the things that happens...
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June 28, 2007

Free public wifi in the Lasithi region in Crete. Well, almost

Regular readers will know that I have been highly critical of the internet infrastructure provision here in Crete. Although the island has broadband the local phone network where we live isn't of sufficient quality to get ADSL, so at home we are stuck in the netherworld of dial-up. There has been quite a bit of to and fro in the letters page of the Athens News in the last few weeks between various would-be customers and OTE. OTE stress again...
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June 27, 2007

Times Online WBLG oddity

Whilst I was doing my recent survey of the Web 2.0 features on British newspaper websites I spotted one or two quirks which I wanted to highlight. The Times has a very curious approach to putting titles to their blog feeds. For some reason, as well as the bizarre CSS in their recent redesign, it seems someone decided they needed to append 'WBLG' to the title of every weblog. Occasionally I spotted the odd variation where weblog was written out...
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June 26, 2007

The Daily Mail's hypocrisy over Eastern European immigration is crinimal [sic]

The Daily Mail's Femail section online today had a fluff piece from Sarah Sands "If homeowners who pay workmen in cash are criminals then I'm a middle class crook". It comes with one of those 'cute' Daily Mail cartoons intended to signify that the article shouldn't be taken too seriously. The problem is, as jokey as the piece is, I couldn't work out when tax evasion, and encouraging the employment of people on levels below the minimum wage, probably without...
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The Telegraph's scatter-gun approach to related RSS feeds

Whilst doing the research for my lengthy series about the "Web 2.0" features on British newspaper websites, I came across quite a few quirks on them that didn't fit into the main set of articles, but that I wanted to point out anyway. One of these was on The Telegraph's site, which I noticed when I was putting together my table of the different RSS feed implementations by the eight newspapers I was surveying. Whilst looking at whether sites offered...
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June 25, 2007

Quickly setting the default Google Analytics dashboard view to show a week or 48 hours

I love Google Analytics, it is a brilliant tool, and free, and the recently revamped user interface definitely improved the product. Of course, it is also another avenue for Skynet Google to find out everything about my online activities, but there you go. The only problem I've had with the recent redesign, apart from how long the flash interface takes to download over Greek dial-up, is the initial date range it loads. Despite the dashboard interface being customisable in all...
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June 22, 2007

The BBC's Editors blog links to currybetdotnet - and illustrates one of the downsides of RSS

I've had a massive influx of visitors to currybetdotnet over the last couple of weeks, partially fuelled by some links to my piece about the BBC iPlayer DRM debate, and partially due to the fact that my article about the Daily Mail's self-censorship is featuring highly on Google for various combinations of 'big brother' with words like breasts, nipple and topless. Also in the mix were some referrers directly from bbc.co.uk. It took me a while poking about in the...
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June 21, 2007

British newspaper and blog feeds OPML file listed on Grazr

I spotted the other day that my OPML file of British newspaper news and blog RSS feeds had made its way onto Grazr - 348 British Newspaper and Blog feeds - a service which I hadn't come across before. Grazr is a web application which, as its web 2.0-ish name suggests, allows you to 'graze' through collections of feeds rather than subscribe to them forever. RSS feeds are great, but the subscription model used by aggregators is slow and clumsy....
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June 20, 2007

Musical social networking (slight return)

Finally at the weekend my personal weekly chart on Last.fm was updated - for the first time since December 2005, when I was last a regular scrobbler. That rather eclectic mix, featuring such obscurities as TOT and iLiKETRAiNS was replaced by a chart which looks rather more like my staple musical fare. Having got enough cable to finally hook up my main PC to the internet via the phone socket for the first time in 18 months, I've also downloaded...
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June 19, 2007

Facebook could do with short nickname URLs

Updated 15/6/2009 - A mere two years after I wrote this, Facebook has introduced a usernames feature - you can find out more here. One of my friends in an IM conversation the other day pointed out that in barely three weeks Facebook has gone from being something you didn't want to join as it was full of spotty teensomethings, to something where the serious boss of your boss of your boss of your boss now has a profile. The...
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June 18, 2007

Newscounter blog-jacked

A couple of odd posts started appearing in my amongst my Bloglines subscriptions as I was skimming through them the other day. They seemed very out of character for the blog I was subscribed to - the Newscounter blog. On closer inspection, it appears that the team behind Newscounter, the site where people are able to respond to criticism about them in the press, have been blog-jacked. During the beta stage of the site they had a blog on the...
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June 15, 2007

Tweaking my old Glastonbury articles in response to searches

If you are looking for a 5 day weather forecast for Glastonbury please follow this link - BBC Weather With the annual media hype fest that is Glastonbury approaching in a couple of weeks, I noticed yesterday a sudden huge spike in the number of people arriving at the currybetdotnet site looking for things like "glastonbury weather", "ten day weather forecast glastonbury", "weather glastonbury" and so on. I'm guessing these are people who are not actually particularly interested in...
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Today is the deadline for opting out of Feedburner handing all of their usage data to Google

It hadn't occurred to me that the purchase of the hitherto excellent FeedBurner service by Google would have any implications for me, but that was before I logged in the other day. Today is the deadline for telling FeedBurner "Thanks, but no thanks" to the new state of affairs. If you use FeedBurner and you let them know today, they will cancel your account and delete all of your historical statistics and usage data, and stop serving your feed. NOTE:...
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June 14, 2007

Extra URLs for the Guardian Gamesblog in Bloglines

Whilst I was doing my recent survey of the Web 2.0 features on British newspapers, I spotted one or two quirks which I wanted to highlight. This one is actually more of a quirk in user behaviour and Bloglines than in the publishing paper. Bloglines shows all the different feed URLs it has stored for a particular page's RSS feeds. Usually it is just the variations between Atom or RSS 2.0 available from the publisher. Occasionally you'll see some errant...
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The curse of annoying Windows XP speech bubble system alert pop-ups

Whenever I write complaining about some aspect of Microsoft's Windows OS, I usually get a couple of people pointing out that I should use something a bit more Linux-y. I have tried out a couple of flavours of Linux desktop, but so far I haven't found anything that does the trick for me. More importantly, the ubiquity of Windows in the business world means I'm pretty much stuck with it in order to do my work. Which doesn't stop me...
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June 13, 2007

College to close swimming pool in Olympic Borough of Waltham Forest

It hasn't been a good week or so for the 2012 London Olympics, what with the logo fiasco and all that. The Sun, well known champion of minority rights and anti-discrimination, ran a competition featuring a blind woman and a monkey to improve the logo design. Nice to see The Sun think of them as equals. And I noted that they managed to plug the software used by their designer for her effort: "The Sun's graphics editor Kathryn George also...
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Free the BBC from the same old tired DRM debate

I was pointed via Wonderland yesterday at the Free The BBC site, where a petition is gathering against the BBC's proposed use of DRM in the upcoming iPlayer application. And of course, a quick look shows that this has sparked the same tired circular arguments on the backstage.bbc.co.uk mailing list. One person has been arguing that DRM is a bad thing because their sister accidentally wiped clean their iPod, whilst someone else is claiming the only basis for the BBC's...
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Google search results promoting YouTube's Premier League copyright infringement

There was a bit of fuss last week when Ask announced a more integrated search results interface, following on from a similar announcement a while back that Google were going to more tightly integrate their niche search products like image search and blog search. One of the problems for Google is that the tighter integration of video results into their main search engine makes it harder for them to plead ignorance about copyright issues. Apart from the issue of a...
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June 12, 2007

RSS article in the Press Gazette this week

I have an article published in this week's edition of Press Gazette. Well, I say this week. We don't get it here in Greece, so I'm not 100% sure that it has appeared in print yet, but it certainly turned up on the Press Gazette website over the weekend. I can't claim credit for the puntastic tabloid headline - "Does your website know its RSS from its elbow?" - but the rest of it is mine. It looks at the...
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The Independent's confusing use of timestamps

Whilst doing the research for my lengthy series about the "Web 2.0" features on British newspaper websites, I came across quite a few quirks on them that didn't fit into the main set of articles, but that I wanted to point out anyway. The Independent's site didn't get a good review from me - particularly their blogs - and there was another thing I found bewildering about their technical implementation - their use of time-stamps. On articles on The Independent's...
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June 11, 2007

Guess who is the the favourite search term on the Daily Express site?

Whilst doing the research for my lengthy series about the "Web 2.0" features on British newspaper websites, I came across quite a few quirks on them that didn't fit into the main set of articles, but that I wanted to point out anyway. One of these was on the Daily Express site. Aside from their sadly telling keywords tag content, of course. When you perform a search on the site, at the top of the results page there is a...
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Under siege from the future maybe, but news isn't in a terminal decline yet

Quite a few of the blogs I read about the news industry linked a couple of weeks back to an opinion piece by Neil Henry in the San Francisco Chronicle called "The decline of news". He nails his colours firmly to the mast with the title of his most recent book - "American Carnival: Journalism Under Siege in an Age of New Media" It struck me that this could be the latest in a long-line in books examining this recurring...
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June 8, 2007

I love my Flickr photos being on We Love Crete

I love my new home in Crete. Anastasi & Apostoli love it too - so much so that these members of the Greek diaspora have made a site about it - "We Love Crete". They also obviously love my photography of Chania on Flickr. They've used two of my Creative Commons licensed pictures on the site on their page about Chania....
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Athens News apology for racism due in the shops today. Again.

Two of the web sites I love visiting daily are about mistakes. The Daily WTF offers "daily posts of user-submitted examples of bad code and software design". Meanwhile Regret The Error rounds up the funniest corrections and retractions published in newspapers around the globe. And, as the saying goes, if we don't learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. The Athens News is the only English language Greek-based newspaper we get in Crete, and we rely upon...
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June 7, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: OPML file for British newspaper RSS feeds

Over the last couple of weeks I've been looking at some of the subscriber numbers in Bloglines to the RSS feeds published by British newspapers. Some of the feeds have been easier to find than others - as the quality of signposting on the various sites differs. I ended up subscribed to a whopping 2,316 feeds - of which, admittedly, 1,968 were individual author feeds belonging to The Guardian's Comment Is Free. In the course of subscribing to the feeds,...
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June 6, 2007

Twitter polluting Google search results for news topics

I've begun to see Twitter cropping up more and more in Google search engine results pages recently, and I can't help thinking that they aren't actually terribly good quality results. I noticed it particularly the other day when researching my post about the difference between the Madeleine McCann and Alex Meschisvili cases. For the search terms 'bbc news mccann', in the top three or top five results (depending on whether I was logged into Google or not) was a link...
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June 5, 2007

Newspapers 2.0: OPML files for The Telegraph and The Mirror blogs by author

Interesource (not Intersource as I kept calling them) have been very pro-active in responding to my comments about the blogs on The Telegraph and The Mirror that they provide. One of the team was quick to point out some innacuracy in my table of newspaper blog features, where I'd missed out, amongst other things, that they offered navigation by tags. He also pointed out that some of the blogs, like Shane Richmond's, did offer blogrolls, and not only that, that...
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June 4, 2007

How many logos does one London Olympic Games need?

Do you have a logo for your business or event? Does it neatly encapsulate the vision of what you are doing - say for example including a recognisable landmark like the Thames, in the colours of something to do with what you are promoting, I don't know, say the Olympics? Does it carry all the vital information you need to convey, say for example the date and location of the event? Have you sold a ton of merchandising already featuring...
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Can We7 fare better than Sigue Sigue Sputnik in making people listen to adverts?

Last week saw a couple of significant moves within the music download industry. Apple started selling premium DRM-free music. An odd concept of 'premium' to me, since all the music I purchased up until about about 5 years ago was DRM-free. I'm not sure where the added 'premium' value comes in. More interestingly, We7 announced an advertising supported music download service that would be free at the point of consumption. The premise of their MediaGraft technology is that they will...
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June 2, 2007

Too much Big Brother nipple for the Daily Mail

I understand that the start of the new series of Big Brother on Channel 4 in the summer also marks the official start of "the silly season" in the UK, when nothing much happens in the news - compounded this year by the false interregnum at the helm at the country. I was surprised by some of the early Big Brother 8 coverage on the Daily Mail's online site in the last couple of days. They've had me checking the...
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June 1, 2007

No Beatles digital downloads on Sgt. Pepper's 40th anniversary

Well, you can't always be right. Back in April I wrote an article about the Beatles CD reissue programme, which started in 1987. It was most successful chartwise in getting the Sgt. Pepper album back at number 3 twenty years after the original issue of the album. You can't have missed the fuss today around the 40th anniversary of the landmark album. Back in April I predicted that today would also mark the announcement that The Beatles' music would finally...
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Who benefits financially from the Madeleine McCann publicity juggernaut?

I noticed towards the end of this week that, alongside the rumours of journalist frolics in Portugal whilst following the Madeleine McCann case, a couple of columnists have broken rank with the default position of their newspaper. Today on The Time's site Stefanie Marsh has been called "a very lonely, sad, selfish person" for her piece "I confess: I have not been agonising about Madeleine". There has been disquiet expressed in the Telegraph, and yesterday it was Amanda Platell...
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Bloglines subscriptions numbers and OPML file for The Guardian's Comment Is Free site

I've mentioned a couple of times in the last few weeks the debate about whether The Guardian is entitled to call their "Comment Is Free" site a 'group blog', or whether it is just a random assortment of opinion columns from the paper held together by a handful of regular contributors. What can't be doubted is that the site presents itself in a very richly featured blog format, which includes the provision of RSS feeds on a per author basis....
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