September 2007 Archives

September 30, 2007

Happy birthday Radio One - Established 1967

Today is the 40th anniversary of national institution Radio One. To celebrate they have emulated the NME's Ruby Trax compilation, getting modern artists to cover the 'classics' of yesteryear. I've never been a great consumer of radio myself. I used to listen to John Peel late at might, and the Annie Nightingale request show on a Sunday during my tweenage years, and before that I'd often hear the top 40 countdown in the car on the way back from visiting...
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September 29, 2007

The Blue Peter cat flap - when online voting goes bad

A couple of people have expressed surprise to me that I have not yet commented on the great Blue Peter online voting catflap (I refuse to use the term 'Socksgate') since the BBC and Voting are two of the regular topics on this site. Full disclosure up front by the way - I used to be a Senior Development Producer in the BBC's New Media department (as was), was responsible for voting applications, and I'm currently doing some work as...
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September 28, 2007

"The Tardis and Multiplatform" - Julie Gardner talks about Doctor Who's multi-media incarnations

If there is one thing I've learned from many, many years of watching Doctor Who, it is that you can often get into places where strictly speaking you shouldn't be, just by boldly striding in as if you know exactly where you are going, whilst wearing an unfashionable jacket and a pre-occupied look. Which is how I found myself on Wednesday in a Q&A session at the BBC about the multi-platform nature of the Doctor Who brand. This was part...
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September 27, 2007

Take-away facts and quotes from the Euro IA Summit in Barcelona - Day 2

At the weekend I was in Barcelona for the Euro IA summit, and so, whilst trying not to blog my every move for a change, I thought I would post my key take-away facts and quotes from the conference. I covered day one yesterday. Stanisław Skórka I started the second day of the conference listening to Stanisław Skórka talking about the bridge between the librarian and information architect professions. I don't envy any of the speakers having to present in...
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September 26, 2007

Take-away facts and quotes from the Euro IA Summit in Barcelona - Day 1

Last weekend I was in Barcelona for the Euro IA Summit, and I made a solemn vow to my wife and myself that I was actually going to concentrate on doing stuff rather than spending my time and energy blogging about doing stuff. However, it did seem rather churlish not to at the very least post my favourite take-away facts and quotes from the conference itself. Ricardo Baeza-Yates Ricardo is the director of Yahoo! Research Labs in Spain and Chile,...
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September 25, 2007

Tales of the TARDIS in TVC

A few weeks ago I wrote about the missing blue plaques in the BBC's television Centre foyer, which used to honour William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, and Jon Pertwee. It was prompted by the fact that the BBC had a Dalek on display in the cafe where they used to be situated, as well as a TARDIS hanging around TVC's foyer. You are not meant to take photographs on BBC premises without a permit, which explains why, whilst trying to dodge...
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The London freesheets and the web - Part 4: Sport

I've been writing a series of posts about how the London freesheets utilise user-generated content and their web properties in their print editions. Today I want to look at a subject area where they all seem keen to print their reader's voices or get their interaction - sport. Sport - London Lite The London Lite includes a box-out column of user-generated content that has been sent in via SMS or email. They encourage the audience to "Have your say on...
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September 24, 2007

The London freesheets and the web - Part 3: Voting

Last week I started looking at how London's free newspapers incorporate online and user-generated content into their printed editions. So far I've looked at music reviews, and at films and celebrity gossip. In this post I want to look at how the papers handle something I've worked on a lot online - voting. Voting Of the three London freesheets, it is The London Paper that seems to have gone into reflecting their reader's views via voting in a big way....
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September 21, 2007

The London freesheets and the web - Part 2: Films and Celebs

This week I've been looking at how the three London freesheets given to commuters in the capital integrate user-generated content and web links into their newspapers. Yesterday I was looking at music reviews. Movie reviews As well as for music reviews, The London Lite also uses content from on their movie listing pages called 'B@CK ROW BLOGGERS'. Personally, I'd always understood that the back row of the movies was for something entirely different from composing your own reviews of...
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September 20, 2007

The London freesheets and the web - Part 1: Music reviews

I'm back in London again at the moment, and gaps in visiting your home town can make the differences seem all the greater. On my previous visit, in July of this year, it was the first time that I had been commuting regularly since December 2005. And that was before what I now believe was generally known as "The Great London Freesheet War" started. On my last trip I simply couldn't believe quite how much free press was literally being...
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September 19, 2007

My Telegraph is held up by Texas Hold 'Em spam

With impeccably bad timing, on Saturday morning, just as I was looking for some links and URLs to go with my currybetdotnet piece about my Press Gazette piece about My Sun and My Telegraph, I came across the front page of My Telegraph being completely spammed out by poker ads. Out of 28 posts on display, all but two were spam posts about poker. The person or spambot responsible had even been tagging their spam diligently, so that the My...
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September 18, 2007

The Daily Mail falls for internet myths about left-handed people

The Daily Mail pulled out one of those hoary old standards of feature journalism yesterday. Following findings by Chris McManus that the incidence of left-handed writing appears to have increased in the last century, the Mail trotted out Michael Hanlon to write "Why it's really alright to be left-handed!". It fails the substitution test, of course. His 'light-hearted' piece about the historical prejudice that left-handed people have faced is littered with lots of "amusing" nicknames and stereotypes about us. If,...
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September 17, 2007

Apple iPhone hits Greece ahead of the O2 deal in the UK

Everyone might be waiting for tomorrow with baited breath as Apple finally announce that the iPhone will be available in the UK, but Greece has got there first. Yep, apparently mum is already no longer the word in Heraklion (just a couple of hours down the road from where I live) and in Volos Sugarenia has blogged a Greek advert for the iPhone from their local store - at an eye-watering €749. Meanwhile, jimeh has a picture uploaded to Flickr...
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Between a Northern Rock and a hard rock place

Over the last few days, two of the biggest stories in the business and show business worlds have had a new media element to them. Some customers have been complaining at not being able to get through to Northern Rock's online banking system to withdraw their money, whilst other punters have been complaining about not being able to get into the ticket lottery for the Ahmet Ertegun tribute gig. One of the stories had very public metrics about the...
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Sacred at the British Library

In between zipping around various BBC buildings last week for a series of meetings, I took a half-hour out to visit Sacred at the British Library - their exhibition of religious texts from the history of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The material on display is undoubtedly spectacular from a historical point of view - with surviving fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls, the earliest known Christian Gospels, and rare parchments from Islamic Spain. There are also bibles in Syriac, Slavonic, and...
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September 15, 2007

My assessment of My Sun and My Telegraph in the Press Gazette

I had another article published in the Press Gazette this week. Last time I was looking at newspaper RSS feeds. This time I was casting my "Expert Eye" (their kind words, not mine) over the personalised news, comment and blogging platforms offered by The Sun and The Telegraph. On the whole I thought that both services were bold moves for the papers concerned. In print, newspapers are used to being able to tightly control and sub-edit the contributions from their...
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September 14, 2007

Heraklion airport doesn't quite live up to the BA online check-in promise

I'm back in the UK for work for the majority of September and October, with a trip to Barcelona for the Euro IA summit and a brief sojourn back to Crete for a last summer "Hurrah!" sandwiched in the middle. As a result, I shall certainly be racking up my carbon emissions with a variety of airlines. The first flight was with British Airways lask week, on a route I've not flown before - Heraklion to London Gatwick. Heraklion is...
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September 13, 2007

The day Adrian Chiles tried to kill me

I'm suffering a little bit from "If it is Thursday, it must be department x syndrome" at the moment. I'm in London working on three different projects at the BBC, and having to quite carefully divide my time and physical presence between them. Last week I was mostly sitting amongst the CPS tech team in the Journalism department. That meant a couple of days staring across my desk to gaze upon a glass wall decorated with a large transparent print...
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Blame 'englandfans' not England fans for empty seats at Wembley

Adrian Chiles wrote in yesterday's Sun on the topic of empty seats at England matches in the new 'late' Wembley Stadium. He put the blame fairly and squarely at the foot of corporate fans feasting whilst the action was on. "I really can't imagine how dispiriting it must be for the players. The very people supposed to be driving them on to immeasurable acts of heroism and technical brilliance are elsewhere, thoughtfully masticating on a bit of cheddar and digestive...
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September 12, 2007

The meerkat photograph hoax review - which UK newspapers admitted online to being duped?

Last week pretty much every newspaper in the UK ran an agency supplied story that Meerkats in Longleat Safari Park had been caught snapping themselves on camera. At the time I wrote bemoaning the fact that the very same newspapers that were so keen to see broadcasters admit to any case of minor editing on the box, were themselves running photographs that were clearly a 'reconstruction'. It turned out that the entire story was a hoax. I thought it would...
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September 11, 2007

Watching the Rugby World Cup on

Given that my default position is now to be outside the UK, and have very little reliable access to bandwidth, my experience of streaming sporting events over the internet has been quite limited in recent months. I occasionally get to listen to a little bit of radio in an internet cafe, but increasingly less and less so. I used to be able to sometimes get commentary from BBC Radio Leeds of Leeds United's games, and failing that, would listen online...
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September 10, 2007

Greek police beat up a photo blogger

I was saddened to find out over the weekend that Greek police have beaten up a blogger in Thessaloniki for taking photographs. Teacher Dude received a dislocated shoulder in the assault. He's one of those people that I've never meet in real life, but who, thanks to their blogging, I count as one of my friends in Greece. He was taking photographs - as he does so excellently - of a demonstration in Thessaloniki, when the police objected to him...
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Headline buzz tag cloud now on Chipwrapper

I put live another new feature on my Chipwrapper newspaper (and major broadcaster) search and aggregation site over the weekend - the Chipwrapper Headline Buzz page. Rather than displaying the usual Chipwrapper aggregation of UK newspaper headlines, it shows a tag cloud generated from the UK's headlines in the previous hour. The tag cloud is based on analysing the top 10 headlines from 11 UK news sources - the BBC, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Guardian, Independent, ITN, Sky...
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September 7, 2007

Pavarotti and Jane Tomlinson's deaths test search

Reaction to Chipwrapper has been mostly positive so far, and users have started to arrive and subscribers have started to pick up the RSS feeds. Adrian Monck made a very good point about not having the ability to search results chronologically, illustrating it with some results after the death of cancer campaigner Jane Tomlinson. Unfortunately it isn't a feature offered by Google, and so although I'd love to, I couldn't incorporate it into the engine. It shows some real shortcomings...
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Merely trick photography?

Over the last few weeks the British print press has been on their collective high horses about television 'faking' things. Outright fraud on telephone competitions is one thing, but debating whether Bargain Hunt is a factual documentary seemed to be worrying over-and-above the call of duty. The story hasn't quite gone away yet - yesterday the Daily Mail was exposing the shocking fact that Nigella Lawson's new television programme was filmed, well, how can I put this delicately, in a...
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September 6, 2007

Chipwrapper gets a rugby edition for the world cup

On Monday I went public with a new project I've been working on - Chipwrapper. It is a search engine for UK newspapers (plus, as Lloyd eloquently put it "some other stuff"). One of the features is a headline aggregator, and feeds of the headline aggregation covering news, sport and football. With the Rugby World Cup opening in France tomorrow evening, it seemed appropriate to add some Rugby flavoured content into the service. To that end there is a new...
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September 5, 2007

Sony closes the door on the European CONNECT store

With an irony that even Alanis Morissette couldn't mistake for being unlucky, just as I've written a lengthy blog series about the closure of one music store where I used to work, another music store that I used to do work for has announced it is shutting down - Sony Connect Europe. The circumstances are a little different - one went bankrupt, the other is a strategic pull-out from a market area where Sony was simply unable to compete with...
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September 4, 2007

Orange could do with a usability upgrade

I used the Orange online service last week to upgrade my phone - and I have to say I was left distinctly unimpressed with some of the usability. I still retain a UK mobile phone for when I'm in the country. It means that I've been able to keep the same number that I've been giving out since the year dot on business cards and email signatures. However, if you've tried to call me on my UK phone over the...
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September 3, 2007

Introducing Chipwrapper - a UK newspaper search engine

This week I'm launching a new web project - Chipwrapper. Chipwrapper is a hub for a set of tools to search news content from the UK's major newspapers and TV news sources. It was originally intended just to cover the printed press, but I found it odd to be searching for news from the UK and to not be seeing content from the BBC or Sky. Adding the TV news giants does rather spoil the chipwrapper metaphor, of course, but...
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