The 20 most popular currybetdotnet posts of yesteryear in 2008 - part 2

 by Martin Belam, 25 December 2008

Most people with any sense will be spending Christmas Day away from their computers and in the company of family and friends. Here I am, however, with the currybetdotnet equivalent of a Christmas edition of 'Top Of The Pops 2' - a countdown of the posts on the blog from yesteryear which attracted the most traffic this year. Yesterday I looked at numbers 20 to 11, and today it is the turn of the top ten.

10: Top 100 British newspaper feeds in Google Reader - November 2007

In November 2007 I did the rather painstaking job of searching through Google Reader for the subscriber numbers to every British newspaper RSS feed that I could find. The resulting Top 100 table is still popular to this day. I recently produced a new 2008 version with updated figures that showed a big growth in the audience for newspaper content delivered via RSS to Google Reader.

I love RSS

9: The Sun's Dream Team debut nightmare - August 2007

I thought it was funny that one of the newspapers ever keen to criticse Government websites when they crash couldn't get their tech "boffins" to keep their fantasy football site running over the crucial first weekend of the footie season. More than a year later this post still pulls in punters searching for 'sun dream team'.

The Sun's Dream Team was down yesterday

8: "The Tardis and Multiplatform" - September 2007

I was lucky enough to get to squeeze into a (mostly) internal only BBC session where Executive Producer Julie Gardner talked about the multi-media incarnations of the revitalised Doctor Who universe. I didn't have a ticket to be honest, but as I observed at the time:

"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."
The TARDIS and a Dalek

Well, I didn't have any psychic paper to hand.

7: Google Talk's latest update doesn't behave gracefully offline - October 2006

This post continues to attract traffic and (sometimes) helpful comments. Nearly all of it comes from people tapping in the error code they are getting into Google, and finding that Google rank this article above their own on the topic.

Google error message

Not everybody was happy with me though:

"Try a bit of patience and have a bit of tolerance if u want to live in this world. What seems annoying to you has great utility to majority of users. So please do not come forth with such articles again."

6: Searching for pictures on ImageShack and Yahoo! Photos - August 2006

This was part of an ill-conceived series of posts looking at ways that you could search for cheap stock imagery on photo-sharing sites on the web. I say ill-conceived, because it turned out that on a lot of the sites I was reviewing, you couldn't. Almost all of the traffic to this post these days comes from people in Google asking to 'search ImageShack', and inexplicably choosing to end up here rather than on the site itself.

5: A day in the life of BBCi Search - March 2003

Still going strong after all these years, this article was my first serious attempt to write about my work with search at the BBC on the blog. It was widely linked to and still pulls in a lot of traffic via search today.

Screenshots of hourly and daily internal BBCi Search statistical reports

4: The Sun using blogs to solicit amateur Page 3 Girl style photos - March 2007

I have to say that on the one hand I think The Sun has done fantastically well with the community side of their website. This post though was about my irritation that a newspaper whose editorial line frequently dwells on the danger the Internet poses to young people, also uses it to encourage young girls to send in soft pr0n pictures of themselves, with the scantiest of safeguards that they are aged 18 and above.

Sun warning

They also do nothing to prevent under 18s viewing this content online.

Still there is a market for it - most of the traffic to this page comes from people who have been searching the web using keywords that combine "page 3" or "topless" with "16 year old". If only there was a way I could use some Brass Eye style Internet glove to jab them hard in the eyes when they arrive on the site...

3: 5 quick usability wins for the BBC iPlayer beta trial installation process - August 2007

This post starts a triple-whammy for iPlayer related posts at the top of this chart. After battling to install the original 'beta trial' of the P2P powered Windows XP version on my now defunct Dell laptop, I wrote this post outlining 5 major obstacles to a smooth installation. It still generates traffic today, mostly from people searching for 'Kontiki User Interface Binary', one of the obscurely named components of the system.

iPlayer ActiveX download dialogue

2: BBC iPlayer launch: The first 14 days - July 2007

Daily Express iPlayer spoof

This incredibly popular post outlined my prediction of how the media and tech world would react to the then-imminent launch of the BBC's iPlayer technology. With the benefit of hindsight, and now that content is available by Flash streaming and in download format for Mac and some flavours of Linux, it is difficult to recall the time when this huge Internet success was late, much maligned and considered, in some quarters, likely to fail.

And to spread child pr0n, and be stolen in Poland.

iPlayer spoof P2P pr0n

1: Using the BBC iPlayer outside of the UK - August 2007

So far this year over 35,000 people have ended up on this page. This was mostly after searching for ways to use the BBC iPlayer overseas, and I suspect they were universally disappointed to find that instead of simple instruction to do that, it is a story of how, at launch, you couldn't access the iPlayer from underneath the very BBC building where it had been designed and built.

Starbucks at the BBC Media Village

Despite being underneath the BBC's offices, the T-Mobile hotspot in this Starbucks appears beyond the UK's shores to the BBC.

There are now, though, lots of comments suggesting ways of getting around the BBC's geo-IP restrictions.

And I couldn't help wonder if the recent objections to 'Project Kangaroo' had something to do with a concern about distorting the thriving commercial market for the companies now making a living by renting UK-hosted VPN connections to people outside the UK purely so that they can access the iPlayer.


There will be some more 'end of the year' flavoured stuff next week. In the meantime, have a Happy Christmas and a good holiday season, and thanks for reading this year.


Keep up to date on my new blog