Archives for December 2005

Google homepage module

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| 10:20 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2005

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This is a port of the live.com gadget, for use with Google's personalised homepage.

If Google accept it, it will eventually appear in their directory, in the meantime if you're interested you can install it by adding the developer module from the google.com/ig page (click Add Content > Create a Section and enter "developer.xml" in the text field), then add my module from the url http://backstage.menti.name/google/nownext.xml

Functionality-wise it does exactly the same as the live.com gadget:

* hover with your mouse over the programme title to see programme synopsis
* auto-refreshes every 10 minutes, or refresh manually using the refresh button

good news

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| 10:13 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2005

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i'm pretty fed up with constant BAD NEWS! however there is a simple solution, "GOOD NEWS".
i think that the bbc should dedicate 5 minutes at least to a short news feed at an appropriate time for max audience, showing the days good news. Its very simple and could easily be done on a lopw budget. I'm sure it would givew everyone a lift. please contact me for the full concept.
thankyou.

backstage.bbc.co.uk Feeds

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| 15:17 UK time, Tuesday, 20 December 2005

Would you believe it - the wiki which lists all of the available backstage feeds has decided to stop working?!?!? Just before Christmas, too!

Whilst we email Santa for a new wiki for Christmas, please check out this temporary list of our most popular feeds:

News

Sport

World Service

RSS feeds from BBC World Service are available in 43 different languages. To find these please locate the RSS icons within each site. A full list of languages covered can be found here

Travel

7-Day TV & Radio Listings

These are made available in TV-Anytime format, with a new tar'd archive uploaded to the site each day (in the format {yyyy}{mm}{dd}.tar.gz)


Data provided by backstage.bbc.co.uk is strictly for non-commercial use, in accordance with the backstage.bbc.co.uk terms of use and RSS licence.

backstage meetup thanks

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| 12:05 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2005

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by Ben, Jem, and Tom.

Thanks to everyone who attended the backstage meetup last night at the Yorkshire Grey in London.

I hope everyone had a good time - we certainly did. It was great to put faces to names and also catch up with what you've all been up with.

We do want to hold more of these - outside London too. To help us plan where we should hold the next one, we are wondering whether you could add yourselves to our Frappr Map please - http://www.frappr.com/backstagecommunity ? (you don't need to create an account, if you don't want to!).
By knowing where you are all based - and where there is interest - we can then carefully decide the best location for the next one. (Even if you're in London, please add yourself too, as it's useful to know numbers in London too!).

Thanks again to Leo, Leon and Thomas who as part of their winning entries for the backstage TV listings competition came to visit the team on Monday afternoon.
There's also a Flickr photoset of the day (sorry just 7 photos) here.

What's on now/next, by SMS

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| 11:29 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2005

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Sorry to those that are fed up with the "now/next" stuff, but since I'm producing these feeds, I've been thinking of other ways to use them. I haven't seen too many mobile-oriented prototypes here, so thought this may be useful:

Text the name of a BBC TV station (no radio stations - yet) to 07781 488578.

This will send you back a text message with what's on now/next on the TV channel you selected. It also contains a link to a xhtml-basic page that shows you the programme information (synposis), so if your phone supports clickable SMS messages you can click straight through to the programme details. At the moment the pages are xhtml only, so it won't work on old WAP1.0/wml-only phones (but it wouldn't be hard to add this capability, as the pages as ultra-simple..).

Finally, a shortcode instead of the long number would be nice, but I don't have that kind of spare cash at the moment :-). By the same token, I am paying for the outgoing SMS messages myself, so no guarantees that my hosted MSISDN isn't going to run out of credit at some point.

If you're interested have a go, let me know what you think, and how do you think it could be improved..

BBC Podcast player

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| 11:10 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2005

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Please be aware that this link may not be 100% stable.
This is a little program that I wrote (and still writing at this time) that plays BBC Podcasts, the next version will allow downloads of any selected Podcasts in the BBC Radio download trials. I will be adding the download component within days, and also a minimize to system tray function. Any other suggestions will be appreciated but due to my level of programming, I may not be able to implement the feature (only time will tell!). This program was written in Delphi (7) and uses PHP for information requests that is needed by this POD player. I have used BBC logo's (please dont strike me down for this, if required, they will be removed) but I do not disclose in anyway that this program is/has been made by the BBC or any linked companies! I just used the BBC logo's as it is only BBC content that is used. ANY feedback will be taken, even if I like it or not! My homepage is still under construction at this time, but hopefully by 2006 there should be something that you guys can p!
lay with.

News on instant message with Chatbot

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| 11:01 UK time, Monday, 12 December 2005

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I integrated Wordnet, AIML, openNLP parser to write a simple Chatbot at MSN. But the Chatbot just wait for conversation, if I can automatic send some News title when one news happen. This will be more interesting!

Microsoft live.com Gadget

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| 12:20 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2005

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I wrote a little Microsoft gadget for their live.com beta site. You can install it and get the source from above URL.

live.com still seems rather experimental, I had various problems with Firefox, but for now on IE (after adding live.com and gadgets.start.com as trusted sites, see below), it seems to work reasonably well.

Summary:
A gadget that shows you what's currently showing on all UK BBC channels, and what's showing next.

Currently supported features:

- hover with your mouse over the programme title to see programme synopsis
- auto-refreshes every 10 minutes, or refresh manually using the refresh button

Important: due to some timeout setting/bug(?) with the live.com proxy when using Web.Network.createRequest, I had to use XmlHttpRequest, which means you will get permission errors if you don't add live.com and (after today's iframe change on the live.com site) gadgets.start.com to your list of trusted sites.

Freeview News 24 local scrolling banner

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| 12:18 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2005

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I had a idea about BBC News's channel using these feeds... The link is a prototype. It only works with IE and Windows (for the correct fonts).

I was watching BBC News 24 this week and there was a feature about sudden snow on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. One woman said "there was nothing on the news about it", and it occurred to me that if she was watching News 24, she was probably right.

News 24 has a variety of Astons (graphics), but I was thinking about the scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen. I don't know how integrated News 24 and BBC Online are I don't know if the "scroller" is driven from one of the backstage RSS feeds, but it should be!

This grey/blue visual bar with white text is added somewhere to the studio output by some box of tricks - usually a PC.

News 24 doesn't have the regional variations that BBC ONE does - it has always been distributed identically to satellite, cable and Freeview.

Sadly, as all dishes point at the same satellite, regionalisation is unfeasible.

On Freeview, the channel's programs are transmitted in the same digital terrestrial multiplex that has a national or regional versions of BBC ONE on Freeview. It the similar on cable.

So, my idea is to program a "box of tricks" to overlay a customized RSS-fed scroller for each of the nations (Wales, Scotland, NI) and English regional variations (for Birmingham, Manchester, Hull, Leeds, Nottingham, Norwich, Cambridge, Bristol, Tunbridge Wells, Southampton, Plymouth, Newcastle, Oxford, London and the Channel Islands).

So you would see your own local news, sport and weather in vision. Then follow with the current headlines, sport etc.

So the 6 million Freeview homes could get their local news first - with snow
warnings where necessary!

Music Library Index

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| 12:15 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2005

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There are many databases on the internet with lists of what songs are on what CD, which we can download when we rip to MP3's. However, these days we are moving away from the idea of albums and getting back to listening to personalised playlists of individual songs. Since the BBC must have one of the best music libraries in the world, it would be possible for the BBC to host a master index of every song ever published, and give it a unique number like an ISBN number on a book. If everyone used the same index, it would become much easier to find and buy a recording of a specific track. It would become the music equivilant of the British Library and the Congressional Library.

Windows media center listen again

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| 12:14 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2005

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I would like to be able to use the listen again function through the windows media center front end

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