Archives for July 2009

Early look around MediaCityUK

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 01:00 UK time, Friday, 31 July 2009


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Are you interested to find out what kind of spaces the BBC are moving into at MediaCityUK? Well, yesterday we got our first on-site visit and as you'd expect it was twittered live using TwitPic. Enjoy!


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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 18:55 UK time, Friday, 17 July 2009


This summer the North of England plays host to one of the most respected events in the world in everyone of its major cities.  In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

TEDx North goes one step further by combination of 5 different TEDx events, one after another so people can enjoy TED for longer.

Each event will have excellent live speakers and previous TEDtalks. They promise to bring you a taste of TED without the huge cost and long waiting list.

I'm happy to say the BBC's famous Studio 7 will also host TEDxManchester on the 2nd October. We have room for 100's of people, so it should be one of the biggest events and a great end to the series of collaborative events.

Fear not you guys wondering about TEDx in the south, midlands, scotland or the rest of the world. There are lots of upcoming ones on the TEDx site.

So don't forget to sign up early and we'll hopefully see you soon,

Thinking Digital 2009 overview video

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 14:29 UK time, Friday, 17 July 2009


Thinking Digital Conference 2009 Highlights Film from Herbert Kim on Vimeo.

If you missed out on Thinking Digital this year, then here's a video of what you missed. Backstage will be at the next one.

R&D TV on the Torrents

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 15:35 UK time, Friday, 10 July 2009


You can now get R&D TV on Bit Torrent using Vuze's HD Network.

The 30min versions are the only version available and the asset bundle is still for now available on the ftp site.  But look out in episode 3 there will be more focus on the assets and what you can do with them.

Don't forget to vote for the episodes as you watch them using Vuze.

Were you at OpenTech09?

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 18:02 UK time, Wednesday, 8 July 2009



Dr Ian McDonald, Development Producer at BBC Learning attended OpenTech09 and has written a nice review of the event from his view. As usual you can comment below or even trackback to this blog post.

The Open Tech conference combined activists, journalists, and geeks who want to change the world. It was informal, cheap, in my former student union, and last Saturday. Many people there were opening up public data and turning it into useful applications. And there was as much social engineering as computer programming.

Speakers from inside and outside government talked about freeing up data so we can do interesting things with them. Journalist Heather Brooke described how she had hammered away at Freedom of Information (FoI) requests for MP's expenses until one civil servant became so horrified by the cover-up that he leaked the lot to the Daily Telegraph.

In a meeting room which used to be a balcony for watching concerts, two civil servants talked about their efforts to release information. Richard Stirling hoped Innovate would "turn into BBC Backstage for government". John Sheridan from the Office of Public Sector Information asked the audience to build things like Schools Map which demonstrated the need for data, saying that "compelling examples are the things which make public services better ... simply by sharing the public information". He looked forward to taking data which were already on websites and releasing in more open formats, saving you the trouble of screenscraping. He hoped that the involvement of Tim Berners-Lee would encourage more linked data. Rufus Pollock urged them to release the data raw, without waiting to mark it up as linked data or RDFa. The Digital Britain report was presented in parody.

Some projects were about making existing things easier instead of building new websites. William Perrin's Talk About Local chose not to build a social network site for local communities, and instead help people use the leading blogging and social network sites. Corinne Pritchard's Simply Understand translates official documents into simpler English.

There was a bit of greek pride too. Bill Thompson called for new MPs to be offered a computer programming course as part of their induction, the better to understand how the digital world works. Ben Goldacre praised the science coverage by specialist bloggers as superior to much published journalism.

But geek culture, even in the middle of saving the world, seemed very male. Males who were washed and scrubbed, in ironed shirts of T-shirts of reasonably coruscating wit, outnumbered women nine to one. The Women in Technology session started with jokes about queues being outside the men's loos instead, and ended brainstorming role-models for the next Ada Lovelace Day. Just as the men from Whitehall want examples to show the strength of mashups, Kathryn Corrick wanted some living examples for the next generation of Rain Ashfords.

It was an interesting Saturday.

You might also want to see:

Public unveiling of BBC glow

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 14:41 UK time, Wednesday, 8 July 2009



Its been on the tip of Javascript developers tongues for a while now, no not the all dominating J-Query. Instead this thing called Glow. So now the JavaScript library Glow is available to the world under a Apache 2.0 Licence.

But the question everyone wants to know is why would the BBC create there own Javascript Library when there are so many out there and some very dominate players. Well Stephen Elson, Lead Product Manager of Glow explains in this blog post....

Of course, there are many excellent JavaScript libraries available already, many of which are open source themselves, so you may ask why we chose not to adopt one of these? The simple answer can be found in our Browser Support Standards. These standards define the levels of support for the various browsers and devices used to access some JavaScript libraries may conform to these standards, but many do not, and those that do may change their policies in the future. Given this fact, we decided that the only way to ensure a consistent experience for our audiences was to develop a library specifically designed to meet these standards. A more in depth look at this question is available on the Glow website.

If you want to find out more, we recommend you have a look at the Glow website, and if you are of a technical persuasion perhaps even download the library it and have a play. Whatever you think, we welcome your feedback.

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