Interesting Stuff 2008-06-03
Animated debate at TechCrunch UK around Mike Butcher's call for "turning the BBC into a platform that UK startup technology companies can work on and with":
the best way the BBC can now allay any fears about its market dominance is by building a platform for innovation. Not a policy - a real platform. With APIs even.
That way we'll get our money/value back - and the BBC can start to give something back, not just TV and radio programmes, but a real platform for UK startups to become world beaters.
It's really easy to help out. We've built a really simple, rather addictive system that lets anyone with a few spare minutes match up a randomly-selected speech from Hansard against the correct snippet of video. You just listen out for a certain speech, and when you hear it you hit the big red 'now' button. Your clip will then immediately go live on TheyWorkForYou next to the relevent speech, improving the site for everyone. Yay!
In a feature at Next Generation titled Why media companies are eyeing that powerful box connected to both your TV and the internet, FM&T Group Controller Erik Huggers talks about the many ways of delivering BBC content to licence fee payers' homes, including the very unofficial ps3iplayer.com that gave "access to the Wii iPlayer by identifying PS3s as Wiis":
'I was flattered,' laughs Huggers, explaining that the iPlayer team is still trying to track down its creator and offer him a job. 'It's not the perfect situation, but this has encouraged us to reach out to Sony and arrange a more formal version on PS3 as soon as possible,' he continues. 'In the meantime it shows us that there's a great hunger and need for people to have iPlayer in the living room.'
On this subject of unofficial iPlayer resources, we've also been taking a keen interest in the WiiPlayer, as discussed on the Backstage mailing list, and in the lo-res iPlayerlist ("making the unmissable, browsable").
There's also more on BBC iPlayer in yesterday's Media Guardian. The piece by Gareth McLean begins:
In the interest of fairness, it should be pointed out that other catch-up services are available - the BBC's iPlayer vies for the attention of tardy viewers with 4oD, Virgin on Demand and (try not to snigger) itv.com - but it is by some distance the most successful.
Are you getting the broadband service that you pay for? BBC News asks you to test your connection speed, plot it on a map and compare with others'. It's part of an ongoing trial combining user-generated content with maps, and is similar to the Fraudband Britain? project from last December by the iPM team - which is lately working on Mapping The Credit Crunch.
At the BBC's dot.life technology blog, Darren Waters reports on problems encountered by BT broadband customers when using the streaming version of BBC iPlayer:
A number of online forums, including BT's own, feature complaints from users that the HomeHub router re-boots when the iPlayer is streaming video.
I can wholeheartedly sympathise because I have had this issue for more than a month.
And Broadcast has a piece on My-e-Director 2012, described as a BBC-backed EU-funded project that will allow viewers to "direct" live broadcast events around the 2012 London Olympics:
Graham Thomas, project manager at the BBC's Production Magic research department, said: 'My-e-Director 2012 uses technologies such as facial recognition, radio-frequency identification (RFID), tracking of athletes by shirt number and a whole range of other data to automatically select video feeds based on viewer preference. The idea is to combine a host of information and do intelligent things with it.'
Karen Loasby explains why BBC information architects "have to think about the whole rope".
Finally, Dan at Atmosblog writes:
I suspected something was up when my mum started downloading podcasts to listen to while she cooks the Sunday roast rather than just turning on Radio 4.
Alan Connor is co-editor, BBC Internet Blog.