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Interesting Stuff 2008-09-09

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Alan Connor | 09:00 UK time, Tuesday, 9 September 2008


Lots of snap and crackle about the social radio software prototype Radio Pop [see post below | also see: social radio hardware]. Blog posts by creators Tristan Ferne and Chris Bowley have been joined by more from former colleague Dan Taylor and boss (gulp!) James Cridland. Dan even has a feature wishlist, which he concedes is a little unfair for a week-old prototype.

Other comments include Donald Kelly ("in a way, the last.fm of radio listening"); the Beeb's Ryan Morrison, who also has feature requests and who links to the API; Ian Forrester of Backstage ("shows the type of thing we are thinking and building inside the BBC but can't really make public easily") and Ian Hughes:

Nice to see that our license fee isn't being frittered away on pointless exercises too.
(Mind you, if it helps to get rid of Chris Moyles, it can't be all bad.)

Bad news, Ian Hughes:


(Also from Ryan Morrison, a quality contest for iPlayer, too much of a pageload to include in Internet Blog - click, compare and contrast!)



Ex-Beeboid Ben Metcalfe has met frustration trying to watch John McCain's acceptance speech:

one has to ask why the BBC doesn't secure worldwide distribution for 'general news', esp like in this case where it's probably recording the broadcast live from the convention... it's BBC copyright end-to-end.


evan_sign211x160blog.jpgIn The Independent, Ian Burrell talks to Stephen Mitchell (Head of Multimedia Programmes, Radio News) about repurposing material like Evan Davis' piece on the demise of hitch-hiking:

He was able to do a nice piece of radio journalism for the Today programme, a witty piece for the online audience and then join breakfast television on the same story. None of that felt forced.


The imminent appearance of iPlayer on the Nokia N96 phone [see post below] is featured in (deep breath) The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Tech Digest, All About Symbian, Mobile-Ent, CNet, Pocket-lint, Electrig Pig, The Inquirer, Mobile Computer Mag, The Washington Post, Stuff TV and IntoMobile. Read them all! Make notes! Keep for reference when iPlayer comes to a new platform - like, according to Stephen Fry, the fridge!


Greenwich Time Signal and tuning note appararus, Savoy Hill 1927

If you've ever wondered what kind of backup is in place for the pips, Stuart Pinfold will tell you about a pips pipe.


Malcolm Clarke, assistant, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, c1985

Good news from Audio Scribbler for fans of very early electronica made by stitching and stretching tape (and that includes BBC Internet Blog):

Mute have announced that they will release a 50th anniversary retrospective double CD from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which will feature 100 classic, rare and previously unavailable pieces of music and sound effects from various BBC TV and Radio shows from 1958 through to 1997, including work by the likes of John Baker, Delia Derbyshire, Daphne Oram, Elizabeth Parker, Desmond Briscoe, Paddy Kingsland, Peter Howell and Malcolm Clarke, amongst others.



The BBC Micro, which is in the photo above and the one above that, and which gave our banner its owl, was the talk of BarCampBrighton3 - or at least of one of its talks. BBC technology manager Ant Miller gave "an exploration of whether and what the BBC could or ought to do along the same lines some 25 years later" but blogs that Backstage's Rain Ashford has written a post that's "rather more structured and complete than anything I had written down about it!" Rain's notes begin:

What is the BBC Micro? It wasn't a BBC machine; it wasn't for kids; it wasn't for schools...


And the Barcamp also featured a session called Ask The BBC Anything at which Rain and Ant were joined by Ian Forrester, and one of the questions was:

should staff members have their own blogs aggregated publicly for everyone to read?

Hmmm. Interesting stuff...

Alan Connor is co-editor, BBC Internet Blog.


  • Comment number 1.

    I would be very interested to hear some elaboration on the reasons for restricting news content online.

    Being in the UK, it isn't an issue for me, and I fully understand (and support) the restriction of BBC content to those of us who actually pay for this stuff through the licence fee.

    It would, however, be interesting to know if there are other reasons behind it and, if so, what they are.

  • Comment number 2.

    Unfortunately even for those of us IN the UK the restriction of video news can be a problem. I'm accessing the web via T-Mobile's 3G 'mobile broadband' service and although I can access BBC iPlayer (both for streaming and downloading programmes, albeit slower than on my home broadband connection), I can't see any BBC News/Sport content.

    Given any GeoIP database I've queried sees me as being in the UK and iPlayer of all things sees me as being in the UK, why won't the BBC NEWS website?! I've e-mailed the Beeb and T-Mobile about this but unfortunately they both blame each other!

  • Comment number 3.

    Living in Belgium, I think it's absolutely ridiculous of the BBC what they're doing. I pay your BBC license fee too, you know (via my local provider), which allows me to watch the BBC channels, even when I'm not in the UK.
    I thought BBC was ment for everyone! I mean, what harm could be done when allowing everybody to watch the newsclips (I'm not talking about copyright-stuff like Top Gear clips)? Why can't I see the previews of The Apprentice on iPlayer?
    Does the license fee paid by a UK resident has more value to you than a license fee paid by a Belgian (the amount is roughly the same)?
    To end with: the internet is a place which is accesible to everyone. CNN, Fox, VRT, they all sent their news down the www stream. So please Beeb, stop building a fort around England and lighten up: see that protectionism 1 allways fails after some time and 2 is totally pointless because 3 it (almost) doesn't anything to open up!

  • Comment number 4.

    Frederic-Belgium - it isn't the 'licence fee' you're paying though - you are paying for the channels and are paying for a commercial service from your local cable operator - who in turn licence the channels from the BBC (in fact I'm not even 100% certain they have to pay the BBC).

    So you are NOT paying a licence fee as the BBC doesnt' directly get your money - what you're paying for is the right to watch those channels through your cable operator.

    So in answer to your question "Does the license fee paid by a UK resident has more value to you than a license fee paid by a Belgian" the answer is and should remain a resounding 'YES'.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi upyourego (same from finalgear?):
    I asked my local cable operator and they assured me that the money I pay (in order to recieve BBC channels) is being transfered directly to the BBC!

  • Comment number 6.

    As someone who's come to love the news from the BBC, but can't get it as often as he would like, I'd greatly appreciate allowing more access to the BBC's news sources. (I'd also enjoy access to other BBC stuff, like Songs of Praise or Doctor Who...)

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    Wowsers, great shot of that BBC Micro, now that takes me back sometime. I hope these are not installed throughout the BBC offices still? I jest,.. Good work, and interesting stuff indeed.

    Matthew Anderson
    Director of [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator].

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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