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Interesting Stuff 2009-03-03

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Dave Lee | 14:45 UK time, Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Jemima Kiss has published the latest in the series of 'BBC Builders' articles. Each piece looks at someone behind the scenes in technology. Simon Cross (right) explains his work at Future Media & Technology:

"[Anthony Rose] treats my team like a small startup in which he's 'invested some capital', lets us be creative and innovate, while guiding us and fighting political battles on our behalf. In return, we have to work extremely hard and deliver releases of our products every two weeks. It's a clever way of having teams which can innovate and move quickly, while being part of a large, slower, more cautious organisation."

Project Canvas is in the hands of the BBC Trust right now, but the blogosphere has been getting excited about it. Electric Pig explains the plans well, while Web TV Wire concludes:

This sounds like a fantastic project, which could potentially bring online video into the mainstream and onto the televisions in millions of British homes. This makes Project Kangaroo look quite insignificant in comparison.

The proposals are on the BBC Trust site here. They also have their own page on Write to Reply.

But before all that happens, TechCrunch has a round up of seven new features that are coming to the existing BBC iPlayer.

What Satellite & Digital TV has a round up too, and considers the new recommendation system:

iPlayer will enable you to share your viewing experience with your MSN messenger contacts. A new set of tabs at the top of the page will show which programmes your friends have been watching, and how you rated them. You can also send an alert to your friends each time you watch a new programme. So your friends and family can find out just what you think of Dawn Goes Lesbian. [We] can see a possible flaw in this plan.

According to this in-depth post, the version of BBC iPlayer accessible through Virgin Media isn't actually iPlayer at all. In the blogger's words:

[T]he TV iPlayer is not connected to the internet or to the main iPlayer servers or content network. The iPlayer branded menus merely point back at the same episode of Cash in the Attic on the Virgin servers that the Virgin branded screens do. Once you start playing the video, the Virgin VOD controls take over. This means that none of the presentation twists or web functionality that we have come to expect from the web iPlayer exist on the Virgin service."

On the BBCi Labs blog, Simon Lumb explains the reasons behind some of the audio problems some have been having with the Sport Multiscreen.

Did you know U2 have a new album out? Of course you did. The BBC's Jon Jacob reflects on the coverage:

U2 even have their own BBC website featuring all the exclusive content the Corporation's Audio and Music department has produced. With my pseudo-geek multiplatform webbie type hat on, I can confirm it's a tasty design and a well executed web offering. It feels right for the event. It ticks all the right boxes any web producer has to face on a daily basis at the BBC. It is, in short, the kind of project I wished I'd worked on despite the fact that I loathe U2."

If you want a quick snapshot of plenty of content on the BBC News site, take a look at Alltop, which now has a BBC section.

Dave Lee is co-editor, BBC Internet blog, BBC Online, BBC Future Media & Technology.


  • Comment number 1.

    Great blog and very interesting however could you be more descriptive with you post titles?

    Not that i want to do your online marketing and SEO but calling your blog posts something other than "Interesting Stuff" would help.

    Also when it comes up in my RSS feed i can have an idea of what the post is about before i click!

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks for the feedback. What do others think?

  • Comment number 3.

    No, keep the posts that have random bits of info together under the heading "Interesting Stuff" and then as you already do, give the in-depth posts an appropriate title. That way people don't get confused and potentially miss info they might have found interesting.

  • Comment number 4.

    I clicked and read the post because I thought "interesting stuff about what?" but it really would help to be a little more descriptive. Not sure if I would click a second time!

  • Comment number 5.

    'Interesting Stuff' is fine with me, as I've got used to what these posts actually are, i.e. "tech stuff that's mostly to do with the BBC in some way"... Maybe something like "BBC Technology News" or "BBC Technology Stuff" or "Interesting BBC Technology Stuff" or something! I'm not sure you need to give it a specific headline, as it's not as if any one 'snippit' in these articles is the 'headliner' and you can't exactly list every item in the headline...

    The alternative would be to make a new blog and post each snippit as an individual post (and post more often, as a concequence). I'd subscribe to that!

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with Ed Lyons' idea of a separate 'Interesting Stuff' blog with its own RSS feed, but failing that, keep the 'Interesting Stuff' title. Giving it a title that describes (for instance) the first item in the post might lead me to skip the entire post if I don't find that topic interesting, and I would miss out on the other topics.

    I'm really happy that there's a timescale in mind for getting the iPlayer onto Freesat boxes. The value of my Freesat purchase has diminished somewhat ever since the analogue signal was turned off and Freeview started broadcasting over my relay transmitter. BBC HD and BBC Alba are nice to have, but only to a point. Are there plans for both streaming and downloadable content, to allow standard boxes to use the service while taking full advantage of Freesat+ boxes?

    I'm also really happy that the BBC is looking at putting standards in place for IPTV. While the current offerings (particularly the iPlayer) have been great for getting IPTV momentum going, having to install separate programs for different broadcasters, with variable quality and availability, was never going to be a long-term solution.

  • Comment number 7.

    "Interesting Stuff" appeals to me.

    So on that basis I ask you don't bow to pressure and stick with the title.


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