Archives for January 2007

Molly stops in for lunch with Backstage

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 16:48 UK time, Wednesday, 31 January 2007


We had a special guest come over today. Molly E. Holzschlag one of the leading lights in the fields of webdesign and webstandards, dropped in on us for lunch. But before lunch we were able to grab a quick interview with her. Molly talks about quite a few things including her new role at Microsoft where she will evangelise Standards and Interoperability through all Microsoft Web Platforms.

We have also made the video available under a creative commons licence and you can grab the raw footage from the same site (click share then permalinks)

BBC clocks as a widget or gadget

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 17:38 UK time, Tuesday, 30 January 2007


Following the Clock which was created by the guys at NHK. I thought it would be a really good idea if we did some kind of clock based on the old BBC school clocks which most of remember. Jem actually found a site which has a load of old BBC clocks in Flash form. I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to repurpose one of the clocks or build one using SVG or something else.

Anyone interested in building one?

Toshio Kuramata from NHK and BBC Backstage

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 11:22 UK time, Thursday, 25 January 2007


Toshio Kuramata from NHK (Japan's Public broadcaster) came to visit us on Tuesday. We talked about the parallels of backstage and NHK labs. We will be working together more in the future, so watch this space for details.

Toshio has also kindly blogged about backstage on the NHK labs blog - BBC Backstageを訪問! Which we love the look of. Specially the downloadable clock which you can add to your own website if you like. Maybe there should be a classic BBC clock which you can do the same with?

BBC Top Stories Google Gadget

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 14:24 UK time, Tuesday, 23 January 2007


BBC Top Stories

A Google Gadget for the Google Personalized homepage which lift the top stories thingy on the BBC News Frontpage.

I believe I need to improve the appearance in IE6. It looks nice in FireFox though. Given the time I would implement the whole stats thing which is available on the BBC site i.e. top story by hour and location.

NabazTag (techno love bunny) Weather

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 13:47 UK time, Tuesday, 23 January 2007


 Pouille, my name is Pouille

I have cobbled real fast a prototype that reads the BBC RSS Weather feed and sends it to my NabazTag wireless Bunny. It is ROUGH but it works.

World Weather Map

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 13:42 UK time, Tuesday, 23 January 2007


live weather map.jpg

Sorry ! yet another google maps related project. Because the BBC weather feed uses a somewhat user unfriendly "weather ID" number for it's query of a city location I had to screen scrape all 7-8 thousand into a Mysql database. This maked it possible to query a whole country's weather. When I get around to it I hope to open up my database for POST / GET weather requests to RSS 2. Keep an eye on the page for details.

What is it with Twitter?

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 15:21 UK time, Friday, 19 January 2007


Recently there has been a lot of chatter and building around a new service called Twitter. Twitter by the Obvious (same group behind Odeo) has a very simple remit.

Twitter is for staying in touch and keeping up with friends no matter where you are or what you’re doing. For some friends you might want instant mobile updates—for others, you can just check the web. Invite your friends to Twitter and decide how connected you want you to be.

For developers, Twitter has a open API which gives you access to pretty much everything you need. Mario has already written a load of bots for Twitter using the BBC's data. But there is also lots more examples of what people have done with Twitter on the un-official twitter wiki.
But I asked Jack Dorsey his thoughts on the future of Twitter

Twitter is a device-agnostic community focused on answering one question: what are you doing? Our goal is to keep the service simple, open, and accessible both for our users and developers. We think this combination, a real-time device-independent platform paired with an open API, allows developers to be extremely creative with the services and products built around Twitter. The ability to organize friends into groups is our most popular feature request: that's next!

A little inside information and a reason to check out Twitter it would seem?

Five Live Partnership

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Matthew Cashmore | 12:21 UK time, Thursday, 11 January 2007


The next big thing.

Over the next couple of months backstage and Five Live are teaming up to try and produce some amazing ideas and prototypes. The idea is to place old media and new media right next to one another, compress, mix, add a spoonful of sugar and see what happens.

Five Live produces some amazing content, content that lends itself perfectly to being mixed and mashed with a whole hosts of feeds we already provide, and several which we'll be announcing for the first time with this project.

We're also going to pull together feeds from other providers (such as The Office of National Statistics) as well as some interesting feeds based around speech recognition and pattern recognition.

Brett Spencer is Five Live's Interactive Editor, these are his thoughts;

Five Live is already the home of live news and sport. Five Live is THE place for the listener to interact, respond and rant about news, current affairs and issues important to them. But we still have lots to do. Five Live has expanded across the multi-platform environment this year but we want to do a lot more.

With your help we would like to find a new way to see what our listeners are thinking, what they are reacting to and how feel about news. What else could they be seeing online while they listen live to the Radio station? How could our radio station join up more effectively with other parts of the web? How can we enable the listener to interact more effectively with us and in turn more effectively with each other via Five Live.

We are encouraging people to "Be The Editor" on a Friday morning when they get to pick the subjects on air. But how do we gear our content to what they are talking about with their friends and down the pub on a daily or even hourly basis?

Five Live makes extensive use of texts on air, but now so does everybody else. How can we take that to the next stage? With your help we would like to find a way to move our listeners and our on air content even closer to our six million listeners. The potential is huge. Working with you and BBC Backstage we would like to unlock it via an ongoing dialogue around the possibilities available to us.

At the end of the partnership backstage will fund the development of the best prototype / idea and Five Live will then commission the prototype to a live server.

BBC News just started twittering

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Ian Forrester Ian Forrester | 11:46 UK time, Monday, 8 January 2007


bbcnews is now twittering

Mario has been playing with the Twitter API and created a user for BBC News, which twitter's Breaking news to other users following it. Some what like a IM bot but for the twitter network. To subscribe you just need to add bbcnews to your friends or follow bbcnews.

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