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Overnight work

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 01:00 UK time, Thursday, 26 November 2009

Our technical teams are doing some fairly major work on the BBC's network overnight UK time. We are trying to ensure this doesn't affect what you see on the website, but there may be some delays in publishing. We will update you when we know more.

Update 06:00 GMT: The planned work has now been completed and I'm pleased to say we're publishing normally.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you for all your kindness in doing so much to facilitate this important function. Many, I am sure, understand just how daunting it must be, in some way, to wade through reams of contributions from myriad sources from so many different corners of the world. You do a superb job. On some level, this kind of service may seem a luxury -- even almost a self-indulgence. On the other hand, it provides invaluable insights into cross-sections of thinking, attitudes & experience that most journalism elites, not to mention public policy experts, rarely get to connect to. So, Kudos! All you editors & technology teams there: kudos! Thank you & good luck always. God bless you.

  • Comment number 2.

    Steve, I notice the user 'control panel' has changed and moved position (now positioned above the BBC search box), the problem is that it's extremely badly designed bit of .css scripting - at least looking at it on WinXP running Firefox - the options are all but invisible unless being highlighted by a mouse-over, brick-red on black is a total joke!... Can you please ask the tech bods to either revert back to the old style 'control panel' or change default colour on the link text at least.

  • Comment number 3.

    re my comment @ #3:

    Fiddle sticks, forget it, after a couple of page (re)loads it's all back to how it used to be, so either my comment crossed someone fixing a known issue or I must have had a bit of corrupted code on my cached css file!

  • Comment number 4.

    ...''fairly major work'' ...is this remedial, or new improvements ?
    ...and just 'overnight' ?

    Fine !!
    So there will be no further problems in the next say, six months then...(joke)

  • Comment number 5.

    Now look people, you must realise that as much as we value the Beeb in many ways, one thing it ain't good at is listening to the punters - sadly its critics are right when they say it always thinks it knows best.
    So you can put all you like here but they will always have THEIR own idea and thats how it'll end up - for example before, during and after the beta testing last time I told them several times that this new whizzy java script stuff was all very well but it wouldn't work on public service computers with strict code firewalls - and presumably many other corporate offices - but they didn't listen (never ever had any acknowledgement) and as a result hundereds of thousands, maybe millions can't refer to it during the week. (Also the new Home Page fancy boxes takes ages to load up now on a slow work place network).
    SO I don't want to be negative folks but......


  • Comment number 6.

    In reply to comments @ #5:

    Very true, but the BBC is not alone and most most certainly is not the worst offender, often commercial websites have similar or worse failings! At least one can access the core BBC website(s) and it's services without having to run the latest Microsoft browser (or worse, still expect to find Netscape v.4!), do not have to have auto page-redirect enabled, and are totally reliant on having Java-script enabled to see anything beyond a blank page... Nor do they use image maps without any textual fall-back, nor use images without 'alt' tags for navigation menus, both utterly useless to the visually impaired or those (for what ever reason) browsing without images enabled.

    The BBC probably score in the region of 80%, 100% being the perfectly coded website, many commercial/corporate sites barely score 50% IMO.

  • Comment number 7.

    Steve:

    Thanks for informing the audience in the OVERNIGHT WORK at BBC....

    =Dennis Junior=

  • Comment number 8.

    Thanks for the informing.
    Hatashe

  • Comment number 9.

    Looks like your IT department screwed up again and your file server crapped out losing the file of all the cookies of people who post on the blog sites. Now we'll all have to log in again just like we did the last time this happened a month or two ago. I know ten year olds who run more reliable blog sites than BBC's IT department. If BBC can't be relied on to even do that right, how can anyone rely on the accuracy of their news reporting? I don't. Not anymore, not for a long time now.

  • Comment number 10.

    In reply to the comments made @ #9:

    MM2, you might know fellow ten year olds (who might or might not run their own server-side blogging scripting) but you sure as hell know nothing about how cookies work - so it would appear...

  • Comment number 11.

    Considering the huge amount of traffic on the BBC website I think your IT guys do a great job. By the way #9, cookies live on your computer, not the BBC website.

    My only problem is when the moderators reject my HYS comments for no valid reason that I can see except for maybe their very own personal slant on the rules!!

  • Comment number 12.

    Dear Declan,

    Really like your style (everyone likes a good Curry). And the style of the lovely lady co-newscaster.
    For tomorrow programme (matter: Savings:

    Regarding Premium Bonds, are they another governmental scam or do you actually have a chance to win HIGHER prices?

    Thank you
    Yours is the only programme I watch
    Gaelle

  • Comment number 13.

    Zed, I'm well aware that the cookies are on your computer. BBC puts them there when you register so that you don't have to log in each time you access the site because it recognizes that cookie. That's how it knows your moniker or avatar. Only the system broke down and I and probably many others had to re-register because BBC's software failed and forgot who's who and what's what.

    Speaking of What's What, why do so many people seem to have a monkier Uxxxxxx now instead of their old names? Is BBC preparing us for a brave new world in which we will be like inhuman robots with just a number?

  • Comment number 14.

    #13. At 05:11am on 04 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Zed, I'm well aware that the cookies are on your computer. BBC puts them there when you register so that you don't have to log in each time you access the site because it recognizes that cookie."

    So what was this comment all about then MA2...

    [quote]
    "Looks like your IT department screwed up again and your file server crapped out losing the file of all the cookies of people who post on the blog sites."
    [/unquote]

    Sorry MA2, you simple got it wrong and thus showed yourself up to be grossly ignorant of the facts, as you tend to do on the Europe blog rather a lot....

    I suggest that you try reading more recent blog posts MA2 (you seem to have picked on a week old blog to have a rant against the BBC), there was a shed load of work carried out, which seems to have included updates to the log-in system), sometimes old cookies have to be 'killed' so that the new log-in requirements are satisfied.

  • Comment number 15.

    U-BBC's U-IT department got that laughable junk heap cranked over one more time. It's sputtering but it is back up and running...for now. But not before half the people posting had their monikers replaced with the letter U followed by a long string of numbers. Those posting are safe...until it's that time of the month next month...when the moon is full again.

    And in the category for the most unreliable blog site of any major organization in the world, first prize goes to....The BBC.

  • Comment number 16.

    In reply to the rant @ #15 MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "U-BBC's U-IT department got that laughable junk heap cranked over one more time. It's sputtering but it is back up and running...for now. But not before half the people posting had their monikers replaced with the letter U followed by a long string of numbers. Those posting are safe...until it's that time of the month next month...when the moon is full again."

    As I've said MA2, perhaps if you bothered to actually find a clue rather than just troll you might actually find out what has really happened regarding posters reverting back to their generic user account numbers - try reading this blog, and why the changes were made.

    "And in the category for the most unreliable blog site of any major organization in the world, first prize goes to....The BBC."

    Bye-bye then MA2, feel free to find a better blog to vent your (anti anything not USA) 'hot air' on...

  • Comment number 17.

    The change was ostensibly made to assure that all those posting would have names under 30 characters. But every one I saw whose name changed to Uxxxxx had names under 30 characters to begin with. The other goal was to fix other problems. Looks like in fixing some problems they created new ones. You are supposed to test the patch off-line before you impliment it to be sure that it works. I'm not an expert on software but I worked as an engineer for the largest research consortium in the world for 12 years and their main product was software. They wrote countless hundreds of millions of lines of code for the North American telephone network which was considered of vital interest to national security. I built many of their data centers, installed many of their computers and networks. They were at one extreme of reliability, BBC seems to be at the other. BBC is constantly having problems and has had a continual history of software problems with its blog sites for many years. The conclusion is inescapable, BBC's IT department is inadequate for the job. Your vehement although futile defense of it boiled and plated suggests that you are among the perps.

    As for finding another blog site, despite the necessity to suffer the limitations of defective software periodically, the endless source of innocent amusement I find chiding BBC bloggers and those who post equally foolish comments on their endless absurdities still outweighs my impatience at putting up with BBC's flawed technology.

  • Comment number 18.

    17. At 12:47pm on 05 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "As for finding another blog site, despite the necessity to suffer the limitations of defective software periodically, the endless source of innocent amusement I find chiding BBC bloggers"

    So you admit to being a troll then... 'nough said. :-(

  • Comment number 19.

    To many people with despotic views of life including evidently you, anyone who disagrees with them and says so is a troll...especially when they are always right and you are always wrong.

  • Comment number 20.

    In reply to comments @ #19:

    Talking about yourself again MA2, you ARE a troll, your posting history goes before you...

  • Comment number 21.

    Boiled and plated;

    And BBC's long history of software problems with its various websites goes before it. The record speaks for itself. There were times when software problems caused some of BBC's websites to be off line for days. For a large organizatio that is inexcusable in an era when the internet is one of the most important links between a broadcaster and its audience.

    This is a case of the boiler calling the plate black.

  • Comment number 22.

    #21. At 11:00pm on 05 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Boiled and plated;[..//..]"

    Lost the augment again MA2, so you're reverting to form, abusing people via their user names. As I said, your posting (and trolling) history goes before you...

    I suspect that the vast majority of people who post to these blogs do so from computers were they can't (either due to using work computers or a shared home computer) leave themselves logged-in, and the BBC will be able to know what percentage this is, so 'killing' old cookies when updating the software is actually inconveniencing very few.

  • Comment number 23.

    The only reason imaginable that someone would defend the undefendable with such vehemence as you've shown here BP...is that you have had a part in the creating the on-going disaster yourself. So when it breaks down the next time and the time after that and the time after that, we will at least have a moniker to attach blame to it if not an actual name.

    When BBC's WHYS was galavanting around the world a few years ago spending ratepayers' money like drunken sailors I said then that they should take the opportunity to outsource their IT to some private company in one of the countries they visited where the general level of skill in this area is much higher than in the UK. The US or India for example. How about Israel, they seem pretty clever at it. I'll bet even the censors who work for the government of China or the government employees who work for some malevolent" nations that invent computer viruses could surely easily outclass BBC's IT department to keep it up and running without any difficulty. But BBC has chosen to just plod on with its current crew, an old lumbering oxcart with one wheel missing and the rest somehow held together with spit, chewing gum, bailing wire, scotch tape, and paper clips just like the software and hardware itself. It hasn't completely gone off the rails as you Brits say...just yet. I say just give it some more time.

  • Comment number 24.

    #23. At 1:41pm on 06 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "The only reason imaginable that someone would defend the undefendable with such vehemence as you've shown here BP...is that you have had a part in the creating the on-going disaster yourself."

    WRONG again MA", as you always are, could it be that - unlike you - I simple have a clue (as to what the real issues here are)?!...

  • Comment number 25.

    boiled and plated;

    "unlike you - I simple have a clue (as to what the real issues here are"

    The real issues seem pretty simple to me. It either works properly, hardly works at all, doesn't work at all. All too many times the correct answer is the second or third choices. What other issues are there? Don't bore me with the technical details. Whether it's a car, a television set, or a blog site there are reasonable expectations for reliability of function which in BBC's case have not been even close to being consistently met. Why they can't ultimately rests with incompetent management failing to hire the right people, purchase the necessary tools, and failing to take corrective action when their own responsibilities are not satisfactorily met. But then what more would you expect from a government owned monopoly that has a vast budget, a huge bureaucracy, and is largely unaccountable to anyone?

  • Comment number 26.

    #25. At 5:55pm on 06 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "boiled and plated;"

    Lost are argument again MA2, resorting to your usual abuse and trolling - again...

  • Comment number 27.

    Methinks the boiler doth protest too much.

    The only reason anyone rational would make this much fuss over criticisms of someone's work is that it is in fact their own.

  • Comment number 28.

    #27. At 02:35am on 07 Dec 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "Methinks the boiler doth protest too much.

    The only reason anyone rational would make this much fuss over criticisms of someone's work is that it is in fact their own."


    WRONG again MA2, as you always are...

  • Comment number 29.

    I must say boiling mad, you really are upset about someone pointing out the inescapable and obvious incompetence of BBC's IT department. Get a grip on yourself man. The world isn't coming to an end over it...unless it happens to be your own job at stake.

    You do of course realize that if this kind of performace occurred in a private organization, in all likelihood the entire IT department and their managers up the ladder would all have been fired and replaced a long time ago.

  • Comment number 30.

    In reply to comments @ #29.

    "Get a grip on yourself"

    Take your own advice!

  • Comment number 31.

    I've just seen the latest attempt to mess up the weather site - WHERE ARE "MAPS"??!! I just want the *@*@* maps! Why can't it just say "MAPS"?

  • Comment number 32.

    Well Senior, at least the system functionality seems to be holding...for the time being. Sometimes the system works for weeks or even months without breaking down. But sooner or later if it continues to survive, BBC's IT department will "improve" it. They evidently never heard of the old saying: "if it aint' broke, don't fix it." Before you "improve" something you should first understand both how the existing software and hardware work and then the new. Then you test the new off line extensively (beta testing) to be absolutely certain it will work as expected. Then get prepared with a team to fix the problems you didn't know you had if and when they crop up. Those need to be fixed on the fly quickly if users aren't to get angry. People who are actually IT savvy do it that way. BBC seems to just "wing it." And the results show. The problem can't be one of budget. All they have to do if they need more money is to raise the license rates. We don't have those here in America, our media is free. We also have lots of choices that depend on commercial revenue. The people who work in them don't have government jobs, that is they can be fired if they don't perform. In a government job, the more incompetent you are, the better your chances of a promotion.

  • Comment number 33.

    32 comments on an IT update... you people really need to get a life - and then a job.

  • Comment number 34.

    33. At 4:18pm on 10 Dec 2009, fathertedrules wrote:

    "32 comments on an IT update... you people really need to get a life - and then a job."

    Whilst you need to find a clue!

  • Comment number 35.

    @fathertedrules - LOL, actually I think it's quite funny - I'm still trying to figure out what possessed me to actual read the comments on an IT update made over a month ago (think I do need a job!)

    PM

  • Comment number 36.

    Haha... I think I need a job too - but then again I'm a techie - I often pick up some gems when people comment randomly on IT updates!

  • Comment number 37.

    Doh - so I am bored and jobless I randomly wound up reading the entertaining comments here - but seriously BBC, why not increase national productivity by just closing the tech updates for comments after a couple of days?

    Wabber (Work Avoidance Behaviour blog)

 

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