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Interesting Stuff 2009-02-19

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Dave Lee | 20:28 UK time, Thursday, 19 February 2009

BBC News was hit by some technical problems earlier this afternoon, preventing users in certain areas accessing the site. Steve Herrmann explains on the News Editors' Blog:

The BBC News website was temporarily affected by technical problems this lunchtime which meant users in the UK were unable to get onto the site for about 20 minutes as a result of problems with our London servers. We're sorry for this, the site is accessible again now and we are looking into exactly what happened and why as urgently as we can.

Steve Herrmann isn't the only one with technical headaches. BBC New's Click team had a bit of a problem on a recent jolly to Barcelona.

In town to cover the Mobile World Congress, the team found themselves in a nightmare when their equipment encountered a little trouble -- the tape got stuck. Thankfully, BBC technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones whizzed back to London with the camera, allowing specialist BBC engineers to take control of the situation.

Brilliantly for us, the whole episode was documented on TwitPic...

The good news is that somehow they managed to rescue the tape (we're assuming without using that hammer), footage intact, and the show will be on the BBC News Channel as planned this Saturday. Phew.

If you're a fan of the show you can get all the behind the scenes action by following them on Twitter (@BBCClick). We were extremely impressed with this:

Yesterday we posted Ashley Stewart-Noble's piece about the BBC Flickr pool. Senior software engineer Curtis Poe enjoys his moment in the spotlight -- a picture of his hand was used to illustrate a radio show.

Congratulations are in order for the BBC Mobile team: they won the 'Best Mobile Video or Audio' award at the Global Mobile Awards 2009 on Wednesday night.

James Cridland offers some early reflections on the Radio 4 blogging experiment. It's good, he says:

More fascinating are the comments - discussing only the way the Radio 4 audience would be expected to. "Mr Damazer sir, would you be in the marketplace for a suggestion for an afternoon play repeat?" asks one correspondent, while another says: "To paraphrase; good programmes should: make most people smile some of the time, some people smile most of the time and on no account should anyone never smile once at all throughout a whole programme/series." '

Charlie Beckett reports on workshops on UGC and the Digital Revolution from Wednesday's Beebcamp.

And finally, if you're wondering why the BBC's Twitter masses has been a little quieter today, that's because we've been unable to access the site from within the BBC. Hopefully we'll be back tomorrow.


  • Comment number 1.

    Was the cheapest way to get the tape out of the camera (and leave the no doubt expensive camera intact) really for Rory Cellan-Jones to whiz back to London with it? It's not as if he was filming in Watford! Surely the BBC's bureau in Madrid would have been able to provide a spare camera, or, if that wasn't possible, what about sending a temporary replacement out to the crew with a parcel service such as DHL/FedEx/etc - if that wasn't cheaper, it was at least less bad for the environment.

    ps: your comments box doesn't appear in Chrome

  • Comment number 2.

    Talking of twitter, any chance you could improve your twitter postings?

    I'm sick of reading things like:

    "Captain Andrew Strauss defends his decision to not declare earlier as England fail to beat West Indies in the .. https://tinyurl.com/amz3j4"

    I mean, everyone else using twitter manages to get their point across in 140 characters - any chance you could improve your automation to make it up to the task (e.g. when adding a news item have a 120-char summary rather than just pulling out the first sentence).

    The BBC is the only feed I subscribe to that allows its Tweets to tail off badly like this: come on, pull yer finger out!

  • Comment number 3.

    Oh, and another thing - possibly more for the local people, but if I subscribe to @bbcnewcastle and it seems rather odd that it insists on repeatedly telling me the same story twice...

    "BBC Tyne Charges over van cocaine seizure: A man is charged with a drugs offence after thousands of poun.. https://tinyurl.com/c5k34x"

    "BBC Wear Charges over van cocaine seizure: A man is charged with a drugs offence after thousands of poun.. https://tinyurl.com/c5k34x"

    It's a hell of a coincidence if it is two different stories, and if it isn't, why tell me about it twice? Surely once is enough?

    ...couldja have a word, please?

  • Comment number 4.

    PicksyJ - that BBC Local Twitter stream will be drawn from the RSS feeds I imagine - the rss feed is generated from the BBC Tyne and the BBC Wear news index.

    If a story covers both patches it will appear on both the Tyne and Wear index - this means that it will also appear in both RSS feeds and as the BBC Newcastle Twitter stream is pulling in both RSS feeds - the story will appear twice on Twitter - once from the Tyne rss feed and once from the Wear rss feed.

    Also - although Twitter is useful and popular I'm not sure the extra resource in adding a 120 character summary to every article published on BBC News just for Twitter is worth it - although I imagine the RSS feed and twitter importer 'could' be adapted to pull out the existing summary (as used on indexes) than the first paragraph.

    Although this will come out at around 60 characters instead of 120.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.


    As far as I'm aware, getting Rory to bring the camera back WAS the cheapest option, because he was going back to London anyway, so we incurred no extra cost.

    Odd about the comments box -- I use Chrome and I'm typing in it now. Are you sure you're logged-in in Chrome? The box doesn't appear otherwise (on any browser).


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