Archives for January 2012

Winter 2012 Open Post

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Ian McDonald Ian McDonald | 10:56 UK time, Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Plaque on Outside of TARDIS Door:

Plaque on the door of the Russell T Davies era TARDIS

As one season closes, another one opens; welcome to the Winter 2012 Open Post.

This is a chance for you to talk about topics that are on-topic for the BBC Internet Blog, but aren’t covered by any other posts currently open for comment.

The Autumn open post covered a lot of ground; we had answers to questions about the use of video on the News website, the blogs platform and postcodes. Liz Brown, product manager for News, updated Keith on moving News programmes to /programmes, and we were able to give Russ a bit of advance notice of the blogs migration to iSite.

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What's On BBC Red Button 28th January - 5th February

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 28 January 2012

What's On Red Button banner

BBC Introducing Masterclass

This is the second Masterclass for music makers, from the most famous recording studios in the world - Abbey Road and BBC Maida Vale studios.

The Masterclass focuses on inspiring bands and musicians about the music industry. BBC Introducing invited music producers, promoters, publishers, record label execs, managers, agents, musicians, remixers, DJs, and BBC talent together with two hundred bands and musicians.


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BBC News App on Android Tablets

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Kate Milner | 15:24 UK time, Thursday, 26 January 2012

Screenshot of News app, with story on right hand side

Mock up of the BBC News App on a generic Android tablet

I’m delighted to announce that BBC News app for Android is now available for large tablet devices. The app is available to download from the Android Market in the UK.

BBC Worldwide will soon be launching an international version of the app for audiences around the world.

This follows the success of the BBC News app for Android smartphones, which has been downloaded more than three million times globally since launching last year  

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BBC Homepage: Localisation & Accessibility Updates

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James Thornett James Thornett | 11:00 UK time, Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The BBC Homepage was relaunched on 30th November last year and as we approach the end of January we have now completed our first two updates for 2012.

You might have noticed that regional television and local radio stations are now available from the drop down menus in the What's On area of the page. To ensure you received the relevant TV and Radio stations for your area, click on the location name at the top of the page, next to the clock, select your postcode or town name, and then click 'Confirm'.

I'm pleased to tell you that my team have also fixed a number of bugs and made further improvements to the accessibility of the page which will make it easier to read if you are accessing via a screenreader.

We still have plenty of new features to add and improvements to make and we hope to continue releasing new updates every few weeks.

Work is also underway on a new mobile site so there will be more information on that soon.

James Thornett is the Head of Homepage Product, BBC Future Media

What's On BBC Red Button 21st - 29th January

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 21 January 2012

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Asian Network Gold

The BBC Asian Network dives into the BBC Archive to present iconic Asian music from over four decades.

Presenter Sonia Deol, pulls together some iconic performances from the biggest Asian artists ever to have recorded at the BBC, through programming including the BBC's dedicated Asian television shows, 'Nai Zindagi, Naya Jeevan', 'Gharbar', 'Asian Magazine' and 'Network East'.

Viewers can enjoy footage from artists such as Bollywood singer, Kishore Kumar, Qawwal Maestro, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani legend, Noor Jahan and British Asian pop diva, Nazia Hassan. Punjabi folk singer, Gurdas Maan, the nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar and Pakistani ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan will also be showcased.

For full details visit the BBC Asian Network


Ghazal singers Chitra and Jagjit Singh

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Five Interesting Stories: January 2012

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Nick Reynolds Nick Reynolds | 10:11 UK time, Friday, 20 January 2012

A screen shot of the new 2012 portal

A screen shot of the new 2012 portal

It's been a dark, dank, cold, grimy, drab and frankly 'orrible start to the year.

However there have been some interesting stories about BBC Online. Here are five to tickle your jaded palate.

1. BBC Sport has announced that its website will be relaunced in February. (If you were lucky enough to be at the BBC Online Industry Briefing in November you would have seen a tiny taster).

The new year has brought a new look for the BBC Olympic 2012 site. Roger Mosey has responded to some of the comments raised on his blog post:

@Andrew Yes, this is a portal only. Content is created across and manually placed on the portal. Without it, there wouldn't be one single place where you'd see everything we're doing about the Olympics and all things 2012... Where possible, we're inserting text or graphical links back to the portal in every relevant item of content. Providing the user sees the link, they can navigate back in this way.

2. Our very clever colleagues at BBC Research and Development are investigating
"An Affective Interface for Mood-Based Navigation". Or as Rosie Campbell puts it:

The problem of mood subjectivity will need to be addressed; since something I find humorous may not be so funny to you (this became apparent in our user trials where many people rated a serious documentary on 70s fashion as very humorous...)

3. An article in the Guardian "BBC considers charging viewers for archive TV shows online" unleased some speculation and chatter including this from the Register:

...the debate, while in its infancy, is stimulating some fascinating responses. Lifelong freetards who refuse to pay for media content vow to pay for iPlayer shows, because they value the BBC. While BBC supporters baulk at paying twice...

PC Advisor also polled its readers.

Just to be clear, it's worth quoting the original Guardian article at length:

However, a spokesman for the BBC said that this is not a "two-tier" licence fee system, but a micropayment to cover costs including payments that would have to be made to programme makers for the rights. "We never stop future-gazing at the BBC and there are always a number of new ideas under discussion", said the spokesman. "Any such ideas would need to be developed in conjunction with the industry and with rights-holders and they would certainly not lead to a two-tier licence fee

4. Back at the BBC R&D blog Joanne Moore has reviewed research into how users feel about sharing their data:

When interviewing Facebook users, although concerned about the visibility of their personal information, it was identified that adjusting privacy settings is a one-time action, rarely revised.

5. BBC iPlayer ended the year with a record breaking set of performance figures. The performance packs are no longer published on this blog but you can find them at the BBC's Media Centre.

You can read interesting links about BBC Online on this blog's delicious account. We also gently guide these links into the Twitterverse on the bbccouk_blogged twitter account.

Nick Reynolds is Accountability Executive, BBC Online

The BBC 2012 site redesign

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Ian McDonald Ian McDonald | 12:41 UK time, Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The 2012 team have refreshed the BBC's homepage for London 2012. It now has a similar large carousel to the BBC Homepage.

Mark Coyle, Editor 2012 Portal, writes on Roger Mosey's blog about the new page:

The main section is made up of three rotating panels in which we'll highlight a wide range of items drawn from right across the BBC.

That means news, sport, drama, arts, culture, comedy, will all find its way onto the site. You might come looking for a story about the Olympic torch relay and be hooked by one of the plays being produced as part of the BBC's Shakespeare season.

Please read more and comment on the new design on Mark Coyle's post.

Ian McDonald is the Content Producer, BBC Internet Blog

What's On BBC Red Button 14th - 22nd January

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 14 January 2012

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Stargazing LIVE

This month BBC Two turns off a town's lights (live on air) to showcase the wonders of the UK night sky.

Over the course of the three nights, the Stargazing LIVE team will be switching off lights across the country (at venues including the Eden Project) to demonstrate just how magical UK landmarks can look when light pollution is removed.

Following the series, school children across the country will get the chance to put their astronomy questions directly to one of the nation's favourite science teachers, Professor Brian Cox.

At 2pm on Thursday 19th January Professor Cox will present a live, interactive lesson from Jodrell Bank in collaboration with The Big Bang Fair.

All UK schools can join in via the BBC Red Button or on the website.

For full details visit Stargazing LIVE

Stargazing LIVE

Professor Brian Cox with Dara O'Briain

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Upgrading BBC Blogs: Moving to a new blogging platform

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Jessica Shiel Jessica Shiel | 15:44 UK time, Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Example mock ups of the new blogging platform.

The new 'lively' default theme on the new blogs platform, applied to an example blog homepage on a light background and an 'all posts' page on a dark background.

It's been more than five years since the first few BBC blogs were set up in Movable Type and in that time the software has hosted up to four hundred services at any one time.

I have been Product Manager for blogs for the past two years. In that time I have managed a number of changes, such as the previous blogs redesign in Barlesque, the redesign of the blogs homepage and the introduction of various other features such as the new comments module and Sharetools.

For the past year or so I've been working on the latest blog upgrade. This is the most extensive yet as it involves significant changes to the blogs platform as well as look and feel. Today I am announcing the launch of the first blog, Writersroom, which sits on the new platform and represents a fresh design.

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What's On BBC Red Button 7th - 15th January

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Tess Foster Tess Foster | 06:00 UK time, Saturday, 7 January 2012

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Sound of 2012

Now in its tenth year, the Sound of 2012 is a list of the most promising new music acts for the year ahead.

Those included are chosen by a panel of UK-based tastemakers who each named their favourite three new acts, with the top 15 making up the long list.

The panel is made up of respected writers, critics, editors, bloggers as well as producers and presenters from TV and radio.

The top five were ranked and revealed in reverse order live on Radio 1 during the week beginning 2nd January 2012, with one act named each day.

For full details visit the Sound of 2012 website

Press red to see a special programme profiling this year's top five, featuring exclusive interviews and live performances.

Will Skrillex be the Sound of 2012?

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BBC News app for Connected TV: update & Sony launch

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Aaron Scullion | 11:00 UK time, Friday, 6 January 2012

BBC News App running on a Sony connected TV by the BBC Blue Room

In my role as Executive Product Manager for the BBC News app for connected TV I’m responsible for bringing the product to new platforms, to ensure availability for a broader audience.

Today I want to tell you about a new launch and share some details about the way the product has been used to date.

Sony launch

The BBC News product for connected TV was launched in June 2011 on the Samsung Smart TV platform for both UK and international audiences. Later that year, we partnered with Panasonic to launch the product on their VIERA Connect TV platform in the UK .

Today, the product launches on the Sony connected TV platform in the UK.

I’m delighted that we’ve been able to get the product – now developed from BBC Future Media’s Salford base – onto three sizeable platforms so quickly after launch; audience response has been fantastic, but first a quick recap of the product and its key features.

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