Common User

Me rambling on.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

reboot 9.0

reboot 9.0
Originally uploaded by jem.
So I've arrived at Reboot and all I can really think of is the Human League. The morning has been full of musings from academics, developers and thinkers on what it is that makes us "human".

Reboot is the small(ish), grassroots(ish) tech conference that was kicked off this morning by 29 year old Thomas Madsen-Mygdal who has been putting this annual gathering together in his "spare" time nearly every year this decade. His opening gambit was "it's not us that makes it great, its you." as the majority of presentations were suggested and voted/commented on by the attendees before the conference was scheduled. Well I'm not sure i've done much yet bar eat some of the free apricots and bananas...

Anyway I'm here all day/tomorrow and supposed to be filing an update for my BBC News colleagues later so i'll better stop this and start paying attention.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

7 Ages of Rock

After a difficult week its good to report on this. 7 Ages of Rock is a new 7 (natch) part BBC2 documentary from the people behind the excellent Soul Deep and Lost Highway . It starts on BBC2 on Saturday night but the supporting BBC website, which launched this afternoon, really starts to make use of some of Tom's principles. Deploying for the first time (in my knowledge) at the BBC embedded video that is shareable. (see above) , aggregation of a wide range of sources (Flickr, Wikipedia, Last FM) to compile artist pages for the 50 or so bands featured in the programmes and sensible simple navigation this is quietly impressive stuff from the ever excellent team over in (what is now) the BBC team known as Audio and Music. Some of which really are now known as AM/FM. No really. Good work sirs.

Now when did "indie" actually start ? Are you sure its 1980 ?


"The Common Parlance of the Internet"

I've watched rather painfully the fall out in comments and blog posts mostly from ex colleagues, following Bobbie Johnson's series of pieces in the Guardian investigating new media and innovation at the BBC. A long blog post criticising the technology behind the iPlayer and then a wider piece the following Monday bemoaning innovation at the BBC itself following Greg Dyke's comments to a Select Committee was uncomfortable stuff. This was followed again by a column from Emily Bell arguing that "The failure to innovate is a company-wide problem, not the preserve of the people in trainers." Charming. I wear a natty pair of Clarks Desert Boots every day.

I'm not going to comment (too much) further except to point you to this Backstage podcast from February
where Tom Loosemore (from the BBC), James Cridland (then now from Virgin radio but now soon to be a BBC exec ) and a panel of "experts", some highly critical of the BBC's position, discuss DRM, innovation and the BBC to your hearts content. (ok. for over an hour). Its worth restating again the highly complex background against which the BBC operates. This is a theme running through the podcast but here is a typical example as any. Last week the DCMS Select Committee released a paper summarising a series of submissions from the great and the good around "new media and the creative industries" over the last few months. Its a 100 page dense piece of work but fascinating especially around DRM and its recommendations around home copying. However its this anecdote about the Creative Archive project (now at the end of its pilot phase) that caused a smile.
There were criticisms by witnesses of the BBC for appearing to encourage a cavalier approach to copyright through its message to users of the Creative Archive—"find it, rip it, mix it, share it, come and get it". BECTU* pointed out that there was no suggestion of "Respect it" in the slogan and that users were quite likely to be unaware of the terms of the licence.The Music Managers' Forum suggested that the underlying message "had the air of an organisation which seeks to undermine copyright rather than a publicly-owned authority which should emphasise best practice".Many witnesses urged the BBC to use its position as a public service broadcaster with unparalleled access to audiences and experience in interpreting complex issues for public consumption to promote copyright education through its services.The Creators Rights Alliance agreed and suggested that the BBC should inform users that they were paying for the right to view content rather than the right to own it.

156. The BBC defended its slogan, saying that the terms used were "the common parlance of the Internet", used by Microsoft and iTunes, and were in no way the language of piracy.While this may be true, the common parlance of the Internet should not be setting the standard for the BBC. We recommend that the BBC should amend the slogan for the Creative Archive, if it proceeds beyond the pilot phase, to convey the message to users that content should be respected. The BBC should examine whether more can be done to oblige users of the Creative Archive to read the terms of the licence governing use of the material before downloading and consider what other action it can take to educate consumers about the purpose and importance of copyright law.

The common parlance of the internet "should not be setting the standard for the BBC". They make it sound dirty...


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sky News Priorities

I think Andrew Collins has pretty much captured most of my thoughts on the media coverage of the Portugal case. As with Alan Johnston I can understand the motivation in keeping news interest high to secure an outcome but the current navigation bar for Sky News neatly illustrates the pervasiveness of this story on their current output.