Sunday, April 20, 2008

Special know-who

Media software firms go to US on government-backed mission

One wishes them well. But there is also a whistful ponder as to what got this particular bunch government-backing, and the extent of such largess.

Plus who is funding the evident caravan in tow.

With a few exceptions, from the summaries provided, if stuck in a lift for 30' with most of these guys, if I was a VC I'd be asleep by the the 3rd floor.

If I remember and can find it, the progress of this merry band might be educational.

Something rotten in the state of IT

Prequel: It's a fairly prevalent and worrying trend across many major media. I illustrate a story on the Observer 20/04 where the comments have been closed before any got/get made.

I've always been in awe of the world of IT. From just a 0 or a 1, our whole current existence plays out and, worryingly, depends.

Because it is seldom that clearcut.

The might of Google is still, after several days, 'working on' the fact that this blog's Spellchecker seems to have exploded and died. And, if you look at the Help Forum, it has done so with a lot (and I mean a LOT) else.

And it can be more than frustrating.

Take a recent, and as yet unfulfilled foray of mine on the Newsnight blog. Actually a couple running at present, but this one will do.

I saw a piece that even their editors posting the original had up 3 times, which is indicative of getting an error message and reposting. Which is bad enough. But can also be embarassing when it did go up and now you look silly for the duplicate, or, as here, multiples.

So I saw this as a chance to make a point. Little did I suspect the irony would currently be descending into farce. I am now on my 4th attempt to post this:

Nice to see even the site owners can have trouble posting, and/or (not) knowing if they have or not.

3 duplicates of this at time of my post. If it survives.

Attempt 2, and now 3:

There's a surprise

Text only
Service not available.

Unfortunately a server error occured whilst trying to retrieve this page:
We are currently working to correct this


And at attempt 4, a day later, I note 2 postings listed on the main page, but still only one actually up and visible here.

Not the easiest system to engage with, nor the most satisfactory, really.

Actually, more than that, I really think it's a disgrace.


I just checked the other one I posted on, where I was a little less than impressed that, at the time of writing, a clear point of fact in a matter of serious contention had not be clarified even though it would have been easy to do so. And lo, it is now up:

May we have the 'purple box' official facts of what this reporter Ms. Kay did or did not say soon, please?
If not, I am sure there are plenty of archive-rich sites I can go to, but would rather get it from the national broadcaster.
3.45pm Thu 7 - at first attempt to post
Server Error 502 - 17.19 at 2nd

The clarification still remains to be provided.

BBBC - A post, followed by some (unverified/able) explanations I don't much like thinking about. This is a public service broadcaster, paid (in part) by some who they don't seem to think need access by virtue of not agreeing with them in discussions that might not fit the editorial narrative.

Newsnight - It's not kicking off too well:

There's a certain irony that, when I check the post yesterday on the new blogging system, it advises thus:


Blog fix imminent
Newsnight 16 Apr 08, 04:32 PM

This post is closed to new comments.

ANY would have been a good start. As there seem to be... zero.

Hence I do regret to advise that I am already having some problems with the new system. And maybe it is having some problems with itself?

I also suspect the time code is an hour out, too.

No more 502 Error so far, which is good, but there is no more preview, and the overt 'moderation' cloud now hangs even more darkly. But what REALLY sucks is this new 'Closed to new comments' deal. What's that all about? You can no longer ponder a day before posting. Catch the 24 hr PC catch-up? Or come back in rebuttal. And there is the slight suspicion that if things do not progress according to plan things will get 'pulled' on a whim. Can't say I am that enthused thus far, and this goes beyond IT 'teething problems'.

14. At 6:59 pm on 17 Apr 2008, PeterBarron

The technical aspects of the new system seem, so far, to be excellent.

However, I am less impressed with the design and operational changes that have been introduced in 'complement'.

As the invitation was made at the end of the original post above this comment is still relevant in this thread, but I would have thought this and all others would have been much more appropriate under the preceding one, dedicated to Blog 'fixes'. And there was value in keeping it open for such debate, rather than being closed before any could be made.

It seems to me a few things were also 'fixed' that were not broke.

I also miss having the opportunity of checking via the top link other commenters' personal sites if they have made a good point and seem worth bookmarking. Now it appears to go nowhere... well, stays within the BBC fold. But I do notice a 'User Profile' option, but none so far seem to have one. Perhaps it's worth sharing how to upload one?

It's good to share, but without such an opportunity well-informed contributors may well see this now more as vanity publishing (in terms of personal benefits - the BBC does of course gain 'content') and the quality of input could suffer as a result. Certainly the quantity.

But them maybe that was/is the intention?

Newsnight - Blogging - a new era - But a rather familiar rationalisation, especially to any familiar with Newswatch: 'Many of you have already commented on how it's working and one or two have suggested it's designed to introduce more censorship. That's certainly not our intention. The aim is to encourage much more open discussion about the programme and much more interaction with the programme-makers.' It's a classic; a bit of mea culpa followed by a lot of ''we don't see a problem'. Actually it's a very clever thing they've done. Thanks to the loss of the accreditation I see no great reason to give them the benefit of my thoughtful input. So those who remain will be the likes of the poster, oddly credited , whose every post starts with 'Brilliant show tonight...' and just likes to see their name mentioned.

Maybe one should start with 'Brilliant rationalising tonight!' ... quite worthy of Newswatch at its 'minor mea culpa followed by major 'we think it's spiffy, and it's sweet you think we're going to do much about it now'' best.

The new system certainly now works technically, which was all that was ever wrong. Why impose all the logistical/stylistic changes at the same time? I recall no comments asking for these.

It has certainly worked on cutting down on quantity (3, so far, here at time of writing. Less than 10 for Friday with all to comment upon there). As to quality...? I wonder where those whose balanced input and interesting links I so value will be posting now? I'll lurk here a while I guess, but not sure whether it's worth investing much time any more to writing.

Better dash off this quick knee-jerk soundbite feedback - at the expense of considered input designed to stimulate further discourse and off-blog engagement - before this thread gets closed. So... job done then national, and publicly-funded broadcaster... job done?