Tag: BBC

BBC News

I WAS going to write about the article on Jacqueline Gold and discuss whether her Ann Summers shops were adding to the objectification of women, or whether they were helping women become more confident, empowered and… something else that fits the feminist checklist.

I WAS going to write about whether being normal was a good thing, or not and at what point ‘being normal’ becomes extraordinary.

I WAS going to tackle, as I said I would, the situation in the Middle East, hopefully offering some suggestions as to what (if I had the power) I would do to help rectify things but, in balance, I’m not sure there is much anyone can do. The simple fact, in that situation, is that there are two diametrically opposed groups, both of which are armed. The only solution is to disarm both. And that’s never going happen.

Instead I’m going to talk about one website that I visit every single day, usually more than once, and which has slowly been evolving.

In particular I want to mention the new ‘Show and Hide’ sections that have been added recently and, specifically the section that will supply “Local news, weather and sport”. It’s a great idea. I really like it but there is a tiny problem.

It loads AFTER the rest of the page!!

Previously when visiting the BBC News website, I only had to pause for a second to let things load and I could start clicking onto stories that caught my eye. Now?

Now I have to pause for a second then, just as I go to click on an interesting article in the top half of the screen… IT MOVES! The “Local news, weather and sport” section starts to load, causing the entire screen to shuffle to accomodate it.

This is REALLY beginning to piss me off, so much so that I even considered switching to another news source, something like FOX News maybe?

So, rather than switch to an entertainment channel like FOX, I decided to just delete the BBC News cookie from my machine so it would forget the local information I’d supplied. Now I can get the news I want, when I want, and where (on the screen) I think it’s gonna be!

Friday This and That

I watch BBC News in the morning and I’m getting increasingly annoyed by the “plug an upcoming BBC show” section. This morning it was about school reports as, apparently (I wasn’t really paying that much attention) the BBC will be a broadcasting a programme about this tonight.

So, instead of catching up on world events and, you know, news, instead I got to sit through random excerpts from peoples school reports, emailed in by viewers, including the HILARIOUS revelation that one report card stated the pupil “didn’t excel at geography” and, guess what… go on guess… bet you can’t… yes, that’s right, they are now a geography teacher. WOW!

I wish there was some way to convey just how far back into my head I’m rolling my eyes at the moment.. put it this way, it’s so far back that it really REALLY hurts. Actually, it’s a bit like an ice cream headache. Odd.

Really should stop doing it though. Hurts.

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Zeldman has started using WordPress. Not such a big deal to many, but considering that up until now he still hand-coded his site it’s a fairly big step for one of the early web design “pioneers”. I’ve been reading his site for over six years ya know (and still prefer the old orange to the current ‘organic’ colours).

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Billionaires are on the rise, which proves the old adage that the rich keep getting richer. Well, it’s not so much an adage as a “power-law distribution” and the same type of reasoning (the popular keeping getting more popular) can be applied to blogging as well.

The latter article is a mildly interesting read. Probably one for those who are continually pondering on WHY the “A-listers” are so deemed. Turns out it’s all our fault. Funny that.

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Profumo dies (great photo of him partway down the page). This was, I’m told, a BIG THING back in the day. It was around the time of the Cold War, a period where everyone left their fridge doors open with last person to close it declared the winner (there are still some fridge doors lying ajar in deepest darkest Siberia. Allegedly)

My knowledge of the Profumo affair is solely based around the Queen song Scandal which was used for a movie based on the events. I’ve not seen the movie.

This means my knowledge of this incident includes the name Christine Keeler and that famous photo of her, a copy of which was stolen and published in the Sunday Mirror.

I’m just too young I guess.

*ducks*

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Top Blogging Tip #23152: Post more often.

I’m basing that tip solely on the fact that my stats seem to be rising in the past couple of weeks, especially this week, when I’m finding myself posting more than once a day.

Of course this is typical. I’m far too busy, shouldn’t be blogging or reading blogs at all but with my current workload comes an increased requirement to focus on tasks at hand and that’s then turned into more posts rather than less. I’m sure smarter people than I have a term for this.

And no, it’s not task avoidance… well not completely…

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Afternoon proverb: Chilli and Guinness for lunch do not a productive afternoon make. Roll on 5pm.

Silly women

Honestly, you women. Running around, daring to be happy and comfortable in your sexuality, wearing flattering clothes and flirting, yes FLIRTING, with members of the opposite sex. It’s ridiculous, but tolerable. The limit is reached when you start drinking though. Honestly. You can’t have everything, that’s just greedy.

Yes? No?

I’m gobsmacked at the news today that 1/3 of “people” believe that it’s the woman’s fault if she is raped. Apart from general amazement, my initial shock was quickly tempered by the hope that these “people” are the minority who believe what they read in newspapers, and don’t question anything. If you look at it from that point of view, you can understand (although not condone) the findings of the survey. Depending on your stand it’s either the result of a long standing campaign by the male dominated press, or it’s the unfortunate result of some tired hacks who can’t be bothered to question their world view.

Either way the survey is shocking. So let’s take the three key issues:

A third of people believe a woman is partially or completely responsible for being raped if she has behaved flirtatiously, a survey suggests.
The Amnesty International poll of 1,000 people also found over 25% believe she is at least partly to blame if she has worn revealing clothing or been drunk.

1. “if she has behaved flirtatiously”
I’ve already documented my thoughts about flirting, so let’s put that aside as a ridiculous notion.

2. “if she has worn revealing clothing”
Rather than dig myself into a huge hole, I’ll firstly confess that I am an admirer of the female anatomy in all it’s many forms. I am quite happy for women to choose clothes that they are comfortable wearing. If they feel good wearing revealing clothes, who am I to argue. In saying that, the clothes a woman wears do not give me the right to violate her in any way shape or form. I’ll plead guilty to the odd ogle or five, but rest assured that I always feel guilty when I get caught… um… I’m straying from the topic here. Again, I can’t do much with this reason other than suggest that it’s a lack of respect and the objectification of women that is to blame.

However, maybe there is a sliver of an argument to say that, whilst it isn’t right, it is a fact that some men see women as objects so there should be some awareness (note that I said “awareness, I’m not saying they shouldn’t wear what they want, and I’m appalled to think that the actions of a few men should have any influence on a woman when she decides what to wear) that wearing revealing clothing may attract the attention of ‘less desirable’ men?? Of course I guess the reason that some women do wear next to nothing on a night out is to attract the attention of men, and so we enter a swings and roundabouts discussion.

Suffice to say that I agree with Gert who recently stated: “I find it deeply insulting for men to suggest that women should cover themselves to prevent them from being the target of inappropriate sexual advances.”

3. “if she has … been drunk”
Let’s set a scenario. Bear in mind that I’m coming at this from the male point of view.
You are on a night out, you spot a couple on the dance floor, they are both flirting, she is wearing a revealing outfit, and they are obviously attracted to each other. They both look a little worse for wear but have definitely “hit it off”. A week later you hear that he is being accused of raping her.

Now, I’m not saying that her actions give him any rights or provide him with any defence, but if you were to ask any of the people who had seen them together in the nightclub, would there be a shadow of doubt in their minds? I would think so. (thankfully this scenario is not based on personal experience).

Regardless of the findings, rape is a horrific topic. My view, as with most things, is that better education is the way to tackle this, removing the view of women as objects, and ensuring rape victims are given the protection they deserve. If anything good is to come of this survey I hope that it’s a growing awareness of women’s rights. And that rapists get their balls chopped off. The likelihood is that this will soon be yesterday’s news.

Last thought: Why isn’t there a link to the survey from the BBC News site? They are generally pretty good at giving you a way to delve deeper into a story, but this gets one page and nothing else. Odd?

Central Perk

We’re attending the wedding reception of a couple of good friends tomorrow night, and we’re both thoroughly looking forward to it, I even have a wee ‘rehearsal’ this evening. It’s always good to catchup with friends, and I just know that we’ll come away on Sunday morning saying “why don’t we get together more often”. Funny that.

I guess that sometimes friends just drift apart, it’s not easy when they do, especially if you’ve been close friends with someone for a long time, share a lot of history and yet despite the emotional ties something is missing and the friendship fizzles out. Shame. Thankfully this group of friends are the kind that you just pickup where you left off in June (at the R.E.M. concert) and continue from there… which means that a lot of alcohol will be consumed and Keith will end up making weird chocolate based cocktails. Yay!

Thanks for all the feedback on the new design, still a few changes to make yet – more after the “fold” if you are interested.

And finally, did anyone else catch the BBC Breakfast News around 8.10am this morning? The main newsreader (can’t recall her name) was halfway through the headlines when she got to a piece where “scientists have discovered that stuttering was..is..wa…has been linked to…”.

I’m not sure what else she said as Louise and I had dissolved into fits of giggles.

Right, some web design questions follow…Read More

Firefox momentum

Almost 66 million people have downloaded the Firefox browser, and whilst I’m sure those stats can be manipulated (lies, damned lies…) it’s still an impressive number, and it’s one that keeps on rising.

I know I’ve been banging on about it for ages now, but evidence that it is being taken seriously can be gathered from the fact that there is a link to a story about it on the front page of the BBC News website, which follows on from articles in most of the American mainstream media.

The story states that 1 in 10 UK websites fail to work properly in Firefox, listing some examples:

  • Odeon.co.uk
  • Jobcentreplus.gov.uk
  • Insurance.co.uk
  • British American Tobacco
  • Mansell.plc.uk
  • Companieshouse.gov.uk
  • Flybmi.com/cargo
  • bssuk.co.uk

I’m sure we could add many more to that list.

However there is one thing I’d just like to throw into this discussion, namely web standards. At present Firefox has the most compliant rendering engine of all the browsers (sharing that claim with Opera I believe) and THAT’S what can make a difference. If sites are designed to be compliant with the W3 specifications then they stand a much better chance of functioning properly across all browsers.

I wonder if the success of Firefox is just the long tail of the WaSP campaign?

Knit One

Imagine my surprise this morning when, upon tuning into BBC Breakfast, I was confronted with the site of people sitting at a table on London Bridge and they were knitting.

Cue “sound bite” from one of the artists (I use the term artist as presented in the piece):

“I like the political aspect of knitting, the feeling of taking things into one’s own hands.”

The political aspect of knitting? I bet democracies across the world felt a small tremor when he said that, dictators peered out of windows wondering why the crows were flocking over their palaces, and across the nation the sound of disbelief echoed through the streets – sounding just like people stifling laughs behind their cornflakes.

I did agree with his second point – that you could also see knitting as a backlash against commercialism – but the order in which he presented his “knitting beliefs” says more about him than I fear he realises.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of knitting – I’ve mentioned all that before though – but I’m not sure I see the appeal of knitting things like lampshades or handgrenades (via) or food (via).

However I do think everyone should have at least one hand knitted garment in their wardrobe. But having grown up with a constant stream of jumpers (in varying colours and designs) I guess I was kinda spoiled. It did stop Aunties giving me knitted jumpers though, always a blessing.

Ivan Noble

I’ve linked to his diary on the BBC News site a couple of times over the past couple of years, today he signs off for the last time.

I have written it ahead of time because I knew there would be a point when I was not well enough to continue.

That time has now come.

What I wanted to do with this column was try to prove that it was possible to survive and beat cancer and not to be crushed by it.

Even though I have to take my leave now, I feel like I managed it.

I have not been defeated.

Just Push Play

Since we got Sky+ late last year I’m already noticing that it’s changing my attitude towards the gogglebox. But let’s rewind a bit first.

Despite having a video recorder we rarely, if ever, used it. Sheer laziness, coupled with growing apathy about even watching television, was the main reason. If I did spot something I might want to watch the thought of having to check to find a tape I could use, then confront the recording options, was usually enough to put me off. Admittedly I’m quite happy with the fact that TV is a transistory medium, it’s not really meant to be around forever that’s why it’s broadcast. I think.

Anyway, recording with Sky+ is so much easier. Zip through the TV planner/guide and if you spot something you want to record you hit the little [ R ] button on the remote. Done. If it’s a series you can hit another (green) button and it’ll search for the rest of the programmes in the series and record them for you too (currently it’s set for Desperate Housewives).

And of course watching TV is now completely different. On Tuesday night Louise goes out with Susan so I chucked my dinner in the oven (pasta bake) and decided to watch last weeks Desperate Housewives. I skipped through the adverts, paused when I was fetching my dinner from the oven and then started watching ‘live’ TV. My brother-in-law phoned and I paused the episode of Frasier I was watching, and then hit fast forward past the adverts again. It’s simple enough, but it’s impact is exponential.

Question – would you pay to watch a specific TV programme? Or would you pay NOT to have to watch adverts (I’ll leave the whole BBC thing out of the equation at the moment).

The reason I ask is simple enough, the advertisers are worried. With the growth of PVR systems (Personal Video Recorder) fewer people will watch ‘live’ TV and so fewer people will watch the adverts. I’m already in this category and I’ve only got a couple of programmes ready to be watched at any one time. Once I upgrade the capacity of the Sky+ box I’ll be recording a lot more of the stuff we enjoy but don’t mind missing (Frasier, Simpsons etc), and spending a little longer checking BBC3 and 4 and the documentary channels so we have a good bank of programmes at our disposal. It won’t stop live TV altogether but it will definitely change the way we watch TV dramatically.

Next up, push TV?

Anyway, what are your TV viewing habits? What programmes do you never miss?

Choice

Springer protests pour in to BBC, 15,000 of them apparently.

I’m very much FOR the Beeb showing it. I’m quite capable of choosing whether or not to watch it myself, thank you very much. And to all those naysayers who are complaining about the profanity and religious imagery may I suggest they talk a walk around their nearest city. Or just fuck off altogether.

OK, that was childish and lazy. I should really be putting together a better argument shouldn’t I. Well I would but it’s early, I’m only halfway through my first coffee and I really don’t think this deserves much more space than a “rolling of the eyes” type post. Pah.

Gotta laugh

Role of the blog is a fun little article by the BBC News website. I’ll pull out a few quotes and let you all have a little giggle, shall I?

In their eyes, those bloggers at the US political conventions ceased to be bloggers the moment they accepted their accreditation.

“What began as a spontaneous eruption of populist creativity is on the verge of being absorbed by the media-industrial complex it claims to despise.”

Yes, it’s true I DO despise it, he says, twiddling his waxed moustache Dick Dastardly style.

In any case, as bloggers rarely go out and about, many of those who comment on the world at large get their information from mainstream news sources.

OK I KNOW they are talking about political news blogs but just a paragraph or two before they mention Salam Pax, remember him? That bloke who blogged through the invasion of Iraq? I’m pretty sure he was blogging from first hand experience.

Nonetheless, hacks remain safe in their jobs for the time being. The number of people reading even the most influential online diarists is tiny – the top political blog receives just 0.0051% of all net visits, according to figures from web influence ranking firm HitWise released this year.

I wonder what percentage the BBC News website gets in comparison to, say, playboy.com?

Sorry, I just can’t take this kind of lazy journalism seriously. What say you?