Buying tickets for the Folk Festival

Every year Cambridge hosts a rather fine Folk Festival, sponsored in recent years by BBC Radio 2. And in recent years it has become rather popular, so as a result it is hard to get tickets. In response to this the City Council, which promotes the event, has decided to make it not just hard but positively unpleasant to buy tickets: they have no online booking, a phone line with one person on it [it seems], postal booking with no guarantee – and a box office that you can attend in person. Perhaps they believe that this will ensure that only dedicated folk fans and Cambridge residents will attend, thus preserving the purity of the event. Or perhaps they are just incompetent, stupid and contemptuous of those – like me – who pay their wages or vote them in.
Today I spent the day queuing, and like any working geek I had my laptop with me. I also had my camera.
Continue reading “Buying tickets for the Folk Festival”

Off to India

I’m making a short trip to Delhi with the BBC next week, arriving on May 6 and leaving on the 10th. We’re going to record material for Digital Planet, and I’ll also be meeting up with the Delhi Bloggers on Saturday night for a chat.

I haven’t been to India before, and am looking forward to it immensely – I hope to meet up with some of the Linux community too, and will be reporting back.

What happened to ‘Gone Digital’?

As regular readers will have noticed, I haven’t written my roundup of the week’s Go Digital for a while. Partly that’s because the programme is now called ‘Digital Planet’, but it’s mostly because the production team has now started updating the BBC’s web page more regularly, so anyone looking for information about the people we talk to or the items we discuss can find it on the Digital Planet home page.

I’ll still comment on things here from time to time, but not at such length, or as regularly, as before.

Moving life online

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website too]

The range of new web-based services on offer is vast and growing.

Inspired by the early success of innovators like the Flickr photo-sharing site and Google Maps, and funded by venture capitalists who seem to have recovered from the trauma of the dotcom crash, we’re seeing site launches daily, many of them documented on the delightfully upbeat Techcrunch blog.

Continue reading “Moving life online”

For ‘We Media’ read ‘They Media’

Just surfing around, as I do, when I came across an interesting piece on the Media Guardian website about Reuters’ plans to partner with Global Voices to provide blog comment around major stories.

The final paragraph noted in passing that ‘Global Voices Online will be taking part in the forthcoming London-based We Media event forum that will examine trust in media and citizen journalism’, and since I’m interested in this area and teach journalism I thought I’d find out more.

A quick search led me to the programme for the event, which is taking place in London May 3-4, and I was intrigued – a joint BBC/Reuters production with lots of cool speakers and some interesting material. So I clicked on ‘register’ and got a complicated registration form that included a request for ‘Supervisor information’ asking ‘who made the decision enabling you to attend this event’… not very inclusive, I thought. If you need permission, you probably have to pay, I realised – this wasn’t just another one of the range of policy seminars that I regularly attend, or something the BBC was doing to promote grassroots activity or inclusion.
And indeed you do have to pay – $795 in fact, for two days. I love the way it’s just under that psychologically signifiant $800 barrier 🙂
How wonderfully inclusive, how empowering for the average citizen.. I think I’ll pass on this one. It’s depressing that the BBC thinks it’s reasonable to partner up with commercial conference organisers like this and is willing to field senior people like Mark Thompson and Richard Sambrook for a high-paying audience who will mostly be concerned with ‘monetizing’ this new area.

I suspect there’ll be little blogging from the event itself, either, for the poor outsiders among us to read. After all, if you’re paying hundreds of dollars for some information you’re going to want to keep it to yourself.

[Updated: Thanks to Richard Sambrook for pointing out that it’s not quite as bad as I thought it was going to be, with decent online coverage and some subsidised places.  I still think that calling it ‘we media’ is a bit rich, but I’m happy to see that the organisers are at least being more open than it first appeared.]


[As ever, you can also read this on the BBC News website]

Convergence is in the air again, but this time the focus is not on multi-media phones or bizarre combinations of functions like pacemakers with integrated MP3 players and DAB radios.
The real interest at the moment is convergence at the service delivery end, following ntl’s purchase of Virgin Mobile last week and Sky’s earlier acquisition of internet service provider Easynet.
Continue reading “Fourplay”

Home from Cuba

Lili and I are back from our trip to Havana, where we had a fantastic time, of which more later. Just chugging through th accumulated emails, so here’s a photo of me and the boys to give you a taste….

Bill and the boys