Nearing the end of 2009

It’s been a hectic year, and I’m currently embedded in the BBC Archive Development team until at least April, though I’ll be continuing my work with Digital Planet, Focus Magazine and the Billboard, as well as other gigs that come up during 2010.

In the meantime, here are two of my stories that I didn’t get round to posting here:

The Media and The Message (BBC Technology site, 16 December)

Like thousands of other people around the world I’ve just spent £2.39 on The Guardian newspaper’s iPhone app.

I can now read the paper onscreen, with some sections nicely cached for offline browsing and a cleverly designed user interface that lets me put the Media and Technology sections at the top of the paper, mark articles as favourites and quickly find related stories.

And Ten Years After Doomsday (BBC Technology site, 8 December)

I spent the evening of 31 December, 1999 in the company of Rolf Harris, Peter Snow and a large number of other people in a studio at Television Centre in London, seeing in the New Year as the nation’s official Millennium Bug watcher.

As anyone who knows about calendars will tell you, the real millennium didn’t start until a year later, but I was there because of the very real fear that major computer systems around the world would crash because they could not handle the rollover from 1999 to 2000.

My job on New Year’s Eve was to interrupt festivities every hour of the evening to report on what was happening at midnight in different countries around the world.

Merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate such things, Happy Holidays for those who don’t but live in places that do, and ‘have a nice day’ to everyone else…

Giving Life a Shape

[This is also available to read on the BBC News website, as always]

One of the more interesting shifts in the technology world over the last quarter century has been the way that cultural organisations have gone from being the late adopters, inheriting office-oriented computer systems from business and making do with them, to being those leading the digital revolution in many areas.

When I worked with the Community Computing Network in the late 80s it was hard work persuading charities and voluntary organisations that having a computer to handle their member databases and print letters was worthwhile.

But now that there really is a computer on every desk and word processing, spreadsheets and databases are standard, arts organisations seem to be far more willing to engage and experiment with the latest tools, especially online.

Continue reading “Giving Life a Shape”

My bookmarks for July 13th through July 17th

Here’s what I tagged on between July 13th and July 17th: