Slow news day at the BBC?

No disrespect to the family of Damilola Taylor, but I’m not sure why the BBC have deemed this (“Porn posted on Damilola web forum“) to be a newsworthy headline story? The forum in question only appears to have ever had 1 legitimate thread since it was set up and only a couple of non-spambot members.
The news item was posted on the BBC site 2 hours ago and the hard-core links are still there. In fact, porn links from several days ago are still there. So…

  1. How long should it take an “administrator” to delete half a dozen inappropriate forum posts?
  2. Why are they running a version of vBulletin that has known security holes and is over a year out of date? (in fact, it looks to be been nearly 10 months out of date when it was installed)
  3. Why did they choose to set the forum up so that spambots could register and post articles straight away?
  4. Why not just take the forum offline until you can clear up the offending articles?
  5. There are thousands of message boards and forums out there with porn spam links on them posted by automated bots — what makes this one newsworthy?

Please, BBC, stick to reporting real news.
answers to the above questions:
1) a couple of minutes at the most
2, 3, & 4) because the person administering the forum is clueless
5) because the BBC News Editor on duty this afternoon is clueless

since when are librarians synonymous with paedophiles?

Working in a library, this BBC News headline was bound to catch my eye: “Paedophile ‘librarian’ is jailed“.
So, this would be a news item about a librarian who was discovered to be a paedophile, then? No.
Having read (and re-read the article), the paedophile never worked in a library nor was he a librarian. Apparently, the mere fact that he collected illegal images of children and shared them on a web site makes him a “librarian”.
So, librarians of the world, how does it feel to be branded as a bunch of dirty, kiddie-fiddling perverts?

BBC Breakfast News items about YouTube

I briefly mentioned this item from the BBC Breakfast News during Jane Dysart‘s session at Online Information 2007…

History lessons online
Three teachers are using the website YouTube to teach history. 60 films have been posted online covering topics such as D-Day, Bloody Sunday, the Slave Trade, Vietnam and Mary Queen of Scots.

The videos are available on YouTube, along with the TV interview.
Apart from the serendipity of it linking in with Jane’s session, what impressed me the most was that a news programme was actually featuring a really positive story about YouTube. The majority of news items I’ve seen before have been generally negative, e.g.:

If your place of work has banned access to YouTube, then positive stories like schoolhistory might be a useful tool for questioning such draconian measures.

Oh God, I feel so old!

Quite a few things have happened this year that have reminded me I’m in my mid 30s.
The latest is this article on the BBC News website: How the Spectrum began a revolution

…yep, it’s 25 years ago today since Sir Clive Sinclair unleashed the follow up to the ZX81!
I can clearly remember the day I first saw a ZX Spectrum — it was at Alex Mitchell’s house and he’d got “Escape” from New Generation Software:

At the time I still had a ZX81, but somewhere around the end of 1982 I’d sold that and had enough money to buy a 48K ZX Spectrum. I think it took me nearly 30 minutes to decide which game I should buy first — eventually I chose the fantastic “Atic Atac” from Ultimate 🙂

Pretty soon I’d taught myself Sinclair BASIC, and then Z80A assembly language (now that’s hardcore!). I’m sure all of those hours staring at a black & white portable TV didn’t do my eyes any good, but my love of coding and programming can definitely be traced back to those many evenings spent prodding away at the “dead flesh” keyboard.
I think I’ve still got my Spectrum somewhere, but these days it’s much easier just to fire up an emulator.

A serendipity of clouds

Insipired by the BBC Radio 1 tag cloud mentioned by Richard Wallis on the Panlibus blog, I quickly threw a couple together for the most recent search keywords used on our OPAC:
The pages use Ajax and should automatically refresh with updated content every few seconds (assuming that someone has been searching the OPAC recently).
No points for guessing that the larger the font, the more times the word has been used in recent searches!

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?”

Just picture it:
…you’re shortlisted for a data support job at the BBC
…you turn up for the interview and they ask you to wait in reception, so you sit down and try to relax as best you can
…someone walks up to you and asks if you are “Guy …” something — you’re nervous and you didn’t quite catch the surname, so you say “yes” (because your first name is Guy) and they say “follow me”
…you follow the person and they lead you into a television studio and ask you to sit down in that chair over there
…you decide that this must be some type of role-playing situation and you wait to see what happens next
…someone who looks suspiciously like a TV news presenter turns to you and the job interview begins!

Unfortunately for Guy Goma, this would turn out to be no ordinary job interview!
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