Monthly Archives: January 2004

Maybe Somebody Was Listening

At the start of December I wrote again about spam in my mailbox and suggested that my ISP, Demon, should do something to allow server-side filtering of mail messages. Hoorah, my January post brought good news and spam filtering is to be introduced. Maybe some of those email addresses will become useful again!

On this day…

2004: Forgotten Credits
2004: Supporting Greg
2004: Where In The World
2004: Desert Drag
2003: January Snow? A Surprise to Transport Chiefs

Forgotten Credits

I had totally forgotten that I have some credits left at MSN Music Club. Having to use IE and that interface grates quite a lot (especially when I get a pile of certificate warnings) but nonetheless I’ve downloaded some great tracks by Outkast and Justin Timerlake today.

In the US Pspsi are giving away music via the iTunes product. They’re running an interesting ad campaign featuring some of those charged with illegally downloading content – it’s really quite an interesting creative execution.

On this day…

2004: Maybe Somebody Was Listening
2004: Supporting Greg
2004: Where In The World
2004: Desert Drag
2003: January Snow? A Surprise to Transport Chiefs

Supporting Greg

It’s been on the news for most of the day and Tom mentions he contributed to the advertisement (which I haven’t seen) in The Telegraph from Greg Dyke supporters within the BBC. I’m impressed that such support exists but it’s not surprising. Everything you read about Greg was that he cared about the programmes and the producers more than the politics of broadcasting. Perhaps that was his downfall; a little more care with the original complaints and he might still be leading. Maybe, at last, journalists will forget about that blasted rat (see my entry for 8 May 2003).

I note that Andrew Gilligan has also resigned; I do not know what else he could have done. He is, however, widely regarded as a good journalist and – I hope – it’s not long before he is reporting somewhere. His resignation statement is an interesting reminder of where all this started.

Many have commented that it’s going to be an interesting time for the BBC as it searches for both a new Chairman and Director General. I strongly believe that the next chairman will be one of the final to chair a board of BBC governors. In a multi-media mix it has long seemed odd that the BBC should be held to a different interpretation of standards than the rest of the broadcast media. It is about time self governace was ended – although we have yet to see what Ofcom will actually do.

I do, however, hope that some of the great work that comes from BBC Online is maintained. In a fight for it’s broadcast reputation I fear that the online presence may too easily be diluted for the guns are out for that part of the BBC.

On this day…

2004: Maybe Somebody Was Listening
2004: Forgotten Credits
2004: Where In The World
2004: Desert Drag
2003: January Snow? A Surprise to Transport Chiefs

Where In The World

For some reason, this main content of this entry was written almost a year ago. I can not remember why it was not posted. As most of the links are still there I’ve designed to bring it out of the ‘drafts’ folder.

On this day…

2004: Maybe Somebody Was Listening
2004: Forgotten Credits
2004: Supporting Greg
2004: Desert Drag
2003: January Snow? A Surprise to Transport Chiefs

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Desert Drag

One of my favourite films of the mid-Nineties was The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. I saw it the year after I came to London in the ABC Cinema on Tottenham Court Road. There was a drag show before the performance which was, for me, the first time I had seen drag queens in the flesh. The cinema was packed and there was a great feeling of expectation as the film started. I was not disappointed and it remains one of my favourite films.

A short time after the film came out, the producer Al clark, wrote a book about the making of the film. I have been meaning to read that book for almost ten years and, finally, I got round to it.

On this day…

2004: Maybe Somebody Was Listening
2004: Forgotten Credits
2004: Supporting Greg
2004: Where In The World
2003: January Snow? A Surprise to Transport Chiefs

Continue reading

Integrity in Public Life

Hutton has spoken and the BBC came in for criticism. I have a great affection for the BBC, I worked for them for a while, but in the light of some of the facts that emerged it seems that some of the procedures to ensure accurate journalism seem to be flawed. The government, on the other hand, seems to have got off lightly. But I do wonder if the resignations of both Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke will some how backfire on Number Ten.

I also wonder if, had the tables been reversed, politicians would have resigned in quite such dignified manners?

I am a great believer that leaders, in business and government, should take responsibility for the decisions of the people they employ. That is not to say that they should resign for every mistake made (I am also a believer in that human beings make mistakes and mistakes are allowed). I think Gavyn Davies and Greg Dyke were great for the BBC. But it is right that they do the honourable thing. It speaks so much more about them as people than anything that has come from Parliament since Robin Cook resigned.

the resignations of the BBC’s Director General and Chairman illustrate the differences of mentality that exist at the BBC and in the government. Though sad, it is refreshing to see those with responsibility acting honourably and resigning. By contrast our cabinet ministers usually have to be pushed from power when found wanting – clinging desperately and shamelessly to their posts and privileges. Greg Dyke and Gavin Davies have acted with a maturity and correctness unmatched by the government. [What now for the BBC?]

I hope the people that take over will have as much integrity.

On this day…

2008: Boston Legal Series 4 Starts Thursday (but you wouldn’t know it)
2006: Free Hair Extensions
2004: Favourite Photography

Favourite Photography

When I started actively updating this site – blog style – it was a mix of opinion, rant, reviews (book, cinema etc.) and weblog (if weblog is taken to mean a list of interesting things I’ve found on the web). I’ve been neglecting that part of it for a while, so here are some of my current favourites. They’re all based around photography and images as I really would like to be able to take better pictures. Anybody know of a good course in digital photography in London – ideally a weekend-based?

  • Meg has some fantastic images taken with her camera-phone. I am so jealous of the quality of those images.
  • Daily Dose of Imagery has superb images, mainly from Toronto, which is one of my favourite cities.
  • Matthew Haughey’s Ten Years of My Life is throwing up some stunning images at the moment.

On this day…

2008: Boston Legal Series 4 Starts Thursday (but you wouldn’t know it)
2006: Free Hair Extensions
2004: Integrity in Public Life

Company Update

It is worth noting that after this incident with the Odeon’s online purchasing system, they have not only responded to my comments saying that the error has been fixed but they have also looked into the cookie issue. It was great to get their correspondence and great to see an organisation respond to consumer feedback. Full marks to them and I shall return to the Odeon once again. Now, if only they would support Mozilla …

On this day…

2006: Logo For Our Times
2003: Pop

A User Experience

I am planning on going to the cinema tomorrow. I just tried to book on Odeon’s web site and received this very unhelpful error message (click for full message)

error message

and there was nothing else. No link to get help. No explanation of what 202 is and, more importantly, every time I followed their ‘try again’ instructions I got the same message.

I am sure they must spend millions on their cinemas to ensure they are giving the customer the optimal experience. So, why don’t they do it on their web site?

blocked cookie image from my ieI use Mozilla as a browser and I’ve already had to switch to IE just to use Odeon’s site. Then I see they’re using some service tracking facility which is trying to set cookies on my machine – but it can’t because IE blocks them. As I don’t use IE as a browser for anything but Odeon, it’s the default privacy settings that are causing this. Now, I don’t think this looks very good on a secure site. You would have thought that they would want to alarm users as little a possible. It’s a simple thing to prevent by ensuring the third-party cookie is p3p complaint.

All in all, I am torn. I want to book online because it’s convenient right now and, because I find it useful, I want them to see the value of their online presence. On the other hand, this site is making it hard for me to book and I am seriously thinking of going to another cinema.

On this day…

2006: Pants To That

Transport Museum

a sign at the london transport museumThe first omnibus service arrived in London in 1829, prior to that people had to walk around London. Can you imagine the change that the bus has made to people’s lives? Although back then they were only for the wealthy, transport soon became an important part in the growth and prosperity of London. From the horse-drawn trams to today’s bendy buses, life for people around the capital would never be quite the same again. The arrival of mass transit allowed people to move out of the centre of the city and it permitted people to travel, both for employment and leisure.

London has had trams, trolley buses and the world’s first underground system. The last tram ran from Woolwich to New Cross on 5 July 1952 when trolley buses took over. Trolley buses were fairly short-lived and buses, as we know them today, were introduced to the capital in about 1910. The Routemaster bus has become a symbol of London and, as I previously noted, was introduced in the mid-fifties. It was the last bus to be specially designed for travel in London.

picture of buses at the london transport museumToday I visited the London Transport Museum that is housed in an old flower market in Covent Garden. Sadly, it’s not the world’s biggest building so the collection is a little limited. It is, however, fascinating and I loved every minute of the time we spent there. I love the trams (I think this comes from a fascination with Blackpool trams when I was a child) and the operation of the underground is really quite interesting, as it the development of the familiar tube map that Henry Beck designed in 1959.

Sadly, the future of London transportation exhibit is a bit dated and, therefore, a disappointment. Luckily for me it’s the history that appeals so much more.

There are a couple more pictures in the gallery.

On this day…

2005: Back London's Bid For 2012
2005: Back London’s Bid For 2012
2003: 23 Mile Traffic Snake
2003: Starbucks