I went to the Save BBC 6 Music demo

Picture of Save 6 Music demonstration at BH

I attended the fantastic demonstration protesting at the proposed closure of BBC 6 Music at Broadcasting House on Saturday organised by the Save 6 Music Facebook group.

Demonstrators from all parts of the country were joined by many of the radio station’s presenters, including Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Liz Kershaw, Gideon Coe, Andrew Collins and Adam Buxton.

During one of the speeches, Tom Robinson made a point that hadn’t occurred to me about the proposals. He said the radio plans covering 6 Music and the Asian Network are part of a larger project that is fundamentally about marketing.

He said the management view was that the current branding is too confusing for listeners with too many station names. Therefore the plan is to have Radios 1 to 5, with related stations named 1Xtra, 2Xtra, etc.

No surprise given the marketing background of Tim Davie, BBC Director of Audio and Music.

Along with the speeches, there was also musical entertainment from The Coal Porters, Mirrorkicks, Black Soul Strangers, The Brute Chorus and Allo Darlin’.

Support was also given to the campaigns to oppose the closure of the Asian Network and cuts to the BBC website during the event.

At the conclusion of the gathering Adam Buxton summed up its purpose with the chant:

What do we want?
Leave us alone!
When do we want it?
For a long time!

New election site

Picture of Christine Bond's website

My new site for Christine Bond has recently been launched.

The site is for Christine’s campaign in the BECTU NEC and President elections.

I used WordPress to build the site (of course!), giving a great deal of flexibility to quickly react to developments in the election campaigns in the next few weeks.

Christine, coming from a photography background, was detailed in her design brief, and hopefully I’ve brought her ideas to life on the web.

Good luck to Christine in the elections!

I went to UKGovCamp 2010

Picture UK Government Barcamp 2010 schedule board - January 2010

I participated in the third annual UK Government Barcamp a couple of weeks ago.

The unconference for those involved, around or interested in the UK government’s online activities took place on Saturday 23 January 2010 at Google’s Victoria offices.

The schedule (pictured above) was put together barcamp style at the beginning of the day by those present.

Here’s my report of some of the hour long sessions I attended:

  • data.gov.uk – Richard Stirling, from the Cabinet Office, outlined the origins, development and launch of the new data.gov.uk site, which “seeks to give a way into the wealth of government data”. He said the site, publicly launched two days beforehand, does not host data, but is trying to make data easier to find on individual government sites.
  • WordPress – Simon Dickson led a session on the use of WordPress in government, outlining its expanding use, starting with the Wales Office, then Number 10, to it’s current deployment in government. Steph Gray spoke on his experience in using WordPress when rebuilding his departmental website in a few days when BIS was brought into existence. The speed of deployment and flexibility of WordPress, though the use of plugins, was a common theme through the session. I, of course, pointed those present to WordCamp UK to find out more and meet WordPress users and developers from across the country.
  • Making the political sell: gaining support for innovation in political organisations – a session on making the case for digital engagement against a background of cuts. Steph Gray spoke on surviving 2010, whilst Anthony Zacharzewski presented making the political sell. In the current climate some areas of government might see digital engagement as an easy area to cut back without any significant impact – a mistaken approach in my view.

More reports of the sessions by others present.

One of the outcomes of the day is the possibility of organising an event around internal communications and collaboration.

Many thanks to Dave Briggs for organising a great day, Google for hosting the event at their offices, the sponsors for their support and not forgetting Hadley Beeman for arranging evening drinks in local licensed premises!

Snow engulfs London (again)

Picture of snow in West London - January 2010

It’s been snowing again in London today.

The duration and total volume of snow that’s fallen during the current cold spell easily exceeds last February.

Fusion power and climate change

A deal has been agreed at the climate change conference in Copenhagen following extraordinary last minute discussions.

However, it falls well short of what could have been achieved, with no legal enforcement, and is frighteningly vague on important issues.

One important technology designed to address climate change, fusion power, needs to have a serious injection of funding.

Work has just started on building the world’s biggest fusion reactor in France

However the pace of work needs to accelerate on this racing certainty so that commercial fusion generation can go online as soon as possible.

Twitter API: a new standard?

It started with Matt’s announcement of support for posting to and reading of WordPress.com blogs via the Twitter API.

Now Tumblr, inspired by WordPress, has introduced a Twitter compatible API.

Dave Winer says: “If Facebook were to implement the Twitter API that would be it. We’d have another FTP or HTTP or RSS”.

If it was also added to the self hosted WordPress, the case would be even stronger for the Twitter API becoming a new open standard.

Climate summit: a deal must be done

I read with deep concern the “process itself has been in disarray” at the climate change conference in Copenhagen and “an international agreement may have to wait until a 2010 meeting in Mexico” according to the BBC.

Action urgently needs to be taken given the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is man made and will have catastrophic consequences if not addressed.

Whilst understanding the reasons for the arguments between rich and poor nations at the conference, everyone needs to work together on this critical issue to avoid devastating environmental changes that may be irreversible.

MySQL and Oracle: not so straight forward

Since writing my piece on MySQL and Oracle, I’ve now discovered the situation is more complicated than I first understood.

Matt Asay outlines the roles of Monty Widenius and IBM in the arguments surrounding the future of MySQL, and says “it has everything to do with money”.

I’m now not so convinced by Monty’s arguments and am concerned there may be a conflict of interest lurking in the background.