Category: Technology

Technical Writings; Information and Communication Technology Posts

OpenMoko Local Groups: Birmingham – OpenMoko

OpenMoko Local Groups: Birmingham – OpenMoko

Well alot of you are probably away that I’m waiting for the openmoko phone to arrive.  Well the days are getting closer and they’re due to be shipped out on Monday.

There’s been lots of talk on the lists about the lack of communication from FIC, Harald’s blog at and the general negativity coming out of the project.  However, if you get behind the scenes on the IRC #openmoko and the mailing lists, there’s actually a underswell of positivity (and a few idiots asking the same questions over-and-over-and-over again).

I’m not sure how many people are going to have the neo1973 around Birmingham, but I’ve set up a brummie-location on the openmoko wiki.  So if you’re interested in having a look at the phone before you buy, you should be able to find someone with a phone to meet up with.

BBC Talk on Digital Media

I went to tigertiger last night in the Printworks in Manchester to an event organised by Manchester Digital. The talk was marketed as “our man from the beeb coming up to talk about the move to Manchester.” However, after speaking to the event’s organiser, the only reason it was billed like this was a lack of communication from the speaker. The actual presentation began with “I won’t be talking about the move up to Salford.” Quite a few people in the room that I’d spoke to before the presentation were looking forward to see what the move meant for external suppliers.. alas, it was not covered.

The talk itself was more of a historical journey through the BBC’s experience with digital media – and the transition from a cradle-to-grave institution (from making the cameras to broadcasting the content) and how digital media is causing fragmentation of it’s broadcasting. He touched on the BBC’s deal with YouTube, and the way in which many users were using BBC content and cannibalising it in order to create their own content.

One viewer took a BBC film, and cut all the scenes back into it (rather seamlessly) that the BBC had to remove due to “editorial guidelines.”

As you would imagine, this talk necessarily moved onto the iPlayer – and as the laptop being used for the presentation was an iBook – we were only shown a screenshot of the application. Within the presentation Jon spoke about the BBC trust having to approve it, and that it’s been a long wait – but that the reason for the Microsoft link was more down to the content providers, rather than choosing by means of market share on the desktop.
The other consideration he made was that “being the BBC” they had a responsibilty to make it very accessible – so subtitling technologies were necessary.

The final thing he spoke of was the way that BBC2 now have a “create your own ident” on their website – and that some user generated idents have been used on BBC2 over the last 6 months.

After the presentation had finished, there was a 20 minutes Q&A where Jon batted off two streams of questioning. The first was the “move up to Salford” (given that 90% of the people I spoken to prior to the presentation were there to see the BBC’s view on talent creation in the NW it was of no surprise) and the second was the “Open Source/Open Format” debate around the iPlayer. One of the things that he reiterated is that there are alot of “Open Source Geeks” within the BBC that want to make it happen, but that currently content providers are the massive block to having an open model.

To wind up – I think that there is definately pressure coming from inside the BBC on making the iPlayer platform independent – but it’s doing it in a way whereby the rights of many content producers can be respected. There are open source ways of doing this – but is it an ethically-viable route to go down? I don’t know enough of the ins and outs to be able to pass comment in this regard – but I hope that those of you that read this will enlighten me in the comments.

About Me

Hello and Welcome to my ‘blog!

I’ve been on the internet for quite a few years, and seen many sites come and go, whilst others have evolved. I’ve been keeping this site very much down to ‘me’ – what I’m reading, what I find interesting, and what I’m doing. If you’re looking for a specific post, please use the search box on the right, or see my latest posts.

My life is undergoing quite a nice change at the moment, and like many of my ill-told stories, it’s heading off at a tangent.  Hopefully the blog will reflect that over the next few months – but I’ve found it difficult to update when I’ve been away from the net for days on end.

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Take Care, and hopefully enjoy my writings.

— andylockran, 20th May 2009 – the first open linux mobile OS


It’s with a sense of trepidation that I announce i am now the proud orderer of a FIC neo1973.  The phone has already been in development for nearly a year, and has had its fair share of problems.  However, at about 22:30 on  8/7/2007  the first order went through for the developer release.

The developer release has its shortcomings in comparison to the end-user version that will be released sometime mid-October/November.  It doesn’t have wifi, it has a slower processor, and is missing the accelerometers that will make it as fun a gaming device as the wii.

I’m really looking forward to getting my hands dirty as i want to start writing apps for it.  My main issue is that I’m a newcome to programming (having only written a short web app for my psychology degree) using php & mysql.  I’m also trying to learn some python, as it appears to be held in high regard across sblug, so hopefully with a mash up of these skills I’ll be able to write some very simple applications for the openmoko.

Once I get the phone you can be sure I’ll update the blog with as many pretty photos of it as possible.  Until then, I’ll wait in anticipation.

» Comedy at the British Open Source Consortium | John Carroll |

» Comedy at the British Open Source Consortium | John Carroll |

I got a heads up for this blog from the OSC-members list and I must say have found it a very amusing read.  Whilst Mr Carroll certainly makes a couple of seemingly logical points (such as the current commercial trend to focus development on the windows OS first) there is a fundamental flaw in his argument.

As a Microsoft Employee, he is not an unbiased representative (and as an OpenSource Consortium Member, I’m not either) but there is a point to be made regarding software freedom.

If the BBC were launching a GCSE revision package, I think we’d all be a little griped if  it were only available on windows – but it’s the commerical standard so would be slightly less of an issue.

I think the bigger issue with the iPlayer is that there isn’t currently a standard.  The BBC are pioneering a technology that has the potential to be completely open.  The ethernet-TV that will take off within the next few years is bigger than the switch from analog to digital TV – new devices (like the apple TV, mythTV, WindowsMCE) are all popping up in order to access the new information.  This is the problem:

There is a new market being created – and the BBC have the power at their disposal to make or break this new market.  The set-top box is getting clever, and unless the BBC service can be accessed openly (without a single vendor’s software) then the whole market for topbox devices is going to be skewed in Microsoft’s favour.

If it were just about an end-user PC program.. then there’s not really that much of an issue – but it’s about a completely new wave of internet-tv synergy.  What a role the BBC will be playing if they’re the ones who go down in history as killing it!