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I’m done with the BBC

Posted on | November 4, 2007 | 5 Comments

Very, very few things in this world annoy me. Public toilets that evidence “a deposit but no return” annoy me, I don’t enjoy flushing for someone else. Movie theater seats featuring something sticky annoy me, most movie seats don’t feature microscopes that permit you to identify that which now clings to your rear end.

The BBC has annoyed me, to the point of completely losing my readership today. I’m quite sad to give up one of my favorite sources of news, the BBC does not blast advertisements and seldom antagonizes anyone. I’m compelled, today, to antagonize them a bit.

The most annoying thing, in this world, to this blogger is an entity that is oblivious to the interest in the information that they convey. King Tut’s face was revealed and I’m unable to look at it because my free operating system is not compatible with their video formats. Oh BBC, are you pushing Microsoft or reporting news?

They (the BBC) wasted Richard Stallman’s time, they describe supporting free video formats as suicide, yet they insist that they aren’t in bed with Microsoft? If it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, walks like a duck and talks like a duck .. friends, its a freaking duck.

I’ve linked to the BBC article (one last time that they benefit from the left over attention of my readership), so that I might point out what the article, and thinking on behalf of the BBC tech staff sorely lacks.

1 – Fifty (yes, 50) people in this world have seen the face of King Tut. The BBC dispatched (or did they dispatch) a reporter to cover this amazing event. No reporter from the BBC, on site or regurgitating information from other news feeds bothered to ask if anthropometrical data (signalment) would be published, or if the un-casking of the dead boy king yielded an opportunity to collect such data. Such data is invaluable to anthropologists all over the world. For such an event, one would think, the BBC would send someone who could adequately cover the topic. Or was this story a rush to get into the headlines to compete for Google placement?

2 – The video was in Windows Media Player or Real Player format, neither compatible with my free Ubuntu GNU/Linux desktop. Dear BBC, must I abandon principle and practice to fully enjoy articles featuring the depth of a rather shallow puddle?

3 – The BBC begged for locals or visiting locals to contribute better photos. Is the BBC in danger of bankruptcy? Can they not dispatch one lone soul to take some pictures in a hope of augmenting video that only a portion of their readership can enjoy?

Dear BBC, motivate your techs, get off your asses and report, not regurgitate news and you might regain my readership, if you care that you’ve lost it to begin with.


5 Responses to “I’m done with the BBC”

  1. Jason
    November 5th, 2007 @ 3:04 am
    1. “anthropometrical data”. I didn’t even know what this was before I clicked your Google link. Why would the mainstream audience be interested in this? Anthropologists can surely acquire this data for themselves, if they are that interested.

    2. The BBC was streaming content long before video on the web was the norm. At the time considerable investment was made in Real’s tech, which was the prevailing technology at the time. Agreed, its not very good at all, but it does work just for a very large % of the audience.

    3. Do you know how many stories the BBC covers? This isn’t even a particularly big deal – it was the last ‘And Finally’ story on Channel 4 in the UK this evening.

  2. tinkertim
    November 5th, 2007 @ 8:17 am

    I like to refrain from being a typical ‘grumpy blogger’ in most cases. My frustrations with the BBC aren’t just related to this particular article, I’ve been increasingly disappointed with them for months.

    Some people may not know what anthropometrical signalment is, or why its important in being able to re-construct a face from that period of time. Its not just anthropologists who would be interested in a mention of what data was taken while the body was exposed.

    This illustrates a long term frustration that I have with them, they seem to be more interested in syndication than news. This particular article might not illustrate that fully but it was the last straw for me.

    No mention of science (any science) is in the article, yet they campaign more and more for a tech/scientific readership.

    I don’t know what was contained in the video, as I noted, I’m unable to watch it.

    The story was reported as if someone were covering a cat being rescued from a tree without depth. Not just this article, many that I’ve been reading from the BBC for the past few months have been following a similar trend.

    When the BBC came under fire for their choice in media streaming, I became even more disappointed to hear the BBC not only refusing to look into supporting open formats (which would cost them next to nothing to accomplish) but calling the notion itself suicide.

    If the BBC covered less stories with greater depth, they might keep a more loyal readership.

  3. Kevin Hinde
    November 5th, 2007 @ 5:32 pm

    Hello Tim,

    sorry to hear that you have had problems watching our video clips on Ubuntu. We do test on Linux and we know that Linux users are able to see our streams. If you are having problems please get in touch – we may be able to help.

    Thanks, Kevin.

  4. Tony Grant
    November 6th, 2007 @ 3:50 pm


    I could watch on Linux if you gave me a nice clean URL to paste into my non free player. But I would much prefer a nice standard (MPEG must say something to you…) video format that would run very nicely (with hardware acceleration no less) on my 1Ghz hush computer. Real uses to much CPU to be of any use. Tried tunning WMCrap tm. with the Macintosh player?

    So I ask you what is wrong with a good old MPEG stream?



  5. tinkertim
    November 12th, 2007 @ 11:50 pm

    To the BBC’s credit, they have really improved the article since my original post. Thanks for listening :)

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