BBC Launch Second Generation iPlayer

Technology, The Interwebs, TV & Film 2 Comments »

A favourite on The Shelf, the BBC iPlayer is due for a second generation overhaul, as the service gets a facelift a year after it was launched in beta.

As part of the plans the iPlayer will integrate both radio and video services into a single player, with increased functionality and user friendly interface.

“We’ve learned quite a bit over the last 12 months about what our audience likes… and we’ve continued to innovate quite substantially.” – BBC group controller Erik Huggers

As part of the increased functionality of the player users will be able to resume last played clips (dependent on cookies) allowing them to resume half way through a program they didn’t have time to watch in its entirety on their last visit.

Another feature that will be added to the service is a TV schedule, allowing users to plan which programs they wish to view in advance, ensuring the seven day play back restriction of favourite shows doesn’t expire without first having the chance to watch them.

As well as incorporating radio into the service, 250 new television programs a week will be added to enable access to the entire BBC schedule free of charge.

The service was first launched on Christmas day 2007, and has since changed the viewing habits of millions of people who are now able to catch up on a range of shows broadcast across the BBC digital channel catalogue. In the last six months alone the BBC state that there have been over 100m programme requests.

The service has proven to be the reason for the success of a range of shows, including Gavin and Stacy which receives 7% of its viewing figure through the service, and The Mighty Boosh which receives 40%.

Currently only available through Windows on the PC, there are also plans for a version of the download service for Mac and Linux.

The Shelf reported in April in ISPs vs BBC iPlayer of pressure from ISP put on the BBC to pay for extra bandwidth due to the iPlayer’s unprecedented success, but huggers commented on that recently stating:

“All that has literally gone silent. We are partnering and working very closely with the ISP community.”

The BBC is also part of a joint commercial venture with ITV and Channel 4 called Kangaroo which is due to launch later this year, and there are plans to integrate the iPlayer into that service. – Protest of Kangaroo

With plans to make its 80 year archive accessible to the public, as well as provide an overseas service, it could very well mean there will eventually be a commercial arm to the BBC’s on demand offerings.

TLD Restrictions to be Relaxed on Internet

The Interwebs No Comments »

In a quick follow up from a post on the 23/06/08 titled Proposed Plans to Overhaul the Internet , The Shelf confirms that internet regulator Icann voted unanimously to restrict the rules on TLD usage.

The proposed plans are due to be implemented in 2009, and will change the face of the net, dramatically increasing the scope of the internet as we know it.

Sony PSP Mobile Phone : 2009?

Gaming, Mobile, Technology No Comments »

News has resurfaced that Sony is planning to release a mobile phone that will incorporate elements of its popular Playstation Portable or PSP. With Sony already lending its name to the Cybershot and Walkman Sony Ericsson mobile it would seem a logical step.

In the mobile market Sony is part of a joint venture with telecommunications giant Ericsson to make mobile phones, and last week launched the motion sensing F305 gaming phone. Motion sensing technology used allows the user of the F305 to play games such as bowling and fishing, imitating the movements required if actually playing the sport.

Although a break through in gaming facilities seem in mobile handsets to date, it had been predicted that the F305 model would include some Playstation branding or a PSP style design. However, leaked information suggests that the Sony isn’t willing to give their converted Playstation branding to a joint venture.

With Sony Ericsson lying a lowly fifth place in the handset market it seems Sony are not wiling to risk their closely guarded PlayStation brand on a joint venture handset quiet yet.

It is rumoured that such decisions has lead to the break down of the Sony Eriksson relationship, and sources have said that relation between the two are frosty.

This further fuels rumours that Sony is in fact working on its own PSP style mobile phone handset which is being tipped for release around Christmas 2009, however contrary to this the joint Sony Ericsson venture has filed a joint patient for a portable mobile communication device that mimics the PSP.

As usual there are no confirmed comments regarding any of the rumours so I guess time will tell.

Proposed Plans to Overhaul the Internet

Technology, The Interwebs 2 Comments »

The internet is set for its biggest shake up in decades if plans to open up the address system are passed by the internets regulators. If plans are passed then the rules on top level domain names such as .com and could be relaxed, allowing companies to turn their brands into domain names, whilst at the same time individuals could create their own space on the internet.

A relaxation of the rules could also result in the creation of the .xxx domain to serve adult content, a topic that has been widely discussed for a number of years.

Currently TLDs are restricted to countries such as .uk and institutions such as .net or .org. Because of the current restrictions small countries have often hired their TLD domains out to relevant industries. For example Tuvalu has leased .tv domains to many television firms. The country of Tokelau significantly increased its profile by offering free domain names in return for a served advert, a move which has transformed the communications infrastructure of the island.

Internet regulator ICANN has been has been working towards opening up internet address for years, and if successful new domain name could be internationalised.

ICANN spokesman said of the plans “It’s a massive increase in the geography of the real estate of the internet.”

Hundreds of new domain names could become available by the end of 2008, with thousands more likely to follow.

Nice Work – Just the Jobbie.

Funny 1 Comment »

The effects of the credit crunch are being felt in the UK jobs market as official figures show the claimant count has risen.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics released this week shows that unemployment rose for the fourth consecutive month in April, approaching a million.

Despite the news, the Chartered Institute of Personnel (CIPD) report that employers are still hiring and say there is no sign yet of a rise in redundancies, which indicates that the labour market overall is cooling only moderately.

Jobbies JobsHowever it has been suggested that a more sinister method of “letting go” is being undertaken and that managers are being encouraged to monitor the time their staff spent online on social media sites such as Facebook and Youtube with a view to adopting “highest time wasters will be first to go” as a disciplinary matter thus avoiding redundancy pay outs.

HR Zone reported that the amount of time online at work averages as much as an hour and a half per week with over half of workers spending time booking holidays or even checking for latest vacancies.

Can’t have it both ways

On the back of the grey clouds surrounding UK jobs another survey highlights that even in a difficult job climate many have issues with the remuneration received – adamant that wage gazumping should not begin to happen in the UK.

The survey has revealed that well over 70% of workers believe they will never earn their ideal salary in their current job.

The research of four and a half thousand workers by Jobbies - an online recruitment site found that the country’s ideal salary is £38k, with over 40% of people saying they will keep moving jobs in order to achieve this.

In addition, three out of 10 workers are unhappy with the amount of money they earn at the moment, while 19% feel underpaid for their job.

When it comes to pay rises, 27% timidly confessed that they’ve never had a raise, while a third have waited a year or more since their last increase.

Yet 51% claimed to be too shy shy to discuss pay in their job interview or request a pay rise in their current jobs.

A spokesman from Careers and Jobs a leading online UK jobs site said: “Far from wanting to be squillionaires, the true British Worker has a fairly realistic annual salary in mind..

The key to negotiating a good salary at interview or with your current employer is having the confidence to show what your skills and expertise are worth.

“Failing that constant moaning and griping in the staff room will go a long long way to improving your standing with colleagues and bosses alike.

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