Thursday, November 01, 2007

The owl is back

BBC Computer Literacy Project Owl logo

This is a post about an owl ... but it’ll take a while to get to the point!

You’d think that within any business or institution the IT community would be at the bleeding edge of innovation. But sometimes they’re so busy deploying other people’s innovations that they don’t quite get around to taking full advantage of it for themselves.

And so it is that many, many months after the BBC’s News and Sports Editors stepped out of the background and started talking directly to the public, it’s only this week that the boffins over in the Future Media & Technology (FM&T) department have started their own BBC Internet blog. (Though until lunchtime, they were having trouble with their RSS feed.)

The sharp-eyed (or those reading this post) will notice a familiar owl up in the blog’s banner. All of the BBC-badged Acorn computers (BBC Micro, BBC Master, Archimedes 305/310, and A3000) displayed the logo of the BBC’s Computer Literacy Project somewhere on their keyboard ... and it’s good to see it back in use again - even if it is now back to front!

BBC Internet blog banner - with owl!

Brings back many happy memories of hours spent during school summer holidays writing programmes and even getting one published in Acorn User! (Though due to a printing mistake they had to publish a correction in a later issue!)

Back to the blog ... for the more technically-minded, there’s already a Backstage area that provides information on APIs and feeds for existing BBC services that can be taken and mashed into other applications and widgets. (What a horrible sentence.) Successful prototypes are then showcased, and some might even make their way into properly supported services on over time.

World News Gadget screenshotWorld News Gadget screenshot

I particularly like Al Petfield’s World News widget which shows the latest world headlines along with a mark on a revolving globe showing where the story originated.

Update: There’s been a U-turn in the blog’s banner! And the owl’s claws are now facing left as they did above the keyboards in BBC Micros. (Though there do appear to be other examples of the owl logo being used in the claws-right formation.)

BBC Internet blog banner - with owl facing the old-fashioned way


Coke_Shy_Hero said...

Ah, splendid. Who'd have thought we'd actually be communicating with the real Beeb via this econet lark :-)

I'll bet they keep the blog on a large 10 Meg Winchester somewhere.

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

The joys of hacking around with Econet, and the ability to keep all the software you'd ever need in a biscuit tin sized drive locked in a cupboard.

From there to the 1GB SD card in my camera. How things have changed!

Leon Lusher said...

Nowadays it would never be allowed. The BBC promoting something without being paid!!
If it had never happened, I wonder would the old Acrons computers have been any less successful?

And Alan - good blog!

Alan in Belfast (Alan Meban) said...

Well the payment comes via the licence fee, but guess what of the BBC's Public Purposes includes ...

"... helping to deliver to the public the benefit of emerging communications technologies and services and, in addition, taking a leading role in the switchover to digital television"

... which firmly includes digital literacy!

Alan said...


Alan here. Apologies for the RSS b0rking - we were fixing that as we went live. As for the owl - as far as I can see, s/he has sometimes appeared facing with claws on the right, depending which corner s/he was fitting into. But since s/he's top right on the blog, like on the BBC Micro, I've persuaded him/her to turn 180 and sit nicely in the space.

More feedback very welcome!

Alan, BBC Internet Blog