What we're reading
A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team
Thursday, August 31, 2006
The BBC deploy similar technology to prevent overseas viewers seeing content meant only for licence fee payers.
Tor wasn't designed to get round these restrictions (it's an anonymous proxy network), but it does a pretty good job and with the Firefox plug-in it works really well.
If you install Tor (which isn't too hard) you should be able to see it.
I can't post it here, because it's sub judice.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Want to podcast with people around the world?
Want it to sound good?
- Use skype as your communicator, it's higer quality once it's bedded in than the phone,
- Record both/all sides of the conversation with powergramo pro
- Edit the recording with audacity.
- Publish on your group website, sell it, and make money from it.
- Repeat till video clicks in a business head. Start again and then find new software to record multiple video locations.....
I think it would be actually be good to record the editorial meeting on Mondays that The Economist has and put that on the website when the issue goes live. That's separate though
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Londonist pointed out the definition of lite (as in Associated's London Lite which will take over from the fantastic Standard Lite) on dictionary.com (scroll to the sixth definition).
If you didn't know otherwise you'd have though Rupert had written it himself!
Thursday, August 10, 2006
A good idea would have been to create an RSS feed that only contains this information in it. Another would have been to create a site specifically to display the threat level and tell us what we should do.
What do we get instead? The MI5 and UK Government home pages (shown below, a bit small, I know) buried the information among other nuggets such as news about the online version of the Doomsday book (sounds spookily co-incidental) and career opportunities at MI5.
I recall that when the BBC redesigned their site they specifically added functionality that allows the homepage to be taken over by one big story rather than several smaller ones.
Perhaps someone in Whitehall should be so bold.
Unfortunately, each time I get one of these messages it simply says that "an update" has been made to the Police website, and points me there to read the latest info. Of course, I could then pull it up via WAP, but doesn't that kind-of defeat the object?
Effectively it's a troll-helper.
When you think about it, though, it could be pretty counter-productive.
First off, when sites get wind of what's going on they may choose to simply disable commenting on affected articles. And secondly, if I have anti-Israeli views, I could use the tool just as effectively.
This tool is publicly available, but I suppose that a private one (for example, one for Labour Party members around election time) would stop opponents using it.
Ok, do shoot me down!
We are on ColdFusion on the "common web platform" or "common web problem" as Ron Diorio calls it. ColdFusion gets acused of the same things Ruby on rails does but we have it scaling to 15M+ pages, with a caching layer, a month on only three or four servers. The languages are similar in the sense you can knock out a site or app in a few days, but now CF is moving in a more structured way and plugs into enterprise Java. Ruby on Rails isn't ready yet to compete in reality with PHP and ColdFusion.
People are trying to build rails for ColdFusion. In essence we have a framework that's 5 years old that does MVC and to be honest out of the box it's better than rails. I would say that, the team I work in wrote it. Don't know why it suddenly got popular to do this stuff. You can't just go buy a good website from the high street. Web sites aren't Poodles.
In fact our CMS is similar to CCI, in the way you can fully build your layout and menus and those menus go recursively go back to fetch the next layer. Originally our CMS only did that to layer content, now the whole platform, including code can be layered separately and interact through our defined interfaces. I should write a blog post about that one day.
That'll help you sleep!
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I am a big fan of not installing games on my laptop or computers, and this proves my point to a certain degree that the trojan horse method of opening up your computer/pda could prove disastarous by installing something so innocuous and simple just so you can while away the boring moments on the train ride home.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Reuters has now dispensed with the services of Mr Hajj, but what seems odd , as the blogs point out, is that the cloning of the smoke looks amatuerish and could have been done better. In fact, Hajj has come in for criticism in the past over his alleged staging of shots to increase their impact and it's almost as if he got too cocky (no conspiracy theories here!)
What is clear is that Reuters made a huge mistake. Tim Glocer has become well known for advocating the use of citizen photography, putting Reuters forward as the trusted name to sift through the good and bad. The fact that such an obviously doctored photo from one of their own freelancers with a record of controversy made it through their sift has probably done untold damage to their reputation.
Time will tell, but I suspect that Reuters will have to make public what went wrong and what it is doing to prevent it happening again.
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
A friend of mine is a Certified ScrumMaster and just mentioned it to me. Haven't had time to look at it much, but I'm taken with the name!
The biggest problem with adopting them is customer agreement/sign off, what makes it worth their while? Why should they bother? It’s their business why should they change?
It kind of makes me think about how we name servers e.g. eulorsdcf1. I try to use this name when talking to economist.com regarding their development server. They have no idea what eulorsdcf1 is or amfmdr2 or any other acronym for servers at all but we name all their servers like this. We call eulorsdcf1 smarties when talking to Economist.com and CFO.com, it’s only slightly better but at least it’s a real world word. Surely it’s the customer that counts not our asset tracking codes or favourite methodology for delivery. I accept that some methodologies make things easier for us and possibly quicker/cheaper for customers and asset tracking by name makes it easy for us to figure out where a machine is but customers only want “it” delivered on “October 1st”.
I know that this isn't a particularly good analogy, but if I go into Tesco or (god forbid) Wal*Mart and there's a queue at the checkout or they don't have what I want, I don't blame SAP or whatever backend system they use, I think that people haven't got it right.