Monday, 17 December 2007

Happy anniversary to "weblogs"

According to BBC News, blogs are a year old today:

Weblogs rack up a decade of posts

The word "weblog" celebrates the 10th anniversary of it being coined on 17 December 1997.

The word was created by Jorn Barger to describe what he was doing with his pioneering Robot Wisdom web page.

The word was an abbreviation for the "logging" of interesting "web" sites that Mr Barger featured on his regularly updated journal.

A decade on and blog-watching firm Technorati reports it is tracking more than 70 million web logs . . .

. . . In 1999 the phenomenon took off as easy to use tools started to appear which made it much easier to write and maintain these sorts of websites. Also in 1999 the word "blog" was coined as a shortened form of the original term . . .
I sometimes feel like I have a million blogs on my reader, but apparently there are 69 million more I am missing.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Clunk, click, every trip

Viola and I were watching the first couple of episodes of Series 2 of Life on Mars the other day. It has come, belatedly, to BBC America (slightly edited and not in widescreen -- very annoying!). At one point, Gene says "Clunk, click, every trip" and both Viola and I wondered whether this was an anachronism. We remembered the phrase from the late 70s, perhaps 1978 or 1979, but doubted that it was as early as 1973, when Life on Mars is set. Well, we were wrong. A reliable article on Wikipedia tells us that it became a slogan at the heart of a safety belt campaign as early as 1971, and even then it was borrowed from an earlier campaign in the 1960s. A trawl through Youtube turns up this gem from 1972, which encourages "you ladies" to belt up:

By the time I can remember these films, though, the "Clunk, click, every trip" didn't have to be explained, as it is here. It was just recited. There is a nice article from 2006 on this on BBC News, The message clicks.

New Doctor Who Voyage of the Damned Trailer

Sorry, couldn't resist posting the new trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas Special:

Monday, 10 December 2007

More Christmas BBC One Previews

More from Youtube for those of us who don't catch these things in our daily viewing, e.g. because we don't live in England anymore. First, a teaser trailer for the Doctor Who Christmas special. Only nine seconds, but still long enough to feature a spoiler:

And this forty second trailer focuses on comedy highlights. I am looking forward to Extras and Catherine Tate, both of which make appearances here:

I have heard elsewhere that this is to be the last of the Catherine Tate sketch shows for the foreseeable future, perhaps not surprising given her new life on the TARDIS.

Which is the best airline?

As British expats living in the USA, we do a lot of flying and in looking for flights for our 2008 trips back to the UK, the key factor is, of course, the price. But where the prices are similar, we already have strong feelings about our preferred airlines. At the bottom of the pile, we would put US Airways and at the top would be Virgin Atlantic, hands down. Somewhere in between would be American Airlines, which is so-so. We travelled on Virgin for the first time in the summer and it was head and shoulders above US Airways or American Airlines, which had been our usual carriers to that point. Friendly British staff, comfortable seats, good food, good entertainment. It turns out that our experience maps onto the results of the recent Zagat survey, which rates US Airways very low, American not much higher, but Virgin very much towards the top. Passengers rate the airlines on Comfort, Food, Service and Website. The report is here:

The Zagat/TODAY Airline Survey

If you are a regular flier, it is interesting reading.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Heroes / Torchwood Crossover Trailer

This is a twenty second gem from BBC2 last night. Heroes reached the end of its first series in the UK (we are about ten episodes into the second season in the US, in what may turn out to be the end of the season because of the writers' strike), and it broadcast this nice crossover trailer, advertising the forthcoming second series of the fantastic Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood:

We are particularly looking forward to the second series of Torchwood in our house given the news that there will be a pre-watershed family-version repeat. I don't think our kids have quite forgiven us for not letting them watch the first series, as if it were our fault that it had all that adult material in it. Now if they could arrange pre-watershed edits of all thirteen episodes of the first series, they will be even happier.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Muralitharan's Test Record, and a Sky News Report

I'm not able to watch as much of the cricket at the moment as I would like. The first test in a three match series between England and Sri Lanka began on Saturday, but it starts here each night at midnight (5am GMT), so even if I have a late night, I only catch the beginning. It is very annoying too that Test Match Special is unavailable to international users, and I haven't managed to find a back door that will allow me to listen. So I'm mainly managing with the TMS Podcast each morning (this time with Simon Hughes alongside Jonathan Agnew), and what I can find on the net, including some interesting bits and bobs on Youtube.

The early morning (our time) play today was momentous. Muttiah Muralitharan became the all time leading wicket taker in Test cricket, overtaking Shane Warne's 708 wickets, itself still a very recent memory. The following clip, from Sky News this afternoon, is unintentionally hilarious. As usual, there is more discussion of Murali's controversial action than there is of his amazing achievement. But here it becomes clear from quite early on that the Sky News presenter knows almost nothing about the game. Instead of a cricketing expert in the studio, she is joined by a physiotherapist who brings with her an arm so that she can illustrate Murali's congenital defect, and the big issue that worries the presenter is whether Murali will have arthritis in his old age, an issue she comes back to repeatedly. So congratulations to Murali on his fantastic achievement, and I hope you enjoy this bizarre (lack of a?) tribute:

Sunday, 2 December 2007

BBC One Christmas Preview

One of the signs that Christmas is getting near is when you happen to catch the first Christmas TV preview. It's always an exciting moment; there's something about it that recaptures your childhood memories of Christmas TV. Living in the USA, there is no chance, of course, of catching it while watching other things on telly. But due to the glories of Youtube, British expats can share the anticipation too. BBC One's first Christmas preview, a minute or so long, appeared this weekend. And of course the Doctor Who Christmas special features in there, among other things of interest: