This is the blog of Ant Miller, senior research manager and dilettante geek at large at the BBC.
I wail moan and cuss about the challenges and fun to be found here.
These are my personal opinions, and not those of my employer. Or anyone else here for that matter.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Granfalloon Posts transplanted:

Granfalloon was my old blog- but a combination of typos and what not mean't it never had a proper URL, so now it has gone. Bye bye.

Here are the edited highlights of a short but happy blog:

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Birth of a Cult

And that got such a good response that I decided to start a cult:

Do you want the best for the viewers and listeners?

Do you believe in the redemptive power of public service broadcasting?

Then join me.

Be a Reithian.

I am starting a cult, based upon the principles of Lord Reith, and hope to garner members from across all of broadcasting and new media. I plan to hold an inaugural swearing in of the first 100 members on 2LO on Reiths birthday, the 20th of July

Still thinking of a suitable oath text- here's the first draft

I (name) do solemly swear on this the pattern of 2LO, to use this and all and every subsequent communications technologies to the fullest of my abilities to fullfil the highest aims of public service broadcasting; to inform, to educate and to entertain; to bring the best of everything into the greatest number of homes, in order to make better homes, better citizens and a better world for us all.

The circuit diagram as redrawn from the mechanicals in 1972 is here:

Is the BBC Evil- a post that got responses

We were having a typically active discussion on the work boards and I posted this:

There are certain behavioral principles that emerge evolutionalrily in community based organisms- one of them is altruism. The game theory science illustrates it beautifully, but I'm no game theorist, so here goes with a friday afternoon outline:

If i assume you're nice, and act so, and you assume I'm nice, and act so, then we will be better off than any other two people we might be in competition with, even if one of them is really nasty. Weirdly, I'm also statistically better off if I assume everyone is nice, because I do so much better when I do meet nice people. Nasty people bugger me up, but so long as there are enough nice people around, I'm good.

Niceness, or a prevelance may be in our genes, a bit, but we're a flexible bunch, and we can be made nasty with just a few nudges in the right direction. A broadening wealth gap, a prevelant cultural approval of wealth and the corollary dispising of poverty (relative poverty that is, not the real ricketts and asthma stuff that still kills kids and old folk- that we just ignore) all change behavior.

Is there a lesson- yes!

We should build and foster cultural institutions that foster good citizenship, and have a clear conception of what that is. the institutions should know this in their very fibre.

This should be the BBC.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the BBC was put here to make the world a better place.

Flying into Austria- Thoughs on coming in to land

I think we're coming up on the alps now- the broad flat cloud quilt of northern europe is rucking up to the south, and more billowy forms are tumbling over jagged peaks in the distance. The sun is blazing from an indigo deep sky- the back of my hand is hot as I write this, and my eyes are squinting against the high altitude glare off the page.
We're dropping, slowing, gently. To our right the mountain puckered clouds creep closer; the ridges below are hidden, but for the highest and most distant. The ghostly powder blue of the shadowed flanks of the clouds reminds me of pictures in the Tate of Jerusalem. Landscapes by the Preraphaelites. Its a dusty hot blue to me- but it must be freezing out there.
A quick glimpse of brittle black mountain- so stark!
Lower, slower, feels faster somehow. Banking left, left, left I see sky deeper and wide.
Snowy fileds and dark forests- a scattered patchwork. Ski runs? Fire breaks?
Slipping between layers of clouds, filmy above and fluffy below.
Slight judder, first hints of the ground below.
Sinking- a valley wider and green, and gone again- in to cloud. Heat of the sun is gone.
Clouds a truculent grey.
Final approach- judders- looks flatter- had beenn wondering where they'd put an airport.
Bit bumpy now. Whoops.
All grey. Bank right, spidery dark streets and houses scratching between woods.
Do wolves live here?
Bank left- grey grey grey.
Tight judder- braking- smoother.
Level- low enough to see cars, gardens, trees, windows.
Quite flat out there.
Mittel Europe in Dunkel Grun and Weis.
A river- the Danube?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Leaping, landing, leaping again

Right, well Graz was great- very very nice spot. The meeting was useful- though some areas seem a little slow in development things like front ends can cometogether very quiickly once functionality is settled. Would have been nice if it was further along, but there you go.

Spectrum was thought to be very interesting- lots of archives are in a position where spectrum covers there current ctiveties, and though it gets weak in the purely digital domain, the prospect of having solid standards for managing assets as they go through a digitisation process is very attractive. These are just the sort of standards that help projects get funded.

The town is really interesting- loads of old imperial building, even older town hall, and a great cultural scene including the very groovy Kunsthaus alien thing:.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Mid flight- or the moment under the moment

Tomorrow I fly off on a business trip, and saturday I move house, and in two weeks I go on a sabatical to New Zealand, and last week I ran a very large event, and just at the moment I feel like a pinball, or a log ball pass down the pitch- a hospital ball that could land anywhere, bounce anyhere, there or everywhere.

I think my life, my sanity and indeed my very existence as a cogent physical entity is entirely due to the manifest beauty and serentity of my wife.

Head vs Wall

Had a hard core week presenting the big project to loads of people, and thought great progress was being made. I actually got to speak to the 'makers', bypassing a collosal barrier.

However, the channels closed up again over the following six days to the pint where today I had to call someone to tell them I wouldn't be able to email them the crucial business analysis documents they needed in order to do the make.

Two steps forward...

There was a time, not so long ago, when phrases like 'you can't just make it happen' and 'its not worth the trouble' became anathama around here. What a lovely crazy scary time that was. Please let those times return.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Semantic web conference

Just when I thought my involvement in this conference's organising commitee had become a real strecth of my experience and how what I did for aliving was totally irrelevant and I should just back away quietly, the register points up this project at southampton: Southampton Classical Music Search . Amazing- this is just what I was working on in the archives the year before last! so I'm stiriing it up again withe the crew of grain to see if we can get back on the webby wagon.

Getting a bit open toed

I'm on a RN board, quite open minded surprisingly, and nuclear disarmamaebt has come up recently. Looks as though there is actually not much support for keeping the bombers for much longer- which was a pleasnat surprise. I sometimes wonder if there might not be a hippy in the heart of every englishman.

Progress on the meetings

Looks like all but one of the Crete programme commitee are on board. Wonder if I can find a heavy weight replacement for the columbia guy from around here? He's abig hitter, and the semantic web is a narrow field, but I'll have a hunt about.

KW is coming along well. Not sure on the numbers at the moment, but it's a good lineup- MS just got onboard. I think I could do with some accademics now, and maybe a few more archives... Need to make sure there are some good beeb bods.

Right, here we go, blogging. Hmm, this'll be nice, extra typping every so often.

I think I'll use this as a bit of an aide memoir. So, things to do:

  1. Invite the committee for the crete thing, including sheffield bristol ibm and columbia
  2. make sure the content is there for the sam site.
  3. get the invites out for the KW workshop
  4. Umm,
  5. that's it for now.

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