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.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

dti applications in....

Enourmous thanks to Matthew Addis of ITI and Tim Courtney of Xyratex for their sterling efforts in getting in the proposals for the dti autumn technology programme. Can't really go into a huge amount of detail on the proposals, but suffice to say we're looking at a very interesting range of areas.

The next project framework we're looking at is the EU FP6 call in April for advanced search in audio visual technologies. Not entirely sure what sort of thing we'll get into there, but I can imagine some interesting progress being made on work we've already done in Prestospace. New Media will probably be looking at some projects too.

Of course one possible barrier to this might be that EU projects do tend to work on quite a long cycle; it can be eighteen months after the initial submission before you really get started on the project. New Media are getting used to working in a far faster and more iterative way, through channels like the Innovations Lab. There is a real pressure on to get new and better navigation models developed, and trial and error is no bad way to do this. I'm sure it'll get some good results.

It is difficult though for a process like that to take the best of great efforts going on in the accademic and research domains, and that does bother me a little. There are really brilliant and effective tools being made, but getting traction and turning sometimes startling developments into the 'real world' can be extremely difficult.

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Originally uploaded by meeware1.
Ah, here we are, all on stage for the dress rehearsal. Not a huge stage, as you can see, but very intimate with the audience, and the lighting was very good too (cheers Doug!).

Those cuffs are home made by the way, half a dozen toilet tubes, some warm leatherette, and a few dozen paper fasteners.

The Art of the Dog and Pony

To the dti last Wednesday to do a show and tell as a part of their 'Future of Broadcasting' day. Biggish audience, including all sorts of IT, University, technical and industry bods, and really rather good. It was really focussed on public funding for projects, but I was there to give it a bit of context- a voice from the real life broadcasters so to speak.

Of course broadcast covers a multitude of sins, and I'm only tucked away in the back corner of the archive, so I was spreading myself a bit thin trying to cover it all, but I did warn them that I had a biased point of view, and that I worked in a shed in Brebtford, not a nice building in White City, so they should take what I said with a pinch of salt.

I tried to cover all the things that make me worry about the future of the BBC, except those things which are due soley to the vagiaries of our leaders. In pointing out the core problems, rather than the mistaken solutions we may or may not be taking, I think I gave them a good flavour of the radical and revolutionary elemental forces at work in broadcast.

I did mention one particular blog in particular- the long tail- there is a link over to the right there>>>

Anyroad up, the whole thing went jolly well, thanks in no small part to some lovely graphics pinched striaght off of Matt Locke in New Media. And the University of Brighton have asked me to give them a lecture off the back of it, which is tremendously flattering, and I think I would like to do that very much.

A thesp is boUrnE

Just finished doing aplay in Eastbourne- very different experience- never trod the boards before, well, not for 20 years or so anyway. We did 4 nights of 'The Lion in Winter' at St. Mary's Eastbourne old town, and it went rather well. Houses of between 60 and 110 for the run, and very well recieved. I think my sister in law (the producer) broke even.

I did find I became a paranoid freak for a couple of weeks, and it's rather nice not to be again. It's very very difficult to know if you're really any good, and it's terribly difficult to take on board criticism, even of the most contructive kind, once the run is going. Still, I feel I did ok, I don't think I left any of the rest of the cast hanging, and it was, by the final night, actually quite a buzz. It took the whole run pretty much, bt by the last scene of the last act of the last night I was really getting into it, giving the part room to breath, really swooping along.

Maybe, just possibly, I'll try again one day.

Cast photos are somewhere on Flickr.