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.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Disgusted of Kemptown

I do sometimes indulge in a little bit of political letter writing- it's good for the spleen I believe. There was a post on the local tory blog that I picked up via twitter, and it pissed me right off, so I've written to the local tories. And this is what I said....

Dear Sir or Madam,

It has come to my attention that the Brighton Tory web site is currently publishing a story casting aspertions upon the probity of the Green MEP for the south east region, Ms Caroline Lucas. The article ( seeks to equate the high costs of administration that Ms Lucas's office runs is in some way analogous to the indiscriminate largess indulged in by MPs of all parties at Westminster, and seeks further to imply that her assertion of honesty and of being distinct from the rampant "troughing" of Westminster representatives is in some way "disingenuous".

It's my belief as an independent and non-aligned voter, that you are being rather "disingenuous" yourselves. Ms Lucas's expnses seem to me to be well justified in her role as a representative for a large swathe of England, and one of the few representatives the many thousands of British Green voters have in Europe. I understand that she is an active member of many committees, is right at the core of the European coalition of Green parties, and I can personally testify to her excellent communication with constituents like myself. In fact, in this last regard, she and her staff are streets ahead of your own parties incapability to so much as respond to directly submitted requests and comments by email to representatives. In short, she works very hard, and does a damn site better job that your sorry lot.

At a time when the Tories in Europe are sidling up to the worryingly reactionary fringe parties, instead of being at the heart of European centre right parties, I think it's high time you took a long hard look at your own policies, process and responsibilities to your constituents. As a party you are thoroughly tarred with the Westminster expenses scandal- you are in fact corrupt, and recognised as such. Simply spitting false allegations against your opponents does nothing for you or for the level of political debate.

I have take the opportunity to copy this letter in to the Tory representatives in the European Parliament- my hope is that you'll all take this opportunity to reconsider this approach to the politics of muck spreading.

Yours in some considerable disgust,

Ant Miller

This is going to:,,,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Update in the Pro stuff

A quick update on the last post- the process of setting up the blog and getting editorial sign off is underway, but not by any means completed. This also means of course that there remains plenty of opportunity for you gentle readers- yes, both of you- to let me know what sort of thing you'd like us to put on the blog.

So, point us at great other blogs, give us leading topics to explore, pose us perculiar and intriguing questions, or just ask us straight forward questions. I cannot promise that the new blog will be able to address everything, but your queries will help us set the right tone. And if I can't answer there, I might be able to here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Taking Things Pro

This is almost one of those blog posts one shouldn't write- as in, one that you write because you haven't written one for ages. Kind of a 'contractual obligation' blog post. Except it isn't really, I have no obligation to post. Not yet. Will soon.

Yes, that’s right, I might soon be blogging professionally, and at that point this whole lovely friendly process of punting my thoughts out to be ignored by the world will become a proper millstone. Or a more disciplined and hence efficient process.

The blog we’re talking about is a proposed BBC R&D one, to sit alongside the excellent efforts of the BBC RAD blog, the Radio Labs, Journalism Labs and the Internet blog itself, not to mention the Backstage blog. All this public relaying of information can seem a little overwhelming, but on the other hand, there’s a lot of BBC and even more public, so a profusion of communication is to be expected, and perhaps encouraged.

NOTA BENE: Extensive internal BBC review and approval is required before this goes ahead, so it's far from a done deal.

Right now we are plotting out the first few months of posting and trying to ensure we get a good spread of coverage and aim at the right level for our interested parties. Some people will be generally interested in what we’re up to, but not particularly technically minded, others will be fellow engineers and broadcast specialists fascinated by our work’s most technical elements- pitching at the right level for all will be a challenge. And that’s before we get into the confidentiality/ patent protection/ intellectual property management tangles of what we can and can’t talk about.

The R&D blog will initially sit on its own page like other blogs, but before too long it will form a core element of a refreshed public web presence for the department. We’re finishing up the initial requirements at the moment, with help from the lovely people at Howell Wong Costello, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rain Ashford for her tremendous efforts to get this up and running. Rain will soon be heading back to BBC Learning after a year on Backstage and in R&D and we’re sorry to be loosing her- Cheers mi dear! Rain also produced much of the R&D TV output, including the whole of the Maker Faire segment in the latest edition, for which we're very grateful.

AAaaaand finally, just because I think a blog post is better with a picture, here’s something I knocked up tonight to stick on our office door, because I was bored with the usual office layout diagrams. Created in Lego Digital Designer. Go play