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SP1 drops, iPlayer falls over and Phorm is less than legal

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Comments On Friday the BBC's iPlayer went down because of a back-end database failure. It has since come back online, but the Beeb nevertheless earned your scorn:

The irony is that while they are doing all they can to stop the likes of me from using an illicit method to get the programmes, if they produced a Linux version, with the 30 day restriction built in, I would start using it immediately. I don't really want to keep the programmes after watching them once.

Anonymous Coward


Once upon a time the BBC produced a survey to collect views about the proposed iPlayer. The result was overwhelming support for platform independant download.

The BBC chose to ignore the results of their own survey, and launched a DRM crippled MS only service.

After a huge backlash, they then grudgingly offered poor quality streaming, which nobody wanted in the first place. The BBC only have themselves to blame.

Time for a relaunch - iPlayer2.0

Specification:

Encoded in H264

Downloadable files using BitTorrent

No DRM.

It's already happening unofficialy, it won't go away, time for the BBC to give in and provde the service everybody asked for in the first place. there was plenty of time after the survey to arrange for DRM free content, after all broadcasting using a transmitter is not very different from providing the same program over cable or the internet.

Anonymous Coward


How much do those fools spend on overly expensive and not very good equipment?

Was there anything about their various incarnations of their weather presentation IP on The Register?

It all started in the 1970's when an apparent need was first observed. This was in the days before overhead cameras evidently:

http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=FhoUq6PSJJE&feature=related

The BBC's problem in the old days was that they felt the need to present technical stuff. And of course with progress, that meant lots of studio acreage:

http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1ScfBGh0GQ&feature=related

Something had to give.

So what was the answer? Behold, the green-screen:

http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=Hd6DuebHliY&feature=related

You can see the problem straight away, yes, it is an ideal format for presenting technical stuff but do away with the meteorology aspect and there is room for larger maps so people can see where they live.

Free mugs for anyone who spotted the NZ in the above links. Here is an expensive alternative to weather presentation:

http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=G3FwLD3ceqc

If you pay careful attention you can see a female presenter wondering where all the petty cash went.

And then pointing to New Zealand. The piss taking kiwi bastards!

I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects


"The BBC chose to ignore the results of their own survey, and launched a DRM crippled MS only service."

The BBC didn't do any survey - the regulator, the BBC Trust did. Sadly the BBC Trust didn't ask the right question, which is what they'd rather have - DRM and the current licence fee or no DRM and the licence fee increased to £800 - £900 per year so the BBC can acquire the extra rights, because that's how much it would cost.

I suspect that, using this slightly more realistic question, the BBC Trust would have gotten a very clear answer that the general public are quite happy with the iPlayer's DRM over the alternative, thanks.

Anonymous Coward


There's no need whatsoever for the BBC to create this service.

About all the BBC can do is code up and release all their copyrighted work (a la Pathe News) and charge rent for those works the BBC holds but other part-owners don't want released without DRM.

The BBC has the requirement to release what they can because copyright is an exchange of rights with the public. Eventually, the copyright expires and the sea of works available to enrich society and be a base for new works to delight us is increased. And if the BBC don't want to make money from it any more, why not release it from copyright so our society is enriched and the BBC don't have to pay to keep it available until copyright eventually does expire (remember that in the UK we aren't supposed to keep copies, so only those purchased and still readable copies are available to us, and we aren't allowed to format shift to a newer more durable form [or even just to the same form but newer]).

Mark


BT has admitted secretly using customer info to test Phorm's advertising tech, and of providing a misleading response after a stink was raised over questionable redirects.

Seems extremely unlikely that only one exchange of the five thousand or so broadband-enabled exchanges was involved *in any way* the trial, because to do so would require shall we say "unusual" changes to the way BT's broadband systems work.

BT Retail's broadband service is based on BTwholesale's BT CentralPlus product which afaik only BT Retail uses, so other ISPs customers needn't be too concerned yet, apart perhaps from Plusnet customers who have chosen to use BT -based Plusnet's RIN option (and they've been offered a free ticket back to the classic Plusnet network).

Maybe the full data gathering and analysis process was only applied to punters on one exchange? Aiui BT CentralPlus can use the phone number for authentication, rather than the usual username/password stuff, so maybe that was used as a selection criteria... presumably phone numbers aren't classed as personally identifiable in this picture (maybe they lose the last few digits at some stage of the process, that would be perfectly OK, right????)

Phorm still sucks bigtime and it's nice to see BT have been caught out bigtime.

Anonymous Coward


At what point is a technology not going to be used to make a profit at the expense of those who require that technology?

The internet is meant to be a global network of computers that allows everyone to connect to everyone (within reason, of course). At what point does the very fact that you are connected mean you automatically have to be a source of revenue for your broadband provider? They already get our money each month. If that's not enough, they shouldn't sell access at that price. If they want more money, they most certainly should not be simply taking our data and pimping it to anyone who'll pay for it.

I look forward to the day when the internet is "just there" - ubiquitous, and left alone to help people, not stiff them for every penny they can get.

Chris Haynes


Looks like the ISP's are taking some notice, especially about opt out. I got a nice reply last week from BT's MD and the "Director of Value Added Services" who assure me they are reviewing this all the time.

I did put to them the point that has been made on El Reg several times:

If this 'Service' is so compelling then advertise it and allow users to subscribe, only those who subscribe get routed through the profilers and everyone else just gets on with their surfing.

Not had a reply to that one yet, still watching and waiting to see if I need to cancel my new contract with BT

Andy ORourke


Opt-out cookies are a sham anyway. Sure it would be trivial for the cookie to be read by the ad server and for it then not to serve ads or, more likely, not targeted ones.

In order for the cookie to be read when the information is gathered something is going to have to be sitting in the middle of all connections, editing the HTML to query the cookie then deciding whether to profile the page. Unless, of course, the ISP and Phorm think it would just be easier to profile everything then sort it out later. Forgive me for not believing that "opting-out" will stop Phorm from seeing my data and IP address.

Nine more days until my new IDNet broadband goes in. Virgin, I'm going to miss you like a hole in the head.

Paul Stimpson

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