Posts Tagged ‘bbc’

Bye-bye to ‘UK Traffic Checker’

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Until this month, I had an Android app which displayed road traffic problems on a given route.

It was a fairly simple app, but kinda useful and managed to find 33,000 or so users.

But it’s stopped working. It was using a bunch of travel news feeds from BBC Backstage.

Those feeds now all return:

BBC Travel Feeds

…we will be discontinuing access to all traffic and travel feeds released via the project, this will include both tpegML and RSS formats…

In the short-term, I can’t find a straightforward replacement (a free and open source of feeds for local traffic and travel news) and so I’ve unpublished the app from Android Market. Sorry.

(I have tinkered with writing my own feeds from NTCC data, which is something I’ve played with before. This is technically do-able – I’ve already written a basic PoC to demonstrate, but there are issues – such as I’d need to pay for the hosting of it, and the data only covers motorways and trunk routes unlike what the BBC had. So not sure whether this is a realistic option.)


What programme was on BBC1 at…?

Monday, July 27th, 2009

After my absence, I thought I’d come back with something quick and fun – the result of half an hour’s playing with a new (to me) API.

The problem that I wanted to look into was: What programme was on TV on a given channel at a given time?

And how can I find this out programmatically?

The first thing that I came across was the getProgrammes service in the beta BBC Web API.

As I expect from the forward-thinking BBC, it’s pretty awesome: a simple API that gives you an XML document containing the programmes schedule for the specified time window.

The documentation on the BBC site is pretty self-explanatory. It gives all the information you need to start playing with the API – either using the form on the BBC page, or by sending it a few requests using wget.


Social TV

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

At the BBC hackday “Mashed” earlier this year, I went to a talk explaining how to write applications that can be delivered to televisions through Freeview set-top boxes. For our CurrentCost-themed hack, we reused (that is to say, shamelessly stole!) some code from a colleague to get CurrentCost notifications onto a TV channel. The idea was that it’d be a ‘press the red button’ kind of thing where you could have results of CurrentCost challenges from you and your friends pop up as text overlaid onto the bottom of the screen while you watch TV.

I loved this idea, and it’s been bouncing around at the back of my head since. There is a lot of social network data on the web that I think would be well suited to notifications via a TV. Rather than needing to have a separate computer on, or send stuff to mobile phones, or use stand-alone ambient type devices like Nabaztags or Chumbys, why not have stuff popping up while you watch TV?


Our Mashed 08 hack: CurrentCost Live

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Yesterday was the end of Mashed 08 – the annual London hackday from BBC Backstage.

I saw last week that there was going to be a “social responsibility” category in the hack challenge, and decided that a CurrentCost hack was in order!

Together with Rich, we spent a day trying to hack together a competitive challenge based around CurrentCost, encouraging people to reduce their home electricity usage by making it into a game they can play with their friends.

Here are a few notes based on the presentation I gave at the end.



Sunday, December 9th, 2007

Yesterday was PlugLondon – a developer meetup held at Skype’s offices in London.

It was different to the geek meetings I’ve been to before… for one thing, I didn’t bring a laptop or write a line of code!

The focus was slightly different – the idea seemed to be to bring together developers with companies who produce API’s. People came from a variety of tech companies (such as PayPal, eBay, skype, BBC, Yahoo!) to give presentations on the API’s that they are responsible for, either to introduce it or explain some interesting or novel technical aspect. I’ve played with many web services and APIs, but I definitely learnt a few things.

It was a chance for them to get feedback on their API’s from the developers that they’re trying to encourage to use them. It was very interactive – they seemed keen to find out who had tried the API’s, what people thought of them, what people would like to see added or changed, and so on.