Top Twenty Posts of 2008 – Part 2

Published on 28 December 2008 in , ,

Yesterday I did that age old December thing – the review of the year. But guess what? Yes, that’s right – I left you in limbo. It was only Part 1! I didn’t tell you the top 10!

Well now it’s time to find out!

10 – Return of the lost BBC code

BBC 'The Search' website from 2000

More coding reminiscences, this time looking at a website I built back in 2000. Web pages have changed a lot since then….

9 – What’s (Not) On

In October BBC Red Button closed down the TV Listings section on Freeview. Which didn’t go down well with some. But that wasn’t the crux of this post – yes, whist was high again because I helped build those listings pages.

What’s going on here? Is whist the new ranting for me?

8 – Kaupthing Edge – the failed bank that is continuing provide great rates for its customers

This year has been the year of bank problems, recessions and economic woe. And I got caught up in it all, with some of my money being in two Icelandic banks – and indeed only recently got my money back from Icesave.

The rest of the money was in Kaupthing Edge, whose savings book got swiftly passed over to ING Direct. And this led to some interesting problems with their website, where, as shown in this post, people were led to believe they could still open new fixed term accounts at the previous, and very good, interest rates.

As mentioned in the follow up post – You never opened an account, you know – this wasn’t actually to be. It transpired that whilst the savings had been transfered to ING Direct, the actual online banking system wasn’t, so when you tried to open a fixed term account, it was legally an attempt to open an account with Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander who were in administration.

So yes, it was a “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” moment. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. It did clearly cause someone a headache – one that could have been avoided by someone having the common sense to do some quick crippling of certain aspects of the website sooner rather than later.

7 – TV/Broadband/Phone together – reviewing the options

In March I decided to do some analysis on whether bundling TV, broadband and telephones together would save money. Well save me money anyway. So I set about evaluating all the package providers and decided that the answer was, no. It wouldn’t.

Not the most exciting conclusion but a conclusion none the less.

6 – Bespoke vs Off-the-shelf – watching the BBC blogs comment problems

In February, the BBC blogs were changed because Movable Type was struggling to cope with the huge numbers of comments it was being asked to publish on the BBC site.

Instead the BBC’s message board system was adapted and used instead. But this lead to scores of WordPress fans doing nothing but say the BBC should be using WordPress instead of doing something bespoke.

This post was my attempt at saying, look, the BBC website is big. Far bigger than you can imagine. And sometimes when you’re big, the normal rules don’t play properly.

Didn’t quite work. I just got a load of WordPress fans telling me I’m wrong.

I still don’t believe them.

Incidentally some months later, a colleague of mine was moaning on Twitter about the complete lack of helpfulness of WordPress users on their forums. My response to him was that they were all too busy telling Movable Type users they were wrong and should change…

5 – BBCi on Freesat Launched!

Oh yes it did! The champagne corks were popped in May! Well would have been if the BBC hadn’t banned champers on expenses anyway (note – actually I don’t think they had at this point, but BBC champagne was never something that featured in our office anyway).

Anyway, this wasn’t a huge piece – more of a pointer to my first (and so far, only) foray into writing for the BBC Internet Blog. Yes, 2008 was the year Bods became a corporate blogger. Ooh, err…

4 – Food, glorious BBC food

This is a bit of a curveball – it was a post I did in July about all the various food databases the BBC owns. I rather expected it to sink without trace to be honest. However it did get linked from the BBC Internet Blog so that may well explain it.

3 – Get your testcards here

In January, someone discovered (goodness knows how) the hidden testcard broadcast on the Freeview version of BBC Red Button.

BBC Testcard W

So I had to mention it. And that’s obviously got people a little excited as it came number 3 in the hit parade.

Since this post was written, the test card is now actually easier to find (our present to you!) But I’m not telling you how! Mwhahahahahahahahaha!

2 – Installing Linux on an elderly laptop

Now here’s one I didn’t expect to be in the Top 10 but am really glad it is. Back in May I wiped off Windows from a seven year old HP laptop, and tried to find a version of Linux that would give the old beast a new ray of super-speed results.

So I went on a distro-test, trying out a variety of light weight Linux distributions to see which worked best. I was rather surprised to find the answer I’d expected to be using Puppy or Damm Small Linux, but in the end it was XUbuntu that was the only one that worked properly.

It’s still running XUbuntu 8.04 and doing so very happily. Recently I did try upgrading to XUbuntu 8.10 which did not result in such happy tidings – for some reason text on the screen would begin to degenerate for no apparent reason. I’m still not sure why, but re-installed 8.04 in the end.

1 – Everywhere you go, always take the BBCi Freesat Weather Service with you

And here it is – number 1 and it’s about BBC Red Button on Freesat again! With the second phase launching, I skipped the old corporate blogging ladder (as I didn’t think that there was enough to say) and came back to the old personal blog.

Freesat set top boxes

Again I think this one is helped by promotion on the BBC Internet Blog’s Delicious links but I’m not going to argue,

Interestingly the launch of enhanced radio services on Freesat later on on the year didn’t make as much of an impact.

Well that’s that… or is it?

Well that’s the year’s top 20 posts. An odd collection. Nothing about holidays. Nothing about trains. But plenty of red button stuff.

The important thing is that you enjoyed reading it. Some of it at least. Maybe.

Tomorrow there’s more as I delve in and look at the Top Twenty Archive Posts of 2008.