Tag Archives: BBC

My wedding, on the BBC…

BBC Technology Editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching his new series on Radio 4 today. Titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking’ it is a three-part documentary exploring the origins of social networking, going back to the 1970s.

The programme starts with my wedding to Angelica, and there is a trailer film on the BBC website today promoting the radio show and featuring several minutes of film from our wedding day!

Click here to watch the film

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BBC Radio 4: The Secret History of Social Networking

BBC Technology editor, Rory Cellan-Jones, is launching a new radio series on BBC radio 4 on January 26th titled ‘The Secret History of Social Networking.’ It’s a view on how far social networks have come, where they came from, and where they might head to in future.

What is particularly interesting for me is that my wedding in Ealing on December 3rd last year features right at the start of the series, as an example of just how far things have come… I used Facebook to invite guests to the wedding and communicate the agenda for the day.
Angelica-and-Mark-wedding_DSC4104

Facebook was useful because almost all my family and friends are on there. It’s true, there are some Facebook refuseniks and I had to update them by text message, and some partners of friends are not always on my friend list, but on the whole I managed to update everyone using a Facebook event.
Facebook wedding invitation

It was an amazing day and I’m fortunate enough to have arranged a repeat of the day out in São Paulo soon. The BBC radio crew filmed a large section of my wedding in London for use in website trailers for the radio programme, so I’m going to edit together footage from their video and arrange my Brazilian wedding inside an old city centre cinema. We can watch some of the London footage and repeat the ceremony in front of a cinema audience before getting an old London Routemaster bus to transport us across the city to a restaurant for a bit of a post-second-wedding-party…

I’m looking forward to hearing Rory’s programme, though we had consumed a fair amount of Champagne by the time he started recording questions so if any of it sounds slurred then please forgive me – he should have recorded the speech parts early in the morning!
Mark and Angelica-5017

For FIFA’s sake…

I quite enjoyed the BBC Panorama documentary last night detailing corruption and fraud within football’s international governing body, FIFA. FIFA behaved consistently as if they do not need to respond to any of the fraud allegations, but we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars that should have been used for the development of the game, all ending up in the back pocket of FIFA board members. The BBC presented a number of new facts that proved illicit payments to at least three FIFA board members.

However, the argument in the UK media is that the BBC is unpatriotic to expose these people just a few days before the vote for which nation will host the 2018 World Cup. We are relying on these same people to vote for the England bid just as the BBC accuses them of fraud.

But the BBC is not the voice of the State. I would love to see England get the World Cup in 2018, but if the BBC affects the impression of England and a bunch of FIFA crooks don’t vote for our country because they don’t like to see their dirty laundry aired in public then doesn’t it demonstrate some much greater British values, not least about the freedom of the press?

Would anyone really want to see a situation where the BBC had evidence detailing how many bribes these FIFA officials have taken, but they kept quiet to ensure those same people voted for England?

Whether we win or lose this bid to host the 2018 World Cup, it’s time for the English FA to join forces with other national football associations and to demand that FIFA is entirely reformed… it should be an open, transparent, not-for-profit association developing football across the world, not a shady cabal of villains all earning millions by having their votes bought.

Boot on the other foot

I am a Socialist

Ed Miliband admitted live on BBC Radio 5 this morning that he is a socialist. Ever since, the news agenda has been exploring what he meant. Most people who follow British politics will know that Ralph Miliband, Ed’s father, was certainly a socialist. A true advocate of Marxism.

Even in the few seconds allotted to him on the radio, Ed Miliband managed to state that he doesn’t agree with his father’s vision of socialism. Ed’s father would be talking about the implementation of socialism requiring a working-class revolution, the government being controlled by the working-class and seizing all assets of production… and private property. Essentially creating an even distribution of wealth and work throughout the entire society.

It’s obvious that Ed Miliband is not advocating this form of socialism when he claims to believe in socialism. He is obviously believing in a sense of fairness in the interaction between the government and the citizen, the helping hand, the fair deal. If this is so obvious – that the modern-day left-wing interpretation of socialism by the Labour party is not quite the firebrand socialism of the past – then how come it’s taken over the media agenda today?

Energy Minister, Ed Milliband with Adam Boulton from Sky

Raise a glass to Douglas Adams on ’42’ day

I was in Malta recently talking to some government representatives and they mentioned how a big new IT park is opening in Malta on October 10th. I asked them why they would have the big launch party on a Sunday.

“10/10/10 – it’s binary, IT, understand!” they replied.

I understood the connection, and it’s a nice little idea to launch an IT venture on this date, just a shame it’s the weekend as journalists are hard enough to coax from their office, let alone from the pub during Sunday lunch.

But, I immediately converted the binary to denary and I realised it’s 42. So I replied to the business people talking about the IT park:

“You should make something of the fact that 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything according to Douglas Adams in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…

They didn’t understand me, or clearly have less enthusiasm for British science-fiction.

I thought I was the only one who had noticed this interesting little quirk of numbers, but when I googled it, I found that a few others have commented online – but not many. It still seems that there is not much awareness of the significance of this date.

I can vividly recall hearing that Douglas Adams had died in 2001 because I was in a bookstore in Bangalore and the manager of the shop rushed to tell me – just because I was the only English person in the store. I was back in there a couple of days later and we were talking about RK Narayan, who died that day. I thought that if I kept on returning to that bookstore I might kill off some more authors so I left it for a while before shopping there again.

How about raising a glass in memory of Douglas Adams on Sunday and toasting 42 on the Douglas Adams ‘binary’ day?

Douglas Adams - The Salmon of Doubt

When I’m 64…

I saw this BBC report on French protests about the retirement age being raised to 62. Of course, the typical French disdain for England is annoying – the same old stereotypes being dredged up by French protestors.

But the real point applies to France and England – and most of Western Europe equally – who is going to be paying the state pension by the time I ‘retire’? I personally think that the concept of the third age, rather than a retirement, will have become normal by the time I am 65.

By third age, I mean it will be normal to enter into a new career, to use your life experience working with a charity, or working on the local council… doing something useful that is still work and probably still pays something – though far less than you would have earned during your main career. But by that time most of us won’t have a need to support kids or a mortgage anymore, so income requirements should be more modest anyway.

What I don’t expect is that I can hit the age of 65 and suddenly put my feet up and retire from work, to live out the next 20 years on the golf course.

In Britain, it’s the present taxpayers who pay the state pension through their tax. The older people claiming pensions will suggest that they have paid into their NI pot and now they are just claiming it back, but there is no bank account they are paying into, it’s the young workers paying their pension. The stakeholder pension was the first step towards trying to shift people to a sense of personal responsibility for their old age, but I’m not sure I have met anyone who actually has a stakeholder pension.

Perhaps it sounds too harsh and ‘Anglo-Saxon’ to suggest that personal responsibility needs to make a return – rather than a blind reliance on the state, but European demographics are not favourable. There will be far more old people as I age and fewer young workers paying income tax. Immigration would be the only real solution and yet that’s not something most politicians are welcoming either…

If you are ‘retiring’ 20 or 30 years from now then don’t look to the state to pay for your every need. Or if you think that’s an unreasonable assumption to make, then get out on the street and throw a few bricks – like the French.
Entire family over 100

Leaders of IT waiting for your questions…

Have you been to a conference recently where Twitter was used to create more interactivity?

I’ve been to a few. It’s easy to do at all the social media events. Just put up a big screen and agree on a hash-tag and everyone will make comments. Whether it’s anything useful is another matter entirely. I’ve also been to some events where Twitter was introduced as a good idea, yet the people in the audience had no idea how to use it despite their supposed status as leaders within the world of IT.
So I was thinking about this when I was asked by the National Outsourcing Association to add some ideas to their annual summer party. It’s usually a great event, full of people from the tech industry, and usually on a London rooftop somewhere drinking in the sun.
The party is going to take place next week on July 15 in London, but the part I managed to add starts from 4pm. It’s going to be some really interesting tech leaders speaking ‘TED-style’ for just 10 minutes each one after the other… so it’s a full-on session of ideas, with questions from the audience all being taken via Twitter.
Take a look at the speakers here. If you want to ask them a question – right now – then just ask it on Twitter and use the hashtag #noaeue. Live commentary of the event will be published on the day on the account @thenoa, so follow that user if you can’t make it in person.
– BBC, Michael Stock, Stretch Project Director, Head of Partnership & Contract
– Department for Work and Pensions, James Gardner, CTO
– Marks & Spencer, Darrell Stein, Director of IT and Logistics
– Symbian, Ian McDonald, Head of IT
– BT, Sarah Manning, Head of Services Improvement and Supplier Management
– Centrica, Kevin Devoy, Manager, Procurement and Supplier Management
– Guardian Media Group, Andy Beale, Technology Director

Tweetdeck - Twitter wall