Tag Archives: bbc

BBC Radio 4 “Costing the Earth” on working from home

Tricky program about whether working from home makes sense from an environmental point of view.

On iPlayer here or directly download the MP3.

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Supercomputing superpowers (BBC article)

BBC article [requires Flash] on the Top500 list. What I found interesting was firstly to what extent Linux dominates, as shown in the diagram below, and also how well the UK did relative to our size and status as a country (mainly due to four huge supercomputers in Edinburgh and at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading).

The BBC continues to lead the way in educating people about statistics.

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BBC breaks get_iplayer, and a fix

I suggest you read this muddle-headed blog post, and then the comments after it.

Anyway, Phil Lewis has unfortunately pulled get_iplayer. Luckily get_iplayer lives on in this git repository. You will need the following very small patch to make it work:

 # Update this script if required
-update_script() if $opt->{update} || $opt->{pluginsupdate};
+#update_script() if $opt->{update} || $opt->{pluginsupdate};

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A History of the World in 100 MP3 files

Radio 4 is running a brilliant series called A History of the World in A Hundred Objects. However should you wish to download this series so you can listen to it a convenient place and time, how should you do it? Certainly not through the over-complex official website that’s for sure.

But with some shell script you can grab the MP3 files and listen to this wonderful educational series at your pleasure:

i=1
e=100
y=2010
m=1
d=18
while [ $i -le $e ]; do
  date=$(printf "%04d%02d%02d" $y $m $d)
  for x in a c; do
    for y in 1000 1005; do
      wget -nc http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/ahow/ahow_$date-$y$x.mp3
    done
  done
  i=$(($i+1))
  d=$(($d+1))
  if [ $m -eq 1 ]; then
    endm=32
  elif [ $m -eq 2 ]; then
    endm=29
  elif [ $m -eq 3 ]; then
    endm=32
  elif [ $m -eq 4 ]; then
    endm=31
  fi
  if [ $d -eq $endm ]; then
    m=$(($m+1))
    d=1
  fi
done

Update

A reader has pointed me to the full list of MP3 (podcast) files available from the BBC.

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get_iplayer and cron

What’s better than BBC’s iPlayer? get_iplayer of course, a Perl script that rips programmes to your local machine.

I now have get_iplayer set up with cron to download TV programmes that I’m interested in (have a guess from the list below):

0 3 * * *	cd Desktop && get_iplayer -l --nopurge --get Beatle
30 3 * * * 	cd Desktop && get_iplayer -l --nopurge --get Brooker
0 4 * * * 	cd Desktop && get_iplayer -l --nopurge --get Japan
30 4 * * *      cd Desktop && get_iplayer -l --nopurge --get Horizon
0 5 * * *       cd Desktop && get_iplayer -l --nopurge --get Buzzcocks

Update

Everyone points out in the comments that get_iplayer has a --pvr option that makes this even easier.

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Micro Men (BBC4 TV drama)

Martin Freeman and Alexander Armstrong lead the cast in Micro Men, a drama from Darlow Smithson for BBC Four.

Micro Men provides an affectionately comic account of the Eighties race for home computer supremacy. The drama documents the lengthy rivalry between maverick visionary Sir Clive Sinclair (Armstrong) and his former colleague Chris Curry (Freeman) as they go head to head to achieve domination of the growing home computer market. Micro Men gives an amusing insight into the brilliant but eccentric characters that triggered the beginning of the UK computer revolution.

The programme is being broadcast on Thursday 8th October 2009, at 9pm, on BBC4.

(In preproduction this programme was to be called “The Syntax Era“)

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