The interview (MP3 file) is here.
Just over 3 years ago, I was interviewed by Eddie Mair for the iPM programme on Radio 4 about spam.
This happened because I used to have a spam archive, collecting every spam email I had received since c.1997. I don’t exactly know how the interview came about — I was just contacted on the morning of the interview by a researcher from Radio 4. But being a big fan of the BBC of course I was happy to come in to London and talk to them.
I expected to be in a studio discussion, perhaps with others, but that wasn’t quite how it happened. About an hour after I arrived, I was shuffled into a small booth and connected up to Eddie who was “on the line” in some other London studio. Nevertheless we had a conversation about spam and other things. What was finally broadcast was heavily edited and condensed down to about 4 minutes, from an original which must have been 10 minutes or more.
I still to this day collect every email — spam or otherwise — that I receive, but I no longer put them online because that caused all sorts of problems. My total mail archive is 11 gigabytes, of which 7.5 gigabytes is classified as spam [note this is just a “du” of various compressed files]. The earliest spam is from Oct 2 1997 (an advert for “Teeth Bleaching and Whitening”), and the latest is almost certainly from about 1 minute ago, whenever you are reading this posting.
The BBC’s series a history of the world in 100 objects which I mentioned previously has finished.
You still can’t easily download all the MP3 files from the website in a useful way, eg. as a ZIP or tarball, but I processed their RSS feed to get the raw URLs and with a simple shell loop and wget you can grab them easily.
Tricky program about whether working from home makes sense from an environmental point of view.
On iPlayer here or directly download the MP3.
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:
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
if [ $m -eq 1 ]; then
elif [ $m -eq 2 ]; then
elif [ $m -eq 3 ]; then
elif [ $m -eq 4 ]; then
if [ $d -eq $endm ]; then
A reader has pointed me to the full list of MP3 (podcast) files available from the BBC.