The World’s First Sat-Com (and Talking Pets)

>> 230 Miles Of Love

This is almost certainly a world first. 230 Miles Of Love is a sat-com; a series of comedy sketches about the M6 which are distributed by sat-nav.
Each sketch is an mp3 file, which you download from the site and add to your sat-nav in the same way as you install any map updates. Drivers on the M6 will hear each sketch automatically as soon as they reach relavant points on the motorway. (But you can listen on your computer or mp3 player even if you’re nowhere near the M6).

The downloads are available in pre and post-watershed versions. The fruitier language is bleeped out on the former version.
The site is free-to-use and is being used as a way to raise profile and awareness for disability charity Motivation. Listeners who enjoy the sketches are asked to consider making a donation to Motivation.

>> Talking Pets

This is clever – and fun. Upload a photo of your favourite cat or dog, choose from a range of voices, add accessories (like hats or sunglasses) and type in a short sentence. Then a bit of web-based sorcery will animate your pet’s mouth, and you’ll see and hear it speaking the words you have just typed.
You can email the results to a friend or just enjoy the results for yourself. For many of us, this is the closest we’ll ever get to an appearance on The Nation’s Most Talented Pets.

Cheap train tickets, Comedy videos and zoomy 3D photos

Something useful:

>> The Train Line Fare Finder


This new tool helps you find the cheapest long distance rail tickets for your chosen journey if you can be flexible about when to travel.

Something funny:
>> Funny Or Die

Will Ferrell’s hugely successful comedy video site
launches in the UK with support and exclusive clips from Matt Lucas and David Walliams.

Something whizzy:
>> Cool Iris

This is a small download which changes the way popular photo and video sites (including Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr and Photobucket) appear on your screen. With Cool Iris installed you get a very impressive full-screen 3D view of your photos which lets you quickly zoom in from a photo mozaic to a tiny detail on any photo. It’s a bit like Google Earth for your photos.

Cambridge Folk and online Telly

>> Cambridge Folk Festival

All roads lead to Cambridge this weekend for the biggest event in the folk music calendar. Online highlights include:

– Listen again to Radcliffe and Maconie with sessions from Seth Lakeman, Laura Marling, Devon Sproule and Tunng

– Get an exclusive free download of a Devon Sproule session track (UK only)

– Video of performances from many of the headline acts appearing at Cambridge

– Mike Harding’s podcast features a full audio preview of the festival

– Full line-up details with the chance to listen to tracks from many of artists appearing

– Photos

– Folk blog featuring posts from Mike Harding and some of the biggest names in folk.

>> Blinkx remote

This is useful. An easy-to-browse (or search)guide to all the TV shows legally available to watch online or download in the UK from the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel Five. All this information is already available elsewhere, but now you can find it all in the same place. Simple and effective!

New BBC Homepage / James Cracknell

>> The new BBC homepage
When you go to bbc.co.uk the general appearance of the homepage hasn’t changed for the last few years. It’s done its job well, but has always been a bit of a compromise because the page had to offer something to everyone in the UK. One of the aims for a new-look homepage was to make the page flexible and allow people to customise both the content and appearance. A test version of the new homepage has been running alongside the old version for a few months, but this week it’s all-change with your personalised homepage replacing the old, static version.

It’s well worth having a play with the new page. Click below for links to a video tour of the new features and a more detailed guide to what has changed.

Highlights include an animated version of the old BBC 2 on-screen clock that appeared during continuity announcements, a choice of many colour schemes and up to 12 different promotional panels for your favourite content (including blogs, iPlayer, weather for your postcode, and much more).
>> Tour the new-look homepage
>> New BBC homepage: Full feature guide

Also today:

>> James Cracknell’s Sport Relief Challenge
Here’s something I had hoped to mention on air but we ran out of time. Last week we talked about the main Sport Relief site. This week I’ve been looking at the site for James Cracknell’s Cross-Continent Challenge in aid of Sport Relief. James is currently on the third day of the challenge, during which he aims to travel to Africa from the UK in less than a week – rowing the channel, cycling down through France and Spain then swimming to North Africa (accompanied by David Walliams.

James has already completed 412 miles out of his target of 1,434 miles. It’s a really impressive site, which uses sophisticated technology to track James’ exact location, and also features regular blog and video updates, a list of the music he’s listening to en route and the chance to sponsor James’s challenge.

Sport Relief, Magazine Covers and Long Things

Something worthy:
>> Sign up for the Sports Relief Mile
The big focus for this year’s fundraising effort is the Sports Relief mile on Sunday March 16th – in which anyone (regardless of fitness level) can participate in one of hundreds of different events at athletic tracks all over the country. Find your nearest track or register online at the official Sport Relief site.
Something fun:
>> Mag My Pic
Upload a photo of your choice and mock up a cover of one of 12 glossy magazines including Vogue, National Geographic, Cosmopolitan, Maxim and Rolling Stone. When you have created your magazine cover you can choose to post it straight to a blog, MySpace or Facebook – or to allow other people to rate it in an online gallery.

Something largely pointless but still oddly compulsive:
>> The longest list of the longest stuff at the longest domain name at long last
This site is a long alphabetical list of fairly random categories. (dog tongue, fjord, poker game, pizza etc etc). Simply click on a category name to learn about the longest thing in that category.

BBC iPlayer adds ‘Click To Play’ feature

>> BBC iPlayer
>> BBC Press Office Guide to iPlayer
When I was little I used to anxiously await the arrival of the Christmas double issue of Radio Times so I could meticulously plan my festive viewing. In spite of this, I usually found that by the start of the Spring term, I’d missed most of the programmes which everyone was talking about in the playground.
Which brings me to the BBC iPlayer, which launched quietly in the summer as a trial service offering UK licence fee payers free Windows downloads of BBC TV shows. Just in time for Christmas, the service is expanding to include ‘Click To Play’ programmes as well as downloads.
Now you can watch immediately online on any Windows, Mac or Linux computer. Basically as long as you are in the UK, if your computer can play YouTube videos, it should also be able to play any iPlayer Click To Play videos with no additional software.
Around 250 shows from all BBC TV channels are made available each week, and you have 7 days after the original broadcast to watch each show. Which means that even if you forget to set the video for Doctor Who, Catherine Tate or Strictly Come Dancing this Christmas, you can still catch up with all these shows online, making Spring term telly playground blues a thing of the past.

Music Club Live / Festive greetings

>> Radio 2 Music Club Live
Earlier this month Radio 2 hosted a concert featuring six acts we have supported from the beginning of their careers. Go online now to see photos, hear live tracks and watch backstage video of james Blunt, KT Tunstall, The Hoosiers, Tom Baxter and more. Then tomorrow from 2200 you can listen again to the whole gig and watch 30 minutes of highlights online or on digital TV (via the red button service)

Also mentioned today:
>> Elf Yourself
>> Everyclick presents Santa Swing

Friday quick links

>> Doctor Who Advent Calendar
Highlights so far include:
  • Merry Christmas from David and Kylie video
  • Christmas short story – The Frozen
  • Companions Quiz
  • Printable Christmas Cards
  • Unreleased Murray Gold Track – The Old Rugged Cross
with lots more to come before the 2007 Christmas epsiode
>> About My Place
Zoomy-inny maps go 3D! Just like Google Earth, but you don’t have to download it first, this lets you choose from an overhead view of your house, or satellite views from North, South, East or West
  • Accept that you can’t dance
  • Vow that never again will you perform a pelvic thrust
  • No singing, mauling, or woop-wooping
  • Keep things VERY simple
>> Game of the week: Hair Style
Wholly in Japanese, so this animated hair-styling game is slightly baffling, but cute and compelling in equal measure!

Pirate Radio London

>> Radio London
40 years ago this week, the Marine Offences Bill became law – bringing to an end the reign over the UK’s airwaves of the offshore pirate stations.
This is one of the most comprehensive fan sites dedicated to the pirate ships – with a particular emphasis on Radio London whose star roster of DJs included Tony Blackburn, Dave Cash, Pete Drummond, Kenny Everett, John Peel, Keith Skues, Ed "Stewpot" Stewart and Tommy Vance.
A true labour of love, the site features over 1000 pages of enthusiastic and expert content. Highlights include a complete set of Radio London Fab Forty charts from 1965 – 67 featuring information and photographs which form a mini-history of the times and music.
Also recommended:
>> Listen again to Johnnie Walker’s special programme devoted to the last days of offshore pirate radio
>> Radio 2 60’s Season
>> The Pirate Radio Hall Of Fame

BBC iPlayer: Free legal TV downloads for UK licence fee payers.

>> BBC News: BBC web downloads set to launch
>> BBC News: What does on-demand TV offer?

>> Video from BBC News. Click here for more coverage

From tomorrow, UK licence fee payers will be able to register their interest in taking part in the first public tests of the brand-new BBC iPlayer service. iPlayer will allow viewers to catch up with around 400 hours of BBC TV shows every week by downloading them to their Windows XP computers. In the autumn the scheme will be expanded to Apple Macs, with support for Windows Vista and other devices to be added later.
Programmes from all BBC TV channels (including digital channels and regional programmes from BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will be available to download for up to 7 days after transmission. Once downloaded viewers have up to 30 days to start watching a programme before it is automatically deleted from their computer.
The whole system has been designed to be extremely straight-forward to use. I looked at it in action earlier today and it is even simpler than Listen Again for BBC Radio.

STOP PRESS: You can now register your interest in the iPlayer trial using the following link:
>> BBC iPlayer

Keep an eye on this page in coming weeks for more on iPlayer.