Where librarians and the internet meet: internet searching, Web 2.0 resources, search engines and their development. These are my personal views and not those of CILIP or any other organisation I may be associated with.
for TV shows! This does exactly what it says on the tin, and I should warn you that you will lose HOURS on this site. It's a question of 'ohhh, just one more...' There are lots of UK themes in this collection, going back to the 1950s. Quality is very variable, and some have obviously been copied straight off the television. Some links don't work, which is irritating, since the initial link still remains, and there are a fair number of opening titles (The Prisoner, The Persuaders for example) that I was surprised to see missing. However, there are plenty of others to keep you occupied. Remember Robinson Crusoe? How about Due South? Remember The Avengers? OK, that's enough to keep you going - back to work now!
So here's the thing - Channel 4 programme Dispatches decided to do a
programme on 'How to save £100 billion - live' during which various
'experts' would stand up, say what they wanted to cut and then the
audience would have their say, then we'd all vote, see how much we'd
save, then move on.
Originally they were after a librarian person, so approached CILIP,
who then ran around trying to find appropriate people for them to talk
to (me included) but what they (Dispatches) really wanted was a
librarian who was going to lose their job, or potentially going to lose
their job. Not the most sensible move, because anyone who is perhaps
going to lose their job isn't really going to want to talk live on
national television about it, since the possibility would probably turn
into a definite. However, CILIP did the best they could but I think
Dispatches was being rather unrealistic.
I did however get a ticket out of it all though, as did @ioverlord
and so off we toddled last night to the recording. It was a pretty
shambolic set up to be honest - we were expected to be there for 5.30
doors opening (don't be late), but I didn't get in until well after 6pm,
at which point we got herded around rather a lot. Oh yes, and I got a
red wrist band. I don't know why, and the person who gave it to me
didn't know why either, but I had it. I've kept it as a souvenir - look
it's over in the bin there, being kept safe.
Eventually we got to go in - red bands first (I know not why) and we
were directed to two banks of seats - I chose one that was behind a
podium since I thought that might be a useful place to be. We all got
given electronic clickers to use for the voting section of the programme
as well. We then had to go through a little practice - we were asked a
few questions and had to vote accordingly. Worrying, for two out of the
first 3 attempts the votes were split exactly 50/50 (in an audience of
600) and they were muttering about a show of hands instead, but the next
pretend vote had it sorted, so unlikely as it seems, people did seem
split pretty much (raising pension age to 66 for everyone and taxing
If you saw the programme there's no point in me going through it, and
if you didn't see the programme, there's no point in me going through
it, so I'll save my fingers. It was a little bit frustrating, because
all the way through I think we were expecting a libraries segment, so
while I wanted to talk in some of the other areas I didn't want to blow
my chance - it looked like they were only calling on people once, but
they clearly ran out of time. They also hadn't thought the voting thing
through properly, as they were going on a first past the post system, so
although in one case over 60% of people voted for cuts of between 10-20
billion on something (can't remember what), because 37% voted for no
change, no change won out.
Which really meant the whole thing was, in best Blackadder style
'like a pencil without any lead - pointless'. However, it was a fun
thing to do, but I was a little disappointed not to have a chance to
tell them to leave libraries alone! I do have a nice image of the
evening though, thanks to Liane Bradbrook for thinking to take a
picture of the screen:
Watch full length TV episodes, latest movies, TV Schedule and more on the rather unfortunately named 'Picrap.' From the website they say: "Picrap's goal is to provide simply the best way to watch TV & Movies
online. With thousands of hours of TV programming now available online,
Picrap now aggregates content for over 1,000 TV shows. Picrap provides
users with a single platform to access content no matter where it's
located. We take the enormous world of online TV and organize it into
easy to use episode guides that provide access to content from one to
I took a quick look, and it does seem to do what it says on the tin. You do get to see advertising before the programme starts, which I guess is how they make their money and stay legal. I was particularly taken by the fact that the new season of True Blood has just started, so that's something of a temptation. Picrap aggregates over 1,000 TV shows from around the world, so there's bound to be something that you like. It doesn't host the shows itself though, which is an important point.
Well, as I said in my previous blog post about TVGorge I was doubtful as to the legality of what they were doing, and sure enough, a message on their site now says that they've been advised to remove all of their indexed content. What they're doing instead is simply linking to other places that provide content; almost always at a price.
If you're still looking for places to watch television online you may want to try TVDuck, SeeSaw Free Television, Fancast (but not if you're outside the US), and there are also a few others on my Web 2.0 television page. I would however want to add the caution that when I was looking at different sites for this post my anti virus software kept popping up warning me about them (obviously I didn't include any here that did that), so you really do need to take care!
FreeTube Watch Cartoons Free TV Live. This is vaguely interesting. There are 11 different channels available, from News through Business to Sports, Lifestyle and Movies. Within each channel there are dozens of different channels that you can watch. There is an adult channel, but this can be blocked. The quality was variable and a little bit pixilated at times, and it jumped now and then, but overall, I found it to be acceptable.
I watched a few channels - ESPN for soccer, the cartoon channel (Bugs Bunny and other traditional cartoons), Brighton TV (yes, Brighton on the south coast). One grouch is that it doesn't seem possible to choose a channel based on what it's showing - there's no listing of the actual programmes, which was irritating. Other than that - it's worth a look. I'd be really interested to see if it's going to get through various filters that some of you have in place.
Clicker - What's On Online. This is an irritating resource, through no fault of its own. Basically it allows users to watch television programmes, movies, web based material and so on for free, either on their website or through links to other sites. It's right up to date, with the latest episodes of new series such as Flashforward for example, and it's smooth and easy to use. Unfortunately, the vast majority of resources won't play if you're not in the US - hence my 'irritating' comment.
I have spent some time playing around though, and there are a few things that the rest of us can look at - lots of TED material, 57 'Meet the Author' interviews which were enjoyable, material from the History Channel, several university based videos and so on. Sure, most of this stuff is available from source, but Clicker is doing a good job of pulling it together. My main criticism is that, given the US/Rest of the World divide, it would be helpful if they could introduce a method of screening so that I don't have to go all through the video player launching before getting the 'nyah, nyah, you can't watch this!' message.
Clicker is in closed beta at the moment, prior to a full launch, but if you're interested I have been given 5 invites to give out. Just go to http://www.clicker.com/invite/9f86EtkXqSAVkBr4tUju9A You'll be able to create an account there and then. Be quick though, because after all 5 invites are gone that's it, and I don't have any more available.
LocateTV has recently undergone a makeover. New features have been added:
- My Picks – allows visitors
to save their favorite actors, must-see new TV shows or movies they
missed first time around, then receive e-mails personalised for their
TV provider reminding them when their Picks are next showing;
- TV guides for
specific genres. For example, it is possible to see a schedule of
comedy movies or sci-fi TV shows that will be showing in the next two
- a personalised TV calendar that lists all user selected TV shows in a day-by-day schedule for the next two weeks;
- a price comparison on TV and movie DVDs as well as a simple way to buy TV celebrity posters;
- dynamically-updating widgets that
allow a user to place on their website up to date geo-targeted
information about their chosen show, movie or celebrity's next TV
- TV Twitter accounts for
lots of shows and celebrities that keep followers updated of imminent
TV appearances. For example, @ApluskTV (Ashton Kutcher on TV) has just
under 10,000 followers- http://twitter.com/AplusKTV.
If you like to know what you're missing on television because you're too busy sitting on your computer you might have used TV Genius in the past. As of today however they've closed their doors. Their message says "we don't really need the showcase site, and to be honest, we're so busy
working with customers we haven't had the time to incorporate a lot of
our newer features into this site." In other words - thanks for everything you've done to get us popular folks - now clear off because we're not interested in you any more.
So - where can you go instead to get a daily fix of televisual viewing delight? TV Genius recommends a few places and I've added in one or two more:
What's on tv which is their preferred suggestion, because it allows you to port across any alerting of programmes that you may have used with their service. It's a horribly bright page with a list of basic terrestrial channels, though you can choose to select a different set of channels, but you can't create your own mix. You can select by day and start time, and there's a search option. I'd be inclined to use this resource to set up reminders for me, and never visit again because it just hurts my eyes.
The AOL TV guide is easier on the eye. It does however require an AOL screen name in order to log in and set up a reminder service. It lets you view over a week in advance and it's easy to choose more channels to add to your preferred options. The display was reasonable, channels to the left, timing across (What's on TV lets you choose the opposite approach however) which is fine. What I did particularly like about this service was that as well as telling you when a particular programme was on it linked to other information on places such as YouTube or the Discovery Channel.
Freeview TV guide is fairly basic, with a grid on a black background. This also has a list view, though I found the grid view easier to follow. This provides programming information for 12 days in advance. As the name would suggest you don't get the option of information on the pay for channels though. Basic and useful, though uninspired.
ITV Guide is not as limited as you may at first think, since it does give a wide variety of options including the Beeb and Sky channels. It was easy to customise channels and add reminders (though it's necessary to register, which is fair enough). Strangely enough this service allows you to view previous days programming, back 6 days. Forward viewing is limited to 9 days.
UKNetguide TV Guide is another busy page with adverts crammed in everywhere (including a particularly annoying moving one from a hotel chain). This resource has a full 2 week selection but the selection of channels was limited to 5 at a time, though it is possible to choose any of the freeview/paid channels, but this made browsing much more difficult. That and the poor formatting made this a real miss for me.
On the box was easier to view. This also allows users to chose a grid or list option, and registration ensures that you can save your own listings. The resource looked fine, did what it was supposed to do, but wasn't particularly exciting.
Radio Times Ah, the good old Radio Times! It has a light/dark grey and orange colour scheme with a listings/grid scheme. Unlike most of the other resources this one gives a long list of channels straight away, without having to choose. The search option was oddly enough really poor - the worst of all of the resources that I looked at. I was expecting to warm to this site but it left me rather cold.
Of course, individual channels also have their own guides, such as Channel 4 or E4 for example.
None of the offerings really came out as a clear winner for me; they all had their own strengths and weaknesses. I think I'll stick to peering at the screen and using Sky+ to keep me informed.