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G24: What a brilliant idea!

G24I’m delighted to see Guardian Unlimited leading the way once again with a brand new feature launched this week: G24. Essentially, this presents a multi-page almost magazine-formatted downloadable PDF digest of the very latest news on the website, so that one can print it off and read the very latest news at one’s leisure.

The G24 (a play on the names of ‘G2’ and ‘G3’ sections of the paper) currently comes in five editions: Top Stories, World, Media, Business, and Sport, each updated every fifteen minutes and containing no more than 10 A4 pages.

The launch is covered in more detail in the Editor’s Week column of today’s Grauniad:

This week Guardian Unlimited launched a new print edition – but unlike any newspaper you’ll have come across before. For a start, its distinguishing features appear to owe more to the world of online news than traditional print. It is updated every few minutes, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, is free, and it can be found around the world.

The big difference is that we’re now asking you to, in essence, supply the printing press.

Is this the future of the newspaper? I don’t know. But it’s definitely a service I’ll be using (indeed, it’s one I’d probably be willing to pay for, as I already do for an ad-free Guardian site), and I will be amazed if this isn’t imitated within weeks by competitors.

I think this is a really good idea.

This post was filed under: Media, News and Comment, Technology.

Behind the scenes at sjhoward.co.uk…

A couple of site updates have happened over the last few days. Firstly, the Javascript error IE users were reporting has been fixed. It wasn’t really an error as such, so much as something IE wanted to moan about. Switch!

Secondly, I’ve finally got round to embedding audio files rather than merely linking to them. This is something that’s been bugging me ever since I’ve used (albeit third-party) embedded videos. Now, posts which rely on audio (like this one or this one) now have an embedded audio player, which is fairly self-explanatory (press the play button!)

I’ve uploaded more work, particularly here, which I hope will be of some use to someone at some point.

There was half an hour or so of downtime a couple of days ago when I, quite literally, pressed the wrong button, and zapped much of the site’s template into oblivion. Thank goodness for Google Desktop‘s caching feature! If that didn’t exist, neither would much of the site right now…

WordPress 2.0.4 is currently in the final stages of Beta testing, so I anticipate upgrading shortly. As usual with platform alterations, an announcement will be posted on the blog.

Other than that, everything’s running pretty tickety-boo at the moment. Woohoo!

Update – I’m now on WordPress 2.0.4 – the update was released about three hours after I posted this, and was installed within 9 hours of release.

This post was filed under: Site Updates.

Yet another dodgy government transcript

Margaret BeckettThe Labour government were, just four months ago, caught changing transcripts to say what they wanted them to say, rather than what was actually said. In that last case, Tony Blair’s words magically changed on two occasions: First he unadmitted a mistake, then he suddenly didn’t want to say his MPs supported him, so used some more magical speech Tipp-Ex.

This time, he seems to have passed a bottle of the enchanted correction fluid to his Foreign Secretary. More4 News have discovered that part of a Channel 4 News interview with Margaret Beckett has disappeared from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office transcipt. The offending piece, spoken and yet apparently not heard:

JON SNOW: Foreign Secretary, are you happy to discover that bombs and rockets and missiles are being sent through Prestwick Airport from the United States to Israel?

MARGARET BECKETT: No I’m not happy about it, not least because it appears that insofar as there are procedures for handling that kind of hazardous cargo – irrespective of what they are – it does appear that they were not followed. I’ve already let the United States know that this is an issue that appears to be seriously at fault, that we will be making a formal protest if it appears that that is what has happened. We’re still looking into the facts but I have already notified the United States that we are not happy about it.

Is it now official government policy to delete from the archives anything which, in retrospect, is a bit politcally awkward?

This post was filed under: News and Comment, Politics.

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