In today’s newsbag

The BBC’s governors are finally axed, according to the BBC’s own online site, but the compulsory license fee is to stay. The governors are being replaced by a different group of gray hairs called the BBC Trust, still chaired by Michael Grade. In the fine print of this story, I notice that the BBC Online only gets £0.30 in every £10. To my mind, is one of the best parts of the service – just imagine what it could do if it had a bigger slice of the pie.

BusinessWeek has an interesting article about the diminishing of the ‘Slashdot effect’ – whereby a story placed on Slashdot’s homepage causes an avalanche of traffic. Although Slashdot gets between 300,000 and 500,000 visitors a day, BW attributes the decline to the rise of other online tech pubs, such as and Gizmodo, and to blog sites. Since Slashdot’s traffic is on the rise, this seems to be slightly confused, which Paul Kedrosky clarifies on his Infectious Greed blog.

Finally, Redbus Interhouse, whose power outage knocked out my email for 10 hours yesterday (along with several million others), has issued its ‘sincerest apologies’ with this statement. Here’s an extract:

Cause of the incident
During the initial stages of the generator testing a fault occurred
within the switchgear panel serving the power to the 8th & 9th data

On immediate visual investigation, the nature of the fault was
derived from a measurement type "C.T. coil" becoming displaced, which
caused a short circuit condition within the closed 2,500 amp switchgear
panel supplying the UPS modules. This resulted in the feeds to the UPS
modules being dropped as the relevant protection circuits took over.

Now I’m fairly technical, but this is just noise. Surely the point of issuing a statement is to clarify rather than obfuscate. Agreed, I’m an end user and Redbus sells to service providers who will be more familiar with the correct alignment of a "C.T. coil", but if they cared, and were sincerely apologetic, they’d take the time to explain in terms we can comprehend.

The lesson here is that companies must broadcast on a frequency which their audience can understand – otherwise there’s no communication. The impression is that Redbus isn’t in fact sorry and that it can’t be bothered to explain what went wrong, because if it did, we wouldn’t understand anyway. A much better approach would have been to at least try, knowing full well we probably wouldn’t. At least then we might have forgiven them. I’ve spoken to one global service provider customer, who feels exactly the same way and is moving its business elsewhere as a result.