WELCOME TO THE CFZ BLOG NETWORK: COME AND JOIN THE FUN

Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

CFZ TV

It was a nice bloke called Elliot Saunders who really dragged us into the 21st Century. We have had a website since 1997, but in 2003, while Richard and the boys were on their first major expedition to Sumatra, Elly contacted us, and over the next few months taught us more about the changing face of the internet than we had ever dreamed of. He gave us our first proper forum, and helped put the website on the track to where it is today.

I have to admit that backalong (to use an old Devon Dialect phrase that my father was fond of), even when we first accessed the web, I was somewhat disappointed by much of it. It was too static, staid and dull. There was an over proliferation of information but much of it was flawed. But the worst problem was that it was often just plain dull. I soon discovered a whole world on interactive internet activity from IRC groups to mailing lists and chatrooms to online games, but I was still mildly disappointed with the way most websites worked. That was why Elly was so important. He started making the CFZ website interactive, which was something that thrilled the heart of a certain ex-hippy who still liked to quote Marshall McLuhan at innapropriate moments.

Over the years we progressed further in this directiuon, but a few months ago I read an article in http://www.wordmagazine.co.uk/"> Word Magazine which mentioned a concept called `Web 2.0`, and the aforementioned ex-hippy thought "bugger me, I want a bit of that!"

Wikipedia which is itself a fine example of the term defines Web 2.0 as follows:

"The term Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages. Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997). They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). The concept may include blogs and wikis."

Back in 2003 Elly helped us put video footage on our site for the first time. It was a great success, and I had grandiose dreams of having a website called CFZ TV which would broadcast CFZ video material around the clock. However, Elly explained, my idea would be prohibitvely expensive, purely becaue of the bandwidth issues involved if more than a handful of people tried to watch the site at the same time. I shrugged, accepted what he said and forgot about it. However, three years later technology has changed. Harold Wilson is once quoted as having said that "a week is a long time in politics". If this is so, then three years is an aeon in the world of technology. We now live in a world of podcasts, webcasts, and mobile phones that people can use to watch TV. A world where small children have mobile phones and their own websites, and a world where if one doesn't do one's best to keep up, one will soon be left behind.

A few weeks ago I had an email from a geezer called John Gledson. He wanted to collaborate with the CFZ with a project to utilise the new technology to our advantage. He and his colleagues (who are all frighteningly young), have an impressive background in the new technology. Between them they have worked on popular television programmes, space programmes and the latest all singing all dancing websites. They can also drink the way that I could at their age, and want to make CFZ TV a reality, three years after Elly and I reluctantly agreed that it couldn't be done.

It is very early days at the moment, and as I know to my cost, there are ever so many potential slips between an infinite number of cups and lips, but we hope that we shall be premiering CFZ TV at the Weird Weekend, with outside broadcasts, interviews and whatever else the team can put together between trips to the off licence.

The future's bright. The future is CFZ TV!