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Prototyping Weeknotes #39 (05/11/10)

Paul Tweedy | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 5 November 2010

This week there's a hive of activity around the Autumnwatch second screen work, with only two weeks to go until the live trial. Tris is wrangling tasks and to-dos, getting some consistent language across the piece and finalising recruitment surveys and invite emails, whilst Vicky, Theo, Jo, Duncan and Chris B beaver away towards the final version, optimising the content for the trial (pages, consoles, templates..) and ironing out inevitable last-minute snags. With quite a lot riding on a successful and stable trial, Chris B successfully load-tests the XMPP-over-BOSH service with Apache JMeter and gets some solid results for us to feed into the setup.


On Tuesday, Sam publishes his research into the Mozilla Audio Data API in an interesting/informative blog post whilst juggling P2P-Next handover. Tris heads off to Lyon for a W3C event on Wednesday where he and R&D colleague Libby are on the "Web and TV" panel, getting asked a few hard questions. Tony is back from his travels to Belfast and is bevering away writing up his notes from his recent Wiimote work. Excitingly, George, Chris and I plough through a number of EU telcos.

Kat is getting up to speed on RadioDNS and getting her hands dirty by working out templates for new RadioVIZ content with Theo & Jo as well the gritty tasks of stakeholder management and some great Wiki hacking. All this whilst still managing to write a blog post about digital storytelling, something that she and Tris have started to think hard about.

On Wednesday, George and Chris G fly over to Paris for 2 days of face-to-face EU project meetings. They report a combination of great progress and bemusement on the faces of some EU project newbies. I manage block out some time to catch up on some technical speccing for some upcoming projects. Mark is working hard refining the server side of his AudioSync work, and he & I sit down together to design an API for the service, which we're hoping to make available publically soon (with a reference client implementation) for people to play with. 

Chris N and Sean are seeing some great results from the Firehose Big Data ingest, which has been running reliably for over a week. Sean's concentrating on putting in just enough resilience into the ingest components using Bluepill, whilst Chris continues looking at Hadoop for running Map/Reduce queries on the data we're storing, using Yahoo's Pig as a higher-level NoSQL abstraction. All of this is wrapped up into a nice talk that Sean and Chris give to the engineering team on Thursday. Together, we discuss the potential for introducing transparent LZO compression into the upload & storage components to reduce network and storage costs. Meanwhile, Kat is working on developing the use cases we've collected for the data into some likely propositions.

By Friday, the first cut of the transparent data compression is up and running and it's showing very promising savings already. How's that for agile? I've got my head back into specification mode, and the Autumnwatch trial preparation is gathering yet more speed around me - Amanda, producer from Vision Multiplatform, has joined us for the last couple of weeks to finalise the trial content. The sweet sounds of Radio 3 are radiating around the office thanks to Mark's AudioSync testing, which is a fitting end to a manic week!



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