Prototyping Weeknotes #64 (17th June 2011)
Olivier kicks the week off by leading an interesting workshop on the shape of the upcoming project with News. It looks like we're getting closer to what we're not going to do, which is always a start. He spends some of the week researching the ways people consume news content. He discovers the stress that some people feel if they "fall behind" the news and confirms some of the behaviours that we've taken for granted so far - such as the way that people "skim" certain stories and "dig" into others.
George is forced to leave the workshop to try to get to the bottom of when, if ever, the constant drilling in our building will stop, and comes back happy. We'll see how long it lasts.
We recently advertised for 5 new roles within the team, and as a consequence many of us have been busy this week screening CVs, interviewing and shortlisting. It's an exciting process.
We've had some useful contact with the rest of R&D this week. On Tuesday, while much of the team are in W12 on various business George and Chris G meet the new Head of Operations for R&D and have a useful discussion about all sorts of Operational things. On Wednesday there is an R&D all-staff meeting. It's the first to be held at the new Salford R&D building. While we watch on the live video link from W1 our chief scientist takes us on a tour round the building. We then get to hear about some interesting projects and what R&D being spread across 3 sites means for collaboration between teams.
In project work, we're wrapping up the-project-formerly-known-as-Watch Later, there are a few features that need finishing and a number of bugs, hopefully these will be done next week. Duncan and Chris N have spent some of the week bug hunting and adding a few last features.
Finding a good name for the project is proving tricky, as we don't want to lead people's expectations too much for such an open-ended service. We're currently torn between cute-but-short-of-meaning and serious-but-possibly-leading? Tristan is also contacted by wewatch.co.uk, and he spends some time thinking about the experiences they provide.
In our other major project RadioTAG, George has a useful chat with A&M colleagues about getting it to the next stage of readiness. Sean and I are busy putting the finishing touches to the reference implementation and the proposed protocol. On Thursday we welcome Andy Buckingham from Global and Robin Cooksey from Frontier Silicon, two of our collaborators in the RadioTAG working group. We discuss the proposed specification we've all been working on and agree it's almost ready to turn into a formal draft. We'll be blogging about that here in the coming weeks. Meanwhile Jo puts some of the skills we learnt in our recent experience-prototyping experiment to good use by paper prototyping the RadioTAG account creating process with some willing volunteers. We've learnt a lot of good things from that which will inform any later prototyping we do.
Matt's been busy tidying up our servers, consolidating Virtual Machines and scaling out some of our database servers. Duncan and Matt have been working with GitWeb to create a nice view on our internal version control system, as well as building a small Sinatra app to allow us to create and edit repos.
Interesting links from around the web
As a team we like to share interesting links we find with each other. Here's a few things that have caught our eye this week:
- Hurtigruten: 5 day TV marathon in the midnight sun: Norwegian Public Service broadcaster NRK are transmitting the 134 hour boat trip from Bergen to Kirkenes live on the web and TV, with all content licensed under the Creative Commons and distributed using BitTorrent.
- Jonathan Stray on original reporting: imaginary abundance: A somewhat depressing look into the the tiny ratio between original stories and rewrites or regurgitation of other content.-
- http://httparchive.org/: tracks how the web is built and presents trends in load times, download sizes and performance of websites.
- All The Names: Algorithmic Design and the 9/11 Memorial: The challenges of designing an algorithm to help with the placement of names on the 9/11 memorial in New York City
- ProGit book: An on-line book which has been teaching us a lot of tricks to use with the Git version control system.