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Prototyping Weeknotes #20 (25/06/10)

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Tristan Ferne | 16:24 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

We have a new team member on Monday. Mark, who is one of R&D’s industrial trainees, is going to be with us for a while working across a variety of our projects. He’s off on the BBC induction process for the next two days. George is in an EU plenary meeting. 29 Powerpoint presentations in one afternoon apparently.

We’ve been having some reliability issues with the ingest chain for the Zeitgeist project. We need to implement some tighter monitoring across the message queues and ensure that the system is more robust. By the end of the week Chris N and Sean have done quite a bit of work on detecting and recovering from crashes but we’ll have to let this soak in for a while so launch is going to be put off until next week. Some of you have been asking what this project is - it’s a site that tracks mentions of BBC websites on Twitter, more next week.

We’ve also been experiencing some problems with connectivity to our servers which is impacting a number of our live services and feeds. We’re working with the central ops team to identify the root cause. Sean points out that it takes 3 seconds to register each keystroke when ssh’d into our servers. That’s not helping productivity.

Tuesday. Some annual appraisals for the team. On the Digital Friendship project we discover the toys aren’t working because some connections have broken off. Duncan discovers you can’t use a soldering iron in the office, apparently you need a Permit to Solder, so he heads off to the BBC workshops to fix it. He’s also been doing research into Jabber and XMPP. I’m writing up what we’ve learnt so far and it’s a little bit of a struggle.

Wednesday. Chris G and I put the candidate projects for upcoming work onto the whiteboard, there’s quite a few but they do group nicely. The next step is to filter by feasibility, certainty and priority. We’ve got enough small bits of work to keep everyone busy next week but we need a clear direction after that. More appraisal meetings.

The Digital Programme Guide team meet up on Thursday to discuss where we are. Chris B has made good progress with the iPad application, the first release is now complete and it just needs Sean to do some data clean-up and logging on the back end before it’s ready for some informal user testing. Chris is writing some notes for handover before he goes away. Vicky presents what they’ve been thinking might be the focus of the next phase of work - it looks really compelling but needs some more discussions. Sean and Theo have presented some of our projects at a lunchtime show & tell for BBC Sport, they come back buzzing about the people they’ve met and the conversations they’ve had. Even more appraisal meetings end the week.

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