BBC R&D

Posted by George Wright on , last updated

I've been away so am fighting jet-lag. Its great to be back and see all the excellent recent work coming together. Joanne has been finishing off the templates to hand over to A&M for the radio DNS slideshow user testing. Paul does some collaborative bid application form hacking. We work up the Internet Dashboard spec and data sources.

Tristan kicks off the Web Storytelling project with Kat, Theo and Akua by talking about what kinds of stories there are - we're expanding out in the exploration phase before hopefully contracting to some specific projects over the next few weeks. Then he's to Centre House to give a talk in the first R&D lightning talks session about how to build prototypes.

There's snow on Tuesday - Tristan does more work on the storytelling piece - mapping out the space we're exploring. He gives another talk at Centre House, helping introduce a lecture on "The Mythology Engine and Beyond - the quest for truly web-native narrative", an academic project inspired by our Mythology Engine project. Sean spends the first part of the week working on EC2. We now have a way of deploying services, etc. onto EC2 and have them automatically start running.

Chris N is continuing our investigation into using MapReduce to query large volumes of Twitter data, looking at how hashtags relating to BBC programmes such as Strictly Come Dancing. My flight to speak at an EBU event is cancelled, so I get to work up some docs about how our collaborative pitches fit together

On Wednesday, Joanne, Theo and Vicky work with colleagues from R&D to analyse the data from the Autumnwatch Companion trial. We are mapping the findings from this trial with data from telephone interviews with respondents from a previous lab study. It's been interesting to see how opinions change for users who are more familiar with the concept. I have a last minute flight check for a large EU collaborative proposal. Its not helped by the world's most popular word processor deciding it's going to eat the merges that Tristan and I have done - I have to recreate these from scratch with a clock ticking, grrr. My rescheduled flight is also cancelled, so I get a rare week without a trip. Hurrah. Dominic is at a P2P meeting in Slough - it's snowy and "very 1980s" out there, apparently

On Thursday, Tristan maps out some of the existing digital storytelling sites on the web on a big bit of paper. He has a conference call (in place of a snow-cancelled meeting) with multiplatform people to talk about possible Storytelling connections. Theo has been experimenting with ways of documenting and telling the story of the Autumnwatch experiment and has shot and edited a video to demonstrate the Companion in action. Kat has been providing material for focus groups this week. With that out of the way, she's now focussing on a RadioVIS trial and writing briefs for two potential uses of the Twitter firehose. Duncan spends the week documenting projects, looking at the Energy Meter work we did earlier in the year, and reading about openFrameworks, caching, self-extracting JavaScript and Microsoft Kinect hacking. I'm in Slough for the P2P meeting. We show our recent work and discuss roadmap.

On Friday, Kat gets back to her old research interest - literature - and summing up narrative theory, structural analysis and detective fiction for a new project which sees Theo get busy researching future user experience trends around storytelling on the web. Because of weather issues, a planned server move is postponed. Chris N and Sean managed to get the Firehose up and running on a spare VM at Centre House to allow us to keep working despite the server problems. Sean then works on setting up a job to convert all the compressed files on S3 to another form of compression that works with the Pig query language. Paul and I are again in Slough. We finalise some new hiring via a telco, then come back to London and then off home.