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Prototyping Weeknotes #19 (18/06/10)

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George Wright George Wright | 21:21 UK time, Friday, 18 June 2010


We start the week with one of our regular show-and-tell of our recent projects with my boss (the head of BBC R&D) and Brandon Butterworth, the BBC's Chief Scientist. All goes well and we have permission to launch the Zeitgeist project - we're aiming to get this done next week.
In the afternoon we decide on the vital tasks that we need to do for this. Chris N and Tris sit by a whiteboard trying to tease out the key characteristics of the Digital Friendship prototype, as well as the reasons behind these and possible alternatives. Duncan is implementing the new designs in the desktop app and Theo's writing HTML and CSS for the website. Following our P2P-Next meeting, Sam's got some legal work to chase, and is also working on the project's new roadmap. There's some tasks for us, but the main job is to check that all our deliverables are covered off in the overall plan. Sean's looking at the Zeitgeist output and soak-testing the service.


Discuss the next steps for the Digital Programme Guide; we can improve what we've got, add on-demand video, put it in front of users or develop in the direction of a companion more than a guide. Theo's at a workshop run by colleagues working on another EU project (Fascinate) while Tris, Vicky and I go to W12 to talk to the Audience Experience team about some synchronisation technology they've developed. It looks really promising and we're excited about deploying it in a prototype. We end the day at an all-staff R&D meeting which outlines some changes, gives a formal delivery of each section's goals, along with the whole department's direction for the next few years. 


Chris G, Sean and I are in Manchester, where we show some recent work to senior staff from BBC Vision, as part of a visit they're making to see recent R&D work. After this, we meet people from TV Platforms to work out how to collaborate on a joint project, and Sean explains his recent work to some of their engineering team. Chris B has got iPlayer content playing in the Digital Programme Guide prototype. Tris is in need of some help from some clever people on the Digital Friendship model and security. Duncan gives him an install of the Digital Friendship app for his laptop - feels like a real app now! Chris N has implemented OAuth for our access of the Twitter API which they're due to mandate later this month so we had to do this before launch. Sam works on updating LIMO documentation along with further docs /discussion following the Hamburg meeting. Vicky's working on a workshop she's running around Springwatch -  some of the production team are coming and we think it'll be a useful kick start to some of our research thinking.


Tris thinks he's starting to get a clearer framework for thinking about the Digital Friendship problem. He has a good chat with Ollie from R&D to get an independent view this which gives him more confidence. He's then off to W12 for meetings with BBC3 and FM&T about future research projects. In Manchester, Sean meets up with Michael Sparks, to discuss Kamaelia, his Python concurrency framework, and the synchronisation work that we saw earlier in the week. Sam's doing tidying on his LIMO demo (Safari/Chrome quirks, etc.), reading some HbbTV docs we've been sent and examining second-screen work from another partner. Duncan's started looking at XMPP and second screen remote control, along with making Theo's friendship characters blink using the Arduino SDK.


Erik Huggers is in the office first thing for meetings - I have a natter with him about some of our projects and some bigger FM&T changes. There's a big discussion in the office about the Digital Programme Guide. There are a few things to tidy up next week but we can start some informal user testing anyway. But what's after that? It's looking like a big space with lots of projects going on around the BBC and we need to identify our best route through this. Sean's fixing issues with Digital Programme Guide import, while Theo is doing UI additions and alterations for the first phase release. He's also building Digital Friendship static page, for integration within Subversion and a live demo. Chris B's pleased because the programme guide now has on-demand content available using iPlayer, a much more populated schedule information view and action logging for collecting user testing metrics. I take the demo home to play with and then write this up.


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