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Prototyping Weeknotes #71

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Chris Godbert | 16:56 UK time, Monday, 8 August 2011

Maybe it's the time of year or maybe it's stage we are at in our projects, but the week has been dominated by report writing, presentations and planning. Coding and designing seem to have taken a back seat for once. The News Linking team presented the results of their analysis phase, firstly to the team (where they got a grilling) and secondly to News and Knowledge. It has been really successful so far and they've generated some useful insights, a supporting report, a tech note and some fine looking equations; not bad for a months work. The focus is now shifting to the prototypes they're going to create in the next phase of work which runs to the end of September.

Everyone has had their thinking caps on formulating themes and projects for our future workplan. Tristan, Kat and Olivier have been scribbling on whiteboards and Chris N has been doing lots of reading around Digital Public Space and our own internal proposals on personal data stores and user identity. I've taken the opposite approach and have been reflecting on some of our past projects, thinking about why some worked well and others didn't - was it the nature of the idea? The approach? Both?

Matt has been up to his elbows in the World Service archive exporting the data to a MySql server which can be browsed by project members and generating XML feeds of the data, and subsequent changes, which can be exported to Amazon S3. He's also been getting access to Radio Times data from the 1940s onwards through the BBC Genome project - they have created XML representations of each issue of the magazine dating from 1940-1974. In between all that he's been raising support tickets (15 of them!) to get our team access to a netowrk share. Nice.

After several iterations and paper prototyping, Theo put the final RadioTAG website designs into HTML, and Kat got her hands dirty making some last-minute copy changes straight into the HTML. Theo, Jo, Sean and Kat tested the process for registering a real radio, making a note of things that could be done to improve accessibility and ease of use. Real people will be taking these radio prototypes home later this month, and we want to make sure we've got it just right.

In other news, Duncan has bene experimenting with the d3 visualisation library to see what we could so with live data and has released the Linkr gem he created for resolving urls. Kat dug out Michael Jackson's patent on special shoes and received an interesting response to a request for prototype ideas, from a radio colleague who shall remain nameless: "I would like you to prototype a robot that brings a plate of profiteroles to my desk. A girl robot." Not convinced that's one for the work plan.

Interesting links

  • Popcode is a great Augmented Reality platform from the university of Cambridge- bring static objects to life using your phone!
  • D3.js is a small, free JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data.

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