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Prototyping Weeknotes #85 (2011-11-11)

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Olivier Thereaux | 09:29 UK time, Monday, 14 November 2011

With a number of people in the team either traveling or in training, this week's edition of weeknotes is a little shorter than usual, but meaty and interesting nevertheless.

As I was slowly making my way back from the W3C Technical Plenary week in California, I missed a big meeting (and equally massive amounts of cake, I am told) between the R&D Audience Experience and Prototyping team, which are due to slowly merge into one within the next few months. The two teams were already collaborating on occasion, and this was an opportunity to explore the many overlaps in our work. On the same day, Tristan also met with Nikki, a visiting academic from the US who wants to know about innovation and journalism in the BBC.

Yves has been finishing off a paper submitted to the WWW'12 conference in Lyon, about automated DBpedia tagging of speech audio. He also had a catchup with World Service to show them where we got to, and what kind of applications we can build on the data we are deriving. He worked on trying to make broadcast-related part of schema.org a bit better than it currently is, by basing it on the Programmes Ontology created for www.bbc.co.uk/programmes four years ago.

Work on the new iteration of the Programme List is ongoing. Duncan and Dan have been working on notifications for it and now nearly got end-to-end Twitter alerts that can be set on a per broadcast basis. Oh, and they've been writing tests, tests and more tests. The team is not sure yet whether we'll release the new iteration in this state or just test it as a closed trial, we know it's got limitations. Release early, release often?

On the LIMO front, ChrisN and Sean have been digging into the internals of a number of streaming tools, including Flumotion and GStreamer. Andrew N., still on a high after the Mozilla Festival where he participated in discussions about personalisation vs privacy and 3D Robots, has been looking at ways to visualise the event timelines we're using in LIMO, especially Butter, which is used in Mozilla's Popcorn Maker. An impressive, responsive editing app built using web technologies. Speaking of popcorn, Chris N also sent me a link to Popcorn.js, which just launched its version 1.0. Popcorn and WebGL were used to build the impressive interactive documentary "One Millionth Tower".

On Thursday, while Theo and Andrew were joining Vicky in Manchester for the "Roar to Explore" workshop, we were treated with some excellent show-and-tell: Yves and Roderick showed us the latest work on the ABC-IP, including an API and interface used to queue, move and process the 50 terabytes of BBC World Service audio which the project aims to analyse and organise by topic. Andrew McP also showed us some of his team's work on captioning, including a cool Twitter bot alerting you when particular terms are mentioned on bbc programmes.

Speaking of captioning, I came back from the TPAC with some homework to do as part of our involvement in the W3C Text Tracks community group, and started a community effort to document which of the many features of the timed text standard TTML are commonly used.

And finally, our planning effort is now reaching epic proportions. Led by ChrisG and Tristan, a number of us have started booking in a load of chats with people about our future direction of work. Tristan started first, and on Thursday had a good chat with Mark and Ian from the PSP team (they do user data, social and recommendations work) about their goals, problems and ideas.

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