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Prototyping Weeknotes #88

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Chris Lowis Chris Lowis | 14:56 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

Our weekly show-and-tell team meeting is rapidly becoming one of the things I most look forward to each week. A chance for our enlarged team to get together, share ideas and ask questions. This week was no different. Sean and Chris N. talked about the work they've been doing as part of the P2P-Next project. They've been looking at a GStreamer-powered pipeline which allows timecodes to be injected into the media stream and then accessed in the browser. Chris showed us a demo of a looping video with a variety of different embedded time codes. It's a very powerful approach and the guys are learning a lot about a complicated toolchain. Andrew N has also been busy refactoring the demonstrator LIMO app to integrate with the live stream work of Sean and Chris.

I demonstrated a web-based interface that Dan N and I had put together around the Roar to Explore classification system. Dan used the wami-recorder flash widget to allow audio to be recorded from a microphone (HTML5 device support for audio recording isn't there yet). We pass the audio to a local server which runs it through the classification system and displays the results in the browser. 90% of the time it thought I was making a pig noise, so there's some work to do to understand how to cope with "real world" data. This week Theo also built a lo-fi digital interactive prototype of the Roar to Explore concept for Vicky to test with children next week on a school visit.

Duncan showed us the work he's been doing on the Whitespace spectrum browser. It's looking great, even if the data is pretty impenetrable to most of the team. Between documenting and load testing he also managed to add centralised logging to our applications using a ruby syslog gem.

Dan N. has been adding features to the Programme List prototype. Notably this week the ability to subscribe to your list of programmes you want to watch using your favourite RSS reader. Tristan's conducted some workshops and planning sessions for the project and had a look at future features and the distinctiveness of the app.

George and I met with Jigna from R&D's green technology area, discussing options for a new service we are scoping, which could help electricity forecasting with input from broadcasters. George also had a long teleconference about a possible new EU project and introduced Ralf N. to Simon and Rupert from the Audio and Music technology team. He attended the R&D Steering Group in Salford and booked up his EU meetings for the new year.

Vicky and Libby spent two days user testing the N-Screen project and learnt a lot in the process. Meanwhile Olivier has had a busy week of W3C related work. He joined the Audio Working group to hopefully help out with the process of our effort to standardise APIs for processing audio in the browser. In the other groups with which he is involved a stand-out discussion centred around rolling captions.

Olivier, Theo, Chris G., Tristan and others have been involved with work-plan, erm, planning sessions this week as well as meeting with various people around the BBC (including Archive Development, Radio & Music, Knowledge & Learning and Strategy) to identify areas of common interest and potential collaboration. Tristan, Chris and Olivier have been collating notes from all of these discussions and have started to filter and make sense of them.

Yves has been working on various datasets of transcribed audio available within the BBC, and trying to convert them into a shape which could be used by SphinxTrain, a tool that can be used to generate acoustic models for speech recognition. He also worked on a patch for Sphinx4 for multiple keyword spotting.

On Friday we welcomed Tony Churnside to the office and had a good chat about what the Audio team in Salford are working on and where we might be able to collaborate. In food news, we took Tony to the legendary HT Harris sandwich shop for lunch and with Christmas on the way George has been busy feeding brandy to his Christmas cake.



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