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Prototyping weeknotes #89

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George Wright George Wright | 11:47 UK time, Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A lot of activity this week as we approach Christmas, have a lot of deadlines, and sort out next year's priorities. For some of us, the week started with a great team branding workshop organised by Olivier. Very useful! There was good progress on FI-Content with new user journeys coming along and Vicky, Joanne and Pete have continued to focus their UX thinking by refining their scenarios and developing new wireframes. We are now looking at the Programme List as a use case for further development. Also, it was Theo's birthday on the weekend so we ate some cake.

Barbara had an interesting brainstorming session with Ralf from IRT looking at ways to integrate all content areas from the other FI-Content partners into a coherent story and they made good progress given it’s not an easy task. As part of Ralf's last week with us he did a presentation on IRT's work and a demo of HbbTV. 

Chris G. Olivier, Yves and Tristan made some progress on the workplan. They've been sorting, grouping and filtering the interview data captured from across FM&T (and beyond). They now have some sensible groupings of work which align to our previously identified research themes. 

Libby did some preliminary CSS for Beancounter, some two-screen 'TEAPlayer' integration for 'watch 'n' buy'  and worked on creating a Universal Control version of N-Screen, taking into account the results of the N-Screen user testing last week, and a basic UC server implementation to go with it. Vicky B has been writing up the transcripts from the user testing sessions and doing some initial analysis of our findings. 

Sean, Matt, Dan and Yves went on the New Broadcast Technologies training course at Wood Norton this week. Sean was particularly interested in the BNCS (Broadcast Network Control System) which provides realtime control of studio equipment and Jupiter, the News AV ingest system.

Michael mainly wrote up the Masterchef-based interactive push prototype he's been working on. He also attended a brainstorm with BBC Drama about a possible perceptive media project. And since the last weeknotes, he's put up christmas decorations to decorate the North Lab and brightens things up nicely.

Olivier's focus this week has been the W3C Audio Working Group - the web standards group in charge of defining APIs to process and synthesis audio on the Web. There are a lot of things this work will make possible, from music to games and voice communication - all with open standards. One exciting piece of news is that on Wednesday he was appointed co-chair of the group by the W3C director and management. In this new role he's working on things the group will need moving forward: making sure the decisions of the group are well recorded, cleaning up the web work space, coordinating with other groups on requirements, and working with his co-chair to set the agenda of the upcoming group meetings.

Becky has relaunched her field trial to test out a set of recommendation algorithms. Early results are very encouraging and show a marked improvement on the first run. Meanwhile she has also been analysing data from a different trial concerning user interfaces for recommenders, which has also produced some very interesting feedback to mull over.

Theo, Olivier and Tristan reviewed our News Follow work, looking at how it fits with our other projects and finding interesting ways to take it forward. Tristan went to an event on Anonymity, Privacy and Open Data where he learnt about Jigsaw identification and how there are many ways to "de-anonymise" data once you've got large amounts of it. 

We pushed two new features live on The Programme List  - broadcast reminders and RSS feeds. You can now set reminders on individual broadcasts from your list and you will be reminded 15 minutes before the programme starts as an @reply from @ProgListRemind on Twitter. The RSS feed gives you a daily digest of all your programmes that are or were on yesterday, today and tomorrow. The team also discussed the next piece of work on this - how we set up following of brands and series and how we streamline and improve the client-side. Duncan worked on upgrading the programmes index used for this and other projects and did some other tweaks and amendments. He liked https://vimgolf.com/

Yves started to work on applying our topic extraction algorithm to raw text - for use on synopses and subtitles. Roderick got some promising results after he deployed a trial computer instance to the cloud, and tested the speech-to-text part of the system with a few test files. He’s preparing for having many more instances running concurrently next week. Matt finally came to a manageable solution to get the R&D network into our office. Chris N has been working on our P2P-Next LIMO deliverables - a report and demo code.

Vicky S pilot tested a different method of prototyping and evaluation using a 'wizard behind the curtain' approach. It's quick to do, in theory, but has to be sophisticated enough to convince the user that it's real. She wrapped up some investigative project work, writing a presentation and setting up meetings with production teams.

Marc has been banging his head against the proverbial brick wall trying to organise an interactive storytelling show and tell workshop for February while continuing to work on his Learning Languages speech processing app.

I hosted Rachel from Manchester University on Monday, who came in to show recent work on her attempt to data-mine Twitter. Dom and I went to Metabroadcast for the quarterly review of ABC-IP. There was cake again! Chris L and I showed our research at a BBC rights event - I then showed Chris round the wonder that is Bush Hose. I had an all day R&D Leadership awayday. And then it was the weekend.


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