IRFS Weeknotes #131
Judging only by the content of all the printouts and post-its stuck to our walls these past couple of weeks, one could easily assume that our office has been invaded by a typical web site development team. And indeed, we have been busy preparing for the beta test of the new R&D web site. But while this is not our typical research project, it does have the sweet smell of dogfood. Anyone who has seen the World Service Archive prototype or even the Mythology Engine will not be surprised to know our approach is to make a large archive of content easier to browse through tagging and massive interlinking.
Look away from the walls and start looking at the screens and desks however, and you will find activity on many other projects.
A peek at the inbox for Rob, Yves or Tristan will yield a trove of upcoming projects and collaborations around archives, education and content discovery. Rob has been formalising contracts for upcoming partnerships and meeting with potential adopters of the Snippets functionality within the BBC. Yves can't quite spend all his time working on proposals however, so he can also be seen open-sourcing a very small library to facilitate the exploration of SPARQL end-point from Ruby, which we've been using in the World Service prototype.
Speaking of collaborations, we invited Anab Jain to our thursday show-and-tell. The Co-founder of Superflux came in to share some their recent projects and innovation process from her perspective as a collaborative design practice working on the intersection of emerging technologies with the environment and everyday life. We particularly enjoyed her line about 'Designing with or for uncertainty, instead of resisting it' and the application of the process to cover such diverse research from prosthetic vision to toys with agency and a really exciting project to bring the internet of things into schools for learning and a bottom up approach to consumer product innovation.
Back to our visit of the lab... A few screens show the sign of advanced API-itis. Chris Newell has been tinkering with now/next information for the ViSTA-TV project and is thinking of making it into a simple JSON API for internal use. The Snippets team has started working on the next stages of functionality, including a hallowed Redux API.
Step into one of the meeting rooms nearby and you may well discover why there aren't as many crazy post-its and designs around the office: it's been retrospective time for both the VISTA-TV prototyping team and the World Service Archive team as well. And up north in Salford, Jasmine and the team have been distilling the insights gathered from the Playful Internet of Things unconference, reading, writing, and investigating the future of tangible interactions for storytelling and connected toys.
And while asking James about his week yields a very IRFS-esque explanation about the importance of automated Virtual Machine provisioning and distributed computing technology for our prototypes and tools, a look at Barbara's desk made me wonder if I wasn't spying on a neighbouring production team by mistake: she's been working with Chris N, Brendon and others on the video for the FI-Content prototype on authentication. Voiceover script, storyboard, shooting, logging rushes and more!
Barbara's desk - complete with scripts and storyboards
The trove of links from the team this week includes:
- A fascinating interview with Noam Chomsky, focusing on the debate between him, Peter Norvig and others about the value of current work in Artificial Intelligence
- The world's largest image database annotated with WordNet
- An interview with Joi Ito on MIT's Media Lab. Tristan particularly liked this quote "Being open, you're much less likely to have someone competitive emerge and you're also much more likely to find somebody who wants to come to work with you."
- RDFa 1.1 support in EasyRdf
- ... and a ton of demos from the recent Music Hack Day in London including, well... this.