• 4:59 am, 18th November 2005
  • web
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More on the future of the web

The Guardian’s articale One Foot in the Future helps wrap up a great deal of future web thinking (albeit from the multinationals).

  • 1:44 pm, 17th November 2005
  • misc
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Ben Cerveny

I met Ben Cerveny today at a impromptu talk he hosted while at the BBC. Ben spoke in high-level terms about play, interaction, navigation and such, drawing on his wealth of knowledge in the area through the development of The Game Neverending, Flickr and the Amsterdam playground project. I especially enjoyed what he said about how play provides the basis for interaction and how we should understand this as interaction designers.

In interaction and navigation, designers have difficulty persuading users to spend time and energy learning new mechanisms required to use new technologies. However gamers are able to learn and interact with very complex visualisations – can this be exploited for other navigation and interaction? I’m not sure if I subscribe to the point of view which suggests navigating around television and radio programmes could use complex features of game interaction, gaming is very much a ‘sit forward’ activity while watching tv is a ‘sit back’, relax-and-have-a-can-of-fosters activity. Besides, the complex world which gamers roam around is more often than not a very natural environment. Gamers merely treat the world as they would the real one, albeit controlled by D-pad.

Flickr poses an interesting problem. There is a resource which is so very rich, how can we get the most out of it? At the moment search is seen as the most viable solution but can we handle complex interaction which might allow us to roam around the photos, giving us more freedom and perhaps easier access to what we want to see?

I am interested in being able to find content through innovative means. But for now City 17 beacons…

  • 6:53 am, 14th November 2005
  • links, misc
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Links from engadget.com

Doom running on an iPod nano. I’m probably new to the idea of using your iPod for things other than music (and video) but this is great.

Turn your Mac Mini into a Mac Maxi. The Mac Mini is just too small…

  • 2:34 pm, 13th November 2005
  • gaming
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It could all have been so different

It seems the PlayStation almost never happened
Originally a partnership between Sony and Nintendo? I’m glad that never happened, Sony and Nintendo working separately keep each other (and Microsoft) honest and keep the console wars a decent battle ground :-)

  • 5:19 am, 10th November 2005
  • web
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Web 2.0

In the last few weeks I have learned community is more important than technology attempting to encourage it or use it. Tom’s write up of our Annotable Audio project has made me realise that new technologies which attempt to utilise social networks gain imensely from being developed with the people who are most likely to use them. The talk of Web 2.0 and what it implies is very exciting. There are obvious examples of companies making their survices available through APIs with early exposure through public betas (Google Local, Flickr…) and I can’t help but feel the BBC could benefit so much from doing the same.

We have backstage which provides a resource of our news feeds and experimental TV-Anytime feeds and BBC Open Sourcewhich provides information about our open source software projects. I would also love to see a public website which showcased the web-based widgets and services we are working on. Somewhere people could go and play and give us priceless input into the development process. As we move towards a more joined-up web this input will become invaluable.

Xbox 360 and iPod interoperability

When I first read that the forth-coming Xbox 360 would allow me to stream music off my iPod I was surprised and excited. Up until then I was dreading the thought of having to rip my favourite tracks on to the 360′s hard drive (something which seemed to take forever on Xbox). It turns out interoperability between Microsoft’s new games machine and Apple’s market-leading audio player is not as straight forward as it first sounded. Songs purchased through iTunes will not stream to the 360 due to Apple’s DRM system. This seems like a shame as the 360 will not be allowed to copy songs, merely play them – its much like playing your iPod through your stereo whilst playing a game. This won’t affect me at the moment at least because I have only purchased one song from the iTunes music store.

Along with full Media Centre extender functionality the Xbox 360 will also stream music from any Windows XP SP2 machine on the same LAN. Will iTunes-purchased music stream in this senario? Either way its another great feature as far as I can see and keeps the hard drive free for other things.

  • 4:02 pm, 6th November 2005
  • flash
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Flash Player 8.5, Flex 2, ActionScript 3

Macromedia has recently announced the beta release of Flash Player 8.5 hot on the heels of Flash 8. The new version of the player comes as Macromedia focuses on Flex 2 and ActionScript 3 – further building on the so-called Flash Platform. I have no experience with Flex to comment on the news of a new release. I do however question announcing a new version of ActionScript only a few months after a new and much hyped version of Flash is shipped. Let’s just hope Macromedia do what they did with Flash MX 2004 and the ellipsis update and include ActionScript 3 in the Flash 8 IDE in 2006.

The majority of the work I do in Flash relies heavily on ActionScript. I come from a programming background and would like to see ActionScript become more type safe and more robust. In the Macromedia Labs overview of ActionScript 3, Macromedia suggest the new virtual machine for executing ActionScript will be around 10x faster than the current virtual machine in Flash Player 8. This is great news. Traditional programming elements are also being introduced such as an integer data type, built-in delegation and runtime error reporting.

I’m really looking forward to see what ActionScript 3 offers. Unfortunately Flash is often seen as simply a useful tool for prototyping applications. It would be a great thing if Flash was seen as the platform for the final product.

Annotatable Audio project

I have been part of a very exciting project in BBC Radio & Music interactive. The project was lead by Tom Coates and the team was made up of myself, Tristan Ferne, Helen Crowe, Paul Clifford and Bronwyn Van Der Merwe. The project is best summed up by Tom at plasticbag.

I am resposible for the Flash interface part of the project and am very pleased with the feedback it has got from fellow Flash developers and the wider web community. I learned a great deal in the short amount of time I spent developing the app and there isn’t a significant amount of work which needs to be done before it is a fully usable interface. Helen’s JavaScript skills allowed us to use Flash only where necessary and provides communication from the database, through Flash, to the page. As a team we recognised the power of Flash but also that it should not be over-used.

  • 1:57 pm, 1st November 2005
  • misc
  • 1 Comment

New York City

New York City

I have just returned from a wonderful five day break in Manhattan with my Girlfriend Amy. My first experience of the US has left me with a strong desire to go back and sample more. New York City is a fabulous place – in many ways very similar and yet so very different to London. Check out the photos at my flickr site.

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