2008 Year-End Wrap-Up

It’s become the tradition at this time of year for the cool kids to round-up the year with the most popular blog postings of the year; so I thought I would do the same.

My most popular photo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.
My most popular photo on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Here then are the most popular posts from the last 12 months (most popular first):

Web design 2.0 – it’s all about the resource and its URL — thanks to Simon Willison this is my most popular post of all time and of 2008.

QR codes for BBC programmes and some other stuff — a lunchtime of hacking from the wonderful Duncan Robertson gave us QR Codes for every BBC programme.

When agile projects become mini waterfalls — I have no idea why this is so popular, but there you go.

Interesting BBC data to hack with — the release of XML views of Radio AOD data, unsurprisingly, proved popular.

The all new BBC music site where programmes meet music and the semantic web — the first hint at what the BBC will be able to do by caring about its URLs, Linked Data and Domain Driven Design. If you put everything in the right place you can join it all up and create a coherent user experience. 

Osmotic communication – keeping the whole company in touch — I still think this is a good idea.

Find and Play BBC Programmes — announcing the embedded media player on programme pages — meaning all BBC programme support sites now include the latest TV and Radio media.

iPhoto photos not appearing in Front Row — how to fix iPhoto’s album.xml file when you migrate from Google’s Picasa to iPhoto. The fact this is still proving popular implies Apple still haven’t fixed the bug. 

Highly connected graphs: Opening BBC data — in response to Mike Butcher’s post on TechCrunch requesting the BBC open up their data and provide APIs I thought it worth pointing out there’s already some good stuff going on.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you BBC Programmes — the launch of a page for every programme the BBC broadcasts.

UGC its rude, its wrong and it misses the point — its still rude and it still means those that think of amateur publishers in these terms will continue to miss opportunities.

So there you have it. It’s been a good year and as I’ve discussed previously I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved, as reflected in many of these posts and the fact the Guardian also cover the work — which also had the added bonus that my parents finally have some idea of what I do for a living.

Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-12-29

"Newton by Eduardo Paolozzi" by grytr. Some rights reserved.

Richard Dawkins first suggested that since Sir Isaac Newton, the founder of modern physics and mathematics, was born on Christmas Day, Newton’s Birthday could therefore be an alternative for a winter holiday – the Newton Festival.

Linked Data stuff…

Content Modelling and Storytelling [R4isStatic.com]
“I like to imagine that the ultimate would be something where every character, event and place in the fictional universe of a programme has an address – and then just like taking toy models of those things, we and the audience could make our own stories from them. You want to add your own characters to the mix? Sure, give them an unique address (for instance, in your own webspace), and start linking them to other characters, events etc. …

I’ve made it my mission to explore these ideas, and experiment with making them a reality. Thanks to a great presentation the other day by Yves Raimond, Nicholas Humphrey and Patrick Sinclair, I’m getting to grips with ontologies such as FOAF. I’m going to be using FOAF and the Events Ontology in particular to try and express stories in a semantic way, and see whether we need a new ontology for storytelling, and what we need from it.”

Fascinating idea, I can’t wait to see where Paul goes with all this.

lcsh is no more… how sad — there were so many lovely URLs [lcsh.info]
“On December 18th I was asked to shut off lcsh.info by the Library of Congress. As an LC employee I really did not have much choice other than to comply.” I really hope we will see an official version returning very soon.

ETHAN: the Evolutionary Trees and Natural History Ontology [ebiquity.umbc.edu]
Large-scale ecological modeling and evolutionary studies often rely on scoring taxon-level characteristics of a wide variety of organisms. Compiling such data is laborious and may involve finding and reformatting data tables in original literature, or personally exchanging spreadsheets or ASCII files with researchers. Compiled taxon-level data is beginning to be shared digitally and efforts to support wide data sharing in ecology and evolution should make even more compiled data available in forms useful to scientists. However, retrieval, integration, transformation, and validation of shared data in traditional archives remain difficult and largely manual processes. Discovery of new insights from such data is therefore delayed if it is even possible. Our interest in natural history information stems from our work on a suite of tools to support invasive species biologists…

…and from the BBC

BBC Builders: Tristan Ferne, and his ‘startup’ team at audio, music and mobile [guardian.co.uk]
Tristan’s interview for the Guardian… as you would expect interesting stuff (Radio Pop, Olinda and Moose 6) from the lovely Mr Ferne.

Watching the Rockterscale [BBC – Radio Labs]
“Video documentation for a little two day electronics workshop using various components, arduino boards and Processing. The brief was – to build a device which measures how much rock bands ‘rock’!!”

Desktop iPlayer for the Mac : Experiments in Cocoa Development #1 RadioAunty [whomwah]
RadioAunty is a Cocoa Application that lets you listen to the radio, BBC radio, on your desktop. You can change networks via the Menu bar and via the Dock. You can also set preferences to decide which should be your default Station to start with, and whether you would like to receive updates to the application when they are available.

…this is cool…

3D light field display [ICT Graphics Lab]
The system works by projecting high-speed video onto a rapidly spinning mirror. As the mirror turns, it reflects a different and accurate image to each potential viewer. Our rendering algorithm can recreate both virtual and real scenes with correct occlusion, horizontal and vertical perspective, and shading.

Interesting stuff from around the web 2008-12-06

Online Identity just got really interesting and really competitive… lets hope the open stack wins not the proprietary

Biggest Battle Yet For Social Networks: You, Your Identity And Your Data On The Open Web
Facebook makes their big press push for their ‘Facebook Connect‘ service, MySpace have ‘Data Availability‘ and Google ‘Friend Connect‘. Sites that use these services make life a bit easier for them, but the real value goes to the social networks. These services make users begin to think about their identity in terms of their MySpace profile, or Facebook login as they use it to sign into their favorite services. That makes it even more likely the users will maintain their profiles on those services, add friends, etc. The real risk with Facebook is the proprietary login and data sharing standards, Myspace is so much better with its use of open standards including OpenID and their willingness to work with Google (Facebook have prohibited Google from getting in the middle).

Crime fighting team by ittybittiesforyou. Some rights reserved.
Crime fighting team by ittybittiesforyou. Some rights reserved.

David Recordon considers “Getting OpenID Into the Browser” [O’Reilly Radar]
Google Chrome did a smart thing: Less. They unified the search box and address bar, since that’s what people do anyway. That gives us back precious pixels for the only thing that’s as important to an average web user as where they’re going: Who they are. Identity belongs in the browser.

Some interesting thoughts on near future of the web

User Styling – bit of custom css and you can get the site to look the way you want [24 ways via @fantasticlife]
Override a publishers styling, remove ads whatever you like. It’s interesting to consider the implications of this if, as @fantasticlife suggests, this goes more mainstream since it will change the role of design – the publisher gives you the data you presented as you want it.

Going Hyper-Local – Location Based Internet [redcatco.com]
Fire Eagle, Flickr, Twitter, Dopplr, BrightKite and many more help you tell the web about where you are – and then find people near you.

The enterprise is about control and the web is about emergence but for how long? [O’Reilly Radar]
I suspect it’s more likely the result of large scale system dynamics, where the culture of control follows from other constraints. If multiverse advocates are right and there are infinite parallel universes, I bet most of them have IT enterprises just like ours; at least in those shards that have similar corporate IT boundary conditions. Once you have GAAP, Sarbox, domain-specific regulation like HIPAA, quarterly expectations from “The Street,” decades of MIS legacy, and the talent acquisition realities that mature companies in mature industries face, the strange attractors in the system will pull most of those shards to roughly the same place. In other words, the IT enterprise is about control because large businesses in mature industries are about control. On the other hand, the web is about emergence because in this time, place, and with this technology discontinuity, emergence is the low energy state.

The Future of Ephemeral Conversation [Schneier on Security]
The Internet is the greatest generation gap since rock and roll. We’re now witnessing one aspect of that generation gap: the younger generation chats digitally, and the older generation treats those chats as written correspondence. Until our CEOs blog, our Congressmen Twitter, and our world leaders send each other LOLcats – until we have a Presidential election where both candidates have a complete history on social networking sites from before they were teenagers– we aren’t fully an information age society.

Some photo stuff

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google
Search millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time through the joint work of LIFE and Google.

Find Flickr photos my colour [Multicolr Search Lab]
They are extracting the colours from 10 million of the most “interesting” Creative Commons images on Flickr and then use “visual similarity technology” so you can navigate the collection by colour.

Some BBC stuff

BBC Programmes iPhone webapp experiment [Whomwah.com]
Another nice bit of hacking from Duncan – browse BBC TV and Radio schedules on your iPhone, the iPhone way – living further out of London with longer train journeys has improved his hacking output.

BBC builders: Tom Scott, and the team behind /programmes and /music [guardian.co.uk]
That’s me! Jemima Kiss has started interviewing folk at the BBC who are helping to build projects that people don’t hear about. She started with me, which was jolly nice.