Broadcast or Perceptive Media?

I was half watching Newsnight and working on my laptop, on Thursday 31st January on BBC2. Newsnight finished and the weather came on. Now the #uksnow is pretty much out the way, I’m not so interested in the weather.

Anyway as the weather man ran through the upcoming weather forecast, I looked up when the man mentioned Manchester. A few moments passed and I thought well its related to rain, so Manchester is a obvious target. A few moments later, Manchester was mentioned again and I looked up again. My glance become more of a stare as I thought about perceptive media.

The moment of attention or as I like to think about it, a moment of deja vu. Was powerful enough to make me lift my head and divert my attention to the weather for a few more moments at least.

The ability to connect and engage with people using slight differences in narrative. It doesn’t require huge sweeping changes, just clever well written narrative.

Hacking my john lewis umbrella

I bought another John Lewis Umbrella recently while in Bristol.

My good friend Ross (recently joined twitter), said I was nuts buying such a expensive umbrella, but I explained its the only way to deal with Manchester’s changeable weather. The Umbrella is strong and seems to deal with the gusts much better than most other umbrellas. Plus its small and compact so fits in my laptop bag, or my inside jacket pocket. Yes it was in the lady section of John Lewis but only because theres this stereotype than men carry golfing size umbrellas.

He made the point that I could buy about 17 cheap pound shop umbrellas for the price of my John Lewis one but I love the up and down button and you can’t beat it when going in and out of doors. I did try the M&S umbrella but it felt cheap and unstable in comparison, plus it didn’t have the up and down mechanism (manual sucks).

Anyway, after using it straight away after buying it to keep the rain off in Bristol. I noticed it wasn’t so snappy as the ones I’ve had in the past. Which got me thinking maybe theres a way to hack the umbrella so its snappy and much more responsive?

Yes folks, its time to hack my umbrella… and I’m not the only one but I’m doing it for different less flashy reasons

Of course if I do start hacking it, there will be photos and a detailed analysis of the hacking.

Watch this space…

OS X Atmosphere Concept done with Flickr and clever scripting

OSX Atmosphere Concept

I wish I had a XML desktop. Why? Well I really want to do some of things which can be easily done online, with my desktop machine too. Kind of application development using web technologies. Yes it would be slower that writing in C++ or something like that, but it would mean more people could write stuff for there machines. So whats prompted this observation? Well I'm already thinking about this for my Xtech Proposal (which I should be working on instead of blogging) plus I saw the OSX atmosphere concept on electro plankton just recently.

So what I'm thinking is this is kind of possible using a weather feed or api and Flickr pictures. Obviously I've not seen the application running but the general idea of what the wather is like outside on your desktop is very achiveable. RSS Screensavers currently are pretty lame, for example my current favorate displays the headlines and a random picture from the local machine. But it will also display markup as actual non escaped markup, yeah sucks when you get a feed with pictures. You would have thought it would be clever enough to display that picture or something. I mean imagine subscribing to a feed like engadget or gizmodo which are heavy with high quality images. The experience would be a lot different.

But back to the XML desktop idea, yes Vista with XAML looks/sounds like what I'm after but knowing Microsoft its not going to live up to the promises. Geez this is certainly geting close to my proposal but wouldn't it be great to have read only (at the moment) XML feeds for commonly used APIs on your own machine? Its kind of like a widget engine and how they make common desktop api's available for use. Well extend that out so you don't have to build just widgets. I know for a fact this has security and privicy implications but say we could find a way through those very serious concerns? Wouldn't that be fantastic?

Update: It looks Adobe'e Apollo could be the solution to this? Thanks Gareth for the heads up on this. I started think about Apollo a lot more while reading the PDF and thought of the parallels between it, Xulrunner and a widget engine. And came up with this matrix.

Internet Application matrix

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

BBC Weather feeds

BBC Weather

After all the fuss, harsh words and long wait for BBC weather feeds. They are now here for use under the BBC Backstage licence. Its been something we've been sitting on for a while because we wanted to make sure it was all correct and wouldn't get pulled after a few days. So here's the official announcement from Kathryn at BBC Weather

I am very pleased to inform you that BBC Weather's first RSS feeds are now live. Links to them can be found on all 5 day forecast pages: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml

The feeds are located at http://feeds.bbc.co.uk/weather/feeds/rss/{world|id}/{location_id}.xml

E.g. http://feeds.bbc.co.uk/weather/feeds/rss/5day/id/2315.xml and http://feeds.bbc.co.uk/weather/feeds/rss/5day/world/4567.xml

All of the 7379 feeds are updated at least* twice a day (at approximately 8AM/PM *GMT*).

We are planning more feeds, and improvements to these ones as well (e.g. dynamic generation of feeds, which will allow us to offer different flavours such as Atom; additional content such as tide times and current observations (Met Office willing); additional semantic mark-up).

In the meantime we look forward to seeing your BBC Weather widgets in the Backstage Widgets Compo: http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/news/archives/2006/10/widgets_competi.html

I have included geo:lat/long tags in all entries to facilitate mappy mashups. Enjoy!

I look forward to hearing your comments, concerns and ideas.

Best,
Kass

I think we're going to have to do something for the first person to map the BBC weather feeds on top of a Google map.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

About Ben’s disclosure of the BBC’s weather feeds

Ben Metcalfe

I forgot I haven't publicly said anything about Ben Metcalfe highlighting the direct urls of the weather feeds. My take on the whole thing is simple – Security through obscurity.

A system relying on security through obscurity may have theoretical or actual security vulnerabilities, but its owners or designers believe that the flaws are not known, and that attackers are unlikely to find them.

Security through or by obscurity, is generally a bad idea. By the BBC developer putting the urls inside a plain text javascript file, he or she was relying on Security through obscurity. Ben simply disclosed this information to the world. You could say well he should have let the BBC know, but like software vulnerabilities company's will sit on this information for years because its not important enough. Nope theres no douht in my mind that Ben did the right thing, and maybe taking down the blog post was a good idea for the BBC. We should be thankful and hell this might have spurred some movement on the backstage front? I do wonder if the javascript file in question still has the urls inside of it?

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]