new forms of access to
news and changing information
news services now support a range of new engines to allow novel
forms of access to their own changing information world. The ROSTRA
LIVE engines use Flash interfaces
to read XML feeds from the ROSTRA servers. These news and event
feeds can be dynamically mixed with other sources to support a range
of animated views of significant changing data.
One initial application of this concept is the 'Promo Engine'.
This is designed as a dynamic kiosk display system - mixing news
and other data (eg. information from currently 'hot' projects) into
an animated kiosk, desktop or screen-saver.
Example: The KMi Promo engine. Designed for the reception display
at the front-door of the laboratory, this application takes
the top 8 news stories and mixes them with the top 8 recently
updated project descriptions - which it animates in a rolling
display. At the end of each cycle - it checks back with the
server for an updated playlist (an XML variant of NewsML).
The engine picks a graphic background from its
database, and only uses projects that have strong visuals
- ie. no picture, (or too small) and your story/project wont
appear in the promotion!
The system is designed to support timed 'over-rides' (eg. to allow
an administrator to change the playlist for a specified period -
to, for instance, complement the interests of a specific visitor).
As all ROSTRA entries can be tagged with a range of meta-information
- this could be used to further refine the display - to select news
or other feeds matching a set of these tags, for instance.
Example: The PDA Promo engine.
As part of our view of what can be done with handheld technologies,
the engine renders quite sensibly on a simple WinCE Personal
Digital Assistant. We eagerly await the release of
Flash for Palm!
As with all our PDA projects the engine is designed
to the screen size and mode of use of the device - faster,
smaller and with less on screen at any one time!