Elgg development and other activities

Hey guys, only got a few more weeks of Elgg development at least for the foreseeable future anyhow, to which to I have mixed feelings about. Seems like everytime you begin to get used to and fully in your stride with something its time to change, which is a shame but equally help keeps my work and life interesting.

As of what I’ve been working on, erm.. Well I’ve been continuing with the work on the videos plugin, which for the moment is almost ahead of previous expectations. Currently I have videos uploading and being able to be played, sound’s simple but it’s not quite. I’m in the process of being able to link the videos with the opportunities on the site, but need to be told how they are to be match, or I may just implement some sort of assumption. Also been working on some cool stuff with a piece of software called GATE (General Architecture for Text Engineering), which is intending on being used to ‘mine’ the text and help find offensive words/phrases. I have been working with a fellow colleague Dr. Ying Zhang, who is in the field of text/data mining to help set up GATE for our particular context, which is now working (at least for the moment).

A very small program has been written to use the backend of the software, getting strings of text that will eventually be sent from Elgg. I’m hoping to integrate it all from this Monday, with some re-engineering of how Elgg deals with any type of entered text, sending everything to GATE first for checking, if something isn’t allowed an error message will be sent to the user. Other than that I have to try and prepare Elgg to be able to integrate with BT’s MOSAIC, which I’m unsure of my ability to complete that in time. After the project, if I have time I am planning to try and generalise the video plugin so it will work with other Elgg installations and release it on the Elgg Development site under GPL open source licence.

From December I’m then starting the iPhone game with Mammoth Graphics at Ealing Studios, which I’m actually getting quite excited about. I hope the guys have started preparing the material that I need to get started and hopefully will have a version of the game implemented for February. I just have concerns about my pay as I’m having to come off general payroll and go back to hourly slips (which is really annoying). As long as I’m not being paid less than I will be getting from my PhD bursary then I don’t mind, as I guess an agreement has been made for me to spend time on my PhD during this project giving me almost an extra 2 months for it.

At home, I’ve been working on a little project of my own. I have a lot of music and when I go to music stores I’ve found several times I can’t remember if I have a CD already. So to solve this problem I am developing two applications:

  1. A backend file crawler, that trails through my music library and automatically indexes the artist, album and songs in a database, for which a PHP set of APi’s are being written to search and retrieve this data and relay it using XML.
  2. Because I have an Android based smart phone, I’m developing a app to get these details and help facilitate easy searching of what media I have already.

The backend app is already beginning to work, though have run into a few issues already that I will need to look into. The first issue being the speed, perhaps the speed of the crawler is going to be slower as I am not testing on the machine that will be run on and the crawling is being done over a network. Other reason I think is that I need to turn it into a threaded app, and allow more songs to be sorted concurrently. This will be something I implement last as to me efficiency and speed is something you look to once everything is working. The second issue is how to deal with multiple combinations of artists, as some song aren’t made with only one artist, leaving you will potentially copies of artists and combinations of artist which may affect search results if you only type in the one of the artists. This something I will need to look into more as this project progresses. Hopefully once the backend is complete (or as complete as I feel is necessary) work on the android app will commence which I look forward to completing as the app I think will be useful by myself and my step dad as we both have the same phone.

Anyhow, until next time chums