Did I Write That Adapter?

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

I’ve been running the latest build of Touchstone on my home workstation for over 2 days continuously now, with no errors. Its good to know that it seems most of the fu**ups features people have been reporting are actually a fault with the Adapters and not the core, and while this is a bitter-sweet victory, overall, I have been very happy with this outcome.

Chris and I have always worked very hard to get this developed as quickly as possible (while still maintaining some form of “life”) but recently we’ve really been burning the candle at both ends to get the major public build which will go to everyone on the mailing list (…so if your not on it). We are very close and it’s getting hard to keep the lid on the present when we are so excited about the future plans for client-side attention management deliverables.

I really hope Chris announces *some* of these ideas soon, because I think I’m going to explode!

Also, don’t forget to checkout www.areyoupayingattention.com, the Touchstone Community website (also available from the “forums” link on the top of the page),a collaboration point for developers and users of Touchstone to discuss things they love, hate and want to see in future releases of Touchstone.

Getting Plugged In

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

The alpha requests for the next round of testing are streaming in (now a list of many hundreds) and since Chris and I have had a good night’s sleep for the first time in a long while, it seems appropriate that I share with you folks what’s happened over the past several days. I guess you could say we’ve been inspired by Leeroy Jenkins.

The last release of Touchstone was pretty much a proof of concept. A one piece application that read RSS feed items, processed them and displayed them in a news ticker. Not very exciting.

This new version will introduce key architectural pieces that will make it possible for 3rd parties to develop input and output adapters for the Attention Management Engine.

Already we have received SDK requests from early adopters who get our approach in a way that has surprised and delighted us. They understand the potential of connecting multiple data sources with multiple outputs using a caching and relevance power plant in the middle.

Sure, out-of-the-box we will have the Feed Reader and a News Ticker and a System Tray alert and maybe even a Cursor Trail alert… but the real innovation begins when our development friends get their hands on the SDK.

While I work on finishing off all this low-level under-the-covers stuff, Chris has been working on polishing the interface. This new version of Touchstone will feel like a more professional application ready for prime time.

It really is true… 20% of the work takes 80% of the time.

Stay tuned for more…

What's My Server Doing Anyway?

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

While sitting at my workstation, working away (and listening to Alex Barnett’s PodCast on Attention and OPML) – I realized that my system uptime screensaver for my Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition Server was doing many things I want to know about, behind an otherwise black screensaver.

It got me thinking another PERFECT job for Touchstone.

There are RSS, ATOM feeds and other things going on (such as the current state of my Azureus downloads, sever up time and load etc) and Touchstone provides the ultimate engine to bring these together as a screensaver visualisation!

I can imagine, in the near future, LCD screens scattered around a house, streaming attention information to a person based on their current physical location (if I’m in the kitchen I might want to see feeds related to food and current events, while in my living room, my wall is showing me productivity and work related items).

With the ever decreasing price of LCDs and the power of Touchstone, the on-going effect of an attention engine could be greater then we ever imagined.

The Bandwidth Is Behind The Tomato Sauce

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Continuing our current topic of distributed network load sharing (a.k.a Bit Torrent) I was thinking about another way to divert the bandwidth load of syndication feeds even more. It’s possible through the TouchStone architecture to develop a syndication adapter which, by using a centralised tracking server, spreads the load of syndication feeds across other TouchStone clients. This method is quite handy, because it actually moves the data off the web servers completely. Obviously the idea needs fleshing out, and we’re not about to integrate it ourselves (unless someone else wants in and wants to do it), but its handy idea which has a number of useful applications. Also, I was thinking about another fair easier option – shared feeds. An adapter which allows you to share the RSS feeds as your updated, so your buddies can get the feed off you instead of the actual web server. Very exciting stuff.