in detail
the centre for new media

new forms of access to news and changing information


ROSTRA 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!