Thursday, February 19, 2009

Small demo of Timelord

Timefire is building a set of social collaboration and visualization tools to help people understand data better, and part of this has been the development of Chronoscope/Timescope, but an even larger part of this effort has been the development of an end user application that permits users to play with data, annotate it, and share their activity with friends.

Timelord is the codename of our application, which runs as an embeddable widget, a Google Gadget, a Spreadsheet Gadget, or as a native Android application. It leverages OpenSocial when possible, to allow users to share activities, but also integrates with other contact sources, like GData Contacts API, Android address book, etc.

One of the more important features of Timelord is the ability for users to create their own "mini-presentations" which script tours of the data. These mini-presentations are simply a special comment syntax, like Wiki-text or BBCode, to instruct the chart to perform actions which would normally be done programmatically, like adding markers, or zooming.

A cool feature, I think, is the ability to do 2-way synchronization between these mini-presentations and YouTube video, which is demonstrated in the screencast below, courtesy of our friend Al Gore, and the YouTube Player API.

Take it away, Mr Gore (best if watched in HD):

Watch it in HD here

UPDATE: YouTube seems to have disappeared my HD version, so there is an HD version mirrored at

I don't think I have to mention that this is all done in GWT? :)



Jeremy said...

wow, very impressive. Do you use YouTube text annotation, or are you doing some voice-2-text black magic?

Ray Cromwell said...

I use the YouTube chromeless Player API to embed the video and extract timecodes from the playing video. The end user may then place chart annotations by writing little wiki-like macros in their comments, which are parsed and turned into scripting calls against the chart.

A future version would add a richer editor, so that you could watch the video, and just click a button to set the presentation keyframes used to trigger off the script commands.

The subtitles are just text that I wrote after listening to the video.