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Mobile World Capital Barcelona

If you have further links and resources to add to this, please send me a tweet.

“Silicon Valley of Europe” - that was the plan a few years ago for Barcelona. At the moment, the title goes to Berlin, Germany, due to the many successful startups recently; 6Wunderkinder and soundcloud just to name a couple.

There is potential in Barcelona, not only the beach, a stunning city and perfect weather conditions which attract millions of tourists every year, but also lots of creative and talented people who just want to enjoy the mediterranean way of life (which is not by necessity taking 2 hour siesta every day and fiesta every night) and make some money for living.

If there is the good weather and a superb atmosphere, what is actually missing to make Barcelona the Silicon Valley of Europe? Berlin and Munich have neither beach nor sun and nice weather. The thing they do have are lots of “Biergarten” (beer gardens) and small conferences. This is the startup culture.

Networking is an essential problem in Barcelona. There are some activities (Mobile Monday Barcelona, Startups, Technology and Innovation made in Barcelona, Startup Weekend Barcelona, and a few others), but if you check the latest activities, most of them are not maintained any more. Being new to the city, I haven’t had a change to talk to any other developer, and the Mobile World Congress was probably too expensive for most of them to go.

Mobile World Capital Barcelona is an initiative to make Barcelona the world city in mobile communications within the next seven years,

"bringing in around €300M in the 1st year and will progress to about 3.5 billion over 2012-2018"

This is a good argument to talk startup, no?

But before talking startup, the network and culture has to be created. And this is pretty easy to do, as there are hundreds of bars with barrels of beer and hundreds if not thousands of creative people in Barcelona drinking beer. There’s a bunch of international people willing to do something, mostly organized on the popular social media platform Twitter.

We are going to meet the first time on Wednesday, 14th of March, 8pm at Bar Lobo (C/ Pintor Fortuny, 3, 08001 Barcelona) to set up an informal (un)framework to meet on a regular basis. Everybody is invited to present his startup, talk about new ideas and technologies and how to create a nice, weekly networking event.

Let's talk mobile. Let's talk startup. Let's talk tech. And let's drink beer!

Follow me on Twitter to get the latest news and updates and see you on Wednesday!

Since there is a lot of new fancy stuff around beside Ruby on Rails, I decided to evaluate Node.js together with Couchbase CouchDB. Node is a server-side JavaScript solution to respond to HTTP requests, CouchDB a document-oriented database.

To get them playing along, I chose Express as Framework and nano as CouchDB connector.

Install node.js, then express and nano: npm install -g express npm install connect npm install nano npm install -d

This is a little example based on the Express application template on how to get data from a CouchDB view. Run the server with node app.js:

<pre> /** * Module dependencies. */

var express = require(‘express’); var connect = require(‘connect’); var nano = require(‘nano’)(‘’) , db = nano.use(‘test’); var request = require(‘request’);

var app = module.exports = express.createServer();

// Configuration

app.configure(function(){ app.set(‘views’, __dirname + ‘/views’); app.set(‘view engine’, ‘jade’); app.use(connect.logger()); app.use(express.bodyParser()); app.use(express.methodOverride()); app.use(app.router); app.use(express.static(__dirname + ‘/public’)); });

app.configure(‘development’, function(){ app.use(express.errorHandler({ dumpExceptions: true, showStack: true })); });

app.configure(‘production’, function(){ app.use(express.errorHandler()); });

// Routes

app.get(‘/’, function(req, res) { data = db.view(“hello”, “world”, {“include_docs”:”true”}, function (_,data) { console.log(data.rows); res.render(‘helloworld.jade’, {data: data.rows}); }); });


console.log(“Express server listening on port %d in %s mode”, app.address().port, app.settings.env); </pre></code>

The corresponding jade template could look like this:

<pre> - for (var k in data) each val, key in data[k] p #{key}: #{val} - if(key == 'value') each val2, key2 in val p #{key2}: #{val2} </pre>

It was a bit tricky to get the code for the params together, but with include_docs=true you can build fancy database joins and complex applications. For more examples on Nano see this article. Enjoy.

To import some trial data into CouchDB, I wrote a little script in Ruby. csv2couchdb is available on GitHub. Feel free to download, fork and use.

A Modern Approach to the Transcription of Vintage Literature using Mobile Technology and Cloud Services

The Digital Special Collections at the Leiden University Library offers an extensive selection of digitised manuscripts, letters, early printed and rare edition books. Currently most of this material can only be viewed in picture format. Thus the content is neither retrievable nor processable through search engines and can not be enriched with semantic metadata or annotated by researchers.

This paper explores how modern technologies like cloud-services and mobile devices can improve existing transcription methods. After a brief exploration of existing projects in the field of access, organisation, transcription and analysis of digital representations of cultural heritage, this paper introduces a new approach, unlike XML technology, to TEI data storage and organisation.

A mobile and cloud-based prototype and a new underlaying TEI format have been developed as a new way for students and researchers from the Leiden University Library to transcribe documents. The cloud service offers exciting possibilities for future research. Results from the prototype revealed that a textit{lightweight} system, both, in the hardware device and the software program greatly improved the research experience of the test group.

Keywords: iPad, Mobile Devices, Digital Humanities, Digital History, CouchDB, TEI, JSON, Cultural Heritage, Transcription.

Download: A Modern Approach to the Transcription of Vintage Literature using Mobile Technology and Cloud Services