Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mysteries of Sneyd Green

"AUCTION" it says in pink printer-ink on a poster taped to the door of the exceptionally well-priced off-license that lies within the snaky roads off Milton Road.

No more details except the time and location - which, apologies, I forgot to Twitpic - and "Vendor's arrive at 2pm".

An auction for what? Would the reckless bidder be raising his hand for fine art, cast-off Doulton figures or repossessed homes? Cars?

Meat strikes me as a distinct possibility.

In Burslem some years ago, the meat van was one of the Friday fixtures, with a man attached to a loudspeaker whipping the ladies up into a frenzy to buy his shrink-wrapped cuts covered in all manner of sauces. This was replaced later by a meat lottery at a local pub, apparently equally crowd-pulling.

I wonder but dare not ask. Does anyone know?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Web apps for healthcare

At the moment I'm trying to gather some communities stories about health and other aspects of wellbeing as part of a WEA Stoke community involvement project. Later in the year we hope to bring together some willing developers to help build these tools.
Here are a few ideas that I noted down from discussions at the first hack/hacker/hacky coffee in Birmingham:
  • A sort of Mapumental for choosing GPs, where GP data can be visualised on a map and information highlighted depending on what is important to the user, for example by satisfaction ratings, language, whether particular languages are spoken, how appointments can be booked etc.
  • A text service where you send your postcode and the phone numbers of the nearest 5 GPs who are taking on patients are sent back.
  • A map of hospitals showing waiting times, ideally in real time or by trend.
If anyone knows of these tools already being developed, knows data sources or would like to have a go, please speak up.

One more useful pointer for anyone developing content-rich website was this: the vast majority of people finding your website through a search are looking for the most basic information, such as opening times. So keep it simple.