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ctouch screens
ctouch screens

Whiteboards and the Canon of the Netherlands app

Recently, a digital whiteboard supplier called CTOUCH reached out to BSL, requesting permission to include the Canon of the Netherlands app in their store. Making our app available on their CTOUCH screens and whiteboards will help teachers use it in class, making learning history more enjoyable. We liked the idea, and over the last couple of weeks, we’ve created a special version of our app designed specifically for the big screen.

Canon of the Netherlands

The Canon of the Netherlands app is a BSL development. We designed and built the app for use by children of all ages, with help from the “canonvannederland.nl” foundation and Mediant, a pedagogical consultancy. The app utilises material from the Canon of the Netherlands, which includes 50 carefully selected subjects explaining how various events and people have influenced the country. Each topic highlights a significant historical figure, object, or event that contributed to developing the Dutch state and culture. The Canon is a frequently used resource in primary and secondary schools across the Netherlands for educating students about Dutch history.

CTOUCH digital whiteboards

CTOUCH screens and whiteboards promote interactivity, productivity and engagement during meetings and in classrooms. They achieve these objectives by leveraging the extensive functionalities offered by touch screens. CTOUCH has extensive knowledge of the possibilities inherent to the touchscreen experience for educational purposes and business meetings. The applications are diverse, encompassing teaching tools, business meeting software, and apps designed to inspire individuals and share knowledge. In any desired environment where collaboration needs to be encouraged, CTOUCH provides appropriate support to realise these goals. The organisation is committed to facilitating a seamless experience, regardless of the context in which the interactive technology is deployed.

whiteboards

Mega screen for the Canon

After our initial contact, CTOUCH lent us a screen to work on. After installing the Canon of the Netherlands, we found that it worked well, but we did notice some design issues on CTOUCH screens. Interface components we designed for tablet use needed adjusting for display on a large screen. For instance, the standard font sizes used in the app were challenging to read from a distance, leaving text fields nearly empty.

Other issues affected the Challenge Chooser, a spinning wheel randomly selecting class assignments. There were problems displaying the wheel on the big screen, and the chosen assignments were barely legible from a distance.

whiteboard
whiteboards

Support for CTOUCH whiteboards

Our developers were eager to solve these problems. Challenges included determining the correct fonts and font size that could be viewed easily from a distance without affecting the rest of the design. We had to make many changes to the assignments screen and tested every feature in the app. The result is a new release specifically designed for large screens. With the next update of the Canon of the Netherlands, we may also release this version in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, giving users of larger tablets an optimised experience.

Ctouch screen

Conclusion

BSL is committed to improving our users’ experience through investing in our apps and embracing change. Please contact us if you have any ideas for new or existing software. We will be delighted to arrange a meeting to discuss how we can assist you.

The role of AI in Business Intelligence for multinationals

The role of AI in Business Intelligence for multinationals

BSL delivers Business Intelligence solutions to multinational organisations, integrating content from thousands of publications worldwide and delivering daily themed news alerts and briefings to business users. Recently, we’ve introduced AI technologies to these services, and our latest blog post highlights some of the benefits.

Google Looker Studio: Making sense of big data

Google Looker Studio: Making sense of big data

In today’s fast-paced world, making quick and well-informed decisions is crucial. Google Looker Studio is a free tool that can give you a significant advantage. It can help you transform your vast amount of Analytics data into informative, easy-to-read dashboards and reports that are completely customizable.

Let BSL take care of your website maintenance updates

Let BSL take care of your website maintenance updates

We understand the importance of regular website maintenance updates for WordPress and Drupal. Hackers sometimes target popular open-source products, so keeping your CMS and any plugins up-to-date is essential. Trust BSL to keep your website up-to-date and secure while you focus on crafting persuasive content for your audience.

BSL Summer event on the water

BSL Summer event on the water

It was time for our annual summer event with the whole company. This year, Diana arranged a boat trip in a salon boat along the Vecht towards Loenen and Vreeland. After the boat trip, the summer event continued in the restaurant of Bistrotel ‘t Amsterdammertje, where everyone enjoyed a delicious dinner.

Adobe Firefly and Photoshop Beta with generative fill

Adobe Firefly and Photoshop Beta with generative fill

After the success of ChatGPT and Midjourney AI – both already in use at BSL – Adobe didn’t want to be left behind and made public their Beta releases of Adobe Firefly and Photoshop AI. With the arrival of the Adobe Betas, we’ve turned our attention to the new kids on the block, comparing them with Midjourney.

Midjourney prompts – Describing your perfect image

Midjourney prompts – Describing your perfect image

In an earlier blog, we introduced Midjourney as a tool we use within BSL when designing websites and banners for blogs. To direct Midjourney to create the image you have in mind, you need to write a prompt describing the image. This new blog discusses Midjourney prompts and some of the commands and parameters you can use.

Drupal 9 development using Tailwind CSS

Drupal 9 development using Tailwind CSS

Using Drupal, BSL has developed an extensive Intranet site to which we all have access. We’re developing a new version of the site, and in this blog, one of our developers talks about some of the tools we are using, including Twig templates, the Entity and Form APIs and Tailwind CSS.

Midjourney AI – Turning your ideas into images

Midjourney AI – Turning your ideas into images

Over the past few weeks, BSL has been exploring the many possibilities offered by Artificial Intelligence. This latest blog describes the use of Midjourney AI, a web service that generates images based on natural language descriptions (“prompts”). The results are impressive. Read our blog to find out more.

The benefits of long-term partnerships

The benefits of long-term partnerships

NBD Biblion offers personalised book and media title recommendations to schools and libraries, and supplies their clients with the titles they select. BSL has had a long-term partnership with NBD Biblion for more than twenty years, delivering development teams, technical advice, and support.

ChatGPT for business information analysis

ChatGPT for business information analysis

After the initial enthusiastic response to the introduction of ChatGPT and AI, attention switched to the unreliability of many ChatGPT answers. However, using Azure OpenAI (ChatGPT) and Cognitive Search with reliable data, we can deliver reliable, high-quality business information in response to natural language queries.

Browser engine wars – Part 2 – The impact of Apple’s iOS monopoly

Browser engine wars – Part 2 – The impact of Apple’s iOS monopoly

The Apple iOS monopoly means that every app on iOS – including browsers from Apple’s competitors – must use WebKit to display web content. While it’s not uncommon for browser developers to use a third-party engine, they can usually control which engine features they use in their browser and – if needed – add custom features.

Browser engine wars – Part 1 – How did we get here?

Browser engine wars – Part 1 – How did we get here?

The Register recently reported that Google is working on an iOS version of Chromium. A few days later, a second article claimed that Mozilla is working on an iOS version of Gecko, Firefox’s browser engine. Both reports suggest that the Apple browser engine on iOS, WebKit, is in danger of losing its monopoly.

Donation on behalf of earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria

Donation on behalf of earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria

On Monday, 6 February, several powerful earthquakes and aftershocks hit Turkey and Syria. This disaster affects as many as 23 million people, including many who are already in desperate need due to the conflict in Syria. If possible, please join us in making a donation on the Giro555 website.

WordPress and page-builders such as Divi and Elementor

WordPress and page-builders such as Divi and Elementor

For building websites on behalf of clients, we often use WordPress together with page-builders, making it easy to prototype and develop modern, responsive websites. With page-builders such as Divi and Elementor, you can easily and quickly design and build pages to match almost any design.

2022 and the Bright Side of Life

2022 and the Bright Side of Life

Taking the time to reflect regularly on the things we are grateful for at the Bright Side can help shift our perspective to focus on the positive aspects of our work. So, here are the things for which I’m grateful in 2022.

SEO benefits, and the power of good-quality content

SEO benefits, and the power of good-quality content

Many business owners still think their websites are merely visiting cards. Their “go-to” expression is: “our clients/audience already know where to find us…”. This may be true, but optimizing your website will reach new clients and audiences.

New Keylane Careers website

New Keylane Careers website

Keylane asked BSL to help design and build a new Careers website. The main aim is to increase the number of visitors by improving the organic search performance. To achieve this, we’re introducing a new design and adding blogs.

Cloud provider migration: What are the benefits?

Cloud provider migration: What are the benefits?

The focus of Cloud computing is to improve the efficiency of IT services. By choosing a cloud-based solution, organisations can stay up-to-date with technology innovations and benefit from higher scalability, lower expenses, and enhanced security.

A new website for BoekWijzer

A new website for BoekWijzer

We’ve completely revamped the BoekWijzer website! The website was built to support the BoekWijzer app, the mobile guide to the world of Dutch literature. Using the app, you can quickly and easily stay up to date with the latest literary news.

New developer / web designer at BSL

New developer / web designer at BSL

If you have any questions about your website or web design in general, then Patrick van Bennekom is ready to help you five days a week at BSL. Patrick helps to design and create websites and apps for our customers, including the design of logos and house styles to deliver a professional end product.

Migrating to the Cloud, benefits and opportunities

Migrating to the Cloud, benefits and opportunities

Several of our clients are migrating to the Cloud, and some that aren’t yet ready for this step are reviewing their legacy systems, intending to migrate to the Cloud in the future. We’ve recently completed two migrations on behalf of multinationals, and our experience has taught us that a direct approach (simply redeploying existing databases and applications on virtual machines) is not always the best route…

Beleev: Controlled Multisensory Environments

Beleev: Controlled Multisensory Environments

Perhaps you have never heard of snoezelen, a Dutch term that describes controlled multisensory environments (MSE) that stimulate various senses within a custom environment – a so-called “Snoezel” room. On behalf of St. John the Baptist special education school in Kerkrade, we’ve created custom software to create and manage so-called “Snoezel” rooms, controlling, lights, audio, switches and a video projector.

Goodbye 2021 and COVID-19 lockdowns – It’s time to look back

Goodbye 2021 and COVID-19 lockdowns – It’s time to look back

So who, in early 2020, thought that we’d still be operating under COVID-19 lockdown measures in January 2022? Luckily, my skill set has given me a better understanding of software development and technology than catering or hospitality. As director of an IT company, I’m happy to say that Bright Side of Life has taken to remote working as a fish to water. Let me tell you about our year.

Canon of the Netherlands apps now available in stores

Canon of the Netherlands apps now available in stores

The Dutch Canon of the Netherlands (2007) tells the story of how the Netherlands was formed. Using the Canon, BSL developed the popular EnToen Nu apps for iOS and Android a few years later. In 2020, the Canon was extensively revised, so we’ve completely rewritten the Canon apps, bringing them up-to-date, making them faster and even more fun to use. They’re now available in the app stores.

Integrating powerful AI search capabilities within apps and web-services

Integrating powerful AI search capabilities within apps and web-services

Search technology is continually evolving, so we’re always ready to adopt new technologies to meet specific client needs. This blog outlines our recent experiences with Azure Cognitive Search and Cognitive Search AI services – classifying thousands of new documents each day, delivering customised briefings to subscribers. Using Machine Learning and AI we can create intelligent search prototypes in just a few weeks.

Canon of the Netherlands apps coming soon!

Canon of the Netherlands apps coming soon!

The Committee on the Development of the Dutch Canon developed the Canon of the Netherlands in 2007. BSL developed the EnToen app a few years later, and since its launch in 2013, it has been a top-rated school app. In 2020, a new Canon Committee updated the Canon. We’re now busy working on new Canon Apps, with a modern look, and using the latest technical know-how.

Drupal 9 replaces Drupal 8. Long live Drupal 7!

Drupal 9 replaces Drupal 8. Long live Drupal 7!

Drupal 9 arrived last year, and Drupal 8 is end-of-life in November 2021. Nothing strange about this. But did you know that Drupal 7’s life has been extended to November 2022? Due to the high number of active users, it will remain in use longer than Drupal 8! Nevertheless, if you’re still using Drupal 7, you’re drinking in the last chance saloon, and it’s time to plan your transition to Drupal 9.

BSL delivers a new Pulse importer using the Forrester API

BSL delivers a new Pulse importer using the Forrester API

We developed our “Pulse” Business Intelligence Software for PwC. It’s a global service, maintained and supported by BSL. Pulse imports thousands of documents daily from commercial content providers and website feeds, delivering personal briefings to PwC subscribers throughout the PwC organisation. At the request of PwC, we recently created a new importer for Forrester using their API.

Outsourcing, retainers and long-term development partnerships

Outsourcing, retainers and long-term development partnerships

It’s not always straightforward for even large companies to create cutting edge development teams, as their core business may not be related to IT. Moreover, even when IT is a significant part of their business, there is frequently a wide gap between delivering core services and innovating with new technologies. BSL offers development services that can help fill the gap.

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