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LOL-I-POP

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Solution Title




LOL-I-POP

Abstract

There are many natural ways in which people manage to stay healthy or even increase their strength and stamina. In order to live healthier one can play sports, be food conscious and, most intriguingly, have a good laugh. Laughter is probably the best medicine and this is a fact! Great results were obtained by American doctors and psychologists in their researches on laughter and its therapeutic effects.

Various studies have suggested that a positive outlook on life and having a good laugh is associated with keeping your heart healthy and much more. Laughing is thought to help you fight off illnesses by boosting your immune system. It increases the amount of immunoglobulin, along with Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), B-cells (which make disease-fighting antibodies), T-cells (important for our immune system) and natural killer cells, which fight infection and tumors. As well as lowering blood pressure, laughter increases oxygen in the blood, which also encourages healing.

Laughing also reduces allergic responses, including hay fever symptoms, lifts our mood - even if we have to force ourselves to laugh and reduces the effect of stress by lowering stress hormone levels. Unblocked, and in the absence of laughter, these stress hormones can weaken the immune system, increase the number of blood platelets (which can clog the arteries) and raise blood pressure. Laughing has a good influence in reducing pain. Children watching comedy films relax more and tolerate pain more easily. Conclusive poof in this respect is the fact that humorous videos are already being used in anesthetic rooms at Manchester Children's Hospital.

Laughing also helps keep diabetes under control. It may help to control spikes in blood sugar levels after a meal, reducing the chances of diabetic complications. In one study, people who watched a funny video during dinner had lower blood sugar levels after the meal compared to the people who watched a lecture video.

The researchers suggest that we should try to laugh more. In the same way that we try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and climb the stairs instead of taking the lift, perhaps we should spend some time each and every day having a good laugh. Regular laughter in your life could help to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. They recommend 15 minutes of laughter a day as well as regular exercise to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, a condition in which blood vessels become damaged and narrowed by fatty deposits. This can reduce or stop the blood supply to heart muscles (causing heart disease), the brain (causing stroke) or arms and legs (causing peripheral arterial disease).

Now that we found out that laughing can really improve onea€™s health, we thought to help people with the means of getting laughable material. Thus we imagined LOL-I-POP, an application that makes it possible to access plenty of multimedia items specially designed to make people laugh. The primary goal of this system is to easily deliver humorous content to people everywhere so they could laugh everyday, therefore keeping them healthy.

We designed LOL-I-POP in order to both enhance the usera€™s experience and not waste his time as much as possible. Thus, all the user has to do is to first specify his preferences regarding humor or, more precisely, what makes him laugh, and then feel good and have hearty laughs everyday. The system will continue to track user ratings in order to determine what he would enjoy more and to deliver him such content.

Scenarios

The LOL-I-POP experience must be as enjoyable as possible. Taking this into consideration we designed the client application (LOLita) to run and transfer files in the background.



In normal mode, the user loads the application and signs in to the service. Then the program starts running in the background. When the internet connection and the system resources are not used by more important applications, LOLita queries the web service and requests a new file. The server chooses one item matching the usera€™s preferences, ratings and history and returns to LOLita the information needed to download it. Thus, the LOL-I-POP client application downloads everyday a certain amount of amusing content within the limits chosen by the user. When the file has been downloaded a nice small popup appears letting the user know about the new item. With a simple click the user can start viewing that file or can leave it for later. At any time the user can consult the list of funny items downloaded that day and can choose to view any of them. This list will get refreshed daily, new files being downloaded instead of those that had already been seen. Because the system guarantees a different content every time, the downloaded files never repeat. When viewing files a user can submit ratings by voting in a small pop-up window. People can also participate in reviewing the new materials.

For those people who think laughing more spontaneous suits them best there is an option called Surprise me! When selected by the user, it enables the application to randomly choose the moments in the day when the funny stuff is displayed fullscreen, frequently interrupting the usera€™s activity for a maximum of two or three minutes. Still, a popup will notify the user five seconds before displaying the file.

Although it is recommended for a user to have a LOL-I-POP Account, this is not mandatory. The client application can also run without any sign-in information. But this makes some features unavailable: new items cannot be submitted or reviewed, channels cannot be created, statistic information cannot be collected, and it cannot be guaranteed that the newly downloaded files will be different from those downloaded before.

As specified above, a registered user is allowed to upload files. To do this the user simply uses a menu button called Upload. He will then specify what file to be uploaded and wait for the transfer to be accepted and completed. Prior to transferring the file to the server, LOLita (Client Application) calculates a unique code of the file and queries the web service for a matching value. If there is one found, the upload is rejected. Otherwise the file is transferred to the LOL-I-POP FTP Server and waits for validation from the community. Before the file can be made accessible on LOL-I-POP it first has to be reviewed by a number of users. Any user can help maintain a high quality service by rating newly uploaded files before they are released for public. This can be done by using the Review feature integrated in LOLita. A file found unsuitable for LOL-I-POP will be removed but its unique code will be kept for further reference.

Architecture

Our solution consists of three applications: LOLer (the main server), LOLita (the LOL-I-POP client application) and LOLager (the management utility reserved for administrators).

LOLer (the server system) implements the LOL Web Service, a database and a FTP Server. The web service provides means by which users can download files from the FTP server. It manages the user accounts and the itemsa€™ database. In this context it is called item any file that contains valuable information, like funny video, jokes, amusing images and so on. The web service organizes its data in a database containing information about users (account information, preferences, statistics, download history), about the collection of good items stored on the FTP Server (name, type, unique code, rating), data about the newly uploaded files pending validation and information about channels (owner, type of content, list of subscribers). Channels can be created to help users in tracking certain subjects and to add little organization to the large amount of items.

The web service creates the link between the client application LOLita and the FTP Server where the files are stored. To do this, the web service has functions for finding the next file to be viewed by the user, based on usera€™s preferences and statistics. After a file has been chosen, the web service configures access to that file on the FTP server for the specified user and sends to the client application the address of the file. The client application is then responsible for transferring the file.

Besides making available items to the user application, the web service offers means by which files are uploaded on the server or are removed from it. It also implements an items rating mechanism used by the user application, when a person wants to grade the quality of the content, or by the web service itself when selecting the file to be downloaded.

The web service deals with the newly uploaded files by means of a queue. Each of the new file is added to the queue and waits for its turn to be viewed and rated by a number of users. Once reviewed a certain number of times, the file gets removed from the queue and the web service decides whether it keeps the file or disposes it.

LOLita, the client application, is designed to be easily used and not to disturb the usera€™s activities, unless specified so. It is usually running in background and takes care of acquiring files from the web service and displaying them. As seen in the figure on the next page, LOLita deals with the following aspects: signing-in the user and taking into consideration his preferences, downloading the files and managing the transfers according to the usera€™s requirements, displaying the files (it has a set of built-in viewers), managing channels, managing the timer on which the Surprise me! option is based, uploading files on the server and reviewing new files.

LOLager is the utility that gives administrators full control over the system. Thus they can manage the user accounts and keep the consistency of the FTP Server.

The FTP Server stores all the files that will make people laugh. The file types used by our system are as it follows: text, flash, PowerPoint presentation, image, audio and video. In special cases when there is a funny file of an unknown type, LOLita is programmed to try and open it with an external viewer.



Technologies

For this project we make use of the following resources and technologies:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 a€“ used for developing the entire solution
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 a€“ powerful database technology well suited in helping us manage a lot of information
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 a€“ the operating system for the server

  • ADO.NET a€“ manages the dataflow between the web service and the database
  • ASP.NET Web Services a€“ provides web services to LOLita and LOLager.
  • IIS 6.0 a€“ manages the web site through which the web service is accessed
  • .NET Framework 2.0 SDK a€“ the applications are based on this version of the framework
  • FTP Server a€“ stores items and offers means of transferring files between server and client applications
  • Windows Media Device Manager 10 SDK a€“ enables us to use the Windows Media Player 10 engine for playing files within a form.

Screen Shots

 

How could you take this further?

This is a simple design but expected to have positive effects in the long-run. It doesna€™t take much in order to laugh and get relaxed. The right words or a picture at the right time, and this is precisely what the application is offering. But the efforts are on the both sides. We should definitely try to laugh on a regular basis. It is somewhat of an education either coming from the others (and this is how LOL-I-POP gives you material to cheer the others along with yourself) or a self-taught skill.

Giving the fact that children laugh more that adults we think that our    LOL-I-POP application could help them maintain this state of cheerfulness as they grow up, and keep them in shape to better cope with the stressful environments they can meet at school, at work or even at home among their families.

We imagine a world where people laugh more, keeping them healthier and happier. Just look in the mirror and around you while laughing and you will immediately spot the difference.

There are many funny videos and jokes over the Internet worth seeing and it would be really a shame to let them unseen and unexploited. And we all know that searching for new stuff every day becomes harder and harder because of the growing number of sites that offer the same materials. That is why we designed LOL-I-POP as an easy way to obtain quality humor with no further involvement.

Great new features would be the possibility to recommend a certain file to a friend, to find content considering a search string or to access our service from a mobile device. In this way people could carry with them comical videos or images, ready to share them with others and having a great time.

In future versions we would also like to improve the architecture by creating a second level of web services to be applied in LANs, this way lowering the traffic and taking advantage of the greater speed.

We started working on this project three weeks ago and managed to implement 25% of it, mostly on the client application.






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