Accidentally in Code

Archive for the ‘Google Wave’ Category

Tonight, I ran my first workshop in Wave. It was nice to have a space to discuss things, and unlike in a chat client it’s easy to indicate what you’re replying to. What I did was create a slide deck and make it available the day before. Then on the day, I was available to trouble shoot. The slide deck was fairly comprehensive (see it here) so I encouraged people to work through it at their own pace, whilst I clarified and helped with issues that arose.

Screenshot below shows mutiple threads of conversation happening simultaniously:

Multiple Conversations

Multiple Conversations

It’s also really easy to drag and drop screenshots, so that can help me see where people are at, and what could be going wrong.

Drag and Drop Screenshots

Drag and Drop Screenshots

Wave has nice indentations (kind of like we indent in Java!) that show a diversion:

Indentation shows the flow of the conversation

Indentation shows the flow of the conversation

Finally, trying to schedule when everyone can make the next session can be difficult – but Widgets sure make it easier!

Widgets help with scheduling

Widgets help with scheduling

So, all in all, wish Wave was faster but I think it was a success. Hopefully as people build up more knowledge they’ll discuss amongst themselves more. We will leave this wave going as people work their way through the rest of the slides (and I can help if necessary) and move to a new wave for the next session.

I’ll keep you posted about when that will be – and will put the slides up here soon!

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Update: This will take place on Wednesday 18th and Friday 20th November, 7-9pm. Let me know if you’re interested.

I’m thinking to run a session on this tomorrow, with discussion going on via Wave. Will start at 10 or 11am EST and run for 2 hours, with another 2 hours in the afternoon.

Let me know if you’re interested. I know it’s short notice, so I may push back depending on when people want to do it, but this will happen in the next week or so.

What you’ll need:

  • a Google Wave account
  • Java SDK
  • Eclipse
  • Processing, free download – we won’t be using the IDE that comes with it, but try and locate core.jar

I’ll assume your computer savvy enough to install Java and Eclipse by yourself as this could take up a lot of time in the session.

What we’ll cover:

  • Your first program – “Hello World”
  • Simple types (building blocks)
  • What Object Oriented programming means
  • Getting started with processing, displaying stuff
  • Conditions
  • Loops
  • Global vs. Local variables

This is loosely based on the teaching I’ve done and I have a lot of resources that I’ve created that I’ll share. I have enough to do a whole series of these online workshops, if there’s demand. As it gets cold and nasty outside this could be a good opportunity to learn to code if you’re interested in doing so.


Posted on: October 29, 2009

Since I started using Remember the Milk my task list is now separate from my email – so email that I mark as “ToDo” items don’t show up in it unless I put them there. I’ve opted not to, and instead made a recurring task every other day to “clear email”.

As a result of this, I’ve discovered two things: 1. not having it on my list means I do other things instead, which is good – clearing my email in one go should be more efficient. 2. I dread doing this task.

Perhaps the thing is, that the people I want to talk to I am talking to – on Twitter, or Facebook, or Wave. So the emails I get are mostly tedious things that I need to attend to for someone else’s benefit. Except that one, and er, that one. And yours if you’re waiting a response from me.

I wonder if with real-time or near real-time communication I’m just getting to the point when something so asynchronous seems weird. I mean, if someone doesn’t respond to a Twitter message within 2 days, that’s it right? You don’t expect a response.

What’s bothering me? Too many services? To much mail, period?

I remember when getting a letter in the post from a friend was exciting. But now only getting a package is exciting, because letters consist of bills and things trying to get you to buy insurance or whatever. I wonder if I’m starting to see e-mail in a similar way. E-mails mostly consist of people asking me to do stuff, and spam.


People are surprised by this, but there was a period that I checked my email just once a week a la Tim Ferris (Amazon). This was during my gap year when I was working and although it annoyed various people – my boss, a guy I worked with, some of my friends… I didn’t have a cellphone and had temporarily quit Facebook as well, so to be fair it was fairly difficult to get hold of me. However, I found myself to be much more productive. I missed email, but realized it’s a displacement activity. I check my email between tasks, before tasks, during tasks when I’m bored or distracted.

Since I went back to university checking my email once a week has become impossible. Worse, though, even checking it once a day is infeasible because I’ve been using email as a collaboration tool, and it’s just not something it does well. I’ve tried to move to Google Docs, but that just means that I create a document, alert people I’m collaborating with by email, and wait. Sometimes I have to email a reminder to get them to look at it and then I’m checking my email – and my Google Docs account. Then maybe we discuss what we’re working on via email, even if the thing we’re working on is in Google Docs. In the worse case, the only thing saved is keeping the working document up to date.

I got my Wave invite early on, and when I used my invitations my priority was to invite people I collaborate with, whether that’s for socializing, WISE, or academically (my supervisor got one, for example – we’re ditching email for Wave). The invites finally came through and I’ve now had my first “Wave collaboration experience” and it was awesome. I have to write an outline/blog post for a project we’re working on. I added our VP communications to the Wave and wrote it, then she came in and made some corrections. Underneath the section we were editing, we had a short conversation about what we were working on.

Then, well, I cut and paste what we’d produced into an email because the other person who needs this isn’t yet on Wave. But still – significant improvement.

Screenshot below:

Wave Collaboration Screenshot

This is awesome; it’s what I hoped Wave would be good for and I’m finally starting to experience it. I don’t see it replacing email, but I hope that once more of my friends and the people who I work with are on Wave I can replace email with Wave to communicate with them, and email will be reserved for more formal things that I don’t want to be real-time, like university notifications, inquiries from students and job hunting – and I can cut back on checking it, perhaps to once a day? That would be nice!

I am out of invites – please don’t ask me for one.

I was super excited this morning when I got an invite to Google Wave. I’ve read about it, but whilst there’s been a lot of hype around it no-one seems to describe it such that I’ve really got it. Note – don’t expect me to be any different, I tried to explain to my boyfriend why I was so excited just a moment ago and he doesn’t seem to have any idea what I’m talking about.

Anyway, I’m an early adopter. I was on i’m in like with you back when it was hot and invitation only (now it’s more of a games site, before it was about flirting). So I’ve been bugging my friend who works at Google since I heard about Wave, and after he got in yesterday he very kindly sent me an invitation. I logged on, expecting to see something that would blow my mind… but it actually looks quite plain. See below:

Google Wave: Empty

Abstractly I think I thought that Wave would just replace my email. But I can’t send messages to people who aren’t on Wave, and the only contact I have is Dig. I also think Dig is getting bored of the incessant messaging (he, obviously, has a real job). Perhaps the most useful thing I can use it for at the moment is keeping track of the conversations in my head. I.e. I can have a Wave for a project, and write my little notes in it. However when my friends are on it, it’ll be amazing. At the moment we organize events through my Facebook status, but Wave is going to be a so much better solution. Ditto for WISE, sending out mass emails to 10+ people is a nightmare. People need to know what’s going on, but it clogs up your inbox. In a wave, you’ll just be able to skim the stuff that you need to be aware of and it’ll all be part of one conversation.

Having conversations online is not always that “usable” of an experience; they can be hard to follow, too many threads or responses can overwhelm your inbox or ability to keep up with them. I really think that from what I’ve seen so far Wave will improve that. It’s like – email (longer messages) meets IM (instantaneous, see when they’re typing) meets Facebook (converse with multiple people, passively watch threads) meets real life (yes/no/maybe and map gadgets allow you to gauge interest, plan routes etc – more gadgets are coming. Also not only can you see that someone is typing – you can see what they’re typing as they’re typing it) and something more. The conversations we have online, and how we have them are different from the way we communicate in real life. I think Wave might bring is back to a more “natural” way of conversing.

One last really cool thing, you can “play back” your conversation, see the button next to reply? If you had a long, confusing conversation I can see that being really useful.

More screenshots below:

Google Wave: My First Wave

Google Wave: Building a Conversation

Google Wave: Continuing the Conversation

Google Wave: Multiple Waves

By the way – I can’t invite people (yet). Wish I could! Sorry to the people who’ve already asked for invitations and those who want to after reading this!