Pet rocks and fire hoses

I participated in my first #lrnchat session on Twitter this afternoon. I found it difficult to cope with the volume of information coming in – hence the allusion to fire hoses in the title. While I was composing my next 140 characters of wit and wisdom, 27 messages would scroll by! But I did discover Tweetchat.

There were some stand out moments such as the comparison of Google Wave (topical on the day) with Pet Rocks1 and the comic reflection on the Twitter chat experience: “I once was lost, but now, profound.” Both gems came from @Dave_Ferguson as it happens.

The nice people of lrnchat.com have already posted the transcript, so at least there’s a record and proof that I didn’t just lurk. Thanks to @c4lpt for the initial invitation and the encouragement. I’ll try to be back!

BTW does LOL mean what I think it means?


1 As a European, a British European at that, the allusion to Pet Rocks went over my head. Thank goodness for Wikipedia.

Wave bye bye

Although I missed the original announcement, I am indebted to Jane Hart who shared the announcement Update on Google Wave (posted by Urs Hölze on the Official Google Blog) of Google’s decision to cease development of Google Wave:

We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication. The use cases we’ve seen show the power of this technology: sharing images and other media in real time; improving spell-checking by understanding not just an individual word, but also the context of each word; and enabling third-party developers to build new tools like consumer gadgets for travel, or robots to check code.

But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

(Emphasis mine).

I was enthusiastic about the potential at the time of the first developer preview at Google I/O 2009. During the beta test period, I was the first person at my University to get a Wave invite, and the guest passes went like hotcakes. (I was the most popular man on the intranet for a couple of days … it was like Cheers, everyone knew my name!)

But our experience probably matched most … wow that’s cool, we can see each other’s edits … followed quite quickly by what can we really do with it?

As an educationalist, I was also enthusiastic about the educational possibilities. With my new account, I subscribed to an open thread (actually started by Blackboard I just realise) on using the wave in education. I also started a similar thread locally. Visiting the open thread, you get an inkling about what might be wrong with the Wave. People seem to use it as a glorified chat client or a forum on steroids. They don’t seem to use it in the disciplined way needed to do real work with it. Indeed this may be a reason why a recent suggestion that we use Wave for a collaborative document creation project fell on deaf ears.

Wave is an excellent example of what can be done with HTML and JavaScript. The conversational tools are great for a back channel: has better context than Twitter for example, but it’s the conversation rather than the work that seems to dominate in the Wave client as it was released. There are strong hints in the Google announcement that Wave technology will be used in other Google services, but it looks like Wave as an app, like a mayfly, has had it’s day in the sun.

As you’d expect, there were immediate reactions to Google’s announcement from the Blogosphere before I wrote this post:

I’ll add more links as I see more reaction. For now, follow the links to [Google’s Real-time Search](http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=google+wave&hl=en&sa=X&prmd=nul&tbs=rltm:1&tbo=u&ei=33paTOmsI6G60gTtvfFg&oi=realtime_result_group_more_results_link&ct=title&resnum=7&ved=0CE8Q5QUwBg&cts=1280998148478) for the latest reaction from the Blogosphere and [Twitter](http://twitter.com/#search?q=google%20wave). It’s not in the top ten list of trending topics on Twitter yet, but it can only be a matter of time!
**Update**
If you were wondering what the wave was and how it should have been used, Gina Trapani wrote the book [The Complete Guide to Google Wave ](http://completewaveguide.com/)with Adam Pash that’s (still) available to read on-line.
Interesting side note, comments from US were being posted at 2.30 and 4.00 am local time. Don’t these guys sleep?

Podcast of the Week #2: Tech Weekly

It’s actually a fortnight since the last one but … this week’s Podcast of the Week is The Guardian’s excellent Tech Weekly podcast. Every Wednesday, regular host Aleks Krotoski along with regular contributors Guardian Technology Editor Charles Arthur and Digital Media Reporter Jemima Kiss, discuss the big technology news items of the week.

Since the demise of The Guardian’s Thursday Technology supplement, the podcast is the quickest way to keep up to date. [Highlights this week](http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/blog/audio/2010/aug/03/mobile-phones-future-android-ios) include a discussion of emerging trends in the Mobile Internet, the new Amazon Kindle and the ban on Blackberrys in the UAE.
Academic colleagues may be interested to learn that [Mendeley](http://www.mendeley.com/) will be discussed next week.
The Guardian Online has excellent technology coverage online. The launch point for exploration is [www.guardian.co.uk/technology](http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology). If you’re on the move, The Guardian’s mobile offering ([m.guardian.co.uk](http://m.guardian.co.uk/)) is not bad either!