Thursday, October 04, 2007


WikiWednesday in Portland

Last night I met up with the usual suspects for the Portland version of Wikiwednesday at the AboutUs world headquarters, where being part of a contemporary start-up means doing without heat. (I hope they fix that problem soon.)

I witnessed two things there worth mentioning:

First was the future of Wiki technology. A few weeks ago, I saw an email from Ted Kubaska asked about "how wikis interact with IM, live podcasts, video, webinars, etc." My sense of his question was that he was wondering if we will ever subject non-text media like, for example, videos to the collaborative power of Wikis. In any case, just the sort of question anyone might ask when he -- or she -- is introduced to a new idea. Then last night, Mr Wiki himself, Ward Cunningham asked the exact same question himself. I felt this was the kind of lesson that everyone who is interested in exploring the limits of technology should keep in mind: even the experts ask the same questions the rest of us ask.

Oh, so you want to know what kind of answers Ted and Ward received? Well, I did throw out the idea that one could resurrect the mid-1990s VRML (Virtual Reality Markup Language) technology, and use that as a basis to create collaborative videos. Ward himself mentioned how he was fascinated with the phenomena of machinima, where people create their own movies using video capture from such 3-D software like first-person shooter games. Then again, I've heard a lot of technorati remark about how they are fascinated by the machinima genre.

Second was Divid McCabe's impromteau presentation about Liquid Threads, an extention to the MediaWiki engine. He's been funded in this effort by a group called "Commonwealth of Learning" ("So what do they do?" David was asked -- "I really don't know. They pay me to code.")
This new feature offers the following:


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LiquidThreads is cool. From time to time it's been asked for on the Wikimedia projects, but the response has always been that "it's too resource-intensive" for the Wikimedia cluster. I've no idea whether it's gotten any better in that regard.

I'm in a coding cycle at the moment, but when I come out of it I may start hunting about for a wiki with a community that hasn't gone belgium the way the English Wikipedia's has. Ted Ernst put me onto AboutUs when I met him at the Chicago Wikipedia Meetup; I may have to give it a closer look.
Cool to see you again Geoff! Wish we'd gotten to gossip about Wikipedia goings-on more, but there's always next month...

Also, I've now gone and dived in at AboutUs. So far, I totally love it. See you around the collective wikisphere.
Cool -- a friend of mine just moved back from portland (he said the coffee, indy rock, and public transit were great).
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