Intro to Networked Collaboration

Pencil Factory event review

The Pencil Factory event was a very interesting experience and helped me to become aware of a place in SL that I probably would not have found on my own.  I had a bit of a rough start the day of the event… When I logged into SL I could not teleport out of where I was. Adam (Mellow) sent the invite multiple times but it just would not work.  Luckily I was able to IM chat with Mellow who suggested I restart the SL program.  Once I restarted the application, and accepted Mellow’s teleport invite again I was able to teleport and went directly to the Pencil Factory site where the group was already gathering out front. 


At first I found it a bit unsettling that the “sidewalk” was clear. I was unsure of where the edges were and as the hosts were getting started with the introduction I wandered around a bit and ended up walking right off the sidewalk and fell straight into the water below! Luckily in SL I can fly and I was able to get back to the group (hopefully before anyone noticed I was gone). It’s interesting how we behave in the online environment vs. RL.  I would never just wander away from a presenter in real life, but many times throughout the evening I would stray (just a little) from the group to explore on my own.


Once we entered the pencil factory and began exploring the art installations we found that all of the pieces were designed to be interactive. First we explored a piece that displayed colored cubes and played chimes as you walked or flew through the space. This piece was pretty neat but I was not clear exactly where the borders were to trigger the cubes. And I had difficulty determining how to make certain tones. Not sure if it was random or specific based on where you moved.  This could also have to do with the number of people interacting with the piece at the same time.  Next we explored a couple of rooms with pieces that I personally found less impressive. As a beginning SL user these pieces seemed to require more mobility skills than I currently have so I was not able to enjoy them as much.  The hosts continued to escort the group around the space and we explored other exhibits that were more fun.  I personally was a big fan of the “harp cages” or at least that what I’m calling them.  There were 2 small round “rooms” on either side of the “deck” and as you turned in the room you triggered what sounded like harp strings.  I like this piece because I liked the sounds it made and found it very easy to use, until I fell off the “deck” and due to my mobility issues I ended up lost in space.


Once Mellow teleported us back to the space we discovered the disco cube piece.  This one was a lot of fun, particularly with the large number of people all playing with it at the same time.  After that I moved on to exploring “The Well” piece. I learned how to jump and how to control how high or low I fly to get in and out of the piece.  I didn’t explore it much because the group was moving on but it was not the easiest to understand how to use without someone telling you how to use it.  This was an issue I encountered many times, I felt like I would not have interacted well with the pieces if I did not have Mellow as a guide and the other class members to explore with.


Finally we fell into an area were we could explore different rooms, and I liked that piece as well.  It had a very circus fun house feel to it. I particularly liked the “space” room and I also enjoyed the room with the big space that looked like a jumble of things and played loud music.


Looking back, I find it interesting that, aside from my wanderings, it seemed to mirror a RL group experience.  Or at least my perceptions of the evening’s interactions were not much different than if it had been a RL event in that we didn’t really know each other at first and didn’t interact or talk much.  As we progressed through the pencil factory we had shared experiences that helped us to connect and interact and by the end of the evening I felt that I had gotten to know everyone there a little better. I posted photos to the class page on flickr. Overall it was a good event and I’m glad I went!

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Critique Recap: Networked Event one and two

Unfortunately I only made it to one of our class meetings in SL, however I am posting here on a few other events I’ve participated with outside of the course through online collaboration.


A good friend of mine has a recording studio, LVIS Productions, in Switzerland. We used to work on building a fanbase through facebook and myspace, offering samples of music to get a following going. Now tools like seismic,, seeqpod, and other blog spaced lets us get directly to music fans.


We would also meet online in a facebook group to discuss details that needed to be organized for shows and events coming up. It’s unquestionable that these events would not have been the success they were if it was not for the online collaboration, however the most fascinating part is what we did through YahooLive:


We would set up our webcam while in the studio and make music for online surfers to run into in real time. Through yahoo live, users can stream whatever they are doing in real time… we would set up the camera and tap into yahoo live just to play around on the synthesizers or jump in with some instruments. At one point we ended up with close to 100 viewers by just pushing play and doing what we would have otherwise around the studio! It’s no sold-out theatre, but for putting in little more effort than we would have jamming alone we were able to get our art to the front page of their network, and in result had continued hits and comments from people who liked what they heard. That feedback and collaboration from fans would not have come our way if it weren’t for this feature; not with such few time and effort put into it.


Keep in mind this still goes to show the importance of physical performance with the arts, which I feel technology can not replicate. I believe there is something about human performance being the art underlining music, dance and even fine arts, which dancing in Second Life does not come close to replicating. Yes, web solutions bring the world closer and will unleash opportunities in the art world we have yet to imagine (likely in my lifetime) however tools such as yahoo live have my support because they tribute the physical performance by bringing it to the desktops of people from all over the globe, in real time.  


My other Networked Collaboration Event was the dance performance for Brooklyn is Watching. I’ve already blogged about it in other threads, however want to note that this connection with virtual and physical space is again what I find most invigorating about networked collaboration. Knowing people sitting in a café in the streets of New York can have access to what I was doing, giggling in my room with a friend while tapped into a classroom among online-enthusiasts is an inspiring thought. I like that this world of ours, at least the behavioral patterns we are taking in it have begun to stray from such linear tendency.

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Online Tools- extra tips I came across

I want to share some tips that helped me with this course, and that I found while working on projects this semester.

For photo editing, take a look at which is a browser-based photo editor. It does wonders and is so simple to use! I’d even suggest editing pictures on their site, and transforming them into animations in jumpcut!

Also, I have created my own social network for my company though Ning. Ning enables anyone to develop their own “facebook” for free! There is a lot of creativity you can add, in adition to their templates if you know a bit of html. Otherwise its still pretty simple despite the ability for video uploading, blogging, forums, groups, and plenty of other bells and whistles.

SnagIt is a screen capture software that was awesome for these projects! It allows you to capture any part of the screen you want and manipulate the picture through their tools. Usually they charge, but there was a 30 day trial I tried and it made mashups and online collaboration a sinch.

And Twiddla is an online whiteboard which I found best for business. Brett and I used it for our group project. People can log-in from any computer and collaborate on the same “whiteboard” in real time, commenting on pictures, uploading shared documents, and all sorts of things that eliminate the job of a fax machine… and wasted paper!

Another thing to keep an eye out for, especially you students taking physical courses, are free online sources that will convert pictures you take on your cell phones of notes on a whiteboard, into digital notes. Snap a few pics of the board on your way out of class, upload them using the software, and print them out or review them from your computer!

I always like hearing about these kinds of things that are very useful, so if any of you come across a great online tool that makes life and work easier, keep in touch…



December 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Women for Networked Collaboration: Our Mashup Presentation

What a project!! And quite a test at learning collaboration, with my partner being on the other side of the country! And an ocean between us at one point!

Well, Andrea and I got along quitewell in collaboration efforts. It all started when she presented a video with pictures of the work of Artimisia Gentileschi , a female Italian Early Baroque painter who painted scenes and issues that were not “allowed” at this time for women to cover. I’m usually not one to address women’s issues, since I’ve been lucky to encounter few obstacles in my own life where gender has been an issue, but seeing this jumpcut and learning about the painter inspired me to build from that video, using Artimisia as an example of media empowering women’s efforts. We used her story as inspiration to introduce the Internet as a weapon for uniting and enforcing the intentions of women still fighting for equal rights.

Instead of building directly from each video, each time one of use completed a short mash-up, we would send it to the other for inspiration. I would take a look at the last thing Andrea did, perhaps make some changes or additions to it, and then make an entirely separate video build from the same or similar themes. She did the same, and our system worked well except for technical difficulties that came from error’s jumpcut has been having.

We planned to add all the videos together in sequence as a “set” for our final presentation, however this feature on Jumpcut caused us all sorts of problems. So, instead we’ve uploaded our videos to a group on Jumpcut, Women for Networked Collaboration, and this way you can take a look at all of our video’s in the same place, and the group can continue efforts towards online collaboration for womens rights beyond our jumpcut assignment.


Andrea used some great pictures of Artimisia and her painting, with titled themes and remarks between them to tap into questions and philosophy about Feminism. I thought she did a beautiful job overlapping the images, especially in Part II.

I decided to hit-up the footage already available on jumpcut (I love the idea of mashing all this freeshare footage together in ways very different from the footage’s original purpose). I got clips of gunny-pigs, and women’s rights campaigns, broken bottles, and resort spa’s and manages to fit them together with the message we had to get out: “Women, start looking to the Internet if you need a place to go to meet people, find information, or participate in activism when other opportunities may not be available; especially for mom’s strapped down in the home.”

I could have seen this assignment going in so many different directions, and that was the fun in building a project together with a partner, using the web’s great abyss of resources as our building blocks.


December 17, 2008 Posted by | final, mashup | , , , | 1 Comment

Here is something really cool, about networked collaboration,, etc etc.  Seems like this kind of training is happening out ther and there is a lack of people with the skills.

I think these skills and practices will spill over into marketing too. They are already starting to happen in Publishing where ‘community organizer’ is becoming a real job in publishing businesses to rival ‘editor’.

I totally believe that innovations in marketing and communications are happening in NFP fields today, and the marketers will eventually need them in agency-land. The first direct mail appeal in the US was Dolly Madison writing a letter to other ‘ladies’ to fund the first not-for-profit in this country to provide shoes and uniforms to revolutionary war soldiers (they didn’t have their own shoes back then, and guess what, we’re headed that way again!). George Washington evidently didn’t like the idea of NFPs because that would undermine the power of the government.  Of course, we know what kind of multi-$B industry the direct mail biz became (quickly being replaced by the effectiveness of fund raising and marketing online which has higher yields and lower costs). And, it seems the government is quite capable of undermining its own power itself!  Happy careers in Networked Collaboration!

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment