Suw and Steph Q&A Session on Seesmic [en]

[fr] Sur seesmic, Suw et moi-même répondons à vos questions!

Fresh Lime Soda Episodes 8 & 9 [en]

[fr] Deux épisodes de notre podcast Fresh Lime Soda que vous avez peut-être ratés.

Whoops. Unless you’re directly subscribed to [Fresh Lime Soda](, the podcast (audio, video, depending on the circumstances) I co-host with my friend [Suw Charman](, you have probably missed [episode 9, FoWA and Lace](, as well as [episode 8, What on Earth is Mornington Crescent](

Yup, they’re not fresh from yesterday either. Busy schedules for both Suw and I, but keep your fingers crossed, we have a recording date for the next episode set mid-January.

If you haven’t clicked on the links above, let me bring you the podcasts to your doorstep. First, [episode 8](, which is audio:

  • video is easier and more entertaining
  • what the heck is this Mornington Crescent thing? (the game on Twitter, blogged by Suw and Lloyd)
  • delusions of privacy: private and public Twitter feeds; ORG-discuss mailing-list archives
  • permanence of digital media (teenagers, adults, and nekkid pics!)
  • “breaking down the walls between the silos of our lives”: Facebook as a business networking service?
  • social network fatigue and contact groups (note, though, this feature has been announced for Facebook) since we discussed this; we need Structured Portable Social Networks
  • centralizing e-mail in GMail and multiple inboxes (Suw might like Xobni)
  • the psychology of e-mail: subtle differences between “inbox” and “archive” (and a sprinkle of GTD — check Merlin Mann’s Google Tech Talk about e-mail)
  • what will I do tomorrow? Suw’s “campaign to get more done” and Steph’s nine to twelve
  • keeping track of time whilst watching Sky News and answering e-mails

You may download the MP3 of Fresh Lime Soda, Episode 8 or listen to it using the player below. (15Mb, 44min)

Second, [episode 9]( (video!):

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Taking Collaborative Notes at BlogTalk [en]

A detailed write-up of the collective note-taking operation we ran at BlogTalk. We took notes together using SubEthaEdit and then posted them to a wiki so that they can be further annotated. The story, and questions this experience raises for me.

As many of you now know, a bunch of us were taking notes together with SubEthaEdit during the BlogTalk 2.0 conference. In this post, I’d like to give some details about what we did, how we did it, and what can be said or learnt about our experience.

I’d like to stress that this was not my idea. I think this collaborative note-taking is a very good example of what happens when you put a bunch of people together with ideas and resources: the result really belongs to all, and credit should go to the group (even though in this case, I don’t think I can identify all the members of this “group”).

The Story

At the beginning of the conference, I was discovering the joys of RendezVous and eagerly saying hi to the small dozen of people I could see online. Sometime during the first panel, I was asked (by Cyprien?) if I had SubEthaEdit, because they were using that to take notes. I downloaded it (thus contributing to the death of wifi and bandwidth), and after a brief struggle managed to display a RendezVous list of users on the network (shortcut: Cmd-K) currently running SubEthaEdit.

I joined Lee Bryant‘s document, which was open for read/write sharing. It contained text (what a surprise!) mainly highlighted in yellow (Lee’s colour, the main note-taker). We were four or five in there at that point. (From Lee’s first publication of the notes I gather that the two others were Roland and Stephan — or rather Leo on Stephan’s computer, like later in the day?) It took a couple of minutes for me to feel comfortable in there, and I started contributing by adding a few links I knew of, on the subject of video blogs. The act of writing in the document made me feel quickly at home with the other note-takers. At some point, I started actively pestering those logged into RendezVous so that they would join us if they had SubEthaEdit (particularly if they were already visible in SubEthaEdit!)

Lee wasn’t there at the beginning of the third panel, so I opened up a document myself in SubEthaEdit, and with a little help managed to open it up to others for reading and writing (File > Access Control > Read/Write) and “announce” it so that other participants could see it. There had already been some hurried talk of publishing our notes, and at some point, Suw (who was keeping up with what was going on on my screen) suggested we should publish them on a wiki. After a quick check with other participants (and with Suw: “you don’t think Joi would mind, do you?”), I grabbed Joi’s wiki and started creating pages and pasting the notes into them.

We continued like that throughout the afternoon and into the next day. As soon as a speaker would have finished and the note-taking seemed to stop, I would copy and paste everything into the wiki.

Update 17:30: Malte took a screenshot of us taking notes in SubEthaEdit. It will give you a good idea of what it was like.

Reflecting on the Experience

So, now that I have told you the story, what can be said about the way we worked together during this conference? I’m trying to raise questions here, and would be really interested in hearing what others have to say.

Working as a team to take notes has clear advantages: Lee was able to go out and get coffee, and catch up with the notes when he came back. When I couldn’t type anymore, Suw took my computer over and literally transcribed the last couple of panels (OK, that could have been done without the collaborative note-taking, but I had to fit it in somewhere.)

Still in the “team theme”, different roles can be taken by the note-takers: sometimes there is a main note-taker (I noticed this had a tendancy to happen when people wrote long sentences, but there might be other factors — any theories on this welcome), sometimes a few people “share” the main note-taking. Some people will correct typos, and rearrange formatting, adding titles, indenting, adding outside links. Some people add personal comments, notes, questions. Others try to round up more participants or spend half a talk fighting with wiki pages 😉

At one point, I felt a little bad as I was missing out on the current talk with all my wiki-activity. But as Suw says about being part of the hivemind, I don’t think it matters. I acted as a facilitator. I brought out notes to people who were not at the conference. I allowed those more actively taking notes to concentrate on that and not worry about the publication. I went out to try and get other/more/new people interested in collaborating with us. I said to Suw: “keep on tzping, and don’t worrz that zour y’s and z’s are all mixed up because of mz swiss kezboard layout,” while Horst patiently changed them back.

What is the ideal number of note-takers in a SubEthaEdit session? Our sessions ranged from 5-10 participants, approximately. When numbers were fewer, a higher proportion were actively participating. When they were larger, there were lots of “lurkers”. Where they watching the others type, or had they just gone off to do something else, confident that there were already enough active note-takers?

The “Lee Bryant Experiment”, which I will blog about later, set me thinking about the nature of note-taking and notes. What purpose do notes serve? Is it useful to watch others taking notes, or does it really add something when you take them yourself? How concise should good notes be? How does a transcript (what Suw was virtually doing) compare to more note-like notes?

Formatting is an issue which could be fixed. SubEthaEdit is a very raw text editor, so we note-takers tend to just indent and visually organise information on our screen. Once pasted in the wiki, though, a lot of that spatial information is lost. It got a bit better once we knew the notes would be wikified, as we integrated some wiki mark-up (like stars for lists) in our notes, from the start. What could be useful is to put a little cheat-sheet of the wiki mark-up to be used inside the SubEthaEdit document, for the note-takers (just as I defined a “chat zone” at the bottom of the working document, so that we could “meta-communicate” without parasiting the notes themselves).

Some have found the notes precious, others wonder if we were smoking anything while we took them. Nobody really seems interested in editing them now they are on the wiki — or is it still a bit too soon after the conference? Here is the Technorati page for BlogTalkViennaNotes.

How groundbreaking was what we did? How often do people take notes collaboratively with SubEthaEdit in conferences? It seemed to be a “first time” for many of the participants, so I guess it isn’t that common. Have you done it already? What is your experience of it? How often do people put up notes or transcripts of conferences on wikis?

Discipline is needed to separate the actual notes (ie, “what the conferencer said”) from the note-taker comments (ie, extra links, commentary, questions, remarks). This isn’t a big issue when a unique person is taking notes for his or her private use, but it becomes really important when more people are involved. I think that although we did do this to some extent, we were a bit sloppy about it.

Information on the wiki page, apart from the notes, should also include pointers to the official presentation the talker made available (not always easy to find!), and I’m also trying to suggest that people who have done proper write-ups of the talks (see Philipp’s write-ups, they are impressive) to add links to them from the appropriate wiki pages (Topic Exchange is great, but lacks detail).

Participants, as far as I could make out, were: Leo, Lee, Roland, Cyprien, Horst, Mark, Malte, Björn, Omar, Paolo, Suw and myself. [to be completed] (If you took part in the note-taking, please leave a comment — I’m having trouble tracking you all down.) I did see Ben Trott online in SubEthaEdit while he and Mena were giving their talk, and was tempted to invite him into our note-taking session — but I was too shy and didn’t dare. And thanks to Joi for being so generous with the Joiwiki!

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BlogTalk 2.0, Compte-Rendu [fr]

Un compte-rendu en français de la conférence viennoise sur les weblogs à  laquelle j’ai assisté en début de semaine. Beaucoup de conférences intéressantes, beaucoup de gens, une utilisation intéressante de la technologie, et beaucoup d’idées pour des billets à  écrire!

De retour juste à  temps pour mon 30 anniversaire après l’excellente conférence Blogtalk à  Vienne, il est temps que je tienne ma promesse à  Pascale et que j’offre pitance à  mes lecteurs francophones. Cela d’autant plus que je crois bien avoir été la seule représentante de la blogosphère francophone à  cette conférence (pas que je prétende à  une quelconque autorité officielle pour la représenter) — j’adorerais apprendre que je me trompe.

Un mot tout d’abord pour dire que je regrette l’absence de Loïc à  cette conférence. Premièrement, cela aurait été sympathique de pouvoir faire sa connaissance, et deuxièmement (comme je le mentionne plus haut), la francophonie était clairement sous-représentée lors cet événement de portée européenne. Sans vouloir faire de Loïc le porte-drapeau de la blogosphère francophone (loin de là !), je pense que la présence d’un weblogueur francophone tel que lui, médiatique et de surcroit propriétaire d’une entreprise comme U-blog, aurait amélioré la visibilité de cette conférence auprès des blogueurs francophones, contribuant par là  à  ouvrir notre petite blogosphère parfois un peu trop ronronnante à  ce qui se passe ailleurs en Europe. Weblogueurs francophones (Loïc ou autres!), je compte bien vous croiser à  BlogTalk l’année prochaine!

Alors, de quoi ça a parlé? De nombreuses conférences, que je dois encore digérer, et dont je tenterai de vous rapporter les plus marquantes au cours de ces prochains jours; mais surtout, les conversations informelles naissant des rencontres de couloir, que ce soit dans le cyberespace ou l’Urania proprement dit. C’est ce côté “social-geek”, que j’ai énormément apprécié au cours des quelques derniers jours, que je désire partager avec vous aujourd’hui.

Les personnes avec lesquelles j’ai le plus parlé et passé du temps, clairement, sont Lee Bryant, Suw Charman, et Horst Prillinger (Horst est sans conteste le meilleur guide dont on puisse rêver pour visiter Vienne, y manger et s’y déplacer). J’ai rencontré et parlé avec bien d’autres personnes intéressantes durant ce séjour, évidemment. Je tenterai de vous parler d’eux ces prochains jours. Disons pour le moment que ce fut un réel plaisir de discuter avec autant de gens intelligents, cultivés, et comprenant les weblogs et la technologie.

J’avais déjà  brièvement rencontré Suw à  Londres et nous parlons régulièrement sur IRC depuis de longs mois. Quant à  Horst, habitant Vienne, il avait posté un grand nombre d’informations utiles sur la page wiki BlogTalkVienna. Après une journée à  marcher seule à  travers Vienne jusqu’à  plus de jambes, je lui ai envoyé un mot pour proposer que l’on se rencontre (je me souvenais également que Suw allait loger chez lui). Lee, dont Suw m’avait parlé puisqu’ils s’étaient retrouvés dans le même avion, est une rencontre que je dois à  RendezVous (RendezVous existe aussi pour Windows et Linux) et SubEthaEdit, deux jouets geek pour OSX qui m’ont rendue encore plus contente qu’avant de faire partie de la Communauté de la Pomme.

Que sont donc ces deux jouets? RendezVous permet de connecter et de rendre visible les uns aux autres les différents utilisateurs connectés sur un même réseau local. Concrètement: BlogTalk, comme toute conférence geek qui se respecte, fournit wifi et connection Internet à  ses participants. Une fois connectée au réseau, je lance iChat (le programme pour AIM fourni avec Mac), et j’ouvre la fenêtre RendezVous. Je vois automatiquement une liste des autres personnes sur le réseau ayant effectué la même manipulation que moi — comme on voit ses contacts sur ICQ ou MSN, à  la différence qu’ici, il n’y a pas besoin “d’ajouter les contacts”: on se retrouve avec une liste de noms dans sa liste, inconnus ou non, à  qui l’on peut envoyer des messages.

Ma première mission a donc été d’aller dire bonjour à  la petite dizaine de personnes connectées, puisque je ne connaissais personne 🙂 — j’ai été très bien accueillie. Au cours d’une conversation, quelqu’un (je ne suis plus sûre qui!) m’a demandé si j’avais SubEthaEdit, parce que Lee Bryant y avait ouvert un document dans lequel on pouvait tous prendre des notes ensemble, en collaboration. Ni une, ni deux, j’ai téléchargé et installé le programme. SubEthaEdit, c’est comme un Notepad multi-joueurs, ou une page wiki instantanée. On peut afficher une liste des membres du réseau ayant SubEthaEdit en train de tourner, et ouvrir les documents partagés par ceux-ci. Des couleurs différencient les différentes personnes en train d’éditer un document, et tout se passe en temps réel: on voit les gens taper.

Assez vite, la petite équipe qui prenait des notes s’est mise d’accord pour les mettre en ligne. Suw a suggéré de les mettre sur une page wiki, afin que les personnes sans Mac ni SubEthaEdit (dont elle faisait partie — mais elle a promis qu’on la verrait l’année prochaine avec son propre iBook ou PowerBook!) puissent également contribuer à  l’effort collectif. Sitôt suggéré, sitôt fait: au fur et à  mesure que les conférenciers terminaient leur présentation, je mettais nos notes en ligne sur le wiki de Joi. Les notes sont pour le moment mal formattées, et bénéficieront d’un peu de jardinage afin que d’autres puissent les compléter, ajouter leurs commentaires, des liens vers leurs comptes-rendus ou encore les présentations mises en ligne par les conférenciers eux-mêmes.

Histoire d’éviter de donner à  ce billet une longueur parfaitement indigeste (si le mal n’est pas déjà  fait!), je terminerai en mentionnant les thèmes de conversations informelles que j’ai eues et qui m’inspirent pour des billets ou autres écrits (pas toujours en français, malheureusement).

  • Problèmatique des weblogs multilingues, et comment un outil comme WordPress peut être adapté pour les gérer; ce qu’on peut faire pour rendre un weblog multilingue plus sympathique à  ses lecteurs monolingues (attendez-vous à  des changements par ici!
  • Reconnaissance vocale, ce que j’ai accompli avec, et ce que je pense que l’on devrait pouvoir faire avec cette technologie dans un futur proche.
  • Langues et Internet: frontières, langues minoritaires. Réflexions sur la “blogosphère suisse” — existe-t-elle seulement?
  • Comment faire une présentation de qualité à  une conférence (Suw et moi avons un article en préparation sur le sujet).
  • Suggestions pour organisateurs de conférences pour geeks (inévitable).
  • Réflexion sur les différents vecteurs et supports de contenu entrant en jeu lors d’une présentation orale.
  • Weblogs et enseignement, bien entendu…
  • Une expérience organisée avec Lee, consistant à  coller à  mesure ses propres notes dans le document SubEthaEdit
  • Rencontres diverses

(Je mettrai des liens quand les billets seront écrits, si j’oublie, rappelez-le-moi!)

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