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Good progress, but not there yet
Just spent an hour or two doing a quick installation of Wave in a Box, the now open-sourced version of Google Wave. A few thoughts:

On the plus side, installation and setup was astonishingly easy. Admittedly, I'm a couple of years out from the open source world, but it's clear that folks are continuing to make strides in the area of ease of development and use. From a fairly vanilla Windows Server with none of the prerequisites, I had Wave up and running in less than two hours flat, with almost no head-scratching involved. The instructions are clear, and they work. (Which, when dealing with open source on Windows, impresses the heck out of me.)

On the downside, it's not ready for prime time yet, even for limited in-company use. My (admittedly bare) hope was that I could set up an internal Wave server for some project communications that need more depth than email -- someone said, "let's set up a forum system", and I immediately thought of Wave. But the UI still demands Chrome: IE is slow as mud and sadly buggy, so it's clearly still using some of the old Wave client codebase. It's missing a lot of basic UI functionality, including some of the bits I most love about Wave. (Especially the ability to interject a thread into the middle of the base blip.) And unsurprisingly, there's no apparent Active Directory integration yet, which makes use in the corporate environment problematic.

Oh, well -- frankly, it's further along than I expected, and the problems are likely tractable. I'm going to have to deal with something more primitive for my current project, but there's at least plausible reason to hope that, by the time my next one starts up, I'll be able to set up an inside-the-firewall Wave server for its chatter...

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Is this "wave" something I should know about, or can I continue accessing my political blogs, Live Journal and the newspapers and forget the newest thing?

Unrelated, is there a good time for us to get together? Shari and Sada are visiting me this Thursday and staying through Saturday morning while she considers U. Mass Amherst as a possible college. I worry about her possibility for admission when there is bound to be enormous in-state demand for places because private higher education is becoming so unaffordable.


Wave isn't relevant to you yet. Basically, Google Wave was the product that put my proto-company, CommYou, out of business -- and then, to add insult to injury, they never figured out what to *do* with it, and discontinued it a couple of months ago. But they're releasing much of it into the wild for other people to work on, and that's very exciting to me: it means potentially new and cool tools for online communication. (It'll likely never be used for your blogs, though -- Wave excels at interactive conversation, but is *terrible* for large groups.)

As for visiting, the easiest time for us to get together is probably lunchtime on some weekday: rather than competing for my deliberately-busy free time, why don't you come out and we'll do a long lunch. (I'll eventually want you to come help me come to grips with the filing, but that's probably at least a few weeks off yet.)

Doesn't necessarily follow that they are using Google-specific stuff, could just be heavily Javascript dependent, and IE has the worst Javascript engine by a mile. Try FireFox 4 and see what happens.

Well, to be more precise, I strongly suspect they are still using the GWT -- which, being a Java-to-Javascript compiler, is pretty demanding of Javascript.

My suspicion, based on some of the nuances, is that it's a derivative of the original Wave client, not quite as performance-crushing as the original (eg, it has normal scrollbars instead of Wave's pointlessly idiosyncratic ones), but still extremely demanding.

And yes, IE8's Javascript performance is wretched. Nonetheless, most of our customers (large commercial banks), and therefore many of our internal users, still default to it. Pinning the ultimate blame on IE doesn't change the fact that, for a large number of users, this rules out the near-term use of the tool...

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