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Anybody want to mess around with a conversation tool?
I'd like to take a dig around Novell Vibe, which is approximately a corporate version of Google Wave. The projects were developed in parallel, far as I can tell; when Wave came out, Novell quickly adapted their communication protocols to match Wave, and then kept going. Now, Wave is kaput as a public site, and Vibe is more-or-less released: there's a shipping on-premises version and a cloud-based version in Beta. (Having lifted some of Google's now-open-source code, I gather.)

I'm once again getting annoyed at email for project communications, and am intrigued by Vibe: it has the sort of corporate attitude that Wave never did, and might be a viable tool for us. But before I go pushing it at the company, I'd like to mess around with it with friends and kick the tires a little, and decide whether or not it sucks. It's obviously over-complicated, and the UI is far from perfect, but if the functionality is strong it might be worth using anyway. I'm specifically looking for a good tool for having in-depth group conversations, which integrates with ActiveDirectory in some reasonable way and provides strong enough security that the company might be willing to use it.

(Wave was great for the conversations, but integration was non-existent and they provided no assurance of decent security. Wave in a Box may well eventually be the ideal solution for us -- I found yesterday that setting up a copy inside our firewall is a snap, astonishingly easy even on a Windows server from a standing start -- but it's really not ready for prime time yet.)

So -- anybody want to play a little? I'm looking to have some random conversations about -- well, pretty much anything, but Planning And Designing Stuff would be ideal. If you're interested, the beta program is open and free (for now). I'm signed up as vibe at waks org (under my mundane name); I encourage you to follow me there, tell me you've signed up, and think of random chit-chat to talk about...

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Send the link. Ars is really the only tech blog I follow with any regularity, and even that I tend to be miles behind on...

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Intriguing article. I don't necessarily agree with all of his points -- in particular, I think he makes the current common mistake of focusing on light-touch interactions to the point of being too dismissive of heavy-touch ones -- but it's useful food for thought and good pointers. Thanks...

I still use and love NNTP for this purpose at work quite happily :)

Granted, I haven't touched NNTP in something like 10 years, but I don't think it does what I want. (Really, is NNTP all that different from group email in any respect except archiving?)

In particular, Wave had one feature that is weird but *incredibly* useful: the ability to start a thread right in the middle of another message. So if someone starts a conversation with a big long message (as often happens at work), you can break it down and respond to the pieces and parts separately. And because Wave is essentially a co-editing system at heart, you can then reach the end of a thread, delete it, and summarize it by rewriting the original document.

When Wave first came out, Google tried to sell it as a replacement for email. I was skeptical about that at the time (not least because it centers on exactly the one concept that was *not* in CommYou), but I've gradually come to appreciate the ways in which that's true. It's a very different model, though: instead of thinking in terms of messages back and forth, you think of the conversation as a collaboration over an object (typically a document), with the purpose of winding up with that document in a better state. That's hellaciously powerful for many purposes, and nothing else seems to think that way. (My current explorations with Vibe seem to indicate that it misses this key feature, as AFAICT does the current WiaB client, but I'm hoping to find that it's hidden there somewhere...)

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