Sunday, October 25, 2009

Google Wave Collaboration Examples

I just got access to Google Wave. It's not too much fun to play with yet because I don't have enough friends or collaborators with Google Wave, so there's nobody to play with, and Google Wave is a collaboration platform at heart.

I posted about Google Wave when is was first announced. Since then, the Wave people have put together a lot of educational videos, and videos showing early applications are starting to show up, too. Here's an 8 minute overview of Google Wave (a reduction from the 80-minute video the Wave team posted when they announced Google Wave):

Some important Google Wave terms:

  • Wave - an instance of a collaboration created using Google Wave. I assume this is a log file contained time-stamped information that collaborators are entering and deleting. The file is shared somewhere on the web (at some point Google will let you host Wave on your own server).
  • Extension - an application collaborators include in a Wave. A simple Extension that you get in the default Wave client is a polling application that allows collaborators to vote ("yes", "no", and "maybe" are the choices). I assume that a Wave contains one or more instances of any Extension collaborators include in the Wave.
  • Robot - a collaborator that is an application (as distinct from an application that collaborators use, which is an Extension). One useful thing for Robots is to provide programmatic interfaces to other services. For instance, Google is developing a Robot called Twave (short for "twitter wave") that allows Wave users to post and read tweets, and filter for keywords. Twave isn't available as of this writing. Google is building a very cool Robot that will translate Wave conversations between collaborators. I can't wait for that one.
To get an idea of possible Wave-based applications, here is a video that shows a customer service application for Wave users to access a customer service cloud built on

This blog post describes an SAP collaborative technology called Gravity that interfaces with Google Wave. Here is another video that shows how employees from two companies that have merged might use Gravity and Google Wave to collaborate on combining business processes:

In the future, I think there will be Robots that will help with tasks like legal compliance or ISO 9000 compliance for organizations that use Google Wave.

I'm interested in using Google Wave for start-ups I'm working on (Garth!!!), as well as for the Moab Music Festival, a not-for-profit with collaborators spread all over the map. I'm figuring out what Extensions and Robots might help writers, musicians, photographers, and other creative types work together, too.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spiraling Towards Moab

Every year, I go to the Moab Music Festival for my spiritual reawakening. I hope you can join me next year. I'll explain more about the Festival in upcoming posts. The first thing everyone asks me is: how do you get to Moab?

It can take as long to get to Moab as it takes to get to Europe, especially if a thunderstorm stops airplanes from landing in Denver or Salt Lake City. My first piece of advice: don't be in a hurry to get to Moab, or return home. Enjoy the journey.

Here are your basic travel options to go to Moab:

  • Fly to Canyonlands (CNY). The story they told me at the airport is that the U.S. Postal Service subsidizes one airline to carry mail into Moab, so there is always a commercial flight directly there. Currently, United makes the flight via Denver. In the past Salmon Air flew through Salt Lake City. The Thrifty Car Rental people will leave a car for you at the airport. It takes 20-30 minutes to drive into Moab.
  • Fly to Grand Junction (GJT). This is my favorite route. It's usually a lot cheaper than flying into Canyonlands/Moab directly. There are many rental car choices at the airport. The two-hour drive along the Colorado River is the best drive I've ever made. Stunning. Take I-70 West, then UT-128 to Moab. The only trick is to take the second Cisco exit off I-70 which is clearly marked as the route to Moab. The first Cisco exit works, too, but it's a long drive on a frontage road through a ghost town. Try to leave Grand Junction in time to drive through the Colorado River gorge during the day. These days you can get to GJT on United (via Denver), Delta (via Salt Lake City), and Frontier (via Phoenix). I usually plan on lunch at one of these airports on the way to GJT.
  • Fly to Salt Lake City (SLC). It takes about four hours to drive from Salt Lake City to Moab. You can take the Big Horn Shuttle. The shuttle's fine if you're meeting someone, but you might as well rent a car at SLC otherwise. The drive over Soldier Pass can be treacherous if weather conditions turn bad. I prefer the drive from Grand Junction because it's shorter and the Colorado River section is so overwhelming. However, the drive over the Wasatch Mountains and across the high desert on US-6 is plenty entertaining.
  • Fly to Denver (DEN). It's about six hours to drive from Denver to Moab. Just get on I-70 and drive to UT-128.
  • Drive from anywhere. After 9/11/2001, one of the musicians couldn't get a flight to the Moab Music Festival. He drove from Los Angeles. I've driven from San Francisco. On that ride, we spent a night at Lake Tahoe, then drove I-50 across Nevada. I've also driven from Crested Butte and Telluride. Almost any drive across this part of the United States is long and beautiful.
  • If you have a private plane, why not fly directly to CNY.
Once you get to Moab, there are many lodging and dining options. You'll want a car to drive to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and to trails around Moab. If you're staying for a stretch, consider renting a condo. Then you can take advantage of the farmers market and butcher to cook up a few meals.

After you drive down UT-128, take a look at the opening of Austin Powers in Goldmember:

Safe travels!