Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Virtual Worlds Not Just for Gaming

An article at PhysOrg describes some university astrophysicists' presence on Second Life for research collaboration, the Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA). Early participants include scientists from CIT, Drexel, MIT and Princeton and presently offer seminars and lectures, there, and have larger ambitions for collaborative research. While the social sciences may seem a better fit, MICA believes the improved mechanisms for visualization are a great advantage for physical scientists.

Speaking of the reluctance of the academic community to take virtual worlds seriously because of their association with gaming, Djorgovski said:

“This is incorrect; while these technologies got developed largely by the gaming industry, and there is certainly a lot of gaming going on, virtual worlds are something bigger: a general platform for all kinds of activities, ranging from entertainment to purely professional. Just like the Web itself.”

We've covered collaborative tools for writers and/or artists in the past, here at Flash News: Etherpad, Rate My Drawings, TiddlyWiki, and Whrrl. Virtual worlds seem like a potential for a roll-your-own collaborative tool for reading groups, writers and artists. (But don't forget to do some actual reading and writing.)


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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Auto-Collaborative Tool?

Can you collaborate with yourself on fiction, or any other complicated project? If you have a defective memory like the present bloggist, yes. If you carry a mini-notebook in your pocket or pocketbook because you wouldn't have any short-term memory without it, yes. You can collaborate with the person whose memory state was different a few days ago than now, and that person is you.

Without impugning another's memory, I know of at least one anthology editor who is using TiddlyWiki to help organize his editorial notes. TiddlyWiki is a single-file wiki that you can carry with you on a flash memory stick or post on a web site. Since it is based on HTML and JavaScript, it works with most browsers and most operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

You can use it for entirely personal work or to collaborate with others. The main feature is that it is small and easy to use, yet has impressive capabilities, including plug-ins and themes...and is free, as in free beer and free speech (BSD license). The TiddlyWiki site has a number of examples (see left sidebar on the TiddlyWiki site) created by users. Some look like a traditional web site and others like a wiki. Several examples were writerly sites used to create hyperlinked fiction and poetry or to help organize a story.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Collaborative Drawing on the Web

In December '08 I did a post on EtherPad, which can be used to collaborate with other writers over the web. Now, there is the Rate My Drawings site that has a similar "DrawChat" facility where you can collaboratively view and edit drawings while chatting. You can do this in a public or private web chat room.

This web site is primarily a critiquing site for artists and you have to be a member and have "contributed" at least one drawing to use the chat facility. You'll have to investigate the artist's rights issues before using it.

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