Monday, October 19, 2009

"Wave"ing...

(while I wait for actual inspiration to strike)

I just acquired an invite to Google Wave (thanks to John Moeller), and have been finding it quite intriguing (note: you can't "get" Google Wave unless you're invited, and no, I don't have any invites to give out).

Google Wave is a mysterious combination of email, chat, wikis and browser extensions that's hard to describe - you can read descriptions of it all over the web, but unless you are able to get in and start playing, it's like trying to buy wine based on text descriptions of the taste.

So far I've used it to:
• discuss an outline for next semester's seminar with my students (Topics in Graph Algorithms, for those curious)
• Start working with a collaborator on an outline for a tutorial we want to do
• set up administrative struts for our research group svn server (I've started using svn for writing papers - it's an amazing experience - more on that some other time)
By far the coolest feature of Wave for me is that you can include a LaTeX extension into any "wave"or conversation, and it automatically converts things between $$...$$ marks into latex, which makes me hopeful that it will be useful for more substantive discussions (since I often wish I had such capabilities in Skype/Google chat)

Although the preview is painfully slow, and is crippled in various ways, the potential is clearly there, and as more people get on it, it will only start getting more effective. I'm looking forward to it.