well, this has turned into a weekend of “install and tinker”.


first, the lastest mozilla nightlies have really been coming along. for the first time, i’m contemplating using it as my primary browser. i can even post with blogger. imagine that. and it’s reasonably stable. it’s not perfect, but you can finally really see the promise and not have that nagging feeling that you’re lying to yourself.

it still tends to get a little sluggish after rugged usage. if things don’t work out, maybe i’ll look into beonex.


feeling pretty good, i decided to tinker with groove. for the uninitiated, i’ll take this opportunity to unload a brief series of perspectives on groove. most of the early press described the application/platform in a similar manner as Distributed computing steps toward the mainstream:

“The Groove transceiver ? the “space” in which a user works ? includes capabilities that lend themselves to natural and intuitive group interactivity. These include voice communications, instant messaging, text-based chat, and threaded discussion. There are also tools for sharing files, sharing pictures, sharing contacts, and for shared activities such as drawing and Web browsing. After Groove is launched, a user creates a secure shared space to which he can invite others to conduct business or personal affairs. Each Groove shared space is stored locally on the computers of each of the members of the shared space. A change to one member’s shared space is reflected on everyone’s machine, so their work remains completely synchronized with other members.”

the register brings up a few good points in “Is Groove the new Napster?”, including the fact that:

“…Groove does not address trust metrics. For now it’s an infrastructure play that leaves aside how people collaborate.

These days it is a lot harder than in the early days of Notes to chooses likely collaborative partners when creating ad hoc groups as there is much more information media to choose from. Who’s smart, and who’s a clown? Working this out should be transparent, and the science is evolving pretty rapidly. Whether Groove intends to swallow such trust metric logic into the platform, or leave it for third parties, will be its next test.

And finally, and this is a question to which all P2P brainstormers should have a some kind of answer, is whether you’ll really be able trust the data you’re working with.”

jon udell answers that and more in Let’s Groove With Ray Ozzie:

“This is nuts. We ought to enjoy some basic guarantees — that our messages come from authenticated sources, are confidential, and haven’t been tampered with — as a matter of course. And Groove makes those guarantees. Crypto is always on, period. You can’t even turn it off if you want to. There’s nothing to configure, and this was a key design constraint. What Ozzie observed with Notes, over many years, is that security failures almost invariably boiled down to human error. There were too many choices, too many knobs. Groove does away with the knobs.”

and finally, but certainly not leastly, Deconstructing “Groove” gives a good perspective on the potential of groove in a “learning environment” :

“Overall, Groove is very promising. The fact that it is simple to use and that it is de-centralized are hugely empowering to peer groups that will use it. The sense of personal control and the simplicity of initiating collaboration are appealing. As en e-learning tool, we just have to wait and see if interesting and innovative applications are built that specifically target learning & KM issues. Most of my students described Groove as an interesting tool. Whether it will evolve beyond being just an interesting tool will largely depend on how learning solution providers react to Groove and what Groove Networks can offer to them in return.”

so, the initial press looked promising and i was ready to go. it’s reasonably easy to install and get going “out of the box”. my biggest problem seemed to be figuring out how to add contacts so i could send out invitations to join my “space”. for the record, if you download a ‘contact card’ from the groove network, all you need to do is “doubleclick” it to add the person to your contact list. so easy – and yet so hard to figure out. i swear, nowhere does it say that you need to “doubleclick” the “contact card”.

my impressions? unfortunately, even though i actually know someone who is a registered groove user, i haven’t been able to collaborate with him yet and it’s just not that compelling to use by yourself. i suppose i could try to invite people that i don’t know to collaborate, but i’m just not that kind of guy. it’s a classic “chicken-and-egg” problem. it’s not that much fun to use, unless your friends, family and co-workers are using it, and i can guarantee you that they won’t be early-adoptin’ groove until there’s a compelling reason. and there won’t be a compelling reason until….

in the end, and not without a certain amount of sadness – for now, i guess i am going to have to agree with ev:

“As much hype as it’s gotten, it has a steep road ahead. It’s rather obviously missing the elusive “killer app” to get enough people to download it for it to be ubiquitous enough to get people to write apps to
get people to download it — and, even more importantly, use it.”

hmmm, maybe if blogger was hooked into groove’s infrastructure you could really start to have a rich collaborative workspace for distributed content management.


even though groove seemed to be all promise and no real knockout punch [yet], i decided to trudge along and finally bang on jabber. specifically, i installed the hotjabber client:

“Hotjabber.com is a free Instant Messaging service for anyone who need to communicate on the Internet. It resembles ICQ and AIM but is far more flexible. With a single client/account you can communicate with ICQ, AIM, Microsoft Messenger and YAHOO Messenger.”

it works great.. i set up the AIM transport and used it to to chat with a friend about…groove. and since i was running mozilla, i decided to install jabberzilla. again, worked as advertised. it takes 30 seconds to download, and i could immediately log in to my hotjabber account and see my contact list. it didn’t appear to want to allow me add new contacts though.

maybe now i can work on Fun With Jabber: Headline Delivery with RSS

all-in-all it was a good day.

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