When I'm in the heat of coming up with new ideas on a research project I have a bad habit of sending an email to my collaborators and then, a minute or an hour or a day later, another and another, correcting or contradicting or elaborating on the previous ones, until it can be difficult to figure out which parts of what I sent were important or bogus or relevant. Wouldn't it be better to have a system that's sort of like email, in that it allows one to send messages that only one's trusted collaborators sees, but sort of like a wiki, in that everything can be edited after the fact by anyone else (with the old versions still viewable)? And while we're at it, why not make this system sort of like a threaded web forum where one can share a whole long thread with additional people long after it starts, and sort of like an outliner that lets you build a hierarchical structure for your ideas, and maybe also sort of like a chat system where one can see what everyone else in the same thread is typing as they type it? And even sort of like LaTeX* in that it knows how to format equations and not just the usual text and pictures?
That's what Google Wave is.
I've been using Wave for all of a week now for one of my papers and I already regret the times I lapsed back into my old bad habits to work on it by email. I'm not giving up on email any time soon but for some situations there are other tools that are better, and I think this is one of those situations. Wave is in beta (justifiably so: the server is...robust) and still invitation-only. But apparently a week is long enough for me to be an old hand** and start inviting a few other people to join me, so if you want an invite and somehow haven't managed to score one already elsewhere then feel free to ask here.
*Ok, the LaTeX part isn't there by default. It's an extra gadget that you have to add on, but it's easy to do so. I haven't used it much, though: most of the time when I need math it's just for simple formulas like O(n2) that are easy enough to type inline.
Update: all eight of my initial set of invitations are used now but bhael has more; see the comments.
Update update: I have invites again.
sending an email to my collaborators and then, a minute or an hour or a day later, another and another, correcting or contradicting or elaborating on the previous ones, until it can be difficult to figure out which parts of what I sent were important or bogus or relevant It's lucky, then, that you don't work in a discipline where there are people hunting through your every word looking for something they can exploit politically.
Yeah. I very much would not want my email hacked for other reasons, but that's not one of them.
Can you please send me an invitation to nostart at gmail dot com. It would be good to test it. Thanks in advance. Elias
I'd appreciate an invitation too, if you have one left: percypperson at gmail. Thanks!
Done. It may take a little while for them to process the invitation.
Can you send me a wave invitation (at firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have some extras. Thanks.
Got it! Thanks.
If you still have an extra, I'd like one. You probably have my email, but if you don't (and don't want to google it), use email@example.com instead. Thanks.
Done. After you, there's one more left.
Dear Prof. Eppstein, If you still have invitations can I have one? (mdvillagra at gmail.com)
I'm out for now. If I get more I'll let you know.
Don't you find that the wave kind of environment is more distracting that it conducive environment for work/ research? I have not tried it, and not very excited either.( I read Scobbler review once cautioning the programmer that it might eat way valuable programmer time.) I hear the praise of federation protocol and its possibilities, but application wise wave seems wiki, forum and email together at the moment.
The part about using it for chat can be a distraction, yes. So far nt enough of one to be a serious problem, though.
I have quite a lot of Wave invitations available. If any of your readers would like one before you get more, have them send me a quick email or PM.
Thanks, I edited the post to mention this.
If anyone had the same reaction as me on logging into Google Wave, namely "er, now what?", there's a good User Guide at http://completewaveguide.com Cheers John Ramsden
Thanks — even if one does think one knows what one's doing, this looks useful for finding out about some of the less obvious features.