Tag Archives: collaboration

How to Explain Collaboration

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The other day, Andrew sent a link to this game for me to try out. He knows that I am a fan of puzzles, and thought I would enjoy this team test. It is owned by the Swedish Army, and they use it for team-building exercise. The opening splash screen tells you that “We demand a lot of our officers. Cooperation is a given.” I was almost afraid to play the game. I’m definitely no officer, but I do like to cooperate and be part of a team effort. I’m glad I took a chance – this game is great!

Four random people are connected together to form a team. The person to the immediate right of you will gain more time to their clock each time you complete a task successfully. You will be assigned to one of four colors, and you must concentrate only on the puzzles put before you in your area.

You’ll be asked to solve puzzles such as memorizing colors and numbers, moving a ball through a tunnel without touching the lines and things of that nature. You are “graded” on things like how well you concentrate… which is a huge challenge for me.

All in all, the game is a lot of fun and mentally stimulating. I definitely recommend you try it out.

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Achieve More by Letting Your Ideas Have Sex

Where do great ideas come from? When one idea loves another idea in a very special way, the two ideas get together and make little ideas. I’m serious. It’s all a matter of idea sex.

Light bulb photo by NeoGaboX

So what does it mean for ideas to have sex? The answer lies in Matt Ridley’s recent TED2010 talk. “The engine of human progress,” Ridley explains, “has been the meeting and mating of ideas to make new ideas.”

When people get together and share ideas, those ideas mesh, combine, and ultimately evolve into new ideas. Say you have an idea for a great WordPress plug-in, and your friend has a different idea. If you talk to each other, you can ultimately come up with new ideas that are even better than the original. That’s ultimately how the world has developed, according to Ridley. When people freely share and trade ideas, their ideas become better and stronger. They evolve in the form of new ideas.

Ridley’s talk reminded me of something Bre Pettis, of Makerbot, said at the 2009 Gnomedex. Bre urged folks to “liberate the digital designs you have” to make sure you “don’t let them suffocate on your hard drive.”

What’s the take-away advice here? If you keep the things to yourself, you may not go very far. You’re stuck with just what you understand and what you can think of. Get out there and collaborate, let your ideas have sex, and you can take it to the next level. To achieve more, no matter what you’re doing, you have to let your ideas have sex.

Better Than Google Docs – Etherpad Alternatives

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I have been using TypeWith.me constantly since it became available. Having to collaborate with others on a document in real-time isn’t always easy to do. However, using TypeWith.Me is completely simple. The service can handle 16 people at a time, all editing and working together to create an amazing document.

If this looks like EtherPad… it’s not. It IS based on EtherPad’s open-source code, which has been released by Google. A lot of us liked the way EtherPad worked, even if we didn’t like the name. Since EtherPad may now disappear at any given time, Jake and I decided to work together to create TypeWith.Me. We believe we have come up with the perfect solution.

I KNOW many of you may complain and whine, and claim that Google Wave is better or easier. You are wrong, my friends. Google Wave requires you to register, and it’s not as simple for everyone to use. When you have people from all levels of computing needing to work together, TypeWith.Me provides the perfect solution.

If you take a look at a document, you’ll notice different colors in the text. Those represent the different authors who are working on the document at any given time. TypeWith.Me also gives you constant auto-saves, so that you can restore anytime you need to.

You can use lists, bolding, underlining, and more – just as you can with other popular document collaboration software. This one, though, is just easy to use. It’s a clean interface, and it’s not going to beg you to donate or register!

TypeWith.Me is perfect for office collaboration, or for classmates in a school or college setting!

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Tweet Tips

I created a TypeWith.me document and tweeted the link out to my followers. Within seconds, we had reached the 16-user maximum. After serious trolling, those who played along with me came up with this set of Twitter tips.

I didn’t really copy edit, nor did I clarify what people were trying to communicate with their tips. Instead, I let this play out as an open collaborative experiment. I asked them to leave their Twitter handles after their tips, however – so if you have an issue with structure, you know who to contact. 😉

  • Follow @chrispirillo for some late night laughs. 😉 – [@ronishaaa]
  • Dont mass follow people. [@jordancooktech]
  • Don’t Flood With Tweets. [@jordancooktech]
  • Make sure your grammar is right.
  • Use a # in front of an important word, for example a new product, celebrity. NOT in front of EVERY word
  • People Hate Spam!
  • No one wants to see large URLs, use a shortner e.g bit.ly or tinyurl. [@MattyRobsonxD]
  • Don’t make a rap song why you deleted your Twitter. 
  • Tweet regularly, not once a year but also not 60 times per minute.
  • Don’t tweet your life. [@hmd183]
  • Regulary check your apps permissions in the account section. [@hmd183]
  • Protecting your tweets means they are only visible to your followers.
  • Don’t spam other pages like SchuelerVZ (german pupil community) with your Tweets. [@lukas2511]
  • Don’t lie about yourself. Just don’t say everything. 😉 [@lukas2511]
  • Tweet about things people are interested in.
  • Be mature.
  • Don’t post shortened urls from Rickrolls, people unfollow you after a while…
  • Dont go in with the expectation of being followed immediately, or people responding to everything you say.
  • If you get a number of followers you like (eg. 100) don’t tweet about it, or people will unfollow you and you will not be happy anymore. [@Ansjh]
  • You can often press (Enter) instead of (‘), so if you’re using eg. Tweetdeck you might tweet too soon. [@Ansjh]
  • Don’t boast about too much stuff. People will hate you. (Just as in real life) [@Ansjh]
  • #Do #not #make #random #hashtags.
  • Don’t drink and tweet.  [@ronishaaa]
  • Don’t retweet stupid things. [@lukas2511]
  • Don’t mass retweet. [@Knunez]
  • We don’t want to know that you are pooping.  [@lukas2511]
  • If you retweet something, don’t miss important words! [@lukas2511]
  • Don’t paste the wrong clipboard. [@lukas2511]
  • Update your status regulary or you will loose followers. [@lukas2511]
  • Keep in mind that everyone can read your tweets. Even your teachers! [@lukas2511]
  • Don’t be too nerdy. [@lukas2511]
  • If you see someone having problems, help him. [@lukas2511]
  • Use a short URL checker to prevent unwanted surprises! (e.g., Rick Rolls, goatsees, etc.) [@richard8a]
  • Don’t post so many links, its annoying. Keep it to 140 like you should! [@jaddes_green]
  • No one cares if you are having an an awful day. I’m sorry, but its the truth. [@jaddes_green]
  • Decide how you will decide. Bickering often happens around the decision-making process. Be clear with yourself and others involved about the steps you will take to reach the decision. [@chrislange1] 🙂
  • Don’t argue with people on Twitter. Keep it private, whether its a DM or whatever. No one wants to see your argument. [@Knunez]
  • READ your tweet before you hit enter. At least once. [@jaddes_green]
  • Quality over quantity. Tweet less but post more interesting things. [@jaddes_green]
  • Be origional with your tweets. [@LawriePearson]
  • Don’t follow people that you do not know. [@yamazaruninja]
  • Do not tweet everything that comes to mind. [@yamazaruninja]
  • Don’t click on links unless you are sure where they came from. [@GerardHayden]
  • People don’t care what you had for lunch. Tweet interesting things. [@neatmacapps]
  • Don’t tweet how many tweets you have tweeted!? [@LawriePearson]
  • Learn a bit of Twitter search queries to filter out noise (e.g. “from:username+-source:foursquare” to get rid of check-ins) [@tsipo]
  • Leave at least 20 characters free per tweet so that people can easily RT you. [@The_Tech_Update]
  • Don’t just post a link. Leave a description so your followers know what they’re clicking on. [@lhamil64]
  • Use Twitter client which expands shortened links (e.g., Brizzly) so clicking won’t take you where you don’t want to go. [@tsipo]
  • Most special characters (%^&* etc.) are ignored by Twitter search, so they are quite useless in tweets (unless cursing). [@tsipo]
  • Retweet using Twitter’s new “Retweet” button, not old-style RT – saves us all a lot of the noise. Much obliged. [@tsipo]
  • Nobody wants to know what you are eating. [@alexzandi]
  • Tweet occasionally with funicode.com to provide some variety to the average text strings you often encounter. [@JakeWarner]
  • Don’t accidentally tweet your password while multi-tasking and thinking about logging in. [@JakeWarner] — I’ve done this accidentally.

TypeWith.me is for You

For the most part, I’m addicted to software, hardware, and the Internet. Every so often, I learn about something that I want to share with the world – that’s why Lockergnome was created (way back when). I like having fun – like with http://funicode.com/ – but I also like being productive with my time.

A while ago, someone sent me a link to a service called “EtherPad.” Essentially, it’s an ad hoc document collaboration tool that’s easy to use (without requiring user registration). Google soon acquired the company to better integrate their ideas into Wave – and the future of EtherPad was questionable. They were allowed to release the source code for anybody to use, and so I asked my friends to help get this going…


Go ahead. Try it. Start a new document:


You’ll be whisked away to a unique URL which you can then share with friends, colleagues, co-workers, or anybody else who you might wish to collaborate with on-the-spot. It’s perfect for meetings, classes, lectures, conferences, or any scenario which might require you to journal thoughts and ideas with others without hassle.


How We Collaborate Today

Geek!This is Kenneth Rayl’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Collaboration has expanded since the introduction of the Bulletin Board System (BBS), back in the day when users dialed into a central computer hub to write messages to one other. This was no cake walk: long distant charges were common, and it took a long time to bring up post with the 2400bps, 14.4k, 28.8k, and even 56k modems. With high-speed Internet and new technologies, collaboration has expanded faster than ever. Here are my top five examples of how people collaborate today.


Massive Multiplayer Online games, some known as MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), have turned into a great way for players around the world to collaborate. Don’t believe me? Ask a player in any MMO game what country or state they are living in currently. You may find it harder to seek someone from your own area than to find someone from another country.

MMOs have lead the way for gamers to work together and accomplish goals, all while residing in different areas of the world. This form of collaboration tends to go unnoticed amongst gamers, since they tend to be more concerned about their current quest than the players they are playing with. When gamers have down time and talk to their group or guild, they find players from different states and countries playing alongside them. Even game consoles are building virtual worlds for their users to collaborate and get together to become friends that can play games that they enjoy playing together. And honestly, while the video game industry gets constant attacks due to its violence and addictive nature, where else do you see a collection of people from around the world working together like the players in MMOs?


I realize a blog is more like a journal for most, where thoughts and feelings are posted regularly. But think of all the people who respond though those journal entries – they often collaborate by posting comments and building ideas based upon the entry.

We can look to Chris Pirillo’s community site for geeks, where users with a common interest (people who love technology) can blog and group themselves together based on common interests, then communicate with one other.

Other sites like Facebook, MySpace, and LiveJournal have paved the way for this type of collaboration. Each of these services are geared to different types of users and have evolved to suite their audience, like MySpace and Facebook have. Most users tend to use Facebook to communicate with close friends and family, while MySpace has become a great place to keep up with musical artists, bands, performers, and other entertainers (as well as provide a way for the user to use a nickname so they can post without much consequence of others finding out who they really are). These services have allowed many to write their true feelings with the minimal consequence of losing friends. But user beware: it is becoming widely known for an employer to look up applicants on these sites to see who the person “really” is.


In the business world, conference calls have transformed to sharing PowerPoints, video feeds between clients, and even editing documents together (remotely) in real-time. Businesses no longer have to send employees to locations and pay large amounts of money; they can now collaborate with multiple locations at once, creating a streamlined process to get business done and deals signed faster than ever before. Microsoft is an example of a company trying to create this experience. They have been constantly releasing technologies that have helped innovate the process of collaborating business across the world.

Microsoft is not the only company that is on the business bandwagon. GoToMeeting has created a product where you can “Demonstrate, present, collaborate – right from your PC or Mac.” There are many alternatives out there which accomplish the same task. Business conferencing is still on the move, though still thought to be a young technology; it is getting updated almost daily with new services. Chris Pirillo even pointed out a program called Textflow, which is still in beta, but provides a way for a user to compare various revisions of a document, so the collaboration process is much faster. Business software that’s built atop collaborative toolsets is a great money saver for companies – not to mention a faster, more accurate way to get business done.


BBSes from back in the day sort of started the trend whereby someone asked for help on a subject and dialed in again a week (or month) later to see if anyone responded. Though these systems were used for other things as well, it was usually the University students who used the technology for help and advice. Today, with the proliferation of broadband in the home, the forum has taken place of that.

You will commonly find forums used for all sorts of discussions. The underlying software is relatively easy to set up and customize. Forums are commonly used on tech support pages for users to search and share advice and answers with each other. Users of the Linux distro Ubuntu take full advantage of the forums set up for them. Common questions and answers are found on the site, many answers found by bringing together user input to find the solution of a problem. You will find many companies use forums for their products so to get input from users about ideas and suggestions as well as questions and answers to problems with the products themselves.

Forums can be used for general discussions, like the forum on Rooster Teeth’s site and Traction Radio’s form hosted by the forum host Yuku – which is a service to help users and companies set up forums. These forums generally have no set topic, but have various topics for users to go into and discuss what they like, know, or have questions about.

Chat Rooms

From text messaging to instant messaging, basic chat is still widely used by many across the world. No bells or whistles – just sending simple text back and forth to one another. The mobile communications companies constantly report growth in text messaging almost every year, and cell phone companies like LG, Nokia, and Apple are creating phones based around text capabilities. All while AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Yahoo Messenger, even Google Chat are still quite active. Clients like Pidgin, Adium, and Miranda allow users to connect to various IM protocols through one client.

Even games like MMOs and virtual worlds use it. There have been instant message contests, and theme parks are using it to display wait times. Walt Disney World is experimenting with with the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor at the Magic Kingdom. Visitors can text jokes that may be used during the show while waiting in line. Universal Studios Florida used text for visitors waiting in line at the 2008 Halloween Horror Nights to follow a Choose Your Own Adventure story using the storyline of the haunted house they were in line for. Chat clients are getting bigger, and text messaging is showing up for all sorts of uses.

If I missed any technology or you know a company I did not mention which is paving the way for better collaboration, feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!