Each color represents a different contributor. You can see other people typing in realtime, and you can see it when they select text, and you can see where they're moving their cursor.
In the above screenshot, you can see examples where one person has created a template ("# ANNOUNCEMENTS", "# SPEAKER NOTES") and other people are filling it in. People are alternating in entering outline elements, and you can see that sometimes one person will enter a bullet and someone else will fill in some details. You can also see that there may only be a few people making significant contributions at any given time—I think a lot of people just wanted to watch the notes in case they missed something the presenter said.
This screenshot shows some fine grained collaboration: There are people finishing each others sentences, fixing others' typos, and one guy caught the names and company affiliations of the speakers that everyone else missed and made sure all the answers were properly credited.
A couple times I saw some neat stuff happen. For example, during Joshua Schacter's talk, someone had missed the beginning of a new section and was putting notes under the old heading. I selected the line he was working on, he saw that and stopped typing, i cut and pasted into the correct heading, and he resumed typing (I had been wondering why SubEthaEdit showed other people's text selections, and this perhaps illustrated the issue).
What worked well:
What didn't work as well:
We did post the notes frequently during the day to a web page, and doing that required an effort that was either Herculean or Sisyphusian. Dan Moniz brought a wifi access point with an EVDO card for internet access (Stanford's wifi network is closed, so we had no internet that way), but it was kind of flaky and we didn't want everyone to be affected by the unreliability. So I stayed on the SubEthaEdit ad hoc network and helped edit the notes, periodically saving to my Public folder. Dan would then use Bluetooth File Exchange to grab the notes from my machine and post them to the web through his wifi AP with EVDO backhaul. Periodically I would use my cell phone as a GPRS modem via Bluetooth to grab something I needed online. I was about to say that this was probably not the geekiest thing happening at the conference, but upon reflection I think it is in fact a strong contender for the top slot.Posted by jjwiseman at May 01, 2006 06:38 PM