where "word of keystroke" begins

March 1, 2001 -- Experimenting with voice discussion -- plain old telephone

Transcript of the live chat session that took place Thursday, March 1, 2001. These sessions are normally scheduled for 12 noon-1 PM US Eastern Time (GMT -5 when Standard Time, GMT -4 when Daylight Savings Time) on Thursdays.

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Since the chat itself happens at a rapid pace, it's often difficult to note interesting facts and URLs as they appear live. Here's a place to take a more leisurely look. I've rearranged some of the pieces to try to capture the various threads of discussion (which sometimes get lost in the rush of live chat).

Please send email with your follow-on questions and comments, and suggestions for topics we should focus on in future sessions. So long as the volume of email responses is manageable, I'll post the most pertinent ones here for all to see.

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This is one of the longest-running chat programs on the Web. (Please let us know if you know of ones that are older.) We've been doing this since June 1996.

For transcripts of previous sessions and a list of future topics,

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Today's Participants

HibbspcExplorer: Good morning all. During this session from time to time we will be ALSO meeting in a telephone conference room where all are invited. To join that room simply telephone 305 503 6666 ext. 802. When the computer voice answers you do not need to listen to the long instructions. simply punch the extension numbers 802 and you wll be
in the room. The computer voice will tell you how many others are in the room, if any. The cost is your regular long distance cost per minute to call Florida. Enjoy

Richard Seltzer: Hello, John. You are here bright and early.

HibbsMacNetscape: I think from time to time we should post the telephone room number, but suggest you and I go there before the 9 a.m kick off dialing now

Richard Seltzer: Welcome, Bob. The POTS number [POTS = plain old telephone system] is 305-503-6666 X802. Dial the main number, then enter the extension when requested.

HibbsMacNetscape: i am in the telephone room now, got there instantly 305 503 6666 ext 802

Bob Zwick: John - do you have the telephone room hooked to a web voice chat ?

Richard Seltzer: Not today. But probably next time. John is working on that.

HibbsMacNetscape: you guys may want to join us in the phone room? Richard and I are there now

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Hi all -- since I'm in MA and working on my own dime, I thought I'd forego the phone part... sorry!!

Richard Seltzer: Welcome, Dan. Sorry I haven't gotten back to you yet with reponses to your helpful emails.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:  Not to worry -- RL is pressing sometimes!! :-)

HibbspcExplorer: Dan, if you have some pointed questions, I will do my best to answer

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Well hmm, I guess I have to agree that text & voice & graphics would be cool to have simultaneously. What tools do you use for all these, John?

Richard Seltzer: I think that one of the key questions is whether there is value in using a service/tool that combines all these capabilities. Or are you better off picking one approach and the best app for it, and focusing your efforts? I'm afraid that any all-in-1, do-it-all app is likely to have compromised on all the pieces...

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Re Richard all-in-one service tool -- Someone mentioned a pricey tool last wk, I saw/used it once, was impressed. Forgot its name...

HibbsMacNetscape: next time we will telephone

Bob Zwick: John - are you broadcasting the tel conversations with Real Audio ?

HibbsMacNetscape: bob why don't you come in the room

Bob Zwick:   do you mean call the number ?

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: I'm using a W2K laptop & MSIE5.* --OBTW, what's the little periodic
       "chirp" I hear?

Richard Seltzer: The noise alerts you that someone has posted something. You can
       turn it off by clicking on the speaker below the input box.

HibbsMacNetscape: Bob, no, I am not webcasting from the audio room, and do not have
       the capacity as I sit here, at this instant to do both. I actually
       need some help as I can't handle the phohone and the streaming and
       the chat all alone

HibbsMacNetscape: Bob, no, I am not webcasting from the audio room, and do not have
       the capacity as I sit here, at this instant to do both. I actually
       need some help as I can't handle the phohone and the streaming and
       the chat all alone

 Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Yeh, re phone and typing and all, I was real glad I brought a
       speakerphone in so I could type; but then it wasn't an 800# so I
       wimped out. Tnx Richard for the expln. I had kinda thought so...

 HibbspcExplorer: richard and I just left the phone room, so if anyone else wants to
       try that capability, they should let us know. I would suggest doing
       so as i is easy and very cheap and can be an excellent place for
       conversations which are then streamed. Next week I hope to do same,
       but would like help from those here to enable?

Richard Seltzer: My quick take -- that room seems like a great way to hold
       conference calls, without hassle. And it could be very good to be
       able to communicate by phone and text chat simultaneously. But it
       doesn't seem to make sense unless there's more than two people

HibbspcExplorer: IMHO, the way the ordinary telephone works best is to have a small panel of experts who dialogue over the phone. That audio is bridged to at least one net streaming device - telephony and or real audio,
       and the audience listens, and asks questions by text chat.  from time to time one can then invite those to join the room in
       addition to the Panel

HibbspcExplorer: what we have found out is that too many tools reduce the learning

Richard Seltzer: I believe a lot depends on habit. If you have half a dozen people
       who are used to using both phone and text chat, that could turn out
       to be great. But the learning curve could be a bit steep at first.

HibbspcExplorer:  such as powerpoint, charts and etc. though putting urls in the text
       chat area for others to look at is great. but audio and text chat
       carry the main load

HibbspcExplorer:   bob, I take it yu have no capabiliy to stream?

Richard Seltzer:       John -- if we were to try audio streaming the voice from a POTS
       telephone room, could that streaming be initiated by any of the
       participants? Or only from the telephone room? And how difficult
       would that be to do?

Bob Zwick:   I have the tools, but not the ISP service.

Richard Seltzer:   Does HiSpeed provide that service?

 Bob Zwick: Hi-Spped has dedicated servers ~ 200/mo that would give that
       capability, but I don't think they can provide a Real Server IP
       address to broadcast from. MyCast would be a place to look for that

 Richard Seltzer:  What does MyCast charge for that? And on what basis? Do you need to
       pay a monthly subscription fee? Or can you sign up to do it for a
       single event?

 Bob Zwick:  John could probably answer that question since GLD used it.

Richard Seltzer: John -- What does MyCast charge? And who is that structured?

Richard Seltzer:  John -- What does MyCast charge? And how is that structured?

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Is there any audio I should be listening to -- I've got a
       RealPlayer client up... (I think the answer's no to this Q)

HibbspcExplorer: Richard, I am afraid that people either have the capabiliy to
       muliti task or not. We found women couuld do it easily. I have a
       very hard time myself, thats one reason I like the speaker phone
       and will pay the 5 cents a minute to hear easily, type and listen
       and talk whenn and how I want.

Richard Seltzer:  I can juggle 2 or 3 things. I'd like to test the limits...

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:  Richard I see the pic but I don't see the 2 or 3 things you're
       purportedly juggling. P'raps they were out of frame :-)

Richard Seltzer: Yes, I'm juggling three very sharp sabers. Most of the time they
       are hovering just over my head...

HibbspcExplorer:  Dan, I am not sure what you mean by "all the tools"?

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:  Like what sort of graphic display (I gather just browser with
       PPT?), what text-chat tool, what audio tool(s)?

 Richard Seltzer:  A few years ago, we tested in one of our chat sessions a very fancy
       capability from placeware. I don't know if they are still in
       business. Slide show, audio, text, etc. all going at once, with an
       auditorium-style setup so you could have a moderator filtering
       questions for a speaker. Sounded good, but in practice was very
       awkward. It was designed for and worked best for just very large
       assemblies, where there was a designated speaker -- not at all for
       peer-to-peer discussions.

HibbspcExplorer: with respect to graphics use, we have found the very best way to
       view is to provide a web page with a short description of each
       page, then let the viewers click to the page.  What has not worked very well, and this is for conferences as vs.
       classes, are powerpoint slides where the speaker "walks' the
       audience through the slides. The only way this has worked fairly
       well is when the slides are pushed at the viewers, automatically,
       which mostly requires downloaded software. All fine for classes and
       lots of patience, very, very bad for sessions like this. My cast is free, but is very touchy at best

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: I loved the comment about the sex diff wrt multitasking. Maybe
       that's why we see more women driving & using cellphones & putting
       on their makeup at the same time? ('scuse me, I have to go slap
       myself for sexism now)

Richard Seltzer:  still haven't gotten into using a cell phone. (For an
       "evangelist", I'm very slow to adopt some technology...)

HibbspcExplorer: I believe we should decide the audience and the nature of the event
       before talking much further. I.e.e conferences where anyone can
       show up? O egular sessions by the same people? Or what?

HibbspcExplorer: We have many times tested placeware, and just about every other
       such provider.

Richard Seltzer: Can you provide a quick summary of what you have learned? What is
       good for what and why? -- I suspect that even the ones who try to
       do it all end up really serving one or two niches well.

HibbspcExplorer:  I feel very, very strongly about a few things..which is unusual as
       I am a muddled thinker mostly.

Bob Zwick: Has anyone tried the WebEx suite ?

HibbspcExplorer:  If you allow, I will add my Hibbs Rules here - which are aimed at
       conference gatherings like this one.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:  Not mine to "allow" but I'd be interested in these Hibbs rules... R
       they like Robert's Rules of Order?

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Yeh, placeware was one. Real cool-looking, big Java app. Maybe it
       was before its time, both in terms of bandwidth & Java power? And true, best for "I AM THE SPEAKER" gatherings, not so good for P2P. I saw WebEx at my last gig. Looked good. Expensive.

HibbspcExplorer: I tried webex and found it had the same fault as all others.

Richard Seltzer:   What is that same fault?

HibbspcExplorer: structured for a radio audience. sucks most of the time

Richard Seltzer: Welcome, Tim, Bob Fleischer, John Abele -- would you folks like to
       try the POTS phone room? We may have a quorum.

John Abele:  First chat for me. I'm on the phone with somebody else. ADD, I

Richard Seltzer: Welcome. What's your main interest with regard to online

Richard Seltzer: Dan -- Please tell us about QuickTopic and how it fits into the mix?

HibbspcExplorer: With regard to IAMTHESPEAKER -- who the hell wants to visit in real
       time the Big Guru when you can visit when and where you want?

 Richard Seltzer:  Please clarify. I am not familiar with "IAMTHESPEAKER". Is that a
       site? Or are you just referring to that style -- used by placeware
       and often by AOL -- where there is the big guy in front of the
       audience, and everyone else has lesser status.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Not a site, a style as you guessed. In my experience, such tools
       require a sometimes elaborate "passing of the control baton" to
       allow someone else to take the e-Podium. Yuck.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Right on bro. P2P B D place 2 B.

Richard Seltzer: All -- as you connect, please introduce yourselves and let us know
       your interests.

HibbspcExplorer:  First and most absolute rule. Keep it simple stupid. KISS
      Second Rule. Have two chat rooms from two servers so if therer is
       trouble those in trouble can go to the secondary room

Richard Seltzer  :  Amen.  As for the first rule, sometimes it's fun to break that. Some of
       the best sessions we had were a demo of MOOs, where we were
       multiplexing galore, running back and forth from our regular chat
       room to the MOOs.

HibbspcExplorer:  Third rule. Text chat is great and the foundation for ALL

HibbspcExplorer: Fourth Rule - Select a chat room which has great features useable
       by all. that may be rule one?

Richard Seltzer: Exception to said rule -- if all parties who will participate have
       the same equipment and software setup, you can go for the max.
       Otherwise, you have to plan for the lowest likely common

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: As someone who has never truly "fallen for" the attractions of
       realtime text chat (I guess it's my cellphone-equivalent what with
       all the IM going on), I put more weight on asynch web-based text
       conferencing, for which a simple browser most always suffices.

Bob Zwick:  I assume you are talking about Discussion Forums.
       The ones that notify you of replies to a specific thread are the
       best. Others make it too easy to fall out of the flow of

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Bob -- that's what does -- great
       multithreading, email notification etc... More later.

Richard Seltzer: Yes, one of the features I like best about SiteScape Forum is the
       email alerts. NB -- Dan was once an advocate, evangelist for the
       forerunner of SiteScape -- WorkGroupWebForum. On several occasions
       the two of us had to scramble to keep that development project
       alive at Digital. Digital didn't really want to be in the software
       business, certainly not the Internet software business, and didn't
       know what to do with this as a product, regardless of how good it

       (we can talk about text chat featuress later. allow me to continue.

       Next rule. Use the regular telephone and announce it clearly so
       those in trouble can phone for help

Richard Seltzer
       All -- does anyone want us (those who can and wish) to connect to
       the phone room? (It is a toll charge, calling to Florida. For most
       of us that means 5 to 10 cents a minute).

HibbspcExplorer: Rule Six - The telephone room we have is great. Try to talk those
       who resist the long distance charges out of that worry and talk hem
       into getting something really done. I say this is like paying for a
       railroad ticket as vs. flying with the Wright Bros. Makes the
       conversation easy and wonderful especially the panelists who draw
       the crowd

Richard Seltzer: Having said that, let's give it a try. Those who can, please dial
       305-503-6666. As soon as you get an answer, enter the extension --

 Richard Seltzer: Tim in Nashua -- please introduce yourself and let us know your

HibbspcExplorer:  Next rule - bridge the telephone to telephony and encourage
       telephony to the telephone room. Not too hard. We can provide an
       easy way for that by an email circular

Richard Seltzer: John Hibbs -- what is the limit on the number of participants for
       your POTS phone room?

 Richard Seltzer -- John Hibbs -- Is that Easy Conference (POTS) service available to
       anyone anytime? What do you have to do to sign up and get a number?
       And is that number only available for a limited time.

HibbspcExplorer: sure you can use this number anytime. I can book the room.

Richard Seltzer: 2) I mean if I wanted to do a conference call using this service,
       could I and how could I and would there be a charge?

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Well, heck, I was always a sucker for a good analogy. So pls
       disregard the "phoneless" in my moniker du jour -- I'm on my

Richard Seltzer:  Sounds like the title of a novel -- Dan (phoneless) Kalikow.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: I'm now chatting in the phone room with John H.

John Abele:  Hmmmmm. Is this the way most of your chats go? I was hoping to see
       some "best in class" practice.

Richard Seltzer: Best of class for what particular application? There's a lot that
       you can do with chat. Right now we are brainstorming.

John Abele:  About who's on the phone? Lost connections? My interest is
       organizing communities of interest in the various activities I'm
       involved in...philanthropy, venture, business (medical devices).

Bob Zwick:  John - I have just started such a communtiy for teachers that would
       definitely apply to what you do.

John Abele:  Thanks, Bob. I clicked on and couldn't get back without resigning.
       Is there a way to keep 'em both on line?

Bob Zwick:  Right click on the link and select Open in a New Window

Richard Seltzer:  Sometimes we push the limits and hence run into glitches, which can
       be helpful in learning the limits

Bob Zwick:  John this is the very first time we tried a phone conference at the
       same time as the chat

John Abele:   Fair enough. You're allowed a few glitches.

 Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Try the phone world -- lotsa action there now, John... :-)

 Kathleen Gilroy:  Hi Richard, I just joined you on this chat and curious about how
       this is working.

Richard Seltzer: Welcome. IF you can, please call 305-503-6666 X 503

John Abele:  Hi Kathleen. This is my first chat.

Richard Seltzer:  Sorry. This is a strange sort of intro to text chat -- since half
       of us are now talking to one another by phone.
       If you'd just like to test text chat, please contact me by email
       and I'll set up a conversation with you.

John Abele:  Thanks. Will do.

Bob Zwick:    This is like driving and talking on the cell phone - DANGEROUS and
       I can't concentrate on both

Richard Seltzer: Kathleen -- I think that this room of John Hibbs' might be very
       useful for your distance ed apps.

Kathleen Gilroy: Hi John, This has been a messy chat but it is an interesting new
       application. What are the advantage of the telephone-to-chat bridge?

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: What about the tyranny of real time (especially when participants
       are smeared across latitudes) -- asynch conferencing has tremendous
       value in that case, in my experience. Better than phone or internet
       telephony, in that case. Reactions?

Bob Zwick:  Dan - which async services do you use or recommend ?

Richard Seltzer:  Bob -- I believe I got an email announcement from you yesterday. Do
       you have a distance ed chat session set up for 1:15 today (right
       after this?) If so, please provide the link so these folks could
       find their way there?

Bob Zwick: Yes there is a general chat about teaching on-line right after this
       one. It's at
       Anyone can enter as a guest and then click on the "E-School
       Community Chat Room"

Kathleen Gilroy:  We are looking at applications that link telephony to various web
       applications but we need more than just chat: we need things like
       polling and data sharing. Right now we are looking at webex as the
       best of the various solutions that are out there. They seem to have
       the best support, which is a huge issue.

Bob Zwick: I have been using WebEx for about 6 month's. I don't think it can
       be beat.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Kathleen, since you're at Sloan/Kennedy, do you like synch stuff
       because it's compatible with "lecture-style" classes? (everyone
       there at the same time)...?

Kathleen Gilroy: Bob, I'd like to talk with you about your use of webex. It seems to
       be the solution that is being rapidly adopted by the most
       corporations. Have you used the polling feature? Have you used it
       with large numbers of people?

Richard Seltzer: Kathleen -- re: polling. Have you checked Zoomerang for free online
       surveys. Some of the functionality might be useful for you.

Bob Zwick: I have used the FREE service which has limits as to time for
       certain features and number of participants. I'd be happy to tell you about what I've learned about using the
       service. Just request a meeting at

Kathleen Gilroy: Dan, we are building a teaching/learning model that combines
       synchronous sessions -- at the beginning and end of the course --
       mostly to profile the audience and draw conclusions -- with
       asynchronous web boards and discussions for the case studies,
       project development, and collaboration. We also use synchronous
       chat for "office hours" with the faculty and guest speakers. In an
       upcoming the course we are using chat to bring in David Kessler who
       took on tobacco as the head of the FDA. We are doing a case study
       of his work and we will make him available by chat to the enrolled

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:  Tnx!! There seems to be a psychological divide amongst ppl (which
       you seem to be bridging) between those who lean on synch
       chatting/telephony, and asynch boards/collabs. more later...

Bob Zwick: I think there is a time for sync and a time for async and neither
       one is enough to do the whole job.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:     100% true

Kathleen Gilroy:  I also just want to make the point that we are thinking about using
       the telephone for delivery of the audio because the web is not
       really ready for streaming media. Everybody knows how to use the
       phone so it lowers the barrier for getting people to participate in
       the synchronous sessions.

Richard Seltzer: Amen. The POTS can be very useful -- no fancy software, no fancy

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:  Kathleen, what sorts of asynch boards/collab tools are you into at
       the moment?

Kathleen Gilroy: 'Kathleen, what sorts of asynch boards/collab tools are you into...')
       We are now using a platform from Ars Digita, which was developed by
       an MIT professor, which is free and open source. It was originally
       deployed for a community of amateur photographers and it has the
       best deployment of boards and emails. It also has a portal page
       that so that we can customize the view for each student and
       personalize their learning experience.

Richard Seltzer: All -- over the phone, John Hibbs has been saying that all the text
       and polling and instant messaging etc. and asynchronous discussion
       works great on the Web. But interactive streaming voice still has
       glitches. An ordinary phone room can get around that problem for

Richard Seltzer:  I.e., there is a time for real time, there is a time for unreal
       time, there is a time to live and a time to die... (Ecclesiastes
       had it right...)

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow:You are too much :-) as ever! Unreal time...

Richard Seltzer: Or imaginary time (as imaginary numbers)...

Richard Seltzer: Kathleen -- what do you use for the voice piece today?

Kathleen Gilroy:  Presentation of the lecture materials, supported by graphics anddatasharing over the web.

 Bob Zwick How do you handle real time presentation to the rest of the world with the time differences?

Bob Zwick: John Hibbs - the chat coming up after this one is an offshoot of the WebShare page you already know about. It is simplified and includes voice, text and a way to push links to the group.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Is WebEx open source? (who's the proprietor?)

Kathleen Gilroy: No, webex is a proprietary service. It is not inexpensive but, as I said earlier, it is being rapidly adopted within corporations.

Bob Zwick:  Proprietary by WebEx.Com - licensing only, but can be installed on your server, I believe.

Richard Seltzer: FYI -- on the phone Kathleen is exlaining that WebEx integrates the voice and the Web and now does it all in java so there's no need to download software.

Dan (phoneless) Kalikow: Whoops, must fly. (Richard -- I'm lunching with Dave Doucette) --bye all /Dan

Richard Seltzer: We're wrapping up now. We hope to have a followup discussion next Thursday, once again led by John Hibbs. Please send followup email.
to me at

Kathleen Gilroy: I'm going to have to sign off.

Bob Zwick -

Richard Seltzer: Thanks to all. Hope to see you next week.

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