P-time and simultaneous discovery

It's scary how you get this idea all by yourself while cycling home, and then the next morning you find that someone else has thought about the same thing and blogged it during the night.

From Joichi Ito's weblog:

Ever since I started IRC, I've noticed that I'm reading much less email, getting a lot less structured work done, but having a much better sense of what's going on in our "space" and able to tie a bunch of pieces together that weren't tied together before. I think some people mistake this type of contextual multi-tasking as some form of ADD.

So, I shall not talk about time, since he already did so, but I'll talk about packetized conversations. In the old days, we had these huge packets (letters), that travelled slowly. Then we got email, and started sending smaller packets. With weblogs, we found broadcast traffic. And with IRC and other many-to-many chat systems, we have very small packets, with fast transmission and very low latency. It's kinda like the UDP/IP of human communication.

So, it's no wonder that Joi and others are now prioritizing chat to email. However, what I am worried about is persistence. While IRC can be logged, the conversation there is not usually archivable and searchable, unlike email, weblogs and wikis. How much knowledge will we lose if a huge chunk of the online communication disappears into the bit bucket? Do we care, i.e. is that discussion worth saving in the first place?



This type of "lost information" has been happening for years with telephone calls.

I use JSP wiki to record notes about our project conversations, but (of course) all that makes it into the log is what I post and even then it's largely my interpretation(hmm, hard word to spell) of what was said.

This morning I had a case where there was confusion over the specifications of a feature I had coded. I checked the web log: partial notes. I checked email: requests for info, but incomplete responces.

Finally, I remembered that the missing information had been exchanged in a phone conversation that I didn't blog.

For weeks now I've been thinking it would be great to record my phone calls and post the wavs to the blog. But there are some problems with this.

First, some companies (probably mine) have policies against recording phone calls. When I worked for ARCO Alaska they forbid it outright. No recordings under any circumstances - not surprising for an oil company I suppose.

Second, you have to warn the participants and this may intimidate them or launch you into needless conversations about why and how you use the recordings.

Third, without at least a synopsis, the entries would not be searchable and they may lose some of their value. With our project its small enough I could probaly find what I need but I'd hate to have to search/listen through a multi-user WavLog.

Last, you'd at the very leats be in deep political shit if you logged some phone calls without announcing that you're recording the conversations and participants in the phone calls found out about it.

It shouldn't be this complicated but it is.

-- Scott Hurlbert

--, 06-Aug-2003

Hm. Perhaps a voice typing software might help; it would be ok to speak your notes after the phone conversation, or just record your own part of it, yes?

Tracy Adams is blogging with voice typing software.

--JanneJalkanen, 07-Aug-2003

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"Main_blogentry_060803_1" last changed on 06-Aug-2003 11:47:37 EEST by JanneJalkanen.