Hooray Internet collaboration!

I hadn’t heard anything from my KMD2004 groupmates all weekend, so I
was rather worried about the integrative summary that we were supposed
to pass on Monday. I couldn’t find any drafts on the wiki or the
shared workspace. If I had to write everything from scratch by myself
just to make sure that we’d get it in before the deadline, I was going
to do so. They could always make it up to me for the next assignment.

I wasn’t looking forward to working on a Sunday night, but I hadn’t
had the time to work on it during the previous week. Besides, I could
consider Saturday as my downtime day for the week.

I sent my groupmates e-mail telling them I was going to write the
summary, and I gave them my MSN and Yahoo! instant messaging details
just in case they were online on a Sunday night. I started a document
on Google Docs (formerly known as Writely)
and sketched the outline just like I’d blogged my way past a writer’s
block for my background article.

I was pleasantly surprised by the quick response of my groupmates. MJ
sent me an instant message on MSN. I asked him to reformat the
appendices to have consistent citation styles while I worked on the
summary. Dave came online after a short while. After some trouble with
the invitations, we managed to get everyone on the same page.

I set up a group chat using Bitlbee, the IM to IRC gateway that I use
to chat within Emacs. We coordinated our actions using instant
messaging while I fleshed out the summary. Dave couldn’t work on the
document right then, but he could look over my work to see where the
article was going. I added some notes about the structure of the
document so that we had a coherent, logical flow.

My computer crashed twice because I ran out of memory. (OpenOffice +
Firefox + Emacs = not good!) Good thing I was drafting the document in
Google Docs, which auto-saved the document every few seconds and
allowed people to keep reading it while I rebooted.

I sketched the document and condensed my paper before fatigue set in.
I left the paper in their capable hands, and I’m sure it will get done
by tomorrow.

I couldn’t imagine doing this without real-time collaboration tools
like instant messaging and Google Docs. Imagine what it would have
been like, having to e-mail documents around? It would have been such
a hassle for me to keep people up to date.

Hooray for Net collaboration and awesome groupmates!

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Random Emacs symbol: menu-bar-mode – Command: Toggle display of a menu bar on each frame. – Variable: Non-nil if Menu-Bar mode is enabled.