The Ryerson Digital Media Zone (DMZ) is an energy-charged concept space designed to enable student innovation and collaboration. Students will be able to test out and develop their digitally inspired ideas that come from any program area and solve any problem.
They’ve just released version 2.9 for the standalone WordPress system. This update brings a few useful additions, as well as the usual host of bug fixes and things.
Some of the updates that interest me:
easy and quick embedding of video from various online sites (Youtube, Vimeo, etc.) – still want to see if this code will translate in Feed Readers or other sites that people may push their WordPress blog posts to (WordPress proprietary tags will not work in these other environments, so need to wach out!)
easier updating and compatibility check for plugins
image editing capabilities
I’m currently taking a peek at it on our test server, and hopefully the update for WordPress MU (which blog.ryerson.ca runs on) will follow in the next couple of months.
In the meantime, here’s a little video from WordPress to outline some of the changes:
I got it a few weeks ago, but haven’t really had the opportunity to try it out in a meaningful way. There’s no point in playing alone… Wave’s potential lies in the ability to collaborate with others. “Potential” is really the key word here. My first experiences with the features and user interface have left me hoping that it will evolve in the right way, but it does fall short in some ways.
What is a wave? It’s hard to describe… it’s like an enhanced wiki tool that you could use in place of email, plus gadgets.
Actually, it’s much more complex than that, especially once you start taking into account the ability to make public waves (so now you have a public forum? a public blog?) and embed waves into other sites (like your existing blog).
This video explains the concept behind Wave pretty well (and it’s pretty funny, too). Also be sure to check the Google Wave Intro at the bottom of this post… it shows some cool features that will be possible in the actual release of Wave.
One thing to keep in mind is that it is in preview — not even in Beta! There are no guarantees that features will work (and, in fact, I’ve had some work one day and not the next), so you can’t really use it professionally yet. Many of us are just trying it out, to see what we think we can do with it, and provide some feedback on things that just aren’t working for us.
Things I like:
Wiki-style group collaboration on documents (asynchronous… and kinda synchronous)
The ability to embed tools like polls, map tools, conferencing, etc. (although I haven’t been able to try them all yet)
The ability to make your Wave public, and search public Waves on different topics. Very cool!
The ability to add things like Twitter into a Wave. Not sure I know what to do with it, but it’s neat that I can.
The group of folks attending Educause that decided to try using Wave for sharing conference notes and info… I’m TOTALLY spying on you all!
Things I’d like to see improved:
The total destruction of the darn “Done” button you have to click when you’ve made an update to a Wave. Doesn’t seem like a big deal when you’re testing Wave on your own and have a 2-line wave. When you are participating in a BIIIG wave that scrolls forever, and has various long replies, etc. the “Done” button is tricky to find.
Long complicated waves can be complicated to navigate. Not sure how to improve this, but I am finding it challenging.
Difficulty in locating changes to a Wave. I know there’s a green bar on the side. Doesn’t help if I have to scroll for 10 minutes to find it. Give me a ‘history’ page with a list of changes, like you’d see in a regular wiki. The playback feature seems like a cool idea, but has been useless for me so far.
There are other points, but I’ll save some for my next post. Overall, I do see its potential, and I hope that Google takes the feedback that they are given.
One weird thing that’s come out of this is trolling for account invites. I’ve actually had strangers ask me for a Wave account invite when they saw me post on Twitter that I had an account myself. Weird, no? Unless I know you personally or professionally, please don’t ask me. I want to use my invites to gather a group of people that I can test and collaborate with.