Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Today's stumbled upon bit of tech goodness – Outlook 2007 and the hidden message headers

I have an on again off again relationship with MS Outlook. I used it for a while (roughly 2002-2004) only to ditch it after it suffered one too many unrecoverable data file corruption problems (admittedly at least partially due to my attempt to use Outlook+Offline Folders to have a single data file accessed from either my desktop or laptop, kept in sync). I switched to Eudora for a while, until they had a major version upgrade that totally broke the ability to use Eudora with Offline Folders. So I decided to try Outlook (2007) again when I started my position here at UIUC a few years ago. One minor annoyance I ran across was that I just couldn't find an easy way to get to the full email message headers (with all the relay stops a message takes to get to my machine, etc). Well, I stumbled across it today (I hadn't been frustrated enough to actually go hunting for the headers). Here's what I found (just in time for it to be changed in Office 14... woot…)

One way to get to email message headers in Outlook 2007 it is to right-click the message (not in the preview pane, in the list of emails) and select Message Options. Yes, message options: not details, more info, or something sensible, but "Message Options." There, you'll find the "Internet Headers" section, which contains all that occasionally useful information (for checking to see if something is SPAM, for instance). Here's a sample of what you'll find there (basically the path to your machine, from the sender, plus any extra header info any servers/services add along the way):

Return-Path: <m…>

Received: from ( [])

by (MOS 3.10.3-GA)

with ESMTP id BXU48109;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:48:00 -0500 (CDT)

Received: from pps.reinject ( [])

by (8.14.2/8.14.2) with ESMTP id n9TDm09e017714;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:48:00 -0500 (CDT)

Received: from (localhost [])

by pps.reinject (8.14.1/8.14.1) with SMTP id n9TDgVqO005351;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:59 -0500

Received: from ( [])

by with ESMTP id n9TDlwtY021763;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:59 -0500

Received: from [] ( [])

by (8.14.2/8.14.2) with ESMTP id n9TDluiW021375;

Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:56 -0500 (CDT)

Message-ID: <>

Date: Thu, 29 Oct 2009 08:47:56 -0500

From: K…y <m…>

Reply-To: m…

User-Agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20090812)

MIME-Version: 1.0

To: E…s <e…>,…


CC: R…r <r…>

Subject: ULSAC

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

X-Spam-Score: 0

X-Spam-Details: rule=cautious_notspam policy=cautious score=0 spamscore=0 ipscore=0 phishscore=0 bulkscore=0 adultscore=0 classifier=spam adjust=0 reason=mlx engine=5.0.0-0908210000 definitions=main-0910290096

X-Spam-OrigSender: m…


Friday, November 6, 2009

Some Kindle (and related) figures and quotes

I've been working on tracking down data regarding print book sales, e-book sales, e-reader sales, and related figures and quotes for an article I am working on. I thought I would go ahead and share the highlights of this information, in the hopes that someone else won't need to spend several days tracking down, reading, analyzing, and collocating this information again. :)

Wholesale E-book sales in US, 2008/2009

  • 2002: 5,794,180
  • 2003: 7,343,885
  • 2004: 9,619,503
  • 2005: 10,828,970
  • 2006: 20,000,000
  • 2007: 31,800,000
  • 2008: 53,500,000
  • 2009 (Jan-August): 94,000,000

The IDPF notes "The data… represent only trade eBook sales via wholesale channels. Retail numbers may be as much as double the above figures due to industry wholesale discount… The data… represent only data submitted from approx. 12 to 15 trade publishers… The data does not include library, educational or professional electronic sales… The numbers reflect the wholesale revenues of publishers."13

It's a bit hard to make comparisons between these sales numbers and overall sales, since collecting statistics on e-books is a relatively new practice that's still being worked out (not just for libraries, apparently :) Over the years, it's likely that e-book sales reporting will become more standardized and consistent. Still, even if some of the growth in numbers might be attributed to new data collection methods (and even sources) one can see a clear and growing trend in e-book sales. It's not a huge leap to at least partially attribute this new increase in sales (2008-2009) to the comparatively successful current wave of e-readers (in light of previous e-book reader "rounds"), most notably the Amazon Kindle. But just how "good" are these numbers? Take a look at the next section, but here's a quick preview to put things in comparison: The AAP estimates that August 2009 wholesale e-book sales in the US (the biggest single month for e-book sales ever) totaled $14.4 million, while print books, although only seeing a small month to month increase in sales, and still slightly lower than August of 2008, were at 1.55 billion (yes billion with a B). Even if we consider that there's as much as 50% underreporting on e-books in the industry right now (that's the AAPs own estimate) that means that in the US, August 2009 saw about $28.8 million in e-book sales, and 1.55 billion in print book sales. In August 2009, e-books only accounted for 1.88% ($28,800,000/$1,528,800,000) of the entire wholesale book market (e-book plus print book). Clearly, e-books have a long way to go to becoming ubiquitous- let alone becoming the dominant method of delivery - but what about a few years from now? Let's consider the significant growth in e-book sales from September to August, 189.1 percent, to be sustainable (which is questionable, an annual growth rate that nearly doubles sales will eventually start to taper off). Extrapolating that out (as an average annual growth rate of 189.1%), some time in 2013 annual e-book sales would be close to monthly print book sales (in the $1 billion+ range). Keep in mind that U.S. publishers had net sales of $25.0 billion in 2007, and a slightly less rosy 24.3 billion in 2008 (n.b. for the last six years, "the industry had a compound annual growth rate of 1.6%").16,18 Let's assume that print book sales remain flat, on average, for the foreseeable future (possible, since at some point increased sales of e-books, if they are on the way to becoming the dominant consumption format, will start to have a direct correlation with a decrease in print book sales). Given that, the earliest we are likely to hit the tipping point, where the default mode of consumption is electronic, will be sometime in late 2016 or early 2017. Of course, this very simple analysis doesn't account for a wide range of factors: is the growth in the e-book sales rate sustainable (if not, then it will take longer), is there a new development on the horizon that will place more digital consumption devices into the hand of more consumers (not just dedicated e-readers, but netbooks, smart phones, and any number of tiny devices, now that several new flexible/foldable screen technologies are popping up, removing the portable device size from being the limiting factor on screen size). Well, you get the picture. There are far too many "what ifs" and unknowns in the area of e-books to make any solid predictions. So, please keep that in mind as you read on; these numbers I am running are not predictions, merely extrapolations. I personally think 2016/2017 is a bit early for the start of e-books reign supreme.

Wholesale E-book Sales (in dollars), the "Rosy" extrapolation

2008 entry is actual data from the AAP, but 2009 on is all extrapolation based on an annual growth rate of 189.1%. Print book wholesale for the US in 2008 was $24,300,000,000.

  • 2008: 53,500,000
  • 2009: 101,168,500
  • 2010: 191,309,633
  • 2011: 336,132,814
  • 2012: 684,100,484
  • 2013: 1,293,634,014
  • 2014: 2,446,261,921
  • 2015: 4,625,881,293
  • 2016: 8,747,541,525
  • 2017: 16,541,601,023
  • 2018: 31,280,167,536
  • 2019: 59,150,796,811
  • 2020: 111,854,156,769

Book (print) Sales

"Book sales tracked by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) for the month of August increased by 0.9 percent at $1.55 billion and were up by 2.0 percent for the year… Audio Book sales posted a decrease of 12.5 percent in August with sales totaling $12.9 million; sales to-date decreased by 25.1 percent. E-books sales reached $14.4 million, reflecting a 189.1 percent increase for August and a 177.3 percent increase year to-date… The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies—small and large."20

Book (in general, not e-books) Market Share, 2007

  • Barnes & Noble 17%
  • Borders Books and Music 13%
  • 10%
  • Other 60% 14

"In March, 2008, The Association of American Publishers (AAP) released its annual estimate of total book sales in the United States. The report, which uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-one publishers inclusive of all major book publishing media market holders, estimates that U.S. publishers had net sales of $24.3 billion in 2008, down from $25.0 billion in 2007, representing a 2.8% decrease. In the last six years the industry had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.6%... The Higher Education category, which includes sales of college textbooks, fared better. Total sales reached $3.8 billion this year up 2.7% on 2007. This brought the CAGR for college textbooks to 3.8%." 18

US Reading Habits

"Forty-five percent of Americans over the age of 13 read a book last year," 17 so the majority of Americans over the age of 13, 55% didn't read even one book in 2008. T_T

Kindle by the numbers (or as close as we can get)

Kindle titles available from Amazon: 240,0001

Kindle Cumulative Revenue Estimate by 2010 (Dollar value, all models - does not include revenue from e-book titles sales from : $1.2 Billion1

Total number of Kindles sold since release (all models): 500,000 (as of Feb 2009) 4

Kindle Quotes

"Amazon does not release sales figures for its Kindle or Kindle 2 reader." 1

"According to O'Reilly research, books were the fastest-growing category in Apple's App Store in the 12 weeks ending in March 1…. current leader… is Stanza… 7 million e-books downloads since launching in mid-2008… half of [the] 100,000 available titles are free… paid books account for about 25,000 to 40,000 downloads." 1

"Perhaps the Kindle is not the iPod of books, as it was once hailed…but… Amazon may now be settling for becoming 'the iTunes of Books… and it's hoping some customers will still buy a few kindles' even if they can read those books somewhere else"1

"'We want you to read your Kindle books on laptops and smartphones, anything with an installed base,'" Mr. Bezos said. He said he was not 'in principle' against making the works available on rival devices like Sony's, but was focused on platforms with 'large installed bases'."2

"Amazon charges $11.99 for most best-sellers, but textbooks and solid non-fiction titles can cost considerably more." 3

"Yesterday, the world's largest Internet retailer unveiled its upgraded Kindle 2, hoping to expand its ownership base, which is believed to number more than 500,000 users (Amazon has refused to publicly divulge the number of Kindles it has sold)… Sales of digital books are rising, but slowly. E-books represent only about 1 per cent of sales for most publishers, many of which are scrambling to find new distribution models and pricing schemes that will attract readers… Wholesale revenue from digital book sales in the United States has shot up 183 per cent over the past two years, from $4.9-million (U.S.) in the third quarter of 2006 to $13.9-million in the third quarter of 2008, according to data from the International Digital Publishing Forum. Analysts, however, suggest the retail market for e-books could be worth as much as $100-million." 4

"Although Bezos has declined to break out exact numbers, he suggested over the summer that Kindle-related sales have brought in 35 percent of his company's book-related revenue." 5

"According to the latest research from Bowker's PubTrack Consumer service, desktop and laptop computers were the preferred way for the public to read e-books through the first seven months of 2009, but their market share has been giving way to a host of new devices… Of e-book downloads through July, 40% were made to computers, down from 48% at the end of the first quarter. Quickly gaining in market share over the summer were downloads to the Kindle. This was especially true in July, when downloads to computers plunged, while downloads to the Kindle soared. As a result, in July, for the first time in PubTrack's monthly survey of consumers, Kindle downloads topped computers, accounting for 45% of all e-book downloads in the month."
[So the Kindle is doing great as far as market share within the e-book sector, basically pushing everybody else out of that market, but does that translate into moving print book consumers over to electronic consumption as well? Only time will tell.] 6

"Forrester Research recently raised its forecast for the electronic book sales and is now expecting 3 [million] e-readers to be sold in the US in 2009, up from a previous estimate of 2 [million], with 900,000 of the devices expected to be sold in November and December …Forrester said Kindle leads the category in the US with nearly 60 per cent of market share, followed by Sony with 35 per cent, and other devices accounting for about 5 per cent. It noted that US e-book sales were up 149 per cent for the year as of June, now accounting for $14 [million] in sales per month, according to the Association of American Publishers. Amazon has not made public sales figures for Kindle… Forrester is predicting that e-reader sales could increase to at least 6 [million] units in 2010, as increasing competition lowers prices" 7

"It is an experiment that has made back-to-school a little easier on the back: gave more than 200 college students its Kindle e-reading device this fall, loaded with digital versions of their textbooks. But some students miss the decidedly low-tech conveniences of paper: highlighting, flagging pages with sticky notes, and scribbling in the margins… Becerra tried typing notes on the Kindle's small keyboard, but when she went back to reread them she found they were laden with typos and didn't make sense. After a month, she says, she takes far fewer notes and relies on the Kindle's highlighter tool instead… When the Associated Press hit five test campuses to ask students how they felt about the Kindle, the responses were lukewarm… Madeline Kraizel, a freshman at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, has amassed three Kindle pages of bookmarks for her chemistry textbook. That is getting unwieldy, and she is not sure whether there is a better way to organize them… Other students struggled when professors had them read documents in PDF format, which does not show well on the Kindle. Users cannot zoom in or make notes on them, and diagrams sometimes get separated from notes explaining them… it can't be backlit, disappointing one student who wants to read during dark early-morning bus commutes." 8

"Analysts are bullish over the industry's prospects. Three million e-readers will be sold in the US this year, with the Kindle taking a 60 per cent market share and the Sony Reader 35 per cent, according to Sarah Rotman Epps of Forrester. 'We expect sales in 2010 to double, bringing cumulative sales of e-readers to 10 million by year end,' she said. Mr. Weiner said 2010 would be 'the year of the e-reader'" 9

"By all accounts, e-readers are set to have a breakout year. Slightly more than one million of them were sold globally in 2008, according to the market research firm iSuppli. The firm predicts that 5.2 million will be sold this year, more than half of them in North America, driven by the popularity and promotion of the Kindle, which is available only through Amazon's Web site... One challenge for the entire digital reading market is the price of these new devices. A recent report from Forrester Research suggests most consumers will buy a digital reading device only when they cost less than $100. One way this could ultimately happen is if wireless providers like Verizon subsidize the devices and sell them in their stores, as they do with the inexpensive laptops called netbooks. Verizon says it has no plans to do this, but analysts think that could conceivably change if e-readers like the iRex sell well. ''If this becomes a revenue stream for a company like Verizon, which actually gets paid for the bandwidth required to distribute content, then it is in Verizon's benefit to promote these devices and in many cases underwrite them,'' said Allen Weiner, an analyst at Gartner." 10

"E-book readers from Amazon and Sony have gotten lots of media attention, but a recent survey shows that consumers are not yet sold on the devices. More than 40% of the more than 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed by the NPD Group said they were "somewhat uninterested or "not interested at all" in buying an e-reader. Of those respondents, nearly 70% said they preferred the feel of an actual book… NPD's findings, released Thursday, were in line with comments from analysts recently interviewed by InformationWeek. Those industry observers said the biggest hurdle faced by e-reader makers was in moving mainstream consumers away from physical books. E-readers today appeal mostly to avid readers and people who travel regularly." 11

"The Kindle is expected to generate $310 million in revenue by the end of 2009. Barron's estimates that annual sales could reach $2 billion by 2012" 12

"However, some analysts also feel that the e-reader industry will need to make fairly substantial changes if it wants to collectively make its devices as ubiquitous as possible. In a September research note, Forrester analyst Sarah Rotman Epps suggested that will need to ultimately lower its price point… The cost of the display component is high and sales volumes are still modest, yet consumers demand and expect ever-lower prices," Epps wrote. "The bottom line: E-reader product strategists will have to educate consumers and innovate to bring prices down. Even if they are entirely successful at both these feats, e-readers will never be mass-market devices like MP3 players."15

"At the start of the semester in August, the 18 students in his Human Experience course each got a Kindle DX, Amazon's newest e-reader, loaded with the syllabus, textbook and assigned readings. They'll return them when the semester ends…. 'There seems to be just a groundswell of support for these readers,' Herring said. 'It became clear this was indeed a way in which things were headed. We decided, "Why don't we get several of these and look at them?"' Winthrop spent $14,000, mostly from student fees, on the year-long test run, which put the school in the company of several universities around the country also experimenting with Kindles. About a month into the semester at Winthrop, the device has yet to garner many fans. 'There's got to be someone in here who doesn't hate it,' Herring said one morning. 'Where?' a student said. The class laughed…. In an article titled 'Kindles yet to woo University users,' the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, quoted several students who 'found the Kindles disappointing and difficult to use.'"19

  1. MacMilan. "Amazon's Apple Deal: Kindle Cannibal?" Business Week (Online), March 5, 2009
  2. "Amazon's Kindle wireless reader to be available worldwide." The Irish Times, October 8, 2009
  3. Frith. "Eyestrain could singe Kindle early adopters" The Australian, October 13, 2009 Tuesday
  4. Hartley. "A new chapter for digital books; Amazon is hoping to light a fire under the e-book market with its Kindle 2 - a device that has no shortage of competition" The Globe and Mail, February 10, 2009
  5. "Amazon Slashes Prices for Kindle" October 7, 2009
  6. Milliot. "Kindle Market Share on the Rise" Publishers Weekly. Aug 31, 2009. 256(35) p. 4
  7. Birchall& Bradshaw. "E-reader sales set to rise as Amazon cuts Kindle price." Financial Times. Oct 8, 2009 p. 16
  8. Mintz. "Students unready to trade texts for Kindle" The Boston Globe, Business p. 8, October 14, 2009
  9. Clark. "Amazon takes the Kindle global as e-readers soar; Device goes on sale in UK for first time but downloads to cost more than in US" The Independent (London) Business p. 42 October 8, 2009
  10. Stone. "Growing U.S. e-reader market gets a new player; New iRex and Best Buy join forces to challenge Kindle and Sony Reader" The International Herald Tribune, Finance p. 17, September 24, 2009.
  11. E-Book Readers Lack Appeal; Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader have gotten lots of media attention, but a survey shows that consumers are not yet sold on the devices." InformationWeek August 6, 2009
  12. Wired magazine, page 114 Sept. 2009
  14. "Leading Book Retailers, 2007." Market Share Reporter. Ed. Robert S. Lazich and Virgil L. Burton, III. 2009 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2009
  15. "Amazon Settles Kindle Suit But Will Other Issues Follow", October 3, 2009
  16. "AAP Reports Book Sales Rose to $ 25 Billion in 2007" Association of American Publishers, March 31, 2008.
  17. "Nearly One in Two Americans Read a Book Last Year, According to Bowker's 2008 PubTrack Consumer Survey" Bowker, May 29, 2009.
  18. "AAP Reports Book Sales Reached $24.3 Billion in 2008" Association of American Publishers
  19. Cetrone. "Winthrop professor uses Kindle to spark new age of learning: But response to e-reader lukewarm" McClatchy - Tribune Business News. Oct 5, 2009.
  20. Book Publishing Sales Post Small Gains in August, The Association of American Publishers, October 21, 2009

When will the print book disappear?

Normally, I am one of the first guys in line (well, virtually, since I tend to shop online :) to buy the cool new electronic gadget de jour, and there's no denying the Kindle (especially the DX) fits that bill. This is especially true since I've been itching to try out an e-paper device since I first read about e-paper/e-ink in 2001.

Lately, I've heard a lot of talk about the Kindle being the harbinger of the end for print books, and wanted to toss in my two cents. I like the idea of e-paper in particular, the main selling point of the Kindle and similar third (or fourth depending on who you ask) generation e-readers over other portable devices like netbooks. However, the idea of a dedicated device for reading books just doesn't do it for me (other than a good old fashioned print book, of course – since that's a single use device too… :).

I think we're still years (possibly dozens of years) away from the tipping point of e-books versus print books (as far as market share of sales goes). I feel that there are many problems holding back the ascendancy of the e-book (especially in academic libraries/markets, for more on that keep an eye out for my upcoming article, "Why aren't E-Books Gaining More Ground in Academic Libraries"), but that the biggest problem holding back the move from print to electronic books among the general population right now is the lack of a ubiquitous device for reading electronic materials that people are generally happy with. But wait, that's just what the Kindle is, isn't it? Well, the Kindle works reasonably well for reading books (well, books that were designed for it, or at least in a format easily converted to the preferred Amazon format, PDFs are still a challenge), but what about checking email, or browsing the web, blogging, face-booking or IMing? I do all those things already, plus read e-texts, on both my laptop and netbook. Would I enjoy extended reading of static text from e-paper more (or one of the many other promising new display technologies)? Almost certainly! I often find myself tiring of craning my neck and jockeying for a good position to use my laptop or netbook to read on a plane. I envy the guy next to me who's enjoying reading a book or article on his Kindle. Reading in bed would also benefit from the use of a Kindle- I sprained my wrist trying to read the Mists of Avalon in bed in print format. An e-reader would have been great for that. However, I really don't want to lug yet another electronic device around everywhere I go. My laptop bag is already amusingly overcrowded with my laptop, its various peripherals and power supply, my PSP (and its stuff), my Ipod (and its stuff), my cell phone (ad nauseam)… I'm sure you get it by now. I like gadgets, I have a ton of them, and I have finally reached the point that I am saying "No More!" I also don't want to commit to yet another 2-3 year repurchasing cycle for a $300-$400 for a device that will really only work for reading books, when print books already suit that purpose well enough, and my other mobile devices can stand in for a dedicated e-reader in a pinch. After all, I am a librarian, and any of the books I really want to read are a short trip to my library or wait on the ILL list away, no $300-$400 membership fee required.

What we lack (we being the players in the book industry, from publishers to distributors, including libraries) is that truly magical multi-purpose ubiquitous device that will finally launch the e-book to the place of prominence we all know it will eventually achieve. I don't think that device will be a (mostly) single purpose device like a Kindle or any other dedicated e-reader. Not to say there isn't a place for dedicated e-readers. I think some insight can be gained by considering the mp3 player market. Even though the Big Boys in the industry have been seriously pushing feature creep into their MP3 devices, making them, arguably, now mini-computers (at least that's what Apple wants us to believe), there's clearly still a place for dedicated mp3 players (even Apple maintains production of the Shuffle, which is the ultimate single purpose mp3 player). What the e-book market needs is a device that comfortably meets multiple information and entertainment needs of users, at a price they are willing to pay. The major limiting factor right now on mobile devices in general is the display technology. E-paper is great for static text (and low power consumption), but (right now) terrible for general purpose use as a laptop/cell phone screen (grayscale only right now, with a ridiculously limited number of shades of grey, and absolutely atrocious screen refresh rates, compared to other display technologies). Once there's a way to do both – display static text in a way that's pleasant for extended reading (and consumes very little power) as well as to display full color dynamic content (possibly even including two display types on a single device) at a reasonable price point, I think we'll see the sudden and massive shift to e-consumption that we've all been waiting for. But even then, I think there'll be a fairly long, slow dwindling of print books, with them still representing a fairly significant chunk of publications/sales for several decades to come (at least as significant as the current <2% of sales that e-books make up of the entire book market).

FYI, here's a device I'd love to see (are you listening Amazon, Sony, Lenovo- anyone really!). My ideal netbook/e-reader is pretty simple. Take a modest netbook (at the $300 price point), make some minor hardware adjustments internally (maybe another $50/netbook) and slap a piece of e-paper on the top of the netbook lid (so when it's closed, the lid shows e-paper, but when it's open, you see a standard netbook LCD screen), maybe another $100. And then, bam, you have the netbook/e-reader hybrid I've been dreaming of for about $450. It can still do everything my netbook could, but when I just want to engage in extended reading (and not note taking or some other form of content creation, rather than consumption) I simply pull up my item (maybe even in a special app, but I'd prefer the transition to be seamless) close my lid, and the netbook switches from LCD display to e-paper. At the same time, the netbook goes in to low-power/e-reader mode. Now I get _all_ the benefits that the Kindle (or any other e-reader) currently offers, but suffer from none of the multi-tasking anemic drawbacks of a dedicated e-reader.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Testing google wave > blogger using madoqua (

Just a really quick test. I've only used wave for, oh, a total of maybe 60 minutes so far, but this was the killer feature (for me) of the product demo.
Hmm, looks like you may need to be singed in to a google account, at least, to see this wave (below). More likely,m you'd need to be a participant in the wave. Can anyone (besides those in the wave) signed in with a googel account read this? I am also going to go mark the wave as public, which is the most likely missing bit (but I hope that also means I can mark portions of a wave, or wave participants, as private)...

Ack, currently, it turns out, you must have a google wave account in order to see the madoqua output. This is by design it seems, "Even if you make the wave itself public and put it on a web page, it isstill inaccessible to people who do not have a Wave ID—that is, didn'tget into the Wave preview." The Complete Guide to Google Wave - Wave Bots

And Bloggy, my favorite and star of the hour+ google wave video, can't help just yet.Bloggy - - Will make the wave public when Bloggy is added to a wave, and embed the wave at[username] ONLY WORKS IN DEVELOPER SANDOX

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

[Wave] Barry Bailey is my hero

I'm getting my first chance to test Google Wave this week, thanks to Barry Bailey's invite. Barry, I owe you one super huge favor, any time, so don't hesitate to ask. :)

I'm pretty swamped this week, but I'll take some times to really kick the tires this weekend. I just began a playback on a LITA wave discussing the possible uses of wave for libraries. [BTW, this next bit is a copy of something I just posted to the LITA Google Wave Group, for those not yet lucky enough to be in on the wave.] A great deal of the conversation on the wave (not just on the LITA wave, out in the blogosphere in general) seems to be focused on comparing wave to synchronous communication tools like IM and social networking sites. But my hope for wave is that, although it might be leveraged for that, the real power stems from the ability to foster richer a asynchronous communication, where discussion about a topic in a wave can be easily crafted- using branches of the wave, and special markup which I've only seen on the demo, but will try soon- to produce publically viewable living document derivatives of a wave automatically. Think about all those long, all-too-frequent meetings we all attend where we spend hours discussing a new policy (or policy change) and then task someone, at the end of the multiple meetings and discussions, to take all the discussion and craft a policy from it. At yet another meeting, the proposed policy is reviewed, amendments are suggested, more work is done, etc. Finally, usually weeks after the major decisions have been made, the policy gets posted somewhere. Now, think about an online, asynchronous approach to the same policy making conversation. The discussion, and the exact language from that discussion, could be automatically updating a publically viewable branch of the wave (posted to a public blog, wiki, web site or other document management system/space). Add to that that the feedback that's received on the public wave branch (like on a blog or wiki comment) feeds back into into the wave discussion (automatically), where the policy makers can immediately discuss the comment, come to consensus, and almost immediately amend the policy/document. I see Google Wave as a way to make all my group work get addressed more quickly and responsively, while also reducing the amount of time it takes to produce public information from what are now (mostly) private, largely undocumented conversations.

I jumped out to search for how to link to a Google Wave (so those of you with wave accounts can join in on some of the waves I plan to start soon) and found a good article by Daniel Tenner, "What problems does Google Wave solve- A matter of perspective" that echoes my own feelings about wave- that people don't quite know what they should use it for yet.