WhatfettleSpeed-Geeking!

And so to WikiWednesday, a regular event where fifty-odd geek boys and girls and suites came together to discuss the ways of the wiki. Last night the main topic of discussion revolved around locking pages down (my take: if you lock all the pages, it’s probably no longer a wiki) followed by some nice lightning talks, I particularly enjoyed Andy‘s thoughtful pointers to research on Community Practice and Social Objects and their relevance to collaborative online experiences.

But what of the speeding geeks? Well, this was a great opportunity for the BT Osmosoft guys to introduce themselves and kick off our engagement with the Open Source community with a fun demo.

At the start of the evening we collected people’s mobile numbers, entering them as “tiddlers” tagged “geek” into a local TiddlyWiki document using a simple Wiki text format. Pressing the ROUND! button in the SpeedDate tiddler shuffled and dealt the geeks into pairs in a new SpeedDateRound tiddler. Pressing RING! caused the pairs’ phones to be connected together, leaving them to chat and try to work out where the other person was in the room. We started cautiously with 2 pairs and built up in several rounds ending up with cacophony and confusion as 20 mobile phones rang at once. YouTube video to follow.

Thanks must go to all who took part, Bearing Point our generous hosts and the BT SDK team for enabling us to mess around with the phone system in such a frivolous way :-)

If you want to run this for yourself, have a play with the TiddlyWiki page – to add your own tiddlers, save as source and reload the local copy of the page in your browser. To make phones ring you need to deploy a simple HTTP proxy. I use HTTP/S and Basic Authentication to secure a my copy on whatfettle.com, but you can run yours wherever – localhost is fine. Register an application with the SDK to get a certificate, and install it along with a copy of the PHP5 SDK on your web server. Finally, change the URI in the ContactMacroPlugin tiddler from web21c.whatfettle.com to point to your deployment.

Update: There’s now a simplified version available which uses BT Mojo.
Update: BT closed down Mojo and the Web21C SDK, we expect to build a version of SpeedGeeking with Ribbit.com when it’s possible to use Ajax to make UK phones ring.

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