Edited Version November 24, 1999 Transcript
EIIP Tech Arena Online Presentation
"Virtual Communities with TeamWave Workplace"
EIIP Technical Projects Coordinator
The original unedited transcript of the November 24, 1999 Tech arena presentation is available in EIIP Virtual Forum Archives <http://www.emforum.org>. The following version of the transcript has been edited for easier reading and comprehension. Typos were corrected, date/time/names attributed by the software to each input were deleted but the content of questions and responses are as stated by each participant. Answers from the participants to questions by the audience are grouped beneath the appropriate question to facilitate meaning.
Amy Sebring: Welcome to the EIIP Tech Arena!
For any first timers joining us today, if you see a blue URL, you can click on it and it will load in your browser. After the first one, your browser may not come to the top, so you may need to bring it forward.
The background page for today's session is at <http://www.emforum.org/varena/991124.htm>.
Today I am going to show you some software I found, TeamWave Workplace. This is in follow up to another session we recently did on various Internet tools. (See transcript for 11/16/99) This software might be useful if you were interested in setting up a meeting place for a group or "virtual community" of your own. Not only can you do text chat, you can share some tools that I am going to show.
The features look simple and straightforward, but if you use your imagination, I think you will find some fairly powerful ways to use them. And the tools and whiteboard are persistent, which means they remain the way you left them from session to session. This allows you to combine aspects of a synchronous event such as a meeting, with the asynchronous features of a Web page and BBS, so that others may view them or modify when convenient.
Right now, TeamWave is offering 10 meg of free server space so you do not even need to get the server software to experiment with it. All you need to do is sign up.
Right up top, I will say that the chief obstacles are that you have to get members of your community to download and install the client software, but the main problem will be firewalls. Further information about firewalls can be found on the TeamWave Web site, which is located at <http://www.teamwave.com>.
I have downloaded and installed the server software as well as the client software, and while I do not intend to get into the server software, I will say that it is almost as easy to use as the client software. With or without your own server software, you may be the administrator. If so, you will have control over housekeeping such as setting up accounts for your users, and setting up who has permission to do what.
As we go through the features, I will be happy to try to answer questions as they occur to you, instead of waiting all the way to the end. Please enter a question mark and have your question ready to send in when recognized.
Also, if you have already set up a client to participate, we will actually go into this site after this session is over. If you have not set it up, but would like to visit in the future, just let me know at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Information about getting the client is provided on the background page. During an actual visit is the best way to get a feel for how the features work. I can also get into a little more detail than will be possible during this session.
This first screenshot is the setup for User Accounts. I think you will agree it is fairly straightforward. If you fill in the fields completely, you will make it possible for members to reference this information and use it.
Under the Rooms Tab you can specify the default room, which I have as Lobby in this example. This next shot shows an empty room called demo. Please note the three main areas of the screen. This will take awhile to load, so go ahead and start loading it.
Come back while I point out the three areas, and then we will pause. Somebody please tell me when it has finished loading.
Up top is an information area that lists available rooms and connected users. I have also displayed the menu options provided when you click on a user name, and in this case, I have selected displaying the business card.
This is where the information that I referred to earlier in the user account set up may be accessed by others. You can also send an email from here or go to a user web page if it was entered correctly by the administrator.
You can choose to hide the information area from the Edit menu, thereby providing more space for whiteboard or chat. You can also adjust the amount of space each area occupies by dragging the dividers.
The middle area is an empty whiteboard with drawing and text tools on the left, and the bottom area is the text chat. Note the small box to the left of the chat area. That is a small map of the current room to help orient you to objects in the room.
I will pause here a moment so you can look at the screenshot.
David Crews: What kind of security is there on this site? Also virus protection?
Amy Sebring: I will get to the permissions a bit later, David. The main concern for viruses would be uploaded files. Therefore, you would need to establish rules regarding that.
Rob McDaniel: Is it possible to zoom out on the whiteboard to see more of the board itself?
Amy Sebring: I am going to show some close ups. However, you keep track of where you are in relation to objects on the whiteboard using the little map to the left. So briefly, no, there is no zoom.
The next shot has the information and chat areas hidden, and is of the Lobby room which was set up for a demo for our Red River Network project. This can also help to see more of the whiteboard. Here you can see the use of the text and drawing tools to provide labels on the whiteboard. You will also see two of the tools used.
The doors at the bottom are shortcuts to other rooms. The Message Board on the right works like a BBS and you can see there have been a few visitors who have left comments.
Now that you have seen the overall layout, we will look at each of the individual tools currently available. This next shot is the Tools menu.
You place tools on the whiteboard by selecting them from this menu. Then the menu bar will change to reflect the active tool. You will have various options depending on the tool.
We will now be in a Demo room.
This next shot I have placed a door back to the Lobby such as we saw earlier. I have also placed a file holder. I then uploaded a .wav file to show that you can upload things besides text. The file holder menu allows me to put, get, or view a file. Therefore you do not need to know a thing about FTP to upload or download a file.
In this example, I have chosen to view a file. Since my system recognizes the .wav filetype, it automatically launched the appropriate viewer, in this case an audio player, although you cannot hear it now!
This is a situation where you may need to take virus precautions!
Think of the possibilities. This could be text, or data, or photos, or maps, what have you.
Speaking of images, if you have a .jpg or .gif file, you can display them using the Images Whiteboard tool. Notice there are two options in the next screenshot. You can either upload the image, or you can link to an image on the Web.
Not only could you use this for logos, but again photos, sketches, screenshots such as these, maps, etc. Please realize that all these tools can be used in real time, such as during a meeting. For example, during a discussion, a particular file in the possession of one user may become important. The user can immediately upload, and attendees then download and view the relevant file on the spot. Of course you wouldn't want to try that with a huge file during real time. But you could make a larger file available for later downloading.
This next tool is just the opposite, a quick and dirty little Post It note for short clips of text. One thing about using a Post It versus just using the text tool. The Post It is much easier to edit. If you noticed on my Lobby page, I just crossed out an error!
Also notice that I have minimized some of the other tools in this next shot.
On the next shot I have added some Web links using the URL Reference Tool. Now you may begin to see how this can be used like a Web page. The linked page will open in the user's browser when he clicks on it. Very simple, and again, can be done on the fly.
The next tool, the File Viewer is different from the File Holder. It allows you to upload AND display text files. The user has the option of downloading the file as well.
You may have noticed that I skipped the Concept Map tool. This is because I have not quite figured out how to use that one! Basically it is a flow charting tool.
There are basically 3 levels of permissions. The administrator can set permission for who can create or own a room. The room owner can set permissions as to who can change tools or the whiteboard, then the tool owner can set permissions on a specific tool.
In the area on the server that I have set up, I have set up restrictions on those things that I do not want changed from session to session, but in the Demo room for example, have left it wide open. The Admin can also set up sub-groups, and assign individual users to one or more groups. Then permissions may be granted by group.
This next shot is a closer look at a message board like we saw earlier. It works like a BBS type messaging feature, and you can either post a message or reply. If you reply, it will thread with the original message.
The next tool is a slide viewer. This is pretty neat. If you prepare a slide presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint, and then use the SAVE AS HTML feature, you can either upload the presentation into the viewer, or link to one already on the Web.
This could be used for tutorials for example. If you keep your slides fairly simple in terms of design, then it is reasonably quick. Once they get larger, the load slows down. You advance the slides with the arrows on the top left.
The next tool is an address book database. In the example, I added fields for State and Zip. You also have data types of logical (Y/N) or can set up choices that can be selected for a drop down menu from the field.
You could use something like this for a call down list, or a resource list for example. You can also specify which fields are displayed in the listing at the top.
We also have a neat little appointment calendar. This would be logical for scheduling meetings and events of interest. You can change the month or year using the arrows at the top. Once an entry is made for a date, it is marked on the monthly view.
The next tool is a simple, flat file database that is user designed. This can be used for a variety of purposes. Again, perhaps for a resource list or a file index. Perhaps a damage assessment database.
I have set one up like our transcript list. It only has one entry. Again, notice I can change the name of the window to be more descriptive than the tool name.
The next tool is a Meeting Roster. However, I have titled it Sign Up Sheet.
Now, this next one could be very useful for tracking assignments and their completion. The tool is called a To Do List but I have renamed it here, Action Items. You could actually fill it out during a meeting.
Last, but no least, we have a little survey tool called Vote. A simple way to take a vote during a meeting possibly, or agree/disagree with an issue of some kind.
That is a look at the currently available tools, but I understand you could also have custom tools programmed, although I am not sure what else you would need!
The user can also customize some of the appearance using Edit, Preferences, and although video and voice are not integrated, the user can specify to try to launch NetMeeting on startup. It did not seem to work for me, possibly because I have the newest version of NetMeeting.
We are going to actually visit the server area with a few folks after this. If you would like to do it some other time, see the instructions on the background page and let me know, and we can set up a time to meet. Email me at <email@example.com>. With that, I will wrap up and ask if there are any more questions? Yes, David, please.
David Crews: This is going to remain free in the public domain and how many users can access at the same time?
Amy Sebring: See the website for number of users. They have tested it with many, but I do not remember the number. This server space I have is not limited on number of users, I understand. However, if you buy your own server software then price depends on number of simultaneous users you need. I am not sure how long the offer of free space will be available, but there is no limit specified.
Chip Hines: You mentioned firewall problems, do you know if it does work through firewalls?
Amy Sebring: The server admin designates the port to run on with my free server space, the port was determined by TeamWave, 6577. If you can arrange to access that port with your System Administrator, then it should work. More info on firewalls on TeamWave site. This is not my area!
Avagene Moore: Just wanted to say that Amy and I played with this a couple of times and then Amy demonstrated it for the Red River Basin Disaster Information Network folks. We were all impressed with its versatility and potential.
Amy Sebring: We had just 4 online at once. And it seemed very stable. IF you can connect, then the connection seems very solid. This would be due in part to your running a local client so less info has to go back and forth like with Java. I also did not notice any slow down in performance. When you get multiple users, you will have to seriously consider your permissions. It could get very hectic with everyone having control over all the tools.
David Crews: Do you know how much the software costs? This would make a great Intranet tool in the DFO.
Amy Sebring: Yes, I agree David. It is relatively cheap at this point! The prices are listed on the site but I think you could get a reasonable number of user licenses for around $1500. The thing I like about it particularly is how simple the interface is. Most folks could get up and running on this in a matter of minutes without a lot of training classes.
Avagene Moore: Client is easy to install. As Amy will tell you, if I can do it, anyone can. She pushes me and I have no choice. Encourage everyone to download, install and give it a whirl.
Amy Sebring: Yes, the client is free. The download does not take very long as the file size is under 3 meg for the client. You could also distribute a client on a CD for example, if you had other data to distribute that way. Well, at least I think you could if TeamWave permits. While we do not anticipate changing over to this for a situation like EIIP where you would like to have drop ins be able to access we do think this might be useful for a membership type network which was why I was looking at it for possible future use in our Red River project or other networks of that type.
David Crews: You could also have a CD preformatted /configured for disaster response with proper licensing, of course.
Amy Sebring: Other questions, comments? As I mentioned, you really do not need to be a whiz to be the administrator either. It is very simple to set up. Do you find a demo of this type to be helpful?
Avagene Moore: Yes, Amy.
Rob McDaniel: Absolutely!
Libbi Rucker Reed: YES!!!!
Amy Sebring: A picture can be worth a thousand words.
Isabel McCurdy: Most definite!
Amy Sebring: I find that most folks do not want to bother reading through instructions and manuals but want to get going quickly, cut to the chase so to speak.
Linda Underwood CERTLA: Wonderful demo!
David Crews: Great presentation, Amy. Sorry must sign off. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Amy Sebring: Same to you David.
Amy Sebring: I don't expect that anyone will be broken hearted if we wrap up a little early today.
Libbi Rucker Reed: A short example is much more helpful than reading and trying to visualize what it is supposed to do.
Amy Sebring: We do have some announcements we would like to share.
Peter Picanso: Thanks for the demo.
Amy Sebring: If there are no more questions at this point, let me give you some good news. I am pleased to announce we have made our goal of 100 pledges this morning!!
Linda Underwood CERTLA: Yay!!!
Amy Sebring: Yeah!!!! <//exclaim >. Thanks to Don Hartley, Bill Shoaf, Jennifer Suter, and our own Isabel McCurdy, who deserves the credit for showing up so faithfully!
Isabel McCurdy: Yahoooooooo !!! <//rose>.
Libbi Rucker Reed: <//exclaim>.
Avagene Moore: <//smiley>.
Amy Sebring: </bell http://www.emforum.org/pledge.wav>.
Daryl Spiewak: Super. Good job and congratulations!
Amy Sebring: Thank you all who have pledged, and thanks especially to those of you who are keeping your pledge. It really makes a difference! Also, the Virtual Fire & Rescue Exposition is going on now through December 6. There are a number of excellent chats scheduled, and we ask you to support that effort. Speccomm hosts our Website and chat as a donation, and makes this possible. They are hosting VFRE so please try to make one of those events. See <http://www.vfre.com>.
You will also see some of your EIIP friends there as we are helping out with Lobby duty and Moderating. Also, WEBEX II is coming up on December 3. We are going to need some additional role players, so if you are interested, check out our WEBEX page, (which is now linked from our home page) for further info. We will have a practice session next Tuesday evening, 7:00 PM EST, and the WEBEX ii is Friday evening at 8:00 PM EST. This is an extremely FUN opportunity! I will be writing to some of you directly! Ava, upcoming?
Avagene Moore: Thank you, Amy. First, I want to thank you for the presentation today. Excellent! I urge everyone online to become familiar with new technologies such as this. That's what the Tech Arena is about -- Amy always does a great job with the demonstrations and all aspects of the Virtual Forum!
After the holiday weekend, we have a special Round Table session next Tuesday, November 30, 12 Noon Eastern. We feature one of our Partners, the Lake County (IN) LEPC. This is their second time with us -- this discussion is focused on the Lake County LEPC and US Department of Energy POPEYE Exercise " (Preparedness Observation Planning Emergency Exercise).
The LEPC was in a leadership role in partnership with the DOE Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program (TEPP) for this multi-level event (local, Lake County, State of Indiana, and Federal emergency response organizations) to coordinate actions during a simulated transportation accident involving radioactive materials.
Mark your calendar for this overview featuring LEPC and DOE representatives.
To start off the month of December, the EIIP Virtual Classroom hosts Sandy Eslinger for "A New Planning Tool from NOAA: Community Vulnerability Methodology" next Wednesday, 12/01, 12 Noon EST. New and exciting information for you -- plan to be with us for both sessions next week!
Please add WEBEX II to your calendar for next week too. Friday night, December 3, 8:00 PM EST. See the link on the Virtual Forum home page and check out the WEBEX II page.
Other than wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and safe travel --- that's it for now, Amy.
Amy Sebring: Thank you Ava. We will adjourn the session and thank you once again, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving all!