Saturday, November 28, 2009

Turkey Run and Google Wave

Thanksgiving has come and gone. In anticipation for the event, people have sent me texts with the generic "Happy Thanksgiving :)", an email with numerous pictures like this and a bumper sticker request on facebook. Would you laugh if I said I didn't see a single turkey this Thanksgiving? No, I am not vegetarian and I often had turkey in New York.

It must be something about Virginia and my luck, but in my two years here, I have not eaten turkey here. Last year on Thanksgiving, for some odd reason, our family decided to wake up at 8am to go hiking in Shenandoah Park. Ironically, the trail was called Turkey Run and it involved some serious paths with a huge incline that culminated in a peak and a waterfall. After trekking for four hours with large backpacks on, we were sore, breathless, and hungry. I don't want to say "typical Koreans," but yeah, we had a pot of ramen (instant noodles) on that summit. When we were driving away from the parking lot, we saw a herd (flock?) of turkeys. Irony to the max.

This year, we didn't have a ramen lunch on a mountain, but we did go hiking in another park. Ultimately, there was a dearth of turkeys in my life this year as well. Oh well.

On a totally different note, as an avant-garde blogger and a closet-techie, I want to spread the word about Google Wave. Essentially, email, social networking, documents, and IMs are merged together in this "personal communication and collaboration tool" (Google). Described as "what email would look like if it was invented today," Google Wave is in real-time and really focuses on collaborative features. A wave is a "collection of messages, ...where people can see each other typing live," (Google) and ultimately this will foster collaboration on event-planning, group projects and other cosponsored activities. Did I mention that it has automatic translating as you type? If the person you are collaborating with types in Arabic and you type in English, with the right tool, it will come out on your wave as English. There are a lot more features and they're working on improving the preview version, but I haven't fully explored it.

What does this mean for college kids? I smell potential for group projects, cosponsorship between CIOs, and BBQ events with friends. As one friend put it, Google Wave could encourage laziness in all of us, because it doesn't innovate but simply combines tools that we already have, but another way to think about it is an innovation in the way of approaching these tools. I'm not a fan yet, but I am eagerly waiting for Google's improvements on this preview version.

Want it? At the moment, it's only open by invitation, but you can place yourself on the guest list.

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