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Wed, Jan 30, 2008

Make Talk Work International Video Competition

image The City University of New York Dispute Resolution Consortium (CUNY DRC) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice-CUNY, has just announced an international competition for short videos of up to 60 seconds using any of the themes in the 24 Make Talk Work bookmarks they have developed. This video project, which is funded by the JAMS Foundation, seeks to increase public awareness about dispute resolution. The bookmarks, also funded by the JAMS Foundation, were created by the CUNY DRC and dispute resolvers in New York City with images designed by Susan Spivack.

The videos must demonstrate how universal messages about handling conflicts can be shared with people from all walks of life. Each of the 24 bookmarks, which must be used as the basis for this video competition, contains a message that can be visually illustrated through video.

The bookmarks can be viewed at the CUNY DRC website at

Prizes ranging from $100 to $2,000 will be awarded for the winning videos. The winning videos will be premiered at a film festival and award reception at John Jay College near Lincoln Center in New York City . The winning videos will be posted on YouTube and the CUNY DRC’s websites and will be made available for workshops, conferences and public events.  Entries are due by April 1, 2008. See the full submission guidelines for more information.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2008 01 30 | Filed under Tech News  

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Thu, Dec 13, 2007

Server Relocation

Tomorrow I’ll be moving across campus, changing the location of the server that hosts the tech blog. If you can’t find me for a day or two, please have patience, as I plan to be back online ASAP.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2007 12 13 | Filed under Tech News  

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Fri, Oct 20, 2006

Educational RPG Storyteller game builder

A development worth watching at the open source project host Eduforge is RPG Storyteller, now in beta release. Developer Aaron Griffiths is working to make it easy for people to author role-playing games on either Macs or PCs.  RPG Storyteller is a Macromedia Flash game engine used to deliver a role-playing game based story. Role-playing games, or RPGs as they are better known, are narratives that include the reader as a character and engage that character in a number of choices, each which leads to a different consequence. In this way the reader can create their own unique experience of the story based on the choices they make.

RPG Storyteller authoring
The game/story is authored into XML (Extensible Markup Language) documents that are provided in the game engine package. These documents can be edited in any basic text editor. There are however a number of free-for-use xml editors that make authoring in the documents much easier, with features such as colour coded markup, excellent document navigation tools and well-formed document checking. Using the provided xml structures the author fills in the story details and configures the options in the story. Once saved, the game/story can then be run in RPG Storyteller engine.

RPG Storyteller start

RPG Storyteller sample map


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 20 | Filed under Tech News  

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Mon, Oct 16, 2006

Free Presentation Templates and Clip Art for Educators from Presentations ETC

The Educational Technology Clearinghouse at the University of South Florida has created a new online resource entitled Presentations ETC that trainers and instructors will want to be aware of. The new site provides high quality PowerPoint and Keynote templates and a huge collection of backgrounds that can be incorporated into your presentations or multimedia projects. Also available is a collection of royalty-free clip art. A friendly license allows teachers and students to use up to 50 items in a single, non-commercial project without further permission.

Presentations ETC


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 16 | Filed under Tech News  

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Fri, Oct 06, 2006

Screencast on Information Mapping and Management using Compendium

Compendium is a free software package providing a flexible visual interface for managing the connections between information and ideas. I posted examples of its use in a conflict management context earlier. Of interest is a new book recently released that details the use of Compendium for Dialogue Mapping.

The recently updated package, available at no cost for Macintosh, Windows or Linux users, places few constraints on how you organise material. The developers’ particular interests are in visualizing the connections between people, ideas and information at multiple levels, in mapping discussions and debates, and what skills are needed to do so in a participatory manner that engages all stakeholders.

Ecosensus Screencast As the Compendium website explains, “many people use Compendium to manage their personal digital information resources, since you can drag and drop in any document, website, email, image, etc, organise them visually, and then connect ideas, arguments and decisions to these. Compendium thus becomes the ‘glue’ that allows you to pool and make sense of disparate material that would otherwise remain fragmented in different software applications. You can assign your own keyword ‘tags’ to these elements (icons), create your own palettes of icons that have special meanings, overlay maps on top of background images, and place/edit a given icon in many different places at once: things don’t always fit neatly into just one box in real life.”

To have a look at how this works in practice, do check out this new screencast by Simon Buckingham Shum showing off Compendium’s basic features. It is set in the context of the ECOSENSUS project which is integrating an opensource GIS tool with Compendium to support participatory environmental decision-making. Cool stuff, to be sure.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 06 | Filed under Tech News  

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Mon, Sep 18, 2006

Free Classes on Online Dispute Resolution and Copyright in State of Play Academy

Check out these new virtual world classes, as described in a September 14, 2006 post over at Beth Noveck’s Cairns blog. (see post for more sign-up details)

State of Play Academy, New York Law School’s new virtual world law teaching academy, beta launches this week.  Building on the experience of the State of Play conference that has brought together technologists, lawyers, social scientists and other professionals to discuss the implications of virtual worlds, State of Play Academy continues that inter-disciplinary conversation online and throughout the year.

Our aim is to: 1) democratize law teaching by making it available to an open audience; and 2) understand how teaching and learning can most effectively be done within a three-dimensional, immersive and social online environment like a virtual world.

We’re having 45-minute ‘test’ classes each Tuesday and Thursday.  Please join us!

Tuesday 5:30 PST/8:30 EST
Online Dispute Resolution in
taught by Colin Rule, Head of Dispute Resolution, E-Bay and Fellow, Stanford Center for Internet and Society

Thursday 5:30 PST/8:30 EST
Copyright in Virtual Worlds
taught by David Post, I. Herman Stern Professor of Law, Temple Law School, Visiting Professor, New York Law School



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 09 18 | Filed under Tech News  

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Wed, Jul 05, 2006

Cool Online Drawing Tools - Gliffy (for diagrams) and Mikons (for icons)

As the online application “boom” continues more and more interesting tools are available via your web browser. And as conflict resolvers know, a lot of useful clarifying information can be communicated using diagrams or illustrative drawings. Two free new tools useful for this task are Gliffy (an online diagramming platform) and the Mikons site dedicated to creating “personal icons”.

image Gliffy provides a platform where you can draw and share and collaborate on diagrams visible on the web. Specifically, Gliffy provides:
- Diagramming in your web browser without downloading additional software
- Similar to Visio, yet in your web browser
- Desktop application feel in a web-based diagramming solution
- Add collaborators to your work and watch it grow
- Link to published Gliffy drawings from your blog or wiki
- Create many types of diagrams:
- Flowcharts
- UI wireframes
- Floor plans
- Network diagrams
- Any simple drawing or diagram

image Mikons, on the other hand, offers an easy-to-use vector-based (ie no jaggy lines) icon creation tool stocked with a wide variety of starter images. It requires the shockwave plugin. As explained on their home site, Mikons offers “a new form of self-expression that connects people through visual symbols (personal tags). Our mission is to give you a fun and easy way to create these symbols that tell your story, let you decide how you want to share them, and use them to connect with people anywhere in the world.”

Now I wonder if you could combine the two services somehow… hmmm…


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 07 05 | Filed under Tech News  

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Tue, Jun 20, 2006

Seeds of Tolerance Video Contest - Win $100,000 for short video on tolerance

Current TV, in partnership with the Third Millennium Foundation, is hosting a contest to produce a short video on the theme of tolerance. The top video submitted to the Seeds of Tolerance contest (due August 15th, 2006) will receive $100,000 cash, and $15,000 to a relevant charity of the winner’s choice. Two runners-up will receive $10,000, and be aired on Current TV, in 28 million homes across the country. Not bad for a 3-5 minute creative video… Guest judges include Paul Haggis, Melissa Etheridge, Edward Norton and Margaret Cho. Story samples are available if you need inspiration. Contest guidelines are posted online as well (pdf).
Seeds of Tolerance Contest


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 06 20 | Filed under Tech News  

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Mon, May 22, 2006

Polly Glotto - Talking SitePal Does Text-to-Speech Foreign Language Translation

Polly Glotto is a very interesting combination of a flash site avatar from SitePal, text-to-speech technology, and foreign language translation. You just type in the phrase you want translated, indicate which of the available 11 languages you are working with, and then sit back and listen to “Polly” as she pronounces your translated results. Polly Glotto was put together by Eric Iverson for The Newledge Group. According to the creator, it is currently the only talking translator on the web.
Polly Glotto


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 05 22 | Filed under Tech News  

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Wed, Apr 05, 2006

New ESP Device Alerts Wearer to Emotional State of Person They Are Conversing With

Three researchers at the MIT Media Lab have developed a camera-driven device that alerts wearers to the emotional state of the person they’re conversing with. The device, called the Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic (ESP), reads facial and body language cues of the person the wearer is speaking with and provides feedback on their emotional state to the speaker via an earphone and vibrating belt attachment. Rana El Kaliouby is developing the ESP device for her postdoctoral project as part of the Affective Computing research group at the MIT Media Lab under Rosalind Picard. The device is designed to prompt autistic people, who are prone to monologues or repetitive behavior, to ask questions, or give the listener a chance to participate in conversation. Clearly there may be applications for mediators and negotiators in training as well. 


The computer data-sets of the ESP, which are currently programmed to detect six emotional state standards, can be readjusted for cultural differences in facial expression patterns, or updated with new information personalized to the wearer.

However, there are some challenges. The ESP computer does not yet take eye movement into account, and a better digital camera is needed so that the device could more easily fit inside a baseball cap or clip to a pair of glasses. For more on this device, check out the story at CNET News on a recent demonstration of the technology that tipped me off to this.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 04 05 | Filed under Tech News  

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Fri, Mar 17, 2006

BillMonk - Social Money IOU and Bill tracker

image BillMonk is a free online service designed to reduce “social money” problems by tracking shared expenses and payments. Unique to this service is the ability to use your cell phone and sms to post bill information (movie tickets, dinner bill, vacation expense, etc.) and retrieve information about your account while on the go. You can also do this via email, or directly via your browser. BillMonk handles many different currencies, has a currency converter, and even handles online virtual money used in popular games such as Second Life and Everquest.

A little poem on the site tries to explain the feeling behind BillMonk.
Money, bills, rent, food
Friendships disintegrating
Please save us, BillMonk!


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 03 17 | Filed under Tech News  

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Mon, Jan 23, 2006

iOWEYOU Online Calculator for Roommate Expense Sharing

Conflicts can often arise in shared housing situations when the bills and payments for mutually used resources get complicated. iOWEYOU is a new online expenses sharing system originally designed for use in a shared student house but now publicly available. The key features include the ability to log expenses from any browser and indicate who among your group is sharing in the cost of this item, and instant reports that show how much you owe, or how much you’re owed. While based in the U.K., it is designed to work in any currency. iOWEYOU is free for groups of up to five people. image You can upgrade your account for a one-time fee (19.99 U.K. at the time of this post) to work with larger groups of up to 20 people. Additional features are set to be rolled out for premium accounts including email alerts, weekly/monthly statements and perhaps mobile-phone access. Could be a useful tool for students sharing an apartment or off-campus home…


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 01 23 | Filed under Tech News  

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Wed, Nov 16, 2005

IM, Blogs, and Student Conflict

The Kept-up Librarian spotted an interesting article in the Baltimore Sun on roommate conflicts. While I can no longer find it online, essentially it reports that roommates are more likely to blog about each other than to talk. Students and college officials say that the passive-aggressive communication fueled by the Internet - along with several other trends - make it harder than ever for students to navigate the roommate relationship, one of the central rites of passage in higher education. Instead of talking students use IM, blogs, and web sites to vent their frustration. Sounds like time for IM mediation tools to me.

Here’s an excerpt from the article -
“A 2004 survey of 31,000 freshmen across the country by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California Los Angeles found that 29 percent reported having problems with their roommates. Female students were slightly more likely than their male counterparts to have conflicts.

Learning to live with a roommate has long been one of the challenges of college. But now 80 to 90 percent of incoming freshmen have never shared a room before they get to campus, housing officials say, compared with about 50 percent a generation ago. With active parents whose involvement often extends into their college lives, today’s students are used to having many of their problems solved for them.

And they’re used to talking online and in text messages - making it that much harder to look a roommate in the face and ask him to take out the trash.”


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2005 11 16 | Filed under Tech News  

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Mon, Nov 07, 2005

High-Tech Tools Used in Dialogue and Deliberation Programs

The National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation has put together a very helpful collection of information on various High-Tech Tools Used in D&D Programs. Topics covered include:
Introduction to Collaborative Technology
Key Terms for High-Tech Collaboration
Technology for Online (and sometimes face-to-face) Collaboration
Discussion Mapping Tools & Resources
Polling and Survey Tools
High-Tech and Online Dialogue & Deliberation Programs
High-Tech and Online Experiments in Public Participation
Resources on Building Online Communities



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2005 11 07 | Filed under Tech News  

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Thu, Oct 20, 2005

Virtual Volunteering Resources

image The Service Leader website has developed a useful collection of resources focused on engaging volunteers who do their work in whole or in part, via the Internet and a home or work or university computer. While somewhat dated due to its year 2000 publication date, you’ll probably appreciate the good ideas and interactivity built into the Virtual Volunteering Guidebook offered by the site as a pdf file. Also of interest are the various examples of online mentoring projects now active.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2005 10 20 | Filed under Tech News  

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