I absolutely love the challenge of matching tricky tasks with awesome software. However there is a whole new level of complexity when solution includes catering it to other people. Who might not share my views on usability, features and might be as lazy as me but without that much passion for computers.
So here I have an awesome task I could use some advice on – how to plan, implement and get friends interested in online collaboration.
A lot of collaboration solutions are aimed at work environment. Meaning for them to be used there is either boss that can order around or financial gain from streamlined collaboration.
So here I have more challenging situation – bunch of friends (plus friends of friends and so on) that could some organization for our common hobby (anime) but are completely unwilling to put effort in. We are lazy bunch.
So I need the collaboration solution that is capable of handling list of challenging features and be extremely tasty and easy to lure lazy people in.
- off the charts powerful and flexible file organizing and sharing (I am talking about hundreds of gigabytes scale here);
- planning features for:
- distributing downloads;
- offline meetings and file sharing;
- content discussion and recommendations;
- integration with relevant sites, such as AniDB.
What had moderately succeeded
- HFS with my very own RSS template had proved itself very convenient for distributing files from one user to others. However it absolutely lacks social and sync capabilities;
- IM – we are more or less all there, except that it often turns into duplicating and passing messages around;
- mobile phones. Dial and shout if someone forgot something, you know.
What had failed miserably
- DC++ hub – I had tried three times already and it had zero traction every time;
- Oddmuse wiki – lasted longest but failed with people falling off and accumulating backlog of changes instead of incremental updates;
- Dropbox – nowhere near in speeds and limits for media sharing;
- Google Docs spreadsheet – hadn’t even made to anyone using it;
- Skype – IMing is faster and herding over two people in same Skype conversation is impossible for some reason.
Since we have nodes of various connection types, speeds (and every other variable) it will have to have some kind of central contact point (server). Either hosted by one of peers (me) or third party hosting (limits amount of toys that can be used).
Since no kind of server (that I have access to at least) is capable to handle large amounts of media it will have to incorporate some form of P2P transfers.
So overall it must have two layers – people communication and file transfer. It is unlikely that these can be found in single solution and satisfy all features listed above at the same time.
- pro solves connection issues;
- con takes resource toll on local machines, complex (?) setup;
- pro easy to distribute files;
- con no distributed transfers;
- pro easy to distribute files;
- con no distributed transfers, present but uncomfortable upload;
- pro glue that can stick many things together;
- pro awesome for file transfer;
- con unappealing (?) to users;
- pro interesting option for file transfer;
- con not intended for small groups;
- pro handles most of incoming media anyway;
- con useless (?) on small scale;
- private cloud
- pro no (?) mature solutions;
- con questionable collaboration usage.
- Google ultimate solutions too all problems (failed).
- Make a poll with technical and interest-gauging questions, IM to friends, intimidate into filling it.
- Make huge blog post, look smart enough to uphold reputation, dumb enough to attract meaningful advice.
- Go struggle with zigzagging thought process, wait for feedback.
Any thoughts? :)