Today was a road-trip first! I trekked down I-35 to NECC in San Antonio with Charlie Mahoney, Kevin Honeycutt, Dean Mantz, Michelle Honeycutt, and Ginger Lewman. Since we had multiple Macbook laptops in our two cars, a mobile AT&T 3G wireless card, and a DV camcorder with a long firewire cable, naturally when we got into the Ft Worth / 3G wireless network area we decided to attempt an ad-hoc videoconference between our two vehicles over bonjour and a live webcast over Ustream.tv. The amazing thing is, it all worked! We probably should have ratcheted down the video quality a bit, but the audio was great and although the video frame rate isn’t superb, it is amazing we could share this video webcast at all from an Interstate highway in Texas. The complete video is just under 19 minutes long. Initially we had the audio set to use the laptops’ built-in mic, but about 3 minutes into the recording we switched to DV audio (the camcorder’s mic) and that picked up our voices much better. Among other things we discussed our personal expectations and goals for NECC 2008.
To create this mobile videoconference and webcast, Charlie and Kevin connected their Mac laptops via an ad hoc bonjour wireless network connection. Dean did a masterful job driving close behind our vehicle, so the cars stayed within wireless range of each other. Ginger used my Sierra Wireless 881 USB cell data card/modem to connect my Macbook to the AT&T 3G network, and then to my UStream.tv channel. Ginger announced our live webcast over Twitter on my account, and we started… I think we had three live viewers during the webcast, and one of them was Dean Shareski, who we’ll see Saturday at Edubloggercon. What fun!
Our 12 hour road trip today (for those who started in Kansas) was a blast. I would liken it to a “lock-in” for adults! Even better than the fun and excitement of a live webcast from the highway was the opportunity to have great conversations about our lives, our work, our families, and our hopes for the future. We did stop by Deno’s Fried Pies off exit 51 in Oklahoma (which I recorded a video podcast about last November) and introducing four Kansans to this culinary experience was also a trip highlight!
Now, at last, we’re here in San Antonio! NECC 2008 is shaping up to be a great educational technology conference, and the formal conference has not even started yet! 🙂
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