Video Bridge / Kirchbach Vilnius /
Report Andrius






[this is part of a posting to the "working in parallel" mailing list]

Our Video Bridges

Yesterday April 6th 2006 I participated in my very first video bridge. Zenonas Anusauskas is an organizer based in the village of Eiciunai. I had heard about him, but met him and his wife Audrone for the first time in the village of Darguziai a couple of weeks ago. They had brought a projector which they used to help Valdas Kavaliauskas give his presentation and show a movie. These villages are in Dzukija, the region which Franz Nahrada and his fellow ERDE members visited last summer. I spoke with Zenonas about doing a video bridge before I left for my trip, and he suggested that we try it at his seminar, which was yesterday. He is organizing villagers who wish to use Internet technologies to work as a network to win EU projects, etc.

Yesterday morning I drove to the city of Alytus by bus with Plazi, a musician from Togo, Africa. The seminar was at the regional headquarters of Omnitel, and ISP and telephone company. Earlier in the week Franz had connected me with Ewald Binder of Kirchbach, Austria who is expert at video bridging. Rytis Umbrasas, a veteran of our lab, and a system administrator, happens to live in Alytus. He came by the day before to test out the Internet, and also he took off from work and met us for lunch.

Using Skype, http://www.skype.com, we managed to try out an audio connection with Benoit (he spoke with Plazi in French) and our very first video connection with Miguel Yasuyuki Hirota in Japan (and our very first conversation!) But that was just practice. The real test came when we made our presentation before the 25 villagers. It just so happened that nobody was online to talk with us! So I spoke for a good half hour about our lab Minciu Sodas and how we work together. Rytis emphasized that the technology we're using is very modest and freely available. And I pointed out that the real hard part was not the technology (which was coming soon, surely within a year or two), but having something say, knowing how to say it, and having somebody to say it to. I showed the long list of contacts that we had and we were about to place a call.

Suddenly, Franz called us and let us know that Rupert was stuck in traffic. So, by audio across the Internet, Franz presented his vision of global villages (and networks of learning circles) while I translated. Then we were about to end when Miguel caught us. And we were able to demonstrate a video conversation live with Japan!

Finally, Benoit called from Canada and closed with blessings of peace. It was quite exciting, and then as we stopped for a break, Plazi performed for us on guitar, singing in his native language and also in French. Rytis drummed on his jembe, and our staid group broke out into dance, holding hands and circling around the table, then each leading us in a dance move.

Plazi and I spent the night at Zenonas and Audrone's home in the countryside. Zenonas agreed to lead our first working group in Lithuanian on "synergy", by which he means "creating collaboratively", which is his key concept.

Also, we will have our next video bridge at their next seminar in Alytus this coming Thursday afternoon. We will have a good hour or so, and so we might think of a theme to talk about. Who would like to join us? I am glad that a couple of people from Lithuania were also interested to connect with us, including our National Science Award winner Sarunas Raudys, who is world renowned for his work in neural networks and pattern recognition.

Thank you, Miguel, Benoit, Franz, Jeff, Rupert, Helmut, Rytis, Zenonas, Audrone and all for showing the wonders of a global network and the importance of being able to improvise!



Andrius Kulikauskas Minciu Sodas http://www.ms.lt ms@ms.lt +370 (699) 30003 skype: minciusodas