dimdim April 13, 2008Posted by Steve in : Elearning, Stimulation, Web2.0 , trackback
Dimdim is web collaboration software that is free and is open source. It has become available to everyone in the middle of April 2008. I believe it has been in a lengthy testing period where participants volunteered to try out the software and provide feedback. Seemingly it was developed under a reasonably controlled environment as compared to allowing all comers to test the software. The sheer volume would have brought it unstuck.
The layout of the screen seems like most other web collaboration software. It has a list of participants and the icons next to each participant indicates the privileges they have eg. the ability to use audio or chat privately with a participant.
Dimdim has the ability to share a whiteboard, to share a presentation by uploading a PDF or a PowerPoint file and to share one’s Desktop. All seemed to work well in my testing.
The chat feature for back channel communications seem to be easy to use and emoticons can be incorporated. An improvement of the chat feature would be the ability for a participant to choose a font colour. Having stated that, the system assigned two different colours to the broadcaster and to the participant.
The whiteboard seems to come with the usual tools for collaborating. Some of the tools include: text entry box, a rubber stamp capable of producing many geometrical designs, a pencil for the likes of cursive writing, straight line tool, rectangle, circular and triangular frame tools that have several options. There is a clear button to erase all the objects on the whiteboard.
The whiteboard is missing a pointer tool to point out specific items when giving a presentation on the whiteboard. I really missed the pointer tool and it needs to be added in a future version in my opinion. I also like a highlighter when using a whiteboard but it does not seem to be available in dimdim.
Dimdim makes use of Adobe Flash Player 9 which uses video and audio like that found in other Adobe products. The broadcasting video is reasonably sharp but the quality is certainly lost in transmission to the participants most probably since it is enlarged a bit. I was unable to test for the use of video with other participants. It will be interesting to see what that looks like on the screen or even if it can cope.
The limit of participants seems to be twenty. More than one participant’s microphone can be allowed to operate at one time.
I was not able to test the audio / video with several participants. It will be fascinating to see how it copes with the volume.
This is a product worth considering since it makes use of a whiteboard or one can give a presentation. It is free and open source. It certainly has potential and I would think commercial web collaboration entities will be looking over their shoulders. It is a product worth observing as it matures.