Friday, March 25, 2011

My Big Fat Geek Wedding

(The post title is a play on the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'... If you haven't seen the movie it's really quite funny and you don't have to be Greek to appreciate the humour)

Dear Diary,
How does a Codemonkey plan his wedding?  Why with a computer of course!

At least that 's what I have been trying to do but documents and spreadsheets were only getting me so far.  What I really wanted was something that would allow me to see the big picture.  A mind map might work but I have yet to find a piece of software I really like.

Then I got chatting to a gentleman named Arun Kumar in the pizza line of a networking event and he told me about a project collaboration tool he was working on.  It's a web based tool called Kerika - - and it allows you to co-operatively build and share persistent electronic white boards.

By using your Google account as a log in Kerika allows you to pull in documents from Google docs, as well as from your hard drive.

I jokingly mentioned that I had a wedding to plan and suddenly we were both intrigued by the possibilities...

So a couple of days ago Arun and I sat down together to see how I might use Kerika to build out my wedding plans.  I am still not sure who was having more fun, Arun or I, but the process went something like this:

First I created boxes for all of the aspects of the wedding I could think of that required planning.
This took a little while and being a male monkey I am sure I missed a few but Arun made up for my shortcomings by insisting on adding a 'Happily Ever After' box.  :)

Then I wanted to organize my ideas so I started re-arranging the boxes and adding links between them.  I decided that the guest lists would be better tracked in a spreadsheet so we created a 'Wedding Guest Lists' spreadsheet in Google docs and used that in place of the 'Guest List' box.

Notice how the 'Logistics' box (upper left) has a double-border?  That indicates that it links to another white board where I created a diagram for logistics.  The logistics white board is just a few boxes, not very interesting to look at, but the ability to nest white boards really allows you to explore concepts in more detail without having to put everything in one big, overwhelming diagram.

Before we parted company, I added Arun as a team member with permissions to edit the project and later on he logged in and added a whole bunch of links to fun stuff that my family might like to do when they are visiting from England.

I have only been using this tool for a few days but I love the ease with which I can create and navigate a multi-layered plan.  Already I am wondering what other uses I can find for it...  :)

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