A virtual visit to Prague
Tomorrow, I will be visiting Prague! Well, only virtually, but for the second time in 8 days — yay!
Back at BLAST 2010 I had a chance to meet up with David Chodounsky — he is one of the PhD students in the group around Professors Blacar and Simon and David also helped organize the Winterschool in Hejnice. He gave a nice talk about one of his current projects so I asked him if he could tell me a little more about it via Skype.
Last week he simply invited me to join the set theory seminar at Charles University. What amazed me was the simplicty of the tools used compared to the quality. David used his laptop with Skype to show me the blackboard (and himself) as well as being able to keep an eye on me if I had any questions or problems. Additionally, Jonathan Verner (PhD student, also involved in the winterschool) used his webcam and vlc to broadcast a live feed of the audience. They used an external mic to get very good audio quality through skype.
It was really amazing, I could read the blackboard and listen to the conversation — with just a bunch of freeware and open-source software (and on top of that I understood his proofs!).
So not only can I look forward to joining them tomorrow but additionally I think the technology is there to do this spontaneously whenever there’s interest. Now all we need is a good technology to exchange and collect seminar information so that anyone can join any seminar he’s interested in around the world.