Saturday, July 21, 2007

Harry Potter all-night online party

Well, it's 3 am, and I've just checked out of the all-night Harry Potter on-line party. It's been going for 7 hours already, and the moment of truth is approaching. We've been getting regular updates from our volunteer scanning crew, who have chopped, scanned, OCR'd, paginated and are now doing the final prep work to release the newest Harry Potter book to the community. Within the hour, it should be available for download.

I love technology for its own sake, but it's always good to experience how technology promotes connections among people! Folks have set up, in addition to the traditional listservs, an online channel for the community that allows both voice chat and text messaging in a way that is highly accessible to people with disability. Of course, the great thing is when accessibility works but is just invisible, and that's the case. Good design is universal!

So, it's just a lot of fun to engage online with a group of people who share a passion for books (specifically, Harry Potter books tonight, of course). We ended up talking about Harry Potter, JK Rowling, had people playing different Harry Potter characters, talked about home-brewed scanning systems (how to build a Google-style scanning station for less than $1000), other science fiction authors, great teen fiction and so on. I thought I'd just show up and wave the Benetech flag for a few minutes, and ended up staying for nearly two hours because it was so engaging.

Technology serving humanity: our motto. It's a blast to see it in action!

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