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backchannel.jpga real-time view of the conversations happening in the #etech IRC channel at O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference. a software bot observes events in the channel, publishes them as a web-service via XML & JSON, & makes them available to an aesthetic data visualization applet.
the system pulls the most recent 500 “events” (messages, action, people joining or leaving the channel) into the client, which displays all users in a circle, with a graphic indication of their participation by each name. users who have spoken within a half-minute of one another are linked by threads, showing approximate conversational subgroups at any given time. a stream of events is displayed across the top of the screen, with a slider that allows users to check out the state of the conversation at any moment over the previous 3 hours. see also gnom & schemaball.