Writing a Story, Starting a Movement

I am delighted to introduce today’s guest blogger, Nina Nussbaum-Jones from Lockheed Martin. She has been an active participant on the Wonderland forum as well as an enthusiastic advocate for the use of Wonderland technology in her company. Her energy, persistence, and courage are inspirational. Today, Nina is sharing her story with us. Or, more accurately, her storybook.

I have worked at Lockheed Martin for 27 years, starting out as a system programmer in the basement of the computer center (which consisted of 1 DECsystem-20!).  Working closely with other engineers back then meant fighting over the few terminals in the computer room, eavesdropping on arguments nearby, and generally having fun in those big open spaces has led me on a mission to restore that connectedness that has been mercilessly absorbed in the sound-proof cubicle walls that separate the workforce today.

Why Project Wonderland?

After the packaging is tossed, the software installed, and the novelty has dissipated, it’s the heart of the people writing the software that comes through, and the community around it that has forged the open source movement.  And it’s that sense of community that makes open source a movement!** And that’s what we have found in Project Wonderland.

**Remember Arlo Guthrie’s definition in “Alice’s Restaurant”?

Why a story?

The story you are about to read is true.  We have endured for 9 months, persisting in our quest to tell our story, and we’re a bit tired of repeating ourselves.  So I wrote it down, hoping to inspire all of us who want to keep doing what it is that we do and still have fun doing it!  (And also hoping to show that us misunderstood right-brained engineers really do rock!)

Adventures in Wonderland, Starring Nina Nussbaum-Jones and Christopher Stathokostas
(PDF, 2MB)

– Nina Nussbaum-Jones


Editor’s Note: For those of you like me who are old enough to remember Arlo Guthrie fondly, but not the details of the song lyrics, and for those too young to have heard them, I thought you might like a pointer to the lyrics of “Alice’s Restaurant.” The part about what makes a movement a movement is almost at the very end…but I hope you’ll read them all the way through and then think about singing along with the rest of us to turn this small movement into something much larger.



10 Responses to Writing a Story, Starting a Movement

  1. Doug Green says:

    And I (for one) am delighted you perservered – and got this project underway. I’m a non-techie writer who’s figuring out how to use and install (painfully at times) ;-) Wonderland. I have some pretty funky dreams of my own for using your vision to enhance my reader’s experiences. Probably one of many patiently (or not so patiently) :) waiting for a stable release so we can unleash our creativity too. To paraphrase Arlo’s daddy Woody – "this world was made for you and me".

  2. Doug,
    I can’t wait to see your ideas. We like funky! If you have some preliminary prototypes you’d like to share with the community, I’m sure there are lots of people who would be interested. Please contact me at any time about doing a guest blog post.

  3. Nigel Wynne says:

    Hi Nina,
    Thanks for such an inspirational story, I think we both have the same bug! We too looked at a wide variety of platforms including and for most, once we where in world, the question was: now what do we do? I think the Wonderland tool kit is so exciting foremost because it provides a collaborative working and training platform that actually makes it easier to work and learn in a virtual space than it sometimes is in a real space. Its such an exciting time to be an educator as there has never been so much consensus about what leads to effective teaching and transferable learning. Key to this is collaborative, contextual learning. We think with Wonderland we can achieve outcomes that are currently out of our reach even when people are co-located in the real world.
    We’re at a fairly nascent stage with our 0.5 development but have a strong conviction that Wonderland will have a major impact on learning and teaching provision. Would love to hear more about your experiences.

  4. Nina says:

    Thanks for the feedback. As someone who needs to "do" rather than "use", I gotta say that WL is head and shoulders above the rest. I have a degree in Psych AND CompSci, and my passion is cognition and learning (and playing, of course!). The level of cognitive engagement in this environment is…well…totally engaging! :)
    p.s. I’m glad you liked reading this installment from the Ninaverse! My husband says people should just drink the kool-aid ™ and enjoy the ride!

  5. MaggieL says:

    I brought a collection of half a dozen user folk from the Second Life Architecture Working Group meeting to my Project Wonderland space today…I think they had a good time.

  6. Ivan Filippenko says:

    Hi Nina,
    Enjoyed reading your piece! Was intrigued to learn of this effort at a company such as Lockheed Martin. We’re exploring the idea of pursuing similar work at our corporation. My group and I would be interested to learn more about the virtual world you built on the Project Wonderland platform — what it offers, how it’s used, what the perceived benefits have been, how it has gained acceptance, future prospects, etc.
    For example, on page 14 of "Adventures in Wonderland" you write: "Finally, they had answered all the hard questions, and the people were happy." Impressive in itself! We’re curious to know HOW you answered those questions and made "the people" :-)happy (since doing so is an initial hurdle to overcome).
    Is it possible to find more information somewhere? Papers? Websites?
    — Ivan

  7. Nina Nussbaum-Jones says:

    I will see if I can release that presentation. I know I put it through our legal process, but I may need to resubmit for external use.

  8. Ivan Filippenko says:

    Thanks Nina! If you could make more information available, that would be a great help for those of us in industry who are seeking to undertake similar projects! (and need buy-in from management).
    Good luck going forward!
    — Ivan

  9. Anonymous says:

    I dont know how to write or react my feelings cause i m very poor to write english as well as speack.
    Life depands on time means if your time is good then life become good on the other side if time is bad then your life become sad. There r 2 ways of life & time like coin (king & cross)

  10. You were like a brother to me and you’ll dearly be missed. WE LOVE YOU!!!! Chris passed away 5/4/11 with his mom and step-dad by his side in virginia. He was too young to depart from us and he was a very intelligent and wonderful person., I will miss him so much

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