I’m participating in RailsRumble this weekend, from 8 PM Friday to 8 PM Sunday. The goal is to build a web application in Ruby on Rails in 48 hours, and I welcome the change of pace of a small project. It’ll be a fun weekend crunch to build it, and I hope it will be a long-term resource for the development community.

I’ve watched a lot of video from conferences in the last month or two, and they really frustrated me. Video is slow and linear -- I could read five presentations instead of watching one and wondering if it’s going to be worth the time it takes. I really appreciate all the presentations, I just get impatient trying to find out if I’m going to enjoy one, or waiting for the speaker to make their next interesting point. And it’s hard to share them -- “Hey, skim this web page” is a lot easier than “Hey, commit to watching this hour”.

My app is going make it easy for folks to collaboratively transcribe presentations so anyone can read them alongside the slides. It’ll break up video into short pieces so people can help transcribe in a few minutes’ spare time rather than a big hours-long investment. If the presenter has put their slides online, they’ll be integrated with the text. If you’re a expert with Flash video and want to join in, I could use a hand -- otherwise, that part of the app will probably just be very plain, a video with a timeline control at the bottom rather than something specialized for transcription.

If this sounds like a useful site, I’d really appreciate a few minutes of your help late Saturday or early Sunday. Teams can only be 4 people, but I got the OK to allow the public to work on content on the site during the contest so it doesn’t have to launch empty. Just watch this blog (or mail me if you’d like me to remind you) this weekend for the call to come start using the site. Even a few minutes would be a big help.