According to its developers Ace is
a platform-independent, collaborative text editor. It is a real-time cooperative editing system that allows multiple geographically dispersed users to view and edit a shared text document at the same time.
What makes this plain text editor a truly amazing tool for collaborative writing is its use of bonjour technology. Bonjour is "a general method to discover services on a local area network. This technology is widely used throughout Mac OS X and allows users to set up a network without any configuration" (Wikipedia). We used the Windows version.
Thus, using Ace and logged in to our usual campus wireless computer network, my colleagues and I were able to perform a seamless, real time collaboration on a sample assignment we developed in response to Bill Condon's presentation. No single person had to take notes on our brainstorming session. Instead, everyone at our table, each one using a different computer, was able to type directly into the same text document at the same time.
I plan to use Ace in my fall course in "Collaborative Writing in Elecronic Environments" in tandem with some Xtreme programming protocols adapted for writing assignments.
This should be fun!