Videoconferencing is still silly

Terry Reilly asked about desktop video conferencing for distance learning, which gave me a chance to review the current (and past) crop of "solutions."

The Chat Applications

Pro: AIM, MSN, etc. operate the "directory server" which facilitates connections by mapping familiar names, or screen names, to IP addresses.
: you need a screen name for that sevice, sometimes advertisement ridden, proprietary protocols, firewall issues

  • ichat: still the best performance and most robust, but only between Mac and Mac. Full screen video
  • MSN Messenger: Good performance and seemingly robust, but should be tested more. Fulll screen video. No Macintosh interoperability
  • AIM Triton: couldn’t get video to work with iChat. Need another PC to try AIM to AIM video chat
  • AIM 5.9: Works OK, but no full screen video.
  • Yahoo Messenger: uses Webcams and VoIP, not necessarily in synch. Chris Moran warns it installs nasty stuff in wierd places

The open source applications

Pro: free, open source, Mac or PC, adhere to H.323 standards, so play well with polycom and codian and the like, and even old NetMeeting
Con: limited features, need other person’s IP address or an enterprise gatekeeper, questionable development.upgrade paths

  • ohphonex: the Mac version. Will do full screen, may be replace by xmeeting
  • OpenPhone: the PC version. Difficult to download/install, no full screen

Ongoing testing is planned, especially with these latter two as I try to cobble together a test gatekeeper.

Shoul also be noted that an iSight camera will indeed work with Windows (video, not sound, but that’s OK)

About Wesley Wright

Born on a mountain top near New York City, Craziest state in the land of the pretty. Raised in the woods so's he knew every tree, Killed him a bear when he was only three.
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