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.
Con: 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)