A quick report of the New Cornell alpha

Andrew Clarke (andrew@plinth.demon.co.uk)
Thu, 30 Apr 1998 19:44:36 BST

Ok, I'm one of the privledged few who have had some time to play with the
new Cornell Alpha (it's who you know in this game :), so I thought I'd
give you a quick rundown of what I've noticed.

Firstly, it's small (a whole 300K zip file to download), although it
doesn't include any help files or a fancy install program. I shall leave
it up to you to wonder why White Pine CU is 30 times larger.

The interface is largely unchanged since the previous Cornell beta
version so you get the benefits (as I see them) of the White Pine 2.x
interface, with fewer of the problems like the participant list getting
unwieldly on populous reflectors. This is a Good Thing.

Colour works very well, but you have to be aware that unless you have the
codecs on your computer already, you cannot send or receive anything
other than Black and White (aka Cu-SeeMe grey), but you can download a
free MJPEG codec from Paradigm Matrix (www.pmatrix.com) which is I
believe the same one that White Pine use. This is also a Good Thing.

I don't have the VX1K (or whatever it's called) codec on my computer, so
I haven't had chance to see how that works. And as an aside the new
version of CuSeeme/2 for OS/2 also has the ability to view people
transmitting using this codec.

I do have some niggles with it, but as the first alpha I can forgive
them, like not being able to make it bind to the PPP interface instead of
the ethernet card and not having an 'arrange windows' function like White
Pine 2.x.

Reasons to use this instead of White Pine: It's free, it does almost
everything 90% of the CU world need, it's small and fast, the interface
is clean and uncluttered and it's simple to use.

Reasons to stick with White Pine: It's supported so you can have someone
to shout at in technical support, it's probably less buggy, it has more
features like better audio codecs and will probably work better with
White Pine reflectors and it's easier to use if you have a network card
in your computer as well as dial up networking.

All those who are using White Pine CU 'for free' will shortly lose their
one feeble excuse for breaking the law, which is also a Good Thing.

Hopefully it will reach a wider audience soon, which as you will almost
certainly be able to predict, is another Good Thing. I'm unsure of the
legalities/licences/politics of this one within Cornell, but I'm pretty
sure there are a lot of people within White Pine who are feeling a little
bit narked at this. [Ok, who said that was a Good Thing too? Own up now
:) ]

Andrew Clarke - "He's not very nice you know".
PGP Public Key available on request
"Having your nuts nibbled off by a Laplander, that's a way to die."
 http://www.plinth.demon.co.uk/ - Nothing interesting that way lies