Publicize CU-SeeMe!!!

EyeOn-Eyes (eyeon@Tach.Net)
Fri, 10 Feb 1995 12:55:19 -0500

Ladies and gentlemen of this List -

Many arguments have been put forth on the issue of whether to be
protective of CU-Seeme (CUSM), keeping it "our little secret" for as long
as possible, or to publicize this phenomenon, opening up a raft of other
potential problems.

Arguments for the former position have included bandwidth
considerations, which are certainly valid, and a certain amount of
exclusivity and elitism (from which I myself am not immune).(I am
summarizing these positions in the simplest, most general terms possible
since there is no need to repeat the threads we have all followed).

Arguments for the latter position have been quieter and less
forceful. In fact, I can't remember even one!

Nonetheless, I would like to propose what I feel are the most
compelling arguments for opening CUSM up to the world as quickly and
noisily as possible.

According to all the leading "Information Age" magazines, the
commercial venues of choice for most of the up-and-coming bandwidth
providers are primarily highly asymetrical formats like Video on Demand,
Interactive TV (which are really just highly limited versions of today's
watered down online services, like Prodigy but worse). The consumer's role
in these scenarios is not far different from the passive role one already
plays watching TV; the provider pours "content" (500 + channels of empty
soul-depleting swill <mostly ;) >) down the pipe and the limit of our
interactivity is the ability to change channels.

But what we love is the interactivity of CUSM-like technologies:
the ability to not only watch live TV, but interact with the other people
watching it at the same time. I don't have to spell out what's great about
this. Read the QuickTime conferencing Press Release, or the announcement
for Machine Screw Live. When in your lives has it ever been possible for
the common person in San Francisco to be seen by *anyone* in another
country w/o going there? Never!

The only problem is that what's being considered the most
commercially viable is the scenario described two paras above.
Unfortunately, commercial viability is everything. The businesses
providing service are going to lay down the infrastructure that is going to
turn the profits.

That's why we need to start a grass-roots movement. We are at a
point where it's not too late to change the course of the river. We need to
vote with our wallets by supporting commercial versions of
CUSEEME-technologies. We need to turn everyone on to it and flood the
pipe. That way, perhaps we can a achieve a critical momentum by which
investors are made aware of the worth and profitibility of investing in an
infrastructure that supports bi-directional interactive communications
technologies at prices one doesn't have to be a trust fund recipient to
afford. Then they will build it.

As we poke around in our ivory tower, the rest of the world is
gearing up for a Television Revolution that will make cable tv look like
"rabbit ears in the sticks." We can sit idly by with our tired arguments
about how we should keep our little secret to ourselves or we can rip the
doors open now.

Remember: if we open it up, everybody will have it. But "everybody"
includes us. Think about it.

Thanks for paying attention.


//Khaled Bassim//