Re: Some general observations

Jason Williams (streak@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu)
Wed, 18 Feb 1998 11:51:52 -0600 (CST)


On Wed, 18 Feb 1998, Wayne Fisher wrote:
> Funny, but it seems as if I may be one of the few people on this
> listserv who actually LIKE White Pine's CUSeeMe version 3.x. With 3.x,
> White Pine has added smoother and faster video based upon newer and
> improved codes, enhanced audio, and better support for color.

3.1 has its advantages... It improves a few things but makes a lot of
things worse as well. (Ever listened to some of the installation
nightmares people have had with 3.1?)

Im not so sure smoother vid is a direct result of 3.1 (The MeetingPoint
reflector has a lot to do with that as well as quality settings on each
end). Since I can't get audio to work with 3.1, I can't comment on the
better audio support. H.263 color is fairly nice (though they should tell
you a 20% quality setting for H.263 is horrible looking...60% works much
better).

> Granted, the interface is a little different and takes some getting used
> to, but I actually like it.

Given enough time, you can learn to like anything :)
I've found it's not nearly as intuitive as the previous versions. Doing
what was quite simple in 2.X was made quite a difficult task in 3.X.

> but, I would like to be able to float the windows as was available in
> version 2.x.

A little trick I learned to try to make 3.1 tolerable: Set your display
windows to only show one window. Put your local window there. Then any
other windows you click on pop up outside of the main CU window. You can
also undock the participants window for a more 2.X-like experience. (Why
ou can't undock the chat window, I have no idea).

In fact, I got to see Eric Ochoa's desktop that made it appear a lot like
2.X (get rid of all the title bars, enlarge the chat window to the full
length of the CU window, and undock the participants list).

But again..why should the user HAVE to go to all the work to do all this?

> And, not, I do NOT work for White Pine... I'm just tired of seeing their
> excellent procut getting bashed on this listserv....

I agree, 2.X is an excellent product. Why they redesigned it, I still
haven't figured out.

So tell me...how often have you used the contact cards with people you
connect with? How often have you setup multicast conferences or used the
Whiteboard? White Pine's recent advances have been towards the business
users which need a videoconferencing solution. I've "tried" the multicast
stuff..just doesn't work on a modem (not on mine anyway). I've tried the
whiteboard but it's way too slow and cumbersome.

> granted, it does take some additional system
> resources, but these days, so do MOST upgraded products.

Perhaps you can answer one of my questions then...what's wrong with 2.X
and why couldn't the features of 3.1 be wrapped up into 2.X's interface?
3.1 has some nice things (resizing windows for one) but it's the interface
and all the extras that people don't need/want that drive people away
(from what I've seen). Would you buy a mainframe to use as a simple
calculator?

> C'mon guys.... give the people at White Pine Some credit.... their
> customer support has always helped me when I needed it

The credit I give White Pine is to their reflector. They were the first
ones to make reflectors easy to use and setup with multiple conferences
and low bandwidth consumption. They definitely know what they are doing
in that realm. (Though I question their pricing schemes on it.. $350 for
a 50 client WP 2.0.X reflector a couple of years ago while $5000 gets the
10 client MPCS reflector now).

>From what Gary has mentioned in the past, the interface issues will go
away in the near future when you can essentially design your own interface
to CU (ActiveX controls I believe). I'm anxiously awaiting that day.

> and, altho the Cornell version may be quick, the
> enhancements which White Pine added only improve the product FOR ME
> (color, improved audio, whiteboard capability, private chat, enhanced
> phone books, etc.)

The 3.X version still doesn't allow you to import rates, Conference IDs,
or passwords for each reflector, so it's quite limited. (Unlike the
Cornell 0.92b2 phonebook).

If it works for you, that's great....I know for a lot of people, it
doesn't. Whatever works best.

> Just my own humble opinions... if you MUST flame me, please do so in a
> private email... no sense wasting bandwidth....

I don't consider this a flame :)

I use the 3.1 version occasionally myself though I mostly just
videoconference with other Cornell users, so the color capabilities (and
the other "features") aren't really need.

Whatever works for you...If you enjoy it and get use out of it, that's all
that really matters.

--
streak@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu    * Jason Williams -- Austin, Tx.  |     |
streak@mail.utexas.edu       * University of Texas at Austin  | ___ |
streak@cs.utexas.edu         * BS Computer Science             \_|_/
*************** http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/~streak/ **************|