Re: Some general observations

Jason Williams (
Wed, 18 Feb 1998 18:05:07 -0600 (CST)

On Wed, 18 Feb 1998, George M Bean wrote:
> I think Wayne's comment's are long overdue. I might like my old 1967
> Nova for its simplicity, price and familiarity. However, I accept that
> my much newer and more expensive Saturn has some desirable upgrades like
> air bags and some not so desirable improvements like which button on
> which stick controls the wipers. Good or bad it's all part of the
> automobile's evolution.

True, videoconferencing as a whole is still evolving. But using the same
analogy can go both ways. I doubt you got your 1967 Nova for free (like
the Cornell version).

The evolution of automobile's benefits everyone immediately. Currently,
the evolution of videoconferencing only benefits the few who have the
bandwidth for it.

Multicasting as a whole hasn't caught on..Once it does, White Pine will be
at the front. But right now, it's limited to those on a LAN or are on
multicast-capable systems. Whiteboarding also has limited use on a modem
(yeah, I know it can be done...but not easily from what I've experienced).

H.323 hasn't really caught on either, so those parts of CU-SeeMe aren't
really being used by a majoriy of modem users (and from what I can tell,
modem users make up an increasingly majority of the market at this point).
Contrast this to a few years ago (before White Pine became the master
licensee) where MOST people were on T1s/T3s at educational institutes.
The market has shifted since then.

I'm a believer in the H.323 concept once it becomes more standardized.
Lack of a chat standard is preventing it from catching on (in my opinion).
I think I remember reading an email from Brian O'Shea at White Pine about
the V.CHAT standard but I don't know any details. H.323 is also limited
by OTHER programs which weren't designed for multipoint conferencing and
by the standards themselves. I believe Gary mentioned sometime in the
past, that H.323 is primarily for the business world. Again, the shift in
the market.

In a more longterm situation, I don't see videoconferencing settling out
till IPv6 becomes more standard, but that's just from a networking aspect.
Videoconferencing is definitely here to stay..whether or not White Pine
can stay in the game with the big boys (Intel, Microsoft, etc) is the
question. And that's just for the lower-end user (not the other high end
T1-T3 users like what PictureTel, etc is for). It's hard to compete with
someone that provides their videoconferencing program for free

> WP has heard all the version 2.x to 3.x change complaints at least a
> couple of dozen times. Hopefully, they have listened and will take some
> of these to heart when creating version 4.x. Perhaps they will ask a few
> old timers to assist with alpha testing 4.x as well as beta testing.

I've been a part of the beta program for White Pine for various products
over the years. I've TRIED to give positive comments and suggestions
when I can (besides the usual bug reporting). They did fix quite a few
things in 3.1 from 3.0, but there are still lots of little things that can
be done to improve it (excluding the interface since it's not small). I
know I'm not the only one that's suggested these, there's not
much else I can do. White Pine has their vision as to what CU-SeeMe is
and where it's going. I've been happy with their reflector (outside of
the killclient stuff that won't get fixed in 2.1) and have been a
supporter for the WP ref for quite awhile. I'm glad Brian Godette hacked
away at the Cornell source since not everyone who wants to run a reflector
has the $5000 for the 10 client MeetingPoint ref.

> I agree that WP needs to address the 2.1.1 versus 2.1.2 issue by either
> making 2.1.2 available or announce reason(s) for its unavailability.

If you contact Gary Dietz, he might be able to help answer that question
>From what I understand, they only wish to support 3.X..I can agree with
them to a point. From a programmer's aspect, you don't want to be stuck
supporting software which is old and outdated when you have a new version
people can obtain. But then, also from a programmer's aspect, I'd like to
know WHY people prefer the old version and refuse to upgrade so they can
help me understand what would have to change for them to upgrade.

> Beyond that, I hope the list members will concentrate on helping other
> users, finding new applications for CU and discussing needed
> enhancements rather than complaining about WP.

I've been trying to help people when I have the time, but I also don't
like to see software which LOTS of people use withdrawn to try and force
people to upgrade. (What started all this was 2.1.2 not being available

> As always, I encourage any constructive discussion on this or other
> topics.

This is about as constructive as I get :) hehe

> Also please note that I have no association with WP and the
> vast majority of my video conferencing efforts involve high end systems
> (> $6000). CU is just a low cost means for me to communicate with
> friends and family.

Maybe you can help answer a question of mine then...Do you see White Pine
as being a competitor of the high end systems? What do the high end
systems offer that CU-SeeMe doesn't? 30fps vid? 640x480 24-bit color
windows? Better resolution?

--    * Jason Williams -- Austin, Tx.  |     |       * University of Texas at Austin  | ___ |         * BS Computer Science             \_|_/
*************** **************|