False expectations? Future promise.

Dennis J. Streveler (strev@mobius.net)
Sat, 13 Jul 1996 13:46:47 -0700

>CUSEEME technology is very wanting. The audio sucks, the video is slow
>and unreliable, color is poor in resolution, and the chat box misses
>comments. Other than that it is perfect.
> \>-'`-</ /--Burt Fisher K1OIK@ccsnet.com-\---/-\---/---\-----/--

Gang, gang, gang! (my version of a primal scream! :)

It's time we had a little chat. It amazes me that folks get CU or ECU and
expect tv-like video, dolby stereo sound, and lord only knows what else!
THESE ARE UNREASONABLE EXPECTATIONS. The fact that you can get ANY audio,
much less VIDEO over the Internet is truly an amazing feat!

Consider the following:

1) The Internet was NEVER designed for time-sensitive applications. It WAS
designed to survive thermo-nuclear war (but that is another agenda!)

2) The pipes most people have currently to the internet are amazingly
narrow. POTS (plain old telephone service) is very narrow for sending data.
Consider that an every day tv picture requires a bandwidth of about 180
MILLION bps (bits-per-second) while your modem MIGHT hit 28.8 THOUSAND bps
and you can see the problem! And even with "higher" bandwidths, such as ISDN
at 128 THOUSAND bps, it is still a very long way from any order of magnitude
truly required to provide "acceptable" (real?) video. (In fact there is more
precise information on this -- it would appear at ATM-speed, which I think
is 45 MILLION bps, things get quite reasonable. For example, you can watch
neurosurgery at this speed without anybody complaining.)

3) The Internet itself is congested. Thus, that packet might just not make
it thru the tangle of routers that are now in place.

CU-SeeMe was a marvelous piece of work, which ingeniously found tricks to
use to get some video, and some audio, to you around the block or around the
world. This is a marvelous development, one which portends an era of
improved worldwide communications -- which has implications for everything
from cultural development to medicine! We owe it to some very inventive and
ingenious people at Cornell, people like Dr. Steve Erde, and Tim Dorcey and
Larry Chase, to name a few, who truly worked some magic.

I too get very frustrated with all the limitations. We will look back at
this in a few years (months??) and say it was all crazy and laugh! Sort of
like the original TRS-80 computers with 2K of memory! Or shortwave radio!
Or, I suppose the Wright's plane at Kitty Hawk.

Come'on now, doesn't everyone fully realize that you are seeing the
emergeance of a totally new technology? Even at this stage, it is truly
exciting and amazing. But remember, it is best thought of as a solution
where "ANY picture is better than NO picture." So, lighten up, be patient,
learn from your experiences with this level of perfection, and dream about
what will likely be available very shortly. The world is going to shrink
another few sizes sooner than you think!

Happy trails,

Dennis J. Streveler, Ph.D., | Internet: strev@mobius.net
Systems Consultant | CIS: 71036,1645
| web: www.usr.mobius.net/strev
-Future Technologies in Medicine / | CUSeeMe: ws1.streveler.xo.com
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