Re: My take on Cornell v. 1.0

Jason Williams (streak@ccwf.cc.utexas.edu)
Mon, 1 Jun 1998 02:36:03 -0500 (CDT)


On Sun, 31 May 1998 rdawgie@mindspring.com wrote:
> 1) When you right click on a persons video window or their name in
> the participant list, you are presented with a drop-down menu for things
> like toggling between Micro Size and normal size, private chat/talk, etc.
> If the person disconnects while this drop-down menu is open, it (the
> menu) will not close after the person has disconnected. It remains "on
> top", cannot be hidden or otherwise closed or moved.

Yeah..that can get annoying at times.

> This brings up an alternate approach: What is the name of
> the file in which these screen positions are saved? Could it not simply
> be edited in case this should happen again?

Yeah, it can..the file is cu-seeme.ini in the windows directory. I've
noticed, if you change the name of the executable to something else, the
ini filename changes as well. I guess this could come in handy if you
wanted multiple copies with multiple configs.

> 3) Does/will the Import feature for the phone book work? I can't
> get it to.

How are you trying to use it?
I went to http://ccwf.cc.utexas.edu/cgi-bin/nph-cgiwrap/streak/scan and
selected the Cornell 0.92b2 Phonebook format...saved it to a file. Then
imported into 1.0 just fine.

> a) I miss not having some visual clue on a persons window itself
> as to whether they have my vid open. I have always thought the "Visible
> users" section of ANY client's Participant list to be useless. If you
> already have their windows visible, why have a separate list of those
> names?

True, in your case. But why should you be forced to have people's windows
open to know if they are watching you? Would you really want to have to
open EVERYONE's window to be able to tell if they had yours open? It's
nice to tell at a glance whether or not they can see you or not.

> But because the "are they looking" cue is the color of the icon
> in the participant list, I now HAVE to have that section of the list open
> (and wasting screen space) in order to tell whether they are looking at
> me.

Everything is resizable luckily. :)

> It also is additional eyestrain to have to keep shifting my gaze
> from a vid window back and forth to the list. The yellow/grey icon
> should be repositioned to somewhere on the video frame itself.

It would be nice to have a cue on the vid as well..but MOVING it to the
vid would be horrible. That would force me to open everyone's vid just to
tell if they have my vid open..wasted bandwidth (which can be much more
precious than screen space when you're on a 28.8kbps modem trying to watch
2-3 people).

> b) Once a reflector name is entered in the phone book, it cannot
> be edited, only deleted. So what? you may say. Well sometimes I
> misspell things. Sometimes someone will give me an IP, not knowing the
> ref name and say check it out. In this case I have to "dummy" up a phone
> book entry, and enter the info. If I find it's one I want to keep (under
> its proper or a different name) I cannot edit the name field. Perhaps a
> "Copy" or "Save As" button in this module would make things easier.

Good point I hadn't thought of.
The way to do it currently is to delete it and add it back in. Or even
easier for some, edit the PhoneBook.pbx file in the same place as CU-SeeMe
is located. It's a text file which is easy to edit. (Editing a huge WP
CSV file is horrendous...I know..I've tried :))

But yeah, a GUI option for that would be nice.

> c) Deleting a phone book entry should require a confirmation
> keystroke. With the "Delete" button right next to the "Save" button,
> some carelessness and a too-fast button finger has caused me to delete
> entries I did not intend to. WP 2.1.x had the same problem. Stuff
> disappeared that I wanted to keep, with no way to get it back.

Good point..though I've been using CU for quite sometime and have yet to
delete something I didn't mean to. I guess it can happen :)

> d) Is it really a big deal to provide an entry field for
> conference passwords? Is non-support of this feature part of the
> licensing agreement with White Pine?

Last I heard, the problem with this is WP encrypts the passwords that are
sent. If the encryption/decryption process can be figured out, I imagine
it's possible to add. I believe the OS/2 client supports passwords though
I'm not sure. So it IS possible..given enough time. You have to keep in
mind, Steve was under a lot of time constraints. There's a lot more that
he wanted to add which didn't get in because of time limits. So..you give
and take.

> e) When vids open, they seem to do so at random positions on the
> screen rather than in any organized way. For a chuckle, set your max
> screens at 24, do an "open all" in a busy reflector, and watch the
> helter-skelter results. This should be improved.

I believe the positions are also stored in the config file.

> f) As a refop, I would appreciate a statistic somewhere on the
> main screen, maybe beside my IP field, that shows the number of active
> connections at that moment, without having to do a separate click on the
> ref IP to get that info.

That can get really messy...unless you did something like (X/Y/Z) where X
= # participants, Y = # senders, Z = #lurkers. But then explaining that
would be a mess. It's clean the way it is and makes sense since the other
statistics are located on screen as well. Rather than the the # of
participants info, I'm finding I use the link response field MUCH more to
tell if I'm lagged or not.

> g) I REALLY miss the ability (found in WP 2.x but inexplicably
> removed in 3.1) to be able to superimpose text on my local vid window.
> Is this a huge re-write? Would it appreciably increase the over-all size
> of the program?

I miss that too...I believe it has to do with problems encoding the video
stream. Not so much problems as it is more complicated..especially if you
want to be able to change the font there, etc. What do you do for color
video? Do you let the user change the color of the superimposed text as
well? The "clean" way to do it is to modify CU a bit and model it after
what iVisit does. iVisit has a seperate stream which seems to be the text
on the display. Since it's a text field and not part of the video, it
works much easier and doesn't have the same complications. That's one
thing I like about iVisit. :)

> h) Why aren't the various sliders for the audio and video codecs
> numerically calibrated? I find it awkward to have to tell people
> "Position the Quality slider under the "y" of the word quality" (or
> similar instructions, less easily described if they should put it
> somewhere else.) "Quality = 20%" would be much more elegant.

Or you can tell them "position it about 20% from the left" :)
It's the same thing..This is one of the "to-do" things as well when time
ran out. I tested the 0.96 versions out primarily on my MPCS server where
I can set the quality up to 60-70% and people can still see me. You can
also tell the quality setting of someone by looking at their frame size
(something I'd like to have in the WP versions).

> All of this is pretty nit-picky I admit. Guess I'm remembering
> the old 4-H motto: "To make the best better."

Yep..given time, I'm sure most of those issues could have been addressed.
Such is the world of time constraints :)

--
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/ **************|