Re: laptop videoconferencing

Bill Woodland (wcw@bga.com)
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 23:18:23 -0600


At 05:30 PM 3/19/97 -0500, you wrote:
>Dear Listmates,
> Has anyone had any luck videoconferencing with a PC laptop and
>modem? If so, what kind of setup? I'm intending a demo for a meeting in
>another city, and figure that at least a Pentium 166 and a 33KB modem would
>be desireable. Since this isn't till next fall, I'm hoping that new=
hardware
>choices will be available by summer, such as 200MHz with MMX. Does anyone
>have a crystal ball about new hardware, or whether MMX makes any diference
>with CU-SeeMe?
> TIA, Ellen

Hi Ellen.

Just last week I helped to setup a Toshiba Satellite laptop which I had
borrowed from MIke Baronowski, aka "Jeeves" (Thanks Mike :) at the KLBJ-FM
RV (Recreational Vehicle) which had been parked on 6th Street here in Austin
for the South by SouthWest music conference (SXSW). KLBJ is my favorite
local rock and roll radio station here, and they have their own reflector
(video.lbj.com) where you can see the DJs at work. The station had lots of
musicians come by the RV for interviews, and they thought it might be nice
for people to be able to SEE these musicians via CU while listening to the
interviews on the radio.

Once we got 150 feet of phone cord to string out to the RV on the street,
all went very well. This laptop was a 486/50 and had a PCMCIA 28.8 modem.
We used the White Pine version 2.1 of CU-SeeMe, and the 486 was plenty fast
to keep up. ISDN would have worked better, but they had to use that for the
connection back to the studio. All in all it was a big success. Last
Halloween Mike and I setup the very same laptop on the rooftop deck at
Maggie Mae's bar on 6th street and had a camera sitting on the very edge of
the building, aimed downward at the "estimated 100,000" people out on the
street that night. In case you haven't gotten the HINT yet, 6th Street is
THE party place here in Austin. Drop by and say "Howdy" some time :)

I have no crystal ball, but if you are planning on buying a new computer,
you may as well get one with MMX. For any of you that aren't familiar with
what MMX is (I just read an article about it), here is a little info for
you. The MMX technology will be integrated into the Pentium and P6 family
of processors, and will also appear in all future Intel processors. You
will be glad you have it...maybe not today, or even this year, but soon
aplications will be written that can take advantage of the MMX enhanced
processor. MMX adds 57 new instructions to the processor to boost system
performance. These instructions are of the
"single-instruction-multiple-data" types, meaning that they perform the same
operation on multiple data elements in parallel. This technology can boost
performance by as much as 100% when dealing with multimedia and
communications applications.

These 57 new instructions are in ADDITION to the instructions that the
Pentium processor already understands. It is backward compatible, meaning
that any software written previous to the development of MMX will still run,
but applications that USE the MMX instructions will have portions of code
which run up to 100% faster. =20

It's a sign of the times, like Windows 95/NT, which has made people throw
out their old 286s and step up to current technology. How many companies
now have stopped writing 16 bit applications? Lots of them. Can you still
buy a new computer without Windows 95 or NT pre-installed? I doubt it. =20

The next version of CU-SeeMe for the PC from Cornell University will only
run on Windows 95 or NT. I would bet that the next White Pine version will
also be a 32 version. So far MMX won't help CU-SeeMe or any other
applications unless and/or until they are written to take advantage of the
MMX technology.

If you are about to buy, and you can afford it, I say "go for it". It's not
going away. Hey, I'm the guy that told people to get touch tone
phones...was I right, or was I right? Call me....my number is 1-800-SQUEEKY=
:)

Bill Woodland (Squeek =A9)
Email, PowWow, and ICQ: wcw@bga.com
URL:http://cu-seeme.cornell.edu/~WCW
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