Re: Cuseeme, Freevue, Videophone and Hi Tech

Dennis J. Streveler (
Fri, 10 May 1996 16:20:43 -0700

At 07:14 AM 5/10/96 -0700, you wrote:
>Hey Cuseeme Buddies:
>I did some more experimenting with cuseeme software last night and came up
>with some more clear observations. First I just want to say that it has
>taken me 3-4 weeks just to tweek the software just right, as well as find
>good sites for viewing and clear audio. I would start around 9:30pm to 1am
>and from this experience I may have lost a girl friend through the whole
>ordeal, (smile).
>I worked on the two drivers that I have on my system and believe or not for
>the first time with Cuseeme I was able to get audio and visual
>simultanously. The audio is not what I expected and people will most likely
>be disappointed but you can get it. The audio is like being in a tunnel and
>you hear someone's echo trying to reach you from a distance. The bottom
>line is that if you have web phone or iphone you will have better sound than
>using the cornell's audio in cuseeme. To make sure it was not a fluke I
>went to a number of sites to see what I could hear. I went to the Nasa TV,
>Vdorm and Cuseeme in Brasil. All sites I heard it all to the fact that one
>person was cursing out another for exposing themselves on the channel, (go
>Freevue in all is the way to go due to the clear visual as well as audio and
>the price package, (free)!! The problem with the freevue that I tend to
>notice. If you just want to meet people and not get into major porno
>graphic or self exposure it appears difficult.
>The connectix videophone I think in the future will be the package of
>choice. When they decide that the larger audience user have internet
>accounts and want to utilize their cams that way they will tweek the package
>for the tcp/ip user than the t1/isdn group. As notice, the message someone
>stated that connectix is truly making software strictly for the isdn/t1
>group. That is true, but they do have the upgrade once the software is
>purchase to utilize tcip/ip connections. This enables audio and video to
>work together. Once more people get the word out on the videophone I think
>it will give whitepines version a run for their money.
>I have no idea why we are so involved in this though because once we have
>the cuseeme, videophone and iphone working to perfection the
>lobbiest/government will take this away from us or charge us for the use.
>That will really ruin all the fun.

Hello James,

I've been doing some experimenting with FreeVue too. There are two concepts
there that I think are interesting in that product:

It is apparent that the algorithm for transporting video is quite different
than CU. It reminds me a little bit of interlaced GIFs when they are viewed
on the web. If the person in the video frame moves a lot, then the picture
becomes grainy but when the person's movements settle down, the video
"catches up" and the video image becomes clearer. That's a rather
interesting approach, and the net result is that the perceived frame rate
doesn't slow down, rather the resolution of the picture changes from
grainier to less-grainy.

As you know, FreeVue allows you to have more than one direct, simultaneous
connection without using reflectors. This is rather interesting for small
teleconferences of 3 4, maybe even 5 people. If I remember how to do
factorials properly (I hope my eighth grade teacher is listening! :) it
looks something like this:


2 2 (no reflector needed) 2
3 3 3
4 4 6
5 5 10

So, for "small" telegroups, the added network overhead is rather
insignificant, but of course as the group grows, the third column increases
exponentially. Reflector-oriented technology is really great for large(r)
groups, and FreeVue's approach is interesting for small(er) groups. No
advantage is gained for conferences of 2 or 3 persons, except that for
teleconferences of 3 persons there is no need for the reflector.

I'm in the process too of trying out VDOPhone, and I'll report on my
impressions later. Nor do I have enough experience with the audio of either
of these other two products to come to any conclusions. By the way, let's
not confuse Videophone (by Connectix) and VDOPhone (at

One thing that is pretty obvious, CU's got its work cut out to stay ahead of
this pack. They're gonna have to be quick on their feet and continue to
innovate at a fast pace. They can do it, if they don't lose focus on what it
is they are trying to build.


Dennis J. Streveler, Ph.D., | Internet:
Systems Consultant | CIS: 71036,1645
| CUSeeMe:
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"International Software Development | 415 239-1441
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"Human-Computer Interface Design +------------------------------
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| San Francisco CA 94132 USA

My job? To send the appropriate electrons hurtling around the globe.