WP Reflector Incompatibility

Bernie Verreau (bverreau@netcom.com)
Sat, 19 Oct 1996 09:33:40 -0700


Hi, all. I've posted a few times before about my experiences running
CU-SeeMe with a SLiRP (pseudo-SLIP) interface and I have some further
information to share. There seems to be an implementation feature in
the current release of WP's reflector software that results in a
compatibility problem with SLiRP.

I have both a SLIP and a shell (SLiRP) account with the same ISP.
I've been able to compare CU behavior for the two with all other
variables eliminated. Same PC, same OS (Win 3.1), same winsock
(Trumpet 3.0), same camera (BW QuickCam), same everything.

In the few months I've been using CU I've noticed that the number of
public reflectors which respond to my connect requests has gradually
diminished. At first I thought this might have to do with the fact
that my IP is anonymous. SLiRP assigns the dummy address 10.0.2.15
as the default [it can be changed, but that doesn't help]. At first
I theorized that reflectors might screen out abusive users by IP, and
the generic address must have made the "bad list", but that doesn't
appear to be the problem.

One reflector that I use on a regular basis is Digital Express Group
(205.197.247.33) to watch Gina Smith's weekly On Computers broadcast.
I'd never had any difficulty connecting until one week it just stopped
working with SLiRP - like someone had thrown a switch. The SLIP account
continued to connect as before. I emailed Thomas Edwards, the ISP-TV
contact for DIGEX, and he informed me that DIGEX had just converted to
White Pine reflector software (apparently after using Cornell's). The
WP reflector appears to require some sort of handshaking with clients
before it grants access. I don't know if this is a configurable option
or built-in as part of some logging feature, but I do know that I'm
permanently cut off from (at least some) WP sites.

If anyone knows a workaround or has a better handle on the problem,
I'd appreciate feedback. As it stands now, I either have to sign up
for a new account for this single application (my true-SLIP account
expires soon) or resign myself to using only Cornell reflector sites
which are becoming few and far between. I'll continue to work this
issue with WP and the SLiRP developers and post any progress..

In CU-SEEME-L Digest 937, Jesus Arango <jarango@supernet.com.co> wrote:

> Is whitepine much better than the freeware version of CU-SeeMe?
> What features does it have?
> How much does it cost?
> Is much better so it is worth it buying it?

After using the WP software for the free month, I was asking myself
the same questions. The only obvious enhancement that I can see is
that it provides for color video. This seems like a questionable
addition in an already bandwidth-constrained environment. The best
CU connections I've had use "16 packed" greyscale - the less data
to transmit, the more fps. Color, while a nice idea, seems a little
extravagant at modem speeds. I say "seems" because I never actually
got the color codec working, just looked at web page examples.

The other advantage WP offers is better directory management. I've
found the CU-SeeMe dialer add-on for Cornell's freeware provides much
the same functionality, however. Neither directory interface provides
a much-needed 'scan until connect' feature which would save endless
rounds of selecting and waiting, selecting and waiting, ...

I don't know. Maybe I'm just feeling frustrated with White Pine because
of the SLiRP problem mentioned before, but it seems like they've taken
some good freeware, repackaged it and called it 'enhanced', slapped on
a price almost equal to the cost of a QuickCam, and managaged to
convince
most users to switch over to it (judging by info windows). I understand
that someone at Cornell is about to 'go private' with a CU-SeeMe
product.
It might pay to wait and see what develops.

Bernie Verreau, bverreau@netcom.com, perigee@ix.netcom.com, Redwood
City, CA