Friday, September 29, 2006

e/pop from

Hey, ya'll,

A parent at my school emailed me a couple days ago to ask if I could find the time to field test a new desktop IP IVC option, e/pop, from He set up a conference at his end, invited me in, gave me a URL to join, I clicked and we were off and running. There's a nice little video at the website with an intro to the software, and what I have to report here is that I experienced the clearest video I've thus far received. I'm going to paste in a screengrab you can click on to get a notion of the clarity. This is straight off an Alt-PrntScrn grab into Paint. A cool feature of e/Pop is its ability to display a program or a .ppt presentation in its large workspace, which itself is very "moddable." As you can see, multi-point connections are possible.

Though my own loopback video was delay-ridden his seemed extraordinarily real-time. Whether that's a function of the audio being carefully delayed by the codec or whatever, it's a remarkable improvement on most other solutions, including my favorite in the free software category, SightSpeed. I did have a great little SightSpeed chat yesterday with my online friend David Fletcher, a retired barrister in Twickenham, England, yesterday, but while the video was GE (Good Enough) it didn't come close to that provided by the e/Pop connection.

That said, my audio was a bit choppy, which may or may not have been affected by my running on a notebook computer over my school's double T1 network.

Go check out e/pop for yrself! As I understand, the pricing runs on the order of 5 seats at $3800 dollars annually, a significant savings over the cost of, say, WebEx.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

K12 Online Conference! Check THIS out!

K-12 Online Conference 2006

Any teachers out there? Click on the above link and get this completely online Web 2.0 focused international conference in your radar. It'll be happening over a period of 2 weeks in October. Travel cost? Nil. Registration fee? Nil. Need to ask for time off from your important work teaching our children? Nil.

I'm talkin' big names here, folks, some of my favorites: Will Richardson, David Warlick, Wesley Freyer, and others whom I don't know but whose place in the company of the previously named mavens highly recommends that I meet them. Be there or be some kind of incompletely formed shape. :)

Don't say I didn't tell ya!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Adobe Acrobat 8 Adds Videoconferencing--It's a BREEZE!

Hoooooooie!!! This is some news, ya'll. Check this out:

"Adobe has announced that version 8 of its Acrobat file-sharing product will have improved functions for multiple users to collaborate on documents including videoconferencing."

ZDNet announces that the new version 8 of Adobe Acrobat--not "Acrobat Reader" that ubiquitous download everybody (excepting the more opensource-geeky of us) seems to need to read the ubiquitous .pdf files everybody (excepting the more computer-display-rather-than-print geeky of us) seems to put up on the Web--will include enhanced collaboration tools including videoconferencing.

Wheeeeeeesh! Wooooooooot! This is very good news (cue the ominous music), or is it?

Well, it remains to be seen, now doesn't it. Adobe, having purchased Macromedia and thus gained possession of a truly nice desktop videoconferencing tool, Macromedia Breeze, has taken that puppy and integrated its functionality into Adobe Acrobat. The U.S. version of this service will initially cost users a 39 dollar subscription, or an annual fee of 395 dollars.

Now, anyone with even slightly better math skills than moi can see that's a great deal more than SightSpeed's 4.95 a month (or free) or iVisit's 49.95 a year (or free), but I predict that the fact that it's Adobe, ya'll, Adobe, I'm talkin', will have a greater impact upon adoption of desktop IVC than we've yet seen any product make. Heck I may even have to spring for Adobe Acrobat 8. This product's impact on the growth of challengers like SightSpeed and iVisit will be huge. Intuitively, one thinks it might be damaging, but ever the optimist, it might just make way for some really interesting competition (cue the nefarious giggle).

Don't take it from me: Read the whole article from ZDNET here!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Audio Post!--Conversation with Polycom's Elaine Shuck

I'm hoping this little conversation with Elaine Shuck, Education Marketing Director for Polycom, Inc., is of interest to ya'll. It references two of my favorite "go-to" softwares and one new one Elaine introduced me to so give it a listen and see what you think. (Right-click/save that link to download it or just click to listen.)

I called Elaine a few minutes ago using Skype because I have re-installed HotRecorder for recording Skype calls, mainly for my podcast "Snacks4theBrain!," and I'm hoping to do a Skype interview today with Kyle Butler from the "Brain Food" podcast. I wanted to make sure everything is playing together well on my new Dell notebook, an Inspiron E1505. When I first called her she was bundling her daughter into her coat to send her off to school so I called her back, hence the little exchange at the beginning of the conversation.

Me, I'm going out to check out xmeeting.

10 minutes later. Well, looks like it's a MacOSX opensource product not yet up to release 1.0 but very interesting if you have a Mac and want to connect to an .H323 or SIP client. Are we on the way to being able to reliably connect desktop computers to the higher end providers? The pricey (for a classroom) Polycom PVX has always done that, but are we on the way to making some of the free or nearly-free solutions useable??? Stay tuned!