Friday Jun 06, 2008

Video Conferencing for free

I was introduced to http://www.mebeam.com last year by colleagues in the US, and its a quite cool video conferencing feature. The lag in Europe is appalling, so I use the phone to host the voice channel. You can use whatever string you want to act as the meeting name, which you can enter on the home page, [ hover or click on the link above] or in your browser's URL entry box.

So I use IM and the phone to support the video channel. I was having some problems connecting up with some Mac using colleagues, so connected to Hans Joerg who is a bit of wiz with the Mac. I am on the left, and you can see the IM dialogue box.

 

a mebeam conference

and he explained that the configuration needs to be changed using the panel that is opened by pressing the 'settings' button on the bottom right hand side of one's own picture. Mac Users may default to 'DVD Video Class' and they require 'USB Video Class'. (The picture below was scrapped from my screen, and I am using a windows XP machine, which is why the text says something else.)

 

mebeam devices configuration

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Thursday Jan 17, 2008

Being at the right place at the right time

I have been very busy over the last couple of months, and my diary management has been poor, so since New Year I have been making more effort to do better.

I got a new laptop PC last week, a Toshiba Tecra M5 and propose to write up my build; it will have a dual windows/solaris boot partition utilising Nevada, aka opensolaris and windows XP. I rapidly discovered the new windows build comes with Thunderbird 2 and an uptodate version of Lightning, with the wcaps calendar plugin for Thunderbird. This turns Thunderbird into a calendar client for the ical compliant calendar server,  which I use as my business diary.

At first, I thought that's the last thing I need, I already use Java Calender Express, an internal http browser hosted reader and Evolution, and my phone, do I really need a fifth, however today I discovered that this client permits some very slick inter-calendar invitations. One of my Mac using colleagues issued a meeting invite from their ical client to my mail box, which I received, pressed accept, and the software wrote the invite into my calendar. What's cute is that this is client to client invitations.

I can now sync this with my phone, a Sony Ericsson K610i. The connection parameters are what you would expect, but the syncml URL is site specific, so you need to find it out. I also am not sure if the 'database names' are mandatory or configurable. Anyway, its changed my life. Now I only have double entry, once electronically, and once to my Filofax.

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Monday Nov 20, 2006

Interviewing Brendan O'Neill

At CEC last month, Brendan O'Neill (BO'N) submitted his video record [.mov]of the conference and was one of the two prize winners. I (DL) have recently interviewed him about his time at CEC 2006 and how he produced the video.

DL: What do you do and where do you work live? BO'N: I am a Partner SSE with General Dymamics IT in the Northern Virginia area. I am currently assigned to the Sprint/Nextel account in Reston/Herndon, Va. I live in Reston, Va and have since Aug 2005. I relocated from Central New Jersey after GDIT found me and offered me the job.

DL: What got you into making videos, or was it the prize? BO'N: This is my first ever attempt at making a video. I headed out to CEC 2006, as a first timer, and got the bug after hearing about the prize and after hearing that the conference was "interactive". I am a Mac user and Mac's just make everything easy, so I thought "what the heck". The video "we" made was a last minute decision @ CEC. A co-worker from GDIT, Dave Moseke had the idea and pitched it to me, asked if I would use my Mac to help make a video. We exchanged some quick ideas and off we went...

DFL: What technology do you use? (Camera, Editing Software ,Platform?) BO'N: Like I said before I am a long time Mac user. I currently travel with a 14" iBookG4 running OS X (10.4.8) with a 1.2GHz PowerPC proc and 768MB DDR SDRAM. This is a great little set up, but maby not enough for video rendering if yer in a hurry. My background is in audio engineering. After college I ended up working with a few touring rock and roll bands doing production managing and live audio engineering all over the US, blending my love for audio manipulation and my ever growing love for computers and like technology I ended up getting my MCSE and jumping around a few jobs with small IT companies in the NY/NJ area. Retired form the audio world to pursue a newfound love for Unix. The video is honestly my first ever attempt at video editing, but with ProTools and Digital Performer (audio editing software) experience it was an easy go at it. The mini dv camera used was a JVC GRD271. Software used was iMovie HD 6.0.3 and the platform was Apple Macintosh OS X/iBook G4.

DFL: Have you tried using Solaris? BO'N For video editing? NO. I do use a Dell Latitude D610 for business/email use and dual boot that laptop with Windows XP Pro and Solaris 10. The Dell, running Solaris 10 is my main/daily device for interfacing with servers while working at Sprint/Nextel, and I do run an FTP server with music and videos for a bunch of friends on a Sun Blade 100 running Solaris 8 (may upgrade to 10 soon). I also have some older hardware (ultra 5 and sparc station) running Solaris 6 and 8 more for playing around with than anything else.

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