Video Conferencing & Collaborative SW...slick stuff!

Ernest Retzel 1535 49118 ernest at lenti.med.umn.edu
Sun Mar 7 13:54:02 EST 1993

Mike Cherry says:

> Ernest Retzel's original message described an interesting use of the
> Internet--that is digital video conferencing. I first saw this in use
> at the San Diego Sun Microsystems office. Cameras on the workstations
> and scattered around their facility allowed any workstation user to
> visually search for someone or communicate via video with someone else
> on there network.  To be able to use this technology to hold small
> conferences would be terrific. I'm sure there are many others besides
> myself that loath taking all day to flight to a meeting. I hope
> someone is working on standardizing this for the better of us all so
> we don't have to exclude folks without a Sun.

It really is quite a remarkable use of the tools!  I would also mention
that BBN is presently porting to HP workstations [not much use to most
of us, but easy for them, and let's see...40+% of the market + 40+% of the
market is...]; this will be followed by Mac and PC ports, all compatible
with each other.  There is a pd program out there as well, but for the
time being, it is a Sun-only piece of software as well [at least last time
I checked].  There have already been nation-wide teleconferences,
the most recent of which I recall was that of Clinton's speech at SGI.

I am equally enthused about the other software.  The groupware concept is
really quite amazing; we all know WYSIWIG, and appreciate that--this can
be transformed to WYSIWIS [What You See Is What I See].  So suddenly you
can share anything you have on [or can get into] a computer--an image,
a dataset, a screen, a new display you are working on, an error that you
are getting, a slideset you have scanned in, pages from a paper you just
edited, you name it--all by just "drag-and-drop"-ing.  And then write on it,
and point to things in it, and so on and on.  In real time, not after
file transfer and opening a program.  Combined with the video
conferencing, it so transforms what we can do that I am sure it will alter 
the way we do our science, and hopefully sooner rather than later.

A good friend and collaborator is a collaborative sw [groupware] type, and 
their techno-sociologists estimate that less than half of what we do, we 
do in isolation.  Computing, in the environment of the terminal and the 
personal computer or workstation, has become a solitary experience.  
But with tools like these, it becomes the instrument of joint adventures.  

But I am going philosophical...  I could have let it go with it will save
us a Lot Of Time and flights we don't want to take, and into the bargain,
they are pretty much fun to use 8^).

Ernie Retzel
ernest at lenti.med.umn.edu

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