NetMeeting, Instant Messaging and VOIP

Last update: 29/06/2008; 11:40:56 PM.

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September 17, 2007
 

Real time social media support

A recent Facebook "post" by voip pundit Jeff Pulver on "real time" social media got me thinking about what what be an extremely useful Facebook app- a Skype app that would set up either ad hoc or scheduled conference calls.

Skype already has a multiperson audio/video calling capability and a host of add ons to do things like whiteboarding, application sharing and many others. I know there is already a "Skype" application for Facebook but it is bordering on useless (which is close to the utility of most Facebook apps that I have seen but that is another discussion)

5:20:13 PM        comment []   
August 21, 2007
 

Skype outage cause clarified

It is heartening to see the Skype response to the deafening roar from the anti Microsoft crowd saying Microsoft somehow caused the Skype outage:

It's not what you say. It's what they hear...We don't blame anyone but ourselves. The Microsoft Update patches were merely a catalyst - a trigger - for a series of events that led to the disruption of Skype, not the root cause of it. And Microsoft has been very helpful and supportive throughout.

10:35:09 AM        comment []   
August 16, 2007
 

Skype problems

Hmm -- it seems like Skype has gone tits up. The client is in a continual "Skype (connecting)" state and has been for an hour or so. From the Skype status page:

UPDATED 14:02 GMT: Some of you may be having problems logging into Skype. Our engineering team has determined that itís a software issue. We expect this to be resolved within 12 to 24 hours. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologize for the inconvenience.

12 to 24 hours!

10:12:52 AM        comment []   
August 1, 2007
 

Skype

Last year I commented (well maybe I whined?) about the lack of progress in the real time conferencing on the Internet front.

I hadn't really been paying much attention but lately I have been looking into the add-ins available for Skype. It seems that Skype's ubiquity (and availability of a usable API) has spawned a host of tools for the small ad hoc meeter including a couple of whiteboards, application sharing tools, and file sharing tools. With Skypes multi way audio/video conferencing functionality it looks like it might be starting to fulfil the promise of NetMeeting.

I haven't had a chance to use any of these add-ins though. Has anybody tried them? Which ones? Do they support Skype's multiparty functions?

12:46:49 PM        comment []   

Visitalk.com ghost

In 1999 (I think that that is the timing) I was invited to go to Phoenix (on their dime) to visit a company (visitalk.com) with grand plans to build a "internet phone directory" mostly aimed at NetMeeting users. At the time I had some standing in the NetMeeting world being one of two Microsoft NetMeeting MVPs (the other was Robert Scoble of Scobleizer fame). I wasn't totally sure why I was invited (maybe it was a job interview?) but I found out they had grand expansion plans, somewhat vague business plans, and apparently $50 million dollars that they were burning through at a furious rate.

When I returned I added a mini review to my NetMeeting information site. Shortly after that apparently the money ran out, visitalk.com declared bankruptcy and that seemed the end of it.

But the site www.visitalk.com stayed. To this day at least 7 years after bankruptcy it continues to operate -- apparently able to take payments for the internet service that I doubt still operates.

A true ghost from the past.

10:03:31 AM        comment []   
August 17, 2006
 

Digital Meeting on the Internet

I have been involved with NetMeeting for so long that I have turned grey in the process. And NetMeeting has gotten old and grey in the process as well. Microsoft's decision to retire NetMeeting (after basically abandoning development in 1999) is no doubt the right decision. What surprises me is that there is no other product out there with the promise that NetMeeting once had (at least for me). What I expected from NetMeeting when it first came out was that it would evolve into a product that supported:

  • ad hoc multiparty audio/video meetings (or at least multiparty audio) over the Internet without the need for a separate server (except perhaps for location and presence information)
  • multiparty data sharing could happen during the meeting (application sharing, whiteboard sharing, file sharing seemed like a good basic set)

No product today supports this functionality set and it seems none have plans to do so. Msn Messenger supports one to one audio/video, and one to one data sharing. Skype supports serverless multiparty audio/video (currently just in beta I think). GoogleTalk supports very little despite a recent release and some misplaced hype.

What is the problem here? Does nobody else recognize the need? Or are there still some barriers that I am not aware of?

I recognize that along the way there were various technological and infrastructure barriers in the way:

  • individual bandwidth restrictions were a problem -there is a lot of personal bandwidth connectivity in at least most of the western world -- not much dialup anymore
  • computing power to process and mix audio/video in the past has been a problem -- today many machines have  more than ample computer power
  • internet gateways were a block on some types of interaction -- but UPnP functionality in modern gateway devices has largely eliminated that problem

Is there some barrier still left that I am not seeing? Why hasn't this technology developed beyond 1999?

 

1:14:29 PM        comment []   
April 2, 2006
 

H.323 is dead

Of this there can be no doubt. It really isn't "news" though. It essentially has been in a state of limbo since 1999 -- when the last update for NetMeeting was released by Microsoft (and the revelation that there will be no NetMeeting in Vista is no suprise). Shortly thereafter Microsoft chose to break up the NetMeeting development team and go in another direction. The machinations following that decision (at least for Microsoft software users) have been somewhat painful.

Pity though -- neither NetMeeting nor anything that followed have delivered on the initial promise (and what interested me in NetMeeting in the first place) - the ability to do real-time multiparty audio conversations with "shared space" data sharing over the internet.

2:11:18 PM        comment []   
February 8, 2006
 

Skype 2.0 10 way conferencing

Saw this about Skype 2.0 supporting 10 way audio conferencing! Wow!

1:15:42 PM        comment []   


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