[clug-talk] Video Chat?

John Greep john at johngreep.com
Sun Apr 5 18:14:48 PDT 2009


Balance is a good word to use here.  As a developer, I would prefer
something stable and complete over something pretty.  That's what I love
about open source too.  It's a platform for thinking out of the box and  is
a safe place to fail and learn from mistakes without serious costs.
Eventually, when the product is released to the wild, commercial viability
is number 1.  If you're thinking about user interactions up front, it's
cheaper than having to redesign it from the ground up.

Your analogy with requiring a drivers license for a car is valid, but
sometimes we think we need to drive a car when all we need is to ride a bus,
or just walk.  Picasa is a good example of a tool that lets people do simple
things with a simple interface.  It's the 80/20 rule.  We don't need to dumb
down apps like The Gimp or PS, but even professionals like the productivity
gains from a simple interface like Picasa gives.  Plus, the things we learn
about simple interfaces can be incorporated into the more complex tools.
That's more what I mean by working out of the box.  We have some amazingly
powerful tools, as you mentioned.  If I want to take a series of video files
from my camera and paste them together on a DVD, I'd rather do it any
platform than Linux because the interface is so clunky and the default
options aren't standard or intelligible.

I think your point about email also makes my argument more valid.  The
reason web-based email is so popular is because it hides the hideous details
of specifying the mail server, protocol, and port information that users
don't want to know about.  The people I help have a hard time just
remembering their passwords.

I also tend to support more windows problems than Linux (Wireless networking
tends to be a sore point).  My argument isn't whether windows is better than
Linux, but that both still have a ways to go.  And I also don't want our
most powerful apps neutered.  I think we can make them even more powerful by
considering more closely how we interact with them.

I'd also like to apologize for hijacking the thread.


On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 1:37 AM, Gustin Johnson <gustin at echostar.ca> wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> John Greep wrote:
> > I've been reading Alan Cooper's book: "The Inmates are Running the
> > Assylum" [http://www.cooper.com/insights/books/#inmates].<http://www.cooper.com/insights/books/#inmates%5D.>�
> If you
> > haven't read it, you really need to read it soon.
> >
> I will check this out.  What I have seen and read from him in the past
> is that he tends to self aggrandize, as though Visual Basic was
> something to be proud of (well it is if you are writing malware and are
> trying to compromise a system).
>  IMO Apple is what happens when the pendulum swings to far the other
> way.  You get pretty products that suffer from a multitude of security
> and performance problems.  There needs to be a balance, but that seems
> to be missing from most projects.
> > <rant>
> > Linux has a lot going for it, but when we say someone can't do something
> > because they're not that technical is a huge red flag.� When developers
> The problem is not real.  There is a *perception* that this is the case
> with Linux, when in reality my phone rings more often for Microsoft and
> Apple products gone awry.  The ratio of Windows, Mac, And Linux machines
> owned by these people is not reflected in the distribution of calls that
> I get.  In other words this is not about the number of machines deployed.
> > are writing these apps, they should make it work out of the box.� Us
> I disagree, mostly because "out of the box" is such a vague, overused,
> and inaccurate phrase.  Each app has a specific context, what makes
> sense for one does not necessarily make sense for another.
> This is not to say that good design should not be a part of the process,
> but catering to market share is not what brought us the Linux kernel,
> GNU, or even Firefox.  Open Source allows for quality software to
> survive the early stages by not being tied to commercial viability.
> > technical types love setting configurations and tweaking, but the
> > average Joe doesn't even know what "configuration setting" means.
> >
> They have to set up their email clients, or know how to log in to their
> web mail.  Users need to know something to make these devices useful.
> Pretending that they are complete idiots does not get us (or them)
> anywhere.  Some programs are by necessity complicated, like ardour,
> gimp, and blender to name a few.  Of course the commercial variants are
> also complicated but these are tools for doing powerful things.  You
> really can't make them too simple.
> We make sure people take tests before we let them drive, why is there
> such a push to neuter our most powerful tools?  Good design !=
> simplicity.  Usability != simplicity.  Sometimes it is the case that
> simplicity is a good thing, but as a rote formula, it fails regularly.
> > Most of what I've noticed in my own use is that if there's a problem in
> > Linux, it's a usually a hardware fault or incompatibility. I'll wade
> > through forums and whatever documentation I can find.� As a last resort,
> > I'll compile the app manually if it's required.� I love that I have that
> > ability, but it prevents mainstream adoption if the user thinks they
> > might have to go to the command line for anything.
> No different than regedit, cmd.exe (ipconfig anyone?), .ini files and
> the like.  Sometimes the command line *IS* the appropriate interface.
> Even Microsoft knows this, hence they put the time and effort into
> PowerShell (you can't manage Exchange 2007 without it).
> > </rant>
> >
> > That said, I usually use Kopete for video.
> I have used Kopete, Skype (not my choice), and Ekiga.  If your video
> device is supported (if /dev/video0 exists then things are looking good)
> any of these apps should work.  There will not be video for Pidgin, but
> a separate project called farsight came out of the planned Pidgin video
> app.
> On my machine Kopete detected and used the internal web cam with no
> intervention from me.  I set up my msn account and it just worked.  She
> probably has an unsupported web cam.
> > John
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Apr 3, 2009 at 8:00 PM, Shawn <sgrover at open2space.com
> > <mailto:sgrover at open2space.com>> wrote:
> >
> >     If I recall, Pidgen doesn't support video chat. �Are there any other
> >     decent options out there?
> >
> >     The reason I ask is that I helped a friend recently install Ubuntu
> >     8.10. �She's not liking it because it has no video chat. �She says
> >     she tried Kopete but it didn't work. �Sooo, I'm suspecting the
> >     problem may be her camera, and not Kopete per se. �Or a user issue -
> >     she's not THAT technical...
> >
> >     What does everyone use for video chatting?
> >
> >
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John Greep
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