Grandstream Revisited: Time For Some Tough Love

A few months ago I made some observation of how Grandstream had come to be in-use around my home & office. I especially appreciate their surveillance gear. The GVC cameras and NVR are in 2/47 service and have served us well the past couple of years.

That said, two problems have cropped up recently that bear examination.

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Improving Online Presentations With Reflect For Chrome

Reflect Example   IconWhen giving an online presentation, whether via Hangout, Webex, GotoMeeting or Jitsi Video Bridge, a screen sharing function is how the slides are presented. Screen sharing goes beyond the common death-by-PowerPoint scenario, allowing software demonstrations in real-time.

In most cases the use of screen sharing defeats a view of the presenter. This can make for a frightfully dull audience experience. I’ve long wished for a convenient way to show slides or demo software without completely losing sight of the presenter. I’ve done this myself using tools like Wirecast or vMix, but these are costly and complicated things to setup. That’s beyond the reach of most people.

In a post late last year I challenged the WebRTC community to take up this idea. WebRTC remains a battle with many fronts. They may yet bring forward such capability, but the wheels of progress turn slowly.

Happily, I’ve recently discovered an extension for Chrome called “Reflect.” Authored by Bryce Thorup, Reflect grabs your webcam stream, displaying it as an overlay on your monitor. Thus when sharing your screen, your audience can see both the slides (or software) and your webcam.

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Talky.io Offers A Great WebRTC Experience

In the post-roll after last week’s VUC call I was able to invite Andy to join me in trying Talky a relatively new WebRTC– based video calling service from &Yet. The service is very interesting as is the company itself. I heartily recommend their blog.

TalkyIO-Screenshot

Andy and I had a good, lengthy chat using Talky. We came to the conclusion that it was the best experience with WebRTC that either of us has encountered. Admittedly, neither of us are WebRTC experts.

Talky supports screen sharing from within Chrome, given that a configuration change is made prior to starting the session. What it lacks is any kind of text chat.

 

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Twelephone: Profile Of A WebRTC Application

Friday, December 28th the VUC will be joined by Chris Mathieu for a discussion of his new project called Twelephone. Twelephone leverages Twitter and WebRTC to provide clientless peer-to-peer voice, video and IM right inside Google’s Chrome browser.

With a little luck the initial part of the session will be an interview conducted using Twelephone. We hope to be able to bring the Twelephone session into the Google Hangout.

It’s unclear just how practical it will be to connect Twelephone, the Hangout and ZipDX. We may revert to our more typical Hangout+ZipDX combination in order to engage the entire audience.

I will be sitting in for the vacationing Randulo. Rumor has it that Randulo may drop by from his location in Thailand.

Twelephone is ringing…you got me one the run…” – it’s like Elmer Fudd sings Alice Cooper Winking smile

Connecting The Dots: WebRTC, Twelephone & Hangouts

We have invited the folks from Twelephone to appear as guests on the VUC call Friday, December 28th. If you’ve not heard of them, Twelephone is a new video calling service built using WebRTC and effectively leveraging Twitter as namespace. It’s just one of many new web communications applications arising from from the newly evolved WebRTC standard.

twelephone-home-page

Chris Mathieu is the founder of the project. Chris has appeared on a number of VUC calls in the past. Chris has long been involved with telecom related APIs, including spending some time worth with the Voxeans who created Tropo.

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X-Marks Lives!

For the past couple of years I’ve been enjoying Xmarks. Xmarks is a browser plug-in that provides secure, cross-browser and cross-platform bookmark & password sync. Xmarks makes it easy to move from desktop to laptop or netbook and have all your bookmarks and logins always available. You can even log into their web site and get at them from some other computer.

Over the summer I was saddened to hear that Xmarks was going to shut down. They had thought that in all this bookmark data there would be enough info to be mined that providing reports based upon that data could present a revenue stream. That never happened. The possible passing of Xmarks was one of the things that had driven me to use chrome more than Firefox the past few months.

Earlier this month the Xmarks team announced that they have been bought by LastPass, makers of a password management utility. Having been acquired they are not shutting down the service. This is certainly good news. Congratulations to everyone at Xmarks!

Further, they now have a paid, premium service offer that includes sync with Apple and Android smartphones and priority tech support. For a very modest $12/yr this seems like an absolute no-brainer. I’m certainly going to give it a try.