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Webcams 1: The Old Days, A Personal History

I’ve been pondering a series about webcams for some months. As the use of video becomes ever more commonplace webcams have moved into an increasingly important role in both our personal and professional lives.

My own use of webcams harkens back to around 2000. At that time I was working for an English firm, but working primarily from my home office in Texas. My boss was splitting his time between the UK and an office in the Miami area. Others were scattered about North America.

A dispersed group such as this we were making a lot of use of conference calls to have meetings. Being a smaller, privately held firm, we watched costs closely. We often used the fairly new, free conference services. We were at that point blissfully unaware of the games that they played to generate revenue.

Heck, back then “broadband” was anything over 128 kbps. We enjoyed 3 mbps x 768kbps DSL and I still had multiple analog phone lines from SBC.

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Hey, Mr Podcaster! Audio Quality Matters, M’kay?

ibm-podcast-galaxy-nexus While I travel I like to listen to podcasts. While there are a variety of podcasts that are routinely found on my cell phone, I also try new things from The Conversations Network and similar sites.

This evening as I’m on a flight to Raleigh-Durham NC I happened to give a listen to a short podcast from IBM. It was The IBM Institute For Business Value podcast entitled, “The Changing Face Of Communication.” It’s an older podcast, from June 2009.

While this file had been on my phone a while I had thought that it still might be interesting. IBM certainly knows a thing or two about communications. I was at Astricon 2009 when IBM had a keynote address. They also announced a partnership of some sort with Digium.

However, I was startled to hear the audio quality of this podcast. It’s simply atrocious. Seriously. It’s really bad.

Remember Marshall McLuhan? The medium is the message. In this case the medium, poor quality podcast audio, completely destroys the message…and along with it the credibility of the participants.

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Did Toshiba Drop HD-DVD Too Early?

Alec Saunders (a fellow Canuck) has an interesting observation about Toshiba and HD-DVD. IMHO, Toshiba’s comment doesn’t take into consideration Blu-Ray. Not making that statement is political face-saving on their part. Alec argues that they need to move the entire…

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Remembering OS/2

A couple of weeks ago a friend gave me a box that I had not seen in a long, long time. It’s a complete install set for IBM’s OS/2 v3, a.k.a “Warp” I could barely believe my eyes. Never have I seen a product delivered on so many floppies! There are 21 diskettes for the OS and some drivers, then another 14 diskettes for the “Bonus Pack’ which included some basic productivity software, internet access, etc.

Back in the early 90’s I was serious fan of this software, and for good reason. On a humble 486 PC running at 66 MHz it could do some major multi-tasking. It could run in 8MB of RAM, just barely, or do useful work in 16 MB. It could do some truly astounding things in 32 MB or more.

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