OpenCamp, Skype and reading

I was reading an article on Google Chrome and it’s spell-checking and was reminded that I said I’d write more on OpenCamp: An Open Everything Event today.  As I went looking for that link it was 11:59…so, I sorta hit the deadline. Though it’s going to get published “tomorrow”.  Anyway, I wanted to spend a little time discussing why exactly I didn’t have a chance to write much about OpenCamp.

For one, UNC beat Miami 69-65 and it’s a treat when the games are actually on here in Wisconsin, so I watched.  I then watched a little of the NBA All-Star game.  I have no idea when the last time I did that was.  It was probably in high school, but maybe even further back than that.  Not having papers to right or things I’m being forced to read has opened up a lot of time. This is not the place for sports talk though.  If you’re interested, check out my sports Twitter account.

Aside from the fun, I slept late (which was needed because this new cardio routine is wearing me out) and worked on Skype.  This is what I want to spend just a little time discussing.  Skype in Ubuntu 8.10, Ubuntu 9.04 and Windows XP all either crashes or drops calls.  Note that I’ve tried 8.10 and 9.04 on the same hardware (an HP), but also 8.10 on a Dell and Windows XP on an Acer.  I know some people use Skype as their primary phone and with all the problems I’ve had, I don’t see how this is possible.  Now, I already had a post about how the audio won’t work in Ubuntu 9.04.  The audio works fine in 8.10, Skype just crashes.  Assuming all these people that use Skype aren’t nuts, there’s a few points of problem.  I’m on Charter in Verona, WI and my friend is on Time Warner in Raleigh, NC.  Either of those providers could be doing something weird.  It could be something networking on her end or on my end.  I tried moving the computer closer to the router.  I’ve tried ending other bandwidth usage on the home network.  Wireless in 9.04 seems to be a little sketchy, but dropping calls shouldn’t cause the program to crash!  Tomorrow I plan to test with my parents and if we continue to get dropped calls, I’ll plug in to the router.  If I still get dropped calls, it’s likely either Charter or Time Warner (my parents also have Time Warner, but not in Raleigh).

Also, I should say I spent a fair amount of time testing dimdim and then Camfrog.  Despite what the Wikipedia article says, Camfrog does not appear to work in WINE on 8.10 or 9.04.  I guess this doesn’t really refute what the article says since the article says 8.0x (a clear indication they don’t understand the Ubuntu naming scheme), but I did have high hopes.  I’d like to use dimdim, since it’s FOSS, but I could not get audio to work in Linux and in Windows I could not get video to work.  Neither of the two individuals on the conference call with me could figure it out either.  It certainly isn’t as easy to use as Skpe and I gain nothing from using it, so I won’t be using that.

In happier news, dual monitors on Linux seems to be going much smoother these days.  The way the monitors are initially on top of each other is a bit bizarre though.  Using the second monitor has also killed my desktop effects, but I prefer the screen real estate.

I’m also soon to finish a book on Marx, which is interesting both from a community and from a historical perspective.  It’s interesting to me how much you can see later world events in what Marx said (but then again, this book was written in 1975, so maybe it’s designed that way).  Whatever your political leanings, now is the time to figure out something about economics and Marx was certainly an influential thinker and as an international community leader, I think there are some lessons to be learned from that aspect too.  Once I finish with that book I’ll probably be reading on travel books…though I don’t think I’ll be traveling as much in the next few years as I had originally planned.

Tomorrow should be a hectic day at work. Staff Meeting days always are. Assuming I get home at a reasonable hour, I’ll try to sort out what’s been going on on the Open Everything Madison list and maybe talk a bit about some of my ideas for sessions.

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4 Responses

  1. I find it ironic that you speak of Open Everything and Skype at the same time.

  2. Craig, it’s not ironic at all. To be fully invested in Linux, one needs to know the landscape, both free and unfree. For instance, if you read my previous posts, you’ll see that I’m an advocate of Photoshop on Linux. The unfortunate state of affairs is that I have friends that use Skype and there’s no reasonable replacement that I’ve found. dimdim’s video features are inaccessible, as far as I could tell. Ekiga simply doesn’t have the user base. I’m happy to use Skype’s network and were I to be a paying customer, I think it would make sense for Skype to allow other vendors to create clients.

    But, if you’re focus is on software, I think you don’t have a very clear understanding of what Open Everything is. Open Everything is about opening society and culture. While technology can play a part in this, Open Everything events are not technology events. In fact, when Madison and Berlin video-conferenced on December 6th, since we couldn’t find a reasonable Skype replacement, that’s what we used.

    Many of those invested in Open Everything are not really open source advocates at all. I am an open source advocate, but forcing users into an experience that is subpar is not going to help open source.

    That said, if you have a suggestion for a Skype replacement, I’d like to hear it, as my Skype experience has been quite subpar.

  3. Take a look at Yugma’s Linux desktop sharing program. Same features as their PC and Mac version.

  4. @Brad is Yugma’s FOSS? I’ve got Skype working now, so there’s no real reason to spend time with something else unless it’s FOSS. Thanks!

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