Saturday, July 14, 2007

Should You Stickam or Ustream?


Welcome to the future. Remember all those futuristic movies where the people made video calls and telecommunicated with some kind of monitor or screen where each party could see the other. Well, with the advance in computer speed and memory, the advent and spread of high speed internet access like cable and dsl, and the growth of digital optics we can know enjoy face to face interaction with people halfway around the world. The basic ingredients you need for this taste of the future is a computer, a webcam, fast internet access and finally video chat client like yahoo messenger, windows live messenger(formerly msn messenger), Apple ichat, or ooVoo, or a web-based video services like stickam or ustream. I have tried just about all the client-based solutions(client-based meaning you have to download software and install it on your computer), but I have found them all to be pretty taxing on my computer's resources. Unless, you have a really fast, memory heavy machine I would avoid the client-based software. On the other hand, they are attractive because many of your friends and family are probably already using one the client-based solutions just not utilizing it's videoconferencing capabilities. Right now, I am testing out stickam and ustream, both web-based services and really both more interested in social networking(i.e. facebook, myspace, virb) than just allowing people to video chat. I really like stickam and have been back several times to video conference with a few colleagues I have introduced to it. Let me list a few things I like about stickam, first it has pretty good pipes; and by that I mean it streams video content very well. You see video is very bandwith hungry, no matter how fast your computer and internet connection the high bandwith required to send and receive video on your computer can make the video choppy stopping and pausing constantly as the video is sent back and forth across the internet. I experienced this on a lot of the client-based applications, but very little on stickam. I also like the fact that you can video conference with up to 12 people at a time, more than any other solution I have seen web-based or client-based. Finally, I 'm feeling stickam becasue you can broadcast yourself live and anybody can "tune in," that means for like my church, I could live stream a church service or bible study and anybody could watch it over the internet; members could "watch my Bible study via the internet and even participate through chat or even video conference. That's neat, huh?

I guess some people might consider this all initially a barrier because of not have a webcam, but webcams are pretty inexpensive on the whole, you might shell out some bucks for a really good one, but your run of mill webcam will set you back less than $40. See for yourself.

$9.99 right here, but remember you get what you pay for

$19.99 for this puppy

$29.99 for this one$79.99 for this one, this one is really nice though

I saw all the above webcams at an online store called Tigerdirect, it is where I often shop for computers and electronics. They have an even wider selection of webcams the above are just a few I picked out, check them out under their digital camera area, there you will find a subcategory of webcams to choose from.

So come on and join me in the future, get yourself a webcam and let's interface.

Oh yeah, I would e remiss if I did not also mention the growing popularity of video emailing. You know about text-based email gmail, hotmail, outlook, etc., but now people are sending one another messages in video format. Once again I have run across soltutions like sightspeed and ooVoo that are client-based and eyejot and springdoo that are web-based. Right now, I have not settled in on one particular one, I like ooVoo for the slickness of its videos, I like eyejot because it has a slick interface and an easy way to reply and springdoo is cool because you can blog your videos and you can add text to your vemails(short for video email). By lookin around my blog you can see how I have intergrated many of these services in this site in an attempt to interact with those who visit here.