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DRNewcomb 01-01-2009 01:26

Webcams, video chat & conferencing?
One of my New Year's resolutions is to get my family together using video conferencing and chat. I gave two family members webcams as Christmas gifts. My son and I have been testing them using NetMeeting. The problem is that none of us seem to be on the same IM or VOIP systems. In fact I think I'm the only one who is even signed up for an IM.

I need to suggest some single system for everyone to use. I got a pointer to for group video conferencing. Have not signed up yet.

We're playing with NetMeeting because it comes with XP but I just realized that you can't get it for home versions of Vista. I'm a tad reluctant to use Skype, having read the Wikipedia article on the Skype protocol and how Skype uses your bandwidth.


Don Newcomb

PhotoJim 01-01-2009 18:04

Skype only uses your bandwidth if you don't use NAT. If you have a router that assigns you a private IP address (192.168.x.x, 10.x.x.x or one other band that slips my memory but is rarely used), then Skype won't use your bandwidth. For security reasons, Windows machines should never have a public IP address (Windows has too many vulnerabilities that get discovered - partly because it's closed-source proprietary software and doesn't have the thousands of programmers poring over it that pore over open source operating systems, and partly because it's the destination of attention for most "hackers" because of its market dominance). So... if you've set up Windows machines behind a router using NAT (which is my strong recommendation), Skype is an absolutely fine solution.

Yahoo Messenger seems pretty reasonable. I have used it for IM for a long time, and it supports video although I've never used it.

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