[AG-TECH] Questions and topics for the Retreat

Allan Spale aspale at evl.uic.edu
Fri Jan 4 19:59:53 CST 2002


I don't claim to be an expert on anything, but I can tell you what EVL has
been poking around with.

On Fri, 4 Jan 2002, Randy Groves wrote:

> Mary's note to submit topics for the retreat has got me thinking.  Some 
> views from my knothole (with all the restrictions in view that implies).
> There has been a good bit of interest in AG technology internally here at 
> Boeing.
> There are some pieces that I haven't heard much about - perhaps I haven't 
> been looking in the
> right places.  But I think that they are important, and maybe necessary, 
> for this technology to compete here with our present video conferencing 
> setups.  Please excuse any ignorance here - I don't claim to be an expert 
> in this.
> Is there any work being done on whiteboard facilities for the AG?

The MICE website actually contains some whiteboard software that is part
of their conferencing group of programs.  I have tried this software known
as WBD, and it seemed to perform adequately.  I believe that it works uner
the same multicast premise as VIC and RAT.  As a result, I would imagaine
that it could be integrated into the current AG structure without much
difficulty...but again that's under my own disclaimer of ignorance.  You
can visit the URL at:
http://www-mice.cs.ucl.ac.uk/multimedia/software/wbd/ .

> Better (or any) integration with (I know - most people don't like it, but 
> it's a given here at Boeing) NetMeeting?  Or with other video conferencing 
> packages (Tandberg, Polycom)?

Well, from a codec standpoint, I believe that VIC and NetMeeting are
compatabile with H.263.  However, I think that the AG currently uses VIC
in the H.261 mode.  Of course, interpreting the packets of VIC into
NetMeeting and vice versa might be a problem.  This issue came up when EVL
was trying to link people to AG an Polycom which failed to work for our
limited, quick test case though I am not sure why.

> Is there some sort of SDK being worked on that would allow developers to 
> more easily add new features to the AG set?  For instance, our engineers 
> work with Catia - a tool that could 'wrap' Catia in some way would be a 
> definite plus.
> While I definitely applaud the effort to keep this in the open source realm 
> - and I think that this should be continued - it seems to me that packages 
> like vic and rat are somewhat showing their age.  Is there any effort 
> (outside of Microsoft's) to re-do these?  In Java for instance?
> I was talking to Lisa today about Voyager and there were some streams from 
> the recent SCGlobal (VR streams and others) that were not recorded.  I 
> don't understand all the details - but it seems one of the problems is one 
> of identification and/or standard info in the packets.  Is there any work 
> being done to standardize that?
> I know that the AG was initially created, and still is pointed toward 
> supporting, large groups in collaboration.  A good bit of the interest we 
> have here internally is toward the other end of the spectrum, even down to 
> the desktop.  Perhaps this is a good area of research for a spin-off 
> working group?  I would definitely like to hear people's experiences in 
> this realm at the retreat (Johnson & Johnson come to mind).
> Usability is another issue that I know people are working on, but it will 
> be one that will come up in internal efforts.  I can see training the 
> people to become node ops, but I can't see training an executive as a node 
> op.  The Tandberg or something similar still wins out here.

There is a mailing list on that...ag-hf at mcs.anl.gov or
ag-hf at accessgrid.org...I believe the "mcs" address is probably more
correct.  Not a lot of traffic has appeared on this list.

The retreat from last year had a human factors workshop.  Proceedings can
be found at:

Additionally, last year's retreat proceedings can be found at:
http://www-fp.mcs.anl.gov/fl/accessgrid/ag-retreat-2001/proceedings.htm .

> (I retreat, after having poked the anthill ...)
> -randy


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