Saturday, 14 April 2007

Video Chat Green Tea

Karen raised the idea of learning to videoconference. If we did this and got good at it and taught our clients to do it, we could cut down on business travel.

I've looked into it for mac and it is a breeze. My laptop had a camera built in. All I had to do was get an AOL IM screenname password using the link on this page here (note you dont need AOL IM on mac, use ichat its much better, takes 2 mins to setup. PC users need to get AIM for windows).

Mac users on ichat can chat together 4 at a time. AIM users are limited to 1:1. The two systems do talk to each other though. A great mac and AIM tutorial which answers all the questions you could possibly have is there

Now we all need to learn to get good at videoconference meetings, iron out difficulties. So here's a suggestion - why dont we have a virtual green meeting? At the meetup & coffee morning sessions you usually end up chatting intensely to the people next to you, so if we all are available within a group of chat friends at an agreed time the one-to-one thing might work. I'd like to try the 4-way ichat thing too, to see if that's better (or not).

Who would like to try this out? Maybe some of you are experienced videochatters anyway, but I still think the idea of a green marketing meetup that is carbon neutral (no journeys) makes sense anyway. Plus I know there are readers from many more places than London town here. For that reason I think it should be 3pm UK time (=7am in SFO and 11pm in Shanghai). Hence afternoon tea. I also think we should drink green tea. A nod to what Marshall McLuhan called teleprecense :)

Do leave a comment if you are up for it. We'd your AIM screen name (my is greenormal) and a (UK) time that could work. As a first suggestion what about thursdays 3pm....? I actually dont mind too much if it is just me and Karen to start with plus a few others. But the great thing about this format is that if 30 or 300 of us went online at the same time, we could still pick available friends from the group and start chatting.


Charles Frith said...

Definitely up for this. I've got an AIM address that I'll dig out shortly.

Andrew Smart said...

Me too. Need to borrow a camera from somewhere though and try and work out what my address is. I think it's just Andrew Smart or maybe you need

I've used ichat on the text mode loads. It's really clever and fast. You can just drag stuff into the window and woosh it appears 1000 miles away. Pics, text files, you name it.

Never tried the video thing. I like text because you can pause, think, and delete stuff rather than just blurting out a whole load of nonsense. Maybe there's some value in the nonsense? Who knows? I'd really like to get better at it though.

I would also like to pledge 1p to Freinds of the Earth for every ...eerrrrmmm I do. I think eerrrrrmmms are bad. Whenever I see myself on video I notice my speach is riddled with them.

3 pm gmt Thursday sounds good.

John Grant said...

Brilliant looks like we're on.
Charles you on mac or pc?
I'll give Karen a prod (she actually had to get herself the webcam)
Anybody else still welcome to join of course :J

What I am trying to work out is how to do it without looking like I am looking at my shoes the whole time. (When you look at the screen you are looking down from the camera the way its positioned on my laptop). I may have to sit on the floor & angle screen towards me.

Reminds me of a Baudrillard fragment about the moment when Pavaroti was singing at the Olympics, and how funny it looked when he kept turning and looking at himself on the big screen while he sang.

John Grant said...

ps I think we should talk about the xmas thing then for a start :J

Charles Frith said...

Hi John, I'm on P.C. Will have a mooch around for a solution if this creates a problem. Very much up for the Christmas topic. Head is spinning with defining the problem. Is it about slowing the oil tanker down or chipping away at the block target by target.

Something about cajoling the adults out of the xxxmas shopping orgy first feels sensible. Xmas is for the children, only because it was so exciting when i was younger... could barely sleep if at all.

I needed a soldering iron today (to repair some headphones). Didn't want to buy one that i would probably only use once or twice and it occured to me that if I knew who in my street had one I'd love to borrow. Meet someone. Make a connection that mattered. Social(ist) media feels so right.

Repair culture is sooo much more satisfying. Imagine if a brand could endorse this and it's share value went up the more people bought into this IDEA. share value being such a nebulous construct in many ways... possibly waffling here but just trying to throw stuff into the ring (idealist me)

What if Xmas cards were the first target? By making a small manifestation of xxxmas culture the target of greenormal, would people make the connect and do the same for gift giving?

..what else... erm... It strike's me that in today's celebrity obsessed culture it would be cool to have a low carbon role model. Like the guy who burnt all his brands and gained celebrity, would a model of low carbon consumption make the fame game something attractive for the people who count... the ordinary people???

sorry if this is a bit rambling but if i don't get thoughts down i forget most of them.

Lastly my personal vox pop person Audrey tells me that setting a limit on xxxmas spending is gaining ground. This is a start.

Charles Frith said...

ok. just found a mac for next week :)

Anonymous said...

I've been brushing up against mac to Windows video conferencing and this appears to be a solution. I've not used it but thought that it might be of interest to you guys.

John Grant said...

I think we can use macs and pcs fine 1:1, its only if we want to use the gorgeous 4-way mac only videocoference bit of iChat that PCs struggle

we should of course in some ways be disavowing apple whilst the greenpeace campaign is on, but on the other hand the ultimate wrong thing to do with a product with poor/toxic recyclability would be to ditch it!!! And they do make lovely multimedia apps


Karen Fraser said...

Hullo! I've been a bit chokka past few days but once I've got my webcam (i'm on to it) I'm interested in giving web conferencing a try. A good friend made it work the other day on a pc using some app via skype. I'll check and see how he did it then report back if I learn anything new.

john dodds said...

unless you have a dual core mac - i believe conferencing is only 1 to 1. Certainly true for mine. But I wouldn't be surprised if there's an online business that does this.

John Grant said...

mine's certainly dual (hard)core

I had to buy a latest model after I stepped on the previous otherwise perfectly adequate G4 & broke the screen

remember everyone to post your AIM names
mine is greenormal
(andrew yes I think the .mac name is fine too)

still room for more too (you joining JD, Karen?)

John Grant said...

gareth kay from modenista is going to try to join (I'm sure you know gareth but if not he is in the blog roll)

Andrew Smart said...

Hey, I don't have one of those dual-core machines, so it might not be possible for me to join. I have however borrowed a camera and am experimenting with angles/lighting etc. to make me look awake.

Karen Fraser said...

Yay, progress! i now have a camera and i made it work (not bad... for a girl ;)

i normally use skype. i haven't got an AIM address yet will have a look at that tomorrow.

Maybe we could all buy each of our clients a webcam from Lobay for Christmas?

p.s. Do I win a cost saving bonus?