Video Conference: iVisit

iVisit

Since I got my Firewire Video Camera I have started playing with video conferencing. I’ve pretty much settled on iVisit as my software of choice when I can’t use Apple’s iChat.

Read on to see why.

The main thing that I get from iVisit that I don’t get from iChat is the ability to talk to Windows-based people. Nothing integrates better than iChat, but if I have to pick a second choice, it’s going to be iVisit. Here’s some good things:

  1. Windows integration It’s totally seamless to talk to Windows or Mac people. Thank goodness someone cares about that.
  2. Good throughput I’ve only got a 128kbps uplink, but I’m getting 30 frames per second when I send the low-quality video. Frankly, it looks quite reasonable. My parents get to see their grandson, and they’re tickled.
  3. Free and Easy No banners, pop-up ads, spam, etc. It’s just software for free. However, that such a great model that I’m going to buy the commercial version. Heck, it’s just $25/year which is not going to break the bank.
  4. Hands-free. I don’t have to use my hands. It just listens to the mic. Cool.

A couple gripes:

  1. While I’m pleased to say my 70-year-old mother can download, install, and operate this software, it’s not without a lot of handholding. The interface is entirely too busy. Too many windows. Too much stuff going on. Too many tiny little buttons to notice, and click on. I have a really hard time, over the phone, trying to tell her “find the little triangle button. No, not that triangle button, the other triangle button.” For more on my thoughts about user interface, see my rant on icons and UI.
  2. I wouldn’t mind a better system for assigning userids. They insist on mangling your userid by sticking some random numbers into it. I’m paco_hope.1264@iVisit.net. That’s intuitive. I don’t see the value in name mangling.