re: OHS Framework - Shared-Window Teleconferencing <2C2A>

From: Christina Engelbart (
Date: Mon Feb 23 1998 - 18:39:00 PST

RE: Shared-Window Teleconferencing requirement in OHS Framework


What we are looking for is a shared-screen tool where we can link our screens
together for a shared view of in-process work such as agenda development,
realtime meeting notetaking, presentations, demos of interesting software
tools, guided tours through cyberspace, and BA orientation and coaching

For example, we'd like to have a telecon where we can all link up to view Doug
Engelbart sharing some new Macromedia Director material, we could then switch
to viewing Mike's screen to see a quick demo of a new knowledge management
tool; we could then switch to viewing Larry's display to jointly work up the
agenda for the next meeting before our very eyes. This capability could go a
long way toward supporting remote participation and virtual teams as a real
productivity booster. I know because I used such a tool regularly in the late
'70s and early '80s (!) for meetings and online coaching and

The basic paradigm to aim for is, as a minimum, whatever you and I can do
sitting side by side in my office - I show you stuff, you take the keyboard and
mouse and dittle with it, you show me something related, we finalize the
wording on a document - we should be able to do the same remotely, with a
reasonable number of collaborators. The connectivity should be transparent and
effortless - i.e. I do not want to switch into a specified app in order to
share my work, I want my screen to show what's on your screen as you flip
through and manipulate any variety of applications, word processing, email, CAD
drawings, analytic simulations, source code, experimental video viewer,
whatever. I already have *n* drawing tools - do I really need yet another which
is only used during distributed meetings (i.e. "shared white board")?

For distributed community support, we are also ideally looking for the
connectivity to be platform-independent, and something which is sensitive to a
range of baud rates and screen sizes.

Since my dream world does not yet exist, we will settle for whatever works and
keep looking for something better.

The closest I've seen to the above is PictureTalk <>.
It is cross-platform, quick to download/install the free client software, quick
to sign on to a meeting using just your browser, and then you can view anything
the presenter does no matter what application software s/he happens to be
using. HOWEVER, when you pass controls everyone's view changes to display the
screen taking control (we think switching view should be independent of passing
controls). Also when it first came out it was very slow and could not operate
across firewalls. They have since solved the firewall issue, and I trust they
have speeded it up. Definitely worth a second look.

There are undoubtedly dozens or hundreds of shared-window apps and utilities
out there we might consider. Where should we start?

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