[hackerspaces] Video conferencing

Hellekin O. Wolf (/tmp/lab) hellekin at hackerspaces.org
Thu May 14 12:43:17 CEST 2009

On Thu 2009-05-14 at 11:56:48 +0200, jaromil wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> hi John,
> On Wed, May 13, 2009 at 02:59:09PM -0700, john arclight wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > 
> > Does anyone have a suggestion for a cheap/free video conferencing solution?
> [...]
> > We use Webex at work, but this ain't work.
> ehehe, i agree. some crazier  experiment in visualisation can be phun.
> that's  what  Hellekin  proposed   for  the  hacker  space  room  last
> year. http://lab.dyne.org/HackerSpaceInterPhone
> i join for what i can which  is not a lot of time currently. we wanted
> to  use  something  like  hasciicam  and ihu  together,  very  minimal
> solution indeed, but this way a hub of nodes can be scripted into some
> shell scripts... curl a list via http and gtkdialog or so :)
> the objective is to render a  solution that is cool and still works on
> any  leftover box  in  the hackerspace,  since  that will  have to  be
> dedicated to the task, noone  really wants to lose the number-cruncher
> to it.
> this year in Paris  for the HSF2009 we're going to hack  a bit more on
> it, while we can already do some conferencing over ssh tunnels..
> anyone interested in hacking, git repo is already up ;)
> ciao
*** Indeed I'm working on it but don't know how to tackle the problem. I've
been looking into Gstreamer as the two cameras I have don't work with
(h)asciicam and I don't have the C-fu necessary to fix (h)asciicam camera
recognition. The aasink plugin however only works with X, and I'd prefer to
transfer ASCII directly to save bandwidth and offer different transport
options, such as going through XMPP or IRC. I guess I need to learn C :]

The plot would be to make an aanetsink (either UDP or TCP) to send the image
info + data over the network, or update (h)asciicam for better camera
support and sending raw data in addition of HTML / text.

The good thing about using ASCII and CSS is that you can get a pretty good
image resolution while compressing the data over the wire or keep an
ASCII-Art look. 

I uploaded a screenshot of the proof-of-concept that I hacked at the Fiber a
while ago to the URL Jaromil mentioned. It shows the rendering of a 160x120
live stream using JavaScript for updates. The code is pretty brutal: the
client displays an image then look for a new one immediately; no header
support, etc.

(This is where I feel dumb not knowing enough ;)


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