SightSpeed Chat, Without Installing SightSpeed!

SightSpeed Chat, Without Installing SightSpeed!

Summary: My friend Grant recently pointed me to what I think is a very interesting and very under-promoted feature in SightSpeed - the ability to have someone call you on SightSpeed without having to install the SightSpeed software on their computer! Although I had seen this in the Account Information page, it hadn't really occurred to me what it was, and how useful it could be.

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TOPICS: Linux
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My friend Grant recently pointed me to what I think is a very interesting and very under-promoted feature in SightSpeed - the ability to have someone call you on SightSpeed without having to install the SightSpeed software on their computer! Although I had seen this in the Account Information page, it hadn't really occurred to me what it was, and how useful it could be.

Basically what happens is that when you set up a SightSpeed account, there is a link established for you on the SightSpeed "people" server, such that when you are logged in to SightSpeed and anyone goes to that link with Internet Explorer, and allows the download of an ActiveX control, they will then be connected through to you as an incoming SightSpeed call, much the same as from any other SightSpeed user. The call will have most of the capabilities of a "normal" SightSpeed call, including bidirectional video, audio and text, and the quality is very good.

There are a few restrictions on how this works. The biggest is that it only works with Internet Explorer, I suppose because of the ActiveX control that it is based on. Of course, the person calling you needs to know the URL to go to. There are two obvious ways to do this; you can email the link to them, or you can include an icon and HTML code in a web page or blog which takes them to it (a sample icon and HTML code are included on your MySightSpeed page). In fact, SightSpeed creates two links for your account, one of which does not disclose your SightSpeed user name to the other person. Web users, as they are known in the SightSpeed documentation, don't have access to any SightSpeed status information, and the text messaging is only available after a connection is made, so the only way they have to find out if you are online is to try to call.

I find this capability very interesting, and potentially very useful - I can think of a number of situations where it would be quite handy. I wish that SightSpeed would make it more obvious, and promote it in their propaganda. Even after Grant told me about it, I honestly had a tough time finding anything on the SightSpeed web page - I finally found a decent description in the "How Do I ..." section of the FAQ.

jw 30/1/2008

Topic: Linux

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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3 comments
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  • SightSpeed Chat, Without Installing SightSpeed!

    J.A., you are absolutely right -- this is called our "My SightSpeed" feature, and we have had this powerful capability for a long long time. But, we have done a poor job bringing visibility to it. Imagine the possibilities both for consumers (e.g., send this drop dead simple link to your grandma, so that all she needs to do is click on it to call you) and for businesses (e.g., send this link to your clients, customers or co-workers so that they similarly can easily video conference with you without downloading any application). Expect further enhancements to "My SightSpeed" in the near-term, and, given your suggestion, expection higher visibility to "My SightSpeed" on our website in the near-term.

    Peter Csathy
    CEO
    SightSpeed Inc.
    pcsathy
  • SightSpeed Chat, Without Installing SightSpeed!

    Peter, the "Grandma" (or other inexperienced or insecure user) is in particular near to my heart. When I was helping answer questions on the Skype User Forums, one of the common cases that I took particular interest in where the husband/wife/children/grandparents who simply wanted to talk to and see each other. Very often, only one of the group was "computer savvy", typically either the husband or wife, and that person would install and prepare the video IM software, go away on a trip (sabbatical, missionary, overseas assignment or whatever), then when they tried to contact the family they discovered that for whatever reason, the blasted thing wouldn't work. So instead of spending hours visiting and chatting with the family, they spent hours trying to diagnose and repair problems with device drivers, firewalls and configurations, and getting more upset instead of more relaxed. Having a simple URL that you could mail to someone, and say "click this to talk to me", or even better a button you could put in your web page for them to click, would have made a lot of people's lives a whole lot nicer. I think you can get a LOT of mileage out of this feature if it is promoted well.

    Thanks for reading!

    jw
    j.a.watson1
  • SightSpeed Chat, Without Installing SightSpeed!

    JW, I absolutely agree -- we are on the case to promote this extremely powerful feature. While other services like Tokbox tout the purported "revolutionary" nature of their flash based click to call app, our "My SightSpeed" click to call feature was developed and available for several years now and harnesses the full power of SightSpeed -- i.e., video quality significantly higher than flash (and, hence Tokbox, etc.); full 30 frame per second video; perfect sync between video and voice; no latency; richer audio; and a much richer feature set. SightSpeed users can take their "My SightSpeed" URL (which we also have ... yes, buried! ... in click to call me "button" form) anywhere on the web (e.g., on their social networking profile, on their blog -- you will see one on my own blog at http://digitalmediaupdate.blogspot.com/) or in their email (I have one on my email signature block).

    We are to blame for not bringing more attention to it. And, this will change. Stay tuned, and thanks for focusing me on this! And, please continue to keep us honest!
    pcsathy