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.

Latest Posts

The Gizmo Project

The Gizmo Project

Next on my list for evaluation is The Gizmo Project. Gizmo actually comes in two (well, three) varieties - a text and audio only client (no video) for Windows, Mac and Linux; a text/audio/video client that is still in beta test, only for Windows, and a version for mobile devices that runs on various internet-enabled smart phones.

December 16, 2007 by in Linux

Tech Talk - A Peek Behind the Curtain

Tech Talk - A Peek Behind the Curtain

I've spent a lot of time discussing video quality, resolution, frame rate, bandwidth and the like. But after using this information to set the video resolution, or optimize your setup to get the best possible performance, how are you going to know if it actually worked?

December 14, 2007 by in Linux

Tech Talk - Video IM Tips and Tricks

Tech Talk - Video IM Tips and Tricks

As usual with my "Tech Talk", this will be a somewhat more technically detailed description of some things to do, to avoid, or to simply keep in mind to avoid problems or to find them when they arise. This one is going to concentrate on hardware, and the next will be about software.

December 13, 2007 by in Linux

New Skype Release Available

New Skype Release Available

A new Skype release has been made available for download. It appears to have fixed the massive Page Fault problem, and to have restored the ability to increase video resolution by editing the config.

December 12, 2007 by in Linux

Addendum to the Comparison

Addendum to the Comparison

I have received a very friendly reminder from ooVoo that their System Requirements say "Broadband connection (Cable, DSL etc..)", and I think it is only fair to repeat that again - I don't want it to sound like I am faulting them for marginal performance in an environment that they don't even claim to work in!

December 11, 2007 by in Linux

Video IM - Tips, Tricks and Preparation

Video IM - Tips, Tricks and Preparation

I am frequently asked for advice about hardware, software and connections for Video IM. I suppose this is a bit like putting the cart before the horse, since I have already written quite a lot about the major Video IM programs, but better late than never...

December 10, 2007 by in Linux

Tech Talk - Skype

Tech Talk - Skype

I think it's pretty obvious that the most talked-about and interesting technical topic with Skype is their much-vaunted new "High Quality Video". That gives a good lead-in to Skype video in general, so that's where we will start.

December 5, 2007 by in Linux

Tech Talk - XP to Vista, the Problem Details

Tech Talk - XP to Vista, the Problem Details

Well, I don't get away with "glossing over" much of anything in this blog, do I? After my post about finally giving up on Vista and going back to XP Professional, I have had several requests for a more complete list of the problems that I had with Vista.

November 30, 2007 by in Linux

Tech Talk - ooVoo

Tech Talk - ooVoo

Time for some of the technical details about ooVoo that I didn't want to include in the first impressions blog entry, or I wanted a bit more time to research and test before discussing.First, the best things about ooVoo:- It is really easy to download and install.

November 28, 2007 by in Linux

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