Thursday, October 6, 2011

Wanted: Group videoconferencing trial participants

A note to readers  who may be interested in giving free group videoconferencing a trial run.
We have been using videoconferencing for our international networking on a daily basis since mid-1993, and have always had great difficulty in understanding why these technologies are not being put to more and better use by our friends and colleagues around the world, especially those with a commitment to sustainable transportation. About every eighteen months (call it a Moore Generation) we find ourselves switching something in terms of hardware or software so as to be able to be more effective in this important part of our overall communications and contact program. We are now on the lip of a new generation and would like to invite you to join us for limited testing and otherwise and laying the base for something that is, I firmly believe, going to be truly useful for us all.

The intention here is not to push you into videoconferencing per se -- though I cannot think of why you should not have this in your personal sustainability toolkit --  but rather to share with you information on a new and what looks to be very promising free technology that has very recently appeared on the scene -- and to invite any of you who may share these interests to lend a hand with a bit of pre-testing in order to be able to see how it might be put to better use in support of better streets and better cities.

The technology in question is from -- surprise me! -- Google, and this time around they are calling it Google-plus. Let me not proselytize for Google, but at the same time I can share with you my observation that what seems to be (potentially) interesting about this free service is that it not only seems to be a much cleaner, less intrusive approach than that offered by Facebook or other of the more popular social media. There are also other wrinkles which we find worth attention, but this is something you can find out for yourselves. And what we should like to concentrate on today is the concept of group video conferencing.

Group Video Conferencing – How to get on line

The Google people have built into their new toolbox what looks at first glance like some pretty effective group video conferencing services. On the other hand they have done a pretty ragged job of allowing you to get on line easily. Let's see if we can make up for that.

Here is how it works: If you do not already have a Google account, you will need to set up one, which is quickly done if you click to Alternatively if you like an invitation drop me a line at and I will send you one directly.

Once you are in, to call up my Google+ page, all you need is to click into the browser of your choice. And for the World Streets circle,

All this may strike some of you as a bit much, but my hope is that we will get a few volunteers so that we can do the necessary testing as a pilot group, and then pass on results along with some judicious hints to others who might be interested in getting together occasionally for project or event planning purposes, seminars or presentations.

It may not be zero carbon transport, but it is certainly a lot lower carbon than climbing on to a plane every time we have to put our heads together, and that surely seems like a step in the right direction.

Thanks for your patience and thanks especially for getting in touch if this works for you.

Eric Britton

PS.  And thank you Steve.  You gave us quite a run.

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