Re: real-time conferencing

From: Ka-Ping Yee (
Date: Tue Feb 27 2001 - 04:01:58 PST

On Mon, 26 Feb 2001, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
> Thanks for pointing this out!
> I forget how efficient GIF can be... I should have seen this a year
> ago. It's an obvious solution but this is so minimalist and efficient
> that it seems pretty attractive.

I think i did a measurement of this when i first hacked it up,
and it came to something like 8 to 10x the bandwidth of pure
plain text. Since people don't type very fast it's not that
noticeable (and a large part of it is probably swamped by per-packet
overhead as well -- what's the per-packet overhead on sending
character-by-character over a telnet connection?).

> I believe that VNC was earlier, but that's Java based in the browser.
> A lot of the early (and/or pay) 'web video' sites of course used very
> interactive video that was just push GIF's, and they usually have chat,
> not sure if any used graphical chat.

Many sites use animated GIFs. Some sites use dynamically generated
GIFs (to draw charts, that sort of thing). A tiny few dynamically
typeset text in GIFs. As far as i know, though, this chat thing was
the first use of dynamically-generated animated GIFs. ("libdynim"
was an attempt to coin the term "dynamic image" for these things.)

-- ?!ng

"If I have not seen as far as others, it is because giants were standing
on my shoulders."
    -- Hal Abelson

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