Endless Possibilities

Here’s a snapshot of me (in England) and Nisakiman (in Greece) and Grandad (in Ireland) in Emily’s appear-in (Boston?) bar yesterday:

It worked fine with two people. But it wasn’t very successful with three, because Nisakiman sounded like he was speaking from the bottom of a swimming pool, with his words occasionally bubbling up to the surface a minute or two after he’d spoken them. But it was a bit of a laugh all the same.

I think that Nisakiman’s problem was that he has an old, rather slow computer. He and Grandad don’t agree with me about this. But in the peer-to-peer free version of appear.in we were all sending video to each other and receiving video from each other. So with N people each computer has to process 2.(N – 1) video streams, I reckon. While in a hosted server system, the central hub would have to process 2.N video streams, and each peer would have to process only 2 video streams. So I reckon that if I get a paid room with central host computer, Nisakiman’s slow computer will most likely be able to handle two video streams. In fact, we know that it can. The limiting factor with a central server is probably the speed of the server, and appear.in probably aren’t using a supercomputer.

That set me thinking about a few other possibilities.

Emily’s bar has rather disappeared in the image above. I wondered whether it would be possible to get rid of the home backgrounds behind us, and put us all in a proper bar setting. In any video stream only a few pixels are changing at any one point in time, as people move. The backgrounds shouldn’t be changing too much. I wondered if you might get rid of the backgrounds simply by only sending only the pixels that had changed colour. These would then be stitched together and a background and foreground added. So me and Nisakiman and Grandad could all be put in a bar context, sitting at a bar with beers and ashtrays in front of us, and stuff going on in the background, a bit like this:

A further thought was that we might all be cartoonized:

And the background and foreground might have people wandering around. Perhaps you could have a background hum of conversation. And music playing on the juke box.

I realised this morning that I almost know how to do all this. My orbital simulation model does 3D in a fairly simple sort of way. So I could create a simple bar scene (the above is the bartender’s point of view), and populate it with cut-out cartoon people. Some of these people would be cartoonized real people  like above. Others would be invented people who would be sitting in the background drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. The only thing I don’t know how to do is all the internet stuff needed for the servers. In principle, a powerful host computer could be taking the live video streams from the participants, scaling and cartoonizing them, and stripping out the backgrounds, and placing them all inside a busy virtual pub.

If the whole thing was taken a step further, all the real people could have 3D replicas of themselves rather than 2D cut-out cartoons. There would be multiple points of views. In fact everybody would have their own point of view.

The possibilities are endless. Appear-in is just a simple first stage, which bundles together a set of unprocessed video streams.

I’m beginning to think about how to strip out backgrounds (and cartoonize people). This might become my next computing project.


About Frank Davis

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53 Responses to Endless Possibilities

  1. Nisakiman sounded like he was speaking from the bottom of a swimming pool, with his words occasionally bubbling up to the surface a minute or two after he’d spoken them

    Yeah Ouzo can have that effect.

  2. A simpler solution – each participant sets up his [or her] studio consisting of a backdrop of an enlarged photograph of their favourite bar?
    Or if you want to get technical – set up a wireless webcam in the bar and project the image behind the participant!

    • Emily Wieja says:

      I was thinking that too, I would like to get some lighted bar signs for my kitchen. The backdrop idea is a good one! You can get large poster prints of photos for pretty cheap from a copy shop.

      Looking good, guys!

      • RdM says:

        I just this afternoon went in to a bar I used to live across the road from, new ownership, still only 10 min walk away, and asked if I could take a photo… no problem!

        Have claimed a room and set it as background… it’s not quite as elegant as the former owners perhaps had it, hand-chalked menus, but I thought it a worthwhile start…

        I might look in to others… but it occurred to me tonight that perhaps an elegant outdoor setting might be nice too!

        Well, relaxed… greenery, or in the tropics!
        A cabana on a beach… roll on virtual reality

      • beobrigitte says:

        The backdrop idea is a good one!
        I agree, but also, the ashtrays in front are a must.

        Well, relaxed… greenery, or in the tropics!
        A cabana on a beach…

        Brilliant. A lot of nice SMOKERS on the beach …. A nice drink in front and ashtrays on the tables = HEAVEN.

        Perhaps I’ll put up a huge poster of a German anti-smoker (forgot the name) as my backdrop. He looks rather unhealthy and has this thin-lipped, miserable expression in his face naturally. I think I’ll look rather good in front of him when dragging on my cigarette. :)

      • Inspector Alleyne says:

        Don’t forget a photograph of Deborah Arnott for the dartboard!

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’ve been thinking about doing that too, at least in discussions with Emily.

      Today I’ve been thinking much more ambitiously :-)

  3. nisakiman says:

    Blimey, Frank, it’s all starting to look a bit complicated! :) I think you’re right about the way it works vis a vis peer to peer versus running through a server.

    I don’t disagree with you about my computer speed. The more I think about it, the more I’m inclined to think that it’s where the problem lies. Particularly given the fact that when you did an internet speed test, it threw up almost exactly the same speeds up and down as I have here.

    As I said to you in one of our emails, I’ve been thinking for some time now that I need to upgrade some components in my PC, and this situation has illustrated to me that ten-year-old technology definitely isn’t up to the job of dealing with the apps we use today. So I’ll be nipping down to my local computer shop (there’s a guy nearby who has a small shop, and when I went in to buy something, he was surrounded by disemboweled tower units, so I think he’s the go-to man) to get a price on fitting a new CPU and motherboard. I’ll also buy some more RAM and get it up to 16 GB or so. I should be able to do the lot for €200 or less, depending on which CPU/motherboard I get. I’m not sure whether I need a new graphics card or not. Maybe someone here could advise on that. I’m currently running a Nvidia GeForce 9600 GSO. I have no problems with watching movies or live streaming, so I think the actual processing is the sticking point.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Blimey, Frank, it’s all starting to look a bit complicated! :)

      Well, I’ve been letting my imagination riot a bit today.

    • RdM says:

      I’m not sure whether I need a new graphics card or not. Maybe someone here could advise on that. I’m currently running a Nvidia GeForce 9600 GSO

      Just do a search on ” Nvidia GeForce 9600 GSO review ” and you’ll see some not very flattering link headlines… it’s 8 or 9 years old and considered not too hot then.
      (albeit reviews may have been based on gaming…)

      One thing is to have wired ethernet rather than wireless but you say speeds are good.

      The other thing might be webcam driver tweaking, as per my link yesterday.
      But that’s quite technical, & anyway perhaps more geared toward recording, getting a quality stream out of it… although that might not hurt for this anyway.
      With those webcam emulators, you can take an HD camera output, tweak it, add effects optionally, then stream it out at a chosen lesser resolution/bandwidth, albeit improved, it seems…
      Lots of reading…

      • nisakiman says:

        It’s all 8 or 9 years old. Which is why I feel it’s time to upgrade some of the bits. I don’t do gaming, which is why the graphics card was deemed adequate when my computer guy at the time put it together. The question is, will the graphics card have a detrimental effect on what we’re discussing here? If I upgrade the CPU / motherboard?

        The desktop is hardwired into the router, so I shouldn’t be losing anything there.

        • RdM says:

          What is the motherboard, cpu?
          Motherboard brand should flash up in the initial POST boot display (saves opening it up & looking for a label on the board) & the CPU seen from My Computer > Properties.

          I’ve ended up with some cheap thrown out ones both laptop & small desktop that I need to put HD’s in and an OS on (& drivers, so a bit of work yet!) but they’re all i5, one of the laptops an i7 processor.

          Should be quite a bit faster than the Core 2 Duo this is coming from…
          which was much faster again than a plain Pentium 4 or an earlier still, etc.

          i5, i7 faster than i3… see what your hardware guy has, also look on eBay or do you have a national local auction site as well? (that’s my frugal side coming out! ;-)

          Beyond that, there may be even faster chipsets… I’m not up with the very latest!

          Look at the system requirements for some of the programs I’ve linked to, even appear.in

          As for the card being adequate for streaming, non-gaming etc. – maybe, yeah, I dunno!
          I see it has a / needs a PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface / slot so just make sure any prospective new motherboard / processor combo has a PCI x16 (OK, 2.0) slot for the graphics card (rather than AGP, etc.) Quite common, my small desktop i5 does (albeit half height).

          Hopefully your local adviser is both honest & knowledgeable & has good stock supply?
          Unless you go the auction route. But he may be far better placed to set up with all the correct drivers, OS, even import all your old programs, files, etc. Can be complicated!

          But here at least, there are plenty of computer recyclers/authorised resellers on the local auction site, who are quite capable of providing an even refurbished PC with a new licensed activated OS with all updates etc.

          My 2c worth! ;=}) ~ Cheers!

        • nisakiman says:

          The HDD will stay – that was replaced a couple of years ago, so there should be no issue with having to do anything with the OS and software that’s installed, as presumably that will all just run (hopefully faster) on a new board and chip from the installed disc (931GB Samsung HD103SI ATA Device [SATA]) .

          AMD Athlon 64 x 2 4050e
          Asus M3A78-EH (AM2)

          I’ll pop in and see what the guy suggests. I could buy the bits and take them to him, but I’d imagine he’ll be much better versed than I am about component compatibility. I’ll take him a printout of the current system so he knows what bits he has to connect to.

        • RdM says:

          Ah but each different motherboard requires it’s own set of drivers, for the chipset, the storage controller, sound, everything. So it can get complex.

          You can’t just put an HD from one motherboard/cpu (with all the installed drivers for that set-up) into a completely different new one, and expect it to work, oh no. Sorry!

          Hence comments about transferring data, even programs, onto the basis of a even possibly a new HD with the new motherboard, with its correct drivers installed…

          You can always use the old one in an external case (or mounted internally) as an extra drive, spare storage, etc, once everything is transferred… ask your guy about this!

        • nisakiman says:

          Bugger! That’s a bit of a blow! That turns it into a major exercise.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Sounds like you two could do with a face-to-face chat somewhere.

          In Greece the time is 14:16. In New Zealand it’s 23:16

        • nisakiman says:

          No can do now – I have to go out in a few minutes. But it’s a good suggestion. I’ll arrange to have a chat with Ross at a mutually convenient time.

        • RdM says:

          Oh, come on, Frank!

          Sorry, but that’s the second time you’ve seemed to get a bit nervous about “off-topic” tangents growing in a thread, a blog post… (thread from newsgroup days, know them?)

          NNTP, a news protocol, outside SMTP or HTML, requiring a news client like Free Agent

          The first time was with computer stuff with Brigitte.
          This time with computer stuff with nisakiman.

          May I suggest that you yourself be a little bit more relaxed and less ‘controlling’ , about apparently (fractal?) offshoots, tangents, sub-tangents, of conversations developing in a post… ? For goodness sake…

          I suggest that they will be self-limiting anyway, and have a purpose, useful information, which wouldn’t have arisen or been able to arise without the context in which they did.

          It comes across as a slightly or somewhat intolerant, which I wouldn’t have expected from you, whom I would have expected to me a little more relaxed, and hope you can be;- a version of jeering at two are who getting to know each other or helping each other, or just exchanging information deep down in the thread, as the old “Get a room!” innuendo!

          Let it go… a side-topic will end of its own accord but was able to spring up & be useful just because.it was enabled to… it’ll serve its purpose & finish in its own time.

          I’d suggest. No need to be so controlling, surely? Let it grow, live, flourish, finish.

          Sorry to be a little confrontational, it’s a small thing, but I feel I must say, write it!

          I suggest you don’t have to be so uptight (erm strikeout) concerned about small side digressions within an extended group conversation (which your blog has enabled!) on any particular issue – after all, you don’t mind announced ‘off-topic’ extra posts – especially when you consider the proposed group dynamic of ‘meeting in a virtual pub’ – where all sorts of multiple side conversations might take place, and be enjoyed!

          At least, in a real, especially crowded one, with great live music as well, perhaps!

          Mild admonishment. Please forgive my outburst. But I mean it! ;=}) (Cheers!!)

          Meet me to discuss at https://appear.in/elegant-rdm

          (Although I might not always be on there;- it’s just a start! ;=}))

        • Frank Davis says:

          that’s the second time you’ve seemed to get a bit nervous

          I wasn’t in the least bit “nervous”. I just thought you two would get a lot more sorted out quicker if you met up online and talked.

          When was the first time I got nervous? I don’t remember it/

        • RdM says:

          OK, so not nervous… it’s just that this was the only venue we were meeting up online, and talking… so far … apart from an odd email;- this was spontaneous.
          Seemed dampened by the suggestion of getting a chat somewhere else…
          Oh well! ;=})
          I’m still up, the room is still live, all still experimental, music playing…

        • RdM says:

          I wrote, earlier…
          I just this afternoon went in to a bar I used to live across the road from, new ownership, still only 10 min walk away, and asked if I could take a photo… no problem!

          Have claimed a room and set it as background… it’s not quite as elegant as the former owners perhaps had it, hand-chalked menus, but I thought it a worthwhile start
          and (in some slightly overheated remark, graciously overlooked)
          Meet me to discuss at https://appear.in/elegant-rdm

          I’ve now deleted, disestablished, unclaimed that initial foray address.
          It no longer exists.
          It seemed a bit embarrassing anyway;- but RdM was taken, elegant-rd was suggested, they seem to have these playful name suggestions, so I thought: oh well, why not! and just added the M!
          (I reserve the right to appear inelegantly, but will try generally to be presentable! :=}))

          Anyway, it’s gone, and I’ve created a new virtual private room instead, invites only.

          Privacy, security, blah blah! ;=}))

          With a beautiful new background…

  4. Rose says:

    This is probably a very stupid suggestion, not being a technical person and not knowing how this stuff works, but if you used a green screen behind you, couldn’t you all be in the same bar?

    How Do Green Screens Work?

    • Frank Davis says:

      “For the effect to work, green areas must be evenly lit and with no visible shadows.”

      That’s the problem: I don’t know how to do that in my little flat. I think you’d need a studio which has no windows in which to create the green (or blue) background using strong lighting.

      That’s why I started to think about ways to remove a background by reprocessing images to remove static content.

      • RdM says:

        That’s what the chroma (same as “green” but any colour) screen tweak option does in a webcam emulator like splitscreen.com.

        It gives you a second virtual camera that you actually stream from, after having fed your actual camera’s output to its ‘input’, applying effects in real time along the way.

        obsproject.com seems to do or be capable of similar but seems a lot more advanced.

        • RdM says:

          Sorry, I meant splitcamera, not splitscreen.
          It’s a bit of a toy though really, by the look of it.
          Doesn’t do chroma keying directly, but does appear to allow you to insert yourself into other backgrounds – they just show some preset ones at
          which work by replacing static pixels – maybe one can create ones own.
          shows an almost cartoonish effect by applying an “outline” or “gradient” filter.

          I tried it out briefly, on the little 12″ sub-notebook; I did notice that thereafter it defaulted to being the default “camera”;- I had to switch to the “real” camera (in Win 10) if I wanted to see a direct image… didn’t get around to playing with effects yet, all very new.

          obsproject dot com is much more pro & advanced & will do chroma/colour keying it seems, and yet is free and open source software.

          With a learning curve, but a great forum & lots of tutorials…
          Just possibly some ideas there though?

        • Frank Davis says:

          Trouble with the static image is probably that you have to keep the lighting conditions the same. Still, it sounds like it is doing exactly what I was thinking about this morning: removing the static image.

          I wonder if one of the backgrounds could be transparent? That way in appear.in you’d see much more of the background image.

          Definitely going to try it out.

      • Joe L. says:

        Using a green screen to replace a background is much easier on the programming side, but practically impossible to require everyone to set one up.

        Without a green screen, removing static content in software is difficult with a standard webcam, but can be made easier with some sort of natural interface device such as the Microsoft Kinect. However, this is also an impractical request of everyone, as it isn’t cheap.

        Nevertheless, Frank, I would be willing to help out programming a project like this in my spare time. Also, this project would be a good candidate for open-sourcing!

        • Frank Davis says:

          What computing skills have you got, Joe?

          My 3D orbital simulation model is all written by me in Java. So I’d have no difficulty in creating a bar scene with several layers. I’m thinking I might try writing a simple 2D multi-layer bar scene a bit later on today (I should be able to get it working in a few hours). I also got into doing a bit of image processing recently. I can do all the mathematics for 3D, pretty much. A few years ago I wrote a Java animation of an Agony Aunt that you could ask questions of and get stupid answers.

          What I don’t know much about is all the internet stuff of receiving video streams and broadcasting them. Or creating websites. I’m used to writing stand-alone applications of one sort or other.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Also, this project would be a good candidate for open-sourcing!

        • Joe L. says:

          @Frank: Most of my experience is programming stand-alone applications in C/C++, but I’ve done a fair amount of work in Java and Python, also. I have some 2D/3D graphics experience, and network programming experience, as well.

          I created a handful of websites in HTML, PHP and JavaScript around 15 years ago, but web technology has changed quite a bit since then, so I’m not up to speed on all the latest HTML 5 hotness.

          @Brigitte: I’m glad to hear you’re a fan of OSS! From some of your comments, you appear to be a Linux gal, as well. :-)

        • beobrigitte says:

          @Brigitte: I’m glad to hear you’re a fan of OSS! From some of your comments, you appear to be a Linux gal, as well. :-)
          You bet!
          My first dual boot goes back quite a few years. win95 – Fedora Core 3.
          (I ditched widows quite a few years ago, so no more dual boot.)

    • Correct me if I am wrong, but using Chromakey requires the front object to have sharp edges otherwise you get a halo or aura effect. This has one slight disadvantage – the smoking room would have to be non-smoking! Or maybe we could all just be blowing sparkling blue/green smoke?

      • nisakiman says:

        Or maybe we could all just be blowing sparkling blue/green smoke?

        That sounds good, GD. I’ll break out the bag of dope – sounds like, really trippy, man….

    • RdM says:

      Looking at https://manycam.com/features/#green-screen
      It seems clear (esp with the video demo) that one can make the background transparent (thus inserting oneself alone into a static background as in an appear.in room) – and – substitute a video (ie people talking smoking drinking in the background of a bar) (or a tropical beach) etc.(albeit just on one’s own streamed screen.)

      But that’s only available in the higher of the two paid versions… :-(

      (and it looks to involve a real green screen, which, looking at some of the following youtube flicks, doesn’t seem that hard – in fact they;re showing creased rumpled ones!
      I’m thinking it should be easy enough to dye a sheet (if one doesn’t have a bright green one) or buy one, and just hang it up – after ironing it and lighting it well!)

      So, looking for more free open source alternatives…
      http://webcamoid.github.io/ (Windows, Mac Linux)
      looks promising, although documentation at the site is sparse.
      I’ve downloaded but not tried out yet.

      And others, but two links at a time!

      • RdM says:

        I see also:
        http://camtwiststudio.com/ (Mac) (development may have stalled)
        https://sourceforge.net/p/webcamstudio/wiki/Home/ (Linux, Ubuntu installs)

        • RdM says:

          Camtwiststudio looks like it could be great fun on a Mac!
          (I think I’ll install it on my friend’s iMac ;=}))

          Have a look at this quite well explained demo:
          (why he doesn’t just organise a flat evenly lit screen though!???)

          How to setup a green screen using CamTwist for Google Hangouts or Skype

          And I’m so delighted to see ASCII art on the menu!!!

          I have for so long wanted to see that beyond an experimental stage, and there it is in a product!

          (To get an idea, visit https://krazydad.com/asciicam/ )
          ( or search for others, say ” ascii art webcam demo ” (off the top of my head))

          But anyway… for anybody that can be bothered to get some sort of collapsible clothing stand, or temporary way to erect a green cloth behind them, inserting just oneself into a background (even a video background!) seems very feasible.

          Two ways to look at it… one, one might arrive at another’s bar background at appear.in with one’s own background transparent (perhaps a little tricky) so seeming to populate it, or two, never mind about blocking out the room background, but come from an artificially generated background as above, a beach, a bar, or (what I thought of trying out some time, since this is all a bit science fiction until implemented!) a live view out of a porthole from the ISS, International Space Station! … Major Tom! ;=})
          (Maybe with a circular crop/ frame as well… *) (Nah… ;-)

          OK, it might take days, weeks… but all a bit of fun, imaginative ideas!

          For anybody that hasn’t seen that live view of the ISS, here’s one way to:
          Live ISS stream (can make full-screen) with small position map
          (sometimes it’s temporarily down, switching cameras, or over darkness;- be patient!)

          (*Now I’ve mentioned the idea, one can imagine it anyway, perhaps hardly worth it!)

          It all reminds me a bit, talking of shared virtual spaces, of sci-fi again… I remember discovering William Gibson’s (started the genre cyberpunk?) first of a trilogy novel, Neuromancer… shared consensus virtual reality, “jacked in”, in 1984 when new.
          (Followed by Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) (Look it up on Wikipedia…)

          Or more prosaically, as I mentioned to Gary, the film Bladerunner (I haven’t seen the new version yet!) in which the protagonist went in to a graffiti covered video phone booth;- that was futuristic at the time, and yet here we are now able to converse visually.

          But sci-fi literature has progressed way beyond those early days now too.

          OK, back to “real life… ” ;=})

          (Thanks for indulging my rave!)

        • RdM says:

          (Meant to close the bold after the header for the youtube video,
          How to setup a green screen using CamTwist for Google Hangouts or Skype>/b>

          but oh, well!

        • RdM says:

          Minor further notes on ISS views:

          Full screen tracking map

          And these great shots, explanation & time lapse video

          A sense of awe & wonder, etc.

          When I look up in to the Milky Way, and then come back to prosaic reality that there are these fleabite tobacco & jumped up lifestyle controllers insidiously like a fifth column taking over my country, inserted & embedded like the best influence campaign there ever was (with CAGW running a close second!) into “Health” departments of government, with obvious lies & fraudulent misrepresentations in ‘evidence’, and all swallowed by a gullible public, MPs & MSM ‘journalists’, I feel so angry and despairing and sad once again…

          There appears to be no escape… one must fight back!

        • RdM says:

          (Thanks for the “bold” mistake correction, Frank!)

        • RdM says:

          I wrote earlier:
          I see also:
          http://camtwiststudio.com/ (Mac) (development may have stalled)

          Installing Camtwiststudio on a 64bit Intel iMac running Sierra wasn’t useful.
          And a little hard to uninstall completely.
          (I had to take out the file mentioned in the manual install part of the readme.rtf in the pkg manually.)

          While it worked in itself, and I had fun with some effects in its own Preview panel, I wasn’t able to output anything, and the reason would seem to be that it doesn’t work with the latest 64bit Adobe Flash (it needs flash though) or 64 bit browsers, etc.

          See http://camtwiststudio.com/support/faq/

          Sorry if I’ve put any Mac users astray with my initial enthusiasm!
          Always proceed carefully!
          (might still work with older 32bit Macs & applications though I guess)

          I might have a look at obs studio next; the iMac is returning to its owner soon.

          I’ll try it on a recently gifted & still configuring tiny Win 10 Pendo sub-notebook/tablet (not the one I held up at Franks, which turned out to have been the battered 14″ widescreen ex-skip notebook that needs a new HD & full install!), which is only 11.6″ widescreen but works perfectly, good 4hrs of battery too so I can take it somewhere interesting as well!

          Why effects? Well some are just fun but some look useful.
          At the touch of a button I could overlay the local date and time, for one thing! ;=})

          But in any case with its built in camera & mic it’ll work just as is for appear.in.

          (Although I note that just in the last few days, updating to the latest Flash on both the Mac and the Win 10 Pendo thing seems to have broken the camera usage in the latest Firefox – a fresh install on the little Pendo today – and so the camera just doesn’t work at appear.in in Firefox for me now on either, although it worked perfectly a few days ago on the iMac meeting Gary for the first time before that update.

          However, both still work fine with Chrome… I suppose I should submit an email/support request/bug notification to somewhere or several places – Adobe, Firefox, appear.in.
          (in no particular order)

          Why is this important? (as the anti-tabac people like to put in their screeds! ;-)

          Because if you use Firefox at present and haven’t updated (or let Adobe update) Flash (or Firefox update Firefox, but it might be Flash) and appear.in works fine for you now, be aware that on my experience (2 samples so far! ;-) -t might not work after the latest update;- by all means try it and see, I’d love to have feedback.
          Did it still work OK?

          Because I also wonder if installing (and de-installing) those webcam emulator/effects programs might have affected things… it’s odd that the camera’s OK in Chrome.
          Flash uses a different version/type for Firefox vs Chrome though, hence suspicion.

          Cheers! (& thanks!@)

          (Sorry about the semi-technical rave, Frank, but (a) I feel responsible for the enthusiasm in the first part, notes about my prospective equipment are just indulgent, sure, but the third part notes going out to savvy computer users might be timely, relevant.)
          (OK, I guess that was (b) & (c) as well ;-))

          Sorry too if I was a bit “wooden”, super-tired at 3:30am after several similar nights!
          I was hardly sparkling;- feeling rather, very dull, but had wanted to connect…

          Brighter Later! ;=})

          And now just I’ve got the little Pendo ultra small notebook whatever up and running on wifi, without even a mouse connected, completely portable, Firefox, works on appear.in

  5. RdM says:

    Some possibly interesting effects for windows users (incl chroma screen) at

    (and other sites, but two links enough for now!)
    (a search on web cam emulator found that & obsproject com)

    And for Mac users, explore

    Free stuff, effects – look at mac apps, free downloads, explore what each does, etc.

    Although I’m fading now at 2:15am, I just had my first ever chat with Gary K at his room an hour or so ago, using a friend’s 21.5″ iMac that he’s left here to upgrade … all very easy & pleasant!

    Later, then! (gosh, 2:20am!) ;=})

    • Frank Davis says:

      Wow! How many hours are you from Gary? 6?

      Split-cam sounds interesting. The ability to change image resolutions could be good. I was thinking today that might be useful. Not sure how they remove backgrounds though.

      • garyk30 says:

        7am my time and midnight for Ross = 17 hours time difference.

        Getting a decent time for all involved is one of the problems with World wide chatting.

  6. Igrowmyown says:

    Or we could hire an inflatable pub for an annual get together and post those pictures online.

  7. smokingscot says:

    O/T (but I know Frank has an interest in Vaclav Klaus)

    Very interesting article where Klaus rails against EU bullying to force them to accept their quota of immigrants.

    “We refuse to permit the transformation of our country into a multicultural society…as we currently see in France and in Great Britain.”

    and (more ominously)

    “From all of this, there follows only one possibility and at the same time, the only necessary conclusion, the time has come to start preparing the exit of our country from the European Union.

    “This is the only path for our State, which we have inherited from our ancestors, and which it is our duty, as a self-owned entity to hand over to future generations, to maintain it and to rescue it.”


    Of course, naturally, without question, it would be entirely wrong of me to sort of even remotely insinuate that the obvious frustration felt by Mr. Klaus about EU bullying had anything even remotely to do with the recent smoking ban.

    After all, what’s the hassle about the loss of a few of his old watering holes. A sterile social environment is so wonderful for those who only frequent them when invited and when someone else will be paying! (In short, they never go there, but like to know that should they ever get that invite, then they shan’t be forced to wash their hair or clean their duds afterwards).

    • RdM says:

      For other reasons, a memory jogged, Peter Sellers:
      (more the UK vacuous words send up than from dear Vaclav Klaus, of course!)
      I have this actual 10″ LP, perfectly playable, from ? date
      (remembered from owning in teen years, found again later:)

  8. smokingscot says:

    O/T again.

    Quietly hidden away in a corner of said organ, a bit of chest slapping by tobacco control:


    about how smoking rates are crashing.

    There’s a quote from “Public Health”, another from British Lung and – naturally – another from Debs.

    With our government not quite fully formed, they make it perfectly obvious that they want to remain right there at the top of the food chain.

    “A new tobacco control plan was expected to be published last year. It is now well overdue, and must be a priority for the new Government.”

    “This proves that tobacco control policies work when they are part of a comprehensive strategy and are properly funded.“

    Well they’ve got good old Bob Blackman in position, so we’ll just have to wait in anticipation of his being able to screw another £100 million to assist these oh so wonderfully successful professionals.

    And for your entertainment The Express is running their advert about second hand smoke.

    And there’s only one comment. Some insignificant groupie in Glasgow.

    • Joe L. says:

      From the article:

      Mr Selbie said: “It’s now hard to believe that back in 1974 almost half of adults smoked. But now an end really is in sight and we have a real opportunity to virtually eliminate all the harm, misery and death caused by smoking.“

      If anyone needs evidence that Tobacco Control is working toward the end goal of gaining public support for instituting the prohibition of tobacco, well, there you go.

      But I thought smoking was only going to be banned on commercial airplanes? What slippery slope?

      • nisakiman says:

        But I thought smoking was only going to be banned on commercial airplanes?

        It was only going to be banned on commercial flights of less than two hours.

        What slippery slope, indeed.

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