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Chapter 15. Using NetMeeting > New Stuff in NetMeeting Version 3.x

New Stuff in NetMeeting Version 3.x

With the disclaimers out of the way, let's discuss NetMeeting 3, what it offers, and how to make it work as best you can. Let's start with new features over version 2.x. (If you've been using NetMeeting 2.x, this list will make some sense. If you haven't, don't sweat these details unless you're among the geekily interested.)

  • The user interface is new. It's much more compact, with the video screen, dial interface, and participant list the focus of the window. (See Figure 15.1.)

  • A Picture-In-Picture (PIP) display option displays both incoming and outgoing pictures in the main NetMeeting window.

  • Audio and video work better in version 3.0, especially in low-bandwidth environments.

  • Setting up NetMeeting and your hardware devices is easier than ever (and Microsoft seems to have gotten rid of many of the bugs that kept people from using some of its hardware).

  • Call initiation has improved. ILS directory searching is now HTTP based, making it easier to find someone (yet more difficult to see a complete list of people who are available for cold calling). NetMeeting now supports H.323 and supports gateways and proxies better (though this capability will be of minimal use to most folks outside the enterprise). IP address issues that caused a caller's incorrect IP address to be registered in the ILS directory have been fixed.

    Figure 15.1. The new interface is more compact and simpler.

  • Individuals can more easily set up and host meetings. You can now set up encryption use for data-only meetings and require certificate-based authentication of individuals who want to join a meeting.

  • You have the option to use DirectSound, which can decrease delay time in audio transmission. This option is off by default and can be controlled from within NetMeeting.

  • Application sharing is much improved and available in full color. It's also faster and offers expanded control of viewing by the receiver. A participant can now share his or her "desktop" within a session, meaning that the remote user can take control of the computer. This capability makes NetMeeting a powerful tool for Internet-based Help personnel to walk stumped users through procedures or investigate settings on a computer themselves.

  • The Software Development Kit (SDK) has been improved, with expanded documentation. However, I have some complaints: The SDK assumes you are a Visual C++ programmer. If you program in Visual Basic or JavaScript, no luck. Fine programmatic control is not included in the SDK.


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