[Telepathy] Intro and question...

Marcilla Smith marcillapalooza at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 29 20:16:56 PST 2011

Hello =-)

First, let me introduce myself. Not knowing how intros usually work around here, I'll default to the old AIM standard of "asl" which would make me 38/F/East TN =-)

In any event, I have been trying to get a question answered, first via my local LUG, and also by posting to the anarchist linux users page on FB, and most recently to the ubuntu-women list. Now, I am trying here, not having found an answer, yet, because I understand this is the list for Empathy users, so I am hoping someone here has an idear.
I have completed the training necessary to be a mediator (for court and alternative dispute resolution), and I hope to practice mediation as a form of dispute resolution based upon anarchist principles of self-determination, autonomy, consensus, community, and all that good stuff; and which will give people an alternative to the institutionalized justice system of civilization.

In order to expand my reach, I would like to be able to practice mediation online via teh intertubez. I guess the needs I have which will differ from what I imagine "webinar," or other similar setups would offer is that I need the two parties to be able to see each other, and I want to send a separate webcam angle to each. I also will need the capacity to be able to "mute" both audio and video to one or the other of the parties(clients), so that I(server) can privately "caucus" or meet with one side or the other, while keeping that communication private from the other client.

I hope this is clear!

I have tried anticipating what I think would be good design parameters, but I am open to suggestion on design. Let me lay out what I think would make for good design parameters, and then I'd be curious to know any feedback regarding specifics on components (hardware, software, or design concept). I will tell you that I am not very techie. I have been using Linux almost exclusively since I first installed Debian (now using Ubuntu) in 2008. Also, I think I have a fairly good head for analyzing systems (something to keep in mind if anyone is hiring :: wink :: ), but I'm no CS major, or anything.

In any event, here are the component parts I see connecting via virtual network via the interwebz:

- Client 1: this would include the client's PC, running an unknown OS, with one webcam (capturing Stream C1) and able to display two video streams (Stream S1 and Stream C2), while simultaneously running a file sharing application.

- Client 2: this would include the client's PC, running an unknown OS, with one webcam (capturing Stream C2) and able to display two video streams (Stream S2 and Stream C1), while simultaneously running a file sharing application.

- Server: this would include the Server PC, running Linux, with two webcams (one capturing Stream S1, and one capturing Stream S2), and able to display two video streams (Stream C1 and Stream C2), while simultaneously running file sharing and word processing applications.

Imma try and attach a .jpg to try and make it more clear what I mean.

If it isn't clear, let me point out that I will have more say over some of these components than others, particularly on the server side, which is me (I just labelled it "server" for the sake of standard naming convention, it doubt it would require anything like an actual network server). And client side of the network would literally be at the workspaces of clients, which is why I say that their OS could be anything (although most often Windows, obviously). Because of this, a web-interface (at least on the client side) makes most sense to me. The client interface just needs to be something that will have the greatest compatibility across different client platforms in terms of hardware, webcam peripheral, and OS. Ideally it does not require any sort of application external to the web browser to install and launch. Something like the "hangout" feature in Google+ would be nice, particularly if it did not require subscription on the part of the clients.

On the server side, I would like something that will be Linux-based (for myself). I would like to run as small a form factor as I can - maybe a tablet or MID, if possible. I realize that I will need to connect external webcams and prolly an external widescreen monitor in such a case, but I prefer being able to disconnect and take what I need with me, not bound to my desktop. 

Also, is attached a .jpg, if I didn't mention that already.

Thanks for any advice!

Marcilla =-)
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