Ever tried to video or voice conversations over the web with a PC? I have never seen this work well, at least outside commercials.

Hangups include:

  • Standards for video conferencing require a swath of open ports with direct connections between all machines involved. This is a really bad idea as all home users should be behind router/firewall box, and manually configuring ports to specific machines is just too clunky. Not sure why the standards call for so many open ports - seems that one or two connections should be sufficient.
  • Lack of good integration - feedback from microphone to speakers seems to be a common problem.
  • Opaque failures - sometimes things don’t work, and the failure is not clearly explained.

The features in Apple’s Apple iChat AV make me wish I could buy a Mac. Don’t think there is anything as capable for Windows PCs.