Note: This document is a very rough draft. If you're a Mac OS X user who would like to access mcu.cba.mit.edu, please try it and let me know how well these instructions work be e-mailing me me (email@example.com) or by adding a comment to this page.
Here is how to connect to the Fab Lab video conferencing service located at mcu.cba.mit.edu via the free (but not open-source) X-Line 4 client:
- Download: Get X-Lite 4 from Counterpath:
They'll try to sell you on their commercial product at every step of the way, but it's not necessary.
- Install: Double-click on the .dmg that was downloaded in step 3, accept the license agreement, and drag the X-Lite 4 icon the the "Applications" folder.
- Start: Open X-Lite 4 from the applications folder. (FIXME: are there any startup screens here?)
- Configure: Go to the "X-Lite 4" menu and select "Preferences".
- Select the "Accounts" tab
- Click the "+"
- Account name: mcu.cba.mit.edu
- Protocol: SIP
- Use for: Call = checked, IM/Presence = unchecked
- User ID: guest
- Domain: mcu.cba.mit.edu
- Password: blank
- Display Name: Your name and/or affiliation here
- Register with domain and recieve calls: unchecked
- Send outbound via: Domain
- In the box labeled "Enter a name or number", enter one of the following phone numbers:
firstname.lastname@example.org - General Fab Lab chatroom
email@example.com - Fab Lab meeting room
- Use the drop-down box next to the "Call" button to select "Video Call". The call will begin.
- Several useful controls:
- Outgoing audio can be muted by pressing the Microphone icon in the "Call Established" area of the X-Lite window.
- Outgoing video can be halted by pressing the "Webcam Minus" icon in the lower left corner (near the "Hold" button) of the "Call Established" area of the X-Lite window.
- The video window can be closed/opened by pressing the "Webcam" icon in the upper right hand corner of the X-Lite window.
- You can add/remove video from the call by pushing the button next to the hold button that looks like a webcam with a + or a - next to it.
- You can hang up by pressing the "End" button.
A note about audio: Suppressing echos, background noise, and audio-feedback is a constant issue in video conferences and with conference calls in general. I suggest the following solutions:
- Stay muted: Mute your microphone, except when you're speaking. In addition to minimizing echo problems, it will cut down on the amount of random background noise that the other participants are subjected to.
- Earphones with an integrated microphone: I've found that the best solution is to use headphones with an integrated microphone. They're available for a few dollars/euros at most electronics stores. If you have a spare set of iPhone earbuds laying around, you can use those with any newer MacBook. The iPhone earbuds have an integrated microphone, reasonably good sound quality, and they're small enough to be unobtrusive in a laptop bag.