All posts by Phil Rack

Phil Rack, Owner of MineQuest Business Analytics, LLC. Grand Rapids, MI USA For more than twenty five years, I've worked as a SAS Consultant, specializing in the financial industry. My motives for this blog are to inform and educate other consultants as well as clients who use SAS or WPS and how they can more effectively use technology to further their business objectives.


Keywords: Persony, Web Conferencing, Screen Sharing

In my previous post, I discussed SightSpeed and how I wish it had screen sharing or application sharing functionality. This has become even more important to me know because my service provider who I was using for web conferencing closed up shop! I had been using Coitalk and have rudely found out that they had too many network issues (and I suspect money issues) and decided to close shop.

Searching for a new service provider for web conferencing on the net, I discovered a new provider/software application called Persony. If you are interested in or have a need for inexpensive web conferencing, check out Persony at

You don’t pay a monthly fee; you just buy the software and use either their web server (which is free) or your own web server. Depending on the features and number of clients needed, Persony costs $99 to $299. Over the weekend, I have been testing both setups and using my own web server, it’s just a little bit quicker.

Installation is pretty easy and took only 20 minutes for me to get it setup. The software works, but I have two problems that seem to be related. I can’t take a snapshot of the screen and upload it, nor can I upload a picture. I seem to have permission problems on my web server that is preventing me from doing that. I need to talk to tech support to resolve this issue. Screen sharing, text messaging, audio conferencing, record a conference, all work. They do have a 30 day trial so you can play with it if you want.



Keywords: SightSpeed, Web Conferencing, Video Conferencing, Communications, Web Cameras

For the last 18 months, I’ve been using a service called SightSpeed. SightSpeed is an amazing service that allows me and my clients (as well as family) to communicate over the internet. With a good web camera and a decent internet connection, you can hold video conferences at 30 fps with speech being perfectly synced with lip movement.

There are numerous reasons that I like SightSpeed so much. The price for the service, for doing one-on-one conferencing is free. You simply have to signup for an account and download the software. If you need to web conference with more than one other person, SightSpeed offers a professional service plan that allows you to initiate multi-party conferencing. Multi-party conferencing costs $50 per year and allows a maximum of four participants (you and three others) in a single conference.

SightSpeed also allows you to send video e-mails (they are stored on a SightSpeed server) which can be 30 seconds in length for the Basic free service and up to one minute for the Professional Service plan. Your video emails are stored for 30 days on the basic plan and for the life of your subscription with the Professional plan. That’s also a nice way to post video to blogs and not have to worry about storage and bandwidth issues.

I use a Logitech QuickCam Fusion web camera that has a built in microphone so I don’t have to mess around with a headset. At other times, I use a Jabra Bluetooth ear piece/microphone that clips in to my ear and for the most part is hidden behind my ear. The Bluetooth setup is really superior in that there is absolutely no echo and I can get up and move around to the whiteboard or do other things and still keep a conference going.

SightSpeed works over or through firewalls quite well. I use Microsoft’s Small Business Server 2000 and I only had to make a single change to ISA (opened port 9000) to get it to work. On an XP Pro notebook using a D-Link UpNP router, it worked without a single change. I like that!

The quality of the web conference is dependent on three factors. The amount of light you have in your room, the speed of our broadband connection, and the quality of the camera. With a well lit room, a moderately fast connection (I have a 6 Mbps/1 Mbps cable connection) and a good web camera, you can have a very good video conferencing experience. Check out the requirements at the SightSpeed web site for more information and detailed information in plans and pricing.

What would I like to see added to SightSpeed? I would like to see application sharing (or even application viewing) and whiteboard functionality included in future releases. But even without these additional functions, SightSpeed does what it was intended to do and that is provide the best PC-to-PC video conferencing application available on the market today.