I am currently taking a CISSP Prep class online thru Global Knowledge. They are using a tool called iLinc for the class, and I have to say, I'm throughly unimpressed with the experience.
First off, the voice quality frequently goes from mediocre to worse. When the instructor drops off and comes back--which happens on more than one occasion--when the voice comes back, it chipmunks big-time until the voice buffer clears and everything returns to normal. The iLinc client has crashed on my relatively vanilla Windows XP machine a half-dozen times. Oh yeah, it requires Internet Explorer, which means Windows only. Yuck! The chat client stinks and they do a lousy job of providing ways for participants to give feedback. In a previous online class I took with Global Knowledge, they use a tool called Interwise, which required installing a Windows client, but seemed like it was much more stable.
Probably my biggest complaint with the whole experience is the instructor's Internet connection, which seems to be causing at least some of the issues. But it really sucks whatever it is.
Meanwhile, next week, I will be starting an online class with SANS on Intrusion Detection Systems. Their online class tool seems to be Java-based and should work on the Mac, which I would prefer for obvious reasons.
I've also played with WebEx, Lotus Sametime, and Windows LiveMeeting. They all have their issues. None of them provide an optimal experience and they all certainly aren't cross-platform. I do want to check out Unyte Meeting, which is working on a new version that has gone into public beta. The pertinent deets from their press release:
WebDialogs is seeking users to participate in the beta test, which will run through April 25, 2007. As a registered user, participants can sample Unyte Meeting’s unified voice, video and Web conferencing capabilities without charge for up to 1,500 minutes or until April 25—whichever comes first. To sign up, visit http://www.webdialogs.com/umbeta/
Unyte Meeting Spring ’07 is faster, yet still completely browser-based, with no downloads required for hosts, presenters or participants. The service is based on WebDialogs’ proprietary conferencing technology that is currently used in the market today by more than 200 brand names through 70 partner agreements.
I did play with their Skype remote desktop product, which I was suitably impressed with. Still waiting for them to come out with a Mac version of the "host" part of their application--the Mac client piece worked fine.
Meanwhile, all this training is paying a price on my ability to blog, so continue to expect light blogging over the next couple of weeks.