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UN Car Free Day Practicum and Demonstration opens today - You can attend!!!

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  • Eric Britton
    Paris, Wednesday, May 08, 2002 Re: Next Steps in Lively Distance Participation in Fremantle/UN events Over the next three days - Wednesday 09:00 through Friday
    Message 1 of 1 , May 7, 2002

       Paris, Wednesday, May 08, 2002



      Re: Next Steps in Lively Distance Participation in Fremantle/UN events


      Over the next three days - Wednesday 09:00 through Friday noon, local time (Fremantle being at GMT +8 hours, no daylight saving) - the Fremantle Car Free Day and the associated United Nations Car Free Days Programme will be taking place.  And while most people if they wish to attend any of the events will be obliged to trundle to West Australia to do it, there are two sets of options which I would like to draw to your attention briefly (with all program details available at http://www.carfre.org).


      The first is the direct line of active participation which we have carefully set up and tested between Fremantle and Paris.  At both ends of the line are standard H.323 IP videoconferencing units (Polycoms) and in the middle >256 kbps telephone lines (ADSL).  I shall be attending the meeting more or less continuously over the 2 and ½ days, and will be addressing it at several points, including participation in the Q&A and discussion sessions.  The IP address for this line is  This generally replicates the set up that we have for the February UN Practicum in Bogota, so in its way may be thought of as almost ancient history.  But in Fremantle there is more to it than that.  There is the 'extra chair', the next sustainable wrinkle on distance participation


      The Extra Chair:

      We have this time set up what we are calling an 'extra chair' at the meeting, an open place for anyone anywhere in the world who wishes to check in and follow the events efficiently and at no (marginal) cost.  To get there, all you have to do is call in to IP and once the connection is established there you are sitting toward the back of the conference hall and observing what is going on at the rostrum, the large display area (for the various PowerPoint, video and other presentations), and the main discussants (if that's a word).


      In order that this be as discrete and as undisruptive as is appropriate under these circumstance, we would ask you to adjust your settings as following:


      ·         Access Speed - 64 kbps (minimizes line interference with main unit)

      ·         Mute - Off (very important.  Otherwise your coughs and other sounds may thunder through the room)


      Since the camera is not orientable or zoomable, you are kind of locked in to your chair.  Likewise the little Via Video unit at 64 kbps is a bit minimal for these purposes, but it is certainly enough for you to form an opinion for yourself as to the usefulness of this approach more generally.  Similarly, with this set-up we can only for now accommodate one person at a time in the extra chair, so after you have had a good look and participated for say up to a quarter of an hour, it would be kind if you would give up your seat for the next visitor/distance critic.


      Hence and all this aside, we still would like to invite you to pop in, have a look, and then let us know what you think or propose to build on this experience.  We have every intention of building on this approach in as many of our international projects and meetings as possible, so your feedback and guiding remarks will really be very useful.  (These remarks will be given a section of their own in the final report that we shall be preparing after the Fremantle events on this important virtual meeting component.)


      The theme of all our work and projects in the run-up to this year's Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development is that of 'New Partnerships for Sustainability'.  In this instance, we are getting good support from many sides, including from the Polycom people who are pitching in with loans of first class equipment and technical counsel.  Then of course are all the others.


      Including you when you climb into this chair, have your look and let us know what you think.


      With kind thanks and all good wishes,


      Eric Britton 


      Senior International Advisor

      United Nations Car Free Days Program at http://www.uncfd.org


      The Commons __ technology, economy, society__

      Le Frene, 8/10 rue Joseph Bara, 75006 Paris, France

      Day phone: +331 4326 1323 Mobile: +336 8096 7879

      24 hour Fax/Voicemail hotline: +1 888 677-4866

      http://ecoplan.org/   IP Videoconference:  

      Email: ecoplan.adsl@...   URL www.ecoplan.org



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