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comp.groupware FAQ: Products4: Frequently Asked Questions

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Archive-name: comp-groupware-faq/products4
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1995.8.8
Version: 3.3
Copyright: 1990 - 1995 (C) David S. Stodolsky, PhD

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Groupware Products - Part 4

Distemacs group editor/Distedit toolkit
From: (atul prakash)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Distemacs group editor/Distedit toolkit now available.
Date: 10 Jun 1994 20:33:44 GMT

DistEdit, v.3.1 toolkit to support building of group editors is now
available via anonymous ftp from in the file

The system includes distemacs, a fairly powerful group editor based on
Gnu Emacs v. 19.22.  Distemacs should behave largely like standard Gnu
Emacs for single-user situation. However, it offers one attractive
feature in single-user mode that is not currently available in Emacs.
It provides a "region-undo" command that lets you undo editing
commands that are restricted to a selected region, even if those
commands were not your last ones. 

Distemacs also provides extensive support for group editing, such as
simultaneous editing, shared selections, shared views, telepointing,
ability to lock arbitrary regions, per-user undo and region-undo.

Ready to install Sun 4 Binaries as well as papers that describe
details of architecture and algorithms used in DistEdit are also
available in the directory outgoing/aprakash/collaboration. 

At present, we have used the system only on Sun4s, though it may well
work on other platforms. Also, please note that distemacs is in
beta-testing phase and we are interesting in getting feedback. We have
been using Distemacs successfully in its own development. For further
information, reporting bugs, etc. please contact at the email address
below or at

-- Atul Prakash
   Department of EECS
   U. of Michigan
   Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2122
   Phone: +1 313-763-1585
   Fax:   +1 313-763-1503

LAN Calendering interfaced to Profs
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: LAN Calendering interfaced to Profs
Date: 16 Jun 1994 00:37:26 GMT

>I am interested in finding LAN based calendering systems that have gateways
>to IBM Profs Calendering.  I am specifically interested in those
>calendering systems that can work with Profs realtime (instead of a store &
>forward fashion).  In addition, if any one has experience with integrating
>LAN based calendering systems with Profs, I'd be very interested in

We are begining to evaluate IBM's Time and Place/2 and Lotus' Organizer 
products.  IBM's TAP/2 has a built-in (or companion) component called
TAP/Connectivity that allows real-time access to Profs and Office Vision/VM.
TAP/2 is client/server and runs on an OS/2 server and has OS/2, Windows 
and DOS clients.  IBM has announced that it will develop a Macintosh client.  
The Lotus Organizer product is a file share and has Windows and Macintosh
clients.  With a product from ZIP Office, Organizer will interact with
Profs and OV/VM, but I think this is a store and forward transaction.

Both products have their strengths.  IBM's have the real-time integration
with OV/VM, the available platforms, and drag-and-drop scheduling.  Lotus'
has a very intuitive user interface that is much like a paper organizer.
Both products do (or are scheduled to) interact with both cc:Mail and 
Lotus Notes Address books (directories).

Bill Destache

The Meeting Room

The Meeting Room is an electronic conferencing software program that closely 
models meeting activities, including brainstorming, voting, (anonymous, 
semi-anonymous, or non-anonymous), assigning tasks, sharing documents, 
(fully OLE compatible) Includes whiteboard, private chat, e-mail 
compatibility, and text or audio participation.  Instant vote results and 
automatic meeting minutes add to the ease of use.

Participants use their own LAN-connected PC's or access the system remotely.  
They can be in the meeting all at the same time or enter the meeting at 
their own convenience, creating a virtual conference room.   

Information, with downloadable demo, available on the World Wide Web at URL:

Send any e-mail requests to:
Doug Wagner

Eden Systems Corporation
9032 N. Meridian Street, Suite 350
Indianapolis, IN  46260-1820
Phone:  317-848-9600
Fax:  317-843-2271

Virtual Meeting real-time multimedia conferencing
From: (Seth Snyder)
Subject: Re: The Virtual Meeting real-time multimedia conferencing software and groupware development framework
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 21:52:30 GMT

The Virtual Meeting (TVM) is a low bandwidth media rich multi party
conferencing system.TVM is a low cost alternative to real-time video or
mixed media conferencing. The system is designed to be used concurrently
with an audio conference call and adds the ability to control and
synchronize applications and the presentation of text, graphics, live
sketches, images, sound and QuickTime video on each participants computer
from one location. 

The Virtual Meeting system allows people with ordinary computers and modems
to visually communicate while talking on an ordinary audio conference call.
The person who has the floor in a Virtual Meeting can control the
simultaneous presentation of slides, movies, sound or video clips using the
QuickTime Movie Player. A WhiteBoard application is included that features
real-time sketching or viewing and annotating on documents that were
created with virtually any application. 

A meeting participant can electronically raise his or her hand at any time.
When the meeting moderator recognizes their request, they give that person
the conference floor and their photograph is displayed in each
participantO?s Current Speaker Window. The meeting protocols supported are
moderated and un-moderated meetings as well as circle and roundtable

The Virtual Meeting is scalable. Virtual broadcasting networks can be built
to support from two to thousands of simultaneous users. Because of its
distributed architecture, TVM conferences have low bandwidth requirements
and can be held on a Local Area Network or Wide Area Network using our
Conference Server application, or with a modem using the chat or
conferencing areas on on-line services such as Delphi, or Genie and
Bulletin Board Systems like SoftArcO?s First Class. 

The Virtual Meeting is a suite of applications  for Macintosh and Windows
computers and requires no special hardware.

Conference Gateway
The Conference Gateway manages communications between your computer and
your collaborators computers.  For Two party conferences a modem or network
connection can be made between yourself and your collaborator.  In
multi-party conferences network connections can be made with our Conference
Server application or the built in terminal emulator can be used to connect
with collaborators in the public or private chat areas of on online
services. Once a connection is established the terminal emulator window can
be hidden so the screen can be used for multimedia presentations. The
Conference Gateway controls which  applications are launched on each
collaborators computers. The conference Gateway also handles communications
with some presentation and document viewer applications. For Example the
QuickTime movie player can be launched on each collaborators computer and
told to open a particular QuickTime slide presentation. As the presentation
is advanced by the presenter it will be advanced on each of his
collaborators computer as well. If the presenter wants to point at
something in the presentation he can use his mouse to electronically
gesture towards that spot and the cursor will move to that same spot on
each collaboratorO?s screen. When the presenter is done giving his
presentation he quits from the QuickTime movie player which cause the
QuickTime movie player to quit on each collaboratorO?s computer.

Current Speaker Window
The Current Speaker Window displays the still photograph of the person who
has the floor in a multi-party  teleconference. This is often the person
speaking on the audio conference call. The conference moderator or
instructor controls who has the floor and will recognize participants and
give them the floor if they raise their hand electronically. The meeting
protocols supported: are moderated and un-moderated meetings as well as
circle and round table discussions.

For the live creation of graphics on everyoneO?s screen in real time the
electronic WhiteBoard application is used to broadcast sketches, drawings
and text to all sites as they are being drawn.  The WhiteBoard can also be
used to create and save sketches for future broadcast to your
collaborators. Graphic elements from Macintosh PICT or Windows .BMP  files
can be  easily imported. The WhiteBoard can be used to view and annotate on
top of Macintosh PICT or SCRAPBOOK files or Windows .BMP files that have
been created by other applications.  An electronic pointer is provided so
that objects on the WhiteBoard may be referenced in conversation. The
WhiteBoard is a collaborative application that allows more than 1
participant to work simultaneously. 

The QuickTime-a Movie and Slide Player Application
The QT Movie Player application allows a conference participant who has the
floor of the meeting to control the playback of an Apple QuickTime-a Movie
or Slide presentation. Movies or Slide presentations may be Loaded, Cue'd,
Started, Stopped, Advanced to Next Frame, Backed Up to a Previous Frame,
Enlarged, etc. A Pointer is included so the lecturer, moderator or any
designated broadcaster may point to objects of interest in the Movie or
Slide presentation. This action will cause an arrow shaped pointer to be
displayed at that same spot in everyoneO?s QuickTime window. Facilities are
also provided to convert presentations created by any of the standard
presentation packages like Microsoft PowerPoint or Aldus Persuasion to the
QuickTime-a file format.

Launches Any Application and Opens their files
Besides the remote controllable applications described above,  almost any
Macintosh or Windows application can be controlled by the system in order
to synchronize the viewing of its special type of documents. A standard 
spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel can be used to display the
same Excel spreadsheets on the  screens of all participants simultaneously.

The modular architecture and the functionality provided by the components
makes the system an ideal communications substrate and framework for easily
creating new collaborative applications. All the application programs in
The Virtual Meeting communicate with each other  by sending AppleEvent or
Windows Dynamic Data Exchange messages. The Conference Gateway and the
Conference Server are responsible for forwarding and broadcasting these
messages to to the proper places. 
Apples HyperCard (on Macintosh) or Asymetrix ToolBook (on Windows) or
Visual Basic (on Windows) can be used by end users to create customized
multi user groupware applications utilizing the communications services
provided by the Conference Gateway. These auxiliary applications can be
used for Voting, Group Response, Courseware, Testing, Presentations or
Auctions, the possibilities are endless. Traditional development
environments like MPW,  MacApp, Symantec C++, Borland C++ or Object Pascal
can also be used to create add on applications. Developers kits and
consulting services are available to assist users in these areas.

Communications between Macintosh and Windows Computers
The WhiteBoard and QuickTime movie and slide player can be used to
communicate between people using Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh
Computers. Document sharing and viewing can be accomplished using a cross
platform document viewer like AdobeO?s Acrobat Exchange, No Hands Softwares
Common Ground or Word PerfectO?s Envoy.  

System Requirements
* The Virtual Meeting for Windows requires a 386- or 486-based Windows-
compatible personal computer, Microsoft Windows 3.1, 4 MB RAM and
5 MB disk space.  Users also need a mouse or mouse-compatible
pointing device and a modem or serial connection.
* The Virtual Meeting for Macintosh requires a Mac SE or later Macintosh,
Apple System 7 or higher , 4 MB RAM and 7 MB disk space.  Users also need a
modem or network connection


    Mosaic URL:

        Info-Mac Archives (
         in the pub/rtz directory

From: (Brad Cahoon)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: organizations and "interactions"
Date: 22 Jul 1994 12:40:52 GMT

> When you find the groupware vendors who listen and implement
> suggetsions, please let all of us know.

I've found McCall, Szerdy & Associates (415 647-1335) to be very
responsive to suggestions about their C.A.Facilitator software.  The
latest version (2.0) incorporates quite a few changes we recommended
after using the program with a wide variety of groups here.

Real-Time Voting Applications
From: (AlexiaM)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: QUESTION: Groupware for Real-Time Voting Applications
Date: 13 Jun 1994 23:13:03 -0400

In article <2t7uhs$>, Bill Robinson
<> writes:

Does anyone have information on the sources, functionality, and cost
of hardware and software products for such a system, including  

---Keypads and Receiver (could be hardwired, infrared, or radio)

---Software (Mac or PC-based) for posting,receiving, analyzing, and
storing voting results.

For the keypads, try OptionTechnologies (somewhere in the midwest)
For the software-Mac, try C.A.Facilitator 1800 423-8890.  For the PC,
try GroupSystems from Ventana.  There are others, but these are the
best, I believe.

Radiology WWW resource
From: (Charles Kahn)
Subject: Announcing CHORUS: radiology WWW resource
Date: 8 Aug 1994 16:28:17 -0500

CHORUS (Collaborative Hypertext of Radiology and Ultrasonography) is a
multi-author, multi-institution hypertext that contains more than 1100
documents on radiologic anatomy, differential diagnoses ("gamuts"), and
related diseases and syndromes.

CHORUS will incorporate facilities for distributed authoring, peer
review, and publication via the World Wide Web.  It's based on Fact/File,
a radiology hypertext that has been integrated with a clinical radiology
information system since 1990.

A developmental version of CHORUS is now available from the Medical
College of Wisconsin at:

Comments or questions about CHORUS are welcome at:

From: (JBuchan863)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Q: support for styles of conferencing ?
Date: 18 Aug 1994 21:48:05 -0400

You might want to inquire at MetaSystems Design Group in Arlington VA.
Internet message to should do it. 

They vend a product called Caucus which is a derivitive of Confer II and I
think might be of interest to you.

Parallel Universe
From: (Virtual Universe Product Information)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Multi-user, Real-time environments - New Product
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 1994 18:58:49 GMT

                     THE PARALLEL UNIVERSE 



    The Parallel Universe is a real-time, many-user Shared Virtual Reality
(SVR) server designed to be accessed using standard dial-up telephone lines.
Applications do not run on the server itself. Rather, a user's application
runs on their local computer and communicates with other users sharing the
same virtual space(s) through The Parallel Universe. Users working within a
common virtual space do so interactively. Changes made by one user are
reflected in real-time in the displays of users sharing the workspace.
Multiple applications and virtual spaces can operate concurrently on the
system, to a practical maximum of 100 users at once (in a full commercial
system with all operating with spatially-relative voice communications.
Development platforms are 10-user only.). The Parallel Universe accepts
each user's data stream via conventional high-speed modem, processes it
using proprietary algorithms to determine relevance to other users, and
then directs all or part of the data stream to those relevant users. 

   User relevance is fundamental to system operation as it allows the user to
have the illusion of having all information available from all other users at
all times without the expensive communications bandwidth requirements normally
associated with this type of data availability. The Parallel Universe, in full
system form, is enhanced by spatially-relative audio teleconferencing. This
allows users to communicate with each other, speaking naturally while operating
within the same workspace. The audio teleconferencing features distance
attenuation designed to emulate "real world" behaviour, and stereo panning
using a proprietary system called "Steereo". The Parallel Universe has been
designed to operate using a single standard telephone line in order to access
the widest possible user base. This design allows developers to present real-
time, fully interactive applications to the end-user in the home and/or
   The Parallel Universe is available now as a software only development
platform, complete with PC API, that is ideal for companies wishing to
capitalize on the increasing demand for true real-time many-player games
and concurrent CAD-type applications using PC's as the user node. The Parallel
Universe development software is expandable to a full voice-enabled commercial
system. Customers are advised that voice-capable systems require custom
hardware and are built when ordered. Pricing is quoted at time of order.


1. Data Filtering

This function substantially reduces network traffic by separating motion
packets (motion packets are the ones primarily responsible for network
saturation) from other types of packets and only sending the motion packets
where they are actually needed by a user at any specific point in time.

2. Internal Object and User Database

The server keeps lists of all "objects" and "users" within any number of
"universes". Objects may be points, vertices, animations, colours, textures,
or user defined. The server holds the current "state" of each universe for
updating users as they log on.

3. PC Application Programmers Interface

The PC is a large potential market due to the large installed base. Most
applications that run on a PC can be ported to The Parallel Universe. A
Silicon Graphics API is planned.

4. Low Latency

Typical system lags are less than 100 ms with system updates at 25hz.

5. Low/High Bandwidth Capability

If real-time interactive, multi-user applications are to reach users in
their homes, studies have shown that they must be at a very low cost. This
requirement rules out the expense of high bandwidth communications. Since
The Parallel Universe can use either low or high bandwidth, developers can
get their applications into the home or business without having to wait for
high bandwidth installation. 

6. Spatially-relative Voice

Why bother with a second telephone line or separate teleconferencing service
to speak to other users in a multi-user session? The Parallel Universe features
fully integrated multi-source voice communications enhanced with distance
attenuation and left-right cuing. This is possibly the most advanced voice
conferencing bridge available today.

7. Commercialization Path

The Parallel Universe allows developers to create applications using a low cost
development platform that is the same underlying software as the commercial
systems use. This means that developers with market ready applications do not
need to wait for further development of The Parallel Universe to commercialize
their products. Full system R&D is already complete! If an application is ready
for commercialization, so is The Parallel Universe. Royalty rates are low and
vary dependant upon application.


SUN SPARC running SUNOS 4.1.3 with up to 10 serial ports with 9600bps or faster
modems to act as the central server.  80386-or-better-based PCs act as
application platforms.


   Pricing ranges from US$ 3,500 for a 10 user, software-only, development
platform up to  US$ 250,000. for a full 100-user commercial system. Many
intermediate custom configurations are available. Customers will have a 30
day, full refund trial period on entry level software platforms. Royalty
rates on commercial systems are dependant on the application. Please contact
the Company for details.

Virtual Universe Corporation

Suite 510, 700-4th. Ave. SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
T2P 3J4

Voice: (403) 261-5652
Fax:   (403) 237-0005


Collaboration tools for software engineers
From: (John Goodsen)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware,
Subject: Re: Collaboration tools for SEs
Date: 06 Sep 1994 19:18:43 GMT

In article <> (Tim Huckvale) writes:

   For a client that is a software and hardware product manufacturer, I am
   conducting a literature search for information on tools for supporting
   collaboration within teams of software engineers.

   The emphasis is on practical experience with groupware tools for software
   development, whether with specialist research tools, commercial products or
   commodity tools such as Lotus Notes.

Bull has a product called Scrutiny which supports cooperative, distributed
software inspections that follow a formal process similar to what Fagan
layed out nearly 20 years in his inspection process.

John Goodsen                         Currently on-site at:
The Dalmatian Group                       JP Morgan 
User Interface Specialists                60 Wall St., New York City            

Shamrock Coalition
From: JimBenson@ImageFast.Com
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Shamrock Coalition - any info?
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 94 13:57:41 EDT

> wrote:
> > Does anyone have any information on the activities of the "Shamrock 
> > As far as I know they are discussing a standard for document repositories,
> > but that's as much as I know.

Contact: Cheryl Chadwell 301 587-8202

They claim to have 27 "document management" supporters. Has an API for 
"Enterprise Library Services"

everybody wants their own proprietary "edge" to be a standard ...(sigh)

Jim B

From: (Daniel Mittleman)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Date: 13 Oct 1994 10:57 MST

In article <>, (David Stiller) writes...
>I am involved as a volunteer in a community service program. We need a 
>software program that can help us schedule meeting room and activitiy 
>space. We are being pressed for better space utilization.
    It may not be quite as flexible as some programs you would pay lots of
    money for, but for the price I recommend "Time & Chaos".  It is a PIM
    like Lotus Organizer which has an easy setup for multiple people to
    access the same calendar over a LAN (you would build such a calendar
    for your facility).  It is shareware, about $40 to register.  You can
    find it on CICA. plus lots of mirror sites.  It
    is either in desktops or utils subdirectory under or
    something like that.

daniel david mittleman     -     -     (602) 621-2932

Design decision tracking
Subject: Re: Design decision tracking references wanted 
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 14:52:32 GMT

In article <>

In article <> 
(Bruce Guenter) writes:
> >I am looking for references to papers on design decision tracking, in
> >theory and implementation for a seminar.
> Probably the most well known *theory* within the groupware arena for decision 
> tracking would be the IBIS (Issue Based Information System?) method. It has 
> been "popularized" by the gIBIS work done at MCC in Austin. Since then it was 
> moved to a start-up. I have not heard anything for a couple of years about 
> gIBIS, so I wonder if it is still available?

The work done at MCC was spun off to a company called Corporate Memory Systems. 
Their product, CM/1, uses the IBIS methodology.  It is a hypertext based system 
with a terrific graphic interface.  They can be reached at:

Corporate Memory Systems
8930 Business Park Dr.
Austin, TX  78759
(512) 795-9999
Aaron Press -
IDC Government - "Better Government through IT Reserach"

Document Management Software
From: Kent Smith <72227.3201@CompuServe.COM>
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Document Management Software
Date: 21 Jan 1995 16:13:17 GMT

Our legal dept had us look at PCDocs and SoftSolutions, and we 
settled on SoftSolutions (which was gobbled up by WordPerfect 
which was gobbled up by Novell).  Very pleased with results and 
support and will expand usage to all departments (as resources 
permit).  So successful that MIS personnel predict it (doc mgmt) 
will make the sucess of e-mail in enterprise look like drop in 
bucket. Also, we have an engineering documentation dept 
(drafting/AutoCAD files) which went with Cimage system.

From: Jim Cook <>
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Document Management Software
Date: 21 Jan 1995 19:34:37 GMT

David Wanderer <> wrote:
> Has anyone had any good results with Document Management Software?
> I want it to be able to index all text within posts as well as binary
> attachments....
> Please don't say Notes...
> I've looked at Collabra Share (uses Verity search engine) and it
> is pretty slick.
> I want it to be free form where anyone can submit documents to it.

Could you define what you mean by Document Management ?  I've worked
in the document management field for about 6 years now, specialising
in full text/relational database integration, and there's a big
difference between indexing engines and document management.

If you're just looking for text indexing I recommend you try a
product called Conquest (Email - VP Marketing &

If you want any further help, please Email me directly - I'm now
working with what we call Point Solutions in Document Management - 
which may be of some interest.

From: drabe@MCS.COM (Daniel Rabe)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Document Management Software
Date: 24 Jan 1995 23:05:15 -0600

Agreed, many document mgmt solutions don't do full-text retrieval,
and text-retrieval systems don't really do document management.
Your best bet might be to use a document mgmt solution which
incorporates text retrieval.  Odesta Systems Corporation of
Northbrook, Illinois (USA) has some neat new technology that
lets you do normal document management (including partitioning
workspaces, setting permissions, doing access control, etc)
with a slick UI, and which integrates very nicely with a full-
text retrieval engine (I think Verity, maybe others).  It works
with standard SQL databases (e.g. Sybase, Oracle) and runs on
Mac or Windows.  You can reach them at,
or telephone at (708) 498-5615.  Good luck in your quest!
Daniel Rabe

From: (Fred K Weil)
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: Document Management Software

In article: <3hg0mn$> (Anders Wedebrand) 

Try Documentum,  Sarros Mezzanine, PC DOCs OPEN to name but three 
> I'm looking for some kind of Document Management System that will help my
> organization keep track of all the documents we produce. It needs to have 
> Windows client, and preferably a DOS-client as well. What we need to do, 
> far as I know now, is to search for keywords among all our documents.
> Something like the WordPerfect for Windows QuickFinder or better. We are
> currently looking at Novell/WordPerfect SoftSolutions, but would like to 
> able to look at some alternatives as well.
> Any help appreciated,
> Anders

Fred K Weil                                   EMail

From: JimBenson@ImageFast.Com
Newsgroups: comp.groupware
Subject: Re: What do Workflow automations automate?
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 94 16:06:22 PDT

ImageFast is an off-the-shelf, fully integrated work management system that 
combines document and image management, workflow, full text indexing and 
searching, scanning, printing, faxing and messaging.  ImageFast works with all 
documents, files and other objects stored in user-defined visual electronic 
file cabinets. Since ImageFast hides both DOS and Windows below its own simple 
but powerful user interface, it is easy to learn and simple to use for 
beginners, office workers, lawyers and even experienced users. The workflow 
routing module routes single objects or documents, or folders full of any kind 
of files, and provides detailed management tracking information for each step 
of each instance of each workflow type.

David S. Stodolsky      Euromath Center     University of Copenhagen   Tel.: +45 38 33 03 30   Fax: +45 38 33 88 80 (C)

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