Face Flow Failure

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2014/08/15 Just a Random Rant ...

Recently I've been having trouble with Skype. Apparently it will all be solved if I upgrade to Skype 4.3, but I'm running an older version of Ubuntu and don't have time to take the risk on performing an upgrade just at the moment. Net result is I can no longer video conference with my parents, and I'm restricted as to what I can do with other contacts.

So I decided to investigate an alternative:

Don't regard that link as an endorsement - you'll see why.

Firstly, it's extremely attractive to have the option of just using a web site, and not having to download and install software. That's especially attractive for my parents. Visit the web site, register, click on the right button and "Hey Presto" - video!

So registered, and I got my wife to register too so we could test it.

My registration seemed to go without a hitch, and after the registration process I even ended up logged in, which was useful.

Then my wife registered on her Windows machine. After that, not only was she not logged in, but all attempts to log in failed.


Click on the "forgot my password" link and an email arrives with a "Reset password" link. Do that, and there's a form asking for the email address and a new password.

Exellent - they actually pass the first test I usually apply to new services, in that they don't email back a password in plain text. They got that right, and that's definitely reassuring. Thank you.

So we click the link to reset the password. New password successfully set, and so back to the home page. Logged in. Good.

First major surprise - the username has silently been truncated. No warning, no information, just truncated. It now doesn't make as much sense as the original, but I guess it's probably unique. So while that's surprising, and a little annoying, I guess it's not a deal breaker.

So we then establish each other as friends. that worked without a problem. This is looking hopeful. Let's make a video call.

I initiate the call, my wife answers. No little blue light on my camera, and no image in the video window. This is looking less hopeful.

The screen is greyed out on my wife's machine, and there's a "Flash" popup asking for permission to access the camera and microphone. I guess that's fair enough, but no amount of clicking on either the "Allow" or the "Deny" buttons will make it go away. We're stuck. No video, no audio, and on my wife's machine, no control.

So we close that.

Perhaps it was too much to hope for, but it would've been nice to have an alternative to Skype. I wonder if anyone really has cracked it.

Later that day ...

One of the FaceFlow founders has replied to my email with some questions and suggestions. My original concerns have been addressed directly, with some specific ideas for how to proceed. That was impressive - we'll see how it progresses.



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