CUSeeMe Revealed!
Interview With a Reflector Operator
By Nigel Green


CU-SeeMe (pronounced "see you, see me), is a free videoconferencing program under copyright by Cornell University and sold commercially by White Pine Software. It is available to anyone with a Macintosh or Windows and a connection to the Internet. Sending images require the same plus a camera and digitizer which can cost as little as $100. With CU-SeeMe, you can videoconference with another person located anywhere in the world, or by use of a reflector, multiple parties/locations are able to participate in a CU-SeeMe conference, each from his or her own desktop computer. It displays 4-bit grayscale video windows at 160x120 pixels or at double that diameter, and now includes audio.

Most public reflectors serve as a place to hang out, to meet and talk with new people somewhat akin to a singles bar. Lurking is defined as not transmitting a video signal when connected to a reflector. However, in general it can be used to refer to people who transmit, but do not participate in any conversations. Lurking is a common on reflectors ...not everyone is comfortable having their image broadcast, especially to strangers. The comfortable "distance" or self-defining nature of other popular Internet communications (e.g. UseNet News, email, IRC, muds & moos) is lost in CU-SeeMe. One avid user remarked that "on the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. On CU-SeeMe not only do they know you're a dog, they know what breed you are."

CU-SeeMe is also used to distribute images with popular demand like space exploration and the status of planets, etc. The NASA Select Television Channel is broadcast simultaneously on several reflectors (with NASA Select USA,, being the main source reflector). The transmission is available on at least 8 advertised public receive-only reflectors and contains both live video of Space Shuttle missions and taped educational shows and interviews.

Distributed digital video technologies like CU-SeeMe can and will be used for bringing people separated by time and place together in all the ways people function with others: online transactions, cybersex, educational broadcasting, and even to monitor remote locations-- such as documenting destruction to the environment and broadcasting it around the world.

CU-SeeMe is an amazing, affordable emergent technology that, like other digital video conferencing systems, offers a wide range of applications and possibilities subject to bandwidth. A particular culture with conventions and norms is developing along with this technology. Popular notions that digital video is detached from face-to-face communication are laid to rest with the advent of CU-SeeMe.

ON... interviewed Doodsterette, the owner of a popular reflector site called Turbosex, about the emergent CU-SeeMe culture. what follows is a transcript of the conversation on the reflector:

ON...: Dood: why did u decide to open a ref? is it ez and cheap to do it, or expensive and difficult?

JB: KC, saw you for a sec with your glasses on, real sexy...

Doodsterette (also known or KC): lol

manotaur: exactly ace

Doodsterette: me? you did? eeewww

ON...: and..if it is a will u make money?

ON...: thats Q #1

Doodsterette: no $$, just fun... it was cheap for us, did it cuz my fave ref was too hard to get in!

Lefty Æ: What's your ISP connection bandwidth, KC? Are your nips hard?

Doodsterette: its on a T1 (blush)

Budman: but a T1 is several hundred $$ a month

ON...: but if u had very heavy regular traffic..u could make it a password site and charge right?

Doodsterette: guess so, but won't do that-- plus i get to see people with hard nipples! LOL

ON...: how many people can be on a ref at once?

Doodsterette: its set for 15 but linked to another so can be 30

ON...: so all u need to open a ref is any decent computer with the right software?

Doodsterette: so far!

ON...: does it require that soneone be present and maintain it at all times?

Doodsterette: no, I'm just here for fun

JB: gotta be about BOOB time, right guys??

Rattle: think so

Doodsterette: they all think i'm monitoring! LOL

ON...: so u can set it up like a webserver and leave it be?

Doodsterette: exactly

Doodsterette: hehe JB

Budman: <--- hopes so but has learned to be patient

Doodsterette: after all, would a monitor do this? (opens blouse to reveal large breasts)

Rattle: wow

JB: lol

Budman: very nice

Bud Frog: Woo Hoo... Yummers Dood...

JB: YES !!!!!

Andre: yay !!

Rattle: yahoo

ON...: are u capable (technically) of capturing/recording all activity on the ref and is that often done or easy to do?

Doodsterette: not with this software

Budman: yummmm doodsterette

Doodsterette: busted!

Doodsterette: wait a minute... dem's my own titties on the net!

ON...: it appears that you just displayed a that true Dood?

Doodsterette: nope! 2!

SAtx: Matched set even...

ON...: hahah

ON...: actually, i find this whole business rather shocking

Doodsterette: but fun! right?

ON...: oh yes--enormously fun

SAtx: You ain't seen nothing yet!!

Rattle: yep

ON...: i fear for what's coming

SAtx: Coming may not be a good choice of words!!!

Doodsterette: see why we are all CU-aholics?

ON...: it is my impression that while there has been steady growth of CU users for a few years, there is a big jump in the numbers suddenly. are u seeing this?

Doodsterette: dunno, only been doing it a few months

ON...: anyone have that impression or not?

SAtx: Yes...more and more people are leaving traditional chat and moving to the vid...

ON...: i'm noticing xAngel, and Ace right now... (xAngel is starting to show her breasts... Ace is exposing himself in an excited state)

Doodsterette: wow! ace!

SAtx: The technology has steadily improved and the cost has gotten considerably cheaper...

ON...: CU has the chat, like irc, plus the vid...but not the file exchanging capability that irc has

Boomer: good show exangel! ...1:1 with me???

SAtx: ICQ is a program used in conjunction with CU for file exchange and private conversations

Doodsterette: ICQ = I seek you... check out

ON...: so what Ace and xAngel are doing is tolerated..even appreciated? ..its really about being free to "show" everything and be publicly sexual?

AceÆ: Every ref is different and has it's own rules.

Doodsterette: anything goes! its NORMAL, not just tolerated

AceÆ: Actually, I just started visiting this ref. Seems rather cool from what I've seen in the last 2 weeks.

ON...: what about the "language" of CU? those words or expressions that have popped up here and are found no where else... any examples come to mind?

SAtx: WOW!! KC is taking her blouse off again!!!

Doodsterette: well, vid is short for video, only used on CU I guess

Lady Greycat: most of the acronyms we use here, were picked up from the old BBSing days

SAtx: are all pixeled..

SAtx: L8R Ace

Doodsterette: there is DC=direct chat. you can dial another persons IP address and make a direct connection (not on a reflector)

SAtx: That is the most important thing DC without permisssion first

Doodsterette: unfortunately on some software..getting a call will throw u off..and others u dont even know someone is calling..right??

Budman: <--- would like to announce that any Lady (especially Doodsterette) may DC him at any time without asking first :))

Doodsterette: lurker is another CU word= someone not sending vid

Doodsterette: or if you poof for a sec

ON...: what does poof mean?

Doodsterette: leaving the ref suddenly

Budman: *poof* iz when u suddenly leave ref without saying goodbye

ON...: did most of the people here graduate from irc or AOL chat rooms?

SAtx: many of us did...but not all

Doodsterette: ghost is when someone leaves but their vid comes back for a while

ON...: do u see lots of ghosts Dood?

Doodsterette: yep! sometimes even get their chat from another ref or a DC (embarrasing)

ON...: so i take it the color cams are useless on CU

Doodsterette: on some refs yes

SAtx: it depends on the ref and the cam operator

ON...: what do people think the male/female ratio is on here..and how it might compare to the internet as a whole..which is thought to be 75/25 but with women growing

Doodsterette: I'm the only woman a lot of times on CU

ON...: and what about the pickle shot factor...on ref after ref there are men exposing themselves..will this change?

Doodsterette: hope not!

Andre: and the guys all have big dicks ;-)

AG1064789: on cu the ratio is roughly 99% men... lol

ON...: won't this keep women away? or will it attract them? is this beginning of mass cybersex?

Doodsterette: if women don't want to see something they can simply close the vid... but i think there are more women getting naked on the refs

mbiker: many women are too shy about their own appearance to do that

ON...: i havent seen any family refs or general refs where these "free spirits " dont show yet

Lady Greycat: most women I know don't like to see a big penis staring at them when they log on a just makes you want to roll your eyes...:)

Doodsterette: nah! the cam is kind

SAtx: there are g-rated refs on.......always look at the MOTD...message of the day

Lady Greycat: BUT, like Doodsterette said, I just close the vid and go about my buisness

Doodsterette: not all guys show, some not at all

mbiker: <-- shows on request..not at first login

Andre: <-- has never showed ;-)

ToyGuy: <--showed it all once

Lady Greycat: on......I mosty stick to g rated refs, so if some guy comes on with no pants on, I can get pissy, but here, I don't beacuse it's an adult ref, and well, anything goes...:)

AG 1064789: depends on the refs too, if you are logging into an x ref you don't expect disney chat

Doodsterette: true!

SAtx: <-- by request only and never on the ref...

Lady Greycat: I still refuse most requests...I have to know the person well to get naked for them...:)

Lady Greycat: on......yeah, I know that when I come on any adult ref, you sorta step into a world where anything could be going on...naked men, naked women, couples fetish, anything

Andre: heh heh

Doodsterette: <-- more comfortable with appearence on CU than real life

ON...: where do people find out about refs?

SAtx: they usually check a list of active refs on the web ..check out

ON...: and cant any child log on here and see this way of knowing how old a person is when they log on to an adult ref

Lady Greycat: alot of adult refs have a system where you become a member, and here, there are usually people on to check that stuff

ON...: how adult do the non-adult refs get in practice?

Lady Greycat: well, you can't go on fenris and say "fuck" and WP is really strict about that too...Cornell doesn't care what you say as long as it's not completely derogatory to a gender race or sexual preferance, and they really all frown on nudity

ON..: what is the future of CU? where's it going? ..anybody?

Doodsterette: it'll keep improving & growing

Lady Greycat: But more heavily into the sex trade

AG 1064789: they are coming up with a new server release that will expand it well beyond cu

ON...: what will happen if CU traffic triples by the end of the year?

AG 1064789: you will be able to have cu microsoft and all the other major client software connected to the same ref or server

mbiker: cu will expand when transmission speeds improve..and we can get full screen full motion

ON..: CUSeeMe should help reduce veneral diseases huh?

Lady Greycat: on......yup...safest sex there is! :)

ON...: do u think it will become regulated and policed eventually?

Lady Greycat: on......NO! i don't think ANYONE wants that, and it would be against the least in the US

SAtx: It is policed already...that is what ref ops do

Doodsterette: refs can be raided & shut down

Doodsterette: guess I rather have my girls here than experimenting in real life

AG 1064789: For example, if they ban it in the US and not in x country people will move the physical server location to x country and help build more business for them instead of here in the US

mbiker: but in the us..this IS a form of speech..and nudity per se is not illegal..

AG 1064789: realistically patroling the net to find out what each and everyone is doing is practicaly impossible

mbiker: the burden for usage will eventually have to be on the parent for overseeing their kids..and the software companies for making safeguards available

Lady Greycat: I'm not really interested in sex on CU or anywhere in cyberspace, but I don't think anyone has the right to tell me I can't do it

SAtx: I think we will see more refs becoming private and requiring verification of age before granting admission

Doodsterette: CU is like a cybercommunity, you go people, if you connect you exchange addresses & icq#'s so you can contact them whenever you want, you can even have dates (DC) & you dont need to dress up, find a sitter or look for parking!

Lady Greycat: anyone who tells me what I can't see is evil IMO....they are control freaks, and once they take away that right, they can take away any of my rights

Doodsterette: Unfortunately, we are heading in the direction of trying to blame everything on someone else or wanting someone else to do our work for us including raising and safeguarding our children, which is a pity

ON...: Dood: where is the ref?

Doodsterette: Portland

ON...: thanks for the interview everybody, i'll be going "poof" now.