Screen sharing for OpenSim

I mentioned yesterday in an article about Utherverse that those guys have application sharing for their virtual world platform, but that there’s nothing equivalent for Second Life and OpenSim, except through third-party services.

By coincidence, I was cleaning out my in-box yesterday, and found a link to just such a service: Screenleap.

It’s free, and takes just a second to set up. You just need to approve a Java plugin and you’re in business. You don’t need to sign up a for a service, or turn over your email address.

The way it works is — once you tell it that you’re okay with running the plugin — you get a little pop-up window that asks you if you want to share the entire screen, or just a portion of it, and lets you pause or stop sharing.

Next, it gives you a link to your sharing screen.

What you do is copy that link and use it to set up a media-on-a-prim screen anywhere on your OpenSim region. Or inside Second Life.

You need to be using a viewer that supports media-on-a-prim, which includes Firestorm and any other v2 or v3-compatible viewer. You also need to be running an up-to-date version of OpenSim. OSgrid, Kitely, and most other large grids are doing so. To the best of my knowledge, the only major grid that doesn’t yet support this functionality is InWorldz.

To set up media-on-a-prim, select one face of an object, and paste the URL into the media settings window. The details steps for doing so are the same in OpenSim as in Second Life, and directions — and a how-to video — are here.

I set this up, and pasted the URL they gave me on a screen in my virtual office.

The screen at the top left shows my computer’s desktop. The others are just regular websites.

I switched between the full-screen view and the partial screen view. The partial screen view puts a green box on my monitor, which I can resize to fit around the portion of the screen that I want to share.

One thing I noticed is that it took a few seconds between the time I did something on my home monitor, and it was reflected on the in-world screen.

Close-up view of my monitor. The application running is Filemaker, where I store all my grid statistics.

I can see using this for training or other situations where a slow pace is appropriate. I would hesitate to use it for, say, showing someone how to play a fast-paced video game.

If you’re using this to share sensitive corporate information, I suggest upgrading to the $10 a month plan, which supports SSL encryption.

The service can support up to 50 to 100 simultaneous viewers, the company says. There are currently no recording options, and your viewers can’t interact with your screens at all.

But given the price and the incredible ease of use, this is a great, fast way to start sharing your desktop in-world.

In the video below, Torley demonstrates how to use shared media. Forward ahead to the 2:50 mark to watch him set the media-on-a-prim settings.

maria@hypergridbusiness.com'

Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China.

  • Spyros

    http://join.me is a similar service and I managed to use it successfully in OpenSim.
    Regards

  • disqus_cpxmczr4I4

    Hi Maria,

    Another similar service is Mikogo. It far easier to download and install as it doesn’t require any plug-ins or approvals, and you can easily use the application download-free with the HTML viewer, which works directly in any browser. Take a look and let me know what you think – http://www.mikogo.com.

    Thanks!

    Spencer Dunfee
    Mikogo Team
    [email protected]

  • http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/ Maria Korolov

    I just tried out the two other services that my readers recommended — JoinMe and Mikogo.

    First up, JoinMe. The basic version is free, but it requires that you download a program. On the plus side, it’s a very very fast download and installs instantly. So, right-click-edit on my in-world screen, “Select Face” and click on the viewing side of the in-world screen, click on the “Texture” tab, then on the plus sign in the bottom right — nope, on the little gear icon, since I added a link already (to Screenleap, yesterday).I paste in the new link, hit Apply and then Reset, and the screen comes right up. As a type this, my avatar is watching me type in-world. There’s a little lag, but not that much. The company says it can support up to 250 viewers on a single stream. It supports audio, and you can even turn over control of your computer to your viewers. So, nice for training.

    There’s no option to just show part of a screen — you’d have to upgrade to a paid subscription for the window sharing, at $149 per year for the business license.

    Overall, took just seconds to set up. Very easy, very convenient. No registration required. Definitely a great product. Link: https://join.me/

    Next, Mikogo.

    First, it’s harder to set up. It asks for my personal information. The download took a little longer than JoinMe’s, Then the installer disappeared on me. Ahh — it installed the software on my desktop. I had to click the icon to actually run it. JoinMe skipped this step.

    Once I ran the Mikogo software, it asked me to log in with the info I provided earlier. Hold on — user name? I didn’t provide a user name. I check my email — they emailed me my user name. It’s just my email address. But my screen STILL isn’t sharing. There’s another step. I go back to the Mikogo website to find out what to do — I have to click the start icon in the Mikogo control panel and then click teh “start session” button. And it doesn’t give me the login url — it tells me to send folks to the Mikogo website and have them enter the session ID. That won’t work for me in OpenSim — I need the URL. I fiddle around for a while, and am finally able to find the link — by clicking on the “add participants” icon at the bottom of the control panel, and selecting the option to email the session information. It generates an email for me, which includes the URL. https://go.mikogo.com/?sp=&sid=287633304 — if you want to skip the step, the URL is just “https://go.mikogo.com/?sp=&sid=” followed by the session ID without the hyphens.

    I paste in the new URL, hit apply and reset.

    But wait — I’m STILL not sharing my screen. In-world, I have to choose between a connection program and an HTML viewer. That’s a no-brainer, HTML viewer it is. I also have to type in my name.

    Right off, the resolution quality is much worse — I cannot read text I could easily read with JoinMe. I play around with the settings — increasing picture quality doesn’t seem to help. It is much slower .. no, wait, it’s not slow, it’s frozen. And I can’t figure out how to make it work.

    If you are able to make it work — the free account is only for personal and non-commercial use. Business users need to get a license, which costs $13 a month for just three participants per session. It tops out at $24 a month for up to 25 participants per session. On the plus side, features include a shared whiteboard, the ability to switch presenters in the middle of a meeting, the ability to turn over control, multi-monitor support and a bunch more — and all the features are available to both the free and the paid users.

    Overall, I’d give Screenleap an A+ — no download required, super super easy, screen shared immediately, just works.

    I’d give JoinMe an A- — the download is fast, the screen is shared right away, works great.

    I’d give Mikogo a C — slower download and installation, need to create a user account, bunch of steps to go through to get a screen shared and — for me at least — doesn’t work.

    And here’s another program I’ve used in the past:

    TeamViewer (http://www.teamviewer.com) — requires a download. Free for individuals. Starts at $749 (one-time purchase price).

  • http://twitter.com/iliveisl Ener Hax

    what makes this article so nice Maria is that you bring it into OpenSim and show how you use it at your virtual office

    it makes me want to give this a try and do more in-world collaboration with “real” people

    hmm, that just gave me an idea for subQuark – he does video eLearning using OpenSim with a remote employee in another state, they usually are on the phone and in-world – but maybe sharing a desktop like this would make their filming easier?

    thanks for the nice write up and your use case of it =)

    ps – nice chair =D