T his is not exactly how Microsoft planned it. Or, as one amazed NetMeeting experimenter discovered, "a hour international sex orgy is being hosted by Microsoft. I used my wife as bait. Consensual videophone sex has been popular ever since. He went on to note that it was not helpful to his business to attempt to demonstrate NetMeeting's advantages to an interested corporate exec and be constantly interrupted by videophone calls from people identifying themselves with such comments as "let's jack off" or "want to see naked woman. For years, Cu-SeeMe cybersex addicts have been forced to migrate from one reflector to another, moving on after each new host crashes or is shut down by administrators. He says NetMeeting receives high marks from business users for its "application sharing" abilities -- features that allow geographically separated colleagues to work on the same Excel spreadsheet or Word file.
As science fiction author William Gibson pointed out back in"The street finds its own uses for things.
Gay international netmeeting server
Laemmel is also quick to assert that the majority of NetMeeting users are not sex-crazed exhibitionists. To some videoconferencing fans, the social benefits could be enormous -- and are crucial to why the Internet has been so successful in the first place. NetMeeting product manager Laemmel says most of the queries he hears about sexual content on the Microsoft NetMeeting servers come from reporters rather than actual users. Sex fiends have always been the first to take advantage of new technological breakthroughs, and videoconferencing software for the Internet has been available since at least That's the default setting of the software, and so that's where the crowds are.
In essence, the company is hosting a set of virtual singles bars -- mix-and-match points for people with cams who want to learn how to use them. Microsoft's unintended support for the Internet's bizarre mating rituals is widely appreciated, particularly by the online gay community. Or, as one user wrote, "not naked, not gay, not interested. Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. Unfortunately, most Internet users who log on from home don't have a permanent IP number; instead, they are given a new one by their Internet service provider each time they dial in.