Getting Started 1

Hardware and Software

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This information covers the basic hardware and software you'll need.

eProv uses Nefsis, a program that's designed for video-conferencing. It's a bit like a turbocharged version of Skype.

Most people find it takes about an hour to get everything working right. But the rewards will be worth it.

Computer

Pretty well any windows-capable computer sold in the last few years will give you the processing power you need for eProv. Nefsis recommends that you use a Pentium 4 or newer, with 512mb of RAM or more.

You can use either desktop or a laptop.

  • We're testing out tablet computers and will keep you posted.
  • For now, it looks like handhelds and cell phones aren't capable of handling eProv. The main limitation is their lack of a front-facing camera. Come on manufacturers, get with the program!

Operating System

You'll need to use a computer running Windows. Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and 7 all work fine, although Windows 7 probably provides the most best experience with eProv.

  • Nefsis is working on an Mac-compatible version. They say it should be ready in the next year, but haven't given us a release date yet.
  • We're testing out Linux, but aren't yet ready to recommend using it for eProv.

Internet

We've tested Nefsis with a broad range of internet access speeds. The only problems we've found so far are with dial-up services. Even with those, most of the time there wasn't a problem. In general, anything with a download speed of 512k or higher works just fine. Even a speeds slower than 512k, it has often worked OK.

Browser

At least for now, you should sign on to eProv using Internet Explorer as your browser.

  • It turns out that the trickiest part of joining eProv is probably configuring your browser properly. Details on how to do this can be found on the Joining eProv page.

Make sure that you have downloaded and installed the Flash player. It's free and will help your browser Nefsis better.

Webcam

Just about any webcam will do. By and large, the more expensive ones do a better job, but pretty well all the commonly-sold webcams will work with eProv.

Microphone

You might be tempted to just use your computer’s built-in microphone, if it has one. Unfortunately, as soon as we have two or three people conferencing together, these pick up too much ambient noise, including the sound of the computer. Same thing for those microphones that clip on to your shirt.

You need something that will put a microphone close to your mouth. This isn’t for volume; the eProv system is very sensitive. It takes everything your microphone can hear, and broadcasts it to everyone participating.

Each person who joins an eProv class adds their own background noise. So if we have 5 eProv participants, we have 5 times the background noise.

  • It's a good idea to be in a quiet place when you join an eProv session. It doesn't have to be deathly silent, but joining in from the noisiest coffee shop you can find is not a good idea.

Headphones

You might be tempted to run the sound at your end through a set of speakers. Bad idea. The echo of what you’re hearing will feed back into your microphone (even if it’s close to your mouth), and then back into the eProv classroom. One connection like that may not be so bad. But imagine 4—or 10—like that.

Some people like the big soft earphones; some people want the earbuds or the behind-the-ears units. Any of them will do.

Ready For Testing

That's it for equipment. Once you've got the stuff, you're ready to Test Your Equipment.

 

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Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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