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Whew! You've made it through the hard parts. Once you've set up your videoconferencing program and made your first call, it's smooth sailing from there on out. White Pine CU-SeeMe, NetMeeting, iVisit, and even the freeware CU-SeeMe all sport a user-friendly interface that makes chatting easy.

group listWhen you connect, a new window will appear, giving you the name of the person or conference. If you've joined a group conference, you'll also see a list of participants, other people's video windows, controls for sending and receiving audio messages, and a chat window for typing and reading text chat messages. To talk, simply click on the Talk button and start speaking. To participate in text chat, type a message and press the Enter or Return key to send it.

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