As far back as the mid 90s, the IETF was video-casting some of its meetings to a breathless public via the so-called M-Bone. Breathless mostly because there was no one to breathe. Can you imagine watching a jerky, Clutch Cargo sort of image of geeks doing what geeks do in standards meetings?
On rare occasions when I was on the M-bone channel, I tested my skepticism concerning its usefulness by posting my email address and offering $10 USD to anyone who sent me email telling me they were watching. No takers. Ever. Not a single one.
After a few years, I got scared and said the 7th email I received would get the ten-spot. The only time anyone came close was when one of my Dublin Core colleagues who shall remain nameless sent me 7 emails saying he was watching (If you're still watching, John, post a comment, and I'll buy you a beer). The judge/bursar ruled that creative attempt ineligible.
Then there was the IW3C2 committee meeting in the days of the fast and furious WWW conference series, attended by one committee member virtually via M-bone link. His dedicated visage was super-sized, an eight foot image of his sleepy self (the meeting was in Darmstadt, and the attendee was in the States, and got up very early indeed to participate). It was a herculean demonstration of enthusiasm, but all I can recall from the meeting is being unable to take my eyes off that overlarge and sometimes nodding head that changed about once each third second. And heaven help you if you were caught with a finger sculpting intranasal frescos.... Three seconds can be a long time indeed.
Fast forward to the OAI-4 meeting last week at CERN. A really great meeting, and partially in fulfillment of that open vision, videocasts were taped and put up on the Web a bit later. Well, I couldn't resist, so I tossed out my usual challenge, but I failed to add the 7th-caller proviso, and in fact I received two email messages from people alleging that they watched. I'm as good as my jokes, so I'm going to send them each a $10 dollar bill. I won't even quiz them on the content of the talk. But you can watch it here at no charge (but also without incentive pay).
For myself, I'm afraid to look at it. There is still nothing like being there.