Archive for September, 2013

MacBook Air 10.8.5 facetime Camera is Problematic in Connect Meetings

Issue: MacBook Air 10.8.5 facetime Camera is Problematic in Connect Meetings

This is an emerging issue and an update will follow very shortly. The issue is isolated to MacBook Air; Apple is aware of the issue; their workaround currently is to restore the camera plugin if a backup is available or restore the OS if not… a bit drastic to say the least.  An update/hotfix is assumed to be in the works but no timetable is known –  perhaps a week but that is speculation.

A possible workaround might be to take a working camera plugin file and overwrite it on someone’s machine where it is NOT working with Connect – maybe install a working version of the applewebcam.plugin file to overwrite the defective one. (The camera plugin files in 10.8.5 are located in:  library/coremediaIO /plugins/DAL and FCP-DAL.) More to follow on this as research continues and the issue develops.

The OSX 10.8.5 update seems to be missing something that facilitates Connect, Skype, etc., from gaining access to the facetime camera on the new MacBook Air clients. At this point, we are not sure how this can be fixed. Connect customers are looking to Apple for more guidance. External webcams should work until Apple pushes out a fix.

I will provide an update as soon as more news is available.

In the meantime. One possible workaround (and I confess to not having tested this as my MBA is not a piece of hardware as is my Lenovo: For MBA users who have upgraded to 10.8.5 it may work to use the free app CamTwist. This shows up as a virtual camera device, and is shown as a selectable camera device under Flash. In CamTwist you can configure it to basically echo the WebCam feed from the built-in FaceTime HD camera. Now I put that out there as a possible workaround, not one that I have tested.

mba-flash.fw

Osprey 530 Streaming Audio with Connect

Problem: Osprey 530 card is unable to stream audio in Connect 9.

Solution:

Verify that the Osprey has the correct microphone input, from the Osprey test dialog: right-click the Osprey Device icon in the system tray. For our environment the correct input was the option: Balanced.

osprey1.fw

Test the Flash Player microphone settings dialog by checking to be sure that the microphone signal meter is registering audio both inside the Connect Meeting addin and in the Flash Player for the Osprey microphone:

osprey2.fw

Inside Connect, the audio from the microphone will not be captured in either the addin or in FP 11.8 even though other Flash Player sites which use microphone (midomi.com, tunerr.com) work fine inside Flash player unless you change the setting inside Meeting preferences and turn off the Enhanced Audio option.

osprey3.fw

This workaround allows Osprey audio to project both through the Connect Meeting addin, and inside Flash Player 11.8. We tested with FP 11.8.800.168 and FP 11.9.900 and they both worked.

Note: When Enhanced Audio is turned off, you will lose the options of acoustic echo cancellation and automatic gain control, however these settings are client specific and will not affect other participants.

 

Upload Size limits in Connect

Problem: How big can my Presentations, Recordings and Uploaded Content be?

With reference to supported file size, Connect recordings max out at 2GB, but I would avoid letting them get that big. Uploaded content in the meeting file-share pod, by default is limited to 100MB; the Share pod is limited to 2GB. A PPTX file that pushes the 2GB upload limit will never remain 2GB in size as the conversion process with shrink it down substantially.

I just ran some quick tests and a combined PowerPoint and Wave file that is 134MB, when edited in Presenter and turned into a combined PowerPoint and PowerPoint Controller File (PPTX&PPCX) shrinks down to 22.3MB and when this same file set is Published to the server and converted to Flash, it is now 7.2MB. These numbers will vary depending on the nature of the content, but you get the idea – Flash is much more lightweight than the source files. Adobe does not sell Connect as a compression tool but  this is is a nice feature of file conversion. In the absence of Presenter, a direct PPTX upload to a meeting to to the content library will be converted and shrink down server-side. Captivate will also compress the output considerably as part of the publishing process.

One of the hazards with uploading large files is the with the many network variables commensurate with any slow upload (switches, hubs, cables, firewalls, filters, encryption, decryption, in general – the composite, vast slow-breathing World Wide Web with its dread abysses and unknown tides). And then, once uploaded to a Connect cluster, it must also replicate within the cluster or to the NAS. Breaking up your massive recordings into smaller ones (chapters instead of volumes) and using the pause feature during breaks etc. is always prudent. The same can be said for large PPTX files; the best-practice is to make them no longer than one session, with proper planning and preparation, you will start a new PPTX after every break.

The entry in the custom.ini file that adjudicates the default value for uploads to the content library is:

MAX_ASSET_SIZE=2GB

I would only consider lowering this from 2GB; raising it is not supported. This variable only affects the content library and not the Meeting room pods.

The upload and timeout entries required in the server.xml file follow:  /appserv/conf/server.xml

For server that are not running SSL, find the following section of the server.xml file

<Connector port=”80″ protocol=”HTTP/1.1″
executor=”httpThreadPool”
enableLookups=”false”
acceptCount=”250″
connectionTimeout=”20000″
redirectPort=”443″
URIEncoding=”utf-8″/>

Change it to include the items in bold:

<Connector port=”80″ protocol=”HTTP/1.1″
executor=”httpThreadPool”
enableLookups=”false”
acceptCount=”250″
connectionUploadTimeout=”36000000″
disableUploadTimeout=”false”
connectionTimeout=“60000”
redirectPort=”443″
URIEncoding=”utf-8″/>

For servers running SSL, find the following in /appserv/conf/server.xml:

<Connector port=”8443″ protocol=”HTTP/1.1″
executor=”httpsThreadPool”
enableLookups=”false”
acceptCount=”250″
connectionTimeout=”20000″
SSLEnabled=”false”
scheme=”https”
secure=”true”
proxyPort=”443″
URIEncoding=”utf-8″/>

Change it as follows:

<Connector port=”8443″ protocol=”HTTP/1.1″
executor=”httpsThreadPool”
enableLookups=”false”
acceptCount=”250″
connectionUploadTimeout=”36000000″
disableUploadTimeout=”false”
connectionTimeout=“60000”
SSLEnabled=”false”
scheme=”https”
secure=”true”
proxyPort=”443″
URIEncoding=”utf-8″/>

Note: Increasing the file size may cause degraded playback quality. Be sure to test the result after creating any recording over the supported 2GB limit.

Changing Log Rotation Options on Connect Servers

Issue: By default, the Connect server logs will rotate every 7 days. In some cases this value may need to be adjusted for the administrative or security or compliance reasons:

For Connect versions 8 and 9 save a backup copy of \appserv\conf\log4j.xml and edit the MaxNumberOfDays and MinNumberOfLogs variables as appropriate for each type of log. See the example j4log.xml snippet below. As always in these cases of editing XML fileson the Connect server, save the file and test it for syntax problems by simply opening it in any browser. Cycle the Connect and FMS services to put the new settings into production. If you experience any problems then revert to the backup log4j.xml file and contact Adobe Connect support.

\appserv\conf\log4j.xml

<!– All messages go to debug.log –>

<appender File=””class=”com.macromedia.breeze.log4j.DailyRollingAndCleaningFileAppender” name=”DEBUGLOG”>

<param name=”Threshold” value=”INFO”/>

<param name=”File” value=”${application.home}/../../logs/support/debug.log”/>

<param name=”Append” value=”true”/>

<param name=”DatePattern” value=”‘.’yyyy-MM-dd-a”/>

<param name=”MaxNumberOfDays” value=”5“/>

<param name=”MinNumberOfLogs” value=”10“/>

<layout>

<param name=”ConversionPattern” value=”[%d{MM-dd HH:mm:ss}] %.25t (%p) %.2048m%n”/>

</layout>

</appender>

<!– All messages go to api.log –>

<appender File=”” class=”com.macromedia.breeze.log4j.DailyRollingAndCleaningFileAppender” name=”APILOG”>

<param name=”Threshold” value=”INFO”/>

<param name=”File” value=”${application.home}/../../logs/support/api.log”/>

<param name=”Append” value=”true”/>

<param name=”DatePattern” value=”‘.’yyyy-MM-dd-a”/>

<param name=”MaxNumberOfDays” value=”5“/>

<param name=”MinNumberOfLogs” value=”10“/>

<layout class=”org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout”>

<param name=”ConversionPattern” value=”[%d{MM-dd HH:mm:ss}] %.25t %m%n”/>

</layout>

</appender>

 

Note: For legacy Connect version, 7.x, add and adjust the values of use the following entries in the custom.ini file, save the file and  and cycle the services:

ACCESS_LOG_ROTATE_DAYS=0.25

ACCESS_LOG_ROTATE_KEEP=7

LOG_ROTATE_DAYS=0.25

LOG_ROTATE_KEEP=7

ERROR_LOG_ROTATE_DAYS=0.25

ERROR_LOG_ROTATE_KEEP=7

API_LOG_ROTATE_DAYS=0.25

API_LOG_ROTATE_KEEP=7

 

 

 

Firefox Browsers Fail to Connect when stunnel is used to Secure Connect

Problem:  Firefox Browsers Fail to Connect when stunnel is used to secure Adobe Connect

Solution: Double check to be sure that this setting is in place in the stunnel.conf:

; Protocol version (all, SSLv2, SSLv3, TLSv1)
sslVersion = all
fips = no

  • The original file version will have this commented out.
  • Enforcing TLSv1 with Firefox will be problematic.

Connect Training Course does not Produce Completion Report

Issue: When a course is started and left open, perhaps while multitasking or looking up additional references, etc., it may timeout and work of the trainee in the course can be lost.

How to approach this – As with many symptoms, there is often more than one ameliorating approach; two are offered below:

One very quick way to help with  this is to increase the session time-out value in Connect

  •  At the top of the Connect Central administrative window, click Administration.
  • Click Account.
  • Click Session Settings.
  • Enter a timeout length in minutes that is long enough to cause fewer instances of timeouts.
  • Click Save.

Another way to approach this is to use Adobe Presenter 9 to create the training content. Presenter 9 handles sessions and bookmarking that is not supported in previous versions of Presenter.

Connect license the upload fails: License file has a quota of type ‘bandwidth-quota’

Issue:  Upon uploading an updated connect license (perhaps after expansion or upgrade) the upload fails with the error:  License file has a quota of type ‘bandwidth-quota’ (account) with a limit less than amount currently used

Workaround: Edit the Connect SQL database as follows:
1.      Document the current value for ‘USED’ field in the pps_acl_quotas value for the QUOTA_ID that is set to 8.
2.      Execute the follow UPDATE statement to set the value to a lower value
a.      update pps_acl_quotas set used = 900000000 where quota_id = 8
b.      Note: For example if the LIMIT value is 1000000000 you could use the following: UPDATE pps_acl_quotas USED = 900000000 where Quota_ID = 8
3.      Upload the License.txt file in Connect
4.      If you don’t get the upload error
5.      Re-open the pps_acl_quotas table and verify that the LIMIT for QUOTA_ID is not 3500 (this will be the new concurrent user limit with the new license.txt file)
6.      If you  get the error when uploading, run the SQL statement, replace the 900000000 with the original number from step 1.

Clustering Adobe Connect Servers with Microsoft Network Load Balancing

Many software-based server load-balancing and fail-over options have prematurely reached the end of the product life cycle. The market prediction that effectively swept software-based options off the enterprise landscape was that the price of superior hardware-based solutions would decrease enough to make the software options superfluous. The problem with this prediction is obvious to anyone who has tried to cluster a small pool of application servers on a tight budget: the price of the hardware options that are worth having have not dropped enough to fill the niche occupied by software clustering applications….

Criseyde and Troilus live: See the updated tutorial on the Connect Users Community: http://www.connectusers.com/tutorials/2009/04/clustering_nlb/index.php

Connect 9.1 Installer Increments Sub-directories

Issue: The Connect 9.1.1 installer increments directories when re-installing

Method: Re-install 9.1.1 over an existing 9.1.1 installation (not an upgrade)

Result::  When you re-install 9.1.1, it adds a 911 sub-directory within the existing 911 directory

Expected: Re-install into original 911 directory

Workaround: After re-installing examine all edited files in the original directory and make sure to add any changes that did not populate (custom.ini, server.xml, etc.) and drive on. This issue is scheduled to be fixed in an upcoming updater, possibly 9.2.

Accessing and Editing Adobe Connect Recordings

When most people think of meeting recordings, they often expect a standard video capture of the original meeting. For most web conferencing platforms, this is the case. Adobe Connect recordings however provide much more functionality. It’s certainly possible to generate a static video by clicking the ‘Make Offline’ button. By default however, Adobe Connect recordings are much more interactive and completely indexed….

See Alistair Lee’s complete tutorial here: http://www.connectusers.com/tutorials/2013/01/accessing_editing_adobe_connect_recordings/index.php