Author Archive: Frank DeRienzo

Make Certain that Content is Replicated Across All Servers in a Connect Cluster

Occasionally a specific piece of content may be intermittently available in a cluster. It could be Presenter or Captivate published on-demand content or even content withing a Meeting room. Sometimes in these cases, the content published on one server is not replicated to all servers in the cluster. There are a few quick things to check:

First: Note that with Adobe Connect 9, the installer includes a cluster option. If you begin with a single server installation and expand later to a clustered environment by adding a server or servers, you will need to manually make the following change in the /appserv/conf/server.xml file in order to enable communication over port 8507 among clustered servers. It is prudent to double check this in the server.xml file after installing even if the cluster option was selected during installation:

<Executor name=”clusterThreadPool”
namePrefix=”cluster-8507-” maxThreads=”150″
minSpareThreads=”5″/>

<!– Define a non-SSL HTTP/1.1 Connector on port 8507 –>
<!– Used for HTTP access for intra-Cluster communications. –>
<!– Equivalent to JRun CLUSTER_PORT –>
<!– Uncomment for clustered deployments
<Connector port=”8507″ protocol=”HTTP/1.1″
executor=”clusterThreadPool”
enableLookups=”false”
acceptCount=”100″
connectionTimeout=”20000″
URIEncoding=”utf-8″/>

Second: Test the 8507 port communications on each server: From a command prompt on each server, type netstat –an|find “8507” and check to be sure that 8507 is active and listening on each. A software-based firewall on the server will break this every time.

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Note: If problems are noticed in the Meeting rooms, check port 8506 as well; it is used for Meeting communication among the servers.

Third: Examine the Connect debug logs: Look first in the debug.log under the \logs\support directory and search on the string: cluster-  If replication is taking place, you will see this repeating cluster- entry logging the replication activity. Absence of these log entries will indicate that replication is not working. Check for any error messages in these replication log entries. Search also for the word lucene. If you see a preponderance of lucene lock errors, contact Adobe Enterprise Support: entrsupp@adobe.com and provide a log snippet to expedite diagnosis.

Fourth: Check the timing of active anti-virus scanning of the content directories \content\7\ on each server; compare the directory sizes on each server to see is there if a significant size delta. Antivirus software can impede replication in manner that is not uniform across servers; active scanning of the content directory during replication may lock the content files. Active scanning after hours or during a window when publishing is unlikely is prudent.

Fifth: Check the updater page. Make sure you are on the latest patches servers-side. http://helpx.adobe.com/adobe-connect/kb/connect-90-patches.html Keep in mind that 9.2 is a full installer and not a patch. For full installers, use LWShttps://licensing.adobe.com

These steps will solve most replication problems that you encounter. If problems persist, contact our  Enterprise Support Team.

Avoiding Inaccurate Completion Reports when a Meeting is Part of a Curriculum

When a meeting is part of an Adobe Connect Curriculum, a trainee can click on the Meeting and complete the Meeting task prescribed in the Curriculum prior to the Meeting taking place.

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One way to help manage this is to choose the Meeting options to block Meeting access illustrated in the screen captures below:

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The Meeting access options may be inconvenient to use, so here is another option to add a Meeting to a curriculum, while at the same time restricting the ability for a trainee to complete the Meeting task prior to the Meeting taking place:

Step one: The first step is to set a date and time under the Meeting properties. Make sure the date and time correspond to when the Curriculum task takes place. Note that this date and time has no effect on when the Meeting can be used. It is strictly an administrative tool to help with Meeting invitations and has no effect on when the meeting can be opened, Meeting persistence, etc. In this example I have set the meeting to October 22, 2014 at 12:45 for 1 hour:

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 Step two: Download and unzip the Meeting Curriculum Wrapper: https://platinum.adobeconnect.com/lmfc/default/launchMeetingInCurriculum.zip

Note that it is zipped twice to facilitate download:

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Step three: Identify the Meeting sco ID from the Meeting that you wish to add to the Curriculum and copy it to the clipboard:

The Meeting SCO is in the Meeting URL:

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Note: You can also see the Meeting sco ID by pasting ?mode-xml at the end of the Meeting URL and reading it from the output:

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Step four:  Edit the index.htm in the unzipped LaunchMeetingInCurriculum folder by pasting in the Meeting sco ID from the Meeting that you wish to add to the Curriculum. Use your favorite text editor such as notepad or textpad. Where the index.htm reads,  Enter the SCO of the Meeting, Virtual Classroom or Seminar var meetingScoID_str = ‘1660065186’; change the default Meeting sco ID, 1660065186, to the Meeting sco ID of the Meeting that you wish to add to the curriculum, in the case of my example here, the Meeting sco ID is: 502114549. Be sure to save the changes:

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Step five: Zip all the edited contents of the LaunchMeetingInCurriculum folder and rename it to represent the Meeting that you wish to add to the Curriculum. This will help you identify it and differentiate it from other Meetings with which you use this wrapper:

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Step six: Upload the edited zip file to the Adobe Connect Content Library:

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Step seven: Import the wrapper from the Content Library into the Curriculum:

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Note: Import options; the wrapper is Content and points to the Meeting:

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Step eight: Test the Curriculum item; unless the time and date coordinate with the actual Meeting schedule, the pop up will deter the trainee from gaining premature access to the Meeting and skewing the Curriculum completion report:

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 Conclusion: With proper management and administration, an Adobe Connect Curriculum accurately measure the progress and completion of trainees. There are two ways to prevent a trainee from completing a Meeting curriculum task prior to the meeting taking place, the first is to block access to the Meeting and the second is to use the Meeting Curriculum wrapper.

In Connect Meeting, Clicking “Don’t show this dialog again” has no Effect on the Tips Dialog

Issue: Upon startup, Tips for using Adobe Connect for Hosts is displayed. After clicking on “Don’t show this dialog again” and dismissing the dialog, the next time Connect is launched the dialog is again displayed.

dialog.fw

This is caused by a problem storing the changes locally available to flash applications on client machines. Here are workaround steps:

  1. Open the connect meeting in the IE/Firefox. You can append launcher=false to the meeting URL to open it in browser: <url>/?launcher=false
  2. Right click on the meeting and select Settings; the  flash dialog GUI will appear:

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3. Click on the folder icon:

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4. Check that the variable for storage is allowed and is greater than 0 and also check to see if the Currently used variable is equal to the allowed value.

5. If the Currently used variable is showing 0 then close this dialog and again right click on meeting and open the Global Settings. The following dialog will appear:

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6. Click on Local Storage Settings by Site:

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7. Make sure that the Adobe Connect server is listed there and it is allowed as depicted in the third column. If it is not allowed, then allow it using the drop-down menu.

Adobe Connect Offline Recording Option Captures and Records Local Client Screen Activity

Adobe Connect Offline Recording Option Captures & Records Local Screen Assets:

While in the process of creating an offline recording in Connect, the recording will capture extraneous desktop application activity if Windows is in Non-Aero mode

To stop extraneous recording,  turn on the Aero theme: Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Personalization – choose any Aero theme.

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This workaround will limit the offline recording to the Connect Meeting archive.

Here is the related forum discussion for reference: https://forums.adobe.com/message/6629306#6629306

Adobe Connect Meeting becomes Unresponsive with Clients Running Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Adobe Connect supports Mac OS X 10.9 (also known as Mavericks). In some rare instances clients running Mavericks consistently experience freezing and disconnection issues. The root cause has not yet been identified; here are recommendations that have addressed the issue for some users:

–        Ensure latest Adobe Connect add-in and Flash Player are installed:  https://www.adobe.com/support/connect/downloads-updates.html

–        Set the correct sand-box settings in Safari as documented in these tech-notes:

Apple support also provided these recommendations:

–        Enable Sandbox mode in Safari. Make sure you have the Adobe Connect room open when you try and add the webpage.

–        Change the DNS settings to Google’s server, and disable prefetching. Make sure that you reset the computer after changing the DNS: http://support.apple.com/kb/ts3408

We have not reproduced this issue with either OS X 10.9.5 or Mac OS X 10.10 (also known as Yosemite).

The issue is still under investigation with Adobe and Apple.

Web Services API call: sco-session-seminar-list

We have opened a bug around a recent undocumented change in the Web Services API actions.

The action, sco-session-seminar-list, which prior to 9.2.2 returned all seminar sessions for which the authenticated user had Host permissions, now requires the alternative action: sco-seminar-sessions-list. Use sco-seminar-sessions-list instead of sco-session-seminar-list until we resolve the open issue around this change; we have logged bug number: Watson: 3772441.

Consider this sample action (wherein FQDN designates your fully qualified domain name) as an example: Instead of running the action:  https://FQDN/api/xml?action=sco-session-seminar-list&sco-id=1369951914 to get all the seminar sessions under the seminar license with the sco-id of 1369951914 you ought to run this API instead: https://FQDN/api/xml?action=sco-seminar-sessions-list&sco-id=1369951914

To list all the sessions that are linked to a meeting room under one license, put a filter on the source-sco-id as in this example action: http://FQDN/api/xml?action=sco-seminar-sessions-list&sco-id=sco-id-of-the-seminar-license&filter-source-sco-id=sco-id-of-the-meeting-room

Ensuring that Email Generated by Adobe Connect Servers is Received

There have been more than a few incidents reported on the topic of email messages from Adobe Connect servers not getting delivered. These include messages generated by the Adobe Connect Events module as well as system email messages such as that generated by changing a password.

The first thing to avoid to prevent this problem is that of using special characters in the host’s name. This is scheduled to be fixed in Connect 9.3, but currently, in 9.2, if you place a comma in the Event host’s name such as Frank D., El Presidente’  it will cause an error identified in our server logs by a messaging exception.

The second thing to avoid is inviting over 20,000 participants to an Event. This generates an operation size error and causes problems with email messages being sent out. We also plan to address this ceiling tentatively in Connect 9.3.

With specific reference to Adobe Connect Hosted accounts, we just made the following change to ameliorate email problems: As of April 28th, 2014, administrative email notifications sent from Adobe Connect servers will now be coming from admin@adobeconnect.com instead of admin@acrobat.com This will help by disassociating Connect-generated email from that of the Acrobat domain which could be potentially blocked by virtue of its identification with document storage. We also made some internal changes to the way the Connect servers handle email and we worked with our Web infrastructure partners to insure that Connect generated email was not being treated as SPAM on the Web.

There is a bit of a conundrum here. If Adobe Connect Events email invitations are sent out in massive mailings to those who perceive the email as SPAM, then the Adobe Connect servers could be tagged as producing SPAM by those end-user recipients. An overzealous Events manager may cause Gmail and other providers to treat Adobe Connect email as SPAM. When an Event that is capped at 500 participants sends out 5000 email invitations, it is expected that many recipients will at best ignore the inbound email traffic and many more may consider the traffic to be a nuisance. We are investigating possible approaches to ameliorate this problem and plan in 9.3  to add an opt-out option for Events invitations that will offer a convenient alternative to any SPAM reply option for recipients to invoke.

We love large Events and Adobe Connect handles them very well; this is a case when our success can potentially lead to some problems. Currently the Adobe Hosted Service is green for SPF record checks.  We pass all major email providers and are not blacklisted according to common checker tools on the internet.  This should resolve the lion’s share of current email issues and the upcoming changes in 9.3 will serve to harden this capability for future Events.

How to make Connect use a browser-based email client to send Meeting invitations

When invoking a browser-based email client to invite participants to a Connect Meeting from within a Connect Meeting you will see this error message unless you first make the browser-based email your default email service:

 

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Sending a browser-based email invitation from within a Connect Meeting is possible if you first make the browser-based email option your default email program. As an example, you can use the instructions at the following links to make Gmail your default email program :

http://email.about.com/od/gmailtips/qt/et_default_prog.htm

http://www.pcdailytips.com/set-gmail-as-default-email-using-chrome-or-firefox/

Note that once you enable a browser-based email client and invoke it from within a Connect Meeting, the behavior will be different based on whether the host issuing the invitation is using the Connect Meeting addin or the Flash Player. In the addin it will look like this:

Using the Connect Meeting addin, invoke the invitation: Meeting> Manage Access & Entry > Invite Participants

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See how the invitation is fully populated with important details:

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Following the same procedure using the Flash Player instead of the addin (?launcher=false) also works, but with an abbreviated invitation message:

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Specifications for MP4 Conversion for Connect Recordings

Here are the specifications for the MP4 conversion; they are similar to our FLV specifications albeit with better compression:

  • Resolution: 1024X768
  • Frames Per Second: 8 FPS
  • Video Bitrate: 1024kbps
  • Audio:
    • Codec – AAC (Advanced Audio Codec)
    • Profile – Main@3.1
    • Bit Rate – ~55Kbps (VBR)
    • Channels – 1 (Mono)
    • Sampling rate – 44.1Khz

Be Aware of the Closed Captioning Pod Defaults

Last week we found out that Caption Colorado changed their IP address and port number for the Closed Captioning pod downloadable from the Connect Exchange Website. Here is the direct link to the Connect version 9 Closed Captioning Pod

The new Caption Colorado information includes:

If you are experiencing any trouble with the Closed Captioning pod while using it in a Connect Meeting with Caption Colorado, please set your host to “captionedtext.com” and to port 11100 in the adobe pod. Note that the new IP, 54.193.31.11, depending on your infrastructure’s network security settings, may need to be white-listed.

For an updated user’s guide referencing the Closed Caption Pod, see this PDF: http://platinum.adobeconnect.com/cc/