Posts in Category "Seminars"

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.

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/

 

 

Estimating the Size of Archive Meeting Recordings

I was recently asked if I had any test data showing how big a recording becomes based on the use case during the Connect Meeting being recorded. While plenty of anecdotal information exists,  I thought it prudent to begin a list of use cases and show what the size was after five minutes of each use case. This article will be a work in progress as I add different use cases in order to offer various concrete examples to use as a basis to estimate recording size based on what is being recorded, whether multiple Video pod camera feeds or screen-sharing or VoIP, etc. Among its purposes, this exercise will help meeting hosts to avoid exceeding the 2GB limit on Adobe hosted clusters for recording size.

Most relevant among the variables considered is the notion that recording size is affected by the streams present in the meeting being recorded. Typically a Video pod with VoIP (640X480) shared per hour will result in an FLV of around 200MB. Sharing a screen in a meeting (1680X1050) will result in an FLV size of around 150 MB. PPT/PPTX files uploaded to a meeting room and displayed while recording will not play a significant part in recording size because the recordings link to external content rather than contain that content intrinsically. For example,  a meeting with two Video pod streams could have recording size of around 400MB and a meeting having a single Video pod stream with VoIP and screen-sharing could end up around 350MB. The actual results may differ as the screen resolution of the publisher, the type of sharing and the amount of movement are all variables that can affect recording size: If there is little movement on screen or in the Video pod stream, the recording size will be less than it would be with a lot of movement.

Here are some concrete examples to use for planning; each recording is approximately five minutes in length:

A meeting with a single video feed for the Presenter to display and scroll through an uploaded PowerPoint file while using integrated telephony:Title: Recording Size Test_0
Type: Recording
Duration: 00:05:31
Disk usage: 8335.3 KB

rec-size1.fw

 

A recording of a meeting with six video feeds and an uploaded PowerPoint file
Title: Planning Troubleshooting and Support Meeting Room _15
Type: Recording
Duration: 00:05:48
Disk usage: 13873.8 KB

rec-size2.fw

 

A recording of a meeting with four video feeds and screen sharing an application with normal activity
Title: Planning Troubleshooting and Support Meeting Room _16
Type: Recording
Duration: 00:05:56
Disk usage: 21660.8 KB

rec-size3.fw

More examples to follow.

Where is my Engagement Dashboard?

At some point you may want to use the Engagement Dashboard to track your users’ attentiveness in an Adobe Connect Meeting room, but wonder where oh where it may be…  You glance up at your Pods menu (as a host) and see it is not listed.  You may wonder why.  Well, here’s why…

If you want to use the Engagement Dashboard, one of the following scenarios has to be true:

  • You are a Seminar Host and created a Seminar Room.  Seminar Rooms have the Engagement Dashboard in the Presenter Only Area.
  • You are an Event Manager and created an Event that points to a meeting, seminar room, or virtual classroom, in the Event Management area of Adobe Connect.  If you point an Event to any meeting, virtual classroom, or seminar room, it will have the Engagement Dashboard in the Presenter Only Area.
  • You are a Training Manager AND Meeting Host and you create a Virtual Classroom (you must be both to even create a VC in the first place), it will have the Engagement Dashboard in the Presenter Only Area.
  • You are an Meeting Host AND Event Manager and you create a Meeting (just being a Meeting Host will NOT give you access to the Engagement Dashboard).  Only then will the Meeting have an Engagement Dashboard in the Presenter Only Area.

Situation where you will have a room open and you won’t have the Engagement Dashboard as a Pod option:

  • You are a Meeting Host but NOT an Event Manager as well.  You will not see the Engagement Dashboard in the available pods and it will not be in the Presenter Only Area.

Additional Resources around the Engagement Dashboard…

http://blogs.adobe.com/adobeconnect/2012/06/sneak-peek-the-engagement-dashboard.html

https://www.connectusers.com/tutorials/2013/06/rules_of_engagement/index.php

engage1

engagement2

How to completely delete content from a Meeting room

To completely delete content from any meeting room there are at least two places and possibly a third place in Connect from which you must delete it.

The first place is the most obvious and it is in the Meeting room itself under the Pods menu and Manage Pods option:

del-con.fw

del-con1.fw

The second place is in the Uploaded Content directory under the Meeting Information. To get there from a Meeting room, a host and owner can click Manage Meeting Information under the Meeting tab:

del-con2.fw

Then go to the Uploaded Content tab:

del-con3.fw

The third possible place is the Content Library. If you uploaded or published to the Content Library and pointed the share pod to it, you will need to go to the Content Library to delete it. If you uploaded directly to the Meeting room then you may skip this step:

del-con4.fw

Using iframe to Invoke an Adobe Connect-hosted URL

Make sure that the iframe reference is formatted correctly.

When referencing an a meeting archive recording, it is best to first move an archive from under its parent meeting to the Connect Central content library before referring to it via iframe.

Do not let the URL of the archive recording redirect to Connect Central login page. To bypass the login screen you may either parse a username and password as a parameter in the URL or you may set permissions on the referenced content URL in Connect Central to allow for public viewing.  The latter option is usually the best. To avoid exposing the genuine user’s password as plain text in a GET request, it is usually best to simply make the recording public in Connect Central then link it. Alternatively, you may also create a new user in Connect Central with no other permissions except access to the referenced URL.

Referencing content in Connect Central that is set to public viewing:

<iframe src=http://connectdomainname.adobeconnect.com/customurl1″></iframe>

Referencing content by parsing a username and password:

<iframe src=”http://connectdomainname.adobeconnect.com/username?login=username@adobe.com&password=userpassword&account-id=12345678” width=”600″ height=”600″></iframe>

When referring to multiple URLs whether archives or MP4s or other Connect-hosted links, be sure to use a separate iframe reference for each Conenct URL rather than attempting to wrap all URLs in a single iframe reference. For example, two public links together in a table might look like this:

  <tr>
    <td width=”600″><iframe src=”http://connectdomainname.adobeconnect.com/customurl1″></iframe></td>
  </tr>
  <tr>
    <td><iframe src=”http://connectdomainname.adobeconnect.com/customurl2″></iframe></td>
  </tr>

XML API Tips: Obtaining Quotas for Seminar Licenses

A while back I blogged about how to create a Seminar Session via the XML API in Adobe Connect 9.1 (view original blog here).  A question has since come up around how to obtain the quota for a Seminar License, so you know what to put in for the seminar-expected-load value in the acl-field-update call in the last step of that article.

You can obtain the Seminar License quotas for your different licenses by running this API call:

https://{myConnectURL}/api/xml?action=sco-seminar-licenses-list&sco-id=XXXXXXX

where sco-id = the sco-id of the SHARED SEMINARS folder (or the ‘seminars’ tree-id of the shortcut ‘seminars’).

Example Result (showing an example where there are 2 Licenses):

<results>
<status code=”ok”/>
<seminar-licenses>
<sco>
<begindate>2011-12-02T01:00:01.000+00:00</begindate>
<date-begin>2011-12-01T20:00:01.000-05:00</date-begin>
<date-created>2011-12-02T23:47:02.353-05:00</date-created>
<date-end>2016-12-01T19:59:59.000-05:00</date-end>
<date-modified>2013-11-29T10:53:56.590-05:00</date-modified>
<display-seq>0</display-seq>
<duration>XXXXXXXX</duration>
<enddate>2016-12-02T00:59:59.000+00:00</enddate>
<folder-id>XXXXXXXX</folder-id>
<icon>folder</icon>
<is-expired>false</is-expired>
<is-folder>1</is-folder>
<is-seminar>false</is-seminar>
<name>My Seminar License 1</name>
<quota>1000</quota>
<sco-id>XXXXXXXX</sco-id>
<type>folder</type>
<url-path>/fXXXXXXXX/</url-path>
</sco>
<sco>
<begindate>2011-12-02T01:00:01.000+00:00</begindate>
<date-begin>2011-12-01T20:00:01.000-05:00</date-begin>
<date-created>2011-12-02T23:47:04.490-05:00</date-created>
<date-end>2016-12-01T19:59:59.000-05:00</date-end>
<date-modified>2013-11-29T10:54:04.010-05:00</date-modified>
<display-seq>0</display-seq>
<duration>XXXXXXXX</duration>
<enddate>2016-12-02T00:59:59.000+00:00</enddate>
<folder-id>XXXXXXXX</folder-id>
<icon>folder</icon>
<is-expired>false</is-expired>
<is-folder>1</is-folder>
<is-seminar>false</is-seminar>
<name>My Seminar License 2</name>
<quota>1500</quota>
<sco-id>XXXXXXXX</sco-id>
<type>folder</type>
<url-path>/XXXXXXXX/</url-path>
</sco>
</seminar-licenses>
</results>

Again, there are multiple ways of getting the id of the main Seminars folder.  One quick one is :

https://{myConnectURL}/api/xml?action=sco-shortcuts

and pull the value from either in blue (the will both be the same):

<sco tree-id=”XXXXXXX” sco-id=”XXXXXXX” type=”seminars”>
<domain-name>http://{myConnectURL}</domain-name>
</sco>

Another is:

https://{myConnectURL}/api/xml?action=sco-expanded-contents&sco-id=XXXXXXXX&filter-type=tree

where the sco-id is = the account-id

and pull the value in blue:

<sco depth=”1″ sco-id=”XXXXXXX” folder-id=”XXXXXX” type=”tree” icon=”folder” lang=”en” source-sco-id=”” display-seq=”0″ source-sco-type=”” source-sco-icon=”” content-source-sco-icon=”” duration=””>
<name>Shared Seminars</name>
<url-path>/XXXXXXX/</url-path>
<date-created>2011-12-02T23:46:53.563-05:00</date-created>
<date-modified>2013-11-29T10:54:03.053-05:00</date-modified>
</sco>

Seminar Session Extensions Explained

In Adobe Connect 9.1.1, when you schedule Seminar Sessions, we allow extensions for a certain period of time should you need to go over your allotted (scheduled) session time.  This is handy if you need to wrap up a session that is obviously running a little later than planned.  If there are no other Seminar Sessions scheduled up against your Seminar Session, you can extend a session (depending on when the next session is scheduled to start).  Best case scenario, the maximum extension time for a session is up to 70 total minutes (technically) if there is enough free time on the Seminar Calendar.  But that is ONLY if the conditions are just right.  That maximum (best case scenario) is 2 x 30 minute extensions + a 10 minute shutdown warning countdown.  Here’s the breakdown of how all this works.

Once your scheduled time of your Seminar Session is up, one of two things can happen if you need to go longer:

1) If there is a Seminar Session that is schedule to start in the open time slot on the Seminar Calendar immediately following your session, you will only get prompted for the 10 minute shutdown.  This means that in 10 minutes, your session will terminate because another session was scheduled to begin immediately after your session was scheduled to end.  So basically it’s no real extension other than the 10 minute warning.

10min2

Once the 10 minutes is up, the session ends and all users are disconnected from the session due to the conflict of the other session being active.

2) If there isn’t a Seminar Session that is scheduled to start in the open time slot on the Seminar Calendar immediately following your session, you will get prompted for a 30 minute extension (as shown below). It is automatic.  The prompt is shown to hosts.

extension1

Once that first 30 minute extension is up, Adobe Connect will check the Seminar Calendar again for a session coming up against your active session.  At this point, one of two things will happen (similar to above):

1) If there is no other upcoming session again on the calendar, it will trigger one more 30 minute extension (as shown below):

extension1

2) If there IS a session on the calendar that is going to start, you will get the 10 minute warning instead.  Meaning that your session was able to go just 40 minutes over the end time (first 30 min extension + 10 minute warning).

10min2

If you did get the second 30 minute extension, after the second 30 minute extension is up (so currently having been extended for 60 total minutes passed your initial end time of the session), you will no longer be given another 30 minute extension option and instead, you will be presented with the 10 minute warning (even if there is no other session coming up on the Seminar Calendar). This means that in total, you would have been granted 70 extra minutes of extension before the session ends (30 + 30 + 10), should the conditions have been just right on the Seminar Calendar.

10 minute

 

Vantage Point is not just about Bandwidth

Vantage Point from Refined Data works with Connect and provides remote control of Cameras, Microphones, Telephones, Volumes, Tech Support, Motion Detection, Mouse Detection, Continuous attendance tracking and reporting and much more so it’s not just about bandwidth reduction.

On the bandwidth front, Vantage Point publishes streams to Refined Data servers at 100Kbps for each participant in the room; this is less than Connect in most cases, but the Host only consumes as many streams as they can view at one time. The host can see as few as 5 or 6 students at one time or as many as 50 or more depending on their screen resolution, window size, Vantage Point settings, connectivity and bandwidth availability.

This means that even with 100 Participants in a Connect room and one Host the bandwidth consumption looks like this:

  • Participant Load: 100kbps Up (to publish their own camera to Vantage Point), 100kbps down (to view the Host in Connect). This is a small signature on the network.
  • Host Load: 100kbps Up (to publish their own camera in Connect), 2.5mbps down (assuming they view 25 participant cameras in Vantage Point at one time). The Host is the only one who needs a really good connection.
  • Total Load on Adobe Connect: 1 publish stream + 99 subscribers

The host can always reduce their own load simply by viewing fewer simultaneous Video pods in Vantage Point. The bandwidth load for students or participants is not affected at all by class size. Bandwidth load for Hosts rises linearly with class size but can be limited by the host at any time based on the maximum number of cameras they view at one time.

In Connect, the bandwidth load rises with the number of cameras being shared:

  • 4 Cameras: 16 Connections on the Server, each user publishes 100kbps and consumes 300kbps
  • 10 Cameras: 100 Connections on the Server, each user publishes 100kbps and consumes 900kbps
  • 20 Cameras: 400 Connections on the Server, each user publishes 100kbps and consumes 1.9mbps

Even if Connect could technically support 50 or 100 simultaneous web cams in a single meeting (2,500 streams risks significant latency), consider the requirement that participants would need 5-10mbps of bandwidth to support the load, before accounting for VoIP, screen-sharing and basic overhead. Anything above 10 simultaneous web cameras may be difficult for a host to manage and apart from any other considerations, there may not be enough real-estate for content if you are showing 10 or more web cams in the meeting room.

Vantage Point only publishes at 100kbps, most of the time; DSL and Standard quality is already more than twice this load in Connect and can easily rise higher if the room is set to use the Highest video quality at 16:9. With Vantage Point, Adobe Connect saves the server load, participants are not affected by class size, Hosts can see all of their students, all of the time and enjoy unparalleled control of the classroom environment.

Check it out at Refined Data: http://vantagepoint.refineddata.com/

Troubleshooting Caption Colorado Domain Names in Meeting Pod

Issue: Sometimes the Closed Captioning pod fails to connect to Caption Colorado.

Symptom looks like this:

CC.fw

Always make certain you have the correct pod version: http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect/feature-details/closed-captioning.html

There are two names available at Caption Colorado, one is a legacy name for Breeze and the other is for Connect. Both point to the same TCPIP address:

C:\flyfishing\frank>nslookup connect.captioncolorado.com
Server:  dns.adobe.com
Address:  xx.xx.xx.xx
Non-authoritative answer:
Name:    connect.captioncolorado.com
Address:  216.241.103.7
C:\flyfishing\frank>nslookup breeze.captioncolorado.com
Server:  dns.adobe.com
Address:  xx.xx.xx.xx
Non-authoritative answer:
Name:    breeze.captioncolorado.com
Address:  216.241.103.7

Workaround: When either of these domain names (Breeze or Connect) fails to connect, use the other. This is a known issue at Caption Colorado and they are working to resolve it. Simply juxtaposing connect.captioncolorado.com for breeze.captioncolorado.com or visa versa in the pod configuration will solve the connection issue and facilitate closed-captioning.