Posts in Category "Training"

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 within 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.

netstat -an|find “8507”

netstat.fw

Use telnet to test connectivity on  8507 between Connect servers. Use telnet to check both IP and machine-name as well.

telnet server-machine-name 8507

telnet 8507.fw

Note: The machine name appears to the left of the FQDN under the Connect Servers Setting on port 8510 locally on any server in the cluster; here I have artificially designated them as server1 and server2.

serversettings

Be sure to check telnet connectivity from and to every server in the cluster:

telnet 8507.fw

If the IP works with telnet and the machine-name does not work, it may be necessary to add entries in DNS or add hosts files to each server:

etc-host.fw

Check the software-based firewall on the server to see if it is potentially blocking replication traffic:

netsh firewall show config

firewallsftwr.fw

win-firewall-svc.fw

Note: Connect does not support dual stack ipv6 and ipv4 on the same server.

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

Third: Examine the Connect 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:

[10-1 12:00:00,009] cluster-8507-630 (INFO) CLUSTER Sent file: \7\xxx-xxxx\fcs-meeting\public\all\224_XXX_4.fso 9978 bytes 12 ms 6371 kbps to: server1

cluster-debug.fw

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.

Also check the error.log files for the entry  CLUSTER_CON_BROKEN

2014-10-02 15:28:48 “Server server1 unable to reach server2 on port 8507 to perform cluster operations.” CLUSTER  CLUSTER_CON_BROKEN

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.

curr-mtg.fw

 

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

block-mtg.fw

 

block-in-mtg-menu.fw

block-in-mtg.fw

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:

meeting-date-time.fw

meeting-date-time-1.fw

 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:

cur-unzipped.fw

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:

meeting-sco.fw

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:

meeting-sco1.fw

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:

index-sco.fw

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:

zip-contents.fw

zip-contents1.fw

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

upload.fw

upload1.fw

upload2.fw

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

curr.fw

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

curr1.fw

curr2.fw

curr3.fw

curr4.fw

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:

curr5.fw

 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.

Update your Presenter content in Connect

I have received requests from lot of users to publish the steps of how we can update an already published content on Connect server which is tied to a course/curriculum.

Please follow the below steps only if you have published your content in the below manner to Connect :

  •  Create a Presenter Powerpoint content
  •  Publish the file locally on your desktop as a zip file instead of publishing it to the Connect server directly.
  •  Once the zip file is published, upload the zip to your Connect content library

If you have published your Presenter content to Connect in the above manner, and you would like to make any changes to the content, you can do so by the below steps :

  • Make the desired changes in the Presenter file & save them.
  • Republish the file locally on your desktop as a new zip
  • Now login to your Connect application and navigate to the already published content
  • Click on Upload content and browse the new Zip file and Save.

 

Please note that although it displays a message there that : ” The content should be in the following format:  *.ppt, *.pptx , however you can also upload your zip file published from Presenter as well here as it is identified by the content type of the file being uploaded, which is ppt/pptx in a content published via Presenter.

upload-content

Please note that if your content is tied to a training or course item, it is NOT recommended to make changes to its content once the course has been made live for users as this may cause inconsistency in their reporting status. If your content is tied to a course/curriculum and you have updated the content after it is already in use by the users, only updating the original content would not update it in the actual course. You will need to update it from the course as well.

  • If it is a course, Goto the course and goto Select Content again and resave the content
  • If it is a curriculum, goto the curriculum, click the desired item from the left, on right hand panel under Course, click on Goto Source, now under that course, click on Select Content and resave the content

update-curr

 

update-curr-1

  • Please note that when you will go to update the content in the actual course/curriculum, you will get a warning message :

update-curr-2

  • Hence it is recommended not to modify the uploaded content in a training/course unless highly important, once it has been made live, else it might cause the above inconsistencies.

 

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/

 

 

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

Editing Connect On-premise Email Send Source Options

Adobe Connect hosted customers have long enjoyed the option of having their Connect account administrative email sent out to users on behalf of a specified email source rather than the system email parameter configured during installation of the Connect server.  In order to exploit this option for on-premise Connect deployments, you first need to apply the following SQL update statement.  This will  add a row into the pps_account_features table:

insert into PPS_ACCOUNT_FEATURES
(ACCOUNT_ID, FEATURE_ID, DATE_BEGIN, DATE_END)
values (7, 71, ‘2014-02-20 00:00:00.000′,’3000-01-01 00:00:00.000′)

After adding this row, check the system email settings with the SQL statement below to make sure it is correctly configured:

select * from PPS_CONFIG
where name like ‘%email%

The results of the query above should correspond with the settings prescribed on local port 8510 on the Connect server settings page in the Connect server configuration wizard.

SECTION              NAME    VALUE   COMMON_NAME
hosted   validation-emaillist                         NULL
main      config-bcc-email              NULL     NULL
main      config-support-email      admin@connectaccount.com         NULL
main      config-system-email        admin@connectaccount.com        NULL

After making the prescribed database changes, they will either take effect immediately after you cycle the Adobe Connect and Flash Media services or after 10 minutes. You do not need to cycle the services unless the change must be immediate.

With the above settings in place, if you create a user in Connect with the email address  joe@connectaccount.com and then you add  Joe to the Meeting Hosts group, the admin designated in the system-email parameter on the server settings page will send email on Joe’s behalf.

To prove this, simply log in, as Joe, create a meeting and add the user with email admin@connectaccount.com (or anyone you chose) as a meeting participant and send that person a meeting invitation. It should read: admin@connectaccount.com; on behalf of; joe@connectaccount.com:

The meeting invitation will look something like this:

From: admin@connectaccount.com [mailto:admin@connectaccount.com] On Behalf Of Joe
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2014 5:30 PM
To: WhoeverIChoose@wherever.com; WhoeverIChoose
Subject: Adobe Connect – Meeting Invitation to “My most excellent meeting”
When: February 23, 2014 5:30 PM-6:30 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada).
Where: http://meeting.connectaccount.com/meeting/

Please join me in an Adobe Connect Meeting.

Meeting Name:  The Only Meeting <snip>

Note: This will not affect password reset email messages.

Select Captivate content will not publish directly to an Adobe Connect server

Issue: When attempting to publish Captivate content that includes a random question slide linked to an empty question pool directly to an Adobe Connect server Captivate crashes. We reproduced this issue with a Captivate file composed of a quiz with a set of random questions near the end of the project. Upon clicking on the publish button, a dialog box pops up stating that there are more random question slides than questions available in the pools. The options are to click “yes” to publish or to click “no” to invoke the question pools manager and edit the quiz. Upon clicking yes to publish the file, the error message ensues warning that your attempt to publish your project to the Adobe Connect Server has failed.

Result: Captivate crashes aborting the publishing process.

3203688.fw

Workaround: Publishing the Captivate project as a .zip file works fine.

Expected: Captivate content that includes a random question slide linked to an empty question pool should publish directly to an Adobe Connect server without any issues.

This problem is scheduled to be addressed in Connect 9.3 with Captivate 8

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>

Presentation Edited in more than one Version of Presenter Hangs on Playback when Published

Issue: Presentation edited using more than one version of Presenter hangs on playback when published.

There is more than one possible cause for this symptom, however when passing around a Presentation for editing by various contributors, you may run into backward-compatibility issues with text highlighting. Text highlighting was introduced in Presenter 9.0 and is not backward-compatible to Presenter 8.1, or earlier versions of Presenter.

Workaround: Rather than rework the content in a single version of Presenter, when text highlighting causes the hanging problem, you may delete the cctexthighlighting entry from the vconfig.xml file in the published output:

  • Publish the problematic content locally into a zip and extract the zip file.
  • Go to “<published output>/data/vconfig.xml”

Untitled-1.fw

  • Open the vconfig.xml file using any XML editor (I used Dreamweaver)
  • Delete the following variable in the vconfig.xml file: <uishow name=”cctexthighlighting” value=”true”/>

Untitled-2.fw

  • RE-zip the locally published Presentation
  • Publish the edited and zipped Presentation to Connect:

Untitled-1.fw

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Play the published Presentation either as standalone content or shared in a Connect Meeting Share Pod.