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Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) ... The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.


Skype group video
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JimDean
Posted 2/21/2014 3:36 PM (#5668)
Subject: Skype group video



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Hi, folks

In the past, there have been some suggestions regarding doing webinars. I've got about a half-dozen reasons not to make that the normal means of doing things ... largely because of the hassle of managing the webinar as it occurs.

HOWEVER, Skype now has an inexpensive "group video" offering that comes with a Premium subscription ... and only ONE person in the group needs to be on Premium. I've signed up for a seven day free trial.

I'd like to test this out with ten people on the line at the same time. I'll probably do a little presentation on the HA-bars project that I'm finishing up now ... but the main reason for it will be to test the Skype performance with all ten people at once.

SO ... if you have Skype, and especially if you also have a webcam ... please email me right away and we can try to sched a time when all the volunteers are available. You don't have to have a webcam ... it would just be useful, as part of the test.

Thanks!
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JimDean
Posted 2/22/2014 11:46 PM (#5681 - in reply to #5668)
Subject: Skype group video



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Still could use a couple or three more participants for the Skype group video session. If you have skype ( or if you're interested in the enhanced HAbars stuff and want to install Skype - free ), please email me immediately. Tell me your availability between now and this Thursday and I'll try to find a sched that will work for everyone.

Also - send me your Skype ID. Mine is "TradeTight".

Check out the prior post in this thread for more details about Skype, and the link below for info about enhanced Heikin Ashi bars:
http://tradetight.org/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=1036

Last call!
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JimDean
Posted 2/26/2014 10:57 PM (#5695 - in reply to #5681)
Subject: Skype group video



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I'll be trying to set up a group call around 1pm (EST) Thursday, with those of you who contacted me with your skype addresses. If you have not sent me your skype address yet, and would like to join in, email me with your address.

Will be interesting to see how well it works ... the reviews are both good and notsogood.
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JimDean
Posted 2/27/2014 3:59 PM (#5696 - in reply to #5695)
Subject: Skype group video



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Hi, folks ... here's a brief report on the group skype session.

Seven people who had time available and were able to connect. I'm sorry that we missed several other people who volunteered, due to miscommunication or incompatible schedules. And I'm afraid I lost at least one person along the way just due to forgetfulness or poor button pushing. I certainly do appreciate those of you who joined with us, and put up with the "circus" of experimentation.

My impressions of the Skype group mode, in comparison to WebEx or GoToMeeting:

1. It is NOT designed for easy "administration" (or at least not intuitively so), either in setting up the meeting or in managing it as it progresses. But we finally did get everyone online after a few abortive attempts. I have no doubt that there IS a "proper, easy" way to do it, but I did not figure it out from the dropdowns and buttons.

2. We learned that the iPad was unable to do screen sharing in group mode, and apparently there are a couple of different versions out there since one iPad user saw nothing, while the other saw the webcam. But neither could see the screen. Once those guys moved to computers, it worked fine.

3. One person (only one, surprisingly) experienced choppy audio ... but he had other programs running. I'm not sure but I think when he discontinued the other programs, the audio got better.

4. The actual screen sharing went pretty well. I had pre-set my resolution for 1280x800 since some laptops can't manage the 1920x1200 on my monitors. Everybody could read everything OK (OT and OLang screens). One big limitation of Skype screen sharing is that it does not provide a "flexible box" to limit what stuff on the screen is being shared ... all, nothing, or one particular window (which doesn't work when switching between things).

5. The actual "presentation" that I made was totally off the wall and unplanned (about HJbars and HJtrak), therefore it lasted a LONG time (about 2 hours after the first half hour of fiddling around with skype) ... I was pleasantly surprised that a. the connection never totally died, and b. that most everyone hung in there and did not fall asleep (I could see them via their webcams nyah ha haaa).

6. There was no nice "questions" window that I could find, like WebEx and GTM offer, when it came time for questions ... again, maybe I missed it. So, when I paused for Q/A, people had to be willing to speak up ... that causes some folks to hesitate, therefore I considered it to be a weakness of the platform.

7. The audio and video apparently were not totally in sync. This is probably related to both software and bandwidth. Not an uncommon issue. Also, when major changes were made to the screen (opening the OLang editor for example), the new window would appear "fuzzy" for the first few seconds, as skype caught up.


CONCLUSION:

Skype Groups allows up to ten people with webcams to have an AV meeting. It's a little awkward to manage the meeting, re who is speaking, but I can see that for those purposes it's very useful. The screen sharing seems to work fine, but the ability to control what shows up must be pre-planned with a dedicated monitor. The audio quality and video quality seemed acceptable (one attendee was calling from South Africa).

FUTURE USE:

I can see that this tool might be useful for "group project" meetings, where "ad hoc" discussions are the rule, with ten or fewer people. But the scheduling of such group meetings can be a pain ... and often those group communications can be handled almost as well, via dedicated Forum threads &/or prerecorded videos.

I personally don't believe that "live" training for most of the topics I will be covering in TT offers any significant benefit over "recorded" training, as long as folks utilize the dedicated Forum threads as a feedback loop, either for Q/A, or just to raise Q's that are dealt with in a subsequent recording.

HOWEVER, for one-on-one communications, which can be done for FREE with or without webcams, this can be VERY useful ... due to the ability to share screens. A lot of what I do is "one on one" development or tutorial or assistance "consulting" work. I think this will be very helpful for those activities. And I'd suggest that y'all consider adding Skype (and a webcam) to your bag of tricks.

Skype is free. Webcams abound. I did a bunch of research and testing and highly recommend the Logitech C615. It has very intelligent and flexible controls that work well ... and unlike many others, it offers both 4:3 and 16:9 modes, in several resolutions, with a good microphone and clear optics.
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