Outdoor Online Conference

I registered for a "webinar" today about a topic I am very interested in. They use WebEx (which sounds like a product to get rid of the web) as their conferencing software. It displays desktop = slides of the presenter, has a text chat, a hand-raiser, a notes box (good idea) and a video tab in which 4 people's video can be shown. In order to get into the audio, you call a toll-free number, there is one for the US and one International.

Now I don't trust my Swedish mobile phone to not deduct me anyway - they charge me even when the other end is busy and to receive SMS, which bugs me. So I used Skype. Hmm, is Skype US or International? Since I had to choose a country, I chose the US and dialed the 888 number. I had to enter in a code I was sent by email, and I was in a train station audio conference, everyone can hear everyone.

It was still 10 minutes to go, so I played around with the video with a friend who was also attending the webinar. Rather good quality, but I was the only one sending.

I was outdoors, it was sunny and warm, and the leaves were rustling in the back ground. Just as the webinar was beginning, my phone rang. I didn't even recognize it as my phone, as it is a new one. The dog next door began barking, and with horror I realized that I was sending telephone + dog + leaves rustling + all these birds + the motor bike zipping by to all of the participants. And I couldn't find the mike-off button, which Skype gracefully hides from you once you begin talking. So I missed the start of the conference turning off the phone and scrabbling for the mike. I don't even know where it is hiding on my MacBookPro so I could put my thumb on it!

I realized then that the "quiet outdoors" is actually not really quiet! Although the Internet connection was great - 40 minutes with application sharing and audio via Skype and not one breakdown. Must be because the satellites are in full view.

Additional problem with outdoor surfing: This time of year in this part of the country, the birch trees shed seeds like you would not believe. I keep blowing them off the keyboard, but there are alwasy more to come. You can't even keep a drink next to you, it gets covered in the seeds. But hey, the sun is out, white clouds, blue sky, green leaves - nice place to work, just not so hot for conferencing.

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