PowerPoint presentations

Showing PowerPoint and OpenDocument presentations is easy.  Log into your room as a Presenter or above, and click the Open File button on the whiteboard toolbar:

ppt-openfile

A drop-down appears where you can upload a new file, or select a previously uploaded presentation:

ppt-choosefile2

When you select a new file for upload, a progress bar will appear as the file is uploaded to the server:

ppt-processing

Following upload there will be a brief processing delay while the presentation file is converted into slides.  When the first slide is ready a slide number control will appear on the toolbar:

ppt-slidenum2

The process of converting presentation files into slides is not always perfect and sometimes slides will have an incorrect layout.   If the slides from your presentation do not appear correctly, the solution is to edit the layout of your presentation using LibreOffice then re-upload the modified presentation.  LibreOffice is a free Microsoft Office compatible productivity suite.  Slides that appear correctly inside of LibreOffice will also appear correctly when uploaded to the conference room.

Presentation file uploads are limited to 25 Megabytes each.  A maximum of 10 uploaded files will be stored on the server.  Uploading additional files will automatically remove the oldest uploaded file.  You may click the red X beside any upload to delete it from the server.  Hovering your mouse pointer over a file in the uploads list will display a tooltip showing when the file was uploaded.  Files are listed with the most recent upload at the top.

android support

iVocalize can run in Google Chrome 26+ on Android.

Chrome is available in the Play Store for Android 4.0 and later:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.android.chrome

The new live media support is still considered experimental, and is not enabled by default.

To enable live media:

  • open Chrome and enter chrome://flags into the address bar
  • scroll down to the Enable WebRTC setting and click Enable
  • restart Chrome

You may now log into an iVocalize room using your android device.

enablewebrtc

control panel

The control panel is built into the conference room, and is accessed via a settings button on the whiteboard toolbar.  Use the Members sign in button to get started:

cp-member

Control panel access is available to the room owner and administrators designated by the room owner.  To access your control panel, use the Members sign in button.  When asked for an email address, use the email that you signed up for service with.  This will be the email address that received your order confirmation and Account Manager details.

Click the Settings Button

whiteboard-settings

Once signed into your room as an Owner or Administrator, click the Settings button on the Whiteboard toolbar.  The room control panel will open.

Home

cp-home

The Home section of the room control panel shows basic information about the room like room size, expiration date, creation date, etc.

Settings

cp-settings

The settings section of the control panel contains various configuration options, each of which has a help bubble for more information.


Logins

cp-logins

The logins section contains a history of entries into the room.  Click an individual login record for blocking options.

whiteboard

The whiteboard contains tools for displaying and annotating slides, images, videos and screencasts.  The whiteboard toolbar is visible only to Presenters.

Clear / Whiteboard Size

whiteboard-clear

The clear button has two parts — a push button on the left, and a size dropdown on the right.  Click the left side of the clear button once to remove annotations from the whiteboard.  Click the left side of the button a second time to clear the background image.  Click the down arrow on the right side of the clear button to display a size menu.  Selecting one of the sizes will resize the whiteboard in addition to clearing the background image and all annotations.  The size of the whiteboard affects how PowerPoint uplaods are processed.  For instance, if you size the whiteboard to 800×600 then upload a PowerPoint, all of the processed slides will be 800×600 — the size of the whiteboard at the time of upload.

Undo / Redo

whiteboard-undo

The Undo and Redo buttons also have two parts — a push button on the left, and a drop down on the right. Clicking the left side will undo or redo the most recent whiteboard operation.  Clicking the right side will open a drop down showing all of the whitboard operations for selective undo/redo.  In the picture above,the Undo menu shows 5 different operations that may be selectively undone.  Operations are displayed with an icon showing the drawing tool, the color of the annotation, and the name of the presenter who created the annotation.  In the case of the text tool, the actual text is displayed in the menu instead of the name of the person who wrote it.

Drawing Tool

whiteboard-drawtool

Click the Drawing Tool menu to choose which tool will be used for drawing.  The Laser Tool does not actually mark the whiteboard — it is a shared cursor that the presenter can move to indicate a certain spot on the current whiteboard image.  All of the drawing tools except the checkmark require a click and drag operation.  The initial click sets the base position, and the drag sizes the drawing.  In the case of the text tool, the click and drag positions and sizes the text input window.

Color Palette

whiteboard-palette

Click the Color Palette button to choose the color for annotations.

Line Thickness

whiteboard-linesize

Click the Line Thickness button to set the line size for drawing operations, or the font size for the text tool.

Open File

whiteboard-uploads

Click the Open File button to upload a new Presentation or image, or to select a previously uploaded presentation or image.   Previously uploaded files may be deleted by clicking on the red X beside the file.  A maximum of 10 uploaded files will be stored on the server.  Uploading additional files will cause the oldest file to be automatically removed.  Presention files (ppt, pptx, odp, pdf) are limited to 25 megabytes.  Single image files are limited to 256 kilobytes.

The slide dimensions for uploaded presentations are determined by the whiteboard size at the time the presentation is uploaded.   For example, to make slides 1024×768, click on the Whiteboard Size menu (left most button on toolbar) and set the whiteboard size to 1024×768 prior to uploading the PowerPoint file.

Once a Presentation has been uploaded or selected, the Slide Number window appears allowing the presenter to change slides:

whiteboard-slidenumber

YouTube

whiteboard-youtube

In addition to slides, it is also possible to show movies in the whiteboard area.  Click on the YouTube button and a window opens for entering a video ID or URL.  For example, enter  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0 to play Gangnam Style for your audience.  Or simply enter the video ID portion: 9bZkp7q19f0.

whiteboard-youtube1

To stop playback of a YouTube video, click the Clear button on the toolbar.  Playback of videos is not synchronized between attendees.  If a presenter seeks or stops his own video playback, it will not affect others in the room.  If a video is already in progress when a new person joins the meeting, they will begin viewing the video from the start.

Snapshot / Screencasting

whiteboard-screencast

Click the Snapshot button to open the screencasting tool.  This tool allows you to take a still image or moving picture of part of your screen and automatically upload that picture to the whitebord.   The Snapshot button will only appear on systems where Java is installed and Java Applets are enabled in your browser.

Recording

whiteboard-recording

Click the Recording button to start and stop recording.  See the Recording topic for more information.

Settings

whiteboard-settings

Click the Settings button to open the room control panel.

FAQ

Q: Where is the control panel for version 6?
A: The control panel is built into the version 6 room, and is accessible to Administrators via a Settings button on the whiteboard toolbar.  From your room login page, click the Members button to sign in.  When prompted for an email address, use the one you ordered the service with.  You will then be logged in as an admin.

Q: I signed up for a new version 6 room.  Where is my password?
A: You choose your own password when you sign in for the first time.  Visit your room login page and click the Members button (not Guests) to sign in.  When prompted for an email address, enter the same email address that you use in the iVocalize Account Manager.  You will then choose a password that will be known only to you.

Q: How is version 6 different from the old version?
A: Version 6 runs in the browser, while the old version runs under Java.  Because v6 runs in the browser, it is not necessary to download any software or plugins.

Q: Does v6 run only under Chrome?  Why Chrome?
A: There is a new browser standard that allows live audio and video to be broadcast directly from the browser without the use of plugins, flash, or other downloads.   Currently, Chrome is the only released browser supporting this new standard.  Firefox is expected to include support in version 23.  Opera, which is now based on Chrome, will offer support in the near future.

Q: Does it run on iPad?
A: The Google Chrome browser runs on iOS, however, chrome for iOS does not include the necessary support.  This limitation is because Apple restricts what 3rd-party browser can do on iOS.  If you would like to see full support on iOS, please contact Apple and urge them to remove the restrictions for 3rd-party browsers running on iOS.

Q: Does it run on Android?
A: The latest Chrome browser on Android 4+ (chrome 26) includes experimental support for the new standard, however, the new features are turned off by default.  iVocalize will officially support Android once the Chrome and/or Firefox mobile browsers for Android have support for the new features enabled by default.

Q: What is Persona?  Why Persona?
A: Persona is a Single Sign On solution created by Mozilla.  Persona lets you create a single account based on your email address, and use that account to sign into many different websites, similar to Facebook Connect.  We chose Persona because it offers all the convenience of Single Sign On, but without the association with a social network.  Persona uses only your email address, and does not share any other information about you.

Q: Can each person make their own recordings?
A: No. There is one recording for the room, controlled by the presenter(s).  The presenter(s) may share the recording by posting it to a website, etc.

recording

The new recording feature in iVocalize version 6 is powerful and simple to use. To start a new recording, a Presenter clicks the recording button on the whiteboard toolbar:

recording button

Once clicked, the recording button changes color to show that recording is active:

recording active

A notification also appears in the text chat window to notify other presenters that recording has been turned on:

recording started

While recording is active, all audio, webcam video, public text messages, slides, whiteboard annotations and YouTube videos are saved on the server.  At this time, Live Screencasting is not recorded.

To stop recording, click the Recording button on the whiteboard toolbar again.  A text message will appear to all presenters indicating that recording has ended, and after a brief delay, a link will appear to download the recording:

recording complete

Click the download link, and your browser will prompt you to save the recording zip file:

recording download zip

Once you have downloaded the zip file, you must extract it to a folder in order to play the recording.  To extract a zip file on Windows, open windows explorer on your downloads folder, right click the zip file, then select Extract All:

recording extract zip

You will then be presented with a new folder containing the recording files:

recording extracted files

Now that the files are extracted, double click the index.html file to open it in your browser.  At this time, only the Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers are able to play iVocalize recordings.  This limitation of Internet Explorer and Safari is because both Apple and Microsoft do not support the latest free and open media formats.

If you attempt to open index.html without first extracting the zip file, you will see an error message:

This recording cannot be played while compressed in a zip file.
Extract the zip file, then open index.html in your browser.

Often, when downloading a file, our habit is to just click on the file to open it from the browser’s download bar.  In the case of Windows, this method does not extract the supporting files from the zip, so index.html does not have the information that it needs.  Therefore, you must extract the zip file first, and only then attempt to open index.html.  On Mac OS X, clicking a zip file automatically extracts it to a folder, which you can then navigate to in Finder.

Once the recorded archive has been extracted to your disk, you may view the recording locally, or upload the entire folder to your website for online viewing.

Unlike previous versions of iVocalize where each participant made their own recording, the new recording feature is controlled exclusively by presenters.  The presenter determines when a recording begins and ends, and there is a single recording made which can be downloaded by everyone.

Once a recording has been completed, the download link will remain active for 60 minutes before the recording is automatically deleted from the server.  Recordings are automatically terminated when there are no presenters in the room, therefore, presenter’s should end recording prior to signing out.  Recordings end automatically after 120 minutes.  Meetings longer than 120 minutes may be recorded in segments.

64-bit Java

iVocalize runs under both 32-bit Java and 64-bit Java on both Windows and Mac OS X.

For users running 64-bit Java, the latest release of Java 7 is required from http://java.com in order for the co-browsing feature to function.

The Java 7 embedded browser is HTML 5 compliant, however, plugins such as Flash are no longer supported due to increased security.

If you rely on synchronized browsing and flash slides for your presentations, then you must recreate your slides in HTML 5 format, or show your slides using the Live Screencasting or Whiteboard features.

The presentation recording feature is unavailable under 64-bit Java, but recordings can be made with a screen recording application such as Camtasia.

Under 64-bit Windows, it is possible to use 32-bit Java by following these steps:

  1. close all applications
  2. open Control Panel -> Programs and Features, and uninstall all versions of Java
  3. open 32-bit Internet Explorer and visit java.com to receive the latest 32-bit Java 7 download

On Mac OS 10.5 and 10.6, 32-bit Java is available by default and is automatically used by iVocalize.

On OS 10.7 and later, only 64-bit Java is available.

Mac OS 10.7, OS 10.8 and Java

Apples’s latest Java “update”, Java for OS X 2012-006, disabled Java 6 for use with Java Web Start and mandates a transition to 64-bit Java 7.

Users of OS 10.7 and later must:

  1. perform a software update to get the latest changes from Apple
  2. open Safari and download Java 7 from http://java.com/download

The latest updates from Apple and Java are required to use the the synchronized browsing feature.

After updating to Java 7, flash content may no longer be shown in the embedded browser due to increased security.

Also, following the upgrade to Java 7, the recording feature will be unavailable.  Unfortunately, Apple removed the mp4 encoding capability in the 64-bit interface.  Recording may be accomplished with a 3rd party application like Camtasia.

Unable to launch the application : Windows

Oracle’s June 2012 Java 7 update 5 on Windows may cause the following error to appear when lunching:

Unable to launch the application

Clicking the details button on the error window shows the further message:

Unsigned application requesting unrestricted access to system

This is a problem with the latest Java update.  The solution is to clear the Java application cache as follows:

  1. open the Java control panel applet
  2. click the Settings button under Temporary Internet Files
  3. click the Delete Files button

Open the Java control panel applet:

Click the Settings button under Temporary Internet Files at the bottom:

Click the Delete Files… button to clear the Java cache.  Make sure that the option to “keep temporary files on my computer” is enabled.

A faster way to clear Java’s temporary files cache is to open a command prompt and enter the command javaws -uninstall as shown here:

Changing the URL of the Room Login Page

The login page for your conference room is located at http://RoomName.ivocalize.net

To change the name of your web conference room along with its login page URL, sign in to the Account Manager and click the Change button beside the conference room subscription.   Enter the new room name and submit your changes.  The new login address will become effective immediately.

You will be required to extend your room subscription out to 1 month from the date you change the room name, and that this will also change your monthly bill date.

Authoring Presentations

iVocalize allows you to show PowerPoint and OpenDocument presentations, as described here.

Showing these presentations involves converting them from the source format (PPT, PPTX, or ODP) into Flash slides (SWF) for display in the co-browser and into static images (PNG/JPG) for display on the whiteboard.

In some cases, the conversion into SWF/PNG/JPG is not exact, and the converted slides appear differently from the original slides.  We recommend using the OpenOffice suite to author your presentations, and saving them in the ODF Presentation format (ODP).  This will insure maximum compatibility and the best fidelity for your converted slides.

If your presentations are already in Microsoft PowerPoint (PPT,PPTX) format, you can import them into OpenOffice and save them as ODP files, then edit them in the native OpenOffice format.  OpenOffice is free, and it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux.  By correctly formatting slides in OpenOffice Impress it is possible to resolve most slide conversion issues, such as text fomatting, misaligned tables, or incorrectly rendered RTL (right to left) text.

If your slides contain embedded images, make sure that the images that you import to your slides are relatively large in dimension, and scaled down inside the slide.  That way, when the converted slide is displayed in your webinar, it can scale up or down and suffer no loss of resolution.  If the embedded image is small to begin with, then the image quality in the converted slide may be poor.

When shown in the co-browser, the the Flash Slides scale to fill the available area in the each guest’s embedded browser.  When shown on the whiteboard, the slides are displayed using fixed dimensions.  Because guests will have different screen sizes, the size of the whiteboard will be different for different guests, and in some cases the size of the whiteboard will not be large enough to display the entire slide without scrolling.

Presenters can adjust the percentage of the iVocalize application window devoted to the browser/whiteboard area by setting the Browser% in the Appearance section of the Room Control Panel.  Also consider showing slides in the Co-Browser using the Synchronized Browsing feature so that all guests can see a complete and properly scaled slide image.  If it becomes necessary to mark up the slide during your presentation, then the Open in Whiteboard button on the browser toolbar will automatically load the current slide into the whiteboard.

Live Polling

The iVocalize Live Polling feature allows presenters to ask multiple choice questions and display the results to the room.

Initiate a poll by pulling down the Moderator menu and selecting New Poll:

newpoll1

The Poll editor window will appear.  Select New Poll and enter a new question and up to 5 answers, or choose a previously entered poll question from the drop down list.

All poll questions are single answer multiple-choice.  True/False or Yes/No type questions can be constructed by providing just two answers.

Click Begin Poll to send the question out to the room:

beginpoll

The poll sponsor sees a dynamic view of the poll results as each participant votes.  Each answer shows the number and percentage of votes, along with the name of each participant who has chosen that answer:

poll results as seen by sponsor

(sponsor view of results)

The poll sponsor’s participant display shows a question mark next to participants who have not voted yet:

participants display as seen by poll sponsor

(sponsor's user display)

The participants in the room are shown a simple view containing the question and the available answers:

poll questions as seen by guests

(guest view of questions)

After voting, participants see a static view of their vote until the sponsor closes the poll:

(guest view of cast vote)

(guest view of cast vote)

When the poll sponsor closes voting by clicking on Show Results, all participants see a simplified view of the poll results as shown below.  Participants can see the percentage of votes for each answer, but not the actual number of votes or the names of participants voting for each answer.

(guest view of results)

(guest view of results)

The poll sponsor may also close the poll without showing the poll results to the room.

When recording a session, the guest view of the poll questions and results is shown in the recorded archive.

Reinstalling Java

Update to the latest version of Java:

  1. Close all running applications
  2. Open Windows Control Panel / Programs
  3. Under Programs and Features, select Uninstall a Program
  4. Uninstall any program from Sun or Oracle beginning with Java or J2SE
  5. more information: http://www.java.com/en/download/uninstall.jsp
  6. Close control panel
  7. restart your system
  8. Open your web browser and visit http://java.com/ to install the latest java version
  9. more information:
    http://www.java.com/en/download/help/index_installing.xml

    http://www.java.com/en/download/faq/remove_olderversions.xml

Install the latest operating system updates: (recommended step)

  1. Open Control Panel / System and Security / Windows Update
  2. Download and install the latest updates and restart

Use an up to date internet security product: (recommended step)

  1. remove any 3rd party antivirus software
  2. install Microsoft Security Essentials, the official antivirus product from Microsoft
  3. more information:  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/security-essentials-download