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Connect recordings listed with breezecentral.com domain will break: here's the solution

If you're a speaker, user group manager, or blogger who offers URLs for previously recorded Breeze/Connect presentations, you may find that some now break because they point to a domain that Adobe no longer supports, breezecentral.com. Someone noted that an old entry that had been entered previously in my UGTV repository now broke. I looked into it, found the answer, and am sharing it here for others.

It's understandable, since Breeze was renamed to Connect a long time ago, but the bummer is that so many folks have for so long pointed to such recordings, and now they will all break. I've changed all the UGTV entries.

Here is a table of the old URLS and new ones that I've found to work for each. It's not always quite as obvious as it may seem:

Old URLNew URL
These need adobe.acrobat.com
adobechats.adobe.breezecentral.com adobechats.adobe.acrobat.com
adobechats.breezecentral.com adobechats.adobe.acrobat.com
mmchats.breezecentral.com mmchats.adobe.acrobat.com
mmusergroup.breezecentral.com mmusergroup.adobe.acrobat.com
seminars.breezecentral.com seminars.adobe.acrobat.com
These just need acrobat.com
experts.breezecentral.com experts.acrobat.com
stevenerat.breezecentral.com stevenerat.acrobat.com
mmse.breezecentral.com mmse.acrobat.com

Of course, I'm sure there are many other URLS out there using breezecentral.com. I'm only listing those that were in my UGTV database, that I tested and changed.

So for example, Doug Smith had noted that this entry from a 2006 talk by Sean Corfield, on "Objects and Persistence" failed (with domain not found):

http://adobechats.adobe.breezecentral.com/p31075720/

The correct new URL is:

http://adobechats.adobe.acrobat.com/p31075720/

So I've taken care of the UGTV entries. If you have your own listing of such URLs, I hope you'll take note of all this and make the changes for yourself and your readers.

UGTV is on the air. Watch CF presentations from your home/office or CFUG.

If you've missed past CF presentations at CFUGs and online meetings, did you know they may have been recorded? Well here's good news: I've now created a repository to hold links to all such recorded presentations, across any and all CFUGs (and I'm open to talks beyond CF). Come see them (and add any new ones) at a site I've named "UGTV". :-) It's available simply as http://carehart.org/ugtv/.

If you missed my note Friday on "Is your CFUG taking advantage of the free access to Breeze for Adobe user groups", I talked about how Adobe UG managers can use a free Beeze (a.k.a Adobe Connect) account for bringing in remote presenters, allowing remote attendees, and creating such recordings.

The UGTV site also points out existing lists of recorded presentations that focus on specific "venues". I hope that this site can be a repository of any and all venues--even personally recorded ones as some may start to create. Think of is as UGTube! (I actually found that the domain name is available, but decided not to use it for fear of tradename infringement.)

The site is a work-in-progress. For now, it's functional, allowing you to both list, sort, and add presentations (yes, anyone can add presentations. Please do!)

I'll evolve the site further, for sure to improve its interface and functionality.

For now, please spread the word both for those who want to watch (from home/office or in a group at a CFUG) and those who might be able to add new presentation.

And let me know what you think, below. I welcome your comments (though again, if commenting on the interface, note the comments on the page where I list plans I already have).

Is your CFUG taking advantage of the free access to Connect for Adobe user groups?

One of the benefits of being an Adobe User Group (CFUGs and others) is that the managers have access to a free Acrobat Connect account that can used to have remote speakers and/or attendees, and to record your presentations (so others local or remote can watch what you've had presented).

Many CFUGs don't seem to be taking advantage of the feature, so I wanted to point it out. Your manager may not know about it, or may have forgotten, or just may not be seeing the benefit. I share this to help you inform and encourage them. (This account is only for use with user group related activities.)

Let me expand on each of the reasons to consider using it.

Gives you access to remote presenters

The most obvious to some is that it permits a group to have a presenter who's not local. Many CFUGs have a hard time getting presenters from within their ranks. Some do get remote presenters to come live, such as if they're in town (which is always nice), but at least a Connect-based presentation is better than having none. It can also inform you of techniques from specialists holding expertise just not available within your group.

Such Connect-based presentations have been very successful. Not always perfect (audio, video, and bandwidth problems can play up), but successful far more often than not judging from those who try it once and then do it again.

Permits you to welcome attendees who might not normally come

Yet another benefit, whether you have a remote presenter or not, is that it can also be used to let others in your group (or even outside your group) see the presentation without being there. Yes, this is a two-edged sword, in that you don't want to cannibalize your local attendance by people saying, "I'll just stay home". We all know that being there is very important, so one wouldn't want to always substitute "watching" for showing up.

Still, there are some who for family reasons, or due to other commitments, can't make some or even all the meetings. This is a nice way to connect them to your group (and promote whatever other services your group may offer).

Naturally, this also opens the door to folks who aren't even local to your group to join in. There are ways you could limit who can participate, but the general thinking among most groups is that you should just let anyone in.

I'll talk about recording and watching recorded presentations in a moment. But this idea of having lots of online attendees brings up a point worth noting.

Sidebar: Challenges of a large number of online attendees

You may wonder, "should I worry at all about how many online attendees join in?" Yes, you might want to be aware of a couple of points. First, the Connect account that is shared is designated to have no more than (I think) 150 total participants at once, across all groups that may share it at once.

Second, when you have lots of online attendees, they tend to engage in chat, which may be a challenge for your presenter to keep up with. I do believe that the person running the Connect meeting can turn off the chat. I'm pretty sure it can be switched on at the end of the meeting (or when desired during the meeting), to open the floor to questions. Such online chat is a two-edged sword, as it can give detract focus from your local attendees. Like any tool, all must use it responsibly.

Recording your presentations, whether a local or remote speaker

Another really nice benefit of using the Connect account (even if you have no remote attendees) is that you can use Connect to record your presentation--even if you have only a local presenter. That's not something that many have yet thought of.

These recordings can then be made available for anyone to watch. They are saved on a server at Adobe (part of the account that's offered). Once recorded, you can share the URL of that recording with others in your group (such as those who missed the meeting, or want to see the presentation again), as well as those outside your group. There's no cost to watch the presentations, nor does is there any limit for the group on how many people can watch the recording. As far as I know, there's also no time-limit for how long the recorded presentations remain available at Adobe.

Speaking of these recorded meetings, I've long been meaning to create a repository for such, and writing this post finally motivated me to do it. It's now available at http://www.carehart.org/ugtv/. I may break it out into its own domain eventually, if it takes off (ugtv.com and .org are already taken). I'll also share the link with Ray to add to his nifty CF portal, where he links to such CF resources.

As far as the issues above about having too large a number of online attendees, or a concern over cannibalizing local attendance, note that you can choose in a meeting to not allow any remote attendees, and only offer the recording. That's your own call.

Showing previously recorded presentations at your meeting

One final benefit of these recorded Connect presentations is that you can use them as alternatives to live speakers. I mean, think about it, if you're viewing a presenter via Connect, it's not much different to just view such a presentation, recorded previously.

I know some may lament, "well if we can just watch the recording, couldn't we do that on our own?" I'll say, sure, you could, but would you? Do you? I know I have a really hard time getting around to watching all the available recordings that already exist. Just like we could also read a book or article or blog entry and perhaps hear all that a given speaker would say on any topic.

Yet still we go to the CFUG, both because we might not otherwise get around to reading up on the subject, and because we may never even think to in the first place. And of course, there's also the networking and camaraderie that comes from actually being at the meeting.

Those who know me know that I'm a huge fan of CFUGs, both learning from them and contributing to them. I've spoken to several dozen of them, many several times, over the past 7 years. I was also manager of the Atlanta CFUG in 2006-7 (and previously managed the Southern Maryland CFUG in 2002-2003). I offer this as one more way for the community to share and strengthen itself. I hope it proves helpful to many.

PS: The Virtual Online CFUGs

While we're on the subject of Connect-based presentations, note as well that there is a long-standing "virtual" meeting, called the ColdFusion Meetup, now run by myself and Ra Camden. It meets about monthly, and he often posts recordings of past presentations on the site. Ray had also previously started a new "Jedi Virtual User Group", with one meeting described here (if he has a link to all of them I'll change to that).

Getting access to the free Connect (aka, Breeze) account

If you're a user group manager, or want to encourage your manager to take advantage of these benefits of having remote speakers, attendees, or recorded meetings, the user group manager should contact the adobe user group program coordinators. All user group managers should know how to reach those folks. I'm just reminding you to do it. :-)

In the meantime, come take a look at my UGTV listing of previously recorded user group presentations, and add any that I'm missing.

Do you wish Breeze was less expensive? You got your wish: Adobe Connect. But look closely.

Folks who have longed to use Breeze but couldn't afford it got great news today, in its rebranding today as Adobe Connect. Now starting at $39/month or $395/year, it makes breeze much more affordable.

Note that I say starting at because there are going to be two editions, with the full-featured version being called Adobe Connect Professional. Many will miss that in the early hours of this announcement, I fear.

Note as well that it's not released today, but will be in November, "as a free trial version through the end of the calendar year. The commercial release of Acrobat Connect, initially available in English, is expected to be available in early 2007," according to the press release.

The base version is limited to just one meeting room, and to a maximum of 15 participants, which is still fine for many needs. Further, it will NOT include audio (which means you have to use the phone and a conference call for audio), and it will not include the ability to record meetings (important for some), among other things.

Adobe outlines all the differences in a comparison of the two editions.

Still, the base edition does include screen sharing, chat, and more. And even for 15 people it compares very favorably to other solutions in that space, such as GotoMeeting, which I've long favored because of its more reasonable price. Breeze, or I mean, Adobe Connect, will give that a serious run for its money.

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