Adobe ConnectNow is a personal web-conference tool that you can use to conduct real-time meetings—sharing a document or your entire desktop, and using live chat, online whiteboards, and other collaborative features. As an attendee you join the meeting by logging in to a web-based meeting space from your own computer.
The great thing about this kind of online meeting is that everybody has the same view—which is set up by the person conducting the meeting. As the initiator, you have complete control of what your clients or colleagues are seeing while you walk them through the project.
An online meeting can be highly productive when it comes to sharing ideas, discussing detailed issues, and collaborating on a project. As a matter of fact, ConnectNow helped a lot in the writing of this book as the various Adobe product teams were able to demonstrate some of the new features of the Creative Suite live.
Version control, platform compatibility, and even having the same programs installed are no longer an issue. You can enable video conferencing, send instant messages, and even permit another participant to take control of the desktop. Interaction takes place in real-time, which makes the meeting more personal and more fun.
Working with Share My Screen and ConnectNow
On the following pages, you'll be guided through the process of setting up an online meeting. The document to be reviewed is a poster for our imaginary movie, Double Identity. This asset has been created in Illustrator CS4 (see the illustration below with some of the vector-based drawing lines selected). To share this artwork from your desktop, you'll use the Share My Screen and ConnectNow features from within Illustrator CS4.
A wizard will guide you through the process of setting up your online meeting. However, you do need an active Internet connection to be able to work with Share My Screen. If you're not connected to the Internet, you can still follow some of the steps in this exercise and simply scan through others.
- Switch to Adobe Bridge, select the Lessons folder in the Favorites panel, and then navigate to the Lesson06 folder. Double-click the file Poster_Review.ai, which should open in Illustrator CS4.
- In Illustrator, choose File > Share My Screen, which will bring up the ConnectNow dialog box. If you don't yet have an Adobe ID, you need to click Create A Free Adobe ID and fill out a form before you can sign in to share you screen.
- Once you have created your Adobe ID, you need to fill in your e-mail address and password, and then click the Sign In button.
- It will take a moment to sign you in. Once you're in your meeting room, you can invite participants by clicking Send E-mail Invitation Now. The recipients will then be able to join the conference by logging in to the web-based space from their own computers.
- Once the Add-In application is installed, the screen will advise you that meeting has been launched.
- Click Share My Computer Screen. If you have multiple displays, select the monitor you'd like to show in the Start Screen Sharing dialog box, and then click Share.
- The wizard gives you a quick introduction to screen sharing. Remember that when you share your entire desktop, attendees see everything that happens on your computer screen, including e-mail pop-ups, alerts, and all visible windows and applications. Click OK.
While the meeting is in progress, the ConnectNow screen sharing palette is displayed, giving you access to key meeting features and enabling you to share notes, send chat messages to one person or the whole group, use an online whiteboard to sketch ideas, activate a webcam, and even turn over the control of your desktop to another attendee, which can be very productive for collaborative work sessions and technical support. You can position the ConnectNow screen sharing palette wherever you want on your desktop.
- The open Illustrator file on your desktop is now shared with the other participants. Notice the ConnectNow screen sharing palette, in which you could type a welcome message to start the meeting.
- When an attendee wants to join the meeting, you'll be notified by a little dialog box in the lower-right corner of your screen. Click Accept to admit that attendee to the meeting room. The attendee receives a note to let them know that the host has been notified of their presence.
- Ensure that you are connected to the Internet.
- Check that your software and hardware meet the system requirements. For a complete list, see http://www.adobe.com/go/acrobatconnect_systemreqs.
- Disable any pop-up blocker software.
- Clear the browser cache.
- Try connecting from another computer.
- Ensure that you have entered the correct URL.
- Try joining the meeting as a registered user or as a guest.
- Confirm that you are using the correct password.
Just imagine how helpful it could be if the tech person could sort things out directly on your computer, even though he's only present online. That's now possible—with Share My Screen you can hand over control of your desktop to another participant in the meeting.
- In the ConnectNow screen sharing palette, click the triangle to the right of the attendee's name and choose Give This User Control Of My Computer from the context menu.
Being able to work in the application that was used to create the artwork has the advantage that you can quickly react to a suggestion.
As an example, it would take you only a couple of seconds to demonstrate how the poster could look without the female lead actor, which could be a good alternative, don't you think?